Wednesday, September 29, 2010

When September Ends. . .

If there is one thing I can't stand, it's an unfinished to-do list. So I'm extending my September media items through the weekend so I can get to them in good time without having to rush. Despite having picked some real S-H-I-tut for reading material this month, I have had extremely good fortune with William Styron (author of Sophie's Choice) who I may actually be in love with; I'm also planning on watching the film even though I know it's going to make me very uncomfortable. I'm quite looking forward to hearing Meryl's Polish accent though, when she's not sharing the screen with Amy Adams, she's aces in my book.

Also: September being Hispanic heritage month and all, I took up with KINGPIN (the mini-series, not the Randy Quaid/Woody Harrelson) last night. There are three disks, I got them all in a set when Hollywood on Lyndale went out of business earlier this year. It's good! If you like The Godfather, The Sopranos, or Breaking Bad, seriously, give this a try. Danny Trejo and Sheryl Lee are so far, awesome.

Speaking of my boy, Danny, I am actually going to try very hard to see Machete again before October. I just wasn't able to write about it when I got home from seeing it before, nice writer, right? I just burst in the door, Matt could see that I obviously had been crying, and I walked around in a daze for about an hour, trying to explain just how great the film had been but unable. Yes, Machete made me cry. Well, Rodriguezes (Michelle and Robert) made me cry, put it that way. I will write it up, I promise.


Thanks everyone who sent me recommendations for "Scariest Film Ever" project. I took them to heart and I've even made a calendar! Some I am looking forward to a lot. Others I am dreading, but I'm a girl of my word, and if I can find them, I'll watch them. I'm just glad no one brought up Paranormal Activity, because I will not watch it. EVER. Once my other list is finished, I'm starting on yours.

However, these are some that did not make the cut this year for whatever reason. Some (like Fright Night) I feel like I write about every other month anyway, if you really want more on any of these, check the 80s horror tag in the labels section over on the right side, I'm sure there's plenty.

1. The Halloween Series (and we're talking John Carpenter, Rick Rosenthal, and Tommy Lee Wallace directing, not Rob Zombie.)
I think these were scary. They were part of that early 80s horror wave that had a tan, grainy look to everything and were just very unsettling.

Michael Myers peeking out from behind the bush and then up from the clothes line outside the window to stalk Laurie Strode? That's a very real, very disturbing kind of horror. That mask is gross. His slow, deliberate movements are scary, especially in the hospital setting in the second film. Somehow the scalpel as a weapon has always really bothered me. The third film was a kind of black sheep, not having anything to do with Michael Meyers or Laurie Strode, but it's still damned creepy. All those little dolls, and robots in that giant factory? And the turning of human beings into what, fleshy roach and worm havens when the laser on the mask "activates"? Yuck. I still remember that long fingernailed hand hanging off the car door at the end, grasping at nothing and then attacking Dr. Challis, or the way the eyes moved back and forth on the severed head lying on the ground. . .

2. Nightmare on Elm Street series. Ah, yes: comedy and horror combine! I found these to have scary moments also, especially the first one. The boiler room played a pretty major part in the first film, giving it a dirty, boiler-y feeling. I think of Freddy making the finger-knives contraption at the opening (with all the grunting) and just shudder. And the creepy hall monitor? One of my favorite moments. I think just before her scene there was another with a student in Nancy's class, reading from Hamlet, maybe? He started out reading normally, but when Nancy falls asleep and starts dreaming, his voice gets very throaty and creepy ". . . because I have bad dreeeeeaaaaaaams!" That part has always bothered me, Tina levitating around in the body bag also. Loved the three-foot long arms in the ally on Freddy.

The second film had some interesting items but was mostly bad: little girl at the breakfast table with sharp, pink plastic fingers she picked out of the cereal box? THESE ARE MY FOO-MAN FINGERS! Robert Rusler as the smokin' hot friend (you may remember him from Weird Science as Mad Max). . . that's about all. Nancy comes back for the third film to join Patricia Arquette and the kid that played Eyeball Chambers in Stand By Me, blah, blah, blah, although I did enjoy the little Elm Street House Kirsten made out of popsicle sticks, good craftmanship. Freddy starts with the comical taunts as he slaughters; "I said, 'where's the fuckin' bourbon?'" "Welcome to the Prime Time, Bitch!"

