Sunday, January 18, 2009

They Might Be Giants

I've been a fan of the band They Might Be Giants for twenty years now -- the very first CD I bought was Lincoln (1988), in fact. I had always wondered, abstractly, where they got their band name. It seems pretty clear they must have gotten it from this movie, or perhaps from the play it was based upon. It is a bizarre story about a man who thinks he is Sherlock Holmes, and his psychiatrist (can you guess her name?) who falls in love with him. A real treat were all the well-known character actors sprinkled through the movie -- but what I really liked was that this was a film true to itself. It just doesn't care about convention, about whether anyone likes it or not. It just is. In that way, it feels a lot more like a play than a movie, and I think that's just fine.

Oh - the title refers to Don Quixote. The lead character says this about Quixote:
Of course, he carried it a bit too far. He thought that every windmill was a giant. That's insane. But, thinking that they might be...
I can well imagine that Linnell and Flansburgh would have enjoyed this film a great deal. But I wonder -- when would they have seen it? It was released in 1971... they were 11 and 12 when it came out.

I have to admit that seeing the inside of a 1971 Pathmark grocery story was a nostalgic experience for me.

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