Thursday, 8 November 2007

Everyday above ground is a good day.

Oh man, oh man, oh man, oh man, why did it take me so long to discover Scarface?! Oh, yes, I know why, it's because those nihilistic rappers took the movie and made it their own: doing up their houses in the same lurid red and ivorydecor, with the pool underneath the stairs, and the TV in the bathroom with an ocean of a hot tub.

Calling themselves Tony Montana, and giving their albums names like, "The world is yours" and "Push it to the Limit." I was also put off by the posters, you know, the one with Tony Montana holding the grenade launcher, and screaming, "Say hello to my leettle frien' "

Also, it didn't help that every Italian male in their twenties I know was dressed like they escaped from 1983, pre "Miami Vice", post disco with that white double breasted suit, and the oversized lapels. The imitation of Pacino's Cuban accent didn't help either, especially with, "Who put dis deal together? Me? Who I trust? Me!" (An Italian imitating a fake Cuban accent by an Italian American? Priceless.)

Don't get me wrong, I've always been a fan of Al Pacino. I loved him in The Godfather trilogy, The Devil's Advocate, and Heat. Hell, I saw Oceans 13 because of him (not a fan of Pitt or Clooney, no.). But I'd never seen him in Scarface. Saw posters, heard about that ghastly chainsaw scene, but didn't go beyond that.

So, what brought this about? you may ask, and I'm rather embarassed to admit it. I was reading a particular author's work, and she has a series of books out, about men who serve in the US Navy SEALS. So, she mentions this character's name, Vincent DeInnocentis and how he looks like Al Pacino, and that's why they call him "Godfather"(code name, nothing hokey). So, I'm thinking about Al Pacino as Micheal Corleone in Godfather I (1st photo, the other photos are from Scarface).

You know, that face Al Pacino has then, earlier in the film? Iit's a nice face. Lean, with striking features of hooded eyes, a strong nose, a mobile mouth. But his face is not yet not fully formed, not yet lived in. When he smiles, it's easy, but reserved, because that's how Micheal is. He is stillness, has the core within him to live apart, to distance himself from his family's business, because it doesn't define him - not like it defines his brothers.

Not yet, anyway.

Moving on. So, I read two other books within the series, and Vincent kinda resembles Al Pacino in Scarface. I'm like, "Scarface? As in, "Say 'ello to my leetle fren'?" or, "When you **** with Tony Montana, you ****ing with de bes'?" Scarface? Really? And then, I cocked my head to the side, rather like a puzzled dog and tried to think how Al Pacino looked in that movie, and can only come up with him and the grenade launcher, at the end. Or him sitting in front of that false front of a tropical background, with his coat slung over his shoulders and his arm in a sling. And I'm like, "really?" and felt bummed. Why not Robert De Niro in Taxi Driver, with his whipcord body, tough guy bravado and face creased in sly smiles?

Sighing, because well, although I avoided Scarface despite it being a cult movie, and all the baggage it brings, it seems I must see it, to see what sort of face Al Pacino has in that movie. The one between The Godfathers and Carlito's Way.

Well, wow.

What a face Al Pacino (as Tony Montana) has in this movie! It's tough, and very much lived in. Montana's face is a barometer of his moods: a satanic mask with hellfire eyes when angered at a percieved double cross, almost handsome when happy (because Tony Montana is not handsome, he's striking, yes, but not handsome). His body has a swing to it, sometimes jittery, due to the drugs, but always cocky, always powerful. Montana is shades of charisma and cruelty, which simultaneously makes him atttractive and repellent to his nearest and dearest.

The movie itself is definately a Greek tragedy, with our antihero coming from nothing, seizing chances, making the right choices and getting money, power and his woman, a fey and cold blonde. His pursuit for the whole world and everything in it literally destroys him, but he goes out with a bang; when he's all pumped up with coke, riddled with bullets and literally seeing his burgeoning empire now ashes at his feet, in his mouth and nose, he looks at his assassins and snarls/screams the immortal words, "I'm still standing!" before he's blown away.


So yeah, I'm converted. I love Scarface, for its themes of greed and obsession and impotence. It is truly a cautionary tale and nowhere near as romantic as rappers want it to be. It's a story about a bad man in an even worse business.

What probably appeals, is that although Tony Montana is no hero, he still has his own moral code, and he went down fighting. The story isn't exactly Macbeth (although it has a few key themes in common) but its compelling.

Tony Montana is all passion and no control, all faith and nothing to believe in, and when he finally takes a stand, it gets him killed, in large part because he destroys his own support systems.


And yes, I can understand why the writer used that celluloid image for her character in her story. Vincent DeInnocentis is tough, and has his own moral code, but unlike Montana, he doesn't really have those sociopathic tendencies and a drug habit that could stun an African bull elephant. He's lived (although he's relatively young), and his character is formed, so he deserves a face like Montana's. It really fits, and I think I have a new literary crush, even though he's already gotten his girl. *sighs*

I'm the suck.

On the knitting scene: I was supposed to do a jumper for Nanowrimo - the National Write a Novel Month, wherein you write 50,000 words in 30 days? Instead, you're supposed to do 50,000 stitches in 30 days (about a jumper's worth). I wanted to do central park hoodie in Rowan All Seasons cotton. I've done the gauge stitch and casted on twice, but the yarn isn't for that jumper. Maggie Righetti is right, you need to listen to your yarn.

My all seasons is murmuring sweetnothings for me to turn it into a miltary jacket but with slightly belled sleeves, ala Phildar. It's also telling me in hot whispers that I need to get a calculator, some graph paper and hop to it, because it would be fabulous, but I'm studiously ignoring it. I don't want to start whipping out calculators and Barbara Walker just yet.

At the moment, I'm still crocheting my squares for charity, and trying to talk myself out of doing a short sleeved garment for winter. But winter in my neck of the woods hasn't been winter for a while, with all that global warming.

So, have you discovered something new that you've perhaps dismissed before?


JayJay said...

My hubby is a HUGE Al Pacino fan. I haven't seen Scarface, but I'm sure I will eventually, under the circumstances.

I have lots of yarn whispering to me, but I need to ignore them in favor of packing for our move.

cranberry said...

Well, if you're faint of heart, you might want to fastforward through the chainsaw scene. The movie is bloody but worth a watch. The dialogue is quotable and snappy. Oliver Stone did a good job.