Mamo #343: I Think She’s Had Work Done

Oscar fallout! Mamo welcomes special guest star Dan Gorman from See You Next Wednesday to discuss the Kim Novak / plastic surgery issue, as raised in the previous episode. Are women, Hollywood, beauty, youth, and our expectations a circular clustercuss?

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo343.mp3

Mamo #341: That’s A Spicy Meatball

Mamo tries to get back on belated track as the Oscar ceremony roars toward us… we give you our Oscar picks, in case you still haven’t entered your office Oscar pool; talk Guardians of the Galaxy and general awesomeness; and hold a brief memorial for the brave, beautiful Mamo 340. And then Price nearly dies. It’s great! It’s Mamo.

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo341.mp3

Mamo 2014 #337: Porn Me King Call Vogel

Remember the days when a movie like Jack Ryan would come out, do whatever business it would do (or not do), and we would get together and analyze the project in depth in terms of why the audiences were (or weren’t) responding to it? These aren’t those days. A potpourri episode of Mamo ensues! Ryan! Bats/Supes! Marvel! Ebert! Armond! Time Bandits! And more.

To download this episode, use this URL: http://rowthree.com/audio/mamo/mamo337.mp3

Blindspotting: Lost Weekend and Deliverance

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When I chose Lost Weekend and Deliverance as a Blindspot pair, I did it with a vague idea of a common theme of men overcoming major obstacles. As it turns out, the biggest obstacle each central character faces and needs to overcome is staring right back at him in the mirror. That’s not to say there aren’t a few other hindrances in their way throughout each story (addiction and hallucinations in the first, raging water and crazy backwoods hunters in the other), but each man has to come to the realization that he has worth, courage and the ability to “dig deep”. For some, it takes desperate and dire circumstances to finally get the message across.

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In Billy Wilder’s Lost Weekend, Ray Milland plays Don Birnam – a miserable alcoholic who (even though he has managed 10 days sobriety) continues to be his own worst enemy. We actually meet one of his bottles of rye (hanging out the window in one of the few hiding spots his family haven’t found yet) before we meet him. As the camera moves into the apartment, we learn that Don is preparing to go to the country with his brother for a weekend away from all temptation. However, Don has every intention of bringing along some of his favourite refreshment if he can just divert his brother’s attention for a few minutes. If he plans to get some writing done, he needs to be creative and he believes that alcohol allows his mind to “toss the sandbags overboard so the balloon can soar”. But that’s the thing about someone in Don’s condition – they can rationalize just about anything and lie as easy as most of us breathe. And not just to his brother or girlfriend (Jane Wyman with the loveliest set of cheekbones you ever did see), but mostly to himself. He may become far more loquacious when liquored up (or “tight” as they used to say in the old days), but he hasn’t made a lick of progress on his novel. “Suddenly I’m above the ordinary. I’m confident, supremely confident” he says as he riffs on other supremely artistic people and he may very well feel that way, but Don is far too scared of failure to truly commit to his writing. Hence the booze and the roadblock that is himself.

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Blindspotting: A Star Is Born and Cabaret

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I‘ve likely said a lot of obvious things in my time, but I expect ranking high on that list would be saying something like “Geez, that Judy Garland can sing, eh?”. But I wonder how obvious that is these days? Sure, everyone knows that Judy’s version of “Somewhere Over The Rainbow” from The Wizard Of Oz is a classic piece of American music and that she’s been in countless musicals, but I wonder – particularly with a great deal of words being spilled over the darker aspects of her life – how many people really know that she can SING. And I mean soul-bearing, hair-on-the-back-of-your-neck-raising, pure unadulterated song emanating from her voice. I can think of no better evidence of this than her version of “The Man Who Got Away” from A Star Is Born – it raised every goosebump on my skin as I listened to a woman attempting to purge all variety of demons from inside her.

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It wasn’t just the emotion pouring out that was impressive, it was also a deep command of her voice that she used to shift on a dime, retain her pitch and control power. Oddly enough, traits that she seemed to share with her own offspring Liza. In Cabaret, Liza Minelli’s songs are all worked into the film as part of her night job working in the local cabaret club (both films manage to make all the songs – at least the vocal parts anyway – diegetic) and essentially comment on the progress of the story at each point. Though it’s a fantastic idea to provide some context for each song, they easily stand alone as single performances because of director Bob Fosse’s creative choreography and Liza’s natural ability (and I would guess instinct) to grab the spotlight. There is more artifice in Cabaret‘s musical numbers due to them being confined to the stage, but there is no question about Minelli’s vocal chops. Like her famous mother, Minelli has slowly become known primarily as a persona, but let’s be clear – she could sing with the best of them.

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