Driftwood (Groucho): All right, fine. Now here are the contracts. You just put his name at the top and you sign at the bottom. There’s no need of you reading that because these are duplicates.
Fiorello (Chico): Yeah, they’s a duplicates.
Driftwood: I say they’re duplicates.
Fiorello: Why sure they’s a duplicates…
Driftwood: Don’t you know what duplicates are?
Fiorello: Sure. There’s five kids up in Canada.

I spent a great deal of time when I was a kid watching black and white comedies–Laurel and Hardy, Charlie Chaplin, the Marx Brothers.  With the exception of the Three Stooges (a lesser Marx Brothers) and Abbott and Costello (a much lesser Laurel and Hardy), I loved all of them.  What’s stuck with me most though, and what sprung into my head as I was walking across the Brooklyn Bridge on my way to work this morning, was the dialogue of the Marx Brothers.

Perhaps its because we’re closing on a seriously confusing financing instrument this week at work, but this scene from “A Night at the Opera” won’t leave me alone.  Now this is how you negotiate a contract!  Watch and learn, people.  Watch; and learn.


Three prominent films have emerged in the last few years on the subject of food: more specifically on the subject of industrial food production.  Each has taken a deliberately different approach, and I’ve arranged them in order of optimism, with FRESH (the most optimistic of the three) at the top.

Each film is definitely worth seeing, particularly Our Daily Bread, the hardest of the three to find.  You might vomit about two thirds of the way through, but, honestly, its worth the punishment.  Watch the films, tell your friends, and start discussing.  Until people get outraged and start talking about these issues, nothing is going to change.



In German

Happy eating!

(cross-posted on Dirt-Farmer)

As a Netflix subscriber, I usually find the supposedly personalized recommendations I receive generic and underwhelming.  However, today as I checked my queue I noticed the following quartet of recommended films…


Notice the “Films from Italy” section.  Look at all that posterior!  I mean, sure, Italian film, sexually open culture, etc., but to have 3 of the 4 of recommended titles featuring buttocks on the film’s cover art… I’m not even sure what to think if that. To Quote Will Ferrell in Anchorman, “Hell, I’m not even mad.”  In fact, given my limited experience with Italian film, it may even make sense.

Elena and I recently watched a trio of Fellini Films: 8 1/2, La Dolce Vita, and Amarcord, the latter of which we actually were able to see on the big screen at Film Forum.  I really enjoyed the experience, and I’m sure that going forward I’ll explore other filmmakers this way.  I watch a good amount of old films, but this was my first major effort to explore an Italian filmmaker, and particularly in Amarcord, the camera’s fixation with asses–especially in the case of well-endowed middle-aged women–was noticeable, to say the least. 

The encounter with the tobacconist (from behind) in Amarcord

The encounter with the tobacconist (from behind) in Amarcord.

It would be an exaggeration to say that I was surprised by Fellini’s obsession with the female form; “amused” would be a better word.  And I guess I don’t have a bone to pick with Netflix either.  Even if it fails to recommend movies that I want to watch, at least Netflix appears (literally, in this case) to have cultural predilections firmly in their grasp.