"A New York Treasure" --Village Voice

That's The Way It Crumbles, Cookie-Wise

I’m tired and grouchy today, and Alex told me I was having an Oscar Madison kind of sports writing day. Which I am. This got us on a stream-of-consciousness email thread that moved naturally onto Jack Lemmon and led to our discovery of the following facts:

-Alex can’t stand Billy Wilder’s “The Apartment,” which in case you haven’t seen it, is awesome;

-He thinks Alfred Hitchcock is overrated;

-He doesn’t like Jimmy Stewart;

-He didn’t come right out and say it, but I assume he hates puppies and picks his teeth with their adorable little bones.

Meanwhile, I don’t like Faulkner and am kind of bored by Buster Keaton.

Pistols at dawn.

What do your friends or loved ones inexplicably dislike?


1 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 24, 2011 4:39 pm

I also hate Meryl Streep, God, America and Gregory Peck.

2 Emma Span   ~  Feb 24, 2011 4:46 pm


3 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 24, 2011 4:53 pm

3) She's the biggest show-off ham in history.

4 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 24, 2011 4:58 pm

On the other hand, I hate to love me some Ted Berg, but there it is I do. I also love Jon Weisman and Steve Goldman, Trent Tucker and Dan Pasqua.

Then again, my wife doesn't dig Richard Pryor or the Beatles no matter how much I try to impose them on her.

Go figure. LOL

5 Ken Arneson   ~  Feb 24, 2011 5:04 pm

Sounds more to me like Alex is the one who is being grouchy today.

6 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 24, 2011 5:15 pm

5) Just call me Oscar!

7 Ken Arneson   ~  Feb 24, 2011 5:18 pm

FWIW, Meryl Streep does nothing for me, either. Though not so much hate as just indifference. OTOH, I don't get disliking Jimmy Stewart. That's like disliking likability itself.

8 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 24, 2011 5:23 pm

[4] I don't dislike the Beatles, but I don't care for them, either. I never understood what all the fuss was about.

I have an intense, inexplicable dislike of Nirvana, though.

[0] My brother does not like Led Zepplin, which is made more inexplicable by his great like of REO Speedwagon. I can't figure it out, either.

9 OldYanksFan   ~  Feb 24, 2011 5:26 pm

" I never understood what all the fuss was about. [the Beatles]"
Can I ask how old you are?

10 unmoderated   ~  Feb 24, 2011 5:33 pm

I like taxes and HATE Pink Floyd.

11 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 24, 2011 6:02 pm

I basically don't care for 90% of the music written after 1950, so my mood must really be awful.

12 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 24, 2011 6:13 pm

All of you bastards ruined Christmas!!! >;)

13 thelarmis   ~  Feb 24, 2011 6:25 pm

[12] well, i hate Christmas, so there! and, no, i don't live on junk food!!! moreso, organic stuff. tonite is thai food! : )

i am gonna ignore the Beatles haters and assume you are all completely deaf. ahem.

i don't care for meryl streep or pink floyd, either. and i pretty much can't stand nirvana. never understood the fuss over cobain. he's not a good lyricist, guitarist, singer or songwriter.

i pretty much hate most foods. and according to my co-workers, i REALLY hate when transcribers beam notes incorrectly and syncopate rests.

but, mostly, i just HATE THE F*CKING SH*T SOX!!!

14 thelarmis   ~  Feb 24, 2011 6:26 pm

ugh. word press is the *worst*. i even used asterisks to mask, um, colorful words. and, still, it's awaiting moderation...

emma, alex - can you please push my comment through? it would've been lucky #13. thanking you.

15 Just Fair   ~  Feb 24, 2011 6:32 pm

Merryl Streep is awesome. Jimmy Stewart is overated and Woody Allen is lame.

16 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 24, 2011 6:59 pm

[15] Are you saying they all belong in the Academy of the Overrated, along with such notables as Gustav Mahler,Isak Dinesenn, F. Scott Fitzgerald and of course, Mozart?

JIMMY STEWART? JIMMY FUCKING STEWART? And Hitchcock? So Vertigo and Rear Window, just nothing to write home about?

Some people!

17 Evil Empire   ~  Feb 24, 2011 7:13 pm

[8] hate REO and also the bands that I can't apart from REO like foreigner, loverboy, .38 special, etc. There's nothing worse than 80s wannabee rock n roll.

[13] hate the shit sox and bravo for bringing that up my friend.

I also have an irrational hatred for auburn, and Cam Newton.

18 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 24, 2011 7:15 pm

[14] That was less a mask than a light dusting >;) No offense meant, I thought you had said before that you sometimes had to get by on junk when traveling around, but otherwise you are far choosier than I am (which is saying a lot >;) I have an irrational dislike of brick oven pizza and other trendy foods, not to mention rom-coms, hipsters and overly-stylized award shows... actually, those might be within reason...