Four and Five were forgettably bad. Freddy's Dead had a few chuckles (You're Fucked on the map was my personal favorite; "yeah, well, the map says we're fucked!") but that q-tip getting jammed into Carlos's ear was just awful. "You better speak up, looks like you caught my deaf ear!" Freddy exclaims while jiggling around the hearing aid. Yeee. New Nightmare scared me a little, just because of how it steps outside the film franchise and *attempts* reality film, which, as a concept, was still in its infancy in 1994. Anyway, I like Wes Craven, I think he's all right.

3. Friday the Thirteenth Series. Now I know most people out there don't find any of these scary at all, and okay, maybe not, but trust me, there are creepy parts in these films, especially the early ones. Mrs. Voorhees? "Get her mommy, get her, don't let her get away! Kill her, Mommy, KILL HER!" Yuck. There is a part in the very first film where the mother is looking for Alice, discovers that she's in the closet with the door barricaded, chops all of the stuff out of the way and then does this disgusting excited smirk-sigh when she finally sees her hovering in a corner inside. Fucking GROSS! Charlie made me watch that face, probably ten times in a row, rewind, rewind, rewind. Ugh.

There's also a part in the second film where Amy and Paul go back to the cabin after running through the woods. Everyone else is dead, and they're planning their escape or standoff, whichever, and Amy suddenly stops and says, "Something's not right. Something's not right in here, Paul." Yes, well, Jason in his dish towel face-wrapping (this was before the hockey mask years) was lurking in the corner, so yes, something definitely was not right. I just think it was a really real response to what was going on, and it showed that danger could almost be palpable or something. Heavy, I know.

4. 28 Days Later. I think I watched this for the first time in Hawaii. And I was actually terrified. INFECTED-eds! There is no humor in this film whatsoever, which usually is the way of Zombie films, whether or not it's intentional. I have not seen the sequel, nor do I plan to. . .

5. Fright Night. I've said it before and I'll say it again, this is seriously one of my favorites. "Hello, Charlie. I know you're there. I can see you." Long fingernails pulling down the window shade? Chris Sarandon as Vampire Jerry Dandridge is kind of sexy. I said kind of; Eric Northman was still decades off at this point so you had to take it or leave it. Evil Ed? Great lines. +50 for Marcy Darcy as Amy. Red eyes shining in the dark next door at the end still freak me out. . .

6. Alone in the Dark. Now, I haven't actually seen this one, but it's part of a compilation documentary on horror films that I have seen (see #7 below), and the scenes from it have always scared me. Martin Landau apparently plays some escaped mental patient who, together with two others, stalks his psychiatrist. The only scene I can remember is Landau becoming obsessed with the mail carrier's hat and then running the guy down with his van in order to swipe it off his head. Has anyone seen this?

7. Terror in the Aisles. If you like 80s horror, watch this. It's one of my favorites, and will forever remind me of the video store when it was inside 9th Street Boutique. Charlie, Erica, and I watched this I'm sure a hundred times (which was normal, if we liked a film).

Saturday, September 25, 2010

Girls, Girls, Girls.

All the best girls are in Tarantino and Rodriguez films.

In Planet Terror and Machete, they get to kick ass despite physical disabilities.

Rose McGowen has never looked hotter, nor has Freddie Rodriguez, actually. I loved them together in this-- best sex scene I've ever seen. I think it was the music. Or the editing; it added a lot.

Of course I loved the fat little foetus-baby in the carrier at the end (!) Like Machete, this film is my idea of perfection. The women were able and intelligent, and hello, SAYID! The whole hospital segment in the beginning was completely remeniscent of Halloween 3, Season of the Witch, right down to Josh Brolin (as Tom Atkins who played Dr. Dan Challis) and the Carpenter-esque music going on? Right on.

The little nods to Tarantino were cool. Not just having him cameo as the disgusting rapist, but Dakota's list on the tiny memo pad? (1. Get Tony's cereal. 2. Get crickets for Tony's pets. 3. KILL BILL.) You have to be a nerd and pause it to see the full list because it's only on for a second or two. And the close up on the needle as Dr. Bill attempts to plunge it into Dakota (Mia Wallace's OD). And Earl the Sheriff (from Kill Bill). Cool.

