Posts in Category: Become What You Are

Iconic Character Problem

[I forgot to post this yesterday. Oops.]

I want to talk about a little film called Hesher, which last weekend saw a quiet release to mostly awful reviews. I hate to feel like I’m patting myself on the back, but I found it sort of amusing and delightful that many of the reviews I read for Hesher cited the same problem I did when I covered the script: Hesher’s a cipher, full of ambiguous statements and questionable behavior, with no clear motivation for why he says the things he does or acts the way he does, or—more importantly—why anyone should care.

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Sandra Bullock: Clinically Insane Like a Fox

Sandy, the aurora’s rising behind us, the pier lights our carnival life forever
Oh, love me tonight, and I promise I’ll love you forever…

I came to a very important conclusion after Tarini dared me to watch All About Steve: Sandra Bullock is either slyly demented or batshit crazy. I’m not usually one to dish on celebs or speculate on the mental well being of Hollywood actors, but this… This is different. I’m not some paparazzo hiding in her bushes, trying to find out if she feasts on the flesh of the recently deceased. This is simply an outside observer looking at her oeuvre and coming to the only obvious conclusion.

The last two Bullock movies I saw—All About Steve and The Proposal (both of which Tarini dared me to watch, because she hates me, and I watched because I hate myself)—are the sorts of films where every single scene prompts the most vital question in all of cinema: “Why?” When the closing credits finally scroll up, it prompts the second most vital question in all of cinema: “What the fuck did I just watch?”

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Old Man on the Back Porch

Over the past couple of weeks, I’ve watched a shitload of movies that I’ve slowly accumulated via 100% legal, non-piratical means—a heady combination of movies I’ve always wanted to see, movies I feel like I have to see despite a lack of interest (e.g., Up in the Air, An Education), and movies I’m revisiting after many years (like, for instance, 2001: A Space Odyssey—not a big Kubrick fan, but I saw the movie when I was eleven and hated it; maybe I’ll like, or at least appreciate, it now).

As an initiative for my reader novel, I’ve been flirting with the idea of including an appendix of Script to Screen-style articles, posing my initial thoughts upon reading a script versus the final product. A requirement of that, naturally, is to watch some of the movies that I’ve covered that have been released. I’ve already seen a handful for the aforementioned Script to Screen, but plenty of them have infinitely more dubious fates than a January theatrical release—plenty of them have either gone DTV in the U.S. or haven’t seen release here at all. That’s not necessarily indicative of anything, quality-wise, but it’s certainly not the best sign when major stars and Oscar-winning actors show up in movies that can’t even get released in their native country.

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Shut Up, Crime!

Okay, so, I was in a whiny funk yesterday (shocking, I know). I’d like to add that I did watch and enjoy the following films that are decidedly not about cranky old men:

  • Super
  • Collateral
  • The Evil Dead
  • Evil Dead II
  • Army of Darkness
  • P2 (okay, this one wasn’t actually very good, but I sure did enjoy extended looks at Rachel Nichols’s pushed-up cleavage!)
  • The Untouchables
  • The Last of Sheila
  • L.A. Story
  • Funny People (I seem to remember this getting mixed to negative reviews, and plenty of people I know and respect hated it, but I thought it was great, if ramshackle and uneven—like all Judd Apatow films)
  • Me and You and Everyone We Know
  • Vampire Hunter D
  • Vampire Hunter D: Bloodlust
  • The Woods
  • Telefon (okay, this one is about a cranky old man—but Charles fucking Bronson’s Soviet disdain is tempered by Lee Remick’s middle-aged foxiness and somewhat annoyingly chipper demeanor)

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Lucy Getting Married

On May 21st, the date of the Rapture, my best friend got married in Las Vegas, the least likely place for anyone to ascend to heaven. It was an intentionally small affair, which is the only reason I did not attend. I did, however, flirt with the idea of ruining everything by hopping a cheap weekend flight out for the ceremony, but the combination of laziness and cheapness prevented that. Plus, I had to build a desk that weekend. Oh, and there’s the matter of respecting the wishes of my pal—that’s way down on the list, though, because there isn’t a major life event for somebody else that I can’t turn into something about me.

The game plan was to have a small, quick wedding in Vegas and a honeymoon starting in Vegas and touring the American Southwest, known primarily for heat, panoramic vistas, and “land art” projects developed by acid junkies in the ’70s. (Somehow, they missed the 879,000 billboards for The Thing?, arguably the Southwest’s most significant cultural contribution outside the Donner Party.) This would be followed by a reception in the Chicagoland area, known primarily for Al Capone and smoke billowing from flaming downtown records offices, a couple of weeks later. That’s where I enter the story.

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Recurring Dream

Okay, armchair shrinks and hippie psychic types. Time to pull out your dog-eared copies of The Complete Idiot’s Dream Dictionary.

For the past few weeks, I’ve had a dream every other night or so that just seems kinda retarded. I’d be interested in hearing various thoughts about what it could mean, even though I’m pretty sure it just means my brain’s broken. It goes like this: somehow, I am involved in an elaborate stage revival of A Raisin in the Sun. The director has “re-imagined” the play. Gone are the claustrophobic apartment and reams of hyper-articulate, ’60s-stagey dialogue. In their stead, he or she has chosen to set this interpretation in a dank alleyway, under urine-colored lights. The characters are now costumed like a combination of the cast of Do the Right Thing and cheesy ’50s robots. They tell the play’s story solely through interpretive dance.

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Best Buy: Direct-to-Video Mecca?

At one point in our many long discussions about the strategic focus of The Parallax Review, Matt and I decided to target films that “fell through the cracks” with renewed vigor, adding several columns that specifically targeted the direct-to-video (DTV) market. The first, and probably the most satisfying (for me, at least), we called “Bargain Bin.” We both noticed, when scouring release dates for upcoming DVDs to discuss on the podcast, that a handful of DVDs would come out each month featuring major, recognizable stars in movies nobody had ever heard of.

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Letter to the Editor of Time

[Musings of an elderly crank in the body of a 29-year-old.]

Re: “One Document, Under Siege”

To the Editor:

In his article, Richard Stengel writes, among other things, “The framers…gave us the idea…that South Dakota should have the same number of Senators as California, which is kind of crazy.”

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