Macaulay Seminar One at Brooklyn College
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Category — Film

Hitchcock and Stand-up

I had a blast at BAM. Hitchcock was great but the stand-up left me a little disappointed.

Anthony Hopkins and Helen Mirren did a great job portraying Hitchcock and Alma. Hopkins walks and talks in the same style that Hitchcock is famous for. I think the film’s strength lies in the fact that it focuses on the complex relationship between the two. I liked the fact that the film chose to highlight Alma’s importance rather than just focus on Hitchcock. I’m glad that I read up about Hitchcock before seeing the film because I was able to catch a lot of the details that the filmakers included both about the way he worked and the way he acted.

 

The  second floor of BAM was gorgeous. The lights and holiday decorations made it even better. It even had a map of the US made out of different pieces of cloth.

 

Photo Dec 06, 8 59 31 PM

Not sure why the host’s eyes are glowing

 

The stand-up performances left a a lot to be desired. The host was alright. He did a pretty good job warming up the audience. The guy after him wasn’t so great. The second guy made me laugh a little but that was mostly due to the way he said Frank Langella.  The woman after them was pretty funny. I heard that the last performer was amazing. I wish I could have stayed to see him but my lab Professor decided right then and there to demand that everyone in the class upload their presentations by 11:00 that night :/.

December 21, 2012   1 Comment

Hitchcock and BAM performance

Hey guys, so my experiences at the Hitchcock film and the stand-up comedy were pretty different. Going in, I expected the film to be uninteresting and the comedy to be really entertaining – but it ended up being just the opposite.

 

I found the Hitchcock film surprisingly good. I didn’t know too much about Hitchcock and I expected the film to be very documentary-like. Instead, it turned out to be a very interesting movie with well-developed characters and a very good plot. It was both informative and entertaining. Even though I didn’t understand some of the parts that related to Hitchcock’s actual life, I learned a lot about him and enjoyed the show.

 

The stand-up comedy, however, wasn’t as strong as the Hitchcock film. I didn’t stay for the end of the show, but the beginning of the comedy show wasn’t too entertaining. I didn’t find the jokes as creative as I thought they would be. A lot of their jokes were vulgar, which I’ve heard are easy to make and not as creative as non-vulgar ones. Instead, I enjoyed the Hanukah vs Christmas debate much more. Even though the BAM performance was the standard format (with comedians coming up and performing one by one), I enjoyed the format of the comedic debate far more, where both of the two groups tried to argue their points and make jokes along the way. I found this performance less creative and not too enjoyable.

December 21, 2012   No Comments

BAM

Hello,

Hitchcock was a great movie. The movie focused more on Alfred Hitchock’s personal issues during the making of the movie, Psycho, rather than Psycho itself. However, it did had the screening of the famous shower scene. The actress that was being attacked originally acted poorly with fake screams until Hitchcock decided to wield the knife instead of the trained stuntman. This was one of the most dramatic scenes of the movie that revealed Hitchcock’s nervous breakdown.

The actors in Hitchcock were very good. Hitchcock’s wife was an immense role and was executed well. Also, the “Hitchcock Blonde”

The movie had a references to other Alfred Hitchcock movies as well, for example the crow landing on his should at the end of the movie when he wonders what movie he would come up with next.

The comedy performance at BAM, on the other hand, I did not enjoy. However, the place was very nice.

The performers I listened to either made sexual jokes, or made fun of the themselves being fat.

The room had interesting lights everywhere and hanging by the entrance, a handmade map of the US.

 

December 20, 2012   No Comments

Hitchcock

Hitchcock

I like the idea of a movie about making a movie. It makes me think about the effort made to make the “outer” movie, and what that looked like. Hitchcock was an entertaining biographical film, showing the life of Alfred Hitchcock as he directed Psycho. I’m always interested in seeing behind the scenes work, because many of us don’t know what really goes into film-making.

The movie showed the drama between Alfred, his agents, and his wife. His agents kept demanding different content than what Alfred provided, always wanting to revise what Hitchcock wanted to produce. Hitchcock’s wife was supportive of him, but often got tired of him, wanting to deviate and what her heart desired. These dynamics made an interesting plot line, keeping the viewer wondering how things would finally unravel.

In the dramatic scenes, close-ups on Hitchcock’s face were made, showing how disturbed he is. It’s always easy to make a distressed face, and a close-up of it really does the job of showing how grimy it looks. As viewers, we wanted Hitchcock to be successful, and for other people to understand him and be more supportive of him. The movie does a good job at evoking our compassion for him.

There were a few comedic scenes dotted throughout the movie, which I feel is necessary for any drama. These include the one where he orchestrates the screams of the movie-watchers, and the ending where a bird lands on Hitchcock’s shoulder. I’m sure there were several more of these “insider” jokes, which require the viewer to have already seen some of Hitchcock’s previous work.

I can’t say that this movie is one of the greatest ever produced, or that I’d love watching it many times. However, it was entertaining nevertheless. I learned more about Hitchcock’s life, while at the same time feeling a tie to the characters.

December 20, 2012   No Comments

Hitchcock and Standup

The film was amazing! There were many conflicts in the film that kept the audience attention. In the beginning when the guy hit his brother with the shovel made me jump from my seat. I thought the acting was great, especially Scarlet Johansson. I did not realize Hitchcock past away before I saw this film so I thought the actor playing Hitchcock was really Hitchcock. I think in a way that made the film more entertaining because I believe the actor was Hitchcock 100% so he acted perfectly. I noticed a lot of Hitchcock type scenes. One was when the camera pointed to Mrs. Hitchcock’s neck for a brief moment when she was bringing meat to her husband. It was like the episode we saw in class. Also, the scene where Hitchcock repeatedly stabbed Scarlet Johansson, that was similar to the scene of The Psycho. When Scarlet gave Hitchcock the candy corn, I thought of the scene of the husband carrying glowing milk to his wife. It was great learning about Hitchcock’s works before watching this film. There was the bird movie reference, North by Northwest reference, and many more.

I did not like the first two standup comedians. They were not funny and relied on sexual remarks for a quick laugh. The second comedian I hated the most. He talked fifteen minutes about a lemon. Who cares!! The host was okay. He was enthusiastic at least. Muhammad and I even had a simple conversation with him before the show. Unfortunately, I did not stay for the rest of the comedians. But the first two were not funny. The only reason why I laugh was because I was standing in front of a big metal garagelike door and everyone who stood in front of me was asked to move. But since there were no signs, the workers had to come every 5 minutes. Also, there was this lady who keep taking pictures with flash, when were we explicitly asked not to. It was funny watching people glare at her when she took pictures.

December 20, 2012   No Comments

Hitchcock/standup performance

Hitchcock:

I LOVED this film! I was actually unfamiliar with Hitchcock and his works, so I felt that seeing clips in class of some of his movies/series was extremely helpful to provide as background information. I feel like some aspects of the movie can only be appreciated if you know certain things about Hitchcock. For instance, when we were watching the episode of his show during class, at one point, I remember as the wife was walking towards the husband with the meat in her hand, the camera was getting creepily closer to his back. This theme was revisited in the movie at one point when Hitchcock was approaching his wife and the camera focuses in on the back of her neck. Additionally, one trend in general about the clips we watched was a sense of violence and gore, or at least violence to be expected based on suspicious behaviors of the characters, such as when the man in one clip is bringing a glass of milk to his wife. The way he walks and the way the milk seems to glow seem to foreshadow sinister happenings. This gives us an insight into Hitchcock’s mind about how he enjoys examining violent acts. This is revisited in the movie several times. One time is when he gets frustrated during a shot of the shower scene in Psycho, so he goes ahead himself with the fake knife and pretends to hack away at the girl in the shower. Another time is near the end of the movie, during the first premiere of his film. Hitchcock stands outside the theatre, and when the shower scene comes on, he seems to be sort of “conducting” the screams of the audience.

Another thing I found to be really fascinating about the movie was the way in which Hitchcock seems to be a dynamic and static character at the same time. His facial expression never changes, whether he is angry, sad, happy, etc. He has one resting expression which follows him wherever he goes and whatever he does, yet he does seem to be emotional at the same time, which makes him dynamic! You can easily tell, because many times, either his voice would change or his actions indicate his emotions. One example is when he collects sand he finds in his bathroom and replaces his wife’s pills with it. His actions show that he is mad and that he wants her to realize how angry he is by showing her the sand in her pill bottle.

I was really impressed by the casting as well. I didn’t know that the real Hitchcock is no longer alive, and the resemblance between the actor who portrays him and Hitchcock himself is uncanny! I actually googled him on my phone during the movie, to figure out if Hitchcock himself was in the film. That was when I discovered that Hitchcock had passed away.

Standup comedy:

I thought the standup acts were atrocious. First of all, I was disappointed by the cramped space. There was not a single seat to be found. Secondly, there was a really long delay before the show started. My main objection was that the comics were not funny at all, in my opinion. They delivered very crude and cliche jokes that were not articulated well and not organized. Honestly, I thought the humor was too simple in some cases, or lacking completely with other jokes. I did not stay for the whole show, so I cannot speak for every performer. However, the first three performers, whom I did watch, seemed to have a very limited scope in terms of the jokes they told. They all had some sort of sexual reference, which can be very funny when articulated and presented well. I was discussing the comedy acts with Steve after we left and we began to discuss the influence of alcohol on the performers and on the audience. The lounge had a bar that was giving away free beers. This would explain the massive crowd. Additionally, because of all of the alcohol, we inferred that the comics would feel a lot less pressure to entertain the audience, most of which was throwing back beers every few minutes. The audience, which was clearly under the influence, would thus be very easily impressed.

December 20, 2012   1 Comment

BAM and Uptown Showdown

So, I’ve decided to put these two posts together because in both events we went to go see comedy performances. At Uptown Showdown, it was an interesting new experience because I have never seen comedians do a debate while still trying to be funny. I felt like it was comedy improv in a sense where they’re given a topic to talk about, and even though that topic may not be funny , they are kind of forced to make it funny anyway. For example, that first guy who presented his argument for Hanukkah, even though he was pretty much just telling us the story of Hanukkah and how it came about, i thought he was one of the funniest comedians of the show. I think it is because of the way that he performed the story, adding in little jokes that would otherwise be offensive but because of the setting were not. I found myself laughing at things I should find offensive. They kept making fun of the miracle of christmas and the story behind christmas, and being a religious person I was kind of confused when i didn’t find myself getting angry. I think it’s because it was a comedy and sometimes the only way to laugh at something is to be offensive about it. I can accept that. Overall it was a great night and i still think Christmas should have one, no bias at all. That Hanukkah team was slacking. I really liked the question and answer portion of the night as well, especially when the comedians attacked that guy who asked a really stupid question to Michael. It kind of reminded me of the Louie clip that we watched in class. *NOTE TO SELF* never ask a comedian a question

At the BAM, The night started out great. I’m not really and Alfred Hitchcock fan so i thought i wasn’t going to enjoy the movie but I loved it. Hitchcock was such an great movie and I really like the way it was done. It felt kind of like an inception….a movie with a movie if you get what i mean.

The Second Half of the night…That Comedy was Horrific. I thought it was gonna be better than the Uptown Showdown because it was going to be comedians doing whatever they want, but it was horrific. The host was alright and i found myself laughing, but then the first two comics were just awful, so awful that i just walked out the show. It’s unfortunate because other people were laughing so I felt like I didn’t understand the jokes. Then I realized that everyone was probably just drunk off the Free Beer. Clever Move BAM, clever move.

