American Pop

I listened to Elton John’s “Honky Chateau” album and thought of old days. I went to a credit card training session and hardly learned anything. I went home to watch “American Pop,” the animated movie by Ralph Bakshi. It was curious that the cover art of the disc had a character standing on a CD because the movie came out before we had CDs. We see people going through life in the 20th century, although hardly anything made the music resonate. The animation looked like live action turned into animation. The process was rotoscoping. I thought it was interesting, though not as interesting as “Heavy Metal” was. We hear Gershwin songs and various styles of music in the first half of the movie, which was fine, but I didn’t want to sit through a history lesson. Why did the story start with the Russian Jewish immigrants? It certainly wasn’t the most exciting beginning to a film. The connection to American music did not seem too strong to me. I saw a lot of images of busty women and violent death. One woman dies from a package bomb and one man dies after he plays the piano and a Nazi guns him down. The Nazis appreciated music, but they were also cold blooded. I thought that things didn’t even start to pick up until the segment with Sam Cooke’s “You Send Me.” You have to question the song selection. The title of “American Pop” suggests that the movie is going to cover a wide range and be about everything. The original version of Jefferson Airplane’s “Somebody to Love” was not used on the soundtrack, to the detriment of that scene. I couldn’t stand the notion that a fictional character was sitting on the bus writing the lyrics of “Don’t Think Twice, It’s All Right.” Also, we later see some arrogant dude in a recording studio pounding out “Night Moves” on the piano. The part with Jimi Hendrix and “Purple Haze” was representative of the flatness of this film. It made Hendrix seem rather clumsy and repetitive. One of the songs was “Pretty Vacant,” which was odd, because I wouldn’t say that The Sex Pistols were part of American Pop. You could go on and on about the omissions. On the other hand, I don’t know why Pat Benatar was included. This was supposed to be a more personal effort from Bakshi than films like “The Lord of the Rings.” He seems to struggle to put any real emotion at all into this film. You stare at it and think that there will be some kind of impact. Not much happens, though. I think the rotoscoping takes the character out of all the human figures. Bakshi seemed revolutionary in the early 1970s. This movie was released on February 12, 1981, but it wasn’t a good sign of the times. It showed that the best of pop music was already part of the past. It didn’t show us anything about inspiration or talent. What drives people to express themselves through music? I didn’t recognize any names in the cast outside of Frank de Kova, who was in “F Troop.” In the years between “The Jungle Book” and “Beauty and the Beast,” we saw a lot of animated films that were just average. Hardly anything was exciting. One of the movies I liked was “Allegro non troppo.” Bakshi is 76 years old now, and so I have to wonder how many more productive years he has left. I lost track of him after “Cool World.” Quentin Tarantino always has something to say about directors like Bakshi. I have come to think of Hayao Miyazaki as a much more successor animator than Bakshi. It feels like it takes more effort to watch an animated film than live-action. I fell asleep for about ten minutes, and then I had to go back out to work. The shift was tiring, and I was unenthusiastic. Earning a living is difficult, especially in an outrageously expensive area. It was hot and stuffy in the building, and by the end of the day I was crying out for water. I did not especially want to talk about basketball. I felt the chills and nausea, and so I wrapped myself in a blanket as I watched television. I ate a few pineapple wedges and some yogurt. I saw the classic Twilight Zone episode “Two” with Elizabeth Montgomery and Charles Bronson. My only real complaint about it was the weapon, which was a laser when it looked like an ordinary rifle. I didn’t like the supposedly futuristic touch. I liked how sparing it was with the dialogue. It was good to see Charles Bronson as a normal human being as opposed to the figure he was in the Death Wish films. I still see Elizabeth Montgomery’s face all over the television. It seemed that she died much too young. I will never get tired of watching this Twilight Zone episode. It’s very haunting. I kept wondering what happened to these two people. They could barely communicate with each other, but Rod Serling at the end tells us that it was a love story. Well, it does following the convention of the two people hating each other at first. I fell asleep, and some of my sickness seemed to sweat out of my pores. I saw a bit of James Franco on the Letterman show. I caught a little bit of The Avengers and then a few minutes of James Corden. The news about the plane crash was rather chilling, especially since I am set to take a flight on Friday. I imagined the passengers screaming until the fateful moment. I was distressed to see that I had another document that I was to sign regarding my brother. I feel that I barely got anything done this week. I felt hungry and weak. I waited for the library to open up because I needed to scan a document. Some of the people who died on March 26 include Ludwig van Beethoven (1827), Walt Whitman (1892), Raymond Chandler (1959), John Kennedy Toole (1969), B. Traven (1969), Noel Coward (1973), Eazy-E (1995), Jan Berry (2004), and Geraldine Ferraro (2011). Today is a birthday for Marcus Allen (55), Jennifer Grey (55), Leeza Gibbons (58), Martin Short (65), Vicki Lawrence (66), Steven Tyler (67), Diana Ross (71), James Caan (75), and Nancy Pelosi (75). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for March 26, “Funny Girl” with Barbra Streisand opened on Broadway at the Winter Garden Theatre in 1964. In 1969, the television movie “A Matter of Humanities,” which the pilot for “Marcus Welby, M.D.,” aired on ABC. In 1989, the ABC program “Quantum Leap” made its debut.

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