Friday, 30 November 2007

THE CARUSO EFFECT

The other night I found myself, for the very first time ever, watching an episode of "CSI: Miami".

I offer no excuses for this. None at all. I'm very sorry, and I promise it won't happen again. But ...

Consider David Caruso, the lead actor in this series. Caruso first came to prominence with "NYPD Blue" in the 80's, decided he was bigger than television and went on to make a few movies, the pinnacle of this career change being William Friedkin's Joe Eszterhas scripted "Jade" of which Kenneth Turan from the Los Angeles Times wrote, "watching "Jade" is such a hollow experience it's hard to work up the energy to dismiss it."

Caruso then limped back to the small screen and, fittingly for someone who'd just worked with two of biggest known dickheads in showbusiness, wound up in a program produced by "high concept" impresario Jerry Bruckheimer, the man partly responsible (along with the late and definitely not-lamented Don Simpson) for such dazzling gems of cinematic ingenuity as "Top Gun", "Flashdance", "Days Of Thunder", "Pearl Harbor" and ... "Kangaroo Jack" (the last two sans Simpson).

No doubt about it, Caruso's a quality type of guy. Even the name of his character in the show screams quality ... “Horatio Caine” ... Ooh, my. (Hey kids, what’s the bet the character’s old man had a thing going for boats and sailors and the navy and such, and the name was explained away in the very first episode? I missed that. How sad.)

But frankly, and not to put too fine a point on it, Caruso's acting sucks rhino dick. Big time rhino dick, that is.

It's not that his performance skills are "bad" in that Chuck Norris kind of way. I’m not even sure that you could call it “lazy” ... It’s just that, quite simply, there are no skills whatsoever in evidence. Nothing at all. Nada. Zip. Zilch.

During one scene, an interrogation, Caruso started off with a squinty-eyed, softly-spoken needling of his suspect. Caruso would like his suspect to know that he is not a man to raise his voice and nor will he be "messed" with. And, as the scene plays out, the actor playing the suspect would like David Caruso to know that if he squints his eyes any further and keeps insisting on removing any semblance of emotion from his every spoken word, a coroner would have a pretty fair case for starting an autopsy immediately to determine the cause of death.

At a couple of points during the scene, Caruso actually moves a bit. He takes a step. He folds his arms. He puts his arms on his hips. Then he folds them again and then he puts them on his hips again. Then he moves his head. Then he moves it back. Then he takes his hands off his hips and folds them again. All the while this is going on, his eyes have come to resemble two paper cuts and his voice has stayed so numbingly devoid of any inflections that the viewer begins drifting off to considerations on far more important matters ... like the price of manchester, or that dentist's appointment coming up in 8 months.

Then the scene ends and, jolted from our musings, our attention is violently jerked back to the matter at hand (so to speak). And there's David again! In a whole new scene! Let's watch, shall we? ...

He moves a bit. He takes a step. He folds his arms. He puts his arms on his hips. Then he folds them again and then he puts them on his hips again. Then he moves his head. Then he moves it back. Then he takes his hands off his hips and folds them again. All the while this is going on, his eyes have now come to resem ...

Oh, bugger it, I'm not going through all that again ...

Unwittingly, and in the space of only 30 minutes, I'd discovered "The Caruso Effect" and this effect can be defined as the simple act of "not being arsed".

He couldn't be arsed doing anything resembling a performance and I couldn't be arsed watching him do it.

So next time I’m given the choice between watching an interview with some overpaid, weedy-voiced lugnut who gets paid squillions to thrash a ball around a paddock or an episode of “CSI: Miami”, I’m going to bed.

With a book.



From 1990, Naked City (Zorn, Frisell, Horvitz, Frith, Baron & Eye) “Gotham”

THE WINDYMILLS OF HIS MIND

In the aftermath of the Australian federal election on November 24th, political commentators, columnists and bloggers are falling over one another in a race to define and analyse the so-called "legacy" of the John Howard years. The usual conservative suspects are whipping up their sticky souffl├ęs of sickeningly sycophantic superlatives to scatter adoringly at the feet of their former Grand Master and current Deity Elect.

Witness Greg Sheridan from The Australian in this creepy piece of fawning pap:

"An absolute giant" ... "dazzlingly revolutionary moments" ... "exceptional courage" ... "brilliant strategic move" ... "never shirked from the fight " ... "an old-fashioned gentleman" ... "a decent bloke by any measure" ... "grew immeasurably" ... "decent man" ... "genuinely great prime minister" ... "a giant" ... and ... "On Iraq, Howard made the right call on the information available, and it took incredible guts to do it. There were certainly no lies involved - every responsible authority was convinced Saddam Hussein possessed weapons of mass destruction - and Howard will be vindicated by history."

Sheridan appears to have disappeared so firmly up his own fantastic fundament that not only has he discovered a new dimension of reality, but also his navel flaps every time he draws a breath.

Here’s a little something just for poor ol’ Greg ...



From 1985, Godley & Creme “Cry”