Monday, February 28, 2005

Quick question.

I'm not sure that I fully understand why it is that every goddam time Martin Scorsese makes a movie, there's an initial period of reserved praise and then an extreme, undeserved backlash. Yes, I think we can all agree that The Aviator isn't Taxi Driver or Raging Bull. It's still a fine, solid piece of filmmaking from a master craftsman (which, I regret to say, Million Dollar Baby is not). It just amazes me that these latter-day Marty movies get so unfairly slammed. The point of this post is: what is up with this Cate Blanchett hatred? She's one of--if not the--greatest actress working today, has never won an Oscar and is fantastic in The Aviator. Yet, I've now seen three or four blogs (I'm too lazy to backtrack and link to all of them, but here's one) proclaim Cate unworthy of her Oscar because her performance was (in the words of Emanuel Levy) "more mimicry than acting."
To which I say:
1) Yes and the problem is...?
2) Wait, you're going to call Cate out on that shit and not Jamie Foxx?

Seriously people, explain this to me. Why they all gotta hate on Marty via Cate? (Or vice versa.) And if we really want to get it movin' movin', chew on this additional bit of nonsense from aforemention Levy colum:

"Despite lengthy careers, most American directors do not make masterpieces, which is a topic for a serious examination. It may be a reflection of the conditions under which they work and the economic-industrial marketplace."
Eye roll.

Oscar blah blah blah, Vol. 2.

Some amusing notable quotables found on the Interweb.

"Carlie the word that yo're looking for is hermaphrodite, and i didn't like her movie but i doubt that she have a penis."
Gaby From Brazil, on Ms. Swank, found in the comment section of stereogum.

"When Andy Rooney had to get up to pee, The 'seat fillers' could have replaced him with a bag of potatoes with a bowtie."
Yaya, also on stereogum. I think Yaya meant Mickey Rooney. Either way, it made me laugh.

"[Having Antonio Banderas sing 'Al Otro Lado del Rio' is] not only ethically, but aesthetically unacceptable."
--Walter Salles, director of Motorcycle Diaries, as quoted by Dana Stevens.

"She's so rad.  She does voices really well.  I think they call them accents these days."
--Nayiri, on Cate Blanchett, at Horny Gandhi.

"Lumet 'dreamed of Oscar,' so he also receives this year’s award for first person to refer to Oscar as a person or deity. I think his girlfriend or wife or daughter will win for most spectacular tan/breasts combo."
"Imelda Staunton should win it, but I’ll bet the house on Hillary Swank-Lowe. I’ll also bet the house that she’s Matt Damon in a dress. But she’s got an amazing body, so I don’t know how I feel about that. OK, now 'You’re my everything' gets the award for 'Most Pathetically Uncreative Shout Out To My Husband, The Less Talented Of Two Amazingly Out Of Touch And Curiously Conservative Hollywood Brothers.'"
--Leroy Street on goldenfiddle.

"Fuck all these 'meet the Queen' gowns. They're movies. Movies have feathers in them. And mirrors. Ask Laura Mulvey, whut."

Oscars blah blah blah.

Well, the Oscars... uh... went smoothly, I guess. Chris Rock was funny, handing out the tech awards beauty pagent style wasn't that bad, it only last three hours. Of course there were the f ups: Beyonce and Andrew Toad Weber on stage together? Yech. Antonio and Santana? Bleh. Million Dollar Baby winning four biggies? Sigh.

And that's really all I got to say 'bout that. I just can't compete with Edelstein, not when he drops a paragraph like this:
Once again, most of the women looked thin to the point of starvation. Johannsen. Emmy Rossum. Blanchett. Prince. Not Kate Winslet, fortunately—she looked sublime. Not Julia Roberts, showing off her nourishing new-mom boobs.

And if you're looking for some expansive, hi-larious Oscar-fashion commentary, Horny Gandhi's got ya covered.

Sunday, February 27, 2005

What's my name?

