6.28.2007

You shook Sinatra's hand. You should know better.

I haven't seen as many films as I would like as of late, but I have seen several great ones.


Waitress is a delightful film that unfortunately has a horribly tragic backstory. Its writer/director/co-star, Adrienne Shelly, did a wonderful job with this story, keeping it balanced when it could have so easily succumbed to sentimentality or banality. Sadly, Shelly was senselessly killed before even finding out the film had been accepted to the Sundance Film Festival, but if there's any bright side at all, at least she's left behind a remarkable movie to be remembered by--truly a high note to go out on. The plot and characters of Waitress are charming and believable because of superb performances and a script that allows characters to be people and not caricatures. Great, but I can't help thinking: if only I liked pie...



Going only on a vague desciption of the movie in Entertainment Weekly's Summer Movie Preview, I wanted to see Paris Je T'aime. After seeing a preview for it, I really wanted to see it. It looked like one of those films that would instantly be a favorite, a film with a "gimmick" that would actually work splendidly. And that's exactly what it is. The movie has eighteen short segments, and while some have a better sense of beginning-middle-end than others, I can't think of one that I didn't enjoy. There are some that are adorable, some that are heartbreaking, and some that are laugh-out-loud funny, and all are a good time. I would list a couple as especially splendid, but I would end up listing almost all of them.

I meant to see The Queen last year both when it was released and especially when it was nominated for all of the Oscars. I was pretty certain I'd like it after what I had heard, but I was a little wary after some critics had said it felt more like a TV movie than a film. I suppose I can understand why they would feel that way, but I did not have that experience. I am fairly familiar with the royal family. I remember the day that Diana died, but I wasn't completely aware of the controversy immediately after. Like everyone else, I thought The Queen did an excellent job of portraying the situation and those in the middle of it fairly. I fell in love with Queen Elizabeth because of her grace and her politeness. Man, she is one polite lady (I wish that I could be a tenth of how polite she is). And man, Philip is a douchebag. And Charles is a sadsack pussy (well, I already knew that pretty well). And Tony Blair's wife is quite the snatchbasket. I really enjoyed the film, but I think it was at its best in the quiet moments when Helen Mirren really shines.


I was really looking forward to Ocean's Thirteen because, c'mon, I'm pretty sure you're crazy if you weren't looking forward to it. And it did not disappoint. I mean, it's not quite an Ocean's Eleven, but it is the one they should've done last time (if only that was allowed to be part of the title). Once again, we have a film that's incredibly visually interesting and a rollicking good time. The Godfather reference was fantastic (you could learn something Knocked Up), the heist was awesome, Julia Roberts wasn't around to remind us of how little acting ability she actually has...This is an incredibly fun movie filled with eye and ear candy (both in the dialogue and the music). And the last two lines of dialogue are hilarious.

6.18.2007

6.14.2007

What It Feels Like For A Girl

So I wrote this poem and I think I want to put more in it (i.e. make it longer), but I'm not sure. I really like the idea of taking one piece of art and making another inspired by it. Notice all the allusions. I'm such a modernist! Thoughts?

Williams' Ophelia
is full of grief and
a son with unknown
motives holds her hand.
It was during the
cruellest month, with
the hyacinths in bloom,
and no one knew
if she would return
from the marsh.

6.13.2007

Land of Confusion

I saw Knocked Up last night. I didn't like it. I am very confused by the lavish praise, the adoration of the critics for this one. It's an "instant classic" apparently (Really?! Really?!) I suppose I should refrain from too much judgment, as the terrible viewing experience may have had some negative influence. I really like seeing movies in the theater, but almost every time I've been to the theater for the past couple of years, I have been frustrated and have now come close to the point of never going to the theater again. If it's not issues with the sound or lines showing up on the film, it is the utter stupidity and lack of consideration by the other people in the theater, who do not merit the term "fellow moviegoers." Last night, the onslaught of irritants began early. There was a preview for I Now Pronounce You Chuck and Larry, which, whether offensive or not, simply looks stupid and not at all funny. One moment in the preview, Adam Sandler's character feels Jessica Biel's character boobs, then quickly removes his hands and tries to cover his I'm-supposed-to-be-gay-I-can't-like-boobs (there's already a problem, everybody, men, women, gay, straight, children, wolves like boobs. They're pretty awesome) with "Yucky!" This elicited a guffaw from the guy behind me. Now the couple behind me did like to talk a bit during the film, and the girl apparently missed the title of the movie since she kept gasping when Alison (Katherine Heigl) found out she was pregnant, but they at least tried to whisper and the guy could be heard shushing a bit so as not to bother other people. I still don't like you, couple behind me, after all, you would laugh at a joke that wasn't really funny and then cement my notion that you weren't very bright by repeating that line, a sign that you have mastered the ability to regurgitate words that you have just heard, but at least you're making an effort. This was not the case for the I'm guessing fifteen year old girl two seats down from me, who was actually partially sitting right next to me, since one of her legs was propped on that seat. Not only would she laugh in a kind of high-pitched girl-who-screams-in-public-when-she-sees-her-friends-five-feet-away laugh and also repeat the joke that was just said, she provided a running commentary, and not just whispering, but talking aloud, which consisted of: "Those boots are so cute!" "That's that one guy, I can't think of his name now" (when a Stephen Hawking reference was made) etc.

