Monday, May 20, 2013
Incidentally, if you're not familiar with that school, you will be. The new leadership takes animation very seriously, and they're located near a spot so beautiful that you'll think you're on the French Riviera.
Before going to bed I took a close-up pictures of my face in my bathroom mirror. I feel silly for posting this, especially since it calls attention to what looks like a really bad shave and to skin covered with mange. What I like about this picture is the inherent drama in close wide angle facial shots. Geez, what you can accomplish with ordinary snapshot cameras these days is nothing short of miraculous!
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 2:03 AM
Thursday, May 16, 2013
Or rather I'll comment on the villain in that movie, King Candy. First, a disclaimer: I've only seen the first half of "Wreck-it Ralph" so I'm in no position to judge the entire film. King Candy (above) didn't appear til the second half, and I've only seen the character in YouTube fragments like the one above.
Anyway, Candy doesn't seem destined to be one of the great screen villains. He has an appealing character design, and some of his animation is nicely done, even so.....I can't understand why the filmmakers didn't come up with a stronger bad guy. Some good people worked on this film so the absence is hard to explain.
My guess is that the filmmakers were seduced by the nuanced acting possibilities presented by Ralph so they gave him all the screen time. I have to admit that it was hard to take my eyes off Ralph. He reminds me of the gentle giant in the Disney version of Jack and the Beanstalk. I love that giant, but.....BUT.....he was the villain in that story and that's where the most artful nuances belong in animated dramas....in the villain, not the hero.
While we're on the subject of villains I'll mention that My two favorite favorite Disney villains were the witch in Snow White and Captain Hook. Hook was an egotistical fop who was alternately silver-tongued, and over-the-top maniacal. You can get good set pieces with a character like that. I'm guessing that he was the inspiration for my favorite modern animated feature villain, The Blue Meanie.
But I'm not suggesting that the Ralph crew should have stolen the Blue Meanie. He's been done. I bring him up because he illustrates what the best animated villains do...they provoke the audience to talk about them in the office and the schoolyard the next day. I don't know about you but I was imitating the Meanie for years after I first saw him. Ditto Darth Vader.
Come to think of it, I'm still imitating Hook.
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 12:30 AM
Tuesday, May 14, 2013
Milt told me that had Bob lived he would have celebrated his 100th birthday this month. Gee, I miss the guy. I miss the man and the filmmaker. The revolution he provoked at Warners in the 40s is still unfolding more than half a century later.
On another subject: the next post should go up Thursday morning.
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 10:55 PM
Monday, May 13, 2013
Anyway, the lunch was this Saturday and we both had a recent acquisition to show. Mike brought a totem pole he just got off the net. Nifty, isn't it? It's hard to get a good totem pole for anything less than a king's ransom. He also brought the rubber chicken that used to be on top of his refrigerator. He said it was mine if I wanted it because he's had it for ten years now and it's all dry and cracked. For a moment the thought crossed my mind that it might make a good Mother's Day present but I thought better of it.
Oddly enough, the rubber chicken attracted a few people to our table, including a guy dressed in a pricey black body suit and black cap. He looked like an agent of Spectre. When he left I remarked to Mike that he dressed like someone famous, someone very Beverly Hills. Mike said I missed the Ralph's Supermarket emblem on his shoulder. Mike recognized him as the guy who stacks the produce. That's how they all dress there. Holy Cow! Ralph's employees get to look like secret agents!
Mike also showed me his new slapstick. I had no idea what it was. It turns out that it's what clowns used to hit each other with. It's a paddle that makes a big "Whack!" noise without really hurting anyone. It's where the term "slapstick comedy" came from.
For my part of the Show and Tell I brought out the dainty black hand I just bought for a few bucks at the local craft store. I told Mike I was thinking of buying a few and giving them out as Theory Corner awards in a ceremony celebrating excellence in student comedic animation.
The fingers would hold a picture of the world's funniest man, Percy Dovetonsils (above), and that would give the name to the award: The Golden Percy. I thought it was a great idea but the whole thing mystified Mike. He wanted to know why I was calling it "Golden." It's black so it ought to be called "The Black Percy." He suggested that I have other awards called "The Hairy Percy" and "The Shaved Percy."
Yikes! I didn't realize.....honestly, I....well, now I can't call it a Percy anymore.
BTW: The book I'm reading in the photo at the top is by R. L. Stine, a popular author of horror novels for eleven and twelve year-olds. I've never read anything he's written but the library put some of his books in the give-away bin and I thought I'd try one. Does anybody here have an opinion about this guy?
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 1:47 AM
Thursday, May 09, 2013
The second question: what will dogs of the future look like? No problemo, that's easy to answer. They'll look like us. Lots of them (below) already do.
It's disturbing. I want to be the only one in my house who's bemused. I don't want my parakeet or goldfish to look like they're wrestling with the great questions of philosophy. That's MY job!
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 12:07 AM
Monday, May 06, 2013
For those who are unfamiliar with it, a word about Coursera....
The only fee is optional...if you pass the course you might want to pay $30 or so for a certificate verifying that fact. Selected courses are accepted for full credit by over 2,000 American colleges. You can drop out at any time and the drop won't be held against you. Records are only kept on courses the student has successfully completed. And it's all free, did I mention that?
I know what you're thinking, that no internet course can compete with live teaching. My answer to that is...well, of course not. There's obviously no substitute for live give and take and for the role model offered by a gifted teacher. This is for people who can't do that, or who want to audit a difficult course like calculus before taking it again for credit in a live class.
My family (minus me) is taking Peter Struck's 10 week course on Greek and Roman mythology right now, and they're loving it. This morning they were telling me about the way different critics interpreted the The Odyssey through the ages. A classical Greek critic interpreted it as an allegory of the way the gods work on us through different parts and artifacts of the body like bile or the spleen. Hume thought the book was nonsense and ought to be forgotten. Heine (the 19th Century romantic) thought the story was a door into what would later be called the subconscious. Fascinating!
Here's (below) the reading list for the class.
I didn't take the course because only Homer and Virgil and possibly Hesiod really interest me, but Struck looks like a good teacher and it might have been fun to see what he had to say about the others.
There's an introduction to English Common Law course coming up that I have my eye on. It's an odd subject for a cartoonist to take, and I have no intention of ever being a lawyer, but I love the parts I've read of Blackstone's commentaries, and I'm curious to know more. Besides, if the class doesn't keep my interest I can drop it, with no penalty.
BTW: Struck is using the Fagles translation of The Odyssey, which he defended on a video. Some of the students pushed for the newer Lombardo version. See what you think...
Posted by Eddie Fitzgerald at 2:28 AM