Cherry Darling was cool too, and not just a glory hole. Cool as in Beatrix Kiddo or Jackie Brown or Sartana Rivera. These are women who know things, women who do things. One of my professors had a problem with these portrayals, he thought they weren't real and could never be. That it was unfair for the directors to hold women up like this, on a pedestal.

Maybe. But what about THIS?

Friday, September 24, 2010

Hearts in Atlantis/I Heart Nerds.

Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King. Yeah, I should have just listened to Donald on this one; it wasn't great at all. Donald is author of Blessed Are The Geeks  and makes me giggle regularly with things like this:

"Dolores Claiborne
Never read it.  Or, at least, if I did, I have no memory of it at all. I've also never shopped at Liz Claiborne."

He randomly dismissed it. I will also dismiss it, but not without fully offering an explanation which will serve to do nothing other than allow me to ramble aimlessly at the keyboard. 

I think I didn't dig this very much because I just can't get into the sixties, even though very interesting things happened during them. That's what this book was about, mostly. I wasn't alive then, my parents, who were, didn't ever tell me any stories from their time, and honestly, I didn't even know anything about Viet Nam until I saw Platoon, Apocalypse Now, and Forrest Gump. I don't know if any of my high school teachers really got into this or if I was just too off in my head to actually pay attention; all I remember from my senior social class was making a list of similarities between the Lincoln and Kennedy assassinations, which was kind of neat, but not very important in the run of things. 

It just wasn't for me, and that's fine. And for the record, I think I like King's writing best during his alcoholic and coke years. This collection could have used a good 8-ball, I think.

Moving On: Comcast has Movie Collections on demand, it's probably the only cool thing they've ever done. This week? I HEART NERDS (I do, actually. I totally had the hots for Wyatt on Weird Science, when I was ten, no lie.)

 So it was Grandma's Boy ("do you think she *invented* the hand-job?"), 

Weird Science ("the booze hounds return!"), 

and the crown jewel, REVENGE OF THE NERDSSee, this sort of thing? This is my sixties, baby. Betty Childs. Atari. Prince. Asimov fonts. If I could make this whole blog Atari and Asimov with some Dharma Initiative stuff thrown in, I'd do it. Well, actually I'll rephrase that and say if my husband wasn't always working and had time to mess around with my silly, cosmetic blog changes, I'd make HIM do it.

Yeah, there were other important things probably going on. But when have I ever lived in the real world? As soon as I figure out how to INCEPTION myself a new one with no nukes, no war, and no starving children,  I'll get right on it. In the meantime. . . 

Thursday, September 23, 2010

Wild At Heart.

What's it about? IMDB says, "Young lovers Sailor and Lula run from the variety of weirdos that Lula's mom has hired to kill Sailor." I suppose I need to do a better job with actually giving legitimate descriptions of the things I rant about on here instead of just peppering some pseudo film or book review with my emotional blathering, so there you go. 

I learned a lot of things from this film.

1. Just how creepy David Lynch really is. I didn't ever watch Eraserhead or The Elephant Man or Blue Velvet until I was in school for film. This, for some reason, I saw because my mother's best friend from college brought it home, probably from Honzay's in Bird Island (we had a Beta); I think I would have been in tenth grade. Yes, this is a severly inappropriate film for a fifteen-year-old, but I don't even think my mother knew I was watching it. My brother might have even seen it too, I'm not sure, but he would have been twelve. Whoops.

The first time I made it almost until Johnny Farragut met his end and then couldn't take any more. This is to say, it was too disturbing for me *BEFORE* Bobby Peru came on. I remember being severely troubled by those old codgey dudes wandering around the hotel.
Or Marietta, covered completely in red lipstick and the damned elf shoes? It seemed to be one big cluster of weirdness, and honestly, I didn't understand one bit of it.

2. About a year later, I was talking to a friend about it and she said something like, "isn't that movie, like, full of sex or something?" Until then, honestly, I hadn't even processed that YES, it was, because of all the other creepy shit that was going on. Plus I never really found Nic Cage that hot (until years later) so I had no interest in it. So we rented it on a Friday night and watched it straight through--it's quite long, actually, and it was full of sex. This time, I watched it and thought, "Wow, she's really into him. And boy, they really are having sex in many different positions WITH THE LIGHTS ON! What's she gonna do if he, you know, leaves her?" Since getting dumped was the biggest concern any girl with no self esteem could have. . .

