What better way to say farewell to Warner Brothers (yes, we're working on the day after Christmas) then a screening of the meta-cartoon "Duck Amuck" a Chuck Jones meditation on the power of the animator versus the character, which speaks deeply to all directors, especially those of us who deal with real flesh and blood actors who we sometimes wish we could erase...

Jones created this cartoon in 1953. It probably came and went from theaters as quickly as any other cartoon, laughed at and forgotten instantly only to be re-discovered on television and eventually voted "culturally significant" by the Library of Congress--one of three Jones cartoons to be accorded this dubious honor. The cartoon is madly amusing and the notion of finishing a stretch of this blog--which has become consumed with the filmmaking process and how it intersects with film history--with a film about the technical creation of a film was just too...damn, it, the tears in my eyes are preventing cogent thought from being articulated. Or perhaps it was the thirteen cocktails and five course meal that I consumed in celebration of the birthday of you-know-who, yesterday, 12/25/08...

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  1. Working after Christmas huh? Well that's dedication for ya! :) Once this process is over, what's next on the list of to-dos?

    Duck Amuck was terrific...thanks for the clip!

  2. "Duck Amuck" is indeed culturally significant, though I would argue that all Looney Tunes cartoons, even the not-so-great ones, are culturally significant, as they influenced countless film-makers (Spielberg, Lucas, DeFelitta), comedians, and other culture-creators, as well as Ordinary Joes who--without knowing why exactly--will chuckle upon hearing such phrases as "Innnnteresting monsters lead such innnnteresting lives" or "'Morning Ralph...'Morning Sam...".

    If that isn't cultural significance, I don't know what is.

    True story: in college, I attended my first opera, "The Marriage of Figaro". (Operatic productions were few and far-between in West Virginia.) Midway through, I found myself humming along to music I thought I had never heard before. But, of course, I had: "Rabbit of Seville". ("Caaaan't you see that I'm much sweeter....Iiii'm your little senorita..."). Ahh, cultcha....

    For my money, "What's Opera Doc" (Of "Kill the wabbit" fame) is THE greatest of all Chuck Jones, though it could well be argued that the great "Duck Amuck" invented post-modern comedy. (Though the Fleischer Brothers might have something to say about that.)

    Anyway, Raymond, thanks for making my 2008 a little more fun and, yes, culturally significant. Here's to 2009 and the release (?) of "City Island".