I can't believe that when David Edelstein had his ongoing "biopics suck... except for these titles" dialogue a couple months ago, no one brough up Michael Mann's strange and wonderful Ali. Well, actually, I can. People find its style frustrating and elusive, impossible to digest. Which is precisely what I love about it.
I love that Mann throws out any propulsive narraitive device and instead wallows in a decade in the life and times of the Champ. It feels like the cinematic equivalent to one of those sprawling New Yorker articles-- you're not quite sure how you wound up reading nine pages of tiny print on Cuban restaurants in Manhattan, you're not even all that interested in the subject, but you're glad you did and you're glad you got every detail on what goes on in the kitchen and at the home of the chef and so on.
And Mann's style is so perfectly suited for this kind of biopic. The fluid, almost chaotic, shooting style that feels like an on-the-fly documentary until you realize how exquisitely composed the whole thing is. The early dabbling with digital cameras that captures Ali jogging in the night. The world-y Dead Can Dance score and random Moby b-sides that shouldn't work in the context, but do... and beautifully. And those actors. I'm no fan of Will Smith. At all. But I'll gladly admit that the guy is brilliant in this role. It's a showboat, but it's great. Even better are the lovely, pocket-sized roles that are everywhere: Jamie Foxx, Jeffery Wright, Jada Pinkett Smith, Ron Silver, Jon Voight (best), Nona Gaye. Mann litters the film with small, precise characters and gets the best of the best to fill them out.
I won't deny that the film is probably too long and a little flat in places. But it's also visionary and stunning. Which you can't say about Kinsey. Or Ray. Or Finding Neverland...

And on a semi-related note: when/if you're watching the Oscars tonight, please remember that it's a crock and a sham (among all the other various crocks and shams) that Collateral is not nominated for Best Cinematography.

Friday, February 25, 2005


First he spewed that, now he spews this. Whoa:

"It was great to be in that environment: going for a run in the morning, looking at the stars at night, going into Francis’s research library, spending time with him. You know, watching Tom Waits sing 'Waltzing Matilda' to Winona at the piano, Winona crying. It was a beautiful life. Les enfants du paradis."

--Keanu (philosophizing as only he can) on the Bram Stoker's Dracula shoot, as found in Premiere Magazine. (Via The Corsair.)

Mother Goose is beating him with a Bible.

God bless goldenfiddle. My morning was made brighter by listening to this voicemail. Nothing warms the lump-of-coal-where-my-heart-should-be quite like a detailed, blow by blow account of old women attacking some clueless schmo. Especially when pepper spray and a hard-back copy of the Bible are used as weapons.

Thursday, February 24, 2005

Tough ain't enough, girlie.

Monstrous meta-moment of the day: it was revealed that this Defamer piece was on Paris Hilton's hacked cell phone thingie. I know, I know: blah blah who cares? Well, I do, for this lovely moment:
[Paris and Lindsey Lohan are in a T-Mobile store replacing their stolen Sidekicks (that's that whole meta-part-thing in case you were trying to keep track). A lot of stalkerazzi are snapping away outside.] One of the clerks asked Paris why she’s constantly followed by the stalkerazzi when Academy Award winner Hilary Swank was in the store the other day and nobody cared. Paris said it’s because “Hilary is ugly."

Why does she amuse me so?

One more reason to hate the 'mo.

"There is even a new genre of music -- 'emo' -- associated with promoting the cutting [self-mutilation] culture."

--Michelle Malkin, always with her finger on the pulse and with a firm understanding of the pop culture.

She's got a what?

Did anybody see Sierra's super sweet 16? I didn't and the only reason I'm asking is because the promo for the episode contained the single greatest soundbite ever. That would be Sierra proclaiming,"My party will have a nacho bar and a fashion show." There's no way the entire episode could live up to that one blurb.

Checking in.

Yeah, yeah, I haven't had a whole lot of spare time to ramble about Kelly Clarkson and what David Edelstein is up to. I'm sure you're all crushed. However, I am forcing myself to make time to blog about
this story.

At the age of one, Tilly Merrell was told that she would never be able to eat real food. It seemed that her body got confused and when she swallowed the food, it was sent into her lungs, not her stomach. As you can imagine, this is a bad thing. So, whatever, now at age eight, she goes to some specialists, they see nothing wrong, so they say: you need to retrain your body, go eat food.

Now, where would any responsible parent take their eight year old to retrain the child's fragile digestive system? A Palo Alto-area Jack-In-the-Box, obvs. Dear little Tilly recounts her experience: "I had a burger with cheese, bacon, egg and ham. And some hash browns with grease."

While I'd never doubt dear Tilly and her folks, I can't help but wonder if they are confused and really took her to Carl's Jr. where she partook in the (officially-damned-by-me) Breakfast Burger. If that is the case... well, I think Tilly deserves to go back to having a backpack with a food pump wired to her stomach. I'm just saying.

Tuesday, February 22, 2005

Adventures in pop culutre.

Polaroids from the pop culture that filled my weekend:

  • Like everyone else, I am of the camp that says: "Constantine-- muddled, dumb, why? Tilda Swinton and Peter Stormare in Constantine-- effortless, hilarious, thank you."

  • Eva Marie Saint in Northy by Northwest: how badly do you want to engage in double entendres with her while she uses one of those can openers to open a couchette?

