Frank

I spent the morning preparing for my class. It was exhausting. I don’t know how I manage to get through each lecture. During my lunch break, I watched a Kung Fu episode that surprised me because a young Don Johnson was in it. I had a fish fillet and a salad. I spoke with students, handed out homework, and talked with the security guard about how to make money on the Internet. In my mail, I discovered my Blu-ray copy of Roman Polanski’s “Tess.” Over at the record store, I didn’t find any Beatles items I was eager to buy, so I bought DVDs of seasons of NUMB3RS and The Sopranos on the cheap. I didn’t want to go to Flashback Feature night because it was “Labyrinth,” which I thought I’d seen too many times already. I didn’t need another look at David Bowie’s crotch. Instead, I watched the unusual “Frank.” We see a rock band called SORONPRFBS, or at least that’s what it said on their van. I understand that there were different spellings and pronunciations. We follow a young man named Jon who has songwriting aspirations and who encounters this band by chance. The leader is Frank, who wears a fake head to cover his face. It was reminiscent to me of Daft Punk, or maybe a sports mascot, or Jack from Jack in the Box. Frank has musical talent but also emotional problems, rather like Daniel Johnston. One of the band member is Clara, played by Maggie Gyllenhaal. She is protective of Frank and takes an instant dislike to Jon. There are moments of hilarity mixed with sadness. The band tries to record an album, but it doesn’t get off the ground. They reminded me of the people I knew who smoked too much weed and thought the music they were making was great. They grew old with their delusions. We see one person’s death and cremation. The bit with the ashes seemed like it was a touch of “The Big Lebowski.” Maggie Gyllenhaal was pretty funny, as she was in “Secretary,” although I thought she was out of place in a band. In this era of the Internet and social media, people are going to accept any kind of weirdness. The band ends up in Austin, Texas to play a gig, but there is a question of whether they, and especially Frank, are ready to perform in front of people. How can you predict how someone is going to act when you haven’t ever seen that person’s face? I was rather glad that the movie went all the way with this idea. What kind of a person is underneath this fake head, and how could he have these people following him? We do get to see Frank’s parents, and his mother is Tess Harper. The ending is moving in a wacky way. I wouldn’t quite put the movie in the brilliant category, but I liked it. It certainly dared to be different. It seems to me that in fact we need to see more of these quirky films. Most of what I see every week at the movies lacks any kind of character. Reading a little bit about the movie, I could picture Johnny Depp as Frank, but I couldn’t imagine him actually taking the part. I saw Robert Downey, Jr. on the Letterman show, and I also saw Elvis Costello sing “When I Write the Book.” I also saw Monty Python appear on Jimmy Fallon’s show, and I thought that John Cleese was being extremely annoying. I couldn’t stand watching James Corden’s bit on two people on a date. I heard the news that the Warriors came back from 20 points down in the fourth quarter to win in overtime. Mike and Mike said that they managed to get a lot of offensive rebounds in their comeback. I wouldn’t have missed the game if it hadn’t been for my class. Some of the people who died on April 24 include Daniel Defoe (1731), Bud Abbott (1974), and Pat Paulsen (1997). Today is a birthday for Barbra Streisand (73) and Shirley MacLaine (81). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for April 24, Pink Floyd released their first single, “Arnold Layne,” in 1967. In 1976, Saturday Night Live producer Lorne Michaels offered The Beatles a certified check for $3000 to appear on the show.

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