Thursday, June 29, 2006

Ann hearts New Potato Caboose.

Even if this is a fake (and I don't think it is), I love the idea of Ann Coulter giving an interview to
TH: Are there any other jambands you like?

AC: All the usual – String Cheese Incident, Phish, Dave Matthews Band, Blues Traveler, New Potato Caboose. I can't really tell you all the groups I like because have an iPod so have a lot of songs my friends send me and I never really know who I'm listening to. But I try to keep up with what the young people are listening to these days (I love saying that). There’s Jet, Cake, Outkast, 50 Cent, Black-Eyed Peas, Lord Alge, Beck, Kanye West (I like his Jesus song), Missy Elliot, and Eagles of Death Metal. I'm five years behind, aren't I? I'm very busy!

Full confession: I used to be a dirty prep-school hippie that went to a lot of Phish shows (Deer Creek '96, yo), but Ann totally out hippies me. And I like that she's come around and learned to embrace the hip-hop (not to mention effing Eagles of Death Metal).

Take my wife...

Two blurbs. Two writers clearly amused by their own cleverness. Two woefully subpar jokes. A battle to the death.

  • David Edelstein, A Scanner Darkly: "It’s terribly frustrating when one’s Dick is at arm’s length."

  • Neil LaBute, Barry Lyndon: "Outside of perennial holiday fare like The Wizard of Oz, It's a Wonderful Life, or Salo, I think I've watched Stanley Kubrick's Barry Lyndon more times than any other movie I can remember."

(In case you didn't know, Edelstein wins this round.)

Sunday, June 25, 2006

Girlie so groovy.

I bet you all didn't rush out and buy the 33 1/3 entry on the Pixies' Doolittle like I told you to. That's okay, I ain't madatcha. However, I finished it today and I'm going to bore you with another amazing anecdote.
Another lyrical change [to "Debaser"] was more consequential. When the song was first written, instead of "Un chien andalusia," Thompson [aka Frank Black] sang "Shed, Apollonia!" after Prince's buxom plaything in Purple Rain. As usual, he had a rhyme scheme before he had lyrics, and "Apollonia" fit just as well as "andalusia." (Plus, do you remember the scene where you see those tits?) Thompson thankfully came to realize his cinematic affections lay more with mutilated eyeballs than Morris Day. "I couldn't sing about stripping Apollonia 6, that was just too silly--although I like the idea!" he told Sounds. "It was just too tongue-in-cheek, too like an inside joke. I had to be a little more broad than that."

Again, I can't recommend the Doolittle entry more highly. Aside from Douglas Wolk's exhaustive (and exhausting) monograph on James Brown's Live at the Apollo, this is the best of the 33 1/3 series.

Thursday, June 22, 2006

I learn something new every day.

"['Gigantic' is] Kim Deal's greatest moment with the Pixies, and perhaps ever*. On the most obvious and enticing level, it is an unabashed praisesong to a well-endowed black man ('Gigantic! Gigantic! Gigantic! / A big, big love!'). But a commonly overlooked theme is its eroticized maternalism: Deal has said than an inspiration for the lyrics was the 1986 film Crimes of the Heart, in which Sissy Spacek plays a married woman who has an affair with a teenager."

--Ben Sisario in his 33 1/3 entry on the Pixies' Doolittle.

* Er, no. That would be "Cannonball" by The Breeders. Then "Gigantic." Then the "Oooooooh" backing vocal part in "Where is My Mind?" Then the bassline to "Debaser." Then the vocals to "In Heaven." Then...

Reshaping the human body by modern technology.

I can't tell you why, but I'm drawn to David Cronenberg's Crash.

Initially, it was an ironic infatuation; in college I'd watch the tape in mixed company, snickering at Cronenberg's ability to profoundly repulse unsuspecting viewers. I didn't much care for the film (or Cronenberg for that matter), but Crash was good for a laugh.

Then a funny thing happened. I started taking Cronenberg and his work more and more seriously (during my third or so viewing of Dead Ringers I was startled to realize that it was easily one of the best films of the 1980s and an indisputable masterpiece) and Crash became something entirely different. I still think there's a lot of gallows humor in it, but I'm struck by how Cronenberg seems to be wrangling with these weighty concepts--the erotics of danger, compulsion, technological paranoia, relationships--and he doesn't seem to have (or care about) a defined thesis. He's content to wrestle with these themes in a film that basically lacks any conventional narrative and does it in the most clinically explicit, provocative, and violent way imaginable. And in the end, he ultimately leaves it all open for discussion.

