There Might Be Spoilers

In a recent post, John Scalzi discusses whether there should be a statute of limitations on spoilers:

If there is, in fact, a spoiler statute of limitations, the question then becomes, well, how long is it? I throw that question open to the crowd, but here are my suggestions:

Television: One week (because it’s generally episodic, and that’s how long you have until the next episode)

Movies: One year (time enough for everyone to see it in the theaters, on DVD and on cable)

Books: Five years (because books don’t reach nearly as many people at one time)

Personally, I absolutely think there should be a point in time where it’s okay to discuss major plot points in a story without having someone scream at you for spoiling it. I personally don’t seek out spoilers, but I don’t think that reading them or coming across them accidentally necessarily ruins my actual enjoyment of the resulting product.

For example, well before I ever saw No Country for Old Men, even without having read the book, I knew perfectly well what happens to one of the major characters near the end of the movie. This didn’t ruin my enjoyment of the movie at all, and in fact it was one of my most favorite movies of the year.

Ladies and gentlemen... I've traveled over half our state to be here tonight. I couldn't get away sooner because my new well was coming in at Coyote Hills and I had to see about it.Same goes for There Will Be Blood. Several of the movie blogs I read were talking about the infamous “I drink your milkshake” scene, and I ended up reading about the basic details of it before I saw the movie. That doesn’t change the fact, however, that nothing could prepare me for the sheer impact of that scene when I saw it in the film. Taking out of context it makes it sound absurd and laughable, but when you’ve followed the characters through the emotional journey that brings you that point, it makes a kind of mad sense.

I don’t think movies are the main source of spoiler accusations, however. With the advent of TV On DVD, more and more people are able to catch up on entire seasons of television shows by renting them or buying them. Within my group of friends, there are a lot of folks who only watch TV on DVD, and don’t even pay for cable. However, along with this trend has come a growing belief that the statute of limitations on spoilers never expires, even if you’re discussing a show that has been off the air for years.

Continue reading “There Might Be Spoilers”

Tony Jaa Will Punch You Into Next Week

I’m a big fan of ridiculous martial-arts movies, especially the kind filled with complicated set pieces and moves that make your jaw drop in disbelief. Early Jackie Chan films are great for this kind of stuff, and Tony Jaa has taken that style and ramped it up about a 100 notches.

I’ve seen two of his films, Ong Bak and The Protector, which were both amazing. They were thin on plot, but full of mind-blowing fight scenes, made all the more amazing because there’s no CGI and no trickery with wires. Here’s a trailer for his newest film, Ong Bak 2 (no relation to the first):

The Beast With a Billion Backs

(Kind of crappy quality… hopefully they’ll release a better version soon.)

Wherein Woody Allen Makes a Movie About People Kissing

This trailer is pretty unique in that it doesn’t tell you anything about Vicky Cristina Barcelona other than it’s apparently pretty sexy… which is kinda weird for a Woody Allen movie. Thankfully, he stayed behind the camera. Someone must have finally convinced him he shouldn’t pair himself with girls 40 years younger than him.

Chaos Theory

It seems like Ryan Reynolds is slowly but surely working his way out of National Lampoon “comedies” and into actual adult roles in compelling films. The first definite sign was The Nines, which was just about the most meta movie I’ve ever seen that wasn’t written by Charlie Kaufman (and it was 2/3rds excellent and 1/3rd kind of lumpy).

It’s nice seeing him channel his charisma into something more “off the beaten path”, and I think he’s turning out to be a decent actor as part of the bargain. I even kind of want to see the most recent romcom he’s made.

In any case, I digress. I’ve just watched the trailer for Chaos Theory a few times, and I’m really looking forward to it. The trailer does try to tart it up as just another wacky comedy, but the horrible Comedy Font and arch narration can’t undermine the sheer off-kilter nature of the material at hand, and it looks like Reynolds is in rare form. Check it out:

I also recommend reading the Cinematical review, which makes it sound like a nice little film that hits a number of good notes.

Publicity Stills From “Will Eisner’s The Spirit”

Scarlett Johanssen as \"Silken Floss\"

Samuel L. Jackson as \"The Octopus\"

IGN has a few more stills, but they’re all behind the scenes stuff. Never heard of “The Spirit“? It’s Frank Miller’s first foray as a director by himself – his follow-up to Sin City (which is probably why it has a similar visual style). As for Will Eisner, he was one of the most influential comic book artists of all time, basically one of the first to write a long-form comic or “graphic novel” and establish it as a viable form of literature.

Disney + Philip K. Dick?

Walt Disney Philip K. Dick

KING OF THE ELVES
(Domestic Release Date: Christmas 2012, Disney Digital 3-D(TM))
Walt Disney Animation Studios
Directors: Aaron Blaise, Robert Walker
Producer: Chuck Williams

Legendary storyteller Phillip K. Dick’s short story (his only experiment in the fantasy genre) becomes the basis for this fantastic and imaginative tale about an average man living in the Mississippi Delta, whose reluctant actions to help a desperate band of elves leads them to name him their new king. Joining the innocent and endangered elves as they attempt to escape from an evil and menacing troll, their unlikely new leader finds himself caught on a journey filled with unimaginable dangers and a chance to bring real meaning back to his own life.

Read the full press release…

The Fall

The Fall, starring Lee Pace from Pushing Daisies:

“In a hospital a little girl with a broken collar bone meets a bedridden man who starts telling her a fantastical story which reflects his state of mind. As time goes by fiction and reality start to intertwine in this uplifting epic fantasy.”

— Via Timo’s HD Movie Trailers in Miro

Indiana Jones and the Kingdom of the Crystal Skull (2nd Teaser)

“No Country For Old Men” – Charlie Rose Interview

Part one of this video is a pretty interesting sit-down interview with the Coen brothers, Josh Brolin, and Javier Bardem. If you haven’t had a chance to see No Country For Old Men yet, you may want to hurry up and go see it – it’s one of the best films I’ve seen in a while.

You need to have flashplayer enabled to watch this Google video

Austin Film Festival: Day… um… All The Rest

So when I first started attending AFF, I had a fairly ambitious plan to blog daily about my experiences, but… as you may have noticed, this went by the wayside pretty quickly. I’m a blogging wuss, I know, but what can I say? Attending more than 12 hours of festivities in one day tired me out pretty quickly.

Here’s everything I attended after Thursday:

Friday

“TV Drama Today”
“Finding the Voice: Dialogue”
“Writing Comedy for TV”
“A Conversation With Glenn Gordon Caron
“Film Texas BBQ Supper”
Reservation Road
Numb

Saturday

“Juno: From Script to Screen”
“Production Team: Friday Night Lights”
Control
“Conference Wrap Party”

Sunday

Will Eisner: Portrait of a Sequential Artist
Juno

Monday

Neal Cassady

Wednesday

Two Tickets to Paradise

Continue reading “Austin Film Festival: Day… um… All The Rest”

Austin Film Festival: Day One

As some of you may know, my buddy Alex works for the Austin Film Festival, and thanks to his generosity, I’ve been given a comped “producer” badge, which gives me full access to the festival – all of the panels, parties, and films. I asked off work today and tomorrow so that I can attend the panels.

Today was the start of the festival, and was a comparatively light day compared to what I have lined up for the rest of the weekend. Here’s a rundown of what I attended today: “Common Mistakes Writers Make”, “A Shot of Inspiration”, “Chicago 10“, and “The Walker“.

Continue reading “Austin Film Festival: Day One”

Long Time No Blog, Guess I Better Post a Movie Trailer

Hello there, gentle readers. I know I have been uninteresting lately. I’ve even gotten phonecalls from friends who need updates, new information and stories on what’s been going on in my life… My life is boring, really. I read books, watch DVDs and TV, and work work work like a good worker bee. I haven’t had the kind of low-level creative spark that produces blog entries recently.

