I am, of course, not old enough to remember the Odd Couple – or at least, the play pre-dates me and the original movie was released (from durance vile, I assume) when I was only a toddler – but luckily I have race memory to fall back on. OK, in the spirit of full disclosure, my knowledge may not have come from any hypothetical race memory but instead from an episode of the Burkiss Way: “Write Extremely Long Titles the Burkiss Way”, if anyone is interested. In this excellent episode, the brothers Grimm are based on the Odd Couple and so one of them is both called Oscar and (allegedly) played by Walter Matthau.
This reminds me that, in the late 1970s, I managed to convince my mother that the school dinners were so poor that I was allowed to come home for lunch (it may have helped that school was a mere 3 minute walk from school, but I like to credit my powers of suasion). My desire to come home for lunch had nothing to do with the quality of food, or the maternal company, but a desire to listen to Radio 4 comedy – which in those days was broadcast at 12:27. Thus was I introduced not only to the Burkiss Way, but also to Hello Cheeky, I’m Sorry I Haven’t a Clue, Many a Slip and Just a Minute. I think this early exposure to radio comedy may have had a marked effect on my later life – of which this blog is but one aspect. However, in an unprecedented move (note: move may have precedent), I seem to have digressed.
The original intention was that this post would give my entertaining spin (“Fat chance!”, I hear you cry) on the Oscar nominations which were announced earlier in the week; to the best of my knowledge, Mr Unger has no eponymous award. In an unusual turn of events, I have seen several of the films that have been nominated – and most of those that have multiple nomination in the more prestigious categories. The two big “winners” (in terms of nominations) were The Artist (10) and Hugo (11) which were both about the early days of film. As a result, in 2012 I’m planning to make a black and white, 3D movie about the zoopraxiscope. The sound track would be comprised only of white noise, or better still, a modern successor to Ligeti could compose the score – it would seem like noise, but still be in with a chance of winning the music gong. To keep costs down, I’ll use only four actors – two lads and two lasses – as that is enough to maximise the possible actor-based nominations. It would be a period piece, so I’m in with a shout for best costume design, and if I replace locations and scenery (more cost savings) with visual effects, that’s another nomination in the bag. I can’t see how it can fail – it has everything!
Earlier in the week, I went to see a film that has not been nominated for a “Madison”. I suspect our esteemed PM wouldn’t have approved either – not populist enough (though I am expecting him to release public funds to invest heavily in my Eadweard Muybridge biopic). This was a small British movie, and wasn’t easy to see. The Arts Picturehouse had only three screenings, all at rather odd times (mostly impossible for any but the unemployed or independently wealthy – and me – to attend) and there was no chance of a multiplex sighting. I am not an expert on the economics of the film industry, but I suspect it is quite hard for films to make money if no-one can see them. This is all the more disappointing given that both directors, both writers and one of the actors (only two people in total) are recent alumni of the local university – presumably, elsewhere in the UK it was even harder to see.
Black Pond was in two dimensions, in colour, with a traditional sound track set in the present day – so not much hope for Oscar success, I fear. However, it was quirky, funny and different – and I much preferred it to the big winners nomination-wise. I think it may be time to start my own awards, “The Felixes” perhaps (maybe I could get sponsorship from the cat food industry – well, the French have an award named after a dog food, so why not?), to honour all the good movies that are hard to find and forgotten by other award givers. I could host the ceremony at Fish Towers (which should provide a much-needed boost to the profile of Sawston), and I could put on a spread so that no-one leaves hungry. (Trust me, no-one ever leaves Fish Towers hungry (or sober) – over-catering is my middle name!). I’m sure I could rent a short stretch of red carpet for the guests to be “papped” walking along (I can even do the papping, if required). I think this blog has proven that I can make dodgy jokes in dubious taste, so I should be able to handle the hosting duties. What more does an awards ceremony need?