Wednesday, May 31, 2006

Couldn't he stick to ruining shitty '70s TV shows?

Doesn't this sound like something from The Onion?

From Variety:
Turner Classic Movies is close to greenlighting its first original series ever, commissioning movie industry-related pilots "Take Two" and "Idols."

Both are working titles.

The premise of "Take Two" is that a young actor dissects a great movie of the past -- in the pilot, Wilmer Valderrama takes on "The Lost Weekend" -- choosing actors and filmmakers to re-enact a classic scene from the movie. The supplier is World of Wonders, with Fenton Bailey & Randy Barbato as exec producers.

Can't wait for Frankie Muniz to take on Le Samourai.

Little Boston News.

Head over here for the latest flimflam, photobloggery, and Moby Dick excerpts courtesy of the Blood crew. I'm such a helpless fan boy that this script morsel (posted on the site) gets my heart pumping:




What does it mean? Shrug. But I like it.

Friday, May 26, 2006

Adventures in blurbery.

From the back of A.M. Homes's This Book Will Save Your Life:
"If Oprah went insane, this might be her favorite book." --John Waters.

(It's sad that John goes out on a limb invoking Insane Oprah, then qualifies it with that "might.")

From the promo sticker on the front of Matmos's The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast:
"Featuring Antony, the Kronos Quartet, Björk, Don Bolles, recordings of anonymous sex at Blow Buddies during the Bear Festival, etc."

(1: You know this isn't the first time Kronos has shared a bill with anonymous sex from Blow Buddies. 2: The "etc." is so excellent.)

Thursday, May 25, 2006

Adventures in misanthropy.

I can't think of a better way to kill another soul-deadening day at the office than compiling a Hate list with the co-founder of Horny Gandhi.

I'm pleased to present "50 Things We Hate"* compiled by Ben and Nayiri.

1. Sweaty feet.
2. Improper use of your/you're, its/it's, their/there/they're, etc.
3. Mustard yellow.
4. Pitstains.
5. Periods, commas, etc. outside of the end-quote. If you're a Brit,we'll let it slide. Not in America, yo.
6. Being forced to touch the bathroom door after washing your hands.
7. Bathroom doors that require you to touch them after washing your hands ( i.e. doors with stupid handles, or doors in bathrooms that
only have air dryers and no towels)
8. People who say "I like every kind of music except country."
9. Dave Eggers.
10. "Family Guy"
11. People who quote "Family Guy"
12. Things that are sticky (jamhands, breakfast menus covered in maple syrup, etc.)
13. Slow pedestrians who take up the entire sidewalk.
14. Coconut, a.k.a cuticle.
15. John Travolta and Kelly Preston.
16. Hives. (The malady, not the band.)
17. Stetson cologne.
18. Mouthbreathers.
19. People who are proudly tech-ignorant.
20. Hot cauliflower.
21. Lipstick marks on glasses, mugs, straws, and other miscellaneous beverage-related items.
22. VPL.
23. Chapped lips.
24. Face marks on windows, i.e. from where an airplane passenger rested his or her head whilst sleeping/watching the in-flight movie.
25. Coral-colored nail polish, particularly on toes.
26. Misuse of the transitional "Anyway" as "Anyways."
27. Excessive regional pride.
28. Dirty laundromats.
29. The statement "I'm not really religious, I'm spiritual."
30. The phrase "Post 9/11."
31. Men with long fingernails who aren't transvestites, drag queens, etc.
32. People who call California "Cali," Atlantic City "AC," San Francisco "SF," etc.
33. Beyoncé.
34. Poor spellers who have no excuse for being poor spellers.
35. Foot draggers, especially foot draggers in flip-flops.
36. Weak handshakes.
37. Sloppy diction.
38. Road Rules/Real World challenge(s).
39. Jay Leno.
40. People who yell out "Free Bird!" during a lull at a concert.
41. Cat people.
42. Decaf.
43. Picky eaters, specifically when they are adults.
44. Women who can't walk in their shoes.
45. People who say "fudgeicle" instead of "fudgesicle."
46. Lint.
47. Jean shorts.
48. Ticketmaster.
49. Jägermeister.
50. Waiting four months for Season 3 of "Lost."

