Saturday, December 15, 2012
As I look back on last year's films, I can't help but re arrange my top 10. The best film of last year and one of the best of the decade did not cloak itself in a stunt drivers mask while Riz Ortolani's Oh My Love played in the background. Nor did it arrive on a motorcycle with a mohawk. It crept up in a subtle way that went unnoticed. Revealing more and more upon each subsequent viewing. That film is Take Shelter.
Jeff Nichols blasted his way into the independent scene in 2007 with Shotgun Stories and we've been digging out the bullet shrapnel ever since. In it, we were treated to a carefully controlled performance by Michael Shannon. The "Bug" man the William Friedkin help bring into light. Since, Shannon has, . 2011 saw Shannon team up with Nichols' second picture, Take Shelter, a horror film in which the monster is a gentle, caring father and husband. The only villian being his psyche and paranoia.
Shannon has climbed to the ranks of actors and just may be the most gifted actor working today. We clearly see the sickness progressively getting worse as it takes over him. But his argument and performance are so convincing, maybe we are all wrong. His performance comes to a crescendo in a key scene where he announces his suspicions of the storm to the entire town. In this scene, he gets into a physical fight with his friend in construction and makes a spectacle of himself in front of the whole town. However, his wife is not embarrassed. She instead comforts him, their daughter, and they quietly exit. It is this scene that puts this movie on a whole other playing field. In the wrong movie, he would become a threat to his family. Maybe even hurt them, like Jack Torrence would. Curtis doesn't at all. He deems his purpose as a provided and supporter of his family. No sickness or paranoia will drive him away from that.
Nichols advised us to Take Shelter in 2011. Next year he promises to kick our collective faces in the Mud.
Sunday, December 2, 2012
Kill List (2011, Ben Wheatley) (B-)
2016: Obama's America (2012, ) (D)
Trainspotting (1996, Danny Boyle) (A+)*
Cloud Atlas (2012, The Wachowski Brothers, Tom Tykwer) (A+)
La Haine (1995, Matthew Kassovitz) (A-)
Skyfall (2012, Sam Mendes) (A+)
Flight (2012, Robert Zemeckis) (B)
Lincoln (2012, Steven Spielberg) (B)
Rise of the Planet of the Apes (2011, Rupert Wyatt) (A)
In the Mood For Love (2000, Wong Kar-Wai) (A)
Reservoir Dogs (1992, Quentin Tarantino) (B)*
Born On the Fourth of July (1989, Oliver Stone (A+)*
Rashomon (1950, Akira Kurosawa) (A+)
Mishima: A Life In Chapters (1985, Paul Schrader) (B+)
Silver Linings Playbook (2012, David O. Russell) (B-)
Heaven's Gate (1980, Michael Cimino) (A-)
Gimme Shelter (1970, Albert & David Maysles) (A)
Grey Gardens (1976, Albert & David Maysles) (A)
Every Love Story Is A Ghost Story: A Life of David Foster Wallace (2012, D.T. Max) (B-)
Train Dreams (2011, Denis Johnson) (A)
Good Omens (1990, Neil Gaiman & Terry Pratchett) (still reading)
* films previously seen
The Bond franchise from the very start has been a symbol of masculinity. What it means to be a man. The Aston Martins, martinis, Walther PPK and suave way of life all contribute to the finished product. His reward? Beautiful women. Bond girls, if you will. Ready to throw themselves upon him.
All of this came to a head in Casino Royale. The film that introduced Daniel Craig as James Bond. Gone were the high tech gadgets and in were the story driven elements. Things were meaner and leaner. There is a scene where Bond is tied up and ready to be tortured by the villian. What does he do? He tells the villian "to the right, the right! Now the whole world's gonna know you died scratching my balls."
A key scene in Skyfall is not an action set piece. It is a scene where we find Bond once in again in a chair. Only this time he is meeting the villian, Silva, for the first time. What does Silva do? He hits on Bond. Not only does he threaten him by this sexual attempt, he threatens the whole masculine ideal. This act instantly identifies Silva as the villian. He is not only threatening England, but manliness as a concept. Bond returns the serve and implies it may not be his first time. Silva decides to stop emasculating Bond after this scene and go after his true weakness- his relationship with M.
Sunday, November 18, 2012
It was hard, but I managed to narrow it down to ten episodes of pure, gut busting hilarity.You may notice only 3 Joel era episodes on here. This is because I was waned on Mike era episodes growing up. So the subjective factor does border on nostalgia. Joel era episodes are good, don't get me wrong.
Here are ten episodes that, if you are new to the series, are essential viewing.
10. Overdrawn At the Memory Bank
Raul Julia stars in one of the highlight of season eight.
9. Time Chasers
"He died as he lived- mud stained and splain."
This one I don't see on many people's lists and it should be. It involves time travel which has been a subject of interest to me. Albeit, executed in a lackluster fashion with an unappealing heroic lead.
8. Pod People
Who can forget Frumpy after this movie? Who wishes they could forget Frumpy after this movie? It's times like these when you wish you could just go to Lacuna Corp and Eternal Sunshine that monstrosity out of your head. But unfortunately, you can't. Instead, you are stuck with what I consider the best entry of the early years. A shameless spin- off of E.T. that fails miserably.
The immortal cheesefest that is Hobgoblins. A cheap rip off of Gremlins that, like another entry on the list, that insists it wears its's eighties shades. The writing was really peaking during the 7th, 8th and 9th seasons. All it took was a movie like Hobgoblins to just go full throttle riffing on.
"It's the eighties. Do a lot of coke and vote for Ronald Reagan."
6. Space Mutiny
Blast Hardcheese. Dirk Hardpeck. And 100 other names of David Ryder.
Space Mutiny remains a classic because of just how poorly conceived the plot was, the atrocious continuity and the awful acting of Reb Brown. Someone who stars as the supposed hero of the film and goes after a woman who looks to be in her late fifties.
Kalgon, blow me away!
Joe Estevez, Robert Z'Dar & a pack of clueless teenagers make the perfect recipe for hilarity.
4. Manos: The Hands of Fate
Thank you, Harold P. Warren for releasing the indescribable movie that is Manos: Hands of Fate. This episode has it all: top notch riffing, great host segments, and countless memorable lines. Who could forget such memorable characters as Torgo?
3. The Final Sacrifice
What more can I say about this one? You really have to wonder why they green light movies like this. The gang at the Satellite of Love provide dead on riffing throughout. The skits in between are well done. I never get tired of watching this one. Rowsdower!
Joel Hodgson's last episode also turns out to be his best. I've always been partial to Mike, but Mitchell is proof enough that Joel's run was just as good. Joe Don Baker's negative reaction to the show mocking his detective role makes it all the more funnier. If that wasn't enogh, another Joe Don movie is lambasted in a later entry in the series, Final Justice.
1. Werewolf (Season 9)
Whenever I come across someone who has never seen the show, this is the episode I show them. An absolutely fascinating movie about werewolves, European accents and a man who changes his hairstyle every 10 minutes of the movie.
Wednesday, November 14, 2012
Ever heard of Beelzebozo the Clown? Wondered why doing a commercial takes you off the artistic roll call? Or why Rush Limbaugh munches scat? Just take a listen to Relentless, Rant In E Minor, Arizona Bay or any of the shows he put on CD.
Bill targeted issues that were taboo and considered 'too sensitive' at the time. Issues ranging from abortion to recreational drugs. Peppering his rants with profanity in the process. He was a comedian whose social commentary was so sharp, incisive and on par with the greats: Carlin, Bruce and had to have been a firestarter for up and comers likes Louis CK. A legend taken from us way too soon.
Monday, November 12, 2012
When I was in eight grade, my history teacher came up with the idea of holding a mock election. It would hold the two party system rule and the two candidates would be people we never heard of before. Now, it being a Christian school, 90% of the students fostered conservative beliefs that were more than likely handed down generationally from their parents. As the election was finally closed and the results came in, the history teacher, told us the results. As predicted, the Repuplican candidate won in a landslide. But what tickled my fancy was hearing the background of this Republican candidate. Turns out he was a custodian that the teacher had met. That day it became obvious to me that people would vote whoever their party elected, do no research into the matter, and eventually grow up to become one of those people who took pride in posting "I Voted" bumper stickers on their car. Now I mention this story as a prologue to a much larger issue. Because it reveals an important framework at hand.
I've never much cared for politics. Having gone to schools (Middle school through college) surrounded by predominantly Right Wing conservatives and being raised by a "screw politicans" father and a conservative mother, ignoring the problem just seemed to be the easiest way out of stress. Block it out because it only causes hatred and vitriol amongst people anyway. When the issue of politics did come up, the valuable lesson I gained from middle school became essential in my political thinking: research is key. Know who you are voting for. Upon seeing so many of my friends hit brick walls in the search for jobs and seeing our economic debt reach sickening highs, the political pool did start becoming something I started to dip my toe in.
