Tuesday, January 13, 2009

The stupidity parade continues, and finally, THE 39 STEPS (56)

I was almost positive this year that my New Years' resolution had something to do with discovering a new breed of dinosaur, but I'm pretty sure that the cosmic fates that govern us all have decided that this year my annual false-promise will have something to do with the slow and deliberate dissolution of my grey matter. In laymen's terms: I'm getting stupider, by the moment.

I worked twelve hours yesterday at a coffee shop not because I need the money, not because I love the job so incredibly much, especially not because of some sort of latent workaholicism brewing in my gut - nope, I worked twelve hours yesterday because I'm stupid. For whatever reason I scheduled myself for three shifts in a row, then completely forgot about all of them, and then, in a moment of debilitating stupidity-fueled anger realized my mistake.

At work, cracked out on three cups of coffee and three hours of sleep, I poorly chose to engage in conversation with a man sporting two disgusting beard dreads. In a haze of caffeine I learned of phone lanyards, and "garage industries" built around the international sales of, well, something to do with the Australian flag. I'm stupid now though, so I couldn't, to Wall Street Pete's chagrin, stop talking to this poor addled man.

Later, when my first bout with coffee had run its course, I fell asleep standing up. Being stupid, I thought I'd counter the drowsiness with two more cups of potent drip coffee. Somewhere around my sixth or seventh heart palpation of the next two hours I realized this: stupidity had put me knee deep in to one of the least enjoyable days of my life.

If this stupidity disease continues, I might have to change the nature of this blog to chronicling my quest to find a doctor able and edgy enough to perform a rare and dangerous brain transplant that will utterly change my personality but allow me to avoid situations like these.

Or maybe I should just get a fucking scheduler.

My 12 and half work day put a crimp in me finishing The 39 Steps (56), but I managed, Lord knows how, to stay up long enough last night to actually watch a good deal of it. In the past I've been pretty bored by Alfred Hitchcock's British period. The camera work always bores me, the plots are weak and the acting is stilted and theatrical like only the 1930s can produce.

So I was a little surprised at how much I've been enjoying The 39 Steps (56). It's a weird film, because it's trying to be an action film, and it's trying to be a dark thriller, but to some degree it's also trying to be a mildly (really mildly) funny romance, all while incorporating this bizarre plot about Scotland and 39 steps and a lot of handcuffing.

Pretty much the only reason why I'm still invested whatsoever in this bizarre little lesser work of old tubby Hitchcock is because the main character Hannay (Robert Donat) is such a hilariously British cad. He's being pursued for a murder he didn't commit, and the man will literally do anything to avoid being caught by the police, the criminal syndicate, or the handful of other odd characters out to get him. He's choking women, impersonating politicians, seducing married ladies in front of their husbands, train jumping, window-smashing, and on and on and on - anything he can do, regardless of others, to ensure that he comes out on top. On top of all of this Donat plays Hannay like a Robert Goulet-style snake in the grass, anything with two legs and a y-chromosome is a target for Hannay and his pursuit of safety and ladies is truly enjoyable.

There's also this dark sort of line that runs through the film involving the bizarre folk who live in the moors of Scotland. One particular scene, involving an off-camera beating of a woman, really sort of opens your mind to the sort of peculiar darkness that existed in Hitchcock's head.

This film has nothing on the American Technicolor Hitchcock films which I want to hold and squeeze and love, but with Donat's treacherous performance I'm really enjoying it.

Wednesday: Lets finish The 39 Steps (56)


David said...

Yes I lurk your blog once in a while. About the coffee, you'd think the Vivarin experience would have made you better informed on the perils of over caffenating.

TJ said...

yet another enjoyable post. still haven't rented Branded to Kill, but that will probably happen tomorrow. Recommended the blog to a friend today, so we'll see how that goes in terms of making you watch Pride and Prejudice.

Also: Y chromosomes are for dudes. A minor detail to you or me, but it probably matters a lot to Hannay.