A confession: when I watched the film a couple of nights ago, I spent most of the time not thinking about the moral implications or the perfect production values; I thought about Ted Turner. This was the mental image in my head: Turner, then owner of TimeWarner, is settled into his private screening room to view this controversial movie his conglomerate has recently acquired at Cannes. He brings a perfectly grilled beefalo burger to his mouth and just as he's about to take a bite, from the screen Deborah Kara Unger asks James Spader if he knows was Elias Koteas's semen tastes like. Uncle Ted chokes for a second and does a spit take. And scene.

Juvenile? Yup. But every time a Cronenbergian bit of perversity showed up on the screen, that was the mental image that ran through my head. And it made me laugh. Every time.

Wednesday, June 14, 2006


Bare with me, I need to share this weird piece of synchronicity.

Yesterday, as the work day was winding down, I decided to track down new information on David Lynch's long-gestating feature, Inland Empire. Unfortunately, there's not a whole lot on that front* but this quest across the ITs took me to, which I hadn't been to in ages.

At that moment (6:10 p.m. PST), my cell phone rings; Nayiri is calling. My boss doesn't take too kindly to personal calls in the office, so I let it go to voice mail. Meanwhile, I notice that has started selling ringtones. Yes, ringtones. Now, when someone calls, you can have David Lynch's digitally manipulated voice announce "My teeth are bleeding! My teeth are bleeding!" Or "I like to kill deer. I like to kill deer."

I check my voicemail. Nayiri is calling me to ask me if I was aware that David Lynch started selling ringtones on his website. Didn't Agent Cooper say that there's no such thing as a coincidence? But what does it mean? What does it mean?

Shrug. Probably that I like to kill deer or some stizz.

* Venice '06? Hopefully, fingers crossed, fingers crossed.

Bonus video clip (because I care): "Brilliant! I have absolutely no clue what's going on."

Bonus anecdote: Remember that silly trend in the late '90s wherein a major city would mass produce a blank fiberglass sculpture-- usually something animalish; Boston, for instance, had a fish--and get a bunch of artists/school kids/etc. to paint said object and place them all over the city? Well, in NYC they put up cows and somebody had the great idea of inviting David Lynch to decorate one of them. It didn't go over too well. Needless to say, they didn't end up using Lynch's cow.

Tuesday, June 13, 2006

Do you find this happens all the time?

A couple months ago I meant to make a public prediction that 2006 would be the year of Sofia Coppola's comeuppance. I imagined it would go like this: The Virgin Suicides and Lost in Translation were just too slight for the amount of hype and praise being thrown at Ms. Coppola's feet; that she got where she got using the family name; that she surrounds herself with great craftsmen and they do all the heavy lifiting; that, whether based on an honest critical evaluation or not, Marie Antoinette is a giant piece of shit.

(To which I'd respond: [1] As if she has control over critical hyperbole; [2] But it's cool that, you know, Schwartzman rocked the family connection to find his way into Rushmore; [3] Right, just like how Kurt Cobain wrote those Hole records, because we know that girls can't get by on their own; [4] Ding ding ding. See, among others, Jeffery Wells's "review" from Cannes. To my fellow music nerds, doesn't this feel like an annoying extension of rockism?)

This is a long way of saying: my desire to see this movie will not die, especially when I see (purportedly) the finalized soundtrack. Just try to deny it:

1. Gang of Four - Natural's Not In It
2. Dustin O'Halloran - Opus 17
3. Windsor for the Derby - The Melody of a Fallen Tree
4. The Radio Dept. - I Dont Like it Like This
5. Aphex Twin - Jynweythek Ylow
6. Jean-Philippe Rameau - 1er Menuet pour Les Guirries et les Amazones, 2eme Menuet
7. The Radio Dept. - Pulling Our Weight
8. Air - Il Secondo Giorno Instrumental
9. The Radio Dept. - Keen On Boys
10. Jean-Philippe Rameau - Aux Languets d'Appollon
11. Dustin O'Halloran - Opus 23
12. Bow Wow Wow - I Want Candy (Kevin Shields Remix)
13. Siouxsie and the Banshees - Hong Kong Garden
14. Bow Wow Wow - Aphrodisiac
15. Bow Wow Wow - Fools Rush In (Kevin Shields Remix)
16. The Cure - Plainsong
17. New Order - Ceremony
18. Squarepusher - Tommib Help Buss
19. Phoenix - Où Boivent Les Loups
20. Adam and the Ants - Kings of the Wild Frontier
21. Aphex Twin - Avril 14th
22. The Strokes - What Ever Happened?
23. Jean-Philippe Rameau - Tristes Apprêts, Pâles Flambeaux
24. Dustin O'Halloran - Opus 36
25. The Cure - All Cats Are Grey

Observation One: No "Age of Consent"? After its appearance in that perfect trailer, it's a shame not to include it.

