31 December 2006

Year-end movie post

On this final day of 2006, I was looking over our Netflix rental history, trying to decide what was the best thing I saw this year. Ultimately, I decided it was The Prize Winner of Defiance, Ohio. I put it in the queue based solely on the presence of Julieanne Moore, whom I adore. Happily, it was an excellent movie regardless of her fine work.

A close second was The Notorious Bettie Page. Admittedly, I was drawn to the subject matter: a famous stripper/ fetish model. But it, too, was a fine film. I loved the look of it. It was partially B&W, and part rich, saturated color. The story glossed over some of the darker bits of its title character's past and, considering her profession, seemed somewhat sanitized. But it was directed and written by women, and I wonder if that's why. Not a complaint-- merely an observation. Gretchen Mol was very good-- sexy yet innocent.

Interestingly, both of the films were period pieces set in post WWII America, and both were made by women. Both had an excellent feel for their time and place-- something I feel is very important in movie. I enthusiastically recommend them both.

Probably the biggest disappointment was Little Miss Sunshine, which we just watched last night. Aside from Abigail Breslin and Alan Arkin (both wonderful), and a funny ending, it did little to hold my interest. Otherwise, it was full of unlikeable characters and contrived situations. I found it tedious and overrated.

On to 2007...

14 November 2006

I hate this fucking country

I've said that a lot this past 12 years-- ever since the 1994 elections and the Republicans' "Contract With America" (which of course turned out to mean Contract On America). After last week's elections, there's really only one thing to say to these country-ruiners:

Suck it, bitches!

You got what you deserve.

One site I frequent pointed out that, among all the contested House, Senate and Governor's races, not a single Democratic incumbent lost. 504 seats and not a single one went from -D to -R. Incredible!

Maybe there's hope for us after all.

22 May 2006

To the bitch in the silver sedan

We were passing Parrish Middle School during the commute tonight. I was doing about 20 MPH-- the speed limit in front of schools in Oregon, and you just flew by me. I barely had time to make out all the anti-choice bumper stickers that festooned your car. I'd bet you were doing close to 40 MPH as you carelessly barrelled past the school. I guess your concern for children stops as soon as they leave the womb, huh? Fucking hypocrite! Die in a fire.

On a related, but happier note, asshat Paul deParrie is dead. He didn't die in a fire, but at least he won't be bothering anyone anymore.

12 April 2006

Are you going to heaven? I am!!!

I’m in my mid-40s. For the last few years I have sensed something missing from my life. I have never been able to quite put my finger on the problem. My life just seems a little less than satisfying.

I was raised Roman Catholic. I went to parochial school the first six years, then to CCD through high school. Towards the end of my senior year I started to question the whole church thing and I stopped going just about the time I graduated. I continued to consider myself religious for several years—just unchurched. Eventually I fell away completely. There was no catastrophic event that led me away—no priestly buggery or anything like that. I simply lost my faith and allowed my intellect to take over.

As I trudge into middle age, I realize that this no longer serves me well. The emptiness can only be filled by a return to spirituality. However, I cannot abide the Catholic church. I recently came across what I know in my heart is the right choice for me. And it’s Baptist! I never in a million years ever thought I would affiliate myself with a Protestant faith, much less the Baptists! I am saved! And I want—no must—share my faith with others so that they might become saved as well.

I implore all my loyal readers to check out my new “home.” It’s called Landover Baptist Church. They even have a web site! Check it out!

I am so happy that I am saved, and I’ll be even happier once the rest of my family and friends are assured of entrance to the Heavenly Kingdom!

26 March 2006

In Cold Breakfast at Tiffany's

Movie night last night was "Capote." Phillip Seymour Hoffman? A+. The movie itself? I give it a C. I thought it a little slow and plodding, though perhaps that was by design. (Could be the film was made to mirror the personality of its subject. Or maybe not.)

It was nicely made and had a real feel for its time and places. There are few things more distracting to me than period pieces that have no flavor for their period. (See "Grease"-- set in the fifties, but absolutely screams late seventies.)

Hoffman is magnificent. I found his affectations a little annoying the first few minutes (and in fact we turned the closed captions on just so we could figure out what he was saying!), but in no time at all it was clear he was the very embodiment of Truman Capote. We believe he's Capote because he believes it. Can you imagine his processes for getting into this character? The first rehearsals must have been scary. He must have questioned his ability to sustain the character for a whole movie. If he did, it sure as hell does not show up in the finished product.

