Brief “Chaplin” discussion on TCM- with a lot of sidetracking

Regarding the biopic, I watch it an average of once a month. A period piece such as this isn’t necessarily something I can watch multiple times, not even to see an Oscar-nominated Robert Downey performance.

I couldn’t help but think last night after seeing a bunch of clips and scenes and interviews and whatnot… the next time this guy is nominated for an Oscar, he’s going to win to make up for the fact he’d lost twice.

I don’t care if someone else dies and went out of their mind for a role. At this point, it’s just plain ridiculous.
It’s kinda nice to see everyone agree in the YouTube comments, even better they’re saying that Al Pacino won because it made up for his “Godfather” snub[s] (coulda been plural)… Martin Scorceses won for “The Departed” for supposedly the same reason.

Yep, I’m about to fly off the handle, ranting about Robert Downey so bear with me.

I don’t care what role it is, but this guy needs an Oscar.
In fact, I am predicting that he wins the next time he’s nominated for the fact he’s been denied the win twice.

Not to take away from Heath Ledger putting literally everyting into playing The Joker and I can somewhat understand why he won. But the outcry after he died just got ridiculous. “Give that guy an Oscar, he went insane for this role”…

granted, I’d do the same thing if… God forbid it was the reverse…

but most people who are nominated for Oscars are in movies that don’t come out until the end of the year. That used to worry me. I mean, there are a million other great movies that were released throughout the year. Why do none of those get nominated for best picture?

Thanks to the change in the rules, with 10 nominees instead of just 5, there’s a bit more leeway for that to happen. I mean, “Inception” was nominated, right?
Despite how much I hate what Christopher Nolan has done to the Batman franchise, everything about that movie was brilliant and original and thoughtprovoking… all I could ask for a movie that takes on a concept such a dreaming and runs the whole 9 yards with it.

quick question: what are these 9 yards of which they speak anyway?
can’t be golf, there’re over 100 yards in football… why is it 9 yards?

compartively, given the circumstances and the way this all pans out, Robert shouldn’t have been nominated for Tropic Thunder following the same rules… that movie was in theaters at the same time as The Dark Knight… summer blockbusters as it was… those types of movies never really get Oscar-buzz

but hey, after seeing Tropic Thunder, before I did all the research on this guy, I knew he was going to be nominated… had to have been…
seems a bit cruel to say “this guy was a dude playing a dude disguised as a third dude and he lost to a dead guy”… but that’s my opinion on this, certainly not about to change.

I’ve got a million complaints about The Dark Knight and the first couple are about The Joker alone. The only positive is that those scenes were the only good ones, or rather exciting/interesting in the entire movie… the rest was too dark, dragged out, inundated with insane action scenes that I probably saw in The Matrix but didn’t mind as much…

this goes far beyond the fact that this was showing on my college’s movie channel, and I stayed up until 2am to see it… and I felt my time up all night was wasted… I’m over that.
I wasn’t crazy about this movie for a number of reasons. RDJ makes it all the more easier to pile them on x*-P (them’s my crazy eyes)

I saw Batman Begins and I thought it was an interesting take on the backstory. I didn’t think Bruce Wayne would have this martial arts type past where he was studying in some sort of Asian temple with the monks… although I suppose it could work as well as Bruce Banner’s backstory (via Edward Norton)
Compared to the following film, I didn’t really mind Katie Holmes as Batman’s love interest… thought it was a little odd that Michael Caine was Alfred and then Morgan Freeman got into the mix somewhere… there was no character like that in the original series.

Heck, I saw that movie so long ago that I don’t even remember who the villian was in the movie… well aside from that cliché that’s really been grinding my gears lately where your previous master/teacher/comrade was behind the whole thing… Liam Neeson…
there certainly wasn’t any of Batman’s noted villians like The Joker, Two-face, The Penguin, or Catwoman (those are just a few, the more famous ones)

There’s dark and there’s DARK… I preferred the darkness of Tim Burton to Christopher Nolan’s monstrosities.