I realized I'm not the only who has (or had?) an apathetic view on politics. There's a hard demographic in young voters, being between the ages of 18 and 35, that shows us becoming increasingly unsympathetic, bored, and evoking a shuddering yawn at anything politics. Such is the case in the post-Watergate-post Iran Contra- post-Whitewater- post- Lewinsky era. An era in which politician's statements of principle and vision are understood as self serving ad copy and judged not for their truth but for their marketability. With the media at a fever pitch with the creation of social networking sites like Twitter and Facebook, no generation has been marketed and spun and pitched to as relentlessly as today's young demographic. When a senator or Congressman says their goal is to (for example) "inspire young Americans to devote themselves to causes greater their their own self-interst" , it's hard not to think of it as just one more piece of carefully scripted bullshit that presidential candidates hand us as they go about their own self serving interest in becoming the most powerful, talked about man in the free world. This being their real cause.
Sunday, November 11, 2012
Beyond Bound, I was never a big fan of the Wachowskis' visual aesthetic. Tom Tykwer's works didn't really interest me at all either. The re- invigorating feeling of these directors' styles should really be attributed to David Mitchell. Now I have not read the book. But the film seems to have a giant arrow pointing viewers to its pages. The narration and multiple interconnecting story lines all are culled from a mind of feverish ambition. One can tell the creators must have had a hard time trying to condense the 500 pages worth of material into a film. I'm pretty sure at one point, they were poised to flail it off a balcony. Even at its 164 min. running time, it feels like just the type of film that should not work. Yet it is constructed with enough care and respect to the original material and turns out to be the best work of the Wachowskis & Tykwer.
I don't want to take a stroll down cliche alley, but this movie really isn't like anything I have seen before. Where scenes of exuberant rebellion flow into scenes of sheer terror like water rushing into a car. The editing and pacing allows for many of these 'drops' of narrative that circle back on each other. Defining how the choices made clear paths for our future. But after all, what is an ocean but a multitude of drops?
Saturday, November 3, 2012
1. The Beatles- Abbey Road
2. The Beach Boys- Pet Sounds
3. Radiohead- OK Computer
4. Pink Floyd- Dark Side of the Moon
5. Faith No More- Angel Dust
6. Genesis- The Lamb Lies Down On Broadway
7. My Bloody Valentine- Loveless
8. Tom Waits- Rain Dogs
9. King Crimson- Red
10. Tool- Lateralus
11. Death- Symbolic (1995)
12. The Pixies- Doolittle (1989)
13. Rush- Permanent Waves (1980)
14. Wu Tang Clan- Enter the Wu Tang (36 Chambers) (1993)
15. Godspeed You Black Emperor- Lift Your Skinny Fists... (2000)
16. The Zombies- The Odessey and the Oracle (1968)
17. Frank Zappa- Roxy & Elsewhere (1974)
18. Alice In Chains- Dirt (1992)
19. Pink Floyd- Wish You Were Here (1975)
20. Metallica- Master of Puppets (1986)
21. Mr. Bungle- California (1999)
22. Opeth- Blackwater Park (2001)
23. The Beatles- Revolver (1966)
24. The Who- Tommy (1969)
25. The Flaming Lips- The Soft Bulletin (1999)
26. Van Der Graaf Generator- Still Life (1976)
27. GZA- Liquid Swords (1995)
28. Jellyfish- Spilt Milk (1993)
29. The Cure- Disintegration (1989)
30. Cocteau Twins- Heaven Or Las Vegas (1990)
31. Frank Zappa- Joe's Garage (1979)
32. The Smiths- The Queen Is Dead (1986)
33. Peter Gabriel- IV: Security (1982)
34. Marillion- Clutching At Straws (1987)
35. Elton John- Goodbye Yellow Brick Road (1973)
36. Queen- A Night At the Opera (1975)
37. The Kinks- We Are the Village Green Preservation Society (1968)
38. The Talking Heads- The Name of This Band Is Talking Heads (1982)
39. King Crimson- Absent Lovers (1998)
40. Iron Maiden- Powerslave (1984)
