Birdman

I woke up and watched CBS This Morning. One of the interesting segments was about the National Audiovisual Conservation Center. It seemed that there would have every television show that has aired on CBS since 1970. I watched a bit of the local news and sat down to use the Internet for a while. I took an early trip to the AMC Bay Street 16 in Emeryville. I stopped at Barnes and Noble and bought a special issue of Rolling Stone magazine about Tom Petty. I went to the theatre to see “Birdman.” It had Michael Keaton as an actor who once played a superhero in the movies, trying to gained respect through a play based on a Raymond Carver story, “What We Talk About When We Talk About Love.” The movie takes place in the St. James Theatre, and it looks like one long take in the manner of Alfred Hitchcock’s “Rope.” I applaud Keaton’s attempts to do serious work, but I don’t find him totally convincing in drama. I guess I could never take him seriously after “Night Shift,” “Mr. Mom,” and “Beetlejuice.” Is Edward Norton that difficult to deal with in real life? He is fascinating as the annoying actor who messes up preview performances and seems like he’s going to destroy the entire production. Zack Galifianakis is around, looking a bit like Seth Rogen. I liked watching Naomi Watts. Emma Stone looked like she’d stepped off the set of “The Amazing Spider-Man 2” onto this one. She was a blonde, and her hair color looked unreal. She was Keaton’s daughter, out of rehab and lurking in the background in the theatre, spending too much time on Twitter, and playing games of Truth or Dare with Norton. She had one of the key speeches in the movie, telling Keaton how times have changed since 1992. One of the funny sequences in the movie is Keaton getting his robe stuck in a door, forcing him to walk outside the theatre in his underwear. It would have been funnier if he was naked. Underwear isn’t funny unless the underwear has a funny design. I thought that the movie had the problem of too much talking that’s usually true of plays made into movies. I was tired of hearing an actor talking about taking risks. Flying makes me think of dreaming. Keaton stands on a ledge, and watching him almost made me feel dizzy. I didn’t really like seeing that weird stuff. Actually, I think that actors and show business generally don’t make for good subject matter for films, outside of “Sunset Boulevard” and “Day for Night.” In this one, you’ve got difficult relationships, difficult actors, a tough critic who will probably break the show, rehearsals that aren’t going well, and everything riding on this production, as might be expected. The success of this movie also depends on Keaton. I can’t really sympathize with actors because they’re actors. Can you say that they do anything substantial? I can imagine Edward Norton really being horrible to work with in “Fight Club.” The movie felt like it went on for too long. I found that I didn’t want to sit through two hours of Michael Keaton. The end of the movie with Keaton’s nose reminded me of Jack Nicholson in “Chinatown” and Herbert Lom in one of the Pink Panther movies. I don’t think Michael Keaton’s performance is going to win the Oscar. I like him, but I think that other actors have more talent. I don’t remember Keaton for Batman but for Beetlejuice. I thought the drums on the soundtrack were overbearing after a while. I don’t see “Birdman” gaining favor with movie audiences because it goes against their tastes. I like how it was an attempt at something different. It was one o’clock when I left the theatre, and I listened to the radio and the Raiders game in Kansas City as I waited for the bus. I knew the Raiders couldn’t play well two weeks in a row. When I got home, I watched two episodes of The Partridge Family, “A Partridge Up a Pear Tree” and “Road Song.” In the first, it looked like Laurie had taken a few bites out of an apple, and later she looks like she’s really eating from her plate at the dining room table. I’m always looking for evidence of an eating disorder. One of the better songs in the series, “You Are Always on My Mind,” is featured. Annette O’Toole plays Keith’s girlfriend. The second episode had the song “Point Me in the Direction of Albuquerque.” I watched a little bit of “Maude.” Norman Lear has been on television a lot recently promoting his book. I saw the end of the 49ers game in Seattle. The 49ers were not playing like a winning team. I heard that the Warriors kept their winning streak going in New Orleans, although it took an overtime period for that to happen. I listened to the Robert Hilburn Rock ‘n’ Roll Times program on KCSN. It had music from the Allman Brothers, Lynyrd Skynyrd, The Band, Tom Petty, and Creedence Clearwater Revival. I’d say that my two favorite songs during the hour were “The Night They Drove Old Dixie Down” and “Rebels.” The Columbo episode was “Suitable for Framing” with Ross Martin and Don Ameche. A set of fingerprints was the key to catching the murderer. I watched part of a KRON news special. Erica Kato said that she liked playing pickup basketball. “The Drowning Pool” was on one of the other channels. Paul Newman was in the movie. Some of the people who died on December 15 include Jan Vermeer (1675), Sitting Bull (1890), Fats Waller (1943), Glenn Miller (1944), Charles Laughton (1962), Walt Disney (1966), Blake Edwards (2010), and Christopher Hitchens (2011). Today is a birthday for Helen Slater (51), Don Johnson (65), Cindy Birdsong (75), and Tim Conway (81). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for December 15, Walter Disney died of lung cancer at age 65 in 1966. In 1974, “Young Frankenstein” was released. In 1995, “Jumanji” was released. Also in 1995, “Heat” was released.

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