Monday, January 16, 2006

All That Memoir

At the terminus of a week all fill-up with memoir turmoil, my NetFlix queue tossed me, appropriately enough, 1979's "All That Jazz," Bob Fosse's big-screen memoir. I suppose the book has been written on Fosse, and there is little of his life that hasn't already been given over to public consumption. Suffice it to say, he isn't flattering to himself at all, and Roy Scheider's bravura performance as the director's alter-ego (Oscar-nommed) is the ingenious device Fosse had going for him in making this movie "sound" true. The pills, the women, the work, the vaccuum in his soul - it's all there on the widescreen, plus a few jazz-hands and bare tits for good measure.

I guess Fosse wasn't playing with a net (a leitmotif in the film itself) in that any falsifications would've had people coming out of the woodwork to call shenangans on him, not least of all Ann Reinking (playing herself). Where James Frey failed, Fosse excels: No self-aggrandizement, yet still a hard piece of self-criticism.

While I'm on the subject of Fosse, I'm still irritated by the popular reception the mediocre adaptation of "Chicago." That movie sucked, and Catherine Zellweger-Jones were middling. Richard Gere was a joke. Rob Marshall is WAAAAY overrated. In fact, I'll even go so far as to say "the musical" is a bastard artform - if the story was strong enough, you don't need people clicking their heels and waving their arms like jackasses to get the audience's attention; if the music was so good, you wouldn't need overwrought drama to augment it. My peeve applies to most every musical produced, with the notable exception of "Forbidden Zone." Wiki it.