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The Magic Cafe Forum Index » » Penny for your thoughts » » Woody Harrelson (0 Likes) Printer Friendly Version

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parmenion
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Quote:
On 2013-05-23 20:03, kambiz wrote:
Cardstudent, I'm interested to know what was the psychological subtlety that impressed you?

PM me if its in any way exposure and this doesn't go into Inner Thoughts

Kam

Kam I think, he talk about when Woody say the page number and Letterman can't find it as his book has less pages.
Never seen this incredible psychological subtlety before! I'm specheless! Thanks for the tips ;-)
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IAIN
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That subtlety is aaaages old...

woody is an under-rated actor (i think he is fantastic), and I think he could be a pretty mean and way out there bizarrist mor than anything else...he could deliver the story so well as a series of monologues...
landmark
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I used to use a similar ploy in reverse. Doing a 1089 force--I'd have several books in a pile with less than 1089 pages, and only one (usually a dictionary) with more. So after getting the number, the first book the spec takes from the pile has fewer than the required number so he says he can't use the book. I would helpfully point out the dictionary and say, "okay, let's use this one." So rather than switching numbers, I was switching books.

I like Woody's take with Hoy. It's a great touch.
Andre Hagen
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Not surprising that a good actor who is not a magician or mentalist can perform a routine so well. After all, good acting is the primary requisite today as well as in Robert Houdin's day when he made his well known "a magician is an actor playing the part of a magician" statement.

My biggest regret in my old age is that I didn't spend equal time studying acting as well as magic and mentalism. Something for you young aspiring magician/mentalists to consider!
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John C
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Quote:
On 2013-05-24 07:23, parmenion wrote:
Quote:
On 2013-05-23 20:03, kambiz wrote:
Cardstudent, I'm interested to know what was the psychological subtlety that impressed you?

PM me if its in any way exposure and this doesn't go into Inner Thoughts

Kam

Kam I think, he talk about when Woody say the page number and Letterman can't find it as his book has less pages.
Never seen this incredible psychological subtlety before! I'm specheless! Thanks for the tips ;-)


WAIT A MINUTE! What day is it? What time is it? parmenion is speechless!! Smile

Kidding of course.

Yes Woody is an actor! SURPRISE!! Let's not forget Jason Alexander's stint as a mentalist. He does an entire show.

J
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music
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Has anyone ever seen Woody and Glenn Close at the same time?
Gourmet
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Quote:
On 2013-05-24 07:23, parmenion wrote:

Kam I think, he talk about when Woody say the page number and Letterman can't find it as his book has less pages.
Never seen this incredible psychological subtlety before! I'm specheless! Thanks for the tips ;-)


exactly, very nice subtlety !
SIX
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He is friends with Blaine, so assume he got him into it?
Curtis Alexander
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On 2013-05-23 14:41, Randwill wrote:
I believe a big factor in why it played well had to do with Dave's cooperation. Letterman can be, and has been, difficult and challenging when confronted with someone "who wants to fool him". Since he was already predisposed to like Woody Harrelson, this worked to his (Woody's) advantage. I'm not taking away from his fine and subtle presentation, but another performer (a self-defined 'mentalist') with an equally smooth presentation might not have fared as well on the show.


That might have helped him some, but I don't think Letterman was going easy on him. He yelled out "stop" as soon as Woody started flipping through the pages both times, presumably to make it so Woody can't force a page in him near the middle of the book. I think the effect and the initial 'miss' all helped Woody in this situation. Letterman has been rough on many magicians he's had on the show, but in most cases the magicians weren't helping themselves and were performing somewhat weak effects considering the fact they were performing on national television for a mainstream audience.
Slim King
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Just got the word that Woody rehearsed this for Hours and rightly so ... He hit every mark making the misses look genuine and the reveal believably magical!!!
THE MAN THE SKEPTICS REFUSE TO TEST FOR ONE MILLION DOLLARS.. The Worlds Foremost Authority on Houdini's Life after Death.....
griffindance
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Comes back to that maxim of illusion, "A magician is an actor playing the part of a magician."
An important part of presentation that many of our colleagues dismiss.
Sealegs
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I have to say that I'm with mrkmarik on this.

I like Woody Harrelson, have enjoyed many of the films he's had an impact on and admire his talents as an actor but this was as uninteresting a performance of a mentalism, mental magic or even a book test as I've seen. (and I've seen a great many)

As a piece of mentalism or even mental magic I fail to see the merits this performance has that would lead anyone to consider it as anything other than, at best, ok-ish. Of course it has the bonus of being performed by a Hollywood star but that aside it seems to me that there is little if indeed anything to get excited about.

If we'd never had heard of Woody Harrelson before I can't see how this could be considered to be anything other than a barely passable bit of instantly forgettable nothing.

