This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient but I do love Fig Newtons

Friday, December 21, 2007

thoughts on Dick Tracy (unfinished)

...Is there a better thing in this world than a Dick Tracy story? It has all the wonderful elements of an impossible 1930s -- and there has never been nor will there ever be a better decade -- and then inside this 3-colored trench coat of a world comes a parade of Hieronymus-Bosch-meets-Frankenstein-and-Costello hoods, and good-guy-archetypes-as-designed-by-ten-year-olds, and that movie Beatty made 's pretty good too -- until Madonna comes along and fucks it up, as she is wont to do.

I liked Madonna for about 3 minutes -- long enough for me to watch her Like a Prayer video on VH1 a few years ago, and not the first time I heard it, but still for those three minutes the impression was made 'cause it's a catchy tune, though I felt like throwing up afterwards -- and I can tolerate her in A League of Their Own because Penny Marshall, in her one and only lasting achievement as a filmmaker (Laverne is immortal and outside of criticism and was basically Penny in a former life, so I don't really confuse the two as being the product of the same person), actually lets Madonna overwhelm the film, and in doing so allows her to be inexplicably sublimated into an innocuous force. Instead of being annoyingly out of place, she's out of place in a conventional, boring kind of way; she feels like a case of absurd-but-stale stunt casting, as if she were a Liza drag queen brought in to do a guest spot on Ally McBeal in the year 2006.

In Dick Tracy, Madonna tries to play it straight and she's so far from a 1930s anything that she ultimately overtakes the movie because she's trying so desperately to remain inside it. Everytime she's onscreen she kills the mood like a bad come-on. She doesn't have enough presence to be a comic book character. Frankly, she doesn't have enough presence to be a pop star either, but that's just my own thing and I know I'm in the minority. The movie needed a Penny Singleton but it got a bad Jessica Rabbit impression instead. Too bad for Tracy.

No comments: