“Good Golly Miss Molly,” Little Richard is now 80.
I thought that was a pretty clever line until I Googled Little Richard, in order to confiscate a recent picture of the rock and roll legend, only to find that lots of other writers had beaten me to it.
That’s the thing about the internet; you quickly learn that you’re not as smart..or clever..or at least not as original..as you thought you were. Anyway, I love Little Richard..well, you know, I really loved his musical talents..not his bazaar appearances and lifestyle choices which seemed to change every few years.
Little Richard (Richard Penniman) and Pat Boone helped me, and millions of other Caucasian kids in the 50’s, clearly understand the difference between black and white..soul and..well, Lawrence Welkism. WhenPat Boone released his version of Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti, it was clearly a move by the record producers to “protect kids” from exposure to that evil N word music. It sort of worked in that Pat Boone’s version scored higher on the charts than Little Richard’s Tutti Frutti but we all knew which one we wanted to hear and, as Little Richard said, “The white kids would have Pat Boone upon the dresser and me in the drawer ‘cause they liked my version better, but the families didn’t want me because of the image that I was projecting.”
Don’t get me wrong, I liked Pat Boone tunes too; Love Letters in the Sand, April Love, even Speedy Gonzales. I also had a pair of his trademark white buck shoes but the only soul he ever had on stage was when he sang for a Billy Graham Crusade altar call.
But I digress.
Linda and I finally made it to see Lincoln the other evening. There is no doubt, Daniel Day Lewis IS Abraham Lincoln. It was a marvel to witness.
Sally Field is totally convincing as Mary Todd. But, dare I say..after over two hours listening to men in dark rooms talking, arguing and yelling..I started looking at my wrist watch. One of my biggest complaints about going to the theater these days (you know you’re old when you say “these days”) is the apparent requirement to demonstrate the full fury of the movie house’s surround sound audio system even if there are only a dozen people in the audience. “Let’s see if we can’t loosen their fillings..heh, heh” That was certainly not a concern during Lincoln. I was actually longing for a few hair raising explosions. The film takes place during the Civil War after all and I guess I fully expected Steven Spielberg, one of the greatest action directors to ever hold a megaphone, to include a realistic battle scene or two. Other than a quick shot of hand to hand combat in the opening credits and old Abe riding his horse through a body-ridden battlefield..what you get is wonderfully acted gab fests. Sure, the topic (passage by the house of representatives of the 13th amendment ending slavery) was a major milestone in our history, I just didn’t realize that was the singular message of the movie.
I’m fascinated by the Civil War and would have loved to see Daniel Day Lewis’ jaw dropping portrayal of our 16th president in a role that encompassed Lincoln’s entire time in the White House..not just that last couple of months. It would have been amazing to see Spielberg’s directing skills applied to recreating the realities and horrors of Civil War battles as he did in Saving Private Ryan and, with equal sensitivity, show how Lincoln somehow managed to deal with it all; the hundreds of thousands of casualties, the death of his young son, an emotional wreck of a wife, incompetent generals and, yes, the determination to free the slaves and above all preserve the union.
That might make for an even longer movie but I’ll bet I wouldn’t be fighting back a yawn halfway through.