' Cinema Romantico: There Will Never Be Another Lauren Bacall

Friday, September 25, 2009

There Will Never Be Another Lauren Bacall

Earlier this summer I found myself taking in the sights and sounds of a local rib fest on the streets of Chicago with my friends Dave, Daryl and Megan (and also taking in a Fried Snickers Bar - so bad, so good) which led to us taking in a few too many mojitos at a nearby Irish bistro (don't ask me why an Irish bistro makes such good mojitos but, trust me, Colin Farrell of "Miami Vice" would be all over them) which led to Dave and I having a few more beers at the Cork Lounge which led to me getting control of the television remote from the kind bartendress which led to me forcing everyone (by which I mean six people) to watch "To Have And Have Not" on TMC.

What Lauren Bacall does in that movie - and what she did in "The Big Sleep" and in "Key Largo" - is not just bravura movie acting but the sort of movie acting that can not and will not exist ever again (especially when considering our irony-laden age). Method Acting is all well and good. I have no issues with Method Acting. You can't be a Daniel Day Lewis fan and not love Method Acting but sometimes you just want plain, old-fashioned Movie Acting. Who gives a flip about my "motivation" and who needs to invent a "backstory" and who wants to waste precious time conjuring up some repressed memory from my childhood similar to the one this character I'm playing is currently feeling?

This is a Performance. This is Hollywood. I'm just going to take on this husky voice, this voice that could blow the hinges off every door in a 10 mile radius, focus on layering every single one of my line readings with enough swelter to make this soundstage feel like the tropics, and then give my co-star this Look. You see this Look? Hey, Lee Strasberg, do you see it? I've never Looked at anyone like this before in my past life but so frickin' what? I'm on a movie set, see.

Lauren Bacall never won an Oscar. She was supposed to back in 1997 for Barbara Streisand's "The Mirror Has Two Faces" but she lost to Juliette Binoche for "The English Patient". I was mad that Juliette Binoche won but that was just because I hated "The English Patient" like I hate Tyrod "Don't Mind Me, I'm Just Going To Go Ahead And Suck The Whole Game Until, Oh, Maybe...Right...NOW!!" Taylor. At that time I didn't even really know anything about Lauren Bacall. I was still a year or so away from being introduced to her through the timeless magic of "The Big Sleep".

But now that is all going to change. The Academy just awarded the esteemed Ms. Bacall with a much deserved and long overdue Honorary Oscar.

Thank the heavens no one will be able to see it!!!

Yes, the Academy, in its usual infinite wisdom, in order to (in the words of the L.A. Times) "trim its telecast" and make it more (in the words of EOnline) "viewer friendly", has decided to hand out its annual honorary awards at a gala on November 14, thus cutting them from the Academy Awards Ceremony itself on March 7, 2010.

So let's see....in order to "trim the telecast" and make it more "viewer friendly" they have bumped up the Best Picture Nominees to ten and will no doubt keep the stupid jokes and god awful song and dance routines but they won't show the Lauren Bacall finally get her Oscar? Someone should get punched in the face for this. If Humphrey Bogart were still around he'd break a bottle of gin over someone's head, that's for sure. This is a shame. A damn shame. But, I guess, not at all surprising.

So we will say congratulations today to Lauren Bacall. There has never been anyone like her and there won't be anyone like her ever again.

(Please take time out of your busy day to watch this.)

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