 And what do you know? She gets pregnant, he lies to her, robs a bank with Bobby Peru, goes to jail, and leaves her standing at a railroad crossing with his son, who he had never met. I was absolutely crushed, I remember it very clearly. But he comes back. And I bawled. A lot. And then I think Wendy and I took off somewhere and got into some weird situation with Keith Paananen standing on the side of the road, hitch-hiking, maybe?

Somehow, through all of the weirdness, it's still my favorite sick little love story. And Sailor Ripley, as a character? Best. Lines. Ever. Although that screaming through the song at The Hurricane has got to go. It's almost as bad as James Hurley singing in Twin Peaks.
"I'd like to apologize to you gentlemen for referring to you all as homosexuals. You taught me a valuable lesson in life. LULA!"

3. Let's talk about Bobby Peru. Seriously, has there ever been anyone this gross? I did an image search and of course, the only ones that came up were the ridiculous TEETH when he's making his disgusting little drooling, bad-guy laugh when he reveals to Sailor that he, Bobby, has outsmarted him ("those are dummies, DUMMY!") Apparently the fitting of the teeth was a big event on the set during the filming, with Lynch gleefully telling Dafoe, "Time for your teeth, Man!"

 Ugh. I seriously almost vomit every time I see those teeth. It's almost a relief when he blows his own head off. And the whole exchange with Lula in the bedroom when Sailor's away is just horrid. The stuff that he says to her? Downright terrifying. It's disturbing to me that I find the writing of this character so impressive when the character himself is probably *the grossest* thing, ever in a film. Some dude at Blockbuster tried to argue with me once that Hopper in Blue Velvet was a more disturbing villain, and because I never argue with anyone, I let him win that one, but I really don't agree. The nitrous mask made Hopper seem a little bit more monster-ish, maybe, but nothing can compete with those goddamned TEETH! And the way Peru is all snappy and reactionary about the Tonkin Incident? Definitely waaay more unstable, but sly enough to come wandering into Lula's hotel room and orate on puke, pregnancy, and jack rabbits? What a nightmare.

4. Diane Ladd should have won the statue in 1989.

What's your favorite Lynch?

Monday, September 20, 2010

True Blood


This was my favorite moment of True Blood this season. I still can't believe Sookie didn't hit that yet.


Screenwriting. Shawshank.

So I finished reading that screenwriting book, Elements of Style for Screenwriters? I guess September just must be my month for picking bad books. Not that it was entirely useless, but it was set up like a dictionary of terms, you know, A is for "acts," B is for "binding" or "back to scene" (OR BONER-KILL).

Blah. What I'd really be interested in reading is some sort of inside edition of screenwriting, written by someone like Ari Gold (from Entourage), complete with scathing sarcasm, insults, and profanity. Speaking of Entourage, has anyone been watching it lately? Vinnie Chase with the cocaine and the porn stars and getting DeNiro-kicked by Marshall Mathers? He's off the deep end, y'all. Wow.

Anyway, skip the book unless you really don't know anything about screenwriting.

We watched The Shawshank Redemption last night, or McGillicuddy's Quest as Matt called it once, probably stoned, and unable to remember the real title. In a Film vs. Book smackdown, I'd have to go with FILM on this one. Stephen King has gone on record many times and said that this was a wonderful adaptation of his vision, one that he thought was right on, and I'll second it, even though what I think doesn't mean anything. The changes Frank Darabont made were good ones: the opera scene on the record player, keeping one, single, evil Warden throughout instead of many who came and went, and MORGAN FREEMAN (in the short story, Red was an Irish white guy). I think everyone was well cast in their roles, actually, but Morgan Freeman was beautiful. I love his voice. I think I even watched the Visa commercials he narrated during the Olympics, I love his voice so much.

One other thing that translated well from book to film was the relationship that developed between the two unlikely friends. I always get a little teary when Red finds the treasure at the end and then ends up on the beach. . . it would be so lovely if everyone could.