So, perhaps I would've liked the film a bit more had I not been seated in the we-ate-paint-chips-when-we-were-young section, but I'm not so sure. Upon originally seeing previews for the movie, I was underwhelmed. But then, the critics were saying good things, and I do like the people involved, so I thought it would be a worthwhile movie. Turns out, my first instinct was right. What was wrong with it? Well, let's start with the characters. Alison works at E! but has no idea who Doc Brown is. At the beginning of the film, I didn't think she had any actual personality, but then it gets worse as she becomes the hormone-driven pregnant woman stereotype. At one point, she goes into full-hose beast mode, gets upset at Ben (Seth Rogen) while driving, stops in the middle of the street (strangely no one began honking, which I would've done immediately had I been in the car behind her) and kicks him out of the car. I take it we're supposed to smile knowingly and think "Oh those pregnant woman, always crazy and acting like fucking cunts!" Except I find it hard to laugh at/care about a character who I would like to see bit a curb (sidenote: I grow very weary of the idea that pregnant women can act out and be excused. Yeah, it sucks to be pregnant, and yes, your hormones are wild and you feel differently than you normally do, but that is not an excuse to be a terrible person or to make those around you miserable. You want to have a baby? Fucking suck it up and deal with the process). Then there's her sister Debbie (Leslie Mann) who is also a pretty huge hose beast. I was pleasantly surprised to find that towards the end of the movie she becomes slightly less of a huge hose beast, but how many times are movies and tv shows (I'm looking at you Everybody Loves Raymond) going to present us with women who want to manipulate the person they're supposed to love, have no interest in sex, criticize everything around them, and have irrational fears about their children that are supposed to come off as maternal love and justified when they're actually more akin to paranoid witch-hunting? Debbie and Pete's (Paul Rudd) marriage, according to the critics, is supposed to be a realistic depiction of marriage and its troubles. Except that what it actually is is two people who are entirely wrong for each other who got married because of a pregnancy and would now probably be better off divorcing. Then there's the praise the film gets for all of its cultural references. Yes, there are quite a few. How many of said references are actually good and humorous? Maybe ten percent (including one that actually was really good about Meg Ryan). The rest were more along the lines of "Hey, I've seen movies. Like Total Recall. Remember that movie? Wasn't it good?" When a cultural reference is in a comedy, I would like that reference to be used in service of a joke or clever and creative, not just there, only for the sake of a cultural reference.

All this being said, the movie wasn't that interesting and wasn't that funny. Although, it did promote Munich at one point, which, unlike Knocked Up, is filmmaking at its finest.

6.05.2007

International Harvester

In April of 2006, there was a van carrying students from Taylor University in Indiana that was hit by a tractor-trailer on I-69. Five people were dead at the scene, including a girl named Whitney, and one girl, named Laura, was taken to the hospital, remained in a coma for five weeks, and then regained consciousness and entered a rehab facility. Only this isn't really what happened. Turns out, Laura died (and was buried in Whitney's grave) and Whitney was in the hospital (being cared for by Laura's boyfriend and family). This is very tragic and horrible, but it's also pretty fucking funny. It gets better. Laura's boyfriend, after finding out that he had been by the bedside of Whitney and that his girlfriend was six feet under had this to say, "There's been times these last couple of days that I've been mad at God...I feel like it's the biggest trick he's ever played on me." Absolutely. Naysay if you will, that ole trickster God is at it again! How did he manage to pull this one over on that boyfriend? Well, at the crash site, emergency workers rallied up dead and severely injured and sent them on their way. At the hospital, officials from the University were asked to identify the five bodies. Actually, they were asked to match a list of fives names to the deceased. Now, this was not the official identification of the body, the official one occurred, well, over a month later after Whitney had been awake and in rehabilitation. Officials "decided not to push" family members in order to ascertain who was lying on the slab in the morgue. That God! Pulling tricks on some Christian zealot by making people incompetent!! Ooh, one of my favorite parts: while in rehabilitation the girl was asked to write her name. What did she write? "Whitney Cerak" What was Laura's family's response? "Hmm...maybe we're idiots who can't recognize our own child, even after swelling in her face has gone down, the tube in her throat and mask over her mouth has been removed, she has spoken, and has written a name that belongs to someone else who was in the van during the crash." Though at least they're aren't as self-important and fucking arrogant as God-boy boyfriend who's mad at his Lord because apparently the world revolves around him.

Sigh.

6.04.2007

Dashboard

I have wanted to have the ability to write songs for some time now, but the recent disappearance of realistic career plans and life goals has made me think the pipe dream of fame and riches in several aspects of the entertainment industry should be considered a bit more seriously and that I should at least make a worthy attempt to move toward this horizon. So, I've been earnestly trying to swith from pure poetry to at least being in the vein of songwriting. That being said, the most recent song addiction has been Modest Mouse's latest single "Dashboard," and I've written something with that playing through my head. Basically, new words with a very similar rhythym and rhyme structure. One tiny step at a time.

Now that I'm clean-cropped
and wearing jeans,
they all look my way,
ask me questions, they seek me out.
And the last rite I can't fight,
trying to shove it back another year.
And the first jeer I couldn't hear
too busy with the sea in my sights.
When I walk down the streets
with my headphones on
the world becomes a story
and the location's looking good.
I frame the shot the best I can,
with the soundtrack selected
and my mind in a TV show,
everytime a TV show.
With the trumpet blaring, I'm just staring
transfixed on the girl in the shop window.
She'll be a star, I'll take her far
And I can only hope the fame won't wear thin.
But my time here is limited,
the shadows are nipping at my heels.
I'll set sail for the islands
in the distance, in the far-off West.
The existence here is fleeting
and I really should be heeding
the siren song way out West.