Tuesday, 4 August 2009

went to see the new Johnny Depp with the wife of my bosom, whose idea it was. Public Enemies. It all feels very real. the action is particularly good, all murky and unclear, like reality instead of all that Sparta slo mo flying around on wires stuff. But as soon as I got home I felt the need to check the movie against the facts, not because I think a movie should be obliged to stick to them, but just to make sure I don't find myself spouting some baloney in public that I picked up only from this source. The real story of that odd era of 'public enemies' is even more interesting than I first thought. All of the major ones seem to have been shot to pieces within a very short, nine month period. Bonnie and Clyde, May 23 1934; John Dillinger, July 24, 1934; Pretty Boy Floyd, Oct 23 1934; Baby Face Nelson Nov 27 1934; Ma Barker and her boys, Jan 16, 1935. The problem is that for movie reasons they had to rearrange some of that. You see, in films bad deeds cannot go unpunished. It's a rule. One of the interesting things they did on the Sopranos was to upend this rule, though upending rules isn't automatically by itself a guarantee of the good stuff. Guys got away with evil deeds all over the place. Like real life. Since Depp is Dillinger, according to movie logic, he must get shot up last, meaning that as Floyd and Nelson are also in the movie, their demises have to be brought on early, otherwise the viewers might get the impression that they got away with their evil deeds. It might be a good thing anyway, since if you go in knowing your history this means you can still be surprised. I'm reminded of this exchange From the film Gladiator, which itself took enormous liberties with the historical record. In ancient Rome a big spectacle is being presented at the Colloseum, recreating the battle of Carthage, but it's started going awry:
"My history's a little hazy, Cassius... but shouldn't the barbarians lose the battle of Carthage?"
"Yes, sire. Forgive me, sire."
"No, I rather enjoy surprises."
Also, the Billy Holiday recordings he's listening to on the radio were made between 1939 and 1941, several years after Dillinger's death.
Wait a minute, it's the phone ringing.
Hi, honeybee.
what, yes of course I'm capable of enjoying a movie.
no, don't say that. I' am not one of those...
uh okay...
whatever...
anyway, thanks for roning.
********

This traveling exhibition is in our town:
Welcome to The Leonardo da Vinci machines exhibition.
Historical documents reveal that Leonardo commissioned local artisans to create some of his inventions. Unfortunately none of these original machines have survived and many of his inventions were forgotten. However, the last fifty years has seen a revival of interest in Vincian technology, spearheaded by the Niccolai family who have been interpreting the designs and constructing fine models since the beginning of Vincian studies. This exhibition presents over sixty models grouped in themes: War machines, Flying machines, Nautical & Hydraulic machines as well as devices illustrating the Principles of Mechanics.
Leonardo would never have got up our hill on this bike.

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5 Comments:

Anonymous breach said...

Can you add a tag for Wow Gold spam?

4 August 2009 12:47:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger Eddie Campbell said...

they dumped nine of them in my inbox at once. saw i had a bunch of mail and thought people were writing to me.

4 August 2009 12:53:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

Did you really think you could go to the movies for education?
The mind fizzles.

4 August 2009 1:44:00 am GMT-5  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Any chance of you doing one of these? http://www.google.com/ig/directory?type=themes&cat=comics

Given all your typographical adventures on the blog I thought it might give you something else to play with, and I guess with the new book coming out it might serve some sort of promotional aspect?

That bloke who never leaves his name no more for fear of shame

4 August 2009 6:11:00 am GMT-5  
Blogger spacedlaw said...

Almost related comment:
William Gibson just tweeted this:
"Bookstore window t-shirt: 'Don't judge a book by its movie'"

4 August 2009 10:02:00 am GMT-5  

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