Pop Culture Gadabout
Tuesday, December 13, 2005
      ( 12/13/2005 03:18:00 PM ) Bill S.  


AND FEATURING ROBYN HITCHCOCK AS THE SCARY LAB ASSISTANT! – Caught up with Jonathan Demme's remake of The Manchurian Candidate over the weekend: boy, you could sure see Demme struggling to shoehorn the story into a political context that fitted today's terror culture – and still was acceptable to his own left-leaning sensitivities – but it didn't quite hold together. In contrast to the take-no-prisoners Frankenheimer film (or, for that matter, the original Richard Condon novel), this 21st Century Candidate doesn't surprise much. And for all her shelves of acting statuary, Meryl Streep still can't match Angela Lansbury in terms of scary maternal Ee-vil, even if the movie does ratchet up the incestuous overtones.

In the end, the results weren't as lame as Demme's rethinking of Charade, but it's a far cry from Something Wild or Married to the Mob, even if Demme still possesses some of the best music smarts of any director his age. Who else would think to use Fountains of Wayne's cover of a little-known Kinks song during the big drop-the-balloons moment at a presidential victory rally? Only the director of Stop Making Sense and Storefront Hitchcock, that's who . . .

LATE BREAKING ADDENDUM: Was inspired by the movie appearance of "Better Things" to pull out the Ray Davies tribute album that first featured it, and now I'm wonderin': why didn't FoW include this track on their two-disc odds 'n' sods collection?
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Pop cultural criticism - plus the occasional egocentric socio/political commentary by Bill Sherman (popculturegadabout AT yahoo.com).



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