7.15.2014

Top Ten Tuesday: other ways to tell stories


Top Ten Tuesday is an original feature of The Broke and the Bookish.

This week's theme: Let's talk about other types of stories! Top Ten Favorite Movies or TV Shows! (can break it down to top ten favorite romance movies or comedy shows etc. etc.)


I want to talk about good storytelling. Not just oh this is a great romantic comedy or what have you. Just fantastic storytelling in mediums other than books. This is unorganized, semi-stream of conscious, and a little frivolous. Please bear with me. 

Theatre

Assassins
music and lyrics by Stephen Sondheim
book by John Weidman
based on an idea by Charles Gilbert, Jr.
The cast of Roundabout Theatre Company's Assassins; Photo Credit: Joan Marcus, 2004
For those of you unfamiliar, Assassins is a musical about the various assassins (and would-be assassins) of U.S. presidents. On paper, this is an episodic subject that doesn't really benefit from any kind of attempt at theming. You take a book like James W Clarke's American Assassins: The Darker Side of Politics and you don't really think "Hey! This would make a great musical!" But it does. And, in this format, it becomes a tale of striving for the American Dream, a tale of the everyman. Confronting that concept through the eyes of the likes of John Wilkes Booth and Lee Harvey Oswald may not be everyone's cup of tea, but it makes for a very clever way of doing each story a bit of justice. 

Television

"Call the Midwife"

I was going to try and avoid things actually based on specific books, but then I remembered "Call the Midwife" and I gave up that hope. As someone who was exposed to A Child is Born as a kid, and who went to Catholic school, the last thing I ever expected to be watching was a show about nuns and childbirth. But here we are. And it's because the storytelling is so engaging - and that has a lot to do with the memoir it's based on - these characters were real people, and the sensitivity to their true stories that the memoir surely shows, shines through here. It's sweet and painful and just really really...human.

"Battlestar Galactica"

We're talking '04 people, not '78. Definitely not '78. 
There are very few dull moments in the contemporary "Battlestar Galactica." Now, granted, I binge-watched this entire series last summer, so I didn't have the benefit(?) of watching it in real time with commercials and week-long or summer-long breaks, etc. So it all seemed pretty quickly-paced to me. I can understand that maybe that opinion is a little skewed. But let's say it's not. The way that this story unfolds (though some will argue it wasn't satisfactory) is pretty stellar. (okay that was a little bit of a space joke, sorry.) Joking aside, the way they pull back the layers and explore each character - human or cylon or...both...or something - is really well-thought-out. And the relationships feel real. The best of these (though Bill-and-Laura is the most touching) is Gaius' relationship with himself/ the vision of Caprica 6 which at the end of the day is legitimate, but which can be taken as an examination of conscience, which is brilliant. 

"The Twilight Zone"

I don't think I should even have to explain this one. But basically, it all goes back to Ambrose Bierce. Always waiting for the other shoe to drop. And for an example of what I'm talking about, look no further than the episode that's actually an Ambrose Bierce story, but not actually a Twilight Zone episode - An Occurrence at Owl Creek Bridge.

Film

The Sting
The Sting, 1973
Everything about this film from the production design, to the use of "The Entertainer" as the core of the score, to using title cards for each scene...everything tells a story. The film even goes so far as to play the audience as a mark, which is kind of what it's like to be inceptioned, I guess...

The Rescuers
image by Mel Shaw
I just want to talk about the opening title sequence for this film. Mel Shaw's paintings tell such a beautiful story with the bottle making its way through the water from Penny to her saviors. It's so moving...I actually cry every time. The rest of the movie is fine. The paintings in the opening though - I love the way that they zoom in on what must not be very large pieces, and then pull out - in the above image you can see the grain of the paper - it's just visually stunning. Frozen hearkened back (see: ripped this off) to this with the parents on the ship sequence, but nothing beats Mel Shaw's artistry.

When Harry Met Sally

I was going to talk about this one, but Vulture's Jesse David Fox beat me to it by about 12 hours. Read that article here

2 comments:

  1. Love seeing BSG and When Harry Met Sally on your list! Absolutely love and adore!

    ReplyDelete
  2. I didn't realize Call the Midwife was based on a book! I just started watching it on Netflix.

    ReplyDelete

Any and all feedback is welcome - thanks for taking the time!