Monday, January 02, 2012

New Year Entertainments

The stretch of days between Christmas and New Year's proved to be brown and dry, at least around here, except for the rain and dank drizzle on Friday, and a weak spot of snow on New Year's Day. It's like November never ended -- the least-white December I've seen since '94 in London, which, a native told us, was a strangely warm month as well. Suits me.

Unlike last year, we didn't happen to see any of the holiday movies showing at theaters, such as We Bought a Cemetery for Christmas, Who Cares About the Adventures of Tintin? or The Girl Regretting Her Dragon Tattoo. I did manage to see Duck Soup on television on New Year's Eve.

That was my nth viewing of that movie at intervals of once every two or three years since the mid-70s. I know all the gags but laughed again all the same, and saw some details I'd never noticed before (or had forgotten). I paid particular close attention this time to Margaret Dumont, whose face was remarkably expressive. I've come to doubt the story that she didn't get most of the brothers' jokes, which sounds like something Groucho would make up.

I also paid closer attention to Edgar Kennedy, the lemonade vendor tormented by Chico and Harpo. Turns out he had quite a career and, if Duck Soup is anything to go by, a fitting sobriquet in "Master of the Slow Burn."

Over the holidays I also chewed at some of the books I've been reading lately, such as The Warm Bucket Brigade: The Story of the American Vice Presidency (Jeremy Lott, 2007), an entertaining read that (among many other things) makes a good case for regarding President Tyler more highly. Still, I didn't find myself in the grip of an intensely good book, as I did with True Grit this time last year.

I did spend some time reading the entertaining blog Lifetime, Wow! which consists of reviews of movies shown on the Lifetime Movie Channel. I'm not particularly familiar with Lifetime, but apparently it shows a lot of risible movies, and the bloggers at Lifetime, Wow! shoot those fish in that barrel with glee. The blog's plot synopses are probably more fun than most of the movies themselves.

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