I don’t think I even remember the phony Batman voice Christian Bale pulled off in Batman Begins, but it was really getting under my skin in the 2nd movie.
As if Bruce Wayne’s voice is so recognizable that he went out of his way to sound menacing to hide his identity in addition to the mask.
The Batman suit… I dunno what annoys me about it, but it just doesn’t suit my eyes, my vision of what a Batman suit should look like

Maybe it was her personal life or a contract that couldn’t be agreed upon, but Katie Holmes dropped out of the 2nd movie… and they expect us to believe Maggie Gyllenhaal is playing the same character because they look similar enough.
If they wanted similar, they should have contacted Christina Ricci (dead-ringer and a lot easier on the eyes and ears).
I kinda saw half way through the movie the character being doomed to destruction, but I didn’t have as much sympathy for the affected parties because I didn’t find her all that interesting. Heck, the performance was abrasive in that it rubbed me the wrong way the entire movie.

The Batmobile on the other hand… are you %$#&’in kidding me? The Batman mobile was never a tank, it never looked that cumbersome… I don’t care how many weapons you got coming out of it, that wasn’t what it was about.

okay, maybe two things… The Joker made the movie interesting moreso than Christian Bale… and Gary Oldman was 😎 as Commissioner Gordon (or so he’s destined to be)
the fact he played Sirius Black does account for my bias, but he is probably the most human and realistic of all the characters.

Onto the villains now…
:sigh: where do I begin

Real quick… I WILL get to talking about Chaplin eventually, but I’m kinda caught up in a rant here, shouldn’t be much longer


It’s generally accepted that The Joker is an insane villian. He’s always kinda been enough off center that you’re well aware of it. I suppose he was long overdue for this angle of insanity, but it doesn’t mean I have to completely agree with it.
When I think of The Joker, I actually go back to the Batman cartoons that I never really watched, but had seen bits and pieces of over the years (animé club accounted for some of it)… I think I wanted to see that translate to the big screen more than an insane nutjob fit for the asylum.

Christopher Nolan really took this to task and wanted to make this franchise his own, but I can’t help but disagree with nearly every direction he’s taken.
Except maybe the exclusion of Robin at Christian Bale’s request… watching the latter Batman films again, I’ve come to find Robin a little more annoying than I used to. Back when I was maybe 10 the first time I saw Batman Forever, I thought Christopher O’Donnell was kinda cute and yeah, you feel bad for him because his family got killed and such. But dude, he complains a little too much, especially in the heavily panned Batman & Robin

I never thought of The Joker being super creepy the way he was portrayed here, not to the point where you don’t even want to be in the same scene with him, he freaks you out so much…
in fact, by going over the edge for this role (more ways than one), isn’t he breaking a fundamental role of Hollywood conduct that has denied Oscars in the past….
you know, “never go full retard”… but in the way that in any role you play, you need to maintain an asthetic distance so it doesn’t completely take you over or take over the movie’s performance, therefore denying the audience being able to connect with them

strangely, Kirk Lazurus has won 5 Oscars but he literally disappears into his roles… rather “immensing himself into every role he plays”… if there’s a required asthetic distance to be considered for an Oscar, was he able to maintain that and disappear into his roles?
Or maybe, his mind is so warped after doing this so many times that he doesn’t realize he isn’t keeping that distance… strange stuff

It could be seen from a different light given that Heath Ledger lived, breathed and died for that role… part of me is also starting to wonder if the Oscar win was to make up a past snub… was he even nominated for his role in Brokeback Mountain? Other than that, I can’t think of him doing a single role that was Oscar worthy and he didn’t win.
Nothing against Heath Ledger as an actor either… I loved him in The Patriot and A Knight’s Tale… but other than that, I didn’t think he was THAT impressive of an actor. He was just a pretty face.
I didn’t even say when he cast that he was the wrong guy for the role, despite all of the naysayers out there… I accepted it while saying “not quite what I had in mind, but okay”

I think of The Joker as a guy who is nuts, but he has fun while setting up his insane plots. A clown with a license of kill, as it was… the sense of humor we get in The Dark Knight is a little too creepy for my tastes.
I wouldn’t encourage that they take the route of Jim Carrey who played The Riddler, who went for broke (The Riddler went a little overboard in places, but his ways of tricker and having fun making mayhem was what was missing with The Joker in this latest adapation)

ugh… now I have more than enough reason to be afraid that they will never redo The Joker in another Batman movie because everyone will be comparing it to the Heath Ledger performance.
Jack Nicholson is kinda close to the animated version, but not to the same degree I’d expect

Two-Face on the other hand… well I’m used to see Tommy Lee Jones in the role as well as the animated version but not to the same degree…
I don’t know the backstory of Two-Face, but I’m pretty sure that The Joker wasn’t responsible for creating him or letting him loose on Gotham City, filling his mind with revenge plots… I never saw The Joker as being the corruptive type either, not in that way