* = I guess I should put a slight caveat in place. Some of these are more personal than others. For instance, I'm personally okay with VPL, coral nail polish, and Beyoncé-- especially when they're all part of one intoxicating blend.

Wednesday, May 24, 2006

That ain't me, babe.

The Guardian's CultureVulture works up a lather (gender politics, whether a female actors should be called an "actress," etc.) over the news that Cate Blanchett will play Bob Dylan in Todd Haynes's upcoming biopic, I'm Not There. "Maybe Todd Haynes thinks that Blanchett has a radical spirit that coincides with Dylan's," The Vulture writes, "Maybe Blanchett can express Dylan's female side. Maybe she can sing. Who knows?"

Am I wrong in thinking that The Vulture is missing the point entirely? As I understand it, Haynes hired eight very different actors and actresses to portray abstract aspects of the Dylan persona. For Christ's sake, Haynes unsuccessfully wooed Oprah frickin' Winfrey to "play" "Bob Dylan." Both Charlotte Gainsbourg and Richard Gere are already on board as other variants of Zimmy. Anyone who thinks this film--subtitled Suppositions on a Film Concerning Dylan--is going to be a two hours of hagiographic mimicry (a la Walk the Line and Ray) is way off.

Oh, and happy birthday, Mr. Dylan.

Sunday, May 21, 2006


"[Southland Tales] winds up more like a 12:52 a.m. Saturday Night Live sketch (the cast includes, in significant roles, Jon Lovitz, Nora Dunn, Cheri Oteri, and Amy Poehler) crossed with Hudson Hawk, only far more pretentious and interminable than either. This is a potential career killer, I suspect...'
-- Mike D'Angelo, Nerve (via GreenCine).

Thursday, May 18, 2006

In praise of April Grace.

A couple of weeks ago, I happened upon Diane Sawyer's thoroughly puffy interview with Tom Cruise. (And by "happened upon," I mean I Tivo'd it so as not to miss it.) As Cruise unleashed his usual gamut of bizarro interview tics (that awful laugh, the serious "I'm really listening to you" stare, etc.), I wondered if he was at all self-conscious considering this was the exact shit he and P.T. Anderson deconstructed in that Magnolia scene. Of course, in that scene, Gwenovier the interviewer (played by April Grace) flips the shtick and uses it to hang Cruise/Frank TJ Mackey; Diane Sawyer seemed to gladly gobble everything up.

I also wondered just where the hell April Grace has been. She pops up in small TV roles every once and awhile and I am aware that parts for middle-aged women, especially middle-aged women of color, are not exactly plentiful. Still, I thought, it's a crime that someone hasn't found use for that empathy, that supreme confidence that April Grace radiates.

That's why I literally pumped my fist in the air when Grace's name showed up in the opening credits of last night's episode of Lost. I'm not going to spoil anything for anyone, as I'm sure some of you might not have gotten around to it yet. (Notice that I'm assuming that you all watch the damn show. I just do. Sorry.) I'll just say this: whoever had the idea of [A] casting her and giving her a substantial part and then [B] taking Miss Grace's strengths and using it for dark, sinister purposes... Thank you, you get a golden star.

Ms. Klugh? Shudder.

Quote of the day.

"Are his films not enough for you? Fellini is dead and Bergman doesn't travel."

--Unnamed Cannes official on why Wong Kar-wai was selected to be head of the Cannes Jury. (via Josh/Andrew O'Hehir.)

UPDATE: I might've spoken to soon. This ranks up there. Sure, the, er, veracity is questionable, but it's all about the sentiment, baby.

Tuesday, May 09, 2006

Has anyone heard the new Matmos record?

