Thursday, December 30, 2004

Hitchcock of Manchuria

Dear Robyn Hitchcock:

Over the holiday break, my wife and I watched The Manchurian Candidate. You know, not the old one, but the new one, the one that you are in. Anyway, we rather liked the movie, but there was a problem. Whenever you showed up on screen in your quaint little cameo appearances, my wife had to bear through hearing me remark again and again that "that's Robyn Hitchcock!" in self-congratulatory, I-know-something-about-who's-who satisfaction.

Let's get this straightened out, shall we? You are perhaps my favorite singer/songwriter. Your songs have seen me through great and rough times. I faithfully purchase nearly every CD you have released--even those that we both know are pretty much just the filling in around your more exceptional works. I have been to two of your shows in San Francisco and one in Seattle. Fan I am. Okay?

But here's the thing: You're not in movies.

To be clear, it's not that there was anything wrong with your performance in the movie. It seemed to me that it went pretty well. But I cannot ightly tell because I was not thinking "is that guy playing the role well?" Instead I was thinking: "Is Robyn Hitchcock playing this role well?"

You see the problem. You're Robyn Hitchcock. Not an actor. When Willem Dafoe plays a cameo role, we can all see that it's Willem Dafoe, but it's kind of like just a little tiny background voice saying, "oh, there's Willem Dafoe." Like, that's supposed to happen. But when Robyn Hitchcock appears in any movie that is not directed by Jonathan Demme, it's distracting. Stay in your proper context.

Okay, then.

Your #1 fan,

--Ted Haeger

Update, 06 Jan 04: The Manchurian Candidate was directed by Jonathan Demme, thus confirming that I am indeed a complete ass.


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