  • I kind of doubted Pitchfork, I don't anymore. Kelly Clarkson's "Since U Been Gone" is bananas. Ba-nan-naz. The 0:43 mark, where the Clarkson (double-tracked) spits the first "But since (yo)u('ve) been gone" and a wave of mall-punk guitars are unleashed... it's delirious pop at its best. (Oh, and as noted by Pitchfork, the lifting of the YYY's "Maps" guitar riff in the bridge is a neat trick.)

  • Hey, remember when Tobey Maguire is hung-over/baked in Wonder Boys? And his remedy is OJ and lots of powdered doughnuts? I can't think of an image from that film that made me happier all weekend.

  • Oh wait, yes I can: Katie Holmes in red cowboy boots.

  • Mark Kozelek singing "Love at First Feel" (as originally recorded by AC/DC) on the What's Next to the Moon ep. Who knew that Bon Scott was such a shoe-gazing indie boy?

  • I saw Diner for the first time over the weekend. Really liked it. How is it that even in 1982, Paul Reiser was an annoying middle-aged nebbish?

  • Have you noticed that when The Insider ends, and the Perfecto Remix of Massive Attack's "Safe From Harm" starts blaring, and the "what-ended-up-happening-to-so-and-so" text begins to appears on the screen, it feels like the most important information you are ever going to receive?

  • I regret ignoring Basement Jaxx's Kish Kash for over a year. That was a really dumb move. Not as dumb as Astralwerks dumbing them, leaving them without a North American label. Weak, A'werks, weak.

  • I think Busby Berkeley was tripping balls when he choreographed his dances. That's a good thing.

Laser-guided and high-velocity?

I wouldn't think that alcohol (and who knows what else), high altitudes and firearms are best when combined. Apparently I am wrong. From Hitch's obit of Hunter Thompson:
And there, at the very fringe of habitation, was Owl Farm and its genial proprietor, Dr. Hunter S. Thompson. Once inside these well-armed precincts, I could drink and smoke and ingest any damn thing I liked. I finished a fairly long evening by doing some friendly target-practice, with laser-guided high-velocity rifles, in the company of my host.

I get the feeling that Hitch knows or knew everyone.

Code name: E.D.A.

Is it too late for me to blog about the Paris-Hilton-phonegate? I think I've missed the boat, but I still feel like I need to throw some love in the direction of Ms. Hilton. Why? Becuase MTV Latin America VJ Eglantina Zigg is listed as "Egplant Dike Ass" in Paris' phone book. You want to know the creepy part? That is exactly how Josh is listed in my phonebook. Well, I mean, he wasn't before this whole media storm, but now he is.

Monday, February 21, 2005

Quote of the day.

"I feel like Mattel should put out an Indie Rock Barbie. She can come with black Converse and dark, skinny jeans with fat cuffs and a black studded low-riding belt and a really rad asymmetrical haircut with contrasting-color roots and a messenger bag with a few tastefully-paced buttons and a really tight band t-shirt under a red hoodie and she absolutely has to have some mod earrings and something scribbled on her hand in Sharpie. And Indie Rock Ken would either wear tight jeans or khaki-colored Dickies, depending what kind of indie rocker he was. He'd pretty much be wearing the same outfit as Barbie, but with a really tight plaid button-down, and his hoodie would most likely be navy. And each of them would come with a Friendster profile that included really, really obscure bands and Fellini films. And they would look vaguely malnourished and pale. Specs optional."

--Nayiri, making me miss TT's.

Friday, February 18, 2005

My Hell is like whoa.*

"In Constantine, earnest and somewhat knotty discussions of theology and metaphysics alternate with locust monsters, screeching demons, and burned and bubbling flesh. It's a little like the Louvre."

--David Edelstein.

* Yes indeed, bitches, I managed to reference Keanu and a Mya song in my title. Pop Candy got nothin' on me.

Thursday, February 17, 2005

Second quote of the day.

"I am not at all up on the racial politics of HI, other than to know that they exist, but as an ethnic charicature, the Rob Schneider character [in 50 First Dates] is just about the Pacific Islander equivalent of a Mammy doll, the South of the Border logo, or Tom Wolfe."

--Fesser, in the comment section of a cinetrix post on 50 First Dates.


Oh Wyclef. How far you've fallen.
Remember back in the day when the Fugees ruled? Now Lauryn's all crazy-religioned out and in seclusion. Pras is... what... probably making straight to video movies. And Wyclef... he's killing 'em at pre-Grammy parties. The LA Weekly was there and, lucky us, gives us the scoop.