A couple other laments: How did the guy playing Perry, one of the killers, escape all the media attention? He was really good in this. Just the right mix of menacing and sympathetic. I wanted to know more about him. And Catherine Keener, who is one of my favorites, was wasted. She certainly made the most of her scant screen time. How about a Harper Lee biopic starring her now?

24 March 2006

Time for a new joke

A tourist wanders into a back-alley antique shop in San Francisco's Chinatown. Picking through the objects on display he discovers a detailed, life- sized bronze sculpture of a rat. The sculpture is so interesting and unique that he picks it up and asks the shop owner what it costs.

"Twelve dollars for the rat, sir," says the shop owner, "and a thousand dollars more for the story behind it."

"You can keep the story, old man," he replies, "but I'll take the rat."

The transaction complete, the tourist leaves the store with the bronze rat under his arm. As he crosses the street in front of the store, two live rats emerge from a sewer drain and fall into step behind him. Nervously looking over his shoulder, he begins to walk faster, but every time he passes another sewer drain, more rats come out and follow him. By the time he's walked two blocks, at least a hundred rats are at his heels, and people begin to point and shout.

He walks even faster, and soon breaks into a trot as multitudes of rats swarm from sewers, basements, vacant lots, and abandoned cars. Rats by the thousands are at his heels, and as he sees the waterfront at the bottom of the hill, he panics and starts to run full tilt. No matter how fast he runs, the rats keep up, squealing hideously, now not just thousands but millions, so that by the time he comes rushing up to the water's edge a trail of rats twelve city blocks long is behind him.

Making a mighty leap, he jumps up onto a light post, grasping it with one arm while he hurls the bronze rat into San Francisco Bay with the other, as far as he can heave it. Pulling his legs up and clinging to the light post, he watches in amazement as the seething tide of rats surges over the breakwater into the sea, where they drown. Shaken and mumbling, he makes his way back to the antique shop.

"Ah, so you've come back for the rest of the story," says the owner.

"No," says the tourist, "I was wondering if you have a bronze Republican."

Shamelessly lifted from here.

12 March 2006

Because You're Mine...

We watched "Walk the Line" last night. I had been looking forward to it ever since I first heard about it. I'm not much into country music, but have become quite interested in Johnny Cash's life and career-- especially later in his life. It all started the first time I saw his video for "Hurt." That little piece of film caught my attention immediately, and after it was over I said to the wife, "He's saying goodbye." Best music video ever.

The movie was just OK. I found it to be a bit glossy. For someone with a seedy past, everything had a sort of sanitized sheen to it. For example, much of it focused on Cash's addiction to "pills." But they never mention exactly what the drugs were. There were many scenes of him ingesting pills, but what were they? Uppers? Downers? Goofballs? Or were they just plain, generic Movie Pills? Also, there was a noticeable lack of swearing and nudity. Not that I necessarily think these elements are a must in a film about a performer's rise and fall. I just think the movie could have been a little grittier.

The other thing that bothered me was the casting. Try as I might, I just didn't buy the leads in their parts. They both delivered great performances, but they just didn't seem like they were Johnny and June. For me, it would have played better if it was a thinly-veiled work of fiction.

What did I like about it? Well, again, the performances were great, both acting and musical. I really liked Reese Witherspoon's singing. That was a pleasant surprise.

My favorite scene was during Johnny's audition for Sam Phillips. I don't know who the actor playing Phillips was, but he certainly made the most of it. The dialogue was sharply written, and you could sense Johnny soaking up Phillips' list of what he was doing wrong and how to make it better.

So I guess I liked it. It's one of those movies that will appear on TV in a couple years and I'll look forward to seeing it.

10 March 2006

Bush: Collapse of port deal sends bad message

Agreed. But it's nothing that can't be cured by his resignation, accompanied by an apology for making the United States an international embarassment.

05 March 2006

Oscar night

It's Oscar night again, and as a big movie fan, I can't help but get caught up in it just a little. It's a guilty pleasure as I find art as competition an absurd concept. But the event celebrates film as art and I can get behind that idea. Plus I like ogling the women in their finery.

We haven't seen most of the major "contenders" yet. I don't like seeing movies in the theater, so am always six to twelve months behind what's current. We did see "Junebug" last night. I found it a bit of a bore-- except for Amy Adams. She is wonderful in it. It's quite a feat to pull off dim but lively, but she does it very well here. I didn't even know she was nominated until after I saw this movie, so I guess others noticed her great performance as well.

The only other one we have seen is "Crash." That was several months ago and it didn't leave much of an impression on me other than big ensemble cast and decent writing and acting.