41. Radiohead- Kid A (2000)
42. Nine Inch Nails- The Downward Spiral (1994)
43. Neutral Milk Hotel- In the Aeroplane Over the Sea (1998)
44. Scott Walker- The Drift (2006)
45. Led Zeppelin- Physical Graffiti (1975)
46. Agalloch- Ashes Against the Grain (2006)
47. Public Enemy- It Takes A Nation of Millions to Hold Us Back (1988)
48. Porcupine Tree- In Absentia (2002)
49. Joy Division- Unknown Pleasures (1979)
50. Toy Matinee- Toy Matinee (1991)
51. Siouxsie and the Banshees- Juju (1981)
52. Slayer- Reign In Blood (1986)
53. David Bowie- The Rise and Fall of Ziggy Stardust (1972)
54. Wilco- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
55. Peter Hammill- Over (1977)
56. Steve Reich- Music For 18 Musicians (2000)
57. The Doors- The Doors (1967)
58. Rush- Grace Under Pressure (1984)
59. Tom Waits- Bone Machine (1992)
60. Anglagard- Hybris (1992)
61. Bjork- Homogenic (1997)
62. Dream Theater- Awake (1994)
63. Nick Drake- Pink Moon (1972)
64. Pink Floyd- Animals (1977)
65. Tool- Aenima (1996)
66. Marillion- Marbles (2004)
67. Arvo Part- Tabula Rasa (1984)
68. Ulver- Perdition City (2000)
69. Black Sabbath- Master of Reality (1971)
70. The Beatles- Sgt. Pepper's Lonley Hearts Club Band (1967)
71. Pixies- Surfer Rosa (1987)/Come On Pilgrim (1988)
72. Jesu- Jesu (2004)
73. Genesis- Wind & Wuthering (1977)
74. Fantomas- Director's Cut (2001)
75. Death- The Sound of Perseverance (1998)
76. Massive Attack- Mezzanine (1998)
77. White Zombie- Astro Creep 2000 (1995)
78. Yes- Close to the Edge (1972)
79. Swans- The Seer (2012)
80. Bob Dylan- Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
81. Fiona Apple- When the Pawn (1996)
82. Warren Zevon- Sentimental Hygiene (1987)
83. Depeche Mode- Violator (1990)
84. The Flaming Lips- Yoshimi Battles the Pink Robots (2002)
85. Talk Talk- Laughing Stock (1991)
86. Dead Can Dance- Within the Realm of A Dying Sun (1987)
87. Otis Redding- At the Dock of the Bay (1966)
88. Brian Eno- Another Green World (1975)
89. Simon & Garfunkel- Sounds of Silence (1966)
90. Cat Stevens- Tea For Tillerman (1970)
91. Pantera- Vulgar Display of Power (1992)
92. Arcade Fire- Funeral (2004)
93. Animal Collective- Merriweather Post Pavilion (2009)
94. Celtic Frost- Monotheist (2006)
95. Kate Bush- Hounds of Love (1985)
96. Robert Fripp- A Blessing of Tears (1995)
97. Vital Remains- Dechristianize (2003)
98. Secret Chiefs 3- Book of Horizons (2004)
99. Testament- The Legacy (1987)
100. Sunn O)))- Monoliths & Dimensions (2009)
ALBUMS THAT JUST MISSED THE CUT
John Coltrane- A Love Supreme (1964)
Can- Tago Mago (1970)
Black Sabbath- Paranoid (1971)
Fleetwood Mac- Rumours (1977)
Metallica- Ride the Lightning (1984)
Spacemen 3- Perfect Prescription (1987)
Megadeth- Rust In Peace (1990)
Mr. Bungle- Mr. Bungle (1991)
Peter Gabriel- Secret World Live (1994)
Radiohead- The Bends (1995)
Cryptopsy- None So Vile (1996)
Discipline- Unfolded Like Staircase (1997)
Dream Theater- Scenes From A Memory (1999)
Porcupine Tree- Stupid Dream (1999)
Sigh- Imaginary Sonicscape (2001)
Nile- In Their Darkened Shrines (2002)
Sigur Ros- ( ) (2002)
Sleepytime Gorilla Museum- In Glorious Times (2007)
Sunday, September 16, 2012
In the (long and tedious) interval between parts 1 & 2 of season 5, we are given enough to stir about. Just as Hank was when the machinery was clicking in his DEA- fueled brain. Hank from the very beginning came off as someone who meant well and was relentless in his hunt for Heisenberg. Yet he seemed a bit oblivious to clues right in front of him. It was only until the season 5 mid-finale that the puzzle pieces came together for him. All thanks to a book handed to him. A clue dropped all the way back to the beginning of Season 3, when Walt receives Leaves of Grass.
Looking back, the first half of season 5 has proven to been much more than just fallout from season 4. It has introduced us to new characters such as Lydia, Todd and strengthened existing characters like Mike. It also proved to be the most visually stunning season yet. Courtesy of the always on point directing.