I have, however, just watched a trailer for a new movie from the director of Thank You For Smoking. The movie is called Juno. Watch for yourself:

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

This film has been much-buzzed-about on the various filmic blogs I follow. It was, I believe, a must-see must-acquire film at the Toronto Film Festival, which is always a good thing. The trailer projects memories of such films as Little Miss Sunshine, Junebug, and Thumbsucker, so to a certain degree it’ll surely be cinematic comfort food, simply because I like movies in that vein. Hopefully it’ll also have some of the unique bite of “Smoking” along with all of the quirkiness.

Now, I can’t promise I’ll blog more any time soon. That’s practically the digital equivalent of crying wolf. Just be assured that I’m here, and I’m reading constantly, always working towards my goal of reading 52 books in a year. Along those lines, I’ve discovered several new favorite authors recently… John Scalzi, for example, as well as fully confirming William Gibson’s place on the list.

David Schwimmer Directed a Movie

Wait… what?

You need to a flashplayer enabled browser to view this YouTube video

I didn’t know he had it in him… Run, Fat Boy, Run looks awesome. It helps that Dylan Moran and Simon Pegg are two of my most favorite actor/comedians ever. If you don’t understand why, watch Black Books, Spaced, Shaun of the Dead, and Hot Fuzz.

P.S. If only they hadn’t used Trailer Voice Guy…

The Leet World, or “When Talking About Making Something Turns Into Actually Doing It”

I’m not sure why I didn’t post about this before, considering I spent almost the entire weekend working on the website, but some friends of mine that go way back – Eddy, Nick, and Daniel, to be exact – recently starting working on putting into motion an idea that had been percolating for years.

There has always been talk in our circle of friends about making movies, but one idea in particular stuck around for a long time. The premise was simple: make an ongoing series of short films/episodes about a bunch of characters from a video game (Counter-Strike) who are placed in a Real World-style house and see what happens.

The premise is possible because of a phenomenon called machinima, which means using the graphics/animation from video games to render animated short films. The most popular and well-known example of this phenomenon is a show called Red vs. Blue.

In any case, Smooth Few Films, as they are collectively known, actually got to the point where they could produce a trailer and then a full-fledged episode of the show. Check it out:

Trailer (kind of illicit because of the music… shhh! Hopefully they’ll have time to redo it at some point…):

Episode #1 (all original music!):

There is already a lively forum on the site, and plenty of random people from all over the world have left feedback. It’s pretty exciting to see my friends succeeding like this, although this is still only the initial level. They are planning on doing a new episode every 2-3 weeks, and I think this show’s popularity will only grow with more episodes and an ever-growing forum community.

The Ten

I loved The State back in the day, really enjoyed the oddness that was Stella, and was both baffled and amused by Wet Hot American Summer (best watched with the “fart” commentary turned on). Like many comedy groups nowadays, they’ve formed a sort of loose collective with a rotating cast of other actors brought in on the fun, and their new movie, The Ten, has a huge collection of famous folks in the mix. I’m pretty excited about it from watching the trailer:

Julie Delpy Directed a Movie

It’s called 2 Days In Paris, and it looks absolutely hilarious… kind of reminds me of The Puffy Chair from what little we see here – a couple squabbling and facing serious relationship issues while traveling. I hope this one plays somewhere around here, and I manage to get myself out of the house to go see it.

The Coen Brothers are Back!

Oh, how I’ve missed them… I’m still trying to wipe “The Ladykillers” from my memory…

No Country For Old Men premieres Nov. 21st in the US. I can barely wait, let me tell you.

UPDATE: Edited with a better-quality version of the trailer.

Stardust

Our Man Gervais

As you may know, I am a huge fan of Neil Gaiman, have been for years. Stardust is one of the first of his books that I read, and it has been adapted into a Feature Film, due to premiere this summer. I’m pretty excited, as should you be. Clicking on the picture of Our Man Gervais will take you to Yahoo’s lovely little trailer info page for the film, which seems to be pitched somewhere between The Princess Bride, The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, and all of those modern-day fantasy flicks with amazing special effects.

Interestingly enough, the movie was directed by Matthew Vaughn, director of Layer Cake, and original director lined up for the third X-Men movie before he dropped out to be with his family. I can respect a man who values family over big-budget action movies, but I still wish, in my heart of hearts, that we had gotten a chance to see what he might have done with the X-Men. We’ll never know now, however, thanks to that jerkface, Brett Ratner.

The TV Set

The TV Set is the newest film from Jake Kasdan, son of Lawrence, director of Zero Effect (excellent) and Orange County (terrible). The trailer above (which doesn’t show a release date, dammit) makes me hopeful that he’s realized what a bad move that Colin Hanks movie was. From what we see here his third film is much more reminiscent of Zero Effect, which is a good thing in my book. Also, it’s interesting to see David Duchovny with a giant beard. Who can resist?

The basic premise is that Duchovny is a television producer trying to develop a very personal new show about (from what I can tell) a man whose brother commits suicide and the resulting aftermath. The network suits (one played by Sigourney Weaver) stymie him at every turn, first by insisting on casting an “actor” in the main role who demeans that very term, then by constantly asking whether or not the suicide part is really “necessary”. So… sort of The Big Picture for the television age.

Aren’t you relieved to know that you’re not a golem?

Harold brushes his teeth

I just watched Stranger Than Fiction, and thoroughly enjoyed it. I’d say this one comes highly recommended, except for the fact that I’ve read a bunch of reviews written by people who hated it.

So… I recommend it, but with a caveat: it seems to provoke strong feelings. I think you’ll either love it like I did, or you’ll hate it like the people on the IMDB message boards (if that complains about you needing a login, the title of the thread is “I really believe this is the worst film ever created…”, and that’s pretty much the main thing you need to know.)

I do have to say, though, that this is the second time a movie has stolen one of my ideas. Bastards! (If you haven’t been paying attention, I jokingly accused the makers of this fine piece of horror-porn of pilfering the premise of my first play… except I probably pilfered it from Sartre without having read his work… and I don’t ever plan on seeing the movie to confirm my suspicions…)

You’re prettier than I am!

I, like most Americans my age, was a big fan of The 40 Year-Old Virgin – it looked kind of stupid from the trailers, but turned out that you could actually pull off “raunchy sex comedy” and “heartwarming” in the same movie, mostly because of the combination of Steve Carrell and Judd Apatow. I actually have that movie to thank for convincing me that Steve Carrelll was talented enough that I should give the much-derided (in my mind) American remake of The Office a second chance.

As a movie-goer, I’m a bit of a brand loyalist. If the same writer/director/creative team is working again, and I thoroughly enjoyed their debut work, I’ll be back for the second round. So, after watching the following trailer, I’m definitely interested in seeing Judd Apatow’s new movie “Knocked Up”:

Jay Baruchel in “Knocked Up”

It’s especially nice to see almost the entire cast of “Undeclared” together again…

Peter O’Toole: My New Hero

From an interview in The Guardian:

Peter O’TooleMichael Caine was O’Toole’s understudy in The Long and the Short and the Tall; considering he never went on stage, Caine later said, it was incredible he was so exhausted at the end of the run, but waiting anxiously in the wings every night as O’Toole swung in at the very last minute was enough to give any man a coronary. Once, the pair went out drinking and woke up in a strange flat. ‘What time is it?’ Caine asked. ‘Never mind what time it is,’ said O’Toole, ‘What fucking day is it?’ And sure enough, it was two days later, three hours before curtain up.

Movies on the Mind

Eva Green publicity still from Casino Royale

First off, go see Casino Royale if you haven’t already. I saw it earlier this week, and it’s easily a 5 out of 5, one of my most favorite movies of the year, and the best Bond movie made in recent years. Also… Eva Green is one of the most beautiful women of all time. Sigh…

I need to go back and actually sit and watch some of the older Bond movies now… I saw parts of them here and there when I was younger, but that doesn’t really count, especially since I was a kid at the time.

Clive Owen and Claire-Hope Ashitey in Children of Men

As for today, I just got home from seeing Children of Men. It was pretty excellent. A good, solid 4 out 5, I’d say. I’m glad I found some people to see the movie with… for some reason I am now incapable of seeing a movie all by my lonesome. I think I should get back into the habit of being willing to see movies by myself, however… there are so many movies out there that I want to see on the big screen, and what seems like a limited pool of people to see them with. Some movies are not for everyone, after all.

There are growing downsides to seeing a movie in the theatres, though, and I become more and more aware of this every time I manage to go out. First off, you can buy most movies on DVD for the price it costs to get into a theatre nowadays, and I don’t even live in New York. God knows how expensive it must be there.

Then, when you get inside the movie-watching experience deteriorates… I haven’t seen a movie in a while where the audience was completely “with” it, and it’s kind of a shame… I remember seeing Being John Malkovich in theatres, and there was this electric feeling in the crowd. Everyone was so excited to see the movie, and everyone was thoroughly enjoying themselves. The movie was even better because of the crowd experience. Laughter was infectious!

Nowadays, however, you have to search far and wide to find a good audience experience. You can usually rely on the Alamo Drafthouse to be pretty above-par, but then again, I’ve had some of my worst audience experiences there, too. Today wasn’t really bad, audience-wise, but there was a woman sitting to the right of me that I swear kept snickering at odd (inappropriate) moments. Maybe she had a funny breathing pattern, who knows?

I just had this odd feeling of being in a theatre full of people who weren’t necessarily as into the movie as I was/wanted to be, and for some reason that detracted from my experience. Maybe I’m more sensitive to this from my experiences with theatre, but you can tell when the audience is off, not into the groove of things.

There are still several upcoming movies I’d like to see. We’re smack dab in the middle of “prestige” season, so the studios are still rolling out their most well-crafted (sometimes Oscar-baiting) flicks. For those of us in flyover country, we’re slowly getting to see the movies that have only been playing in New York and LA up until now. The next upcoming movie I’m looking forward to the most is Pan’s Labyrinth, which opens here in Austin on the 19th.

Pan's Labyrinth

…And then there’s The Number 23, which I had never heard of until I saw a poster for it at the Drafthouse. It probably won’t be particularly good… Joel Schumacher directed it, after all, but Jim Carrey is clearly doing his best to change up his career by a serious margin. You can see this clearly from how he’s all blood-covered and smacked out in this publicity photo:

Jim Carrey in The Number 23
All I can say is…. whaaaaaa?

The Prestige and The Science of Sleep

I think it must just be good movie season coming up… I’ve seen several pretty exciting trailers, and I’m pretty pumped for some upcoming moviegoing, including:

“The Prestige”:http://www.apple.com/trailers/touchstone/theprestige/ directed by Christopher Nolan


and “The Science of Sleep”:http://www.apple.com/trailers/warner_independent_pictures/thescienceofsleep/ directed by Michel Gondry.

Children of Men

Alright, I’m really excited about this movie, too:

!/images/children.jpg!:http://www.apple.com/trailers/universal/childrenofmen/

“Children of Men”:http://www.apple.com/trailers/universal/childrenofmen/, from Alfonso Cuaron (director of Y Tu Mama Tambien and Harry Potter and the Prisoner of Askaban)

Tasks: 1) Bend. 2) Cheese it!

My mom has politely requested that I update my blog more often. I’ve been letting down my faithful readers, apparently. Hi Mom!

!{float: left}/images/chair.jpg! Tonight Beau and I went and saw “The Puffy Chair”:http://www.imdb.com/title/tt0436689/, which is a little indie film directed by two brothers from Austin, Mark and Jay Duplass. The basic premise of the movie is that Josh, a 20-something former musician, has bought a big, puffy chair on eBay, and has planned a road trip to pick it up and deliver it to his dad as a birthday present. Apparently his dad had the same chair years ago, and Josh thinks it will make a nice present.

Initially, he plans to make the trip by himself, but the night before he is going to leave, he has a fight with his girlfriend. To make it up to her, he invites her along on the road trip so that they can spend some time together – she had already said that she wanted to come along for the ride. Things start off well enough, but when they stop to visit Josh’s brother, Brett, he invites himself along, too.

This just makes things more complicated, but because this movie is anything but formulaic, Brett is not the sort of character who causes conflict by being wacky – he’s just another person along for the ride, someone who gets in the way when the couple is trying to be intimate, or asks questions about what is going on when they’re fighting.

…And fight they do. One of the best things this movie does is unflinchingly portray a couple dealing with some pretty serious issues and constantly picking at each other or fighting. Somehow it manages to do this while still being funny, but it’s definitely not a “romantic” comedy. It’s, well… a relationship-roadtrip-nightmare comedy/drama.

The stylistic choices made in the movie really help it all seem that much more _real_. The movie was shot on digital video, like many indies nowadays, and that combined with the handheld camera throughout most of the movie makes it seem like a documentary. The characters really felt like people I know.

You can check out a trailer for it at “the Duplass brothers’ website”:http://www.duplassbrothers.com/home.html. I’d recommend it, but I don’t know if it would make for a good “date” movie…

great movie, terrible crowd

!/images/history.jpg!

I have never been to a movie where a large section of the audience actually groaned in frustration/disgust when the movie ended. A woman right behind me stood up immediately as the credits rolled and loudly declared “Next time, _I_ get to pick the movie!” Several people walked out throughout the film, and one group in the back spent most of the time giggling, most likely at some private joke.

Personally, though, I think that “A History of Violence”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0399146/ is one of the best movies I have seen this year, standing alongside Broken Flowers, The Constant Gardener, Serenity, and Wedding Crashers (yes, really… I laughed so damn hard during that one).

Of course, I suppose that it isn’t exactly surprising that this movie would bring out strong feelings. From everything I’ve read people either love it or hate it so much that they invent new types of hatred just speaking about it.

The movie itself is quiet and methodical, with the sort of spare, economical dialogue you might find in a Pinter play or something by Hemingway. The violence is brutal and gruesome every single time, and the sex scenes are startlingly graphic without ever showing an inch of skin. In fact, I’d say that this is one of the few movies I’ve seen where the sex scenes were crucial to the movie.

The scoring was pitch-perfect, as well. In fact, large parts of the movie were entirely free of music – something that I am sure made more than one audience member terribly uncomfortable.

Unfortunately, the crappy audience definitely brought down my overall moviegoing experience – I feel like aspects of the film that should have sunk in didn’t because of the people around me, people who probably should have seen Flightplan instead. It definitely made me realize that maybe it’s not so bad to wait for DVDs to come out, instead of having to put your moviegoing experience into the hands of random jerkoffs.

“Shining” – A Story About One Father, One Son, and a Whole New Way of Looking at Things. Starring Jack Nicholson.

!/images/s1.jpg!:/mov/shining.mov

(Medium Trailer, Quicktime, 9.5mb)

Coming Summer 1980 from “P.S. 260”:http://www.ps260.com/

p{color: red}. EDIT: Apparently this little clip is an internet phenomenon. Good thing I downloaded it and put it on my own site, in case the other site inevitably goes down (although by the same token, I’ll have to take it down if people start finding it from my site through some ridiculous turn of events.) Anyways, “here’s an article”:http://www.nytimes.com/2005/09/30/movies/30shin.html?ex=1128744000&en=fd2592b413260d3d&ei=5070&emc=eta1&pagewanted=all about why this was created. And Teresa Nielsen Hayden has links to “two other trailers”:http://nielsenhayden.com/makinglight/archives/006895.html#006895 as well.

luke = jesus, get it?

