Thursday, November 25, 2010

The Movies

In case nobody was watching, this is what happened:
The drunk’s daughter met a priest after seminary
put him in robes. He was very kind to her
after all the fuss her father put her through,
with him and his friends and all the film noir on TV,
her mother gone and only her sister to be with her
as they listened to the melee until near dawn
quiet settled on the house as they passed out.
The priest talked to her father and her father listened.
The foul-mouthed old coot sent his friends away
while the priest debated with him the existence of God.
You know how Hollywood goes on long after that.
What do you think the guys at typewriters all day do?
They plot. If they stay the rest of their lives they make
stories that run on time, arriving always on schedule.
Two hours later the priest talks the man into going
with him to AA. Priests sometimes have a problem
with all that Blood to wash down His Body better.
The daughter is in love with the priest, of course.
Maybe they’ll save what happens with true love
for the sequel. Once you are watching Barbara Stanwyck
nobody sleeps until she takes off her sterling silver anklet,
and by then it’s too late for Fred MacMurray, he’s a sucker
for her and will do anything she says, even murder.
He does the voiceover even though he’s already a goner
like William Holden floating in Norma Desmond’s
swimming pool at the beginning and end of Gloria
Swanson’s swan song. The original and its sequel,
Double Indemnity and Sunset Boulevard, film noir
when plots followed character and character
the mental atmosphere near the end of one war
followed by the next, as though even then trains still
ran on time, but now planes were flying over it all,
and down below were those guys at their computers
word-processing a new way to see the long-tested
triumph triumph once more at the global box office.
And either the priest will give up his robes and marry
the recovering drunk’s daughter or God will win.
The other daughter has a story too. What will she do?
She was the one who once brought her father drinks
to share with all his friends, who now are all home
or in the bars. Or who knows? maybe at AA too.
But that plot goes nowhere: It’s no fun to live that way.

[with some changes, the movie referred to primarily is Bittersweet Place, 2005, written and directed by Alexandra Brodsky, starring Seymour Cassell]

(25 October 2010)

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