If there ever existed a more confident, ego driven Walt than before, then this would be the season where that ego would drive full speed ahead. Gilligan has stated on several occasions that the trajectory of Walt is akin to that of Tony Montana from Scarface. He can't just settle and let it go. He has to have it all. Thus making the 'getting out' part all the more harder to do.
The allegiance to Lydia & Todd and the disassociation with Jesse has tightened tensions on all sides. The trust, loyalty and "Magnets, bitch" mentality is now replaced with fear, betrayal and spiteful secrets. It won't be long until this rubber band snaps back with fierce whiplash.
The homefront is not getting any better either. I have never been a fan of Skylar. Her shift from agitated housewife to accomplice in crime only furthered this feeling. But Anna Gunn must get her due for her performance in the Rian Johnson helmed episode House Party. Nailing the vicious spat between her and Walt and becoming a part of one of the most striking shots of the series. (You know which one I'm talking about...).
Breaking Bad from the very beginning has been a show deeply rooted in morality. People reap what they sew. Mike's tragic downfall is that his daughter will grow up having thought her father left her without saying goodbye. Any doubters to the show's moral stance need look no further than a bombed out hospital room. All of these events exist as signposts leading to something more ominous.
Monday, August 27, 2012
We've seen a cannibalistic doctor splay a prison guard across a cell. We've seen the Joker perform his magic trick to a stunned room. We've played witness to Frank Booth's sadism and the airgun wielding Anton Chigurh flipping fate's coin. These are people that are always brought into the conversation when discussing villians. What we haven't seen is the Judge. A hairless, albino-skinned giant from Cormac McCarthy's Blood Meridian. The setting is 1846 and the narrative follows the Glanton Gang- a band of bounty hunters who collect scalps. Our narrator is the Kid. But the character everyone comes away from the novel affected by the most is Judge Holden.
McCarthy draws from the well of such classics as Moby Dick and Paradise Lost and serves up evil on a Biblical level. Like Milton did with Satan in Paradise Lost, McCarthy gives the Judge a language steeped in epigraphs, philosophical musings and twisted morality. We are simply compelled by him not only as a character but as a force or almost heroic evil. Yet he draws us out of the dustclouds and into the circle around the campfire. Almost as much as he repels us with his grand tales of of his own. "Whatever in creation exists without my knowledge exists without my consent." I need not to divulge any further. As explaining any more about the Judge or the Kid would ruin the book for the newcomer.
As a novel, Blood Meridian digs up terrain that is replete with enough violence and horror to give any horror fan. The images that are brought forth from the novel's 300+ pages stick to the subconscious like hot tar. This is true horror. An author that weathers real shock and awe and is made all the more prescient when one gets to the final 50 pages. It's a frighteneing vision to be embedded in the American spirit. McCarthy makes it known to the reader that as we witness the slaughtering of countless people to the Glanton Gang does not go by any moral compass. The violence is spectatcular. Keep in mind, this is the same hand that penned The Road & No Country For Old Men.
This writer's whole repertoire is mandatory for any reader, but having read only these three books, it is in my mind (along with many others) that McCarthy is on the level of Faulkner and Melville in terms of prose. It's efortless in its descriptions and poetic in its storytelling.
Before Ed Tom Bell dreamed of carrying the fire, there was the Kid. Before Anton Chigurh pulled over a car and asked a man to kindly step out, there was the Judge. A great, shambling mutant. Silent and serene. He keeps dancing. He says he will never die.
Sunday, July 15, 2012
DATA ENTRY CLERK DEAD FOR THREE DAYS
Monday, November 26, 1989, Section 3-A
Supervisors at the Spring Creek Finance regional complex in the Springfield township of Illinois are trying to determine why no one noticed that one of their employees had been sitting at his desk for three days before anyone asked if he was feeling all right.
Michael Corwin, 58, who had been employed with the company as a data entry clerk for 25 years, suffered a heart attack in the office he shared with twenty four office workers. He quietly passed away last Thursday at his desk, but nobody noticed until late Saturday evening, when a custodian asked how the data entry clerk could still be working with all the lights off.
Mr. Corwin's supervisor, William Douglas, was quoted as saying 'Michael was always the first person to arrive at work. Well regarded around the workplace, he always kept to himself and focused diligently on his work. So no one found it unusual that he was in the same position all that time and didn't say anything.'
The Coroner's Office revealed that he had been dead for three days after suffering a coronary. Ironically he was preparing data for medical partnerships in the area where he died.
A new blog? Well, kinda. Sorta.
Between the Reels invites you to Burgundy Dinner Jacket. Our esteemed colleague, Trent Homan and I post screencaps from films ranging from grindhouse schlock to high brow art films. Everything is fair game. So join us. Reblog often.