In fact, it seems pointless at this part of the movie… the damsel in distress dies, everyone is saddened, The Joker was captured or escaped to wreck havoc another day ( I’ll have to double-check)… the movie was already long enough as it is, but now we’re adding half an hour to attempt to give Two-Face a storyline…

all things considered, the movie should have ended with Harvey Dent in that hospital bed and The Joker filling his mind with lies and such… therefore we’d have something to go on for a sequel. I mean, Two-Face was one of Batman’s bigger villians so what’s the point of creating him at the end of a movie if he’s just going to be killed.
Plus the hostage situation with the Commissioner’s family I thought was a bit of a stretch… and again, cliché.

The end of the movie seemed like a rush job to me, most likely due to Heath Ledger’s death… but they could have done anything else aside from a last minute villian creation, plot and death.


Then there’s my list of reasons for despising the movie that are Downey-related:
being denied an Oscar cuz of a dead guy, all of the hype after a tragic death to make a nomination exception, the fact The Dark Knight surpassed Iron-Man in the box office, the fact Christian Bale has been given props as being the better superhero alter ego… list goes on


So I guess I’ll have my fingers crossed that Robert Downey pulls all of stops out and makes his portrayal of Sherlock Oscar-worthy 😉 he might not get another chance for a long time cuz I don’t see Tony Stark winning him any Oscars


I guess I’m finally going to get onto Chaplin… yikes, anyone who knows me in real life ought know to never bring up The Dark Knight in conversation unless you agree that it’s not as good as it was hyped up to be.
My dislike has become so powerful that I think it’s carried over to all DC comic book heroes… I haven’t seen a whole Superman movie, Daredevil was awful, the Green Hornet was weak, The Green Lantern isn’t even a legit superhero (how he is so super if he’s not the only one)… some of these might not even be DC, but I have multiple reasons to favor Marvel

Spider-Man kinda started that trend and I owe the rest to Tony Stark


TCM was kinda sweet last night because they showed a Charlie Chaplin film. I’d seen “City Lights” on YouTube already, but it’s kinda nice to see it get its due on cable TV. I spent a little time looking for Chaplin films to make appearances, none of which have. It’s pretty cool that the movie is turning 80 this year and is still holding up like the charmer it is 😎

I was looking forward to seeing the commentary/intro before the movie started where the TCM host usually has a few words of wisdom to describe the movie before we sit down to watch it.
But I gotta ask what Alec Baldwin is doing there?
Answer: the two of them are hosting a “series” called “The Essentials” where they discuss classic films that deserve a second look, or in other cases, a first look.

It wasn’t so much as I was expecting Robert Downey to pop into the conversation or be mentioned, but as time went on, I had to ask why the hell he wasn’t mentioned at least once…
this rant will resume in a few minutes.


I’ve seen at least a dozen of Chaplin’s films on YouTube, mostly the short films. The only full-length ones I’d seen so far are this one, Gold Rush, The Circus and Tillie’s Puncutated Romance.
I’d also taken the liberty to asterisk the ones I wouldn’t mind seeing again because I thought they were great… 8/13, and one of them is “how to make movies” which a mix of rehearsal footage with Chaplin as himself and as The Tramp 😎 coolness

The movie still holds up really well, the musical score is fantastic, and there were plenty of moments to make me laugh and smile.
For a few minutes, the experience was marred by the return of my folks from helping my aunt move all day. My mom was using that tone with me where she was under the impression I was doing this in direct relation to seeing the biopic, looking to see where Robert got his inspiration from… the tone is a mix between condenscing and eye-rolling… not like this is the first time I’d pulled this with regards to any sort of performance with my favorite actors… but a few spare moments, I felt like I wasn’t doing this for the best reasons or it was coming off that way.

Part of me still watches these to hopefully catch bits and pieces of Robert’s research material, see what he saw and trying to see what he got from it… but beyond that, and after the first 10 minutes I forget to consider that fact, it’s more about seeing the genius at work.
My folks stuck around to see the boxing scene, which is definitely one of my favorites in the entire movie (maybe of all his movies), and they were getting a kick out of it.

And they were back in time to see the last couple minutes… the big ending that I won’t give away, but my God, there is genius and sentimentality in here that I wish we had in cinema more these days. But seeing as this is a classic, it was the first time this was brought to film and any other attempt might be deemed as cliché…

then there was a wrap-up with the two hosts and the question was brought up as to which actors today might be similar to Charlie, being doing the same things, bringing the same oomph to their performances…
the word “competition” came up and I nearly lost it.