Which brings me to friendship, as a concept. I was forced to watch I LOVE YOU, MAN the other night. What an uncomfortable hour that was (I left when it got to be too embarrassing and my goose bumps began to hurt from all the clenching and grimacing). Now, I'm all in for uncomfortable humor (The Office, Extras, etc.) or even uncomfortable drama (Punch Drunk Love). I don't know why this film bothered me so much, I mean Paul Rudd's character was such a dolt I was demanding that his scenes be muted about three minutes in, but it was something more than that. The ideology of it, maybe. I have probably five close girl friends, and trust me, none of them know the days of my cycle or specifics of my sex life, nor will they, ever. I'm a Minnesota German, yes, and we can be distant and cold, especially when it comes to intimate details and emotion with others, but there are just some things I'm not sharing, you know? Some things are mine, no one else's. This film made it seem like all women share these things. It also made women look vapid, gossipy, not-smart, and annoying. If I want to watch chicks who are these things I usually just turn on Sex and the City. (STAY TUNED FOR RANDOM, ANONYMOUS COMMENTS THAT LABLE ME A HATER).

Also: you've been dating a guy for eight months who likes Rush and you've never even heard of the band? Dumb. I couldn't even consider marrying someone who wasn't my friend. How were these two even together in the first place? What a bunch of morons.

So if anything, I thought there were funny parts in the film, but there were too many other uncomfortable things for me to enjoy it. Here I am, a woman, critiquing a man-film for its portrayal of women, which was probably an accurate portrayal, just not one that worked for me. Should I be able to sit back and laugh at it anyway since I'm not like that? Should I be pissed off at the chicks who are? Fuck it. I'm Daniel Day Lewis, walking off the stage.

Yes. Me, me, me, I know.

Friday, September 17, 2010

Frogger Update.

Skeleton is finished.
Now come the 4,000,000 little blue and black x's for the street and water. Search for frogger

Monday, September 13, 2010

See, books are very important.

Even to (some) Nazis!

The Reader directed by Stephen Daldry. This director has done other films like The Hours and Billy Eliot. Film was originally a novel written by a German law professor, Bernhard Schlink. I would very much like to read it.

First off, don't be fooled by Ralphe Fienne's name in the credits, he has very little screen time. Secondly, there is something quite unsettling to me about this story, which was obviously the point, but it was just queasy and strange, watching this fifteen-year-old kid sticking it to Kate Winslet. The fact that the character, Hanna Schmitz, later joined the SS didn't really have much shock value for me (I had no idea what this was about, going in) since I was already a little suspicious of the character's moral fibers, if you get me. Oscar-worthy? I'll say it definitely sits better than Sandy Bullock, but I got the distinct feeling that her going without makeup for the role and flashing her goodies around had a good piece to do with it. She wasn't playing an ugly person, and other than all the buggering and Nazi business, she didn't seem all that horrible, really. I feel like those were the only two things we actually learned about her. But then, BOOKS!

She couldn't read!

I suppose if I dig deeper, I could deduce that the kid fell in love with her, completely, but never really knew that she was only using him, first for sex, and then for reading. And then he lived his entire life trying to wrap his head around it, together with the fact that she became a Nazi. That's pretty heavy. I was kind of on the fence about the film for the first half hour or so, but once the reading started, once it became about BOOKS, I put down my cross stitch and actually watched, which honestly doesn't happen very often. It wasn't happy, and it didn't give me a good feeling at all, but it was interesting. Like that film Closer (Julia Roberts, Clive Owen, Natalie Portman, and Jude Law); I didn't like anything that was happening in the film, but I couldn't really stop watching it, either. This film was like that, but with books.

In other news, I've unfortunately had to discard two more from the September book stack. That makes us 0 for 3, thus far. What Will Be, the technology book? Was written in 1997. What a boner-kill. The Shack is out the door, too. The writing just really started to piss me off, mostly the dialogue, which I will also call a boner-kill. The thing that bothers me in much of the shitty literature I read is bad dialogue, which slays me; do the authors themselves speak this way? Because if they do, they must not talk very much, people would laugh them right off the curb. I get people who don't talk, not everyone is annoying like I am, but BLOODY HELL, MAN, you at least gotta listen!