Earlier today I saw a conservative talk radio host bitching that none of the movies being celebrated tonight represent "mainstream American values." He spoke as if there is some big Hollywood conspiracy to undermine the country or something, which is of course, a load of crap. Time for a little lesson in "Americanism." Most movies (mainstream Hollywood ones anyway) get made with one thought in mind: box office dollars (and yen and rubles and pesos, etc.). The more money a film makes, the greater the chances others will attempt to copy its success. What's more American than that? The ones that don't succeed in putting butts in the seats quickly become distant memories. If rightwing nutjobs are so sure movies are causing a great decline in the American way of life, they should finance and make ones that espouse their point of view. So why don't they? Because no one wants to see them! It's called capitalism, baby! (Just ask those asshats on the religious network that used to be called PTL. They have made a couple movies based on that "Left Behind" nonsense-- all died quick deaths at the box office.)

OK, OK, switching rant mode off for now.

01 February 2006

Here's that joke

A man walks into his bedroom with a sheep under his arm and says, "This is the pig I have sex with whenever you have a headache."

From the bed his wife says, "I think you'll find that's a sheep, you idiot."

He replies, "And I think you'll find I wasn't talking to you."

Redneck-- well, pink anyway

Thanks to my good-- no, great friend for the new scarf. It is very warm and comfortable and, most importantly, not itchy at all!

Bonus: It smells like her! For now, anyway...

24 January 2006

The 50 most loathsome people in America

Some made me laugh, some (OK, most) made my blood boil...



17 January 2006

Culture of life my ass

The Supreme Court delivered a nice smackdown to Bush and his empire of evil today, basically telling them to keep their slimy mitts off Oregon's assisted suicide law. As soon as I saw the headlines, I knew it was only a matter of time before some empty-headed administration dimwit would dust off the phrase "culture of life."

Sure enough, from an AP article on the internets:

"White House press secretary Scott McClellan said, "The president remains fully committed to building a culture of life, a culture of life that is built on valuing life at all stages." (Click on this posting's title for the entire Yahoo/AP article.)

Tell that to the 2000+ Americans who have died in the desert in the last few years. Never mind the untold thousands of Iraqi lives lost in this fruitless, illegal, immoral "war". What about the millions that are going to die from diseases that could be eradicated using stem cells?

Fucking hypocrite.

At this writing there are 1098 days left in this reign of terror. Of course, we could end up with someone worse, though at this point it's hard to imagine how...

08 January 2006

That gay cowboy movie

The wife is after me to add "Brokeback Mountain" to our Netflix list. I am still on the fence about it. While I am certainly open-minded and supportive of our gay brothers and sisters, I am somewhat suspicious about the motives of those film critics that are falling all over themselves praising this movie. Is it really that good, or is it political correctness run amok? Gene Shalit (not someone whose opinion I especially value, BTW) wrote a less-than-favorable review and has been excoriated by, among others, GLAAD. Perhaps other critics fear being labeled homophobic if they don't heap praise on the film. Admittedly, I have not read or heard his actual review, and from the sounds of it, he was complaining about the behavior of the characters in the movie, not the filmmaking itself.

The other issue I have is with the subject itself. All the talk (hype, that is) centers on the gay issue. This makes me think it's all about tittilation. Would this movie have generated the same buzz if it centered on a hetrosexual couple's lives? Or would it just be another routine soap opera set among some beautiful western surroundings? It seems to me that we should be beyond using the topic of homosexuality as a means to sell tickets. Gay people are just that-- people, and it's demeaning to them when Hollywood sensationalizes their sexuality just so Joe Sixpack and Sally Boondocks can titter uncomfortably in the theater or their living rooms.

My concerns aside, I probably will put it on the list. The assholes on Faux News and their ilk have been foaming at the mouth in their rush to condemn it (mostly sight unseen I'd guess), and maybe that's a good enough reason to see it!

01 January 2006

Happy freakin' New Year

Thanks to our good friends for a most enjoyable and entertaining New Year's eve last night. We stayed up all the way until 9:30! No one parties like we do!

Either / Or

The wife and her little friend are fond of playing the "Either / Or" game. They'll pose a question such as, "Who would you rather go to bed with, Donald Trump or Al Sharpton?" I take great delight in shutting them down with answers such as, "Yes" or "I sure would." You'd think they would learn to stop trying to drag me into it after about oh, say, the hundredth time, but nope. They continue with their feeble attempts to engage me.