As if it wasn’t bad enough that Alec Baldwin of all people was discussing this with him, but the two actors that came up were Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller…
the other host said that Jim Carrey goes over the top and he puts a little too much into his physical comedy… and that Ben Stiller does meanspirited comedy, which Charlie never did…

as far as I can tell, Ben Stiller only played the mean-spirit in three comedies… Dodgeball, Tropic Thunder and very briefly in Anchorman

Need I even bring up the elephant in the room…

[a lot of eyerolling to commence]
where do I begin?

a) what does Alec Baldwin know about cinema to begin with… I never saw any of his movies but the fact he’s not even mentioned among the more famous actors (Tom Cruise, Robert Redford, Clint Eastwood to name a few) is a red flag…
b) aside from maybe having an appreciation for classics, what could he possibly bring to a conversation about Charlie Chaplin… period… just saying
c) pretty much every other question with Robert Downey’s name tagged at the end of it

too many questions to list, but here are a few big ones

Why wasn’t the biopic mentioned at all? That attempted to recapture and explain a lot of that early magic to a younger audience as well as the older that grew up with the originals…

I mean, the man was nominated for an Oscar for playing Charlie Chaplin… why wasn’t he even mentioned once?
I really started to blow my top (all mentally because I couldn’t lose face with my family in the room, lol) when Jim Carrey and Ben Stiller were nominated as those who are doing what Charlie had done in the past… not even a glimmer of hope of Robert being mentioned once…

sure he might not do the physical comedy bit or any of the things that made Chaplin as great as he was, but you can’t deny the obvious fact that aside from the historians who write biographies and Charlie’s remaining family, there is no other person on this planet who is more of an expert on all things Charlie Chaplin than the guy who played him…

the same person who read his autobiography backwards and forwards, spent 18 months while they were shopping around for a studio to take the script watching as many of Charlie’s films as he could get hold of as many times as he needed to… who actually did all of his own stunts and comedy work to portray Charlie in the movie…
does none of that mean ANYTHING to these people? How can they neglect to mention any of this?

It simply blows my mind beyond recognition.

Rewatching some stuff on YouTube last night, what I found the most jarring was that 8 min behind-the-scenes bit where Robert himself narrates… and you see him there at the age he was while filming… he’s only a couple years older than me there and for the strangest reason, I had trouble accepting that.
Heck, the first time I saw his older movies, I was stunned at what a different experience it is. This same man who I’d come to admire to the point of insanity because he is that brilliant… it’s just hard to believe sometimes that he had that potential back in the day and these days he’s an A-lister but he doesn’t always get all the recognition/props he deserves… part of it falls on the grounds that most of his movies were underground, independant efforts that aren’t noticed by the casual moviegoer.

Keanu at least had Speed and Bill & Ted’s Excellent adventure before The Matrix trilogy… just to give an example.

I’ll say again that despite the 21-year age difference, I prefer Robert as he appears now, or even better, when he was 40… everything about him is amazing to me, especially his talent and the great shape he’s in (mentally more than physically… excellency wasn’t fully achieved until Tony Stark happened, became aware quickly that he’d be doing some topless scenes so he was self-conscious enough to make sure he was in excellent shape for those particular scenes)
while on that to, Sherlock Holmes’s “lean-Brit” look was an accident… partially responsible was a bug he got in Japan promoting Iron-Man (after all that crazyness at customs where he was almost denied entry due to his checkered history)

I’d seen this video a couple times already, but my initial reaction… he’s just a kid here, and I’m almost thinking Zack Morris (Mark-Paul Gossassler, who I believe has a new USA series where he plays a lawyer) from Saved by the Bell, the way he was dressed, the way he spoke and the way he had his hair…
then there was some of that (now) age-old sarcasm… I mean, he was always kinda like that… despite how much homage and props he was giving to Charlie, that started to bother me a little bit. And I never had a problem with his attitude before. It was strange.