Anecdote #1: Wyclef won't so much play music, instead he spends much of his time saying shit like this: "Put your hands in the air, put your hands in the air, put your cell phones in the air, I ain’t playing one more goddamn note if I don’t see some fucking cell phones in the air!"
At which point this occurs:
The guy next to me leaned over and whispered, “When did he become a wedding singer?” and somebody else chimed in, “Aerobics instructor’s more like it.”

When did he become an aerobics instructor? Probably around the time he recorded "It Doesn't Matter" with The Rock.

Anecdote #2: Proof that Wyclef is a class act:
Later, there was a version of “Redemption Song” that was so askew even the black folks couldn’t dance to it. Wyclef followed that with much fuss about the audience’s need to remove most of their clothing. When that didn’t work, he just started pulling a seemingly never-ending supply of half-naked women up onstage with him.
There’s been some talk since he left the Fugees about whether or not this dude is wacko. All I’m saying on the subject is that it’s a thin line between insanity and the sort of genius that leads a man to play a 40-minute version of a song composed of four notes repeated over and over, that came to a sudden and dire halt when Wyclef again started screaming, this time at his band:
Stop playing, stop playing, stop your goddamn playing! Some white girl just touched my ass!
After everyone onstage stopped playing and everyone in the audience stopped laughing, Wyclef took the microphone and soberly faced the audience. “I am not Kobe Bryant,” he admonished. He then turned to the offending white girl and said, “I am not Kobe Byrant, but I will fuck the ever-living shit out of you.”

I'm not sure I even know what that means. I just know that the Heineken people (this was a corporate event) must've been thrilled.


I know someone who went to the Grammy after-party held at Prince's house. It was lavish and star-packed and blah blah blah. There was an area set up for people to jam and at one point, Prince got up and played a medley of songs... by Michael Jackson. And it was not an act of solidarity for MJ. I love when Prince can shed all that Jehova stuff that's been cramping his style and snark out. Huzzah for the snark.

Quote of the day.

"Recently I had the pleasure of blocking Henry Kissinger's access to the cheese plate at a party. I figured if he needed cheese that bad, he'd just arrange for the bombing of some cheese-producing country and hoard the dairy products as needed."

--Fake Wonkette.

Wednesday, February 16, 2005

2 + 2 = 5.

1-3) Random music found on the interweb.
Huzzah for MP3 blogs. Downloading random tracks and mash-ups and foreign songs that I'd never otherwise hear has made the hurdle known as "my job" tolerable. I thought I'd send you over to some recent, miscellaneous hottness:

  • Music (For Robots): Björk's "Isobel" as remixed by everyone's fave British grindcore band Carcass. (If only Dimmu Borgir would take on "Bachelorette"...)

  • The Big Ticket: Stars' "Look Up"-- dreamy electro-acoustic pop that I'm sure was HUGE on KCRW back in '02.

  • Stereogum: "Screaming Pro in Hell." Wherein Michael and Janet Jackson are introduced to Beck's "E-Pro." As one can imagine, there's much tabloid hatin', retro-guitar riffage, Dust Brother beats, and plenty of gutteral "sh'mon"s.


Sasha writes a scene where the dinosaurs of "electronica" get together to discuss how much their current work sucks. It's kind of silly, but, for whatever reason, I found this line extremely amusing:

Daft Punk: Ha ha ha. I want [Fatboy Slim] to DJ when I marry my Palm Pilot.

Is the new Daft Punk album really as bad as the early buzz indicates? I can't rememeber who blogged about it, but someone said it sounded like Daft Punk just recorded the noises that were made as they fucked their fax machine. And they meant that in a negative way.

5) Jenna Elfman, protector of Earth.
I am so thankful that Jenna is going to protect the world from "body thetans." This is an excerpt from an interveiw Ms. Elfman did with Celebrity Magazine (a Scientology publication):
“I intend to make Scientology as accessible to as many people as I can. And that is my goal,” Elfman said. To do this, she says, it is my “duty to clear the planet.” By “clearing” she means to rid the world of “body thetans” — aliens who Scientologists believe inhabit the earth from a nuclear explosion 75 million years ago. She continued that “the more successful I became, the more suppression I bumped into … especially in the entertainment industry, which really is home to rabid suppression.”

Don't well all feel better now? (Via Defamer/MSN.)

Tuesday, February 15, 2005

Just to clarify.

I just want to make sure that people don't misunderstand--- I think that when I finally get around to viewing his work, I'm going to be best buds with Yasujiro Ozu and his films. It's Morgan that thinks the director of Beverly Hills Ninja and episodes of "Shasta McNasty" is superior to Ozu. Thank you. We now return to the regular programming.

