Monday, June 11, 2012
The Ten Best Things about Buster Keaton
The Top Ten Best Things About Buster Keaton
10. His eyes. It may be a cheap call, but, really it's a no-brainer. They're not just astonishingly huge, taking up about half his face, but they are kind, sweet, and intelligent - expressive of his art and brilliance. Maybe these should go higher on the list. . . .
9. His face. I don't care for the moniker 'the great stone face.' Its misleading and reduces what may be the most watchable, beautiful and subtle face in all of movies to a simple lump of rock. His face is a great empty canvas - but tremendously emotive and very watchable.
7. The number and length of the movies he made. So many! and so many shorts! And so many that he directed! Makes it so easy to watch a lot of Keaton!
6. His intelligence and his clear assumptions about the audience's intelligence. Keaton's humor is not just funny - it's smart. He seems to expect a bit more from his audience. He knows they are seeing the subtle and ironic twists he layers in everywhere. And, even if they dont . . .
5. At the most basic level he is simply just very very funny.
4. He is strong and gentle. In equal measure.
3. His stunning physical grace. Its hard to put words to this one. You either know exactly what I'm talking about or my writing about it isn't going to make you understand.
2. His ability to walk through the world making objects move with a grace that matches his own.
1. His tight artistic vision. This is perhaps the most surprising aspect to Buster Keaton. A reviewer of his compilation dvd on Amazon put it well: "In your shelves, Keaton shouldn't share his place with the Marx Brothers, but with Orson Wells." He made superb movies that tell real, poignant stories, that are visually evokative, delightfully entertaining and also full of wonder. The level of excellence is astounding.
And, to tie it all up in a nice bow, despite all of these things and by all accounts, Buster Keaton was in fact also a really nice guy.