If Movie Posters Versus Album Covers were a family car trip, the kids in the back would long ago have asked, are we nearly there yet? Well, here’s where I can answer yes – we’re about as far away as the time it takes to play one game of Beat Your Neighbor Out of Doors. Give or take.
Miles Davis’ Bitches Brew beats Il Conformista (1970)
The real terrible truth of this thing I’m coming to the end of is that album covers are increasingly a relic of the past. The nearest record store to where I live now is a couple of miles aways and properly crap. After that, I’m left with several local libraries or a much longer journey some place else. Even – astoundingly – in New York City these days you could easily walk for hours without stumbling upon any music for sale. For shame!
First starting to buy Miles Davis CDs in Boston and Cambridge, Mass., several years ago, was always and unfailingly a joy. They all looked amazing, and they all had copious fascinating sleeve notes. For me, it was uncharted territory – and the thrill of discovery was animated every time by the seeking it out, and the waiting to get home and listen, and the painstaking unwrapping of the outer plastic sleeve. Exactly none of which is possible in the sterile whereabouts of iTunes. Sometimes – most of the time – so-called convenience is the death knell of beauty, excitement, and wonder. How about we fight it off a just little while longer?
Manhattan (1979) beats North by Northwest (1959)
If Alfred Hitchcock is the greatest filmmaker who ever lived (as Mark Kermode would say, “other opinions are available but mine happens to be right”), then maybe Woody Allen is the most under-appreciated, especially in his own country. Name any other director who can put two films against Annie Hall and Manhattan that say anything about love, romance, and heartbreak as effectively. Even without a hundred killer jokes.
Here, let’s take a quick closer look –
That strange, impossible to predict, unforgettable moment when you realize (maybe in a flash, or maybe after a slow, irresistible dawning) that the person you’re with is someone you couldn’t bear to be without. It’s all here, isn’t it? In this one simple image. Look how comfortably they sit. How little they care about the time. How uncannily obvious it is that they wouldn’t want to be any other place in the world. (New York was their town, and it always would be.) So what if Woody and Diane somehow went their separate ways – after all, isn’t that somehow perfect, too?
…And then there were two… Do come back one last time tomorrow! This ridiculous six-part blog just wouldn’t be the same otherwise, would it?