Quote of the day.

"Pootie Tang may or may not have been mentioned three times.”

--An anonymous, pissy Harvard student after day one of Prof. Elvis Mitchell's "American Film Criticism" course (as quoted by the Harvard Crimson). I don't know what they're complaining about. (Via the cinetrix.)

Monday, February 14, 2005

He's baaaaack.

Remember Jay the Writer? I mocked him back in January; he's the one who took out the prime billboards in Hollywood to pitch a horrible sitcom called Hawgs to NBC.
The LA Times tracked him down and it turns out he's some old, retired dude in Arizona wasting his money chasing his dream. I felt bad about mocking him until I read what one anonymous "A-list agent" had to say:
"The idea that anyone would waste that kind of money doing something so retarded, that shows me they know so little about the business that I wouldn't be interested in looking at their stuff," says one A-list agent, speaking on condition of anonymity. "If that's the best you can come up with, then you're not very smart."

Ouch! Clearly someone got interviewed before they beat their assistant and/or had their morning Red Bull-and-Valium.

Post-millenium tensions.

Hey remember when Tricky dropped the sick shit in the '90s and was a tip-top/trip-hop artiste? "Overcome" and Maxinquaye and "Christiansands"? Brilliant. That's why this stings:

"Tricky is getting back into the acting game — the trip-hop godfather is guesting on four consecutive episodes of 'Girlfriends,' starting March 21. Tricky plays Finn Robinson, the leader of a band holding auditions for a new singer, who is impressed by an impromptu performance by Lynn (played by Persia White). The show airs Mondays at 9 p.m. on UPN."

Four episodes on Girlfriends? Oh Tricky, c'mon. Couldn't you have angled for Kevin Hill or Veronica Mars or something/anything else on UPN?

C'est profond.

"The curious thing about Jean-Luc Godard's recent films is that (like good chili) they seem better the next day."

--Roger Ebert, November 21, 1967, reviewing JLG's Masculine Feminine. Really, Ebs. Chili?

Summing up the Grammy's.

1) Remember the M.O.A.B.? I wish the Staples Center was M.O.A.B.'d last night, oh, right around the time that Kanye West had his shadow-play encounter with Jesus and then ascended to the rafters with his angel wings.

2) As usual, Sasha nails it: "Alicia Keys may sound like the girl at Subway singing along to the radio (though not as good), but she is real purty."

3) As previously noted by Tim, Scott Weiland sounds exactly like Neil Diamond.

4) Loretta Lynn rules.

5) When are the Black Eyed Peas going to go away forever?

Friday, February 11, 2005

Standards and practice.

An IM conversation I had with Morgan this afternoon.
Ozu's masterwork Tokyo Story is brought up. I've never seen it. Morgan has.

Morgan (5:08:01): That's another movie I prefer HAPPY GILMORE to.
M (5:08:10 PM): HAPPY GILMORE is my yardstick for greatness.
Ben (5:08:20 PM): that is so excellent.
M (5:08:40 PM): I think it's [HAPPY GILMORE] an exceptionally good film.
M (5:08:56 PM): And to surpass HAPPY GILMORE means a film is probably achieving greatness.
M (5:09:21 PM): Remember when that dude's hand gets run over by the garbage truck? That's solid gold.
M (5:09:25 PM): And it makes me laugh.
B (5:10:31 PM): and there's nothing of sim. quality in tokyo story?
M (5:10:42 PM): Not really.
M (5:11:06 PM): Just a bunch of people feeling sorry for themselves in ten minute long static takes taken three feet above the ground.
M (5:11:11 PM): I'll take the wooden hand any day.
B (5:11:49 PM): you might just be the first person to hold dennis dugan in higher regard than ozu.
M (5:12:03 PM): I have no problem admitting as much*.
B (5:12:09 PM): bitchin'.

*= Upon notification that the above IM conversation was going to go public, Morgan did add this caveat: "Mr. Dugan's work in BIG DADDY and PROBLEM CHILD is not on par with his work in HAPPY GILMORE. "

Where are the matching pajamas?

Just 'cause I didn't like the movie, doesn't mean I don't want the merch. (Who am I kidding, I'll never buy it, but it's kinda fun. And the Zissou shoes! They live!)

Friday morning email.

I hope Josh doesn't mind me making public a private email. If he does, too bad. His email makes me miss taking film theory classes.

