The Mouse That Roared

Kevin over at The Smallest Minority has reviewed Why We Fight, a documentary about the Iraqi war. It’s lengthy, but it’s a good read if you can carve out a few minutes.

 One thing struck me in Kevin’s post:

The Imperial Roman motto was “Veni, vidi, vici” – “I came, I saw, I conquered.” The American version seems to be more along the lines of “We came, we kicked ass, and then we hauled out the checkbook.”

In the 1959 comedy, The Mouse That Roared, the tiny, poor, pre-industrial country of Grand Fenwick declares war on and “invades” the US in hopes that the US will invade Grand Fenwick in return, then pay for the country’s reconstruction efforts.

No, I have nothing relevant to add to Kevin’s post. I just thought of that silly, half-assed British comedy when I was reading.

Try the Priest

Tim Burton made my favorite Broadway musical (Sweeney Todd, the Demon Barber of Fleet Street) into a movie. It’s out today. Now, I love Tim Burton’s movies. I just don’t know how I feel about him at the head of my favorite musical. Look at the messes Hollywood made of Phantom of the Opera and Evita. And the Sweeney Todd movie…stars Johnny Depp. Dear God, Johnny Depp. Why Johnny Depp? The part of Sweeney is supposed to be played by an older baritone. Johnny Depp can still play a twenty-something.

I heartily approve of the casting of Judge Turpin, though. I dearly love Alan Rickman.

The main plot in the stage production: It’s about a man (Sweeney Todd) sent to a penal colony because a powerful judge wanted his wife. The play begins when he returns home to London to be reunited with his wife and child; he finds that his wife drank poison and his daughter is now the ‘ward’ of the judge. The play is about his plan to kill the judge and get his daughter back. He does this by opening a barber shop (above a meat pie shop that sells the worst meat pies in London). There he kills all his wealthy clients because he’s nuts and maybe the judge will show up at his shop.

So, what to do with the bodies once Sweeney slits their throats? The owner of the meat pie shop has a solution. (Because cats are just too fast for her. And yes, it’s what you’re thinking.) Is it a coincidence that the meat pie shop then begins to have a rep as selling the best meat pies in London? I think not. So, try the priest and go see Sweeney Todd. I’m going to go see it soon. More about it then.

I’ve heard they’ve cut a great deal of the play from the movie. One of the songs cut is the narrative. So here it is, from Sweeney Todd, The Demon Barber of Fleet Street by Sondheim:

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd.
His skin was pale and his eye was odd.
He shaved the faces of gentlemen
Who never thereafter were heard of again.
He trod a path that few have trod,
Did Sweeney Todd,
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

He kept a shop in London town
Of fancy clients and good renown.
And what if none of their souls was saved?
They went to their maker impeccably shaved
By Sweeney,
By Sweeney Todd.
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Swing your razor wide, Sweeney!
Hold it to the skies!
Freely flows the blood of those
Who moralize!

His needs were few, his room was bare.
A lavabo and a fancy chair.
A mug of suds and a leather strop,
An apron, a towel, a pail, and a mop.
For neatness he deserved a nod,
Did Sweeney Todd,
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street.

Inconspicuous Sweeney was,
Quick and quiet and clean ‘e was.
Back of his smile, under his word,
Sweeney heard music that nobody heard.

Sweeney pondered and Sweeney planned
Like a perfect machine ‘e planned.
Sweeney was smooth, Sweeney was subtle,
Sweeney would blink and rats would scuttle.

Attend the tale of Sweeney Todd.
He served a dark and a vengeful god.
What happened then – well that’s the play,
And he wouldn’t want us to give it away,
Not Sweeney.
Not Sweeney Todd,
The Demon Barber of Fleet Street!

I can’t wait.

It’s That Time of Year Again

So here we are at the end of another year. Which means that we’ll all have to suffer through those stupid “Best of 2007” review shows. You know those shows that recap a certain element of the soon to be gone year? Yeah, those shows. It’s time for them again. I hate those  shows.

[They’re almost as bad as all the shows we’re going to get soon that glorify Baby Boomers. Oh, it’s only a matter of time. You know it. I know it. There’s nothing Baby Boomers love so much as themselves, unless it’s glorification of themselves. And the networks are counting on that for ratings. Anyway, Brokaw has a book out about them. So TV shows can’t be far behind.] 

Back to topic, I can’t stand those year end review shows. Enough of 2007! I’m ready for 2008. Let’s get on with it and stop memorializing the stinking previous year already.