…right, anyways…

after i finished farscape, i was seriously considering cancelling netflix, simply because i couldn’t really justify using it as much anymore, and also because i want to cut back some on the time i spend in front of a tv. but i waited too late to cancel it this month, and perhaps some things are inevitable anyways, because i do want to watch more…

tonight, i watched all three and a half hours of “Oliver Stone’s 1995 film about Richard Nixon”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0113987/. it was really amazingly excellent, and if not for the pee break i had to take halfway through, i would have been mesmerized the whole time through. it was kind of amazing how Stone made the whole thing into something Shakespearian, and at the same time also made Nixon a strangely sympathetic character.

i also went home this weekend for my mom’s graduation from graduate school, and we all watched Sideways, which was as good the second time. the scene where Miles and Maya sit outside and talk about why the like wine is still, hands down, one of the best scenes in cinema from the last couple of years.

i still have this idea knocking around in my head that i should go through my movies, one by one, and write a review of each one based on a repeat viewing. i.e., the idea being to write about how the movie stands up on further reflection, and compare how i felt about it the first time to how i felt about it now. some of these would be more interesting than others, of course.

about a week or so ago, i found this nifty website called “backpack”:http://www.backpackit.com/, which is intended to help with organizing your thoughts and projects.

it would be useful… if i sat down and took the time to put things into it.

_…sigh…_

rigoletto

!/images/rick.jpg!

i just watched a really entertaining, refreshingly dark movie called “Rick”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0363029/. i saw it on the shelf at “i luv video”:http://www.iluvvideo.com and picked it up cause it had an interesting cover, and i’m kind of a Bill Pullman fan, if it is possible to be such a thing (a lot of critics like to make fun of him for being bland; i think he’s a great character actor with a talent for the weird).

what made me rent it is that it was written by daniel handler, he of lemony snicket fame. it was kind of fascinating to know that the author of a series of children’s books had also written a very R-rated dark comedy. luckily, my impulse to rent it paid off. the movie was inspired by an old Italian tragedy, and did not shy away from the death and darkness common to that sort of thing.

The best part was when a character named Buck handed Rick his business card, saying “I started my own company,” and the business card had printed on it:

Buck

_My Own Company_

I was pretty well sold after that.

life after darth

There’s a pretty interesting interview/article about George Lucas in the newest Wired: Life After Darth

I’m kind of looking forward to what he might come up with next, even though he did ruin Star Wars. Here’s a quote from the article:

Now Lucas says he is determined to leverage that security to make the kinds of movies that no one expects from him. He claims to have a stack of ideas piling up on his desk for “highly abstract, esoteric” films even more daring than his 1971 debut, THX 1138. An expansion of one of Lucas’ student projects at the University of Southern California, THX anticipated the cyberpunk aesthetic of William Gibson’s Neuromancer and Ridley Scott’s Blade Runner, depicting a pharmaceutically numbed society of the future under constant video surveillance. After Lucas spent a year digitally restoring the film for its theatrical rerelease and DVD debut in 2004, a longtime employee observed: “I’ve never seen George so excited by any other project at the company.” Lucas says the restored THX was just a preview of even edgier films to come that he will finance and direct himself.

is this guy really that serious…

… about the “fat albert movie”:http://www.filmfreakcentral.net/dvdreviews/fatalbert.htm?

a choice quote:

bq. art is our amber, meaning that the entire movie functions as an auto-apologia–and a charming one at that, even if the film’s huge heart can only ever really be considered a trade-off.

double-you-tee-eff, that’s what i say about that.

oh nice!

from scifidaily:

From Host Bill Siwicki: A sequel to one of the most original and exciting pure sci-fi films in years is in the works, according to its larger-than-life star. Vin Diesel (Pitch Black, The Iron Giant, Saving Private Ryan) has told MTV News that work soon will begin on the sequel to the phenomenal 2004 genre outing The Chronicles of Riddick, which itself was a sequel to the very underrated 2000 sci-fi?er, Pitch Black. Once Diesel finishes work on the 2006 historical epic, Hannibal the Conqueror, he reports he will begin production on COR2, the second in what will be The Chronicles of Riddick Trilogy. The second film, he says, will take place in the ominously titled Underverse; the third will see Riddick’s return to his homeworld, Furia. He states COR2 will be rated R, unlike the PG-13 rated COR1. While COR1 did only $115.4 million worldwide (it cost $140 million), it did huge DVD business. Ultimately, I have a hunch that COR1 always will be on my most underrated films list. If you have yet to see it, watch it now. RIGHT NOW!

i concur with what this guy is saying. if you haven’t watched chronicles of riddick, it really is that good. seriously. no shit and all. i promise. give it a chance.

X-Men 3 News…

From “Dark Horizons”:http://www.darkhorizons.com/news05/050314h.php:

Aint it Cool News reports that Matthew Vaughn, director of “Layer Cake”, will direct “X-Men 3” for Fox. Their source also indicates that “It sounds like Zak Penn’s script is the one that Fox is using, and this director should be able to mine layers and layers of subtext out of the material”.

Penn, who has played a big hand behind the scenes in the “X-Men” franchise so far, is said to have penned a script revolving around the Dark Phoenix saga. As of now Hugh Jackman, Famke Janssen, Patrick Stewart, Ian McKellen, and Alan Cumming are all coming back, and Halle Berry is still undecided. A Memorial Day 2006 date is also said to still be targeted.

well, fuck.

so… remember how i was all excited that i can edit video on my computer now? well, today i turned on my camcorder – i occasionally use it to take still photos – and got nothing but a black screen in the viewfinder and lcd. i fiddled with it, tried different batteries, the power cord, whatever i could think of, and then i looked it up on the internet.

turns out that canon zr-series camcorders, especially ones about as old as mine, tend to have CCD failures. as in my specific problem. apparently this can be fixed… for around $170 or so.

for which price i could just buy a nice new digital still camera and make stop-motion movies.

i’m starting to feel like – two years later – buying this camcorder (which i only just paid off in November of 2004) was one of the stupidest things i’ve ever done.

alright, it’s done.

so, last night as i was editing this odd little movie, i thought to myself “man, i remember when i edited those other movies i got all caught up in it and 10 hours passed like nothing. it’s not happening this time!” – and on top of that, i just wasn’t getting stuff to go together as well. i wasn’t in the groove. this was at, maybe… 11 o’clock. i hadn’t been working on it too long, only a few hours.

and then i looked up and it was five o’clock. somewhere in there, the gears got oiled and i remembered how to do it, and time disappeared like nothing.

anyways, i hope you like it, although i’m not sure if it’s as funny if you don’t know these people. but i hope it is anyways.

Crumenders!

*EDIT:* for those of you who might not know, this footage was shot in the fall of 2003 and has sat unedited on my camcorder since then. most of the plot turns and dialogue were improvised on the spot by tony and beau, and then i’d tell them where to stand so i could film it. personally, i was completely sober. beau and tony get more drunk as the movie goes on, but compared to a lot of people in the house that night, they were pretty sober. if you knew tony, though, you’d definitely understand where this movie is coming from…

*SECOND EDIT:* hoo boy! man, i didn’t realize how little this movie would translate outside the circle of the sig house. everybody who has watched it that didn’t go to southwestern has basically said “well… er… it was weird.” and left it at that. yeesh. good thing i wasn’t planning on including this on my demo reel. (i really wasn’t. it’s entertaining – to _some_ of my friends – but it’s sloppier than i’d want to present around town. also i used a good dozen songs that i don’t have the rights to.)

