Wednesday, March 22, 2006

Meet The New Boss












I don’t say these things to be contrary, you know.

The fact remains that, whereas a great many movie fans would list Raging Bull or Goodfellas when asked for their favorite Scorsese film, I would probably have to say:

After Hours.

I know it was just a way for Marty to keep his foot in the door during a financial dry spell, but it’s one of my favorites.

I’m sure you remember it: 1985, Griffin Dunne plays a not-especially-likable guy named Paul Hackett who’s got a nondescript computer job that bores him.

His dull routine is interrupted when he meets a woman one night (played by Rosanna Arquette) who’s impressed that he’s reading Henry Miller so, when he gets home, he decides to call her and ask her out on a last-minute late night date.

From there, Paul goes down the rabbit hole as his adventures in late night Manhattan go from bad to worse. In the time-honored tradition of screwball comedy, by the time the picture’s through it seems as if everyone in the film is after him.

It’s the kind of thing I love. A steadily escalating series of events that go from the simplest exchange to an apocalyptic fit that seems to threaten everything.

There’s a very dark kind of humor running through the whole thing. Paul makes enemies effortlessly as he wanders through the film and the villagers that are after him at the end are after his blood, make no mistake about it.

And all because he wanted a little excitement.

It’s also a very funny satire of behaviors that are specific to New York City and, therefore, America.

As I said, a low-key entertainment that probably didn’t make Scorsese sweat much as he made it, but it has a special energetic charm and a certain tone I am a sucker for.

If I could have made any of his films, I’d wish it was that one.

Similarly, I suppose most Anthony Burgess fans would point to A Clockwork Orange or Nothing Like The Sun if you requested a personal fave. Once again, I would have to go to a lesser work in the Mancunian’s canon.

The Clockwork Testament or: Enderby’s End is a slim volume that Burgess knocked out in about ten days that satirized his year in New York as a visiting professor, during which time he found himself embroiled in controversy as the author of the book upon which this ultraviolent Kubrick film was based.

Let me put it this way:

It’s a sly, funny satire of behaviors that are specific to New York City and, therefore, America.

It made me laugh out loud in the library in which I first read it.

I suppose that if I ever were to put pen to paper in any sort of concentrated fashion, it would no doubt resemble, to some extent, the two productions listed above.

Neither was what you’d call a big production. They were, in fact, probably no more than elementary exercises for the artists that made them. And yet, I’d take them over their larger, better-known brethren any day.

You don’t hear from them often, but when you do you know it.

I heard from one of them the other day, in fact.

If you saw it, you may recall how After Hours ends.

Paul has been turned into a piece of conceptual art, a George Segalesque piece of papier mache, in order to hide him. The “statue” is then stolen by two thieves who throw him into their van and careen into the night.

As the sun comes up, Paul falls out of the van directly in front of…his office.

Covered with plaster dust, he takes the elevator up to his office and girds himself for another day on the job. Nothing has changed. It’s sad and funny at the same time.

The job service I’m signed up with called the other day to tell me they thought they had something for me.

After a half hour phone interview with the prospective employer, I was told to report to work the following Monday.

When I asked them where they were located, they helpfully explained how to find them.

They are, I kid you not, directly across the street from my old employer, Endless Bore & Tedium.

So I’m back. The long night is over. Nothing has changed.

And to think: it was all because I wanted a little excitement.

4 Comments:

Blogger Miss Templeton said...

AHHHH!

Well there you are!

And I was getting quite excited about the musical possibilities opening up before me!

Well done! Or: my condolences. Whatever it is that you need.

And I, who has grown silent of late, am working hard too. Actually bringing office work home and working on into the night. But tomorrow I'll be back at SFO on my way over, yet again, to Dublin and points north for various adventures and diversions.

But with your news on my mind, I shall depart in the best of spirits.

Thursday, March 23, 2006 4:38:00 AM  
Anonymous Cleetus Santana said...

Same as the old boss, eh? Computers in cubicles- ah, welcome back. Glad to see you back among the working class again.

Once the weather breaks a little, maybe we can all get together for a hootannany at the train station. A little Glenside Skyline if you will...

Peace!

Thursday, March 23, 2006 9:50:00 PM  
Blogger Count Screwloose said...

Dear Miss T.,

Sorry to hear about your nose re: grindstone. I hope things lighten up there soon.

Thanks for the good thoughts. It's not ideal, but it's something which, after being out for practically three months, I'll accept without quarrel.

Maybe the best is yet to come.

Or maybe I'm nuts. It would explain the name of the blog...

Enjoy Dublin's fair city. I'm jealous of your easy familiarity with it now, but maybe some day I'll manage the trip.

As far as music goes, you may notice a 6-months heads up there now...consider it fair warning to anyone in the Philadelphia area.

Excelsior!

RG

Thursday, March 23, 2006 11:59:00 PM  
Blogger Count Screwloose said...

Dear Cleetus,

Yeah, they got me and the more things change, the more etc. Quickly remembered why I was so unhappy in Squaresville. I've already met the "social director," the "have-a-blessed-day!" guy (I'm situated at the corner of Blessed and Domestic Complaint, apparently), and the rest of the gang. They run a much tighter ship than EB&T as well, especially where breaks and cell phones are concerned.

It's a lot like prison, but not as much fun.

Anyway, I've been thankful for your steady support throughout. Maybe you can whine at me sometime!

And The Hoot Is On, Baby!

RG

Friday, March 24, 2006 12:12:00 AM  

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