19 Matt Blankman   ~  Feb 24, 2011 7:29 pm

I've given up on fighting with Alex about Jimmy Stewart. Some people probably don't like ice cream either. If I didn't know better, I'd think he was being a contrarian... I just don't see how you love American film and not love James Stewart. But, there you have it.

As for Hitchcock, well, again, I'd have to ask Alex when the last time he watched one of Hitch's better films was. I mean, Alex, you say you don't like westerns, but it turns out you've never seen most of the greats of the genre. There's just so much crazy neuroses and brilliant visual panache in Hitch's best stuff - I mean, to sound like something Godard would have said in the 50s - ALFRED HITCHCOCK IS CINEMA!

I am not a huge Meryl Streep fan, but she is not a show-off ham. I don't find her very showy at all really. Is she showy or hammy in The Deer Hunter or Manhattan? Okay, she has an accent in some pictures - so what?

However, not liking The Apartment is baffling. I would think you'd dig that picture, Al.

Emma - you don't like Faulkner? Really?

20 Just Fair   ~  Feb 24, 2011 7:37 pm

The average old head greeter at Target or Walmart acts like Jimmy Stewart. There's just nothing there other than gollygeeschucks. Oh, such range. lol.
My wife hates me for not wanting to watch It's a wonderful life. Ever. Snoozefest.

21 Matt Blankman   ~  Feb 24, 2011 7:40 pm

[20] Wow, you have shown an amazing ignorance of Stewart's body of work. Ever seen his westerns with Anthony Mann? Or Vertigo? It's one thing to dislike him, but you haven't even seen the movies, man! There's a lot more going on that gollygeeshucks.

22 Shaun P.   ~  Feb 24, 2011 7:55 pm

[9] OYF, I was born after the Beatles broke up but before Lennon was murdered.

Its not my age, though. I adore the Beach Boys and The Who.

[18] Brick oven pizza?! Chyll, man, someday I'll have to get some authentic stuff, from a place that made it in a brick oven before it was trendy.

[11] What is the 10% from post-1950 that you do like?

23 Matt Blankman   ~  Feb 24, 2011 7:56 pm

[20] That's not to say you're not free to dislike him - you like whatcha like! But be fair.

24 Just Fair   ~  Feb 24, 2011 8:05 pm

[21] I've seen Vertigo and Mr. Smith Goes to Washington and of course It's a Wonderful Life. I used to watch a ton of old westerns with my dad when I was growing up. I occasionally watch a minute or two of old reruns but in general I find them to be unintentionally ridiculous. I dig old music but old movies I find mostly emabarrasing. Ignorant, no. I just know what I like. I am pretty sure I could watch every Stewart film ever and come away unimpressed. I feel like an outsider here whenever talk goes to movies because it's all just pretending. And some do it less terribly than others. : ) Cheers.

25 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 24, 2011 8:24 pm

In the last year, I've watched "Rebecca," "Notorious," "Suspicion," and "Rear Window." Is that good enough for you? I didn't say he was a hack, he's obviously one of the most important filmmakers ever. All of those four movies all have their merits, I particularly like "Notorious." I'm just saying I don't really care for them. And I don't know enough about westerns to blast them. I've watched more than enough Hitchcock to have an opinion, wiseass. My fav is probably "The 39 Steps."

Ditto James Stewart. I find him mannered and annoying. What can I say? I'm not saying I'm right, it's just my taste. Doesn't make me unAmerican for crying out loud.

Meryl did accents in a couple of movies? C'mon, she made herself a star doing that. And the two movies you mentioned don't really count--she was fine in both but didn't have much to do. She was good in "The Deer Hunter" but she played a cartoon ice queen in "Manhattan."

And yeah, I think she's a ham bone. Not a spaz ham, so maybe Ham is the wrong word. But I'm always aware of her "acting." I never exactly believe the role she's playing because every motion, every raise of the eyebrow is so damn actorly. I tend to like her more in comedies though I recently watched part of "Death Becomes Her" and man was that a bad vibes movie all around. I did like her in "Postcads from the Edge." She's good in many things, but she always pulls me out of the story with her technique.

26 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 24, 2011 8:28 pm

From Mr OK Toyko Jazz who is having a problem with Wordpress (bastards):

""Jimmy Stewart..limited range but very good at what he could do.
Hitchcock was awesome though. Chyll, ever seen that great photo of Luis Bunel and Hitchcock at his LA mansion? Imagine that conversation!!

I can't stand Elvis Costello or the Beach Boys..love Pink Floyd though.

Oh, I love puppies but think all cats should be locked up (they make me sneeze)."

