Tuesday, January 27, 2015

Immortal Meh-loved

And so, the Tom at the piano trilogy is complete... probably.  Was it just a trilogy?  And will we ever see a time in the future when a serial like Tom and Jerry will hold the Oscar voting block hostage?  Short answer, no, because today's studio moguls don't seem that interested in the category anymore.  No, it's Eastern bloc countries that submit entries for the Best Animated Short category these days.  Grim, character-driven tales with one word titles like Cabbage and Freedom/Depression.  No, the days of Oscar hogs like Fred Quimby and Louis B. Mayer are long gone.  Now it's all about cooking the books and not pissing off Zen master Michael Ovitz.
...darn.  I might have to watch this with the sound.  I'm watching this at school without the sound.  I forgot my stupid earbud headphones.  It's your classical Three Act structure, as David Letterman might say, but he doesn't want to seem that bookwormish.  Can't get any bad girls that way!  Anyway, we find Tom and Jerry living in the house of... probably Johann Strauss, playing away all day at his piano.  Jerry can't help but get swept away by the music, which Tom tries to use to his advantage.  But as blissed out as Jerry gets, he still manages to outrun the cat back to his hole in the wall.  Tom tries several times, but like Mitt Romney, consistently fails at the modest task that is his charge... well, they can't have the whole script online, can they?
ACT TWO - Time for Tom to change his tactics.  Screenwriters take note: this is one of the secret cornerstones of the Tom and Jerry cartoons... except for that one, Putting on the Dog.  That's just straight-up slapstick.  And so, Tom decides to learn to play the piano.  Which he does, of course!  And quickly, because this is a one-reeler.  Tom plays well enough to get Jerry back into his blissed out state of dancing to the music and kissing green tassels.  Still, Tom can't get close enough to catch that mouse... or can he?  Tom does eventually grab hold of Jerry... AND THEN, fate intervenes!  All of Strauss' human servants were observing this spectacle.  And so, like Bugs and Elmer in What's Up Doc?, Tom and Jerry find themselves instant stars, and quickly rising to the top of the 1800s equivalent of going viral and Vaudeville: an audience in the King's Court.  Let's hope they don't f... screw it up!
ACT THREE - Tom and Jerry emerge in full tux and tails.  Unlike the other two, The Cat Concerto and ... you know, that Hollywood Bowl one, Tom emerges a wide-eyed innocent, still trying to figure out what's going on, but by the time he gets to the piano, he's got the closed eyes of a piano-playing world-weary expert.  Tom's able to stay in professional mode as Jerry doesn't do anything but dance around, like the eye candy he thinks he is... but then, his cat-ly instincts kick in!  Awright!  The music stops, Jerry looks over in concern, then gets what's going on.  Time to head for the wall again!  BAM!  Whether that snooty audience knows it or not, that's the part they were really waiting for: the proverbial fiery NASCAR crash... does that make sense?  Of course, they didn't keep good records of the entertainment acts back then.  You'd think a dancing mouse and a piano-playing cat would've gotten more historical traction than that!
(after viewing with sound) Yup, Johann Strauss' house.  And Tom changes tactics because Strauss goes on vacation.  No one to play the piano!  Well, mother is the invention of necessity... sumpthing like that.

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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