Your Spin: Uber Wagner

Wagner Quote

It’s that time again to put The Spin your hands!  The topic this round: The Greatest Piece of Richard Wagner Music.

As Sam Juliano from Wonders in the Dark so eloquently mused, “Richard Wagner was a racist, an anti-Semite and a bigamist, yet he wrote some of the most extraordinarily beautiful music in the history of Western civilization.”  And it was Sam’s chatter on the facebook that spurred this post.

It got me wondering, not only about all that great music (that lends itself so eerily well to cinema) but also, “What the hell was going on in Wagner’s head?”  His music has spawned men like Adolph Hitler to score their epic and vile plans for world domination, while it left others rapt and spellbound with fevered dreams of those pearly gates.  What did Wagner see when he composed?  What inspired him?  And what lead him to spew hate while also birthing so much aural beauty, bequeathing to us an unrivaled output of operatic art that will last as long as human beings have ears to listen to his work.  There’s something both ominous and serene about his best pieces, moods that swoon to an emotional climax before bringing the listener back down from heaven (or up from hell) to solid ground where the world lays itself out before us in all its mysterious glory.  His is the stuff of both the calm and the storm, the worldly and otherworldly.

But back to the music.  I’ve left out his most recognizable pieces to the layman…The Lohengrin Bridal March  – yes, the wedding march used at almost every wedding – and Ride of the Valkyries – used so devilishly in D. W. Griffin’s hate mongering Birth of a Nation and overused since then to death.  And, yes, I’m trying to bias the vote by putting my pick at the top.  But without further adieu…the nominees: Continue reading

Your Spin: The Most Memorable Cinematic Performance by an Actor

It’s time yet again to put The Spin in your hands!

This is the latest round of a recurring feature where you, the reader, get to vote.

The winner of the last round, where tasked with choosing The Most Memorable Cinematic Performance by an Actress, was Maria Falconetti for The Passion of Joan of Arc.

Your next decision point:  The Most Memorable Cinematic Performance by an Actor…EVER.  Yup, ever.

Actor - Greek Mask

And the nominees are:

  • All kidding aside, Charlie Chaplin in The Kid
  • For ripping off the mask, Lon Chaney in The Phantom of the Opera
  • Because frankly he didn’t give a damn, Clark Gable in Gone with the Wind
  • Because we’d like to think he killed a man, it’s the romantic in us, Humphrey Bogart in Casablanca
  • For bringing out the killer in all of us, Joseph Cotten in Shadow of a Doubt
  • For STELLLLLLLLLLLLA, Marlon Brando in A Streetcar Named Desire
  • For flying the coop, Jack Nicholson in One Flew over the Cuckoo’s Nest
  • For being mad as hell and not taking it anymore, Peter Finch in Network
  • For being a contender, Robert De Niro in Raging Bull
  • Because, well, he rules, and we don’t get to tell him what to do ever again, Kevin Spacey in American Beauty
  • For drinking our collective milkshake, Daniel Day Lewis in There Will be Blood

Think we left someone out?  Start the debate in the comments form and then vote!

Your Spin: The Most Memorable Cinematic Performance by an Actress

It’s time to put The Spin in your hands!

This is the first round of a new recurring feature where you, the reader, get to vote.

Your first decision point:  The Most Memorable Cinematic Performance by an Actress…EVER.  Yup, ever.

Actress - Greek Mask

And the nominees are:

  • For becoming the saint Reincarnate – Maria Falconetti – The Passion of Joan of Arc
  • Because, frankly, my dear, I don’t give a damn – Vivien Leigh – Gone with the Wind
  • For suposin’ we should get out but quick – Barbara Stanwyck – Double Indemnity
  • For knowing when to walk away – Alida Valli – The Third Man
  • For becoming One – Bibi Andersson & Liv Ullmann – Persona
  • For being television incarnate and madness, Diana, virulent madness – Faye Dunaway – Network
  • Because you told me every man’s voice you hear is mine – Nastassja Kinski – Paris, Texas
  • For showing us hard work pays off – Linda Fiorentino – The Last Seduction
  • For being Good – Emily Watson – Breaking the Waves
  • For knowing that killing people is the one thing you’re not about to stop – Charlize Theron – Monster
  • For making me fall in love with you and the city of dreams – Naomi Watts – Mulholland Drive

Think we left someone out?  Start the debate in the comments form and then vote!