So I'm reading this crazy book called "No Future:
Queer Theory and the Death Drive" which, as you can
imagine, is out of control. I really love it, in that
if you can stomach a pretty high volume of Lacanian
language and typical pomo obfuscation it is really
really brilliantly insightful in an angry-fag kind of

The author mostly examines books and movies (Scrooge
is really a hero BEFORE he gets converted into
Christmas-spirit and is defeated by heternormativity
and the mandate of reproduction) and he (like that
other great lacanian craze-hole, Zizek) loves
Hitchcock. Which is what I'm writing about. I was
really amused to see him reference several articles he
had written about Hitchcock in his (super awesome)
reading of "The Birds." These two articles have what
may be two of the finest names for pieces of film crit
in, well, ever. Here is part of the footnote,

"For a fuller discussion of Hitchcock's relationship
to questions of waste and anality, see my essays 'Piss
Elegant: Freud, Hitchcock and the Micturating Penis'
and 'Rear Window's Glasshole.'"

Doesn't "Piss Elegant: Freud, Hitchcock and the Micturating Penis" sound like the punchline to a joke found in a Cecil B. Demented deleted scene? Brilliant.

Thursday, February 10, 2005

For that special someone.

Don't know what to get that special someone for V'tine's day?

Might I suggest a Toxic Teddy? Nothing says "I love you" like an eleven dollar piece of plastic that looks like a teddy bear committing suicide.

(link via the gawk.)

Things that make you go 'hmmm...'

  • The NYTimes reviews a play called Texas Homos... by Jan Buttram? (via TMFTML.)

  • FilmBitch takes on Hilary Swank and the Academy. (Be warned, Million Dollar Baby spoilers be there.)

  • Kanye wins the 31st (or 32nd) Village Voice Pazz & Jop Critics' Poll. (I'm silently rolling my eyes at that one.)

  • Call me cynical, but I somehow doubt that Kevin James' performance in Hitch is, in the words of LA Weekly critic Chuck Wilson, "marvelously inventive." Maybe I'm wrong, but I got the impression that he was playing a stunted, annoying white guy (again). Maybe he's actually retarded and K.J. really gets to show some range and they're hiding this fact in the trailers. Just a thought. (On a side note, I happened to catch a promo for a new King of Queens. The episode is about how Kevin James is all pissed because his wife [the shrill, charmless, and thin Leah Remini] is "getting fat." Take that one in and get back to me.)

  • I was at the crib, sittin' by the fireplace
    Drinkin' cocoa on the bear skin rug
    The door bell rang. Who could it be?
    Thought to myself then started to shrug
    Got to the door. Ding Dong. Who is it?
    My girl's best friend had payed me a visit.
    Sly as can be, tight dress and all
    She knew that I was faithful. I really didn't have the gall.
    I tried to chilll. She made the move.
    Now I know my girlfriend wouldn't approve.
    I didn't realize my girl was settin' me up
    Yo, my girl didn't trust me. No!
    Yeah, but she lost control I wouln't take the bait.
    I said chill baby baby chill baby baby wait
    My girl bust in, Caught us creating a boom
    She said "Girlfriend?"

Wednesday, February 09, 2005

2 + 2 = 5.

1) Petra Haden and Bill Frisell.

Wherein that dog.'s vocalist/violinist joins forces with the premiere American avant-jazz-guitarist and crafts an album that sounds like a rootsy/Americana version of those Julee Cruise/David Lynch/Angeleo Badalamenti records. Features dreamy/abstract covers of Coldplay, Elliott Smith and Foo Fighters. Stand out: their version of "Moon River." Somnibutastic. (I'd also like to point out that in a couple of weeks, Ms. Haden is releasing her version of The Who's The Who Sell Out. I've yet to hear it, but she's covered the entire album and did it entirely a capella [!]. Medullatastic.)

2) Orson Welles' Touch of Evil.
I've been over it already, so I won't go there again. But if you haven't seen it, do yourself a favor. It's the effing bee's knees.

3) "E-Pro" by Beck.
Sure, it sounds a little rote, like Beck isn't pushing himself artistically at all. It's still better than anything you're going to hear on KROQ-- that monster guitar riff, the "na na na" chorus, and those Dust Brother beats. Kill the headlights and put it in neutral.

4) Geraldo interviewing Michael Jackson.
Where to begin... I think my favorite bit was when Geraldo (proving how in tune he is with pop culture) asked if Michael would try to reconnect with "the kids" by doing a duets album-- with the Bee Gees. Or when Michael insisted that media scrutiny doesn't bother him because he has "rhinoceros skin." Or when we got a behind-the-scenes glimpse of Michael recording his new "Tsunami benefit song," complete with Geraldo sitting in a chair in the corner of the studio, thick Black Ray-Bans on, bobbing his head to the horrifyingly syrupy playback. Geraldo: fair and balanced and entertaining as fuck.

