Sunday, December 13, 2015

What Makes Daffy Duck

I'm telling you, you young'uns out there!  You're living in a golden age of video, especially and particularly if you purchase the Looney Tunes Golden Collection... all of 'em, that is.  I have yet to get Volume 6 myself, full disclosure.  Maybe Santa will smile down upon me and... ah, who'm I kidding.
Anyways, it's time for Duck Amuck, the veritable great-grandfather of Fight Club, one of the greatest late '90 mindf... -messing-with movies made in 1999.  Yes, the turning of the years seemed to be a big deal, leading up to it and what not.  Personally, I think when it turned into 2000, and Jesus didn't show up, well... I hate to say an Atheist triumph, but it seemed to be a bit of a setback for the Christians.  I personally felt like Danny DeVito in Ruthless People when he admonished the kidnappers, saying "No... you told me that if I didn't pay, my wife would be in the morgue.  Well, today, I went down to the morgue, and she wasn't there!"
As for the whole 2012 Mayan stuff, well... I think Bill Maher probably said it best.  The Mayans didn't see their own demise coming, so why take their prediction seriously?  Personally, I hope I don't live to see the year 2048.  Oh, that's going to be fun, because I'll be about 76 years old, wearing a grey hoodie, and screaming about Y-ACTUAL-2K with the rest of the computer geeks... see, 2K is short for 2048 in some circles, and I'm sure some institutions probably thought it was a good idea to skimp on the computer hardware, and only code years in 11 bits.  "Oh, 2048 will never get here," they said.  "Oh, surely we won't still be using the same old freakin' stop lights in 2048!" they said.
Now, sure, you might be thinking to yourself right about now, "Geez Louise, The Movie Hooligan!  You're rambling like an incoherent old man!  What's with all the straying from the topic of Duck Amuck?  Geez Louise!"  And you'd be right... and, of course, if you're at all familiar with Duck Amuck, you know that it's a film devoted to the very act of straying from the topic.  Take the beginning, for example.  Seems like a Musketeers-type deal, judging from the title card font and the music, right?  Right.  And Daffy seems to think so at first as well.  And now that I think about it, going right into a fight scene right out of the gate is rather silly at that.  A Ph.D dissertation could be successfully made about the psychology of this cartoon.  Personally, I think its genesis comes from, for example, the endings of two other Chuck Jones semi-classics, Rabbit Punch and My Favorite Duck.  I also thought of the story of how Ray Charles happened to compose his classic song "What'd I Say"... something about how he'd finished playing a long, long concert... and just ran out of songs.  "What'd I Say" was born.  So, too, was Duck Amuck... way ahead of Woodstock, as was Jones' 1962 effort, Now Hear This.
So what's my favourite aspect of this cartoon?  Well, if I had to pick just one, gun to my head... I'd have to say it's the part where Daffy's angrily jumping around.  Of course, he does that a lot in this one, but when he says "NOT ME, YOU SLOP ARTIST!" and "A CLOSE-UP, YOU JERK!  A CLOSE-UP!!!!!"  They're spoiling us by putting all the classic ones on the first volume.  As for the ending, well, I suppose anyone who's endured any amount of rejection in their lives might find some perverse pleasure in the simplicity of a closed door, spoiler alert.  Just as the waterworks were flowing for me and some of those old Popeye cartoons, I got a wee bit weepy with the finale of Duck Amuck.  Mostly because of the music, I think.
Apparently this cartoon was bourne from Chuck Jones thinking about backgrounds.  "What if we ran out of backgrounds?" he thought.  I think I prefer his way of thinking, as compared to, say, Hanna and Barbera when they jumped into the deep end of the television pool with both feet and said, "Screw the backgrounds.  Quick and dirty's the way to go for this little box.  Repeat the same crappy background forever!  Who cares?  Who'll notice?"  It took Warner Bros. a while to catch up, but sometime in the mid 60s, their backgrounds were gone too.

Good double bill with: Kick Me..... oh, right, and of course, Rabbit Rampage.  Sheesh.

An obstruction-free path to Michael Barrier's website

-so sayeth The Movie Hooligan

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