Of course as a time filling bit of fluff with which to fill a few minutes of a late night chat show it's no better or worse than the hours of air time that get filled every year with equally as vapid and vacuous guest contributions. By that measure it was fine. But then by that measure so would be listening a hollywood celeb talking about, say, their boyfriends dislike for seafood... or whatever. In other words as chat show fodder it filled the air time and was fine... but as a piece of mental magic, mentalism or the performance of a book test it was most of those things I would hope not to see in such a piece.

Specifically; handling wise it was lesson in what not to do. Neither time he flicked through the pages did it look relaxed and unimportant and the vital moment which should have been nonchalant and casual looked rushed and guilt ridden.

The framing and context of the entire piece was neither believable nor developed from anywhere to be anything.

I can only think and hope for the sake of mentalism and indeed mental magic that those posting in this thread saying how marvellous a performance it was are doing so from a position of being dazzled by the celebrity factor. In which case I at least understand.

If not it bodes ill and speaks volumes about our communities acceptance of a bar set horribly low in this field of endeavour and entertainment.

If you disagree, it would be interesting to hear why, as you must be able to see performance worthy aspects that escape my gaze.
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Steven Keyl
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Let's focus on the two substantive critiques:

Quote:
Specifically; handling wise it was lesson in what not to do. Neither time he flicked through the pages did it look relaxed and unimportant and the vital moment which should have been nonchalant and casual looked rushed and guilt ridden.


I completely disagree. To me, he looked quite comfortable and far from guilt-ridden.

Quote:
The framing and context of the entire piece was neither believable nor developed from anywhere to be anything.


This is the crux of the matter. Being from the UK you may not be fully aware of the constraints placed onto a performer on Letterman's show--they are pretty stringent. As a guest on his show, one simply does not have the time to fully frame the effect as you would in a mentalism stage show.

Those of us that appreciated his performance have a tacit understanding of the conditions under which he was performing. Given the host, the general audience and the time constraints it's impossible for me to arrive at the conclusion that this was a horrid performance. In fact, when judging his performance under such conditions it's even more apparent how fine a job he actually did.
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Martin Pulman
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Well he's no Canasta but for a beginner I thought he looked pretty relaxed. It would be a mistake to think that because he is an actor that would be a given. On a chat show as himself he's out of his comfort zone.
Sealegs
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Thanks to Steven Keyl for the response to the question I asked;

Let me address the second of what Steven identifies as my 'critique points'... But before I do I want to make it clear that my criticism wasn't/isn't of Woody Harrelson's performance per se... I didn't think it was good but that's not what bothered me... my concern and criticism was pitched more for those that held, or hold, this performance up to be marvellous, great or even good.

In fact I went out of my way to ensure that I didn't say was it was a horrid performance as a chat show spot, in fact what I specifically said that by the measure it was fine.

But what makes for a good chat show spot is one thing; what makes for a good performance of mentalism, mental magic or even demo of a trick is another.

Even though I am many thousands of miles away here in the UK Smile I am aware of the constraints of working on TV in general and specifically as a guest on a chat show and even more pointedly (but here only through having seen many Letterman shows) as a guest on The David Letterman Show.

Steven Keyl's post says that he believes that those posting their admiration towards Woody Harrelson's performance do so with the tacit understanding of the potentially harsh conditions and environment of The David Letterman Show and that taking this into account it was a fine performance. There was also this tacit understanding of these conditions in my post and yet I think as a piece of mentalism, or mental magic or as a trick demo it was poor.

Now of course I realise that you can't frame something in an appearance on 'Letterman' in any way like you would be able to do in a full mentalism show... I wasn't thinking that and I don't even think it would be appropriate for Woody Harrelson to have tried to do so given that Woody Harrelson doesn't (as far as I'm aware) do a mentalism stage show.

But to make a performance something more than a merely pedestrian, nondistinctive, instantly forgettable piece of chat show fodder there still needs to be some kind of framing and context... and of course it has to be one that fits with who the performer is, or is perceived to be, (in this case a Hollywood star not known for their mindreading abilities), the environment, (in this case a TV chat show with all it's limitations) and in this case, one that takes into account the host.(as sure footed a comic in his own turf who doesn't easily give up the reigns or any control unless he wants to)

I'm not suggesting that creating an appropriate context, set up, or framework on which to hang the performance in this environment is at all easy... all I am suggesting is that he didn't do this and consequently the result was a poor performance of mentalism, mental magic or a trick demo that seems to be being lauded as marvellous. How could it be anything else but if it's just performed as a chat show time filler? That it filled this particular chat show slot is fine but I'm not judging it as a piece of late night chat show TV filler, I'm looking at it on how it's been commented on within this thread.... that is as a performance of mentalism, mental magic or a trick. Overall it served the chat show function fine (as does, night after night, a mixture of all sorts of stuff from the astounding and fascinating to bland and banal)... but as far as the performance content of the spot went, it was, in my opinion, poor.

