Monday, March 30, 2009

Au Revoir, Monsieur - or - ...And Then There Were Three

So anyway, I know it's been a while since I posted a celebrity obit...but since this one falls into a category most of my esteemed readership - all three of you - can relate to, it seemed prudent to write it up. Monsieur Maurice Jarre (again...pronounce zhar-AY) passed away yesterday at the age of 84. As the alternate title of my post suggests, that leaves three of the "old school" of Hollywood film composers remaining - John Williams, John Barry, and Ennio Morricone. Barry has been in retirement for upwards of a decade. Big John is retired for pretty much all but Spielberg's films (though I've still got my fingers, toes, legs, arms and nuts crossed that he'll finish off Harry Potter). As for Signor Morricone, he's as busy as ever...not bad for an 81 year old guy (though after over 500 scores, one has to wonder how much new music the man has left in him). Still, his last American film score was 2000's Mission to Mars (still one of the oddest scores in recent memory) - and he's supposedly scoring (if you can believe it) Quentin Tarantino's Inglorious should be notable if for no other reason than it's Tarantino's first scored film!

Anyway, back to Jarre - I don't imagine that amongst our little group there's a great deal of heartbreak over this news - but still, it is kind of sad. For one, it's one step closer to the end of an era in Hollywood. And also, despite some possibly perceived short-comings as a composer, he did leave a substantial mark in film music - granted, most of it a decade before I was born. Brad and I often joke that Jarre, like Barry, only has three (maybe four) scores. There's the electronic fluff Jarre, then there's the electronic Euro-Jazz-fluff Jarre; there's also the giant David Lean epic Jarre (my favorite), then as for the rest - I suppose it could arguably be lumped into one all-encompassing mish-mash category (though what anyone would begin to call it I'm really not sure...maybe just call it...French!).

I for one have always loved Lawrence of Arabia - if ever there was a score in desperate need of a complete re-recording... Dr. Zhivago also has a beautiful main theme and generally a good score overall. I've always enjoyed Enemy Mine for some unfathomable reason - an oft forgotten Wolfgang Petersen sci-fi film from back in the day when he was a serious filmmaker . It's typical Jarre, but for some always struck a chord with me (no pun intended). One of his truly great scores, which I posted about a couple years ago, was for Top Secret!. It was perfect scoring for one of the great screwball comedies of all time - and like any great self-respecting film composer, Jarre composed the music complete straight against the absurdity that was happening on screen.

Other recent notables include Ghost, with which one could practically define the concept of tragically romantic; and another personal favorite is A Walk in the Clouds (an interesting little movie from the mid-90's which coincidentally, proves that Keanu Reeves can act). Jarre did romance well - maybe it's all the wine (did I mention he was French). Looking at his filmography, I'd forgotten that he'd scored some pretty serious films over the last couple decades, including Dead Poets Society and Jacob's Ladder (the latter of which I wouldn't mind revisiting just to hear what he did with it). Also of note, Film Score Monthly released a CD of some of his concert work recently which, when I get the opportunity, I'm definitely going to pick up.

At any rate, adieu Msr. revoir and all that! Say hello to Jerry, Basil, Elmer, Michael, and everyone else when you see them.

Wednesday, March 18, 2009

So, umm...yeah, the Pope is...well...he's retarded.

So anyway, I'm still typing this, so the lightning hasn't smote me yet. I'm sorry, I can't help it...I read this article on and I stand fully behind my post title. So the Pope is in Cameroon...or to put it into perspective, he's on the single most AIDS-riddled continent in the world...and he's standing firm that people shouldn't, or rather can't use condoms (them's just big 'ol brass balls there man).


I can't help but wonder what his stance would be if a gang of natives took turns ass-raping him for a solid 36 hours. Yes, I just made a statement containing references to both the Pontiff, and the butt sex (of the forced variety) - oh yeah, I went there. I'm still waiting for the smiting to begin...wait for it... At any rate, the article does go on to say that his Holiness is considering the holy ramifications of allowing married couples to use condoms should one of them have HIV. So, let me get this straight - it's ok, or at least might be if married couples (and let's be honest for a minute - he's referring to those in the civilized western world) to use a Jimmy hat to not give HIV to each other, but ze darkies (remember, the man is one of ze Germans) - who believe the myth throughout most of the continent that raping virgins will get rid of their AIDS - need to find an alternative to contraception and safe sex because God doesn't want all those precious spermy-men going to waste! Oh for Christ's sake!

See...this is why I don't have a religion. I have faith - I believe there's a bigger picture, I believe there's a higher existence and a higher power. But I can't stand religions. I especially don't like the leaders of religions imposing their ridiculous, ill-informed, and totally archaic beliefs on my life and the way I live it. So...fuck religion!!! I wish I knew where my old man would stand on my beliefs and opinions. He was raised Catholic, but lived life as a twice-a-year Catholic - you know, only went to mass on Christmas and Easter. I have to believe that he'd feel generally the same way I do about things like this. My problem is that there are quite literally over a billion people on the planet that live by this man's word as law!!! WHY?!?! He's just a man - and a man of questionable morality and judgement on top of that (Nazi ties anyone?!). Why, as the world moves ever onward into the 21st century, do the major religions of the world insist on keeping their faithful locked in the beliefs of the dark ages.

I usually like to smack my righteous indignation in the face of Islam at times like these, thinking that maaaaayyyyybe Christianity is getting it's collective shit together. Let's face it, you can almost time to the second when a news piece will come along relaying the tale of some 102-year-old Muslim woman who's being given 1,001 lashes, 60 days in a gulag, and having her tits sawed off because she was in the vicinity of a neighbor's male goat - my total disgust with modern interpretation and practice of Islam is another post altogether. Then a story like this thing with El Sombrero Gigante comes along and (*cue slide whistle playing down*) like a bad case of karmic, guilt-laden erectile dysfunction, the Catholics once again swap our Viagra for a Tylenol with a healthy dose of morality, circa 1452 A.D. on the side.

It's probably a safe assumption that most of us guys have, as the Catholic church would have you believe, committed a holocaust of galactic proportions with all the spermy-men we've wasted in our lifetimes. But remember, the priest with his pecker up the alter boy's ass is long as he doesn't slap on a Ramses, or pull out! Would it be in bad taste to send the Vatican a Trojan Condom Christmas Tree as a gift this year? I can't help but find it both tragic and simultaneously hilarious that the Church can justify being one of the world's leaders in HIV care and treatment, but won't have fucking anything to do with HIV prevention. Get sick and die in agony - that's cool, but don't you dare do anything to avoid getting sick in the first place - YOU'LL GO STRAIGHT TO HELL MISTER!!! It's interesting the mentality that the Vatican, and American Insurance companies share:

Big Blue Boner Pill - GOOD!!!
Itsy Bitsy No-Make-A-Baby Pill - BAAAAAAAAAAADDDDDDD!!!
One-Fingered Rubber Glove - FUGGEDABOUDIT!!!

I dunno - maybe they share board members or something...I better stop before I get really mad - and really get the Big Guy's attention.