*THIRD EDIT:* Oh, and if you guys had seen “Hepatitis Pie”, you would never have talked to me ever again. Probably good that one got fried when my computer crashed a few years ago.

money…

well, my new job starts this upcoming monday, and i think that my first paycheck will follow on friday (that’s what’s nice about working through a temp agency… _weekly paychecks!_)

i’m trying to not let the idea of having money again go to my head, but i have to admit that i’m already plotting some possible purchases.

first of all, i lost an important part of my “shitty tripod”:http://www.ambicoproducts.com, and the company that made it has apparently been bought off and folded into some huge electronics company. not surprising. unfortunately, this means that my chances of getting a “replacement foot” for my tripod (as in, the piece that screws onto a camera and then snaps into the top of the tripod) are infinitesimal.

not having a working tripod makes it basically impossible for me to make another “stop-motion movie”:http://portfolio.unsquare.com/film/donkey/, which i’ve been itching to do lately. and then i realized that if i was going to buy a tripod, why not do whatever i can to make it easier to film new stop motion video?

the most annoying limitation i had when making the donkey movie was that i could only take 24 frames of anything and then i had to unplug my camcorder and import the stills using iphoto. this meant i had very little room for error. the main reason i was so limited, however, was because of the 8mb flash memory card used to store still photos – trying to use DV tapes to store “stills” is an absurdity.

turns out, however, that you can now buy 128mb flash memory cards for $20. and a usb card reader for $10. so that’s three things that would make stop-motion a bit easier. of course, then i’d actually have to follow through and make something or it’d just be more money down a hole.

i seem to have this problem, see, where instead of making do with what i’ve got and creating something, i always tell myself that i need something newer and better to get the job done. so, first i bought a camcorder. then i bought a 120 gig firewire hard drive to store raw footage. -now i need a new computer because mine can no longer play back raw video clips without lagging desperately (except it did just fine when i edited “dancing with myself” or the lost “hepatitis pie” movie that crashed my computer.) it’s frustrating because in the meantime, instead of writing something now that i could shoot later, i spend my time on other things.- right. read the newer entry…

i have a strange relationship with writing. right now i can’t get myself to read anything i wrote in the past, even when i know it’s perfectly good. i don’t want to re-read living in concussion, or look at the fragments i’ve written for daniel, or anything else. something inside me just finds so much of that embarassing, and yet, another part of me knows that there’s nothing wrong with what i’ve written. nothing at all.

i’ve been trying to talk myself into starting something new. the attempts at convincing myself are becoming more numerous, and something has to break through soon. i swear it. i’ve _thought_ about trying to write more lately than i have in a long time, which, considering how things have been going, is quite a change. there was a long stretch there where i blithely went along not worrying about it at all.

real quick

eddy was saying that he wished there was a higher quality version of “dancing with myself” and it got me to thinking… i knew i had backed them up somewhere…

after about a minute of searching, i found the backups cd, and after messing with the files for a bit, i got the old imovie project converted into an imovie hd project. unfortunately, the original mp3 soundtrack had been corrupted somewhere along the way, so i had to redo that, which wasn’t easy considering how laggy the video was.

luckily, though, i finally managed to get them synced up, and then i exported a newer version of the movie, higher quality and all.

check it out: dancing with myself (10mb file)

*EDIT:* okay, doug, i fixed the glitch. remember, i exported the original right before going to bed. these things happen. jerk.

oh, netflix…

so i was trying to figure out for myself some good reasons why I should stay with Netflix even though Blockbuster is cheaper and (according to some of my friends) faster.

(1) I have 200 movies in my queue. setting all that up again would be annoying

(2) I still have this suspicion that Blockbuster doesn’t have movies that Netflix does

(3) I have rated over 1200 movies on Netflix. That took some time.

(4) Unwillingness to support satanic corporation (Yeah, whatever. See below.)

(5) Laziness.

Oscar Nominations

Interesting bits: Jamie Foxx, of all people, is nominated not once but twice, for both Ray and Collateral. Kate Winslet got a nomination for Eternal Sunshine, which is mightily deserved, and the Best Picture crowd doesn’t have a single movie in it that sounds as completely off as it has been for the past few years. My personal favorite to win is Sideways, but, honestly, none of these movies would upset me if they won.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/77th_Academy_Awards

i am totally that guy

i just realized that i’m turning into a hermit. with multiple cats. before you know it, i’ll have a whole herd of them constantly mewling and pissing on everything and i’ll have stoppped leaving my house except to pick up the newest tv guide and yell at those darn neighbor kids always throwing shit on my roof.

…the only time i left my house today was around 11:30 at night for an ill-fated trip to the local video rental store. i say ill-fated because the main purpose was to rent something funny, hopefully either anchorman or napoleon dynamite, but – of course – both were rented, because they’re very popular, these funny movies, and everyone else had already had the same idea as me.

it didn’t help that i owe the i luv video on airport… mmm… let’s say five dollars – quite an expense since i’m trying to save money and all – and the one on guadalupe… which seemed so promising at first… had a broken credit card machine. and i never have cash. well, i never have money, especially not now, but i super-especially never have cash. i almost half-heartedly rented some anime at the airport i luv video, but then i realized that i didn’t really want to watch it, and i didn’t really want to pay my late fees either.

and besides, last night i bought garden state with a target gift card i got in a sort of late christmas extravaganza. all ten dollars worth. i was hoping garden state would be even cheaper, but when i had to ask the guy to find me the only copy in the store, i had basically decided to bite the bullet and buy the damn thing no matter how much it cost. ($20 plus tax, if you must know, which came out to $11.64 after the gift card was applied. still as cheap or cheaper than i could have gotten it online.)

so i came back home, made a pot of coffee (at 12:45 in the morning, no less!), and sat down to watch the movie that so many of you have written off because it’s too popular with the hip kids, or sounds too cliche, or whatever other reasons you might imagine. course, i’ve already told you that this brand of stance on movies annoys me, most likely because there’s nothing i can do to make all those hipster douchebags stop raving about nice movies that you would like if they weren’t so overhyped.

BEGIN IMPROMPTU *GARDEN STATE* REVIEW

the movie still stands up on a second viewing, and the parts that made me laugh the first time are still just as funny. the ending doesn’t seem like such a cop-out after all. and the real strength of the movie is revealed: while the main thrust of the movie is about andrew largeman’s personal journey of growth, it’s probably one of the least pretentious versions of such a story i can remember. this is mostly because of instead of making the movie some sort of drawing-room talking heads bullshit piece, the movie is peopled with strikingly odd characters that were surely drawn directly from life, and the occasional moments of surrealism that somehow – when put all together – make new jersey into a place both bleak and magical at the same time.

i think every writer has an urge when first starting out to write something nakedly autobiographical and confessional, and this generally turns into something maudlin and annoying. the thing is, while that element was obviously the genesis of this movie, we are not hit over the head with endless dramatic scenes where braff’s character goes through emotional torment and Learns Something Important. instead, the movie is muted and subtle compared to other such filmic confessionals, and filled with genuinely funny and strange moments that truly set it apart.

garden state is definitely a first film, and perhaps it only exists because of zach braff’s role on scrubs, but the nice thing about it is that – although it does have its flaws – the moments that stand out are of the sort that i personally love seeing in movies, and i can only imagine that, given time, some maturity as a writer, and another crack behind the camera, braff will come up with something wholly original.

