Tuesday, August 27, 2013
The Art of Chemistry
When I was at the Chateau Marmont a few weeks ago, I happened to catch about 30 minutes of "Pitch Perfect" on HBO before my dinner reservation. Last weekend, I had the opportunity to see the entire movie...four times.
The story was really nothing unique; two rival "gangs" (this time, the turf is cappella singing) go vocal chord to vocal chord in a competition that ends at Lincoln Center in New York City.
The male singing group is comprised mainly of egotistical geeks who love to poke fun at the foibles of the mis-matched female group who happen to be the underdogs from the previous season of competition. You can probably guess the plot as it unfolds.
The casting and chemistry is what elevates this movie to a higher level of entertainment that is a sheer joy to watch. Anna Camp and Brittany Snow (above) are brilliant as the team leaders of the Barden Bellas, the girl group that was shamed at the previous year's competition. They have to scrape the bottom of the barrel to get enough new recruits to have an opportunity to get to the finals.
Reminiscent of "Best in Show," John Michael Higgins and Elizabeth Banks have cameos as the color commentary at each of the various levels of a cappella competition. They are pure comic gold.
The leads, played by Anna Kendrick and Skylar Astin, are the text-book definition of romantic chemistry. Playfully flirtatious, the two give refreshingly natural performances, making it easy to root for their success.
And the music...also joyful. It feels so good to watch a movie for the sole reason of being entertained. Sure, there are messages along the way, but they don't hit you over the head like a ton of bricks.
More recently, I was able to see another brilliant example of cinema chemistry. Sandra Bullock and Melissa McCarthy do not explore new territory either. Just imagine "The Odd Couple" with two female law enforcement officers and you basically have the plot of "The Heat."
The chemistry between Bullock and McCarthy makes this movie a total laughfest. It dips a little deeper into the territory of messaging, but never enough to make you feel as if you've been chastised.
Even though I almost flunked Chemistry in High School (true story), that doesn't mean I don't recognize a great formula when I see it. Be sure to catch both of these movies.
Cox Pilot came through with some more information about the little car that was seen on display in the Flight Circle in a previous post:
I did a some web cruising and found an article about a rather eccentric Cheston Eshelman (he of lawn tractor manufacture fame) and the Eshelman Motor Car Co. of Baltimore, Maryland. There is some information on the 1955 and 1956 Child's Sports Cars. The list of cars produced at the time included the 1955 Jaguar XK-140 Drophead Coupe, which I believe is the one that was in the photo that you posted.
These little cars were powered by a Briggs & Stratton engine, and were made as a promotional advertising gimmick for the car dealerships. They were generally referred to as a "go-cart", and were sent around to schools and other places kids would be able to ride in them, and then get there parents to come down to the dealer so they could ride again. I also found the photo shown below of a peddle car. It seems to match the lines of the one in the Flight Circle. Why it was sitting in there is a mystery to me. Maybe they were just trying to fill the space.
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