Observation Two: Greedily, I was hoping for a new Air track; alas, it's a piece from the band's odd novelty record City Reading.

Friday, June 09, 2006

Anyone check you for a heartbeat recently?

Can I suggest John Dahl's perfect neo-noir The Last Seduction for when you're not sure what to watch this weekend? I saw it last night for the first time in a couple of years and it's just as delicious, cruel, and pulpy as I remembered. I want my film noirs unapologetically mean and black as pitch, that's why Dahl's exercise in evil will always warm my heart. Two hours of Linda Fiorentino scheming/killing/fucking her way further and further off any recognizible moral grid? Yes, please.

Besides its darkness, I think the reason I love this film so much is it strikes such a deft balance: it's not some glib exercise in "noir," it is a noir... But, as Roger Ebert points out, there's still a comedic element to it. We don't laugh at it because, wink wink nudge nudge, we're above this material, we laugh because it's relentless and vulgar and mean. Well, that and the script is genuinely hilarious in places. This scene--featuring the unholy combination of Fiorentino's Mojave-dry delivery, Peter Berg's clueless small town guy shtick, and Steve Barancik's writing--is a perfect exmaple:
[A little set-up: Mike (Berg) is desperately trying to pick-up Bridget (Fiorentino) in a bar. She is having none of it.]

Bridget Gregory: Could you leave? Please?
Mike Swale: I haven't finished charming you yet.
Bridget Gregory: You haven't started.
Mike Swale: Gimme a chance.
Bridget Gregory: Look, go find yourself a nice little cowgirl and make nice little cowbabies and leave me alone.
Mike Swale: I'm hung like a horse. Think about it.
Bridget Gregory: Let's see.
Mike Swale: Excuse me?
Bridget Gregory: Mr. Ed, let's see.
Mike Swale: Look, I tried to be nice. I can see that's something you're not...
Bridget Gregory: No, I'm trying. I can be very nice when I try. Sit down.
Mike Swale: OK, maybe we just got off to a bad start. I know plenty of people---
[Bridget unzips his fly]
Mike Swale: What are you doing?
Bridget Gregory: I believe what we're looking for is a certain horse-like quality...

So perfect, so eeeeeevil.

I must admit, I've never worked up the courage to rent the straight-to-video softcore followup (imaginatively titled The Last Seduction II) that features not a single member of the original cast or crew. Have any of youse?

Thursday, June 08, 2006

We interrupt this silence...

Shit, when the Jane Magazine blog is calling you out for being lazy, you gotta hop to. (Hollatcha, Spence.)

Proper post in the works. In the mean time, links:
  • Did Michelle Malkin really formulate this equation: "F-16s + Beastie Boys = Crazy Delicious"? Yes. Yes she did.

  • Party like it's 2004: Douglas Wolk's excellent essay on The Irresistible Rise of the Numa Numa Dance.

  • Stop the press, I just felt a little pride for my alma mater: Pixies live from Emerson College's WERS.

  • Don't miss the ongoing conversation re: Vanity 6's "Nasty Girl" over at Moistworks. It's a nice reminder of the good ol' days when Prince was... well, hilariously nasty. As Alex points out:
    "Prince wanted to name the group 'The Hookers,' and suggested that Matthews - the 'Vanity' in Vanity 6 - go by the stage name 'Vagina.' According to Wikipedia, 'the 6 represented the group's breast count.' Nice one, Prince!"
    Ever the charmer, huh?

  • Speaking of the Purple One, ickmusic has a set of mp3s showing off Prince's sick guitar skillz.

  • Armond, the answer is (1) No and (2) unfortunately, I don't think they're concerned:
    "Have Vaughn and Aniston never seen Mike Leigh's minor masterwork, Career Girls? Their best hope is that you haven't."

  • The video for The Red Hot Chili Peppers's "Can't Stop" (originally directed by Mark Romanek)-- Lego style.

  • In case you're wondering (and I know you are) Mr. Skin's Number One Film of All Time is... Artie Lange's Beer League.

  • Fun for film nerds: Which film critic are you? (For the record I'm Jonathan Rosenbaum.) (Link via girish.)

  • Moral of the story: don't fuck with Akiane.