SO THERE’S *THAT*

why do i have the urge to drink another pot of coffee? it’s 4:49 in the morning!

all i know is that if there was some way i could never have to sleep again – without any side effects – i would go for it. my worst and most dangerous vice is my love of sleep. it’s much easier, when given the choice between sitting down and writing something, or reading a book, or finding a job, or really doing anything that might help me put my goddamn life on track, to just nod off for four or five hours, or sleep until three in the afternoon, or generally wander through my life with eyes closed and brain stuffed with cotton.

i can feel my brain atrophying in my skull. i’ve begun forgetting names i should know, telling the same stories over and over again, and re-reading sentences in novels over and over again because i wasn’t paying attention the first time around.

when i talk on the phone with my mother, she says things like “well, i hope that you can find a job that would actually make those four years of college mean something.”

meaning would be nice, but i honestly don’t think that there’s any connection between the time i spent in college – learning about life through both university sponsored and illicit channels – and the job(s) i’m inevitably going to have to take because i have about $30 in my checking account and $1100 charged on my credit card. sure, it’d be nice to be able to find a job that i could only get because i have a college degree, but honestly… i had one of those, and it made me want to gouge my own eyes out.

there are three sorts of jobs out there that seem to stem logically from my time in college. they are as follows:

(1) jobs that require warm bodies with motor and language skills (but little or no experience) to perform menial tasks considered too complicated for those without a degree

(2) jobs in more interesting specializations that, as a result, require either more experience than i have or a good bit of nepotism in hiring practices.

(3) creative jobs that wouldn’t actually have required either a college degree or even high school equivalency, just the preserverence and talent necessary to catch the eye of someone important. oh and it helps to have a portfolio/experience to prove your talent when necessary.

NACQ was a #1 sort of job. we can rule those out if they involve computers. i want my computer to be a thing of joy and relaxation, not some punishing box full of cathodes that drains my lifeforce away minute by minute.

i suppose i could do something dull and mindless if i at least got to walk around a bit and occasionally talk to some people. ironically, a lot of dull and mindless jobs tend to require experience i don’t have… unless they’re in the fast food industry, which my mother tells me just doesn’t fit into the whole life-plan thing she seems to have mapped out in her mind.

alright. i think i might be tired now.

miscellania

# Entertainment Weekly named The Grey Album as “Album of the Year” (“More…”:http://www.ew.com/ew/article/commentary/0,6115,1009259_4_0_,00.html)
# I downloaded a cool doohickey called “Konfabulator”:http://www.konfabulator.com/ for my Mac. Mark says it’s “so two years ago,” but I’m hooked.
# I’ve seen a ridiculous number of movies in theatres recently:
** Closer – 4/5 : Natalie Portman really is a good actress
** Kinsey – 5/5 : It’s amazing to think how differently people viewed sex just 50 years ago…
** Life Aquatic – 3/5 : I liked it, and yet it was my least favorite Wes Anderson movie.
** Lemony Snicket – 4/5 : Jim Carrey is both wild and a good actor in this movie, although he never grates or spends too much time onscreen.
# Oh, I forgot! What do you get when you cross The Beatles with the Beastie Boys? “The Beastles”:http://halley.lunarpages.com/~djbc002/beastles/

goddamnit!

i finally sat down to watch casino, and when it gets within a half hour of the end of the whole fucking movie, the dvd decides that it is going to begin skipping like no other, rendering not just moments of film unplayable, but a whole fucking chapter, and there’s nothing i can do to get the goddamn thing to play!

dammit, i just want to know what happens!

now i’m going to have to go to i luv video tomorrow and try and convince them to let me trade it out for the video version, or something, just so i can finish the fucking movie.

gah!

*edit*: luckily, when i went in today, the late fee was only a dollar and they were still nice enough to let me get a credit and have another copy of the movie – vhs this time, just to be safe. it was kind of funny, cause i really only had 20 min left in the movie, so i brought the tape back in less than an hour.

Roald Dahl

bq. “(Robert) Altman’s long-held desire to adapt some of Dahl’s macabre adult short stories into a TV series is edging closer to fruition. The project was put into turnaround at HBO, but is now sparking interest among British broadcasters, the trade paper reported. Altman will produce all six episodes and is apparently keen to direct three himself. Dahl’s stories were previously made for ITV in the late 1970s as Tales of the Unexpected, the trade paper reported.” (“Read More”:http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/art-main.html?2004-11/22/10.00.film)

Nice!

apparently…

Ain’t It Cool News reported a rumor that Bourne Supremacy director Paul Greengrass will step in for Darren Aronofsky helming the adaptation of Alan Moore’s classic superhero graphic novel Watchmen. The site didn’t cite a source for its information.

Lloyd Levin and Larry Gordon are producing the movie, which is still on track for a summer 2006 release, the site reported. (“from scifi.com”:http://www.scifi.com/scifiwire/art-main.html?2004-11/19/10.30.rumors)

i’m damn excited, personally. i loved the “bourne supremacy”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0372183/, and “bloody sunday”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0280491/ was pretty damn good as well. if this works out, watchmen will be dark and strange. (hopefully not as split-second edited as supremacy, though…)

why?!?!?!

why, when they make “movies based on Philip K. Dick stories”:http://www.moviepoopshoot.com/news/nov04/69.html, do they always decide that the movie has to be a huge action movie? and why do they say things like this: (realize that he’s talking about a movie based on a short story… )

bq. “This is a movie that translates the excitement of the videogame experience into the cinema,” Goldman said.

god. i hate them all.

at least richard linklater is making “a scanner darkly”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0405296/. some day i’m a gonna have to get me out to hollywood to save poor pkd’s reputation.

who knows? not me.

recently when rebuilding this site, i’ve noticed that it took for fucking ever for movable type to do its job, most likely because i added the left and right sidebars to every page, thus increasing the page size a good bit (also helps that i have over 500 entries in this journal).

i tried to fix this using php, but “MT 2”:http://www.movabletype.org is not well suiting to publishing php, mostly because it sets the permissions wrong and pisses off my server. i set up “MT 3.1”:http://www.movabletype.org so I could play with it some, but that’s even more complicated…

so, last night, i sat for a few hours and updated all of the pages to use server-side includes, which ended up being not too hard to pull off. i also tweaked the design some more, simply because that’s what i do now, apparently. the best improvement – in my opinion – is that comments are much easier to distinguish from the entries.

you know what else i noticed? i used to write all of my entries in lowercase for the longest time. thing is, when i was looking back at those entries i liked the way they looked a lot better. so… here i am. back in lowercase.

today is my last friday at work. i think tuesday will be my last day, simply because levi is leaving for thanksgiving on wednesday, and if i were to come in to work on wednesday i wouldn’t do anything. at all. and i’m bad enough about that as it is without having to be here all by my damn self but for larry and anne.

tommorow morning is another weekly trip to juan in a million – so far i’ve gone the last two weekends, and i’m trying to make it a tradition. this weekend it’s going to be me, doug, and justin heading over there at 11am tomorrow. i think anyone that reads this that lives in austin is already going, so that’s set.

last week beau and i went and saw “sideways”:http://www2.foxsearchlight.com/sideways/, which was really very good, fucking hilarious and well written. i strongly recommend it to anyone who has a chance to see it. i’ve been going to the dobie pretty much every week too, unless they don’t have anything interesting playing. i guess i’m trying to make up for all those years i had to drive half an hour to go the movies.

i haven’t made any progress with writing anything lately. i know you guys worry about me never finishing anything, but trust me, this is something that i’m working on, and pressuring me probably isn’t going to do anything but make me feel guilty. i’m going to try and keep myself from promising to write anything for anyone until i feel like i can actually follow through.

part of my joblessness is going to focus on this issue… for example, i bought a really great book called the “dramatists sourcebook”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/ASIN/1559362472/qid=1100880423/sr=2-1/ref=pd_ka_b_2_1/002-1927809-5432063, which is full of theatre companies looking for new plays and contests with nice cash prizes. i was also recently shown the “austin chronicle short story contest”:http://www.austinchronicle.com/shortstory/, which i still have enough time to write something for if i choose to. the opportunities are there, i just have to decide that i want to take them.

