THINKING ABOUT OUR OSCARS DINNER AFTER WATCHING “BIRDMAN”

OKAY, SO IT'S ONLY 23. WE'LL USE A CANARY TO MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE.
OKAY, SO IT’S ONY 23; WE’LL USE A CANARY TO MAKE UP THE DIFFERENCE.

SING A SONG OF SIXPENCE

Sing a song of sixpence,

A pocket full of rye,

Four and twenty blackbirds

Baked in a pie.

 

When the pie was opened

The birds began to sing—

Wasn’t that a dainty dish

To set before the king?

 

The king was in the counting-house

Counting out his money,

The queen was in the parlor

Eating bread and honey,

 

The maid was in the garden

Hanging out the clothes.

Along came a blackbird

And snipped off her nose.

(Poetry Foundation)

 

The 13th Street (Neset apartment) Oscars Party requires attendees to have seen every Best Picture Nomination and to prepare a dish that fits within the theme of one of them. Susanna and I went to “Birdman” last night, hence the birds-in-a-pie idea.

What a strange and practically wonderful film. There are three main characters (Broadway/Live Theater, Movies and New York City’s Theater District) accompanied by several really great actors in fine fine performances. We loved it for all of that after our years as dance presenters; as movie aficionados (me, mesmerized by movies from the time I was a kid; Susanna, connected through her kid, a most beautiful and talented TV/film actor; and finally as great fans of the great city.

Now, trying to figure out how to define “Birdman” for myself, the phrase that keeps coming to mind is magic realism—not quite as defined by  Gabriel Garcia Marquez , but a sort of grungy 42nd Street version.

The Birdman, Michael Keaton is the ex-superstar hero of film trying to make an impact on Broadway. In spite of his occasional use of some supernatural abilities things do not go well. Well, sometimes they do—like when he’s flying. There are some little love/sex/sexy exchanges between various characters; a rather sentimental, in a very contemporary way, relationship between father and daughter (Emma Stone’s eyes have  magic powers all their own); and lots and lots of references to actors and acting.

In fact, “Birdman” is a story for and about actors and their back-and-forths between Hollywood and Broadway. And successes. And failures. And talent. And abuses.

Age presents its own conundrum as father and daughter play old world, new world in the battle of how to communicate with the world—movie critics and newspapers versus tweeting and trending.

You can tell whether a movie is good by whether you’re still discovering things about it a few days later. “Birdman” has layers and layers to explore; it would almost be worth seeing it again if there weren’t so many more on the list.

 

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