Terry Teachout has a miserable time listening to re-packaged Beach Boys hits on Broadway:

Harpo Marx described the famously awful, extremely popular “Abie’s Irish Rose” as “no worse than a bad cold.” Judged by that yardstick, “Good Vibrations,” the new Beach Boys musical that opened Wednesday at the Eugene O’Neill Theatre, is more like a stroke—one that leaves you capable of movement but knocks 15 points off your IQ. By the time I finally staggered up the aisle, I found it hard to remember that there was once a time when even the most blatantly commercial musicals were put together with a modicum of intelligence and craftsmanship….

PS: Teachout's co-blogger, Our Girl In Chicago, posts a neat piece on the film crit business.


Talking of movies, I've only just caught up with Jonah Goldberg's National Review essay (subscriber-only) on the enduring appeal of "Groundhog Day". To be honest, after reading it, I feel slightly shame-faced. I've seen the film two or three times and I've always been too busy laughing to appreciate the philosophical dimension. Goldberg, reeling in Aristotle, Camus and Nietzsche, certainly convinces me there's much more to the storyline:

When the Museum of Modern Art in New York debuted a film series on “The Hidden God: Film and Faith” two years ago, it opened with Groundhog Day. The rest of the films were drawn from the ranks of turgid and bleak intellectual cinema, including standards from Ingmar Bergman and Roberto Rossellini. According to the New York Times, curators of the series were stunned to discover that so many of the 35 leading literary and religious scholars who had been polled to pick the series entries had chosen Groundhog Day that a spat had broken out among the scholars over who would get to write about the film for the catalogue.

And so on. Perhaps it's the mark of a great film that it can provoke so many interpretations. Groundhog Days co-writer, Harold Ramis certainly doesn't sound the didactic type:

Ramis was born Jewish and is now a lackadaisical Buddhist. He wears meditation beads on his wrist, he told the New York Times, “because I’m on a Buddhist diet. They’re supposed to remind me not to eat, but actually just get in the way when I’m cutting my steak.”

|||Clive|||http://clivedavis.blogspot.com/2005/02/bad-night-out-terry-teachout-has.html|||2/04/2005 01:44:00 pm|||||||||