I had a chance to finally see The Good, the Bad and the Ugly on a big screen this week so I took it. College audience, pretty good turnout. Writ large, everything great about the movie (Eli Wallach’s magnificent, best-ever Falstaff, Eastwood and Van Cleef’s eyes, Morricone’s music, the more than occasionally striking visuals) got even greater and everything less-than-great about the movie (the leaps in logic–some people call them plot holes but that might be a tad ungenerous–the cruelty for the sake of a joke, or just for the sake of making the audience feel superior to anyone with whom an average person might identify) got even lesser.

Fun night, then. But nothing matched walking out and hearing a group of college-dorm males (do they ever change?) warmly discussing something one of them had read to the effect that Blonde on Blonde was Bob Dylan’s first attempt to either imitate himself or imitate all the other people who were already imitating him.

“So,” one of them said. “Does that mean it’s the greatest Dylan album, or the just the greatest album by a Dylan imitator?”

I walked on by. It took all my willpower not to start singing this…

…just to see if they would laugh.

But, just as I was about to take the leap, one of them started whistling this…

And I laughed instead.

I’ve walked through that space many times. It’s part of the normal time-space continuum, so I know I wasn’t being transported back to the late sixties. It was just another reminder of how little of what has happened in between matters. Twenty year old kids are still taking about 1966 as though it were yesterday….or today.

Because what would they talk about if they talked about what happened since they were born into the Frozen Silence?

Not anything they could be sure the rest of the group would be on board with….or even know about.

They’re left with the only present any of us have, absent a culture.

It’s what used to be called the past.

We’ll know we’ve moved on when it can be called that once more.

Meantime, we still have our memories, even if we have to borrow them from a time before we were born.

6 thoughts on “WHAT GOES ON…THE SERGIO LEONE/BOB DYLAN TWO STEP (Segue of the Day: 4/14/18)

  1. NDJ

    1. Good to know y’all got to see Leone on a big screen!

    2 Good to know that youngsters pay attention to old farts like Dylan—maybe it will keep them from paying attention to old fartesses like Molly Ringwald.

    3. Never heard anyone argue BLONDE ON BLONDE as Dylan’s “first attempt to either imitate himself or imitate all the other people who were already militating him.” That’s waaay too hip(ster) for me, but most likely they’ll go their way and I’ll go mine.

    4. “Militating”?

    5. Find a copy of the book OUTLAW BLUES by Paul Williams (one of the unhippest dudes ever) and read what he wrote about Dylan and “I Want You” fifty years ago.



    PS: Check out Eli Wallach as the legendary screenwriter Arthur Abbott in THE HOLIDAY with Cameron Diaz and Kate Winslett and a performance by Jack Black that indicates he may have a career as an actor some day . . .

  2. 1. FSU has always had a flim series and for the last decade or so they’ve had a really nice theater to show them in….This is the first year they put the classic film series and the nice theater together so I’ve been going often!

    2. I don’t know if you read Ringwald’s whole article….I almost did a short post on the part where she said she was in her thirties before accepted that nice guys weren’t necessarily boring. I still might–I’ve got a history with that attitude!

    3. It was interesting because I don’t think they were reaching any conclusions, just batting around an idea one of them had read somewhere. But they seemed to be taking it quite seriously…..fifty years on.

    4. Fixed.

    5. I know we’ve been at this a while because I read and reviewed Outlaw Blues on your recommendation a while back….In fact, those kids reminded me a bit of Paul Williams…I’m ashamed I didn’t think “I better get their names. One of them might be starting the internet version of Crawdaddy.” God knows someone needs to!



    • NDJ

      1. Most of the theaters close by us are modern sinnyplexes where it’s $13 to get in and sit in an aesthetically displeasing environment. They almost never show anything but the latest weekend fare.

      2. I meant something like listen to Dylan, not to people deconstructing Dylan fifty years later. While I liked Ringwald’s piece, reading 2017 sensibilities into 1980s movies seems counterproductive to me. And there is no way to know if today’s sensibilities are correct: I love the scene in SLEEPER where the protagonist wakes up in the future to discover that it has been determined that smoking cigarettes is good for you!

      3. Agreed,

      5. What moved me reading Paul Williams fifty years ago was he wrote about his response to the music—Dylan’s or the Stones’ or the Airplane’s. Too many “critics” waste readers’ time fixating on the ‘where-do-you-get your-ideas?’ or ‘who-really-was-Queen-Jane?’ things, none of which matter now. “The way to ‘understand’ Dylan is to listen to him.” (page 64)

      Keep on keepin’ on!


      PS: Having recently turned 50, Ms Ringwald just squeaks into my Fellowe Olde Farte Fellowship, of which I joined prematurely in my teens . . .

  3. Oh, and I’ll see your rec of THE HOLIDAY and raise you THE LINEUP a fifties noir I keep wanting to write about where Mr. Wallach plays an unusually convincing cold-blooded contract killer. I’m pretty sure there’s nothing he couldn’t do.

  4. “…we still have our memories, even if we have to borrow them from a time before we were born.”
    That about describes my memories. My preferred ones, anyway!

Leave a Reply

Your email address will not be published. Required fields are marked *

This site uses Akismet to reduce spam. Learn how your comment data is processed.