What with the COVID-19, I have been spending a lot of time by myself lately (and not just by myself in the basement but in my own mind -- it's a dark dark place full of cobwebs and secrets, a place that I call home but that other people might call a cross between an insane asylum, a Florida Walmart on a crowded Saturday night, and a woebegone Kentucky Fried Chicken franchise that no one frequents anymore. Here's some of the Blu-ray discs I've been spinning of late. They range in quality from excellent to much much less, lesser, lessee, much much less, much lesser than excellent, but here goes.
HAZY COLLEGE MEMORY: This is quite a long time ago; different campus groups would sign up for a lecture hall. The “Office of Space Utilization” would do this for the student body. If you were part of campus group (Ski Club? Entomologist Club? Gay Illini?) you could reserve a lecture hall for the weekend for free, rent a 16mm projector and a popular film, and show it two or three times a night as a fundraiser. I remember every group charged the same amount, two dollars. So campus wide, there were maybe 30 or 40 different films being screened every weekend. It was quite a bonanza for the film lover, and certainly lured all of us budding film buffs out of our dorm rooms and out of campus bars for a few hours. The second time I ever saw Hair was in one of the big lab rooms in Lincoln Hall on 16mm. It was a crazy night; I was celebrating my birthday… but that's a story for another day.
Now we have this new Blu-ray of Hair that looks exceptional; it's the best copy of the film I've ever seen, and it comes loaded with extras including an audio commentary with the film’s assistant director Michael Hausman and Treat Williams, who plays the lead, “head hippie” Berger. (I don't know how many of you follow Treat Williams on the Twitter machine. I am, of course, off the Twitter machine, but the Treat Williams twitter account is something to follow. He is delightful; he's full of life and full of love for life, and he lives on this lovely farm in Vermont.) The audio commentary is terrific. There's a video featurette called “The Tribe Remembers” with a whole slew of the surviving cast members, including John Savage, Beverly D’Angelo, Annie Golden, Don Dacus, Ellen Foley, and Dorsey Wright. Unfortunately, Cheryl Barnes is nowhere to be seen. Cheryl Barnes plays Wrights fiancé, whose solo number smack dab in the middle of the film, “Easy to Be Hard” is clearly the best number in the picture. It would have been interesting to catch up with her, but she's MIA. There is also a substantial interview with choreographer Twyla Tharp; this was her first film. There are featurettes about the editing and the production design and a wonderful little featurette with James Mangold, the director of the recent Ford Vs. Ferrari. Mangold took Milos Forman's film class as a graduate student way back when, and he looks back on the role that Forman played to him as a mentor and as a teacher. It's very touching, and it's it's very full of wonderful stories.
That’s about it.
NOTE: For those of you who did not read the inaugural “Movies Is Good” column, the above doggerel was not proofread, nor copyedited, nor even read by JB. You are the first person to read it.