Monkey Business

A list of Most Influential Films I got during Act One’s Screenwriting program included Monkey Business with Cary Grant and Ginger Rogers. Grant plays a fuddy-duddy scientist, complete with Coke bottle glasses, who’s working on a formula that acts as a fountain of youth. He’s married to Edwina, a beautiful, devoted, rational woman. It’s a screwball comedy that follows the consequences of a lab monkey’s fiddling with the formula and explores what might happen if sane adults really could turn back the clock.

The film’s light and silly, but works because you see enough intelligence and dignity from Grant, Rogers and the supporting cast which includes a young Marilyn Monroe as a young secretary who responds to her boss’ complaints about her punctuation by being “careful to get here before nine.”

Corny?

Oh, yes, but fine since it’s not stupid. Still I’m not sure why this film was so influential.

The film’s theme is summed up in Barnaby’s quote:

Barnaby: I’ve i’ve decided that the formula is the most dubious discovery since itching powder and just about as useful.

Edwina: Oh I wouldn’t say that. It cured your bursistis, it improved your vision, I must say it made you feel young.

Barnaby: Hmmph. I’m beginning to wonder if being young is all it’s cracked up to be. The dream of youth! We remember it as a time of nightengales and valentines . And what are the facts? Maladjustments, near idiocy, and a series of low comedy disasters that’s what youth is. I don’t see how anyone survies it.

Monroe doesn’t figure in the story that much. She’s featured in the early part of the film and less so in the middle and end. It’s strange that she’s featured so prominently on the DVD case. It’s clearly Grant and Rogers’ film and it’s not like either are hard on the eyes.

She never wears this dress in the film

the glee project: adaptability

Mario starts the show by declaring that he’ll rock the challenge as he has to adapt constantly since he’s blind. True. Yet such declarations tempt the gods.

Kevin McHale, a.k.a. Artie, was the mentor and thought Aylin performed Alanis Morissette’s “You Outta Know” best.

As the theme was adaptability, every step of the way — in the studio and with Zach, the choreographer, the contestants were kept in the dark about what they’d have to do. We’re told that this is common practice on the actual show. Both Shanna and Michael did well. Lily was solid, Aylin was hot, Abraham cut his breath off, A felt anxious. They didn’t bother to show Nellie or Mario in the studio. Since Nellie shown in the previous episode and has an interesting depth and good voice, I felt shortchanged.

Kevin coached Aylin to build on confidence, hardly Socrates-level advice. I do wonder how long these sessions last and what got edited out. I’d hope he could offer more and better coaching.

The video centered around a group of highly stereotyped rich and poor kids. The rich kids sat around in lavish furs and such while the poor kids sang happily in white t-shirts. Charlie adopted a persona, sort of a young Thurston Howell, III. The mentors thought this was bizarre. It was a little odd, but it did fit with the theme and they chose Charlie because of his autism-spectrum condition. What do they expect? They don’t get that if you have such a condition, you can’t instantly change. This was probably the poorest video The Glee Project has made to date. It was just too stereotypical and superficial. Nothing the contestants could have done this week could have saved it.

As a further twist there were six in the bottom who had to perform for Ryan. Aylin, Michael, Shanna, and Lily were safe.  Nellie and Blake sang Foreigner’s “Waiting for a Girl/Boy Like You.” I think Nellie outshone Blake who seems too bland for me.

Ali and Abraham had to sing Katy Perry’sLast Friday Night” and here Ali was the stronger performer. Ryan compared Ali to Dolly Parton, which was a dicey comment. All these contestants have to respond positively to anything the mentors say or they’re out on the street. Remembering that makes me all the more happy that Cameron just left the program of his own accord last you.

Finally Mario and Charlie sang Elton John‘s “Don’t Let the Sun Go Down on Me.”  In the end Mario was not called back. It seemed appropriate as he was just so arrogant, so above the others. That’s an inadvertent plus of The Glee Project. In a scripted show the person who’s blind is saintly. Here that just wasn’t the case. We got a real person and we won’t miss him in the weeks ahead as he was so self-absorbed.