Secret Pop

Jan 14, 2005

Why does the fat one always have to be so mean to the skinny one?

Martín and Francisca came over to borrow a space heater. Peter Pan was ending on the television. And the next thing we knew, there was a movie on with some sort of ancient Egyptian prologue. It was obivously about mummies, but it wasn't THE Mummy or its sequel. Clearly. I hit the info button on my remote and found that it was a film I never even knew got made. The All New Adventures of Laurel & Hardy: For Love or Mummy. And it was made in 1998. And Bronson Pinchot was playing Stan Laurel, and it only gets more abysmal from there.

Now, let me begin by saying that the words "the all new adventures" are a terrible omen for me. Any time someone has decided that I needed to go along with some heroes of mine on an all-new set of adventures, there was usually bullshit afoot and disappointment on its way. But this particular revival made so little sense to me. Laurel and Hardy are not exactly part of the contemporary lexicon anymore. Francisca had never heard of them. And she's not alone. I know who they were, and not just because I'm old, thank you. My father is good and old and he introduced his daughters to a lot of truly old stuff. And I remember enjoying watching them as a little girl when their movies would come on television on Sunday afternoons. But even I know that the kind of humor they represent can only really be appreciated retrospectively.

Well, we stuck around through the ludicrous opening titles, depicting Stan and Ollie as hieroglyphs on the walls of some nicely-lit tomb. And the opening scene alone was enough to tell me all I needed to know. As I said, Stan is played by Bronson Pinchot, who isn't really physically right for the part, and Ollie is played by some fat guy, who is. They are presented to us in the same sort of costumes you would have seen them wearing in their films of the '30s. But the first scene of the film shows them working a copy machine in a library, and angering the librarian by leaving an I.O.U. in the cash box instead of properly paying. I don't even understand the anachronism. Why leave them in those outfits and set the film in present day? It's as if these remakes envision the characters as a cartoon strip rather than a whole performance. The CHARACTERS of Laurel and Hardy could easily be translated into a modern setting. Or the film could easily have been set in the '30s. But the anachronism makes no sense to me. And I really didn't stick around for much longer, as everything I was seeing was so painfully unfunny that I feared I might no longer want to own the Perfect Strangers DVD box set when it becomes available, and I didn't want to spoil that party for myself.

F. Murray Abraham is in it, too, but he didn't come on-screen early enough in the film for me to see him. I would much rather watch anything else. Even reruns of sports.

Sadly, I'm sort of drained today and can't even muster the creative juice to make this post entertainingly cranky.

On a few occasions, when kissing my dog's face, I have accidentally gotten some of her eyeball juice on my lips. And it has made me exclaim, "Ooh! -- I just got some of her eyeball juice in my mouth." I coined the phrase "eyeball juice," and Martín can't bear to hear it. Sometimes I say it just to see him gag a little. Don't get me wrong. I don't like it. I don't WANT that stuff on my face. I don't WANT to ingest it. I'm just saying, it's funny that he probably would have nearly no reaction at all if I would just say, "I just got one of her tears on my tongue." It might even sound sweet.

Martín was also grossed out when I kissed Audrey and said, "Oops. I just got her whisker in my mouth." He made a face and a sound that I have never seen him make before. And it was very amusing. I told him that I don't like whisker, either, and that one time, one of Audrey's whiskers was sitting, loose, on my forearm, and "--and you ate it!" he continued. But of course that's not true. Really. It's not. And I'm done talking about canine scatology.

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