Between the Reels invites you to Burgundy Dinner Jacket. Our esteemed colleague, Trent Homan and I post screencaps from films ranging from grindhouse schlock to high brow art films. Everything is fair game. So join us. Reblog often.
Saturday, June 16, 2012
Imagine if the themes of Albert Camus' The Stranger were smuggled into a story about troublesome motherhood. But more importantly, the story of just how damaging the effects of neglect can have on a child.
What Lionel Shriver gives us (& what Lynne Ramsey is able to pull off adaptation wise) is a villian with the type of remorselesness that is reserved for the types of villians from a Cormac McCarthy novel. Yet he isn't in a world of crumbling morality set in the desert plains. He's in a spacious house. With squiggly square pictures that cover up Eva's room. A lawn in which the sprinklers are all lined up perfectly and are activated with succinct synchronicity. All of this being backdrop for the grim observer. Keeping his mother, sister and father in the crosshairs of his fury.
The grubby fingerprints of Alex DeLarge are discernable in the creation of Kevin. But what is even more present is Kevin's claw marks on Eva's psyche. The consequences that butterfly out of Eva's decisions leaves broken crayons on the kitchen table and traces of red paint in her hair. As we watch her ambivalence over the birth of Kevin turn into a story of coming to terms with the creation of a monster.
Sunday, June 10, 2012
79. Celtic Frost- Monotheist (2006)
A perfect winter album.
78. Pixies- Surfer Rosa (1987)
It's no Doolittle, but what is? Instead, Surfer is the best collection of Pixies songs that demonstrates the energy of the band. Alot looser than its followup. Rosa is the more punkish as well.
77. Depeche Mode- Violator (1990)
There's a reason why this is beloved as it is. Synthesized bliss.
76. Toy Matinee- Toy Matinee (1991)
One of pop music's greatest unsung masterpieces.
75. Dream Theater- Awake (1994)
There was a time when I was a Dream Theater fanatic. That time is long past. But I still owe them a debt of gratitude for making me realize just how well the blending of progressive rock and metal can sound.
74. Arcade Fire- Funeral (2004)
It's a shame these guys get lumped in with generic hipster crowd. This is how indie rock should sound. Anthemic and soulful.
73. Sigur Ros- ( ) (2002)
The cinematic quality of these songs lends themselves to the mind.
72. George Harrison- All Things Must Pass (1970)
Harrison has always been my favorite Beatle. This album is a reminder of the diversity and sprituality he brought the band and shows just how ready for solo material he was at that time.
71. Swans- White Light From the Mouth of Infinity (1991)
Swans are that one band you keep hearing about when you start digging deep into other bands like The Cure & Depeche Mode. While White Light isn't as experimental as earlier efforts, its the best example of their darker sensibilities.
70. Wilco- Yankee Hotel Foxtrot (2002)
The album I got addicted to on my last few weeks of college. But beyond those memories, it's just a great alt rock album. Complex but delicately soothing.
Saturday, June 9, 2012
I hoped that Ridley Scott had at least some juice left in him after over a decade of lackluster movies. After all, there should be at least some compensation for such a shift in quality ever since Blade Runner. Which, by the end of this film in which I am reviewing, the conclusion has come to this- Scott is to sci-fi in the same way Fincher is to the crime genre. Efficient and economical. But what put me over the edge with foamy anticipation was not Scott but screenwriter Damon Lindelof. We all know that there is no quicker way to empty this type of heady sci-fi film of its peculiar magic than to explain it. Lindelof understands this. So after going back to the mystery box once more, he managed to serve up something that gives us curious glimpses behind the curtain and a small puzzle piece Scott tossed us back in '79 with Alien.
what gives the film major points is by not giving us memories of Xenomorphs with razor sharped teeth, but adding whole new elements to the mythology. Prometheus delivers on the promise of a prequel should be.
Saturday, June 2, 2012
89. The Who- Quadrophenia (1973)
88. Fiona Apple- When the Pawn... (1999)
87. Fleetwood Mac- Rumours (1977)
86. Bob Dylan- Highway 61 Revisited (1965)
85. Simon & Garfunkel- Sounds of Silence (1966)
84. Ulver- Shadows of the Sun (2007)
83. Nick Drake- Pink Moon (1972)
82. Fantomas- Director's Cut (2001)
81. Massive Attack- Mezzanine (1998)
80. Yes- Close to the Edge (1972)
Thursday, May 31, 2012
****Author's Note: This short story and its main character (whom I am still unhappy with the name) are subjects I would wish to tackle in a script that deals with severe anxiety disorder along with alot of other things.***
*Blogger's Note: Expect to see a short story every three weeks or so. Oh yes. This is just the beginning. I'll explain myself later.*
I. THE CONVERSATION
There are actually whole groups of people terrified to drive on the road. Sara Littleton was one of these people. Often known to stop into has stations in the middle of afternoon drives. Not to ask for directions. Not even to pump gas. It was in order for composure.