27 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 24, 2011 8:50 pm

Well, Alex, what can I say. You are most certainly entitled to holding a (dead wrong) opinion. This is America, after all.

Also, I love seeing you all worked up. It tickles me. :)

28 Evil Empire   ~  Feb 24, 2011 8:50 pm

Love Pink Floyd.

29 Matt Blankman   ~  Feb 24, 2011 8:53 pm

[25] Admittedly, Alex, I was poking you with a stick a bit. I do understand the nuances to your opinion on Hitchcock. Maybe Emma mis-represented your opinion? (Sorry Emma, not trying to throw you under the bus there).

Not loving James Stewart doesn't make you un-American, it's just a head-scratcher. He just strikes me as someone you'd enjoy, given other stuff I know you (and I both) like. That's why I tend to pick that particular scab, as it were.

As for Meryl, don't you think you're also reacting to that whole early-mid 80s thing we all endured where it was taken for granted what a giant she was and they just kept lobbing Oscar noms at her? I pretty much ignored her for years because of that. I do think she does light comedy really very well.

Now, when it comes to something I know Alex and I both find overrated - there's The Social Network. Well done, for sure, but man...so what?

30 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 24, 2011 9:00 pm

It's funny, I started throwing this shit at Emma today to get a rise out of her, though I stand by my takes, and it got her going, and then of course, it takes ZERO to get my red ass going. I'm telling you, Matt and I should have a talk show. I'd play the mad dog.

Dude, by the way, how was THE KING'S SPEECH?

31 Matt Blankman   ~  Feb 24, 2011 9:04 pm

[30] It's good man - It's pretty middle-brow, I suppose, and I'm sure it's historically suspect, but it's really well played. Rush and Firth are such good actors and they really make the thing play. I liked Helena Bonham Carter and Guy Pearce a lot in it as well. It didn't strike me as a great film (Tom Hooper, the director, seemed oddly hooked on extreme wide-angle lenses), but its a good story well told and genuinely moving in spots.
To me, it seemed to be more about a sheltered guy who learns how to have a friend.

32 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 24, 2011 9:13 pm

I'd like to see it. But I want to see the new Ed Helm movie, CEDAR RAPIDS, first. Different kind of movie, but I think I can wait on THE KING'S SPEECH.

33 Matt Blankman   ~  Feb 24, 2011 9:19 pm

[32] Yes, I have heard good things about CEDAR RAPIDS and the trailer looked intriguing. Nice cast, too. I will be checking it out.

34 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 24, 2011 9:20 pm

[29] She was sublime in the Devil Wears Prada, for instance. That was comedic genius, if you ask me.

35 Evil Empire   ~  Feb 24, 2011 9:52 pm

[25] Alex, you've got the fire in the belly and I'm digging it!

36 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 24, 2011 10:07 pm

[35] Right? We should antagonize him more often!

37 Emma Span   ~  Feb 24, 2011 11:03 pm

[19] I hated As I Lay Dying. HATED it. Then again, I was 15... what did I know? All I remember is basically "Oh, my brother is a fish, this corpse smells terrible, my flesh is rotting."

38 thelarmis   ~  Feb 24, 2011 11:47 pm

[16] Mahler is NOT overrated!!! i actually listened to his 1st & 5th symphonies yesterday. i listened to Sibelius' 2nd & 7th symphonies tonite. boy, there's a contrast there. i love 'em both though. been on a BIG Sibelius kick the past few months...

speaking of things one hates...

i abhor smoke (of all kinds). i loathe hip-hop (and it's many sub genres). and whilst i don't dislike dogs, i'm certainly no fan.

now that you all hate me, i should quit while i'm behind... ; )

39 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 24, 2011 11:50 pm

[26] "MY EYES!!!" >;)

40 thelarmis   ~  Feb 24, 2011 11:53 pm

[39] while we're all purging here, you should mention how much you hate your neighbors!

41 Matt Blankman   ~  Feb 24, 2011 11:59 pm

[37] 15 might be a little young for As I Lay Dying. But I read it at 17 and it got me hooked on Faulkner. Granted, I had a really good teacher at the time and we discussed the hell out of it.

42 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 25, 2011 12:08 am

[38] Oh, dear Lord, know! I *adore* Mahler! He's at the very top of my pantheon. I was quoting from Manhattan! That was Yale and Mary's list!

43 weeping for brunnhilde   ~  Feb 25, 2011 12:08 am

(No, not know.)

44 thelarmis   ~  Feb 25, 2011 12:11 am

[42] oh, good! Yale - outta my league, buddy; i went to a football school (penn state)! ; )

listening to more Sibelius now. he's wonderful!

45 thelarmis   ~  Feb 25, 2011 12:11 am

[43] i noe.