December 20, 2012   No Comments

Oral Performance/Hitchcock

On November 19th, we went to see a debate of Christmas vs. Hanukah. Coming into the debate, I thought that it wouldn’t really be that entertaining. I expected a group of amateur comedians saying corny punchlines in addition to jokes that no one really understood. However, it showed me that oral performance really takes a lot of work and truly is a form of art. The comedians had to appeal to us so we would like their performance and vote for their side. It’s almost identical to how pitchmen sell their products at fairs. In my personal opinion, the comedians weren’t really that funny other than the first male from the Hanukah team. Overall, the debate was entertaining but didn’t reach my expectation of “comedy.”

On December 6th, we watched a movie about Alfred Hitchcock and the making of his movie, “Psycho.” I expected to see a boring documentary about a old director who had a lucky movie. But what I got instead was an entertaining story about a man trying not only to direct a hit movie, but also manage other aspects of his life as well. The movie gave me insight as to how much work and effort directors/producers have to put into their productions. It showed me that it took a combination of perspiration and inspiration to make a movie, a true definition of art.

After the movie we went upstairs to see a stand-up comedy show. I noticed that stand-up comedians often use jokes that make fun of themselves to get laughs from the audience. I believe this is because usually people laugh at other people’s minor sufferings. The technique usually worked because throughout that night, whenever a comedian would make fun of themselves the audience would be in an uproar. Maybe it was also because half of them were drinking, but I’m fairly certain it was because of the technique.

Overall these two visits showed me that oral performance takes a lot of hard work and dedication. It requires a combination of inspiration and perspiration. Due to this, I believe oral performance is the best definition of art.

 

December 19, 2012   No Comments

BAM

Hitchcock was one of my favorite things we watched together this semester. I enjoyed how he made a sort of hind-sight movie in a sense, looking back at the production of his greatest success. It was inspiring to me, seeing how so many people said that “Psycho” was going to be a failure and was not going to be successful. It was shocking to see that all these people did not believe in him despite his success in the past. However, he was headstrong and did not let these people’s pessimisms discourage him. This was very inspiring to me.
The comedy show was not very good. The seats were limited and the first few acts were not funny. I ended up leaving after the first 3 performers. Apparently the show did get funnier as the night progressed, but I feel that they should’ve put their best performers first and put everyone in a laughing mood and a good mood. This way, the less funny performers would get more laughs because the audience will already be in a good mood and ready to laugh at anything even slightly funny.

December 19, 2012   No Comments

BAM: Hitchcock and Stand Up

Going into the Hitchcock movie at BAM, I wasn’t so sure what to expect, especially after spending our class time watching old Hitchcock shows and movie clips. But from almost the very beginning of the film, when the camera pans to the actor playing Hitch, who looks and sounds kind of like the real Hitch (as far as I can tell, with my minimal knowledge of Alfred Hitchcock I got from watching some clips in class), and starts talking to the audience just like the real Hitch did i some of his shows, to the end (which closes in a similar manner- Hitch talking to directly to the audience, and an allusion to his film “The Birds”) I really enjoyed myself. For some reason, going into the movie I thought that maybe it was some kind of documentary film, or maybe a film that was similar to the Hitchcock works that we had previewed in class-something spooky or macabre. But I was pleasantly surprised that it wasn’t really that at all, and although it was biographical, it was still a very entertaining movie.

Then there was the stand up comedy. Going into that, I was really excited. I very much enjoy comedy, and especially after the uptown showdown that we had previously seen (and that I really liked) I think that my expectations were a little high. Unfortunately, I don’t think my expectations were really met. There were definitely some jokes here and there that elicited a giggle or two, and some that got a full out laugh, but overall I was a little disappointed. I ended up leaving after the second or third performer, which I didn’t mind too much at the time. I did, however hear that Judah Friedlander made a guest appearance after I had left, and that he was pretty funny. Oh well.

December 18, 2012   No Comments