During the extra footage in The Shining, Jack Nicholson gives a little interview to Kubrick's wife about how he approached the character of Jack Torrance. He said that at first, he wanted to do it as real as he possibly could, he wanted to act legitimately crazy, crazy the way he thought a crazy person would be. Then Kubrick apparently sat him down and told him that while he respected what Jack was doing, sometimes real isn't very interesting. A lot of Quentin Tarantino's dialogues are spectacular, I think, because he gets this. The banter and style in a Tarantino scene seem to be real, but much of what's actually being said is sometimes unreal, ("I used the same soap you did and when I finished the towel didn't look like no Goddamned maxi-pad!") but it's always very interesting.

There is a very fine line between real (believable) and interesting, and I think it's never more obvious when someone gets it wrong than in fiction. It's like you can tell when writers love words, or love what they're writing, because it comes across, clearly. I don't think the writer of The Shack loved or even liked words very much. (Pity).

In the meantime, I have been carrying on with a Joyce Carol Oates anthology of American short stories that I gave to my mother and then stole back from her house. Thank God I did; it has been like literary Vampire Blood.

Tuesday, September 7, 2010

Harry, Harry, quite contrary.

I loved these books, and mostly, I love the films, too. But this one left me a bit. . . bored for a lot of it.
Teenage drama, meh.

I liked almost everything from Dumbledore, and after a while, waiting for the hideous and confused deer-in-headlights looks from Slughorn became fun. Snape, as always, was the best, and my favorite; Luna Lovegood and Malfoy were pretty terrific, too (Malfoy crying? Yes!)

However. Ginny's voice seriously annoys me. It made me want to fast-forward through all of her scenes, and she's really quite pretty and a decent enough character, I suppose. But if I learned anything from Julie and Julia, it was that an unattractive voice (Amy Adams and that goddamned BUTTER! Ugh.) can literally kill any production, and Ginny was heading that way quickly. Harry seemed very marginalized in this one. Maybe he always was and I'm just now noticing it? Boo.

Tom Riddle was extremely well played by both actors Hero Fiennes-Tiffin, who is nephew to Ralphe Fiennes, and Frank Dillane. Creepy, very creepy.

Something my friend Donald said to me months ago kind of stuck out this time around, that there aren't really any rules to any of this. Sure, there's a Ministry of Magic, and they seem to be up on which underage wizards are effing around out in the Muggle world, but now that I think of it, yeah, more rules would be good.

For instance: Okay, so Bella and the Werewolf Death Eater burn The Burrow? So does that mean it stays burned forever and the Weasleys have to move? Or do they just "reparo" it and everything's back to normal? Because Molly looked very upset and sad about the house being on fire, and if a little wave of the wand was all that was needed, what's the big deal? Thanks for torching my house you bastards, now eff off while I spend a lot of time and effort doing this very complicated incantation? And then wave my wand to create a delicious meal? And while we're at it, how are they always so poor? Can't they just, you know, figure out a way to duplicate school supplies, robes, other things like that? And did they really mean to have that many kids? What of birth control in the wizard world, they've gotta be up on that, right?

Or Malfoy and that vanishing cabinet. Or Snape's special curse, Sectum-Sempra? How does one create a curse, exactly? And how is it governed once it exists? And what's with Hagrid and Slughorn and all the boozing, with students? Is that a wizard thing or a Brit thing?

I'll say again that Malfoy crying, especially as the Death Eaters all leave Hogwarts, was well done. Sometimes I seem to like Malfoy more than Harry. And this of course has NOTHING to do with the fantasies of his old man, Lucius, either. Perhaps his being at Azkaban was the reason for my feeling empty. . .

at least there were no House Elves. . .

Monday, September 6, 2010

September Book Stack.

Forgive the flashy brightness and glare. I never said I was a photographer. Here's the lineup:

1. Sophie's Choice by William Styron. I have a feeling I'm going to be deeply, profoundly disturbed by this, as I've unfortunately seen the film and I know what happens, but I think it's necessary.

2. Hearts in Atlantis by Stephen King. I always will represent King in my bookstacks, ALWAYS. Even when I get to the point where I've read everything he's done, I'll just start all over again with no regrets.

