Monday, June 23, 2014

What a maroon! What a "Yentl" Case!

On previous birthdays of mine I talked about Daffy Duck, Pepe Le Pew, Tweety, and Jimi Hendrix. This time, as I approach the big 40, I'd like to indulge in a bit of nerd rage against one Barbara Streisand.

I won't go into the usual criticisms of her like the narcissism or her fiercely opinionated nature.  I personally don't care about those things.  She can roll around in a pile of 8 X 10 photos of herself until she squirts enough "fun juice" to go surfing for all I care.  What I want to talk about is one little movie she did back around 1972.  I do believe it was called What's Up, Doc!

It's so titled because it's billed as a screwball comedy (being reminiscent of the ones made in the 1930's) and good ol' Babsy plays a character that is considered a parallel to Bugs Bunny.  She's holding a carrot right there on the poster and she even takes a bite from a carrot and says Bugs' catch phrase when she first meets Ryan O'Neal's character in a book store.

Then, from this point on, she proceeds to stalk the poor bastard...

...and stalk him...

...and stalk him...

...and stalk him...

...until he sees no alternative but to just give in and be her boyfriend.

They even have a Bugs and Elmer cartoon playing at the same time just to completely emphasize the comparison.

I'm not saying this is a terrible movie.  It has clever writing and brilliant performances by Steisand, O'Neal, and everyone else in it.  As a stand alone feature it does quite well.  My problem is that Barbara Streisand's character is NOT like Bugs Bunny at all.  He's not a selfish sociopath who relentlessly goes after whatever he wants.  He's almost the opposite.  Bugs seems to possess a Buddhist-like zen eliminating all or at least most desire (he still craves more than a few carrots now and then).

Sure, in earlier cartoons, Bugs may have picked on Elmer Fudd just for his own amusement, but that died off pretty quickly.

Nyeeeh! Charge any therapy bills to Jack Warner, doc.

As Chuck Jones put it, Bugs works best when he's being a counter-revolutionary.  He doesn't go out looking for trouble.  He actually starts peacefully enough just minding his own business.

Then some big oaf attacks him.

Bugs then swiftly enacts his revenge.

The villain is vanquished!

If anything, Streisand's character is the exact opposite of Bugs, in that it more closely resembles Lola Bunny's character that in exact opposition to Bugs like in the video clip below:

Or, to keep things more-so in line with the animation output of the original studio, Barbara Streisand's character is actually more like Charlie Dog.  He was that stray dog who always used overly aggressive tactics to find a home.  His usual victim was Porky Pig...

...but on occasion he pursued a Southern colonel...

...and a restaurant owner in Italy.

I'd also like to point out that Charlie never actually achieved his goal.  The cartoon would usually end with Charlie getting the bums rush as it were.

Like I said, What's Up Doc is not a terrible movie and deserves no huge amount of heated derision.  I just wish the writers and producers of this film would have had a better understanding of Bugs' character while they were crafting this film's screenplay.

That's it.

Oh yeah, also, happy birthday to me!

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