46 Bruce Markusen   ~  Feb 25, 2011 12:34 am

So many great Hitchcock movies: The Birds, Psycho, Strangers on a Train, Frenzy, Rear Window.

Also, a very good television show that is now forgotten, Alfred Hitchcock Presents...

Now he was not the most handsome man, I'll give you that. Not exactly an athlete. Don't believe he did any baseball films.

47 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 25, 2011 1:13 am

[40] I don't hate my neighbors, I hate the fact they moved in next to me. I had a conversation with my uncle about neighbors and I said it would be nice to have a small house with enough land on each side to run around freely and not bump into anyone or hear their noise. When he asked me how much land that would be, I pointed towards the trees behind the parking lot behind his building. He was astonished and said, "You want that much?" and I said, "yeah, well they can keep Cleveland..." >;)

48 thelarmis   ~  Feb 25, 2011 1:35 am

[47] uncle woodrow is a wise man! that's pretty much exactly how i feel... i wish i could live exactly where i am now, just out of eye - and especially, ear - shot of anyone...

49 Chyll Will   ~  Feb 25, 2011 1:43 am

[46] Actually... he did introduce the famous concept of the Maguffin this way:

"Imagine two men in a room, talking about baseball. Suddenly a bomb goes off under the table. We get a few seconds of surprise. Now imagine the same scene, but this time the audience are aware of the bomb under the table, about to go off. The same idle conversation about baseball is now charged with suspense, because we know something that the on screen characters don't."

Further investigation revealed that Hitchcock did have a concept in mind involving baseball as the backdrop for a murder mystery some time in the late 1940's, but he never completed it; though a weak line was made from that to movies like The Natural and perhaps I can add The Fan... so Bruce, it wasn't as offhand as you thought!

50 Boatzilla   ~  Feb 25, 2011 1:59 am

It's probably too late for yous guys, but I'll take a stab anyway. Alex, The Apartment is as perfect as it gets, movie wise.* It's funny. It's sexy. It's witty. It's sad. It's tragic. And it features great performances by some of the best actors America ever produced.

I know you know this, but Hitchcock is the originator of a wide array of styles and techniques that we now take for granted in cinema. There's not enough space or time to write about how important he is to film making.

Of course, that doesn't me you have to like him, but first please check out "Rope" for a chilling taste of Hitchcock and Stewart. If that movie doesn't rattle your cage, nothing will.

And Meryl Streep? Well, she's a Jersey Girl, from my schoolboy football district, no less. 'Nuff said.

51 thelarmis   ~  Feb 25, 2011 2:02 am

[50] it's never too late for me, boat - i'm always up! please say hi to Mr. OK Jazz Tokyo for me! : )

52 Alex Belth   ~  Feb 25, 2011 8:34 am

"Rope" was a stunt for Hitchcock. I thought the material was boilerplate melodrama but for Hitch the material was secondary to his tricks, which in that case was to film the movie in one seemingless flawless shot. The only cuts in the movie are at the end of a reel when the film ran out. Style over substance, which was his calling card.

53 williamnyy23   ~  Feb 25, 2011 8:45 am

[22] I like some odds and ends...early Madonna and Billy Joel, a (very) little bit of Elvis, just off the top of my head. Really have no use for metal, country, hard rock, rap or hip hop.

[46] AH Presents was an excellent show at the beginning, but it seemed like they kept making them even as they ran out of ideas.

[52] "No substance" in Rope? I can't agree with that. So much of the genre is boilerplate, so the substance is the style that goes into presenting it.

54 The Mick536   ~  Feb 25, 2011 8:54 am

Rudy Guiliani and rutabaga.

55 Matt Blankman   ~  Feb 25, 2011 10:17 am

[52] I can't agree that Hitchcock's films lack substance. I think they were often way ahead of their time in dealing with sexuality, violence, neuroses, the subconscious. The style was intrinsic to the substance, to be sure, but there's meat there.

56 cult of basebaal   ~  Feb 25, 2011 2:02 pm

It’s good man – It’s pretty middle-brow, I suppose, and I’m sure it’s historically suspect, but it’s really well played. Rush and Firth are such good actors and they really make the thing play. I liked Helena Bonham Carter and Guy Pearce a lot in it as well. It didn’t strike me as a great film (Tom Hooper, the director, seemed oddly hooked on extreme wide-angle lenses), but its a good story well told and genuinely moving in spots.

That's pretty much my reaction.

Have you seen "I Love You, Phillip Morris", Matt?

57 MDF   ~  Feb 25, 2011 5:01 pm

When people say "I don't like Mahler" or "I don't like Faulkner" or "I'm bored by Buster Keaton," they think they're saying something about Mahler or Faulkner or Keaton. What they're really talking about are their own tastes or prejudices or limitations.

And all you can say is well, okay, too bad for you.

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