This didn't bode well for her future either. Her dream was to become an astronomer. The closest college being in Arizona. Her fear prevented her from going. Instead having chosen to go to community college for two years and shacking up with a friend she met there named Amy.
The internal monologue that ran through her head was constantly centered on one thing: herself and getting ready to do things. Parodoxically, these thoughts would end up frightening her. Thus leading her own mind to scare the living shit out of itself on a daily basis.
One such example occurring on the night of September 22. It was almost time to begin her nightly 7 pm ritual of engaging in a variety of social networking activities when her roommate started a conversation she was unwilling to participate in. She raddled off the possible options off in her head.
"Wow. Look at the time."
"Could we finish this up later?"
"Could you please leave?"
"Go. Get out. Get the hell outta here."
The moment became so delicate and fraught with social complexity, that she got overwhelmed and let the conversation continue. "Ahem" brushing her hand up against the back of her head. "Um...Amy? I'm kind of in a---"
"Well I was just about to get to the point of it all had you not interrupted me."
"Dan is throwing a party and he invited me. You want to join?"
"It's just off West Crestwood Dr."
"Ah yeah. Is it alright if you drive? I am completely unfamiliar with the route."
"Sure" Sara said in a slightly exaggerated tone. "But you are obviously going to have to fight through this fear of driving to new places."
"I'm trying Amy."
"Still taking Xanax correct?"
"Well hopefully that will help if we run into any problems."
Sara & Amy got in the car and drove off. As they passed the movie theater. One of the few places Sara felt comfortable driving to. Also of note was the sign that said Road Closed On 9/25. Something to store in the back of her mind.
II. THE PARTY
They had arrived at the party roughly around 8. Sara biting her fingernails as usual. Amy being her assured self. Laced with abundant laconic humor to keep herself and her friends entertained for hours. Sara on the otherhand felt the intense claustrophobia of the room. Noticing the vacant couch in the patio, she decides to go there to read her book. Seen as a safe haven from the sheer terror of and going on. "It'll be over shortly." She tells herself. Secretly knowing that parties like this don't just end when you want them to.
As Blue Oyster Cult's Burnin' For You kicks in on the speakers, Dan Parker snorts a line of cocaine off the sink in the bathroom. He exits with a complete absence of self awareness. As evidenced in the cocaine stains on the sleave of his buttoned down shirt. Dan Parker goes near to the patio door to greet his former high school friend Chris Evanston and start a conversation of his own. The conversation tumbles out into the patio.
"10 pm is the best time to have sex with the girlfriend."
"No shit? Where'd ya find this out"
"An article online. It states that by then work week's stress has run its course. She is primed and ready."
Noticing a girl on the couch trying patiently to read, Chris decides to relay a way to calm the already coked up Dan.
"Hey Dan ,you wanna take the conversation somewhere else? This girl is trying to read her book"
"It's a fucking party. What do you expect?
"I expect you to show some sympathy."
"If you're looking for sympathy for me, look it up in the dictionary between shit and syphilus. Now come on, the game's on inside. We're missing the 3rd quarter "
Chris reluctantly walks off with Dan walk off to grab another beer and continue the conversation inside.
Sara's face is writhing with embarassment. Tears start to form and slide down Sara's cheeks. She tries to hide them by covering her face with her book. The world seemed to be staring down at her that very moment. Paranoia roaming around the room.
The exasperated feeling of having ran 20 miles within seconds had immediately taken hold as she was gasping for breath. A tingling sensation takes hold of arms. It is this feeling that pushes her out of the party and into the car. Stumbling through the crowd and feeling with each observant face, a deeper sense of frustration. She gets into the car and texts Amy that she wants to go back to the apartment. Sara downs a Xanax and they leave.
Nothing was truly gained from the experience and even worse, nothing had changed. Only a further sense of desparity.
"Sara what happened?" Amy asks in a worried voice
"Nothing. Just drive"
The conversation ceased from there and didn't start back up until they arrived in the apartment's parking lot.
"Sara I'm really starting to get worried."
"You want me to look into a doctor for you?"
