Of course I was spoiled growing up. We didn’t just have The Muppet Show (and Fraggle Rock!) on TV- we knew the name of the man who brought the Muppets to life; Jim Henson. We even knew that the man who voiced “Miss Piggy”, Frank Oz, guest-starred in one of the biggest sequels of all time, as a little green alien called “Yoda”.
Oh, and that sequel? We all knew whose baby it was. George Lucas. His film-school buddy Steven Spielberg was the mastermind behind E.T., Close Encounters of the Third Kind, Jaws, and the classic-styled anthology show Amazing Stories. (Just to name a few.)
When you listen to a professional newscaster, you are hearing an “all-purpose” American accent, very similar to how black comedians make fun of white guys. It’s a mode of speaking designed to be understood by a wide variety of ages and backgrounds. It’s also totally alien sounding, especially when they lapse into a Spanish voice for words like “Nicaragua”.
Outside of America, accents are seldom a focal point.
In 1990, I relocated from New Jersey to Georgia. Originally, I had a curt New Jersey accent, like Jim Norton. My first year, I roomed with a guy from Rhode Island, and when I went back to Jersey for vacation, my friends couldn’t believe what a horror show my speaking voice had become. I was the caricature of the braying Yankee.
So, maybe you’re going for a little more edge in your “haunted house”, this Halloween? Or do your fireside ghost stories need some extra oomph? Say no more, my young apprentice.
From inside Naked City, 1990.
You can do much better than “Monster Mash” and Doom soundtracks to terrify trick-or-treaters. Please help yourself to some suggestions. You with the eggs and the toilet paper; take two. Continue reading →
I have a confession to make. Though I consider myself quite the erudite film scholar, in many ways I have no cause to place myself above the average lumpen moviegoer.
I confuse the name ZaSu Pitts with Zuzu Petals, a minor character from the execrable Andrew Dice Clay comedy The Adventures of Ford Fairlane.
I am inexplicably incensed at the sight of the cover of the film Metropia, and Audrey Tautou’s picture on the front of Amélie. To date, I have not seen Amélie, even though it’s from a director I like, thanks to its coy, nauseatingly precious cover shot.
I haven’t seen Precious, except on YouTube, because apparently I laugh at the wrong things.
I can’t stand whispering in movies any more than I can in the theater. A notable exception would be 1982’s Poltergeist. M. Night Shyamalan has abused whispering so much his actors should be forced to use air horns.
I’ve never seen Avatar. Any movie that uses a default computer font for its title isn’t worth a billion dollar budget, let alone my attention. Continue reading →