3. Once Upon A Day by Lisa Tucker. Yeah. I've already had to abandon this one, although I did get about 3/4 of the way through. I don't want to ever be too harsh when I critique authors because I'm trying to be one myself, and I know how difficult and time-consuming it is to actually write, I'm sure it's only that much harder to actually get published, but this one just didn't do it for me. I'll say that the story was intriguing. But if I'm going to be tactful (and honest), I'm also going to need to say that this author does not have a very good grasp on dialogue, and not just the awkward stuff with the sheltered girl coming out of her hole into the real world. Lisa Tucker is obviously an intelligent, semi-articulate writer. I think she needs to shit can whatever books she's been reading, up the ante, and dive into some Steinbeck, some Oates, or some King.

4. Elements of Style for Screenwriters. (not by Strunc and White, but that's okay). Picked it up at half-price, I think; something I felt was necessary for me to read. Elements of Style is probably the second best book on writing I've read (after King's On Writing). I wrote a pretty decent screenplay during my last year at the U; the most difficult part of it was getting the mechanics of screenwriting down. Hopefully this will be a useful guide for future endeavors.

5. The Shack by William Young. I have heard some troubling things about this, but somehow the drama intrigued me, so here we are. So far, the only thing that has bothered me has been a few phrasing and wording things; Young seems very fond of using NOT, quite a LOT.

"with not a little effort" used at least twice,
"Not for an instant had Mack forgotten about the note."

and this was just the first chapter. But I'm going to press on.

6. What Will Be: How the New World of Information Will Change Our Lives by Michael Dertouzos.
This was on the Starbucks Book Nook Shelf. Obviously I'm coming into this with a huge chip on my shoulder, but see? I can try to see the other guys' side of things, maybe someday I'll even get a cell phone! Hopefully I'll have something other than "gross" to say about all this fancy, mechanical technology. . .

I was considering doing a film stack this month, too. ANY RECOMMENDATIONS?

Sunday, September 5, 2010

Machete: Bulls Eye.

Machete: Bulls Eye.

Opening credits = absolutely amazing. Don Johnson is a great villain.

Machete: Bulls Eye.

I am seriously considering going again.

Saturday, September 4, 2010


Started the diving turtles last night! I would have rather been at Machete, but hey, this was nearly as much fun.

Thursday, September 2, 2010

One of my favorite things. . .

Okay, you'll have to forgive the way this completely takes up my whole blog and that the subtitles are probably Swedish or Finnish or something, but this is one scene from a movie that I will stoop to You Tube to rebroadcast. I watched this last night and was literally bawling from laughing so hard. Each new object the van hits sends me into a new fit of hysterics, even today.

Cars hitting objects and smoke shows. See? I'm not a difficult audience. This sort of thing should be marketed as an antidepressant or something. I just think about it and I start giggling.

Wednesday, September 1, 2010

How do you Troch?

When I was a junior at UMD, I dated a guy whose nickname was TROCH. You don't need to know his real name, and this is going to be polite and respectful in case he reads this someday. Anyway, this guy was a football player. A good one, actually. A Linebacker. Captain of the Bulldogs. Breaker of some records, I'm sure; but a good, clean, Catholic athlete. We grew apart, as people often do in these troubled times, and I haven't seen him since about the week after my dad's funeral.

However, his name gets uttered around here MINIMUM, once or twice a week. Often times more during football season. This is because we have coined all football players, "Troch." Football is usually referred to as TROCH-BALL. To even call it "football" seems a little odd to me now. I'll ask Matt, "who's on TROCH-BALL tonight?" or "what TROCH do we have this weekend?" or "what do you want to eat for Monday Night TROCH?" or "Effin' TROCH." when we get a little too involved in the game, etc.)

I have grown to really enjoy TROCH-BALL in the last few years, so I thought a film-fest was in order.
And we'll do this in good, better, best order, all right?

ANY GIVEN SUNDAY, directed by Oliver Stone.

I could be extremely rude and tear
this to shreds,  but I won't. It's a film
that I would watch I found it while flipping channels, I'll give it that, but
not much else. Some of the music is
cool; Jamie Foxx was entertaining
enough (FF through the constant barfing, though); I think the film captured the action and intensity of the game pretty well.