"No. Just... please. I'll be fine."
With that, she ran up to the apartment and locked herself in her room. Burying her head in her pillow. The muffled words "What the fuck is wrong with me? When the fuck will this stop?" being spoken between sobs. This wasn't the first time this had happened. It wasn't out of the ordinary. This kind of thing followed her her whole life. The constant fight against it was something As if her secret inner self was trying to leak out.
On normal nights, Sara would engage in her usual nighttime activity that extends well past midnight and into 3 am. Curling up on the couch and reading a book. Or kicking her feet back on the porcelain table and throwing on a movie. On some nights, she would choose to go to bed early. Always choosing the most comfortable spot to position her head in order to act as an observer from her apartment window. She would gaze upon the night sky and it stars. It filled her with illustrious awe. Recalling the time class went on a field trip to the field museum use to take her to the field museum when she was twelve. Her being the type who aimlessly wanders through the museum looking at ancient relics of the past. Dwarfed by the gap of hundreds of years between the exhibit and herself. Her curiosity hanging on each word that emptied out of the exhibitionist's mouth.
It was on these nights that the longing for achieveing a sense of greater status. The feeling was vivid and powerful and filled her with a kind of unnatainable desire.
She knew that she had to change or else she would be encaged her whole life if she did not do something to save herself. Even if it was a temporary change.
THE NEXT DAY
Sara awakened to the smell of burning toast. Amy, who worked on the weekends was up at her usual time. 7:00 am. Always grabbing a quick bite to eat on her way out the door. Her love of burnt toast was one of the many differences between them.
"Sara, you want some toast."
"No. I'm fine." Sara answered assuredly.
"You still holding up?"
"Yeah. Everything's alright. Was just shaken."
"You ever need help just talk to me. I mean we're roomates."
"Well, there is one thing."
"I really wish I didn't go to that party. Dan is a complete asshole."
"Well why did you then?"
"I thought things would be different. I thought things would change. They never do. People. This I'm absolutely terrified of what the future holds for me, Amy. I dread it. Yet at the same time, "
"Sara, when you realize just how seldom people think of others, you're gonna stop worrying about what they think of you. It's not like Dan was there solely to hurt you. The guy is unaware where he is half of the time. He fucking lives off ignorance."
Amy checks her watch and realizes it's time for her to go to work. "We'll talk about this more tonight."
"I have plans." Sara stated with urgency. "So I might not be able to talk about it."
"Plans? You?" "Yep. Gonna go to see a movie."
Oh which one? I hear the Tyler Perry one is really good"
They both laughed.
"Well, I'm running late. Later. I'll clear up some space in my schedule so we can talk."
The luxury of loneliness gave time for Sara to dwell. As most people do in a room, alone. Around 7:45 she went forwards with her plans and decided to go the theater.
III. OTHER PLANS
(as the door slammed. Talking Heads 'Heaven' kicks in on the car radio. )
What she set out to next was almost choreographed with routine.
I will arrive at the theater roughly 15 minutes ahead of time. The ticket taker will tear my ticket. I will buy a small popcorn and fountain drink for a ridiculous price. (This urge being created by the near forgotten past time of what it's like to relish the habits of the average moviegoer.) The theater will be moderately crowded. Given that it's the weekend. I'll find a seat
The at the three way intersection, she noticed flashing lights and a sign marked "Use posted detour." It had took her no less than 2 seconds to realize that she had forgotten the sign she saw a few days ago. Only this time things were different. Her thoughts that were once run with fear were now relinquished and replaced by the urge to take chance. Knowing she had already missed the posted detour, she decided to take a right instead of a left.
The street, bathed in flourescent neon lights, gave off an illuminating aura. With each passing roadsign, she felt a sense of rebellious joy you get when you do something out of the norm. It wasn't so much the end point was important. It was the fact that she was actually making progress. Her own personal nirvana being temporarily interrupted by the angry driver next to her in an SUV that is speeding down the highway. Having made it 15 minutes down the road, she had arrived at a stoplight with an onramp in the distance. The green sign hung down cast a geometric shadow amidst the streetlights. Sara looked at it and smiled. Elated inside at what the sign read. She then chose to take the left hand turning lane, make a U-turn and start heading back.
The inevitable conversation about her conition that would take place between her and Amy in the morning seemed irrelevant to her.As was the embarassment at the party. Everything became secondary to that moment she had just been a part of. A confluence of exhilaration and freedom overwhelmed her. She slept in a resolute state. Hoping that one day her journey would extend past the sign "Next Stop- Arizona."