The In-Laws

I sat on a bench with my computer and did some work.  I went out to the Grand Lake Theatre to catch the noon showing of “Finding Dory.”  The main thing I wondered about was how fish knew about cupcakes.  I also listened more carefully to Diane Keaton’s voice.  I took the buses back home.  I browsed through the record store.  I watched the Criterion Collection Blu-ray edition of “The In-Laws,” one of my favorite comedies.  It had the great combination of Peter Falk and Alan Arkin.  I thought that Falk was funny back in “The Great Race.”  The dinner scene was really hilarious, with Vince talking about giant tsetse flies and the Guacamole Act of 1917.  Sheldon is a dentist, but he has a funny scene with a patient in the chair.  One scene that didn’t work was Sheldon getting shot at around the taxi.  I thought it was funny when Sheldon got hysterical about getting involved in this plot with all the people staring at him.  The C.I.A. secrets of the time didn’t seem very secret.  It looked like one of the cars ran over a lot of fruit, especially a truck full of bananas.  I kept thinking about what a waste of food that was.  Vince seemed to be a very good shot with that pistol of his.  I had to think back on the last comedy I saw where the main character faced execution.  I guess it was “Monsieur Verdoux,” although what I was really thinking about was “Love and Death.”  The island near Honduras was called Tijara, which made me wonder if there was an island named Tejada.  It was Sheldon was enjoying his chicken as he was unaware of what was going to happen.  He reminded me a bit of Jeff Daniels in “Something Wild,” carried away with the crazy events and even starting to feel comfortable with it.  I couldn’t understand why Sheldon’s wife would turn in the plates to the bank.  She had to know that it would mean a lot of trouble.  I wondered what happened to the bridge and groom afterwards.  Sheldon was talking about quitting his work.  I couldn’t imagine that a sequel would work, and I’m glad there never was one.  From what I saw of the remake, I couldn’t stand it.  Peter Falk could convey this agreeable nuttiness as he’s getting away with outrageous things.  I think that Michael Douglas has too much evil in him.  It’s funny how Sheldon goes from the conventional, affluent life to getting won over by this insanity.  James Hong was very amusing.  This was one of his best movies, along with “Chinatown” and “Blade Runner.”  One of the things everyone remembers about this movie is Vince yelling out “Serpentine!”  It was certainly funny.  I would never have guessed that the director who had done “The In-Laws” also did “Love Story.”  I think that I would like to know more about Andrew Bergman and his writing.  I thought his script for “The In-Laws” was inspiring in many ways.  I think that most people don’t have a good sense of humor, and he demonstrated something very special for a time.  I thought that Ed Begley, Jr. was quite funny.  The Blu-ray edition seemed clearer and sharper than the DVD I watched in the past.  This is a real comedy classic, and watching it makes me feel like seeing “The Great Race” one more time.  Alan Arkin was also very funny in “Little Miss Sunshine.”  It’s a shame that we couldn’t see more of Peter Falk and Alan Arkin in Bergman’s stories.  They could have been a team like Paul Newman and Robert Redford, or Jack Lemmon and Walter Matthau.  I don’t see any comedies these days with that fun, wacky spirit of old times.  Everyone tries to be edgy or R-rated or something like that.  I listened to the A’s game in Anaheim.  An error by Marcus Semien was a big play in the game because he could have started a double play.  As it was, the A’s lost, 5-4.  The A’s hit three home runs to the Angels’ two, but the Angels got a two-run home run and a three-run home run, whereas only one of the A’s home runs came with a runner on base.  Some of the people who died on August 3 include Joseph Conrad (1924), Flannery O’Connor (1964), Lenny Bruce (1966), Carolyn Jones (1983), Ida Lupino (1995), Elisabeth Schwarzkopf (2006), Alexander Solzhenitsyn (2008), and Bubba Smith (2011).  Today is a birthday for James Hetfield (53), Martha Stewart (75), Martin Sheen (76), and Tony Bennett (90).

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