Friday, February 12, 2010

Sea of Love

Come with me, my love, to the sea, the sea of love.
This Al-Pacino-Ellen Barkin movie from 1989 can grow on you.
John Goodman sings and knocks back the Budweiser. Pacino drinks too much Scotch and looks good sweating.

But the best thing about the movie is its love of poetry.For the most part it's a typical police drama with a career cop drinking too much and putting his foot in his mouth way too often. He's lonely. Ellen Barkin is sexy and very 80's ruffled looking with her smirk and tough voice. But it's the poetry. The killer likes it. And the cop exists because of it.

Goodmnan says of the killer, "She's a poetry-lover." Pacino says, "More like a poetry-hater." The killer finds victims through poetic ditties in the newspaper personal ads. So a serial killer associated with poetry. Okay. Even crazy folks can feel the poetry bug.

Best scene in the movie happens before Barkin even appears. Pacino and a bunch of other cops are sitting around his dad's apartment trying to come up with a rhyme for the personal ad they are going to use to set up the killer. They have a bunch of typical meathead ones, and then Pacino's dad, played by William Hickey starts talking from the corner and everything gets very quiet. He says:

I live alone within myself
like a hut within the woods.
I keep my heart high upon the shelf
barren of any goods.
I need another's arms
to reach for it and place it
where it belongs.
I need another's touch
and smile to fill my hut with songs.

After that, the father says, "Frank's mother wrote that when she was in high school. It was 1934.
She was a goddamned beautiful person. Go ahead. Use it. She'd like that."

2nd best scene:

Barkin's character believes in poetry and not mincing words. She says this to Pacino at their date after just meeting him:
"I don't believe in wasting time on this kind of stuff. You know what you know and you go with it. You're just not my type. I believe in aniamal attraction. I believe in love at first sight. I believe in this (snaps fingers), and I don't feel it with you.

Later he meets her at the market.

She knows he didn't write the poem. He confesses his mother wrote it, which is why his father fell in love with her. THAT's what gets her.

He tells her, "You know my definition of poetry: Precision in life. knowing when and how to make your move. Say your piece, like you the other night with me. Ah that was poetry in motion. Beautiful. Beautiful."

This is my favorite movie about poetry that is not about poetry.

1 comment:

  1. I'm a mom, a blogger, and a Ph.D. student, and I need your help. I'm doing a study about why women blog, and you have been selected at random to participate in a short survey about what motivates you to blog and what you get out of blogging.

    Here is the link: http://www.surveygizmo.com/s/231228/women-bloggers

    Thanks in advance for your help. Feel free to contact me at gmmasull@syr.edu if you have any questions.

    Gina Chen
    Ph.D. student
    S.I. Newhouse School of Public Communications
    Syracuse University

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