Regarding the specifics; I mentioned the handling of the books simply so I didn't throw out a vague statement such as the handling was poor. I gave one specific concrete example but didn't further explain why I felt this handling was, in this case, rushed, guilt ridden, and not nonchalant and treated as unimportant.. I have a list of things that I think contributed towards his poor performance from the handling point of view... things that I think are not good practice and I'm happy to list them if you're interested but don't want to bore anyone that isn't.

Steven Keyl obviously disagrees with my assessment of the physical aspects of the performance that I mentioned and of course that's fine. It's perfectly possible for two people to look at something and see two things differently. All I would add though is that I'm happy to list specifically what it was that he did that made his performance, in my opinion, poorly handled.

So while I thank Steve for his response I remain unconvinced that the responses to this performance in this thread stem from anything other than a combination of; it's on the television so it must be good, Letterman seemed to like it so it must be good, the guy's a great Hollywood actor so it must be good.... and possibly and most worryingly... that the bar is actually this low for a good, great or even marvellous performance.

I prefer to see a cohesive, well routined and handled piece that sets out a performance goal (any goal) and achieves it. Outside of filling the chat show slot I still don't see it did that.
Neal Austin

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CardStudent
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Quote:
On 2013-06-02 19:12, Sealegs wrote:

So while I thank Steve for his response I remain unconvinced that the responses to this performance in this thread stem from anything other than a combination of; it's on the television so it must be good, Letterman seemed to like it so it must be good, the guy's a great Hollywood actor so it must be good.... and possibly and most worryingly... that the bar is actually this low for a good, great or even marvellous performance.

I prefer to see a cohesive, well routined and handled piece that sets out a performance goal (any goal) and achieves it. Outside of filling the chat show slot I still don't see it did that.



Eisenberg's performance was on television, and it was no good. Letterman seemed to like it, and it was no good. Eisenberg was a great Hollywood actor, and his trick was no good.

If you are as wonderful as you imply you are, I would love to see some videos of your performances. They must be incredible.
"Cards are the poetry of magic." J.N. Hofzinser
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Woody Harrelson?

Oh, you mean the naturally gifted actor, comedian, author, raw foods advocate and compassion-minded environmentalist who's in both open support of the global hemp/cannabis trade and gives a better "mentalism" performance than 90+% of the people on this forum...?

THAT WOODY HARRELSON?

I'm 100% for him and anything he does. Smile

Just saying,
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PerryCarp
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On 2013-06-02 22:21, Jerome Finley wrote:
Woody Harrelson?

Oh, you mean the naturally gifted actor, comedian, author, raw foods advocate and compassion-minded environmentalist who's in both open support of the global hemp/cannabis trade and gives a better "mentalism" performance than 90+% of the people on this forum...?

THAT WOODY HARRELSON?

I'm 100% for him and anything he does. Smile

Just saying,
JF.



Nicely played, Mr. Finley. Nicely played.
Sealegs
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Cardstudent; I didn't imply anything about myself, be it wonderful or otherwise in either of my posts. I certainly haven't suggested I could or would do better. I was just saying that I thought this was a poor performance and am somewhat amazed at it being lauded as great.

I could be a layman or a non-performing armchair enthusiast and have that view... and it would still be valid.

I didn't see Eisenberg's performance but he's a newcomer compared to Harrelson so perhaps the Emperor's new clothes doesn't work in his favour. I sure hope this is the case because the Emperor's new clothes effect would explain why Harrelson's performance as being held up to be a great bit of mentalism. or mental magic. The alternative is that it is actually being held up to be a great bit of mentalism or mental magic in it's own right and that, I think, is rather sad for this branch of our art and craft.

Jerome; Yes that's the one.... that's the Woody Harrelson... the naturally gifted actor, [some say comedian too], author, raw foods advocate and compassion-minded environmentalist who's [gives] open support of the global hemp/cannabis trade.... And yet despite that I don't simply, blindly, find myself 100% for anything he might do. But then I don't just go along with anyone 100% irrespective of what they do.

I think he's a great actor but that doesn't mean I defer any opinion about any individual acting part he might portray or anything he might do in the future. I can appreciate who is and what he does without the need to heap unwarranted praise on him for something that I don't think is worthy of it.

But as I said, my post wasn't a critique of Woody Harrelson's performance per se. As far as I'm concerned I don't care or think it matters in the slightest whether he did a great or lamentable bit of mental magic on a late night TV chat show spot.

My concern is that such a performance (which I believe was poor for reasons I've mentioned and many others that I haven't, but can) is held up as a standard to aspire to.

I think this is a low set bar and that, in my opinion, doesn't bode well for strengthening future performances of mentalism or mental magic by others in, or venturing into, this arena.
Neal Austin

"The golden rule is that there are no golden rules." G.B. Shaw
paisa23
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It was very fun to watch. He is a great Performer, and did the effect very well. Kudos to him.
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