The Man Who Fell to Earth

I spent the day grading papers and listening the ominous weather reports. I wondered what baseball season will be like this year. I gave my lecture, feeling quite tired at the end of two hours. I talked with the guard about the final plays of the Super Bowl. I came home to watch the two episodes of The Big Bang Theory. It’s too bad that I don’t ever get the chance to play pranks like with the helium. When I returned home, I watched “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” It had been many years since I last saw it, and it seemed that I had forgotten about ninety percent of it. Peter O’Toole could have been in the movie, and he would have displayed more charisma, but David Bowie does fit the alien image well. Supposedly, he was high on cocaine throughout the filming. This movie gains a lot when you see it in a clean print. I saw it on a theatre screen, and the scratches made it hard to watch. The casting of Buck Henry was very odd. I loved seeing him in “The Graduate” and on Saturday Night Live, but I thought he was out of place in this science fiction tale. Candy Clark never looked better than in this movie, although she was hard to recognize as the same woman who was in “American Graffiti.” I found it rather funny that Thomas could say that Buck’s stereo system was antiquated when his futuristic sound system was something weird. As with Star Trek, no one here imagined music in digital form, without the need for clunky objects. The other technology that was supposed to be so advanced was the self-developing film. The aliens didn’t see a way of dispensing with the film altogether. Back in 1975, what seemed so wild isn’t so dazzling now. Bowie was in search of water to save his dying planet, and he gets caught up in the human world with its alcohol, television, sex, and money. It seemed like kind of a joke that he wastes so much time watching television. There is something not so superior about him if he allows that to happen. In a record store, they were selling Bob Dylan’s “New Morning” for $4.66. I thought Bowie newfangled music technology was supposed to take over the world. The makeup to show people aging was not so good, especially under the eyes. Candy’s face looked really unnatural. I was surprised at how much nudity there was, and the big thought that I had was that I really didn’t want to see David Bowie’s penis. He looked really thin and sick, and I don’t mean his genitals. I wondered why they didn’t see Bowie’s music on the soundtrack. One of the songs with meaning was Ricky Nelson’s “Hello, Mary Lou.” I wondered if Candy Clark’s character was named Mary-Lou just in order to use this song. The photography was better than I remembered it from decades ago. Some of the landscapes looked impressive, and I saw things in the faces of Bowie and Candy Clark that I never noticed before. For beings with such advanced technology, all their stuff on their planet looked horribly designed. It looked like they couldn’t stay alive for ten minutes in all their gear, which looked cheap. I think that Bowie was too self-conscious and nervous to be a good actor. The doctors examining Thomas seemed particularly stupid. They should have realized that this man was different in a lot of ways. I thought this was a better film than “Performance.” It’s funny how Nicolas Roeg worked with Mick Jagger and Art Garfunkel. He probably should have gone with regular actors. One special effect that was not so great was Bowie with the tweezers putting his human eye back in. Clearly, it was done in reverse. The same thing with Bernie Casey in the pool. I argued with one of my friends about “The Man Who Fell to Earth.” He thought it was a terrible movie, but I liked it. I thought it had personality and an unusual quality. I guess I lost track of Nicolas Roeg after “Bad Timing.” He’s not a director who changes your life, but I liked him for a time. In the last shot, Bowie bows his head and seems to stay in that position for a long time. I thought one of his best appearances in a movie was “Zoolander.” He didn’t have much to do in his scene except just be David Bowie. In my mind, Candy Clark is always the young woman in “American Graffiti” and “The Man Who Fell to Earth,” but in reality she’s gotten old. I thought her performances in those two movies were rather similar. She can’t help carrying some of her personality characters from one film to the other. She was a sad figure, saying that she didn’t want Tommy’s money. His eyes reminded me of Cat People. It was fun to watch these movies that think about old times. Bowie would release “Station to Station” and “Low,” which were both pretty good albums. I thought it was strange that he said his wife would be able to hear him on the radio. I wondered what the aliens thought of the music of the day, like “A Fifth of Beethoven” and “Play That Funky Music.” I thought of the bad television shows that the aliens were watching in 1975. I saw Stacy Keach on one of the television screens. My interpretation was that Earth was infecting this rest of the universe with its stupidity through television. This whole story was like the reverse of the Twilight Zone episode “To Serve Man.” The alien is the one who is victimized. The technology he brings gets gobbled up. That is believable. After the movie, I fell asleep. I think I heard enough about Russell Wilson and the Super Bowl. I don’t understand what he is doing with the Texas Rangers. We’re hearing about the Pineapple Express. Some of the people who died on February 4 include Karen Carpenter (1983), Patricia Highsmith (1995), J.J. Johnson (2001), and Barbara McNair (2007). Today is a birthday for Alice Cooper (67) and George A. Romero (75). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for February 4, “Snow White and the Seven Dwarfs” was released in 1938. In 1977, Fleetwood Mac released their “Rumours” album. In 1984, Culture Club was on top of the singles chart with “Karma Chameleon.”

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