While I wasn’t fuming due to other reasons, I found myself taken off guard with the word “competition”… in my mind I kept echoing Robert’s words to Charlie Rose in that 2003 interview…

“we are not in competition with each other, please”… quickly followed by “then again, he had no competition”

Why are they even asking the question about who is around today that is bringing Charlie’s special something to the big screen? Talk about a waste of time. That’s what makes Charlie Chaplin such an original, there’s never been anyone quite like him before and there never will be.
It’s not even entertaining, but more demented, that they’re even going there. I don’t care how natural of a place that is to go…


It might have been to extended periods of nonactivity yesterday, but I was so sore while getting in bed last night that I couldn’t fall asleep for at least an hour… my legs were sore, I couldn’t find the right position to stick with, and my mind was busy as a highway. To the point I couldn’t even stick to one train of thought.
I knew that listening to The Futurist made me want to pursue really going into my story and selling the hell out of it in hopes of getting an agent to pick it up… but I haven’t find the time and energy to do that. My mind’s always somewhere else, on something else.

Heck I’m trying to stave off what is bound to be a meltdown of global proportions when we go down to the shorehouse the next few days and I’ll have to go without YouTube for 3.5 days… without a hint or trace of RDJ anywhere.
Yes, I’m aware I need a break, but I guess the same two common factors have led me to a fall once again… Charlie Bartlett and The Futurist… whenever those two get together, I’m in for a lot of… I don’t care to go into it…

I couldn’t explain what seized me in bed after watching the movie Friday night… I started a private blog entry called “Broken” to describe it… the backstory is different but it was my take/definition of having a broken heart… it couldn’t be further removed from that song which the title is an allusion to…
it was a self-described panic… my heart felt like it was breaking into a million pieces and it was probably the most painful of those “crying myself to sleep” nights I’d had in a couple months… I’m not sure if it was because I’d put too much into the performance of Nathan Gardner, which won me over eventually as he always does… or it was because I was so happy to watch him sing/record “Man like me” in one of my favorites on YouTube, to the point of being grateful that he survived everything so he could be here to deliver all this…

I compared the pain to the fact someone had died… then my mind raced… I considered, on the off chance someone I cared about, celebrity or family, died that night or the next day… well, maybe not family… my first couple weeks checking into Prince and his music, I worried that he’d meet his end the way Mozart did by putting too much of himself into the music… so for a while I was panicky of waking up one morning and hearing he had died…
now, of course, Robert was getting that part of the pie… and immediately I start seizing up in a cold-hearted panic to the point I didn’t feel like I had one anymore… I thought about Sherlock 2 coming out in December but they were filming The Avengers right now… what if something happened to him like a car accident or something and he couldn’t complete filming… I hated to consider the idea that I wouldn’t get the chance to see him do any more movies and I’d be stuck with the backlog… which isn’t overally terrible. But the idea of not having anything new didn’t sound good.

I went through the same thing with Prince. I listened to Planet Earth a few times, loved it and worried it might be his last album… there going the excitement/anticipation of the new music, the newest album…

that was only a small part of my panic attack that night… I considered where I was at the moment and if I got that news, I didn’t think I’d be able to recover from it… yeah, I’ve let this man take such control of my life and I have so little else to hang onto that I would crumble, fall to my knees and not be able to get up… maybe never again.


I continued writing and I’m kinda hoping that I get a story of truth to come out of it. More realistic and closer to my heart than anything of fiction I’d written before. I’ve started to consider my friends, trying to really keep in touch with them… and to up the ante, really pouring my soul into letting them know who I am.
I figure that the reason I hadn’t before was that I was so afraid I’d share so much or freak them out so much that they’d desert me if they knew what I was really thinking. None of which is negative against any of them or personal attacks, anything like that. They’ve come to mean so much to me that I really want to make things work to the point I can trust them to listen to me and that they can trust me with their secrets the same way.

My only pitfall is that a lot of the people I want to talk to aren’t on Facebook very much. And there’s my thing with telephones.

One thing I really want to work on is my ish about eye contact, overcoming the fear that the other person might read my mind or my eyes would give away more than my words… heck, I was having that issue with that goddam YouTube video last night and it’s a video… I guess part of it is me trying to keep that asthetic distance, trying not to consider the possibility of me actually getting to meet this man…

which I never really planned on, though I agreed it’d be nice…
I find the idea intimidating and I don’t think I’d even want to cuz what if he isn’t all that I thought him to be, the person I saw him as might not be anything like he is in real life.

That isn’t to say that I doubt there are parts of his persona I trust I’d really like to get to know personally… deep down, I know he’s a good person and in the end that’s all that should matter. Not that he’s famous, a movie star or infamously multi-talented.
All of the glitz and glam aside, he’s just like everybody else. What really sets him apart are all of the things he’s overcome and how he applies those lessons to living his life 😎

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