Via Pitchfork's review of the new Matmos record, The Rose Has Teeth in the Mouth of a Beast:
Each track is just as thematically tight-- scored and curated to the smallest detail. "Snails and Lasers for Patricia Highsmith" uses the mystery writer's snail obsession-- she supposedly kept hundreds of them as pets, and she wrote about them in works like the short story, "The Snail-Watcher"-- as the slimy composers of that piece. The technique: A laser was pointed at a light-sensitive theremin; snails were let loose within the theremin's range, fucking with its pitch. The result is an ominous, hard-boiled brushed jazz piece accented with what sounds like a harpsichord flourish. It eventually turns into a bleakly paranoid theremin landscape as the snails frolic in slow motion.
Another piece based primarily around a written text is "Tract For Valerie Solanas". The same way Sunn 0))) was nailed for recording Xasthur in a coffin, Matmos will get a lot of column space for playing a cow uterus and vagina as tribute to the woman best known for shooting Andy Warhol. Sunn 0))) was aiming for claustrophobia and positioning Xasthur as cryptic solo artist; in a similarly smart way, the moo parts are a great pun on both the cow's goods (its reproductive tract) and Solanas's S.C.U.M. Manifesto (a feminist tract). Score.

UPDATE: Score! The iTunes store has samples.

UPDATE 2: While I can't hear the cow ladyparts on the "Solanas" track, the Patricia Highsmith piece sounds pretty snazzy (in that Angelo Badalamenti/sinister cocktail jazz kind of way). I might just have to pick this shizz up.

Wednesday, May 03, 2006

Other voices, other rooms.

Blah blah blah. No excuses, no whining, etc.
Go read some stuff (both new and old) written by friends (both imaginary and real):

  • There's no doubt that this LA Times story is compelling-- but did it warrant the front page? Regardless, stories about trying to communicate with Earth dwellers in the year 11991 appeals to my inner-nerd me. Try to deny this:
    "You'd think it would be easier to communicate with humans" than extraterrestrials, he said. [snip] "All we can guess about the future inhabitants of the area near WIPP is that they are human — unless they are cyborgs…. Once you have people with augmented brains or genetically engineered minds with enhanced perceptions, you can't be sure how human they will be."

    Admit it, that's hella interesting. And no, I do not own Deep Space Nine on DVD. (Not that there's anything wrong with that. Well, there is. But I'm saying there isn't to be nice and not step on any toes.)

  • As much as I preach pop-tolerance and acceptance, I just can't get on the "the latest Mariah album is excellent" bandwagon. Sorry. That doesn't mean I can't appreciate S/FJ's New Yorker piece on Mimi, especially when it contains passages like this:
    ["Vision of Love"] begins with several bars of lovely, wordless melisma, as if Carey were warming up, and it ends with two very loud passages of melisma, one of them an a-cappella expansion on the word “all” that can be roughly transcribed as: “ah-ha-uh-uh-oh-oo-oh-ooah-ha-uh-uh-oh-oo-oh-oo-ah-oh.”

  • I love the lucidity in girish's essay on Drawing Restraint 9. I missed its mini-Los Angeles engagement, can't wait for the DVD.

  • News flash: Armond White hearts Morrissey. "Because Morrissey has few champions among those mainstream American pop critics preoccupied with business-as-usual routines by Pink, T.I., Beth Orton, and the Arctic Monkeys, the millennial vision and excitement—the progress—of Ringleader has been overlooked. Here's a pop album that helps one get a handle on how we live today... Having moved past the bed-sit miserabilism of the Smiths, he now shows a wider social consciousness in his unsatisfied yearnings."

  • Joshua published his latest PopMatters essay, this time evaluating the status of queer cinema by looking at Mysterious Skin and Brokeback Mountain. Well-written and unfailingly smart (obvs) and insistent that marriage is the worst thing ever (sigh). Oh and his Seed of Chucky riff is great.

  • Matthew Fluxblog's new column for the AP, Hit Refresh, debuted today.

Monday, May 01, 2006

Pedastalizing ZOG.

