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Posts Tagged ‘Susan Sarandon’

31 Monsters #18: Count von Count

October 18th, 2009 No comments

No, I don’t know why there’s a vampire on Sesame Street, either. I’m not talking about the obvious educational role that Count von Count’s numerical obsession fills on the 40-years-young kids’ series, but rather the fact that there’s a fanged creature of the night living in the same neighborhood as a bunch of kids and a six-foot canary with an especially long and tempting neck. Yet no one seems to be straddling his coffin with hammer and stake in hand.

Eighteen! Eighteen monsters! Ah ha ha!

Honestly, the Count’s continued presence brings up a number of questions:

  1. Is Sesame Street zoned for Gothic castles?
  2. What is the nature of the puppet soul?
  3. Are Maria and Gina two of his vampire brides?
  4. When he moved into town, did he have to go door to door informing the neighbors of his previous bloodsucking?
  5. That’s five, five questions! Ah ha ha!

Count von Count is one of my favorite Muppets, and it’s not just the vampire thing. I love him for his obsessive compulsiveness. Like Cookie Monster, he’s defined by the thing that he craves, and lets nothing stand in his way. (Unlike Cookie Monster, he hasn’t been neutered in recent years in order to present a healthy lifestyle. We don’t want our kids to get fat, but repetitive counting is O.K.)

Here’s a classic Count von Count segment featuring a guest appearance by Susan Sarandon. I’m not absolutely certain of the circumstances that brought the two together, but I think that we have to at least consider the possibility that the Count was luring a date back to his place. Yet, not even the thought of nibbling the neck of a smokin’ hot Sarandon could distract the Count from his appointed task.

Not being a Rocky Horror fan, I was slow to realize that the Sesame Street writers had sneaked a RHPS reference into the heart of the PBS kids’ lineup. Thankfully, they did not ask Sarandon to sing “Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch-a, Touch Me.”

Myths and Fairy Tales

November 26th, 2007 No comments

I’d been jonesin’ to see Enchanted the moment I first heard about it. The high concept–a romantic comedy involving a typical Disney princess thrown out of her animated world into modern-day New York–was so brilliant that I was surprised it hadn’t already been done. And happily, they didn’t screw it up.

Enchanted reminded me most of Who Framed Roger Rabbit?, even though there’s very little mixing of animation and live-action. However, Amy Adams’ character Giselle is like Roger Rabbit in that she continues to operate by her own cartoon rules within a real-life setting, including the traditional Disney princess’ ability to gather the local wildlife to help with the chores. Giselle’s initially one-dimensional personality could’ve become very annoying, but Adams makes her endearing, with perhaps her best moment the giddy delight she expresses after becoming angry for the very first time.

Enchanted avoids other obvious missteps. With several scenes set in the Times Square theatre district, it’s amazing that it avoided the banal corporate synergy opportunity of sending the characters to one of Disney’s Broadway shows. I also appreciated that the losing members of the plot’s romantic quadrangle weren’t spiteful obstacles to be overcome, but likable characters who, despite their good qualities, simply weren’t “the ones.”

My only complaint is that there wasn’t enough of Susan Sarandon, who steals the show’s final act as the villainous Queen Narissa. I would’ve enjoyed seeing more of her adventures in the modern world. Still, I suppose it’s another sign of restraint on the part of the filmmakers that they didn’t pad out the flick with extraneous scenes of Sarandon’s wickedness. (Indeed, the highest praise that could be given Enchanted is that not once did Vic declare “This film needs a good editor!” She felt that, unlike most movies these days, it ended precisely when it should’ve. I agree.)

An entirely different take on myth and fantasy was the CG animated Beowulf, which I saw the weekend prior to Thanksgiving. While I would’ve preferred to see it in IMAX, the closest such theater is a two-hour drive, so I settled for the local cineplex, which at least did offer digital 3D. (I have long been a complete sucker for 3D; I still have my glasses from Freddy’s Dead: The Final Nightmare.)

Honestly, I don’t know why this film was done entirely in CG; it didn’t seem that anything within it couldn’t have been achieved with the mix of live-action and computer wizardry employed by the likes of Peter Jackson. On one hand, the almost photorealistic representations of Anthony Hopkins and Angelina Jolie were stunning, but surely the real people would’ve worked even better? That said, I appreciated that the hideously misshapen, rotting, pustulant monster Grendel still managed to vaguely look like Crispin Glover.

The main problem with Beowulf (and not having read the original, I have no idea whether this is an issue of the source material) is that I didn’t like any of the characters. Beowulf is a braggart, a liar and a jerk. The king is a drunken wretch. His queen is a cipher. Grendel screams a lot. (Though you would too if your eardrums were on the outside of your head, or if you vaguely looked like Crispin Glover.) The only one who comes off at all well is Jolie’s mother of monsters.

Plus, I got to see far more naked Beowulf than I cared to, to say nothing of digital Anthony Hopkins in a side-less toga. Shudder.