Monday, August 04, 2008

SINGING: A REPULSIVE ART

Life with Savage Kitten is not an unalloyed blessing. Sometimes...... Sometimes......

Savage Kitten, in addition to her many fine traits, has a disturbing facet: her sheer love of tastelessness. In consequence of which I have seen more bad movies than I care to count.

There are a few horrid movies I have now seen several times. There is one that just bores me (Leave Her To Heaven, 1945), and one that nearly makes me gag.
It is bad squared, bad in triplicate, and bad in barf-o-vision.



MISERABLE CRAP

Back in 1995 she bought her first copy of the movie, and watched it nearly every day for an entire year. I would come home and find her in the teevee room, guiltily shutting off the television, with an entranced look in the corner of her eye - she had watched several of her favourite scenes, and gotten her daily fix of bad. Or I would wake up early on a weekend, and hear the soundtrack of the gagger from the other room. By the end of the first month, she had all of the songs in the movie memorized. The songs were all bad.

At the end of that year she finally realized that she had a problem, and gave the tape away. Baruch Hashem. It was a really bad movie. Appalling. A repulsive fever-inducing toxic dump of a movie. Very very bad.


She has borrowed it occasionally from the library in the years since, which is very unpleasant. It is worse than Land of the Pharaohs (1955), worse than Titanic (took us nearly two weeks to watch), and far, far worse than Whatever Happened to Baby Jane (1962).



VALLEY OF THE DOLLS

Worst musical movie of all time. The plot is turgid and unbelievable, the acting is talentless pedestrian hamming, and the characters are boring and two-dimensional. But it is the songs that really tip this one over into the realm of disaster.

Example:
I'll Plant My Own Tree
I’ll plant my own tree and I’ll make it grow.
My tree will not be just one in a row.
My tree will offer shade,
when strangers go by.
If you’re a stranger, brother, well so am I.
Come tomorrow all that I see is my tree,
oh, Lord, what a sight.
Let someone stop me and I will put up a fight.
It’s my yard so I’ll try hard
to welcome friends I have yet to know.
Oh, I’ll plant my own tree,
my own tree,
and I’ll make it grow!



Man, I don't know where to begin. What the heck does this mean?
Is this worse than anything in Annie? Yes, yes it is, this is far worse. The only thing wrong with Annie was the disgusting little kiddies, but one could fondly fantasize about a plague at the orphanarium or food-poisoning in the gruel. Or fun with hatchets. Go ahead, dream a nasty fate for most of the people in the movie.

Not so with Valley of the Dolls. The characters have lives of such dreary dullness that imagining any further torture has no point. They are not worth thinking about, their adventures do not stimulate any sympathy, and whatever happens to them is predictable, uninteresting, and dispiriting. Their souls cry out for misery, and they get what they deserve.
And yet they sing.

With this tree song, we have something both depressing and moronically optimistic at the same time. It is meant to be artistic, meaningful, brassy, defiant.

Yesterday evening, while I was in the kitchen making fatty meatballs with mushrooms and cucumber over noodles, I could hear Savage Kitten happily singing this song. It is one of her favourites. It makes her happy because it is so spectacularly vapid, meaningless, and bad.
She crooned it three more times while I was cooking.

She has all the songs from that movie memorized. My life is hell.

13 comments:

Tzipporah said...

You should turn her on to Dr. Horrible's sing-a-long blog, instead. Or Bob Roberts - wouldn't it be great to wake up to hear her singing "Drugs Stink" or "Times are Changing back"?
;-}

Spiros said...

HEDVIG AND THE ANGRY INCH is the only musical worth discussing (I mean, favorably; I could go on for hours discoursing upon the nausea induced by RENT, LES MIZ, OKLAMHOMA, et al.).
By the way, BEYOND THE VALLEY OF THE DOLLS is a lot funnier than VALLEY OF THE DOLLS.

Anonymous said...

No singing!


"But father......"


NO SINGING!!!



---Grant Patel

The Big Little Tommy said...

LOVE RENT, TITANIC, OKLAHOMA, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF!!!! ROCK ON!

The back of the hill said...

