The Artist

I kept seeing the news about the dam in Oroville.  I hoped the dam wouldn’t burst as long as Anne Makovec had to do news updates from the setting.  I went to the office and spent all day working on lecture notes and preparing for an exam.  I gave a brief lecture.  I hurried home and watched “The Artist” again, but for the first time on Blu-ray.  It had one of the greatest performances on film ever from a dog named Uggie.  He was better than most of the human actors.  One sad thing about George Valentin’s last silent film is that it was destined to be a failure because of the sad ending.  He produced and directed as if he were Orson Welles, or at least Kevin Costner.  Many a studio executive could have told him that unhappy endings make for bad box office.  George Valentin’s character was based on Douglas Fairbanks and John Gilbert.  George burned his films while he was in the room, meaning that he may have been an artist, but he sure wasn’t a genius.  I didn’t see Peppy Miller as a fresh young face.  She didn’t seem much younger than Valentin.  In real life Bérénice Bejo was about thirty-five when this movie was released.  I noticed that Peppy did a lot of crying.  The story had elements of “Singin’ in the Rain,” “Sunset Boulevard,” and “A Star is Born” in it.  I wondered what Jean Dujardin’s age was compared to mine.  He looked like he still had a lot of miles left in his legs compared to me.  This movie was to silent films what “La La Land” was to musicals.  Missi Pyle’s character reminded me of Jean Hagen.  James Cromwell and John Goodman have good faces for a silent movie.  It didn’t look like Malcolm McDowell had very much to do.  It’s rather hard to believe that it’s already been six years since I first saw this movie.  Someone could have tried to make a few of the scenes livelier.  The silence gets to buy too much at times.  It was a good thing that this movie was filmed in black and white, because I thought that Mel Brooks’ “Silent Movie” suffered from being in color.  When I looked through the BBC list of the 100 Greatest Films of the 21st Century, I was surprised that “The Artist” was not on the list.  Were “Inside Llewyn Davis,” “Children of Men,” and “Lost in Translation” really considered that good?  Some of the people who died on February 16 include Roger Bowen (1996), Pat Brown (1996), Howard W. Koch (2001), Doris Troy (2004), Gary Carter (2012), and Lesley Gore (2015).  Today is a birthday for LeVar Burton (60).  According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for February 16, “Dr. Strangelove” was Number One at the box office with almost $2.2 million in ticket sales in 1964.  In 1982, the recording of Simon and Garfunkel’s “The Concert in Central Park” was released.  In 1996, “Muppet Treasure Island” was released.

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