5) The Magnetic Fields' "All My Little Words" (from 69 Love Songs).
The song popped up on my iPod just as I was contemplating what the fifth item should be. I love the song (1) because it's perfect and (2) it's the first Magnetic Fields song I ever heard. Upon that initial listen I was convinced that it was actually an old standard. The songwriting is just so literate and witty and melodic. You just can't beat the "tea in China"/"North Carolina" couplet.

Thank you, Liccy.

I'm not going to lie: I don't have the highest hopes for Tim Burton's take on Charlie and the Chocolate Factory. My esteem for Burton has been waning with every film he's released since Ed Wood and, while the idea of Burton interpreting Roald Dahl is intriguing, the Charlie trailer isn't hot. (Too affected, too '70s kitsch, too much.)
However, it could've been much worse. As reported by the LA Times:
[Dahl's widow] Liccy was able to bargain for explicit approval rights with Warner Bros. over all of the film's key creative talent and exercised that power repeatedly. She personally interviewed screenwriters, dined with actors and once blocked a directing choice proposed by the studio, Bruce Almighty filmmaker Tom Shadyac.

Shadyac?! Thank you for saving us from that, Liccy. God, I hate Hollywood executives. What was it about Patch Adams and Dragonfly that said, "He has the skill and imagination to take on Charlie?" Yeesh. I guarantee you they also tried to sneak Ratner in for a meeting.

Mr. Chompers.

If you don't go to on a regular basis, well, whatever, you're missing out. But do yourself a favor, go at some point this week and gaze upon the picture of Gary Busey in the upper-right corner. Holy God, it is something to behold. Those insanely large teeth + his raging psychosis + mugging for the camera = makes me laugh.

Tuesday, February 08, 2005

Smiley smile.

"I spent the two days following my extraction, in bed, watching the same three episodes of Freaks and Geeks over and over again. Sometime I found myself just watching the menu screen on the DVD. It is a great show, but the Vicodin made it a religious experience."

--Brian Wilson Tom, preparing for California by finding, um, religion.

Monday, February 07, 2005

Stuff you should know.

Over the weekend, I learned the following:

  1. Touch of Evil is almost impossibly great. What Orson Welles did with tracking shots and sound montage is so far ahead of its time, you could've told me this thing was made five years ago and I'd probably believe you. Granted, the studio butchered it on its initial release, but I have no clue how he managed to make this film--with its gleeful inversion of racial stereotypes, sordid drug subplot, and supporting cast of perverts, junkies and weirdos--for a major studio.

  2. Anyone who tells you The Godfather, Part II is better than the first is crazy. I re-watched the film for the first time in years. It'd been so long that it was like watching it for the first time and, while I think it's a great film, I think the notion that it's even on par with the first is wildly off base. There's no doubt that it's rich and masterful, it deepens the mythology and adds even more operatic tragedy to the saga. But it feels like a companion piece to me, never like its own entity. Oh and Diane Keaton really effs it up. The scene--the scene--where she, ahem, talks about babies with Michael, should be... the end all be all, just the dagger through the heart. Al Pacino brought his A-game. Francie and Mario brought their A-game, it's perfectly written. Diane... yeah, not so much. We get Annie Hall whining, thus deflating the entire scene and making the aftermath less resonate. Weak.

  3. Hilary Swank needs to be stopped. She is positively not allowed to make any more speeches where she strings four or five adjectives together in the service of kissing Clint Eastwood's ass.

  4. The more I watch Eternal Sunshine the more I'm convinced it's close to perfect.

  5. Finally--finally--I get what all the M.I.A. hype is about. I know, I know... way to jump on the bandwagon months late. Well, whatever. "Galang" was nice and all, I just had a hard time wrapping my mind around the hype. Mind-changer #1: "$10." Wherein in Ms. Arulpragasam spits some ferocious verses over a back-to-the-future electro beat that is bananas. Mind-changer #2: tracking down Piracy Funds Terrorism online. (Thanks, Big Ticket.) Holy shit is that thing genius. "Sunshowers" mixed with "Push It"? "Bingo" and "Big Pimpin'"? Sick. Now I just need someone to make a convincing case for the Arcade Fire.

Sunday, February 06, 2005

Quote of the weekend.

"She looks like the Geico lizard with nice breasts."
--Tim on Rosario Dawson.

Friday, February 04, 2005

Gouge away.

