January 15th, 2012

Thumbs Up Vader

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Even though I read a grip of them back in elementary school, I can't remember this about L. Frank Baum's Oz books: whether any part of Oz got snow. But Oz is a big land that probably does, somewhere. There was that magical snow in the poppy field near the Emerald City, after all (thanks, Galinda, I mean Glinda!). Oz is surrounded by desert, a really wide desert, and deserts get snow a lot less, but maybe snow still happens in some of its places, even non-magically.

So. The Wicked Witch of the West. Elphaba, as Gregory Maguire finally named her (and I find something very right about that name. Obviously Maguire did, too). She famously melts in the story when Dorothy throws water on her. Would snow have the same effect? I'm going to say no. Not enough moisture! (Hey, it's not like Elphaba melting makes much sense. At best, it's a dream-logic moment, and in the original book and the 1939 film it's never set up as a threat. I never noticed that until Peter David pointed it out.)

Now I kind of want Elphaba to have searched for and traveled to a part of Oz where it doesn't get warm enough to rain, only snow. She'd be safer! Plus snow is pretty. At least, at first. The loveliest bits of Edward Scissorhands are the snow bits, I think. (There's an example!) And even with, what, a dozen dozen novels, films, plays, and musicals set in Oz, there's lots of land to explore that hasn't been yet. Explored, I mean. Fan fiction writers, get on it!

But ultimately, even if she found lands with snow and no other precip, Elphaba would come back from such hinterlands -- she did so in all the other tales -- to confront what needs confronting in the land of Oz, so the stories told in all those novels, films, plays, and musicals could happen. "Happen" in the storytelling sense, I mean. Not that I'd mind Oz actually existing, because it's a neat place.

Ah. Yet again, I want odd things.
Whale fluke

Jeez, I crack myself up.

Tales of Twitter goofing-around, complete with described violence!

I asked the trivia question "Which two Tim Burton-directed films did Danny Elfman not score?" Polly Pospisil, a local trivia contest quizmaster whose games I've attended, got one answer (Ed Wood), but wasn't sure of the second (Sweeney Todd):

Her: Wasn't it some war movie he directed?

Me: No, not a war film. Unless it was a WAR ON NECKS. USING KNIVES. (Whoa. Channeling @FatboyRoberts & @CortWebber there...)

Elfman didn't score Ed Wood because he and Burton were on the outs by the time Burton shot it, though in at least one 1994 interview Elfman claimed he was going to score it. Howard Shore, who at the time had the same agent as Elfman, got the job and scored it admirably. Elfman and Burton patched things up and became friends again during filming of Mars Attacks!, and the story I've heard is that late in that film's production, Burton personally asked Shore if he'd step aside from Mars Attacks! so Elfman could score it.

And Sweeney Todd was already fully scored, of course, by Stephen Sondheim.