Chronicles of Riddick

I’m going to buy the Chronicles of Riddick DVD when it comes out, both because i really loved the movie (yes, loved) and because I want to see sequels, a possibility which hasn’t been completely ruled out yet:

The mythology of the Riddick universe will also be further fleshed out, should sequels be commissioned. And whether that happens or not would seem to depend entirely on how well the DVD sells in the next few weeks.

Movies I Have Recently Seen

“Primer”:http://primermovie.com – fascinating, confusing, thrilling and strange, made all the more strange by the mundane setting and simple dialogue/acting.

Platoon – another excellent movie about Vietnam.

On the Waterfront – lives up to the hype. Brando really was that good.

TV Shows on DVD: Neverwhere – miniseries written by Neil Gaiman. Nip/Tuck – New favorite TV Show

Schtuff

So, what have I been up to lately?

Melanie and I finally decided that it would be better if we were just friends. It was difficult/complicated, but I think it’ll work out for the best. In fact, we talked on the phone last night – our first conversation as friends – and it was really nice.

I haven’t written anything more on the script that I started for Daniel, unfortunately. This weekend was too stressful with all of the job/relationship issues. But hopefully since things are settling down, now I’ll have more time.

Finally, I found this news post here:

————————————————–

JOHN WOO HAS THE POWERRRRR!!

Fox 2000 has tapped John Woo to direct and produce “He-Man,” a live-action pic based on the characters in Mattel’s “Masters of the Universe” line of action figures. Adam Rifkin will adapt the screenplay.

The property was originally exploited as an animated syndicated series in 1983. In 1987, Dolph Lundgren starred as He-Man in Cannon Films’ “Masters of the Universe,” with Frank Langella as Skeletor.

According to “Masters of the Universe” lore, He-Man began life as Prince Adam, the hybrid of an Earthling and an Eternian. At the age of 18, he was taken to Castle Grayskull, where Adam received super powers.

He-Man has a sidekick in the form of a tiger, Battle Cat, and a deadly enemy, Skeletor. Mattel produced the action figures from 1982-87.

Woo and Terence Chang will produce the film through their Lion Rock Prods. Fox 2000 prexy Elizabeth Gabler and director of production Rodney Farrell oversee development.

Repped by Endeavor, Woo is also attached to direct a vidgame adaptation, “Spy Hunter,” for Universal Pictures. He most recently directed “Paycheck” for Paramount.

With Jordan Roberts, Rifkin is also adapting the comicbook “Zoom’s Academy” for Revolution Studios. (As reported by VARIETY)

Sky Captain…

…Bored me to tears, unfortunately. I was pretty damn disappointed with this movie. It wasn’t bad, it was just uninteresting. About half an hour in I wished pretty seriously that I was using my time in some other fashion.

Something that does make me happy, though, is that I bought this today:

Only $14 from Waterloo. I haven’t had a chance to watch more than about two or three of the videos, but I figured buying the DVD was a better solution than just buying cds that I already have on my iPod – this way, I support Sonic Youth, but get something new out of the deal. I really want to get a turntable so I can feel justified buying records (again, the same theory; support the band, but get something new out of the deal).

I was sorely tempted by the newest Sonic Youth and Mission of Burma albums (speaking of Mission of Burma, OnOffOn is actually really good… I just hadn’t given it a chance until recently), both available on vinyl, but I knew that such a purchase would be pointless because I wouldn’t get to enjoy them for the forseeable future, and I already have a good handful of records I can’t listen to.

Brown Bunny

Ebert gives it three stars in his review of the theatrical release. Now, remember that Ebert was one of the most vocal haters of this movie at Cannes, but thing is… the theatrical release is almost a half-hour shorter. Apparently, this improves the movie by leaps and bounds. I always was interested in seeing this, but it’s nice to know that when I finally manage to, there’s the possibility it might very likely be worth my time. Hope it shows up here in Austin soon.

Notes on "The Boring Life and Unremarkable Death of Henry Herman"

Jeff’s Notes:

Inspired by Pavement’s “Shady Lane,” particularly the line “You’ve
been chosen as an extra in the movie adaptation of the sequel to your
life.”

The premise is that one day our main character Henry is reading the
newspaper or watching TV or something of the sort and he sees an ad
for a movie production that needs extras for a crowd scene, so he
decides to go and check it out. He gets chosen, and we watch what is
apparently one of the climactic scenes of the movie being filmed.
Strangely enough, the main character of the movie-within-a-movie has
the same name as Henry, and as he starts to find out more about it he
discovers that several other characters have the names of people he
knows.

He also discovers that the current movie is a sequel to an earlier
movie, which he goes and rents. As he is watching it, he becomes more
and more disturbed because the movie is about his life. (Ex: our movie
starts with a shot of him eating breakfast, and the rented movie
starts the same way but with a different actor playing Henry.) It
turns out that the movie was based on a book – now out of print – so
he contacts the publisher to see if he can figure out what is going
on.

When they meet for a lunch date, the first thing the publisher says is
“How very postmodern or you, Mr. Herman, to show up for a lunch date
after you’re already dead!” Turns out that the book is called “The
Boring Life and Unremarkable Death of Henry Herman (an Autobiography)”
and it has his picture on the back cover. The publisher says that he
always thought it was funny that someone wrote an autobiography “where
they died at the end.”

However, there is nothing Henry can do about the book or the movies;
the rights have been sold by mysterious unreachable persons, so Henry
decides that all there is for him to do is to sneak onto the movie set
to sabotage things. Every time he shows up for a scene they are
filming the character’s death scene, and every time they’ve re-written
it and are doing reshoots because they weren’t happy with the earlier
versions, and the more Henry watches the more he wants to find out
what happens in the movie.

Our movie will end with Henry dying somehow, most likely in a very
random and “unremarkable” fashion.

Note: the movies-within-the-movie should be absurd and over-the-top,
having rewritten his life and turned it into a thriller or some sort
of heightened drama; the actor “playing” Henry shouldn’t look at all
like him, and whereas Henry’s job is dull, the moviemakers have made
it so the same job seems somehow heroic.

Mark’s Notes:

I don’t know what kind of tone you were going for or intended. Anyway
these are just some notes and ideas I’ve come up with for the movie.
Feel free to like them or use them or not, I’m just hoping it inspires
you to write something.

– So the movie opens with a series of shots showing how boring this
guy’s life is. As the movie progresses and the details of his
autobiography come to light, the sequence is repeated more and more
but every time adding something more “interesting”. Splashes of colors
on the walls behind him, stuff like that. The sequence is shot again
using incredibly tight telephoto lenses with soft light. As the movie
progresses and these sequences showcasing Howard’s (or whatever his
name is) life continue it transforms and transcends just the basic
bland moments that are his life. He does the same thing every time but
it’s shot in such a way that makes it beautiful. We see the art in his
mundane, boring life.

– The main character should get a dog midway through the movie. It’s
simple and kind of cute, but let’s say we do one of the aforementioned
sequences and midway through one of them (let’s say he’s sitting down
eating dinner), the dog barks. He smiles and goes to pet the dog,
leaving the shot entirely. Him getting a dog and loving it is a really
simple little thing for most people, but for this character (and the
audience) the dog really enriches his life. We should set the movie up
so that, while his life is boring and monotonous, small & simple
things totally enrich it and make it well…nice…? The dog is also
one of the only characters that misses him when he dies…

– Howard Herman (is that his name? I can’t remember) has a really
boring and uninteresting life, but at the end of the movie both he
and the audience should feel really great about it all — the life
that he has led. I don’t know if this was the original tone and mood
you had for the movie when you conceived it, but I think the story
would work great as sort of a feel-good movie. At his death the main
character understands his life was kind of pointless and meaningless
— but he feels pretty good about it. At the credits people should
walk away from it feeling like their lives have been enriched by
knowing this simple little guy died happy.