By now I'm sure everyone has heard about semi-not-really-famous r&b singer Houston and his eye-gouging incident. The whole thing is morbid and effed up as is, but the creepy level jumps when you look at how calm "his people" are about the whole thing.
Check out what Marco Powell, Houston's bodyguard, has to say about the incident: "He showed no pain and he had no remorse... He said he had to do it. He said that that had freed him from everything. He was happy after that. He said he was changed and was ready to go. That symbolic statement basically freed him from all the pain he was in. He feels like he is closer to God now."
I'd think that something a little less violent could make you closer to God. I'd think. Oh and don't assume this was some kind of botched suicide attempt. Houston's sister clears up that rumor: "Houston is a Christian and he does know that if he attempted anything like that he'd be doomed." Thanks for clearing that up. Suicide, no. Stabbing your eye out in the name of the Lord, a-OK. Here's the really tricky shit: if he had died by accident in the process of the symbolic statement/getting closer to God, would he be doomed? I guess I just might never know.

An open letter to Julie Taymor.

Dear Julie,

The news that you're going to direct All You Need Is Love (a story about "two star-crossed lovers in London in the 1960s [that] features 18 classic songs by the Beatles") makes it painfully clear that you are not the bad-ass I thought you were.
Titus, while troublesome in patches, was exciting and rich and sick and wonderfully over-the-top. I was convinced that your career was going to be a scorcher. Then came Frida... Yeah, Frida. Wherein you couldn't cut a single moment from the life of Frida Kahlo so you Reader Digested-fucking-everything into one long, dull Oxygen-network biopic. Bleh.
And now this. Julie, why not just make Mamma Mia!* or We Will Rock You into movies? Depressing, Julie. It's depressing.


*= I was going to hyperlink to the Mamma Mia! website, but it's super annoying and I just don't care. However, they have a list over every place that the show is playing. Do you realize that there are three different productions playing in South Africa? People sure love Abba ABBA.

Thursday, February 03, 2005

Headline news.

There is currently a death-battle going on for the headline that makes me most nauseous. (This one and this one.) The former is in the lead by quite a bit.

Wednesday, February 02, 2005

Adventures in Friendster.

I was one of those assholes who wouldn't join Friendster. I refused. I still refuse. That doesn't mean I won't scam off Tim and skim that shit. Look at what I turned up.

This is my friend Cassie... and a whole bunch of midg little people. I think they're actors.

This is my friend Lindsey with Mr. Top. Superbestevs.

This concludes today's chapter of Adventures in Friendster.

2 + 2 = 5.

1) Photos in the new Vanity Fair Hollywood Issue.

Man, this year's Hollywood Issue of Vanity Fair has The Guardian worked up into a lather over the cover ("This is Disempowerment as she is dressed by Versace... a homage to the blowjob values of 1950s Hollywood."). Er, yeah. Kate Winslet and Cate Blanchett pouting for the camera... end of the world. Shrug. I guess I'm part of the patriarchy. Personally, I'm just annoyed that VF did away with the "Film Snob Dictionary" section of the issue.
On a positive note: the portraits of the reunited Raging Bull cast, the "Cassavettes" reunion, and the people behind The Criterion Collection are most excellent.

2) Orson Bean in Being John Malkovich.

In a film stacked with standout performances, it's easy to overlook the comedic genius of Orson Bean. The next time you watch it (do yourself a favor: watch it soon), look out for Mr. Bean's speech that culminates in his declaration that "my spunk is manna from heaven." Oh and then there's the exchange with Cusack where he admits "I piss orange. I have to piss sitting down like a goddamn girlie-girl every fifteen minutes. " Oh and then...

3) "Oh My Gosh" by Basement Jaxx.
Retarded, I can't stop playing this song. Bleeps, bloops, Prince-beats, sexy/sassy Brit-girl vocals, goofball lyrics, hooks that won't quit, that chorus. Let me be Elvis Mitchell for a second: it's like eating Cap'n Crunch with Crunch Berries whilst watching (insert your favorite Saturday Morning Cartoon Show here).

4) Drudge Headlines.
There was that whole Iraqi Election thing, but 48 hours straight of MEET THE NEW "JANET JACKSON" seemed way more important. (And don't get me started on his Pope Death Watch fixation.)

5) Make it fun!
Wonkette's State of the Union Drinking Game.

Tuesday, February 01, 2005

Sacre bleu!

What is it with these manufactured pop stars suddenly getting good taste? First it was Jessica Simpson talking about how she's looking to Bjork for inspiration on her new album. Now Kelly Osbourne is channeling JLG: "[For my new video] I'm going for something like very Alphaville... Very '60s, nothing that I thought I'd ever do, like very black and white. I'm excited for that. And I'm going to wear a wig!"
Methinks some publicists with good taste are involved.