As I'm not actually Jewish nor am I a raving anti-semite, the whole ZOG thing has never been entirely clear to me. I bring this up because I was recently reading customer reviews on Netflix (Jesus, that sounds so pathetic) and came across this blurb by "TruthSetsFree":
Veronica Mars: Season One
Two out of Five Stars

Standard Zionest formula. Cutie pie Jewish Princess and Sweet Daddy solve crimes. Targeted at the high school demographic (the most programmable and impressionable age) the show promotes and pedestalizes Blacks, accepts the Hispanic gang presence as cool and outright denegrates the Irish race. Scattered, pointless writing worked around the major premise with snotty-valley-girl coolness to make it hip to teenagers. What a waste of air time!

Let's tackle the most glaring problem first: that is not a two star review. Clearly that's a one star review if I've ever seen one. Secondly, I don't think "pedestalizes" is a word. Thirdly, I don't remember any Irish denigration in Season One. You can make the case in Season Two, but that's not what's at issue here.
Oh and then there's that whole Zionist thing. Yeah, so Kristen Bell (the titular V. Mars) is a total Midwestern shiksa in real life and on the show the Mars family has never acknowledged any Jewish heritage. No casual mentions of seders, matzo, Israel, Maccabees, or Tu Bishvat... nothing. In fact, the Mars family has celebrated Christmas on the show...

And that's when it hit me-- TruthSetsFree might be one of those, er, conspiracy nuts. You know, who likes to find hidden meanings in every pop cultural artifact they get their hands on. I decided I had to dig deeper, to find out if my hunch was correct. So I looked up his other reviews.

"A fictional Jewish production of the 54th Massachusettes' actions during the Civil War. Could this be what the ZOG would like to see happen all over the US today?"

Well, to be fair, Glory is a political piece and was made by someone of the Jewish persuasion, so it's a wash; can't tell. Maybe that is what ZOG would like see all over the USA. (Although I'm not entirely sure what "this" is.)

Me, Myself & Irene:
"1 out of 5 stars.
Overt Zionest Jim Carrey's most despicable offering, which denigrates Whites and pedestalizes Blacks; overt profanity, disgusting situations...overt Zionest propaganda. Do yourself a favor and throw this one in the trash without viewing."

Again, what is it with the "pedestalizing"? And I gotta say, I really don't remember any overt Zionism (or subtextual for that matter) in the film, nor can I recall Jim Carrey ever getting political on any topic. I'm beginning to suspect that TSF does fit the conspiracy nut mold.

Next up, Team America:
"1 out of 5 stars.
Whether you get this film or not depends on if you believe the US-ZOG has been utilizing our unsuspecting National Guard boys(at their expense) as mercenaries to murder Muslims in Iraq! This film perpetrates the myth that the US is the supplier of expendable cannon-fodder for the world's wars, as designated by the ZOG and the US Corporate Structure. Half phony jingoist propaganda and half overt zionest denigration of the White and Muslim races, the film reaches new heights in despicable film making. Highlights include forced white male felatio, puppet pornagrapics and denigration of other races. Do yourself a favor and throw this ethnocentric/racist piece of garbage where it belongs!"

That does it. I am now prepared to say that TSF is most likely a conspiracy nut.
Here's the thing: I definitely "got" Team America but I'd never heard of--never could've imagined!--the US-ZOG utilizing the Guard for such mendacity. Does that mean I didn't actually get it? I read it as an allegorical/libertarian bit of wishful thinking by Trey Parker and Matt Stone wherein the Left would stop whining and realize that we're in the midst of some serious Islamofacist danger and the Right would stop acting like jingoistic, trigger-happy bullies. Man, I guess I was way off. Oh wait, no... No, I'm not fucking insane.
Case closed, y'all.

(All snark aside-- don't you love that this guy charges Team America with racism when he's taking offense to depictions of "forced white male felatio [sic]"? He'd have no objection to, say, an Asian man being forced to give head apparently.)