– Howard gains access to the film location as people realize that it
is his autobiography that the movie is based on. He mostly hangs by
the craft services table.

– The main character should develop a kind of friendship with the
actor who is playing him in the movie. The actor is vapid and very
self-involved but seeks out Howard for “tips on how to get his
character right.” At one point the actor laments to Howard (in a very
self-absorbed and vapid way) that “this whole acting thing is for the
birds.” He comments about how he is always being interviewed and
hounded by paparrazi but his own life is very meaningless and
uninteresting — that he is cursed to always pretend to be somebody
else. That people aren’t interested in him at all, but rather the kind
of job he has – one in which he is always pretending to be something
he’s not.

– If one were to ask Superman what it is like to fly, he would tell
you he wouldn’t know. He is much too busy saving people that he never
stops to think what the act of flying actually is like. Something
along those lines should appear somewhere in the film. A quote by one
of the characters or something. Maybe the actor says it to the main
character in passing…I don’t know…

– Howard should establish a friendship or maybe a love-interest (even
though I really don’t want to turn this into a romantic comedy) with a
woman who works at the book store. She doesn’t like his book – she
thinks it’s boring, pretentious, and self-important.

— The way Howard dies: Although there are very little details in his
autobiography (the book should end with something like “And then I
died.” or “My death wasn’t anything spectacular.”) he dies in some
sort of accident involving himself and the actor portraying him. I
keep thinking car accident but I think something bizarre and freakish
would be better. Everybody rushes to see if the actor is okay (he has
a small scratch on his forehead) but everybody neglects Howard who is
bleeding profusely and breathing slowly. He dies with a smile on his
face. The only thing that misses him is his dog.

Okay, I Need to Get Cracking

I am starting to feel restless about not having written anything creative in a while. Mark has, of course, been pestering me about writing the film script idea that I had. I don’t know if I’m going to start on that or if I’ll try rewriting Living in Concussion, or… who knows.

I think, though, that before I can really get started on anything like that, I should really devote what free time I have to making a nice, robust personal website. I’ve been sitting on my hands for too long here.

Hopefully soon I’ll be able to start redesigning www.boblilly.com. If you don’t know who Bob Lilly is, he was one of the original Dallas Cowboys, and he is now an incredibly talented nature photographer. He provides most of the photography on my work’s website (www.nacq.com – the digital picture printing & frames website). This would be a remarkable chance and a really prestigious thing to be able to put on my resume. I just have to wait for his current webmaster to get back to me with the information I need so that I can transfer it over.

Last night I sat down to watch the first few minutes of the new Trainspotting DVD, ostensibly to check out how good the transfer was, and I found myself getting drawn into the movie. I wasn’t tired because I had slept a few hours earlier that evening, and so I ended up watching the whole thing and thoroughly enjoying it. One thing, though… it’s starting to seem more and more surreal to watch “90s” movies because the looks and style are becoming more and more like time capsules of the far-removed past. Trainspotting is definitely a “90s” movie, as is Pulp Fiction and any number of others. Makes me feel… old? I dunno.

I was really excited to hear that Bourne Supremacy made $53 million this weekend, apparently knocking the socks right off the moviemakers, who were taken quite by surprise, especially since it knocked Spider-Man 2 out of the top spot. I actually enjoyed Supremacy so much that I went out and bought the “Explosive Extended Edition” of Bourne Identity, which I have yet to watch. I’m skeptical about the “new” beginning and ending, but such things don’t really matter either way. I’ve wanted the movie for a while, and so buying it now seemed like as good a time as any.

i have made my first test film

i have made my first test film with my camcorder and imovie. (probably requires quicktime 6.3)

i quickly discovered that imovie is more annoying that i remembered it being. also, all of the video captured was waaaay too dark, partly because i live in a very murky, dark place.

also, my hard drive is much too full for video editing. i’ll clean it off tomorrow, but i’m going to have to buy that external hard drive pretty soon. from what i can tell, 1 minute ~ half a gigabyte. fun.

anyways, this is video of my cat, jackson. he’s the black one. the other kitty cat is appollonia, jackson’s girlfriend.

my kitty no longer has any testicles

my kitty no longer has any testicles. right now he’s taking his angst out on the delicate private parts of a stuffed monkey, who probably deserves it. actually, jackson has been pretty frisky and happy for a cat missing his manhood. so far it hasn’t affected his personality at all, which is cool. although the constant biting will have to stop.

this afternoon i watched yojimbo, which lived up to the hype. there’s something i’ve noticed about some of the “classic” movies – they don’t always deliver on the promise. there have been so many supposedly great movies that have underwhelmed or terribly disappointed me. for example, i watched “Night of the Hunter” recently, which was supposed to be one of the scariest movies of all time. this might be a symptom of my post-modern jadedness, but i just thought the movie was kind of okay. i could see how it was probably revolutionary for the time, but…. to me, it was pretty dated.

yojimbo, on the other hand, was a fucking badass movie, and i knew it as soon as i saw toshiro mifune and his macked-out self. it was to cool to watch it knowing that i had been remade as a western twice… since the movie is basicallly just a “western” in samurai clothing. i actually wish i could think of another word for that particular genre, because it can exist without requiring cowboys and shoot-em-ups, despite what you might think. i’m sure someone trained in the jargon of film could deconstruct the whole thing for me right now (come on all you rtvf majors!) but what does that matter. you know what i’m talking about.

i also watched old school tonight, which i thought was really funny… and everyone else thought it was just alright. i mean, i suppose it could have been a whole lot funnier… and the climax was pretty blatantly a ripoff of animal house, but every movie about a fraternity is going to pay homage to that particular film… it’s impossible to miss. well, maybe “the skulls” didn’t, but that movie was made, i’m assuming, by people who had had no actual contact with a fraternity (i’ve never seen it, but i’m probably right). speaking from personal experience, old school was written by people who did actually know what fraternities are like. i mean, we’re even planning our own ky jelly wrestling event… (probably kidding, although i wouldn’t completely discount the possibility.)

i have a feeling that it’s the kind of movie that gets better every time you watch it, kind of like PCU, which i must have seen 1.5 bajillion times now.

well comments are temporarily gone, but worry not

well comments are temporarily gone, but worry not. i actually do have a guestbook that i haven’t been using. if you want to sign it, the link is at the bottom of each post.

soon enough (hopefully) I will receive in the mail a usb pen drive, which is a little 64 meg hard drive that plugs into your usb port. it doesn’t need a power supply and fits on a keychain. with that in hand, i will (probably) be able to redesign/finish this site and start posting videos and pictures, which will be nice. and i will be able to continue using the doohickey in the states, as opposed to my printer which has an english plug.

last night we went and saw a show called closing time. it was about a pub in northern ireland full of alcoholics on the last legs of their ruined lives. it was the best thing i’ve seen so far, although the story was a little cliche. the best (and most disturbing moment) is when one character is kicked out of the bar. he’s just revealed that his wife and kids have left him, and he is absolutely plastered – so much so that he is shaking. to top that off, he has been messing around with the bartender’s wife. as he is leaving, he goes to finish his pint and starts crying into the glass. while he is bawling he forces himself to drink it. it was a really striking moment.

on sunday i went and saw a movie called “christie malry’s own double entry,” which is not in fact a porn. the main character, christie, is played by one of the guys from lock stock. double entry refers to a type of accounting system where debits are put on one side and credits on the other. christie decides to apply this principle to his life. when something bad happens to him something good has to happen in response. it’s actually pretty disturbing, because the stakes keep getting higher and higher and he starts doing some pretty horrible things in the name of revenge.

other than that, i haven’t done much except get a small crush on this girl from american university. oh well.