However: Cameron Diaz completely ruined this film, and I mean ruined. KISS. OF. DEATH. I get that it was a stretch for her (playing a Cornell-educated, intelligent power chick) but seriously, her scenes literally gave me discomfort goosebumps and simultaneously made me want to punch her in the face. When Charlton Heston comes on for three minutes and then leaves, saying "I honestly believe that woman would eat her young," I thought, now see? This could have been an excellent moment in the film, but if that's the image you want us to have of Christina Pagniacci (Diaz), then YOU FAIL. I don't believe her, not for one moment. During her scenes, all I could envision was her trying so very hard to remember the next line in the script, and yelling real loud. And hers is a voice that's difficult to endure in normal tones. . . ugh.

Stone's filmmaking? I think it actually took away from the narrative. All the jump cuts and extreme close ups, even during the speaker's dialogue (voice over while the actor is talking but then shots of the actor's non-speaking mouth, like they're off somewhere, psychologically, he does this A LOT) got forced and tired. It worked for Natural Born Killers, it worked for any other film he's made, but it didn't work for this, maybe because these were not people who are "in their heads" very often. This is TROCH, for Christ's sake! Quit complicating it! There's a mom-blogger that I read from time to time that suffers from this same sort of busy clutter in her words. I know what this is like because I used to write like that myself. It's an important lesson, and it's the same for all storytellers: Quit jerking around with all the extraneous bullshit and JUST SAY WHAT YOU WANT TO SAY.

Favorite moment? James Woods, and I usually can't stand the guy. (+20 on the cameo by JESSIE SPANO as the pro, that was pretty rad).

THE BLIND SIDE directed by John Lee Hancock.

Yeah, guess what? Had Sandy not won an Oscar for this, I'd probably be all over it. It was a nice, sweet film. But Goddammit, it wasn't a best actress winner. I mean, maybe the competition wasn't that great this year (Julie and Julia) but I don't care. Doing an accent doesn't earn you a statue. This has pissed me off since Julia Roberts won for Erin Brockovich; GETTING SERIOUS DOESN'T EARN YOU A STATUE, EITHER. It goes along with a general lowering of the bar when it comes to Academy Awards, which I suppose makes me sound like some old dried up grandma shaking my walker at the television, but I'm not caving on this. If a young actress wins a best actress award, they need to have completely blown me away in order to get my endorsement (which matters to everyone, right?). I think Sandra Bullock did a good job. But I think that statue belonged to someone else.

As far as the TROCH goes? Fine, I guess. Not nearly enough game time. That little brother annoyed me when he started getting all greedy with the recruiters; and when she finally asked him about 3 minutes from the end, "Michael, do you even like football?" I felt like it was too little, too late. I played violin for 16 years and basically hated it, and I don't think anyone ever asked me how I felt, either. Supporting cast was good. Tim McGraw? I remember this guy before he married Faith Hill and was scraggly, trashy, and doing, "I like it, I love it." Who knew he'd clean up so well?

Favorite moment? The recruiters all lined up to watch him hit and then scrambling to their cell phones.

WE ARE MARSHALL, directed by McG.

Yeah, the McG threw me a little, I was like, what the hell, is that like McLovin'? Little did I know that Mr. McG was responsible for a couple of Charlie's Angels films. . . but hey, *this* film was so good, I'm willing to let bygones be bygones; I will not be holding it against him.

For me, this is what a TROCH film should be, and it's a true story! Wow! Tragedy. Disappointment. A yearn to prove one's self. Teamwork! A school chant! Sped up filmmaking and slow motion in all the right places. Jack Shephard (FOXY) as "Red" Dawson! Music, acting, 70s clothes (especially McConaughey) were all aces. I liked it a lot. I almost turned it off after the cheerleader started narrating at the end as she drove to Cali, but I didn't, and then to hear about how the actual team went on to kick ass all though the 80s (from the ashes we rose). Nice work, Marshall!

Favorite moment? I dug the recruiting of the random freshman athletes probably the most (giddy excitement between Foxy and McConaughney), although I think the entire film was extremely well done and interesting.

I was a water works for much of the film; it was really emotional! And true to form, Foxy proved he doesn't have to be Jack Shephard to still be the best cry-er in the business. Love him.

I only have one suggestion: Matthew McConaughey needs to have a southern accent in everything he does.