' Cinema Romantico: A Coppola Christmas

Wednesday, October 15, 2014

A Coppola Christmas

One of the more famous moments of Sofia Coppola's stone-cold gem "Lost In Translation" finds our principal duo, Bob (Bill Murray) and Charlotte (Scarlett Johannson), with a few friends in a private karaoke room because it's Tokyo and that's what you do. There is sake, of course, and delightfully bad versions of songs, naturally, and then Bob sits down and effects a rendition of "More Than This" by Roxy Music. It's a moment of minor absurdity mixed impeccably with genuine pathos, Nick Winters crossed with Lou Reed.


Anymore the Christmas season elicits that same sort of emotional mixture within me. I've always called it my favorite time of year, and it is, because when I think of Christmas I think of F. Scott Fitzgerald talking (writing) about "the real snow, our snow", the Midwestern snow cuz he's a Midwestern mo-fo like me, and "the shadows of holly wreaths thrown by lighted windows on the snow." Oh Jesus how that end-of-the-book passage warms my winter-adoring soul, insulating it against the crass commercialization, credit card debt, endless airplay of "Do You Hear What I Hear?", and enforced merriment.

But, of course, it also speaks to why the Christmas season makes me so profoundly sad, because that beautiful end-of-the-book passage is all about the most beautiful of all femme fatales - nostalgia. And the Christmas season is soused in nostalgia, conjuring up fond thoughts of holidays gone-by, of innocence, of advent calendars, of watching bowl games with my Grandpa Mercati which immediately - to paraphrase Kathleen Kelly - makes me miss him so much that I almost can't breathe. These thoughts make me sad. These thoughts make me happy.

No holiday special can do this strange melancholic joy that I feel every December justice and is why if you had asked me 72 hours ago what one filmmaker I would most want to see try his/her hand at attempting to right the wrong of so many holiday specials of yore, there is an 87.3% chance I would said, seriously, Sofia Coppola. Who mingles melancholy with joy like her, and where has she ever brought them together better than in "Lost In Translation"?


So imagine my reaction when Ramin Setoodeh of Variety exclusively reported that Sofia would be re-uniting with her once upon a time wistful leading man for a holiday special - it was jaw on floor followed by "Kylie Tickets Just Went On Sale!!!" screams of ecstasy. "We’re going to do it like a little movie," Murray explained to Variety. "It won’t have a format, but it’s going to have music. It will have texture. It will have threads through it that are writing. There will be prose. It will have a patina style and wit to it. It will be nice." Variety then confirmed that Coppola herself confirmed the project, explaining "Not sure when it will air, but my motivation is to hear him singing my song requests." I don't mean to offer suggestions to Ms. Coppola for songs because her taste is fabulous, though I very much look forward to a Bill Murray interpretation of "Bring a Torch, Jeanette, Isabella".

"The holly green, the ivy green, the prettiest picture you've ever seen," go the words to one of my mom's favorite christmas carols, "Christmas In Killarney." Holly's nice. Ivy's fine. It does make for a pretty picture. But a Christmas in Coppola-ville......in dulci jubilo.

1 comment:

alleyesonscreen.me said...

Haha, congrats on this news! I hope you don't think I'm a Coppola-hater, especially after my honest comment on not caring for Lost in Translation. I think she's a great director, and I have good things to say for the movie too.

Also, Christmas IS the best time of year :D