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Toonces the Driving Cat

Stencil graffiti in Cordoba, Argentina

My ex-roommate/current benefactor’s taste in film can best be summed up in one word:  “Twilight.”  Financial dependency on her results in my, on most days, spending more time in Forks, Washington (where the film is set) than in Los Angeles (where she, and thus I, presently reside).   Fortuitously, this has rendered me capable of achieving something I once believed impossible:  providing a juxtaposition of the directors’ audio commentaries on “Twilight” and “The Twilight Saga: New Moon” (hereinafter, “New Moon”) for anyone who is interested (read: no one).

Twilight Audio Commentary – featuring Catherine Hardwicke (director), Robert Pattinson (star, also: insanely hot) and Kristen Stewart (star)

New Moon Audio Commentary – featuring Chris Weitz (director) and the highly anticipated Peter Lambert (editor)

I can’t believe I’m writing about this, but the Twilight commentary begins with Hardwicke introducing herself as Pattinson, Stewart introducing herself as Hardwicke, and Pattinson introducing himself as Stewart.  And NO, it is not funny at all.  Even the three of them don’t think it’s funny.  There is a moment of despondent silence afterwards during which, one hopes, they are all reconsidering their decision to show up.

But as the commentary progresses, you will fondly look back at that moment as the Golden Era of Wit.   It takes almost no time for all three to reveal themselves as complete morons.  And I will not let the fact that this comes as a surprise to no one prevent me from getting needlessly worked up about it.

Perhaps none of them had any fucking idea of what was going on during filming.  When Hardwicke was asked why she chose to film a shot a certain way, she… didn’t know.   Pattinson, whose preternatural hotness is somewhat diminished by his giggling like a schoolgirl throughout, occasionally makes comments along the lines of, “I think this might have been important, but I don’t remember why” and “I want to listen to this part, oh wait, not this part.”  Only Stewart appears appropriately embarrassed.  At one point, there is an awkwardly long stretch of silence, broken only by a fresh outbreak of Pattinson’s inexplicable giggling.

As the only takeaway from the Twilight commentary is that all British accents are not, in fact, sexy, maybe the stars were forcibly barred from appearing out of character on the New Moon DVD.  Because I liked New Moon more after hearing Chris Weitz’s take on it.

A while back, I attempted to read the book Twilight, and failed.  Then, I abandoned it on a park bench so it wouldn’t pollute the other books I have at home.  This is not because it’s a young adult novel; I read YA novels all the time (umm, when I’m not reading Robbe-Grillet and Gaddis, that is).  That shit was just unreadable.

There’s no shortage of examples of how incompetent production can render the most compelling novel unwatchable.  I still can’t believe I’m writing about this, but Weitz’s commentary shows how the converse might also occur, that the sheer vastness of effort required to produce a film can actually elevate the final product from its dismal origins.

But Weitz really won our, well, undying love when describing the pitfalls of using the steering wheel too vigorously when driving against a green screen.  In her gleaming Porsche 911, Alice resembled, he dryly remarks, a certain “Toonces the Driving Cat.”

We looked up Toonces the Driving Cat on YouTube, even though we knew what we’d uncover would be guaranteed to disappoint: No real-world manifestation of a character named Toonces the Driving Cat could ever be as funny as the character Toonces the Driving Cat is in theory.  Possibly because nothing is as funny as the character Toonces the Driving Cat is in theory.


One response

  1. calvy

    this shit is golden!! it set off me off on a wave of “inexplicable giggling,” i must admit. also–not wanting twilight to “pollute” your other books–amazing.

    April 16, 2010 at 3:12 pm

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