LOVE RENT, TITANIC, OKLAHOMA, FIDDLER ON THE ROOF ....

Tzad'kim preserve us! For your 'reading pleasure', a candidate for worst song of all times:

[Parlando]
Dear God, you made many, many poor people.
I realize, of course, that it's no shame to be poor.
But it's no great honor either!
So, what would have been so terrible if I had a small fortune?"

[Sings, atrociously]
If I were a rich man,
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard.
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Yidle-diddle-didle-didle man.

I'd build a big tall house with rooms by the dozen,
Right in the middle of the town.
A fine tin roof with real wooden floors below.
There would be one long staircase just going up,
And one even longer coming down,
And one more leading nowhere, just for show.

I'd fill my yard with chicks and turkeys and geese and ducks
For the town to see and hear.
Squawking just as noisily as they can.
And each loud "cheep" and "squawk" and "honk" and "quack"
Would land like a trumpet on the ear,
As if to say "Here lives a wealthy man."

If I were a rich man,
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard.
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Yidle-diddle-didle-didle man.

I see my wife, my Golde, looking like a rich man's wife
With a proper double-chin.
Supervising meals to her heart's delight.
I see her putting on airs and strutting like a peacock.
Oy, what a happy mood she's in.
Screaming at the servants, day and night.

[Parlando again - he just doesn't give up]
The most important men in town would come to fawn on me!
They would ask me to advise them,
Like a Solomon the Wise.
"If you please, Reb Tevye..."
"Pardon me, Reb Tevye..."
Posing problems that would cross a rabbi's eyes!
And it won't make one bit of difference if i answer right or wrong.
When you're rich, they think you really know!

[And yet more singing]
If I were rich, I'd have the time that I lack
To sit in the synagogue and pray.
And maybe have a seat by the Eastern wall.
And I'd discuss the holy books with the learned men, several hours every day.
That would be the sweetest thing of all.

If I were a rich man,
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
All day long I'd biddy biddy bum.
If I were a wealthy man.
I wouldn't have to work hard.
Ya ha deedle deedle, bubba bubba deedle deedle dum.
If I were a biddy biddy rich,
Yidle-diddle-didle-didle man.
Lord who mad the lion and the lamb,
You decreed I should be what I am.
Would it spoil some vast eternal plan?
If I were a wealthy man?


Ya ha deedle deedle bubba bubba deedle deedle dum to you.

The back of the hill said...

And boruch Hashem she doesn't sing anything from Rent, Titanic, or Fiddler on the Roof.

It's bad enough that I occasionally hear her singing Abba or Madonna.

Gilbert and Sullivan is pretty frightful too.

Oklahoma I can tolerate.

Spiros said...

A propos nothing in particular:

"Faithful as a magnavox
Hung up on a song,
She called down to the breakfast nook
Ward, there's something wrong..."

-Kinky Friedman "Something's Wrong with the Beaver"

Anonymous said...

If this were a Bollywood musical, she would sing some plaintive ditty about love and roses and inspector-sahib. In a pouring rain. At night. On a roof. With a cast of hundreds dancing and shimmying. That would go on for twenty minutes. And involve an appearance by an elephant god. And a young man dressed like a Levantine pimp.

Your life is not hell. There are no Mumbai song-writers involved. Lucky stiff.


---Grant Patel

Spiros said...

Hell is other people. Or Hello Kitty, I'm not sure which.
Or in the words of The Bottle Rockets:
"Can't go west, can't go east,
Stuck in Indianapolis with a fuel pump that's deceased.
Ten days on the road now I'm fours from my hometown...
Is this hell or Indianapolis, with no way to get around?"
Maybe hell is a lot like Indianapolis.

Anonymous said...

Heck is where people who don't believe in Gosh are sent after they die.

Anonymous said...

Heck is where people who don't believe in Gosh are sent after they die.

Gosh masala, gosh ka saag, papeta ni gosh, gosh shah-jahani, gosh ka pullao....

I believe in gosh. I don't believe in tofu.


---Grant Patel

Anonymous said...

Well then surely you won't be going to Heck.

Priester-bater said...

"Heck is where people who don't believe in Gosh are sent after they die."

Best line here. Theology!

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