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”

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”

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.

She’s Dead… Wrapped in Plastic

Okay, this is some pretty exciting news from TVShowsOnDVD.com:

Twin Peaks: Definitive Gold Box Edition

THE GROUNDBREAKING SERIES THAT ALTERED THE TELEVISION LANDSCAPE AT LONG LAST ARRIVES IN A COMPLETE DVD SET

TWIN PEAKS™ THE DEFINITIVE GOLD BOX EDITION

Loaded with All-New Exclusive Special Features and Beloved Vintage Materials, All 29 Newly Remastered Episodes, Plus Two Versions of the Original Pilot, This 10-Disc Collection Debuts October 30, 2007

HOLLYWOOD, Calif. – The highly-anticipated Definitive Gold Box Edition of the series that became one of television’s most acclaimed events finally arrives – with all 29 episodes plus both the original and European versions of the pilot – on October 30, 2007 from CBS Home Entertainment and Paramount Home Entertainment. Considered both technically and artistically revolutionary when it debuted, TWIN PEAKS™ garnered 18 Emmy nominations over the course of its two-season run with its cast of memorable characters, stunning cinematography and intriguing plot. Co-creators David Lynch and Mark Frost and a large number of the cast and crew have returned to participate in this extraordinary new collection.

(read the full article…)

The cover art is a bit funky, but I don’t really mind. This is the first time the entire series has ever been available at once (legitimately), and I could see myself buying it. The original first season DVD is out of print, and didn’t even include the pilot movie due to funky rights issues. The only version of that movie available in America is an edited version that wraps up the whole story in a standalone format. I’ve managed to see the proper pilot movie only because I Luv Video rents import/bootleg/burned DVDs.

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:

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…

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…

You Set the Fire in Me

After much waffling, I finally buckled under and bought myself a new computer. I’ve needed one for a while now – my poor old G3 iMac has been pushed far past its natural limit, and needs to be put out to pasture somewhere where noone will try to make it play full-screen video.

I was having a hard time deciding between a laptop and a new iMac, but my dad made the point that if all I wanted a laptop for, I should just get something cheap, and that if I was looking to actually upgrade my computer, the iMac was a more sensible choice. This is why it’s good to keep your parents around. Sometimes they help you make decisions.

Anyways, as soon as I got back to work on Monday I ordered the computer (20″ screen, 2.1 Ghz G5 processor… drool…) Right now the Apple website says that it should ship on Friday, so I should be able to get my grubby hands on it sometime early next week. I’m definitely looking forward to it.

Other than that, things are pretty standard. Although I do have to work this week, I’m getting paid holiday pay plus overtime for every hour I work, and we’ve gone home early both days so far – we probably won’t stay any later than 3pm all week, which is definitely nice. This is also the last week I’ll have to be on the phone all day, so that’s nice.

Tonight I sat and watched Groundhog Day on DVD. Such a good movie, and more profound than you might expect, considering it’s the sort of movie that used to get played incessantly on various cable channels.

Alright, I’m tired. I’d like to try and read a little bit before I sleep, but it probably won’t happen. Oh well… I do hope, however, that I can finish at least one of the books I’m currently reading before the end of 2005. That’d be nice… (especially since one of them, The Wizard, is due back at the library on the 3rd.)

This was pretty exotic stuff for a telepathic barmaid from northern Louisiana.

!/images/dead.jpg!

Lately I’ve been able to get myself to devote more time to reading. Usually only on the weekends, though. That seems to be the time that I’m most able to free myself up and branch out. Weekdays mostly consist of either vegging out or falling instantly asleep when I come home from work.

Of course, there is the odd weeknight where I go to the local laundromat and do a few very necessary loads – I got a good chunk of reading done at one this past week, although I’d be much happier if I could convince my cat(s) to never pee on my bed again, thank you very much.

Hopefully the new (bigger) litter box that now lives in the other room will help with things. I’ve also been cleaning the thing out pretty religiously, since a dirty litter box was probably the most likely cause of my recent problem.

But, back to the real subject, the reading… it’s been nice. It’s probably easier to devote more time to reading because I’m not currently caught up in any long runs of TV shows. Sure, I’ve got two sets of Smallville to watch, but I’ve been more leisurely about that; it’s a good show, but I’m not super hooked yet. (And, really, I’d like to back off on my TV show obsession at least for a short while. It is so very time consuming.)

All digressions aside, I’m currently reading a book called “Dead Until Dark”:http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg/detail/-/0441008534/ by Charlaine Harris. It’s actually part of a series of books about a southern girl and her vampire boyfriend – I’d heard about it before, but my interest was piqued because Alan Ball, creator of Six Feet Under, is apparently developing a new show for HBO based on the books. Now that I’ve read a good chunk of the first book, I can see how it might be right up his alley. The title of this entry, by the way, is a quote from the book that particularly struck my fancy.

In fact, thanks to a cool Movable Type plugin called “Media Manager”:http://www.majordojo.com/projects/MediaManager/, I’ve got a list of books on the right-hand side of this site. The previous version of this page had a “currently reading” list thanks to an older version of the plugin. The new version, though, is pretty nice, and adds a lot of cool features. It did take a little bit of fiddling to get the plugin set up, right though… It assumed some things about my MT setup that caused problems until I did some digging and pinned them down.

In other news, I haven’t made any headway on the grad school applications. I’m not sure if I’m just procrastinating, or actively trying to talk myself out of the whole thing. And… if I am trying to talk myself out it, why exactly would I do that? Especially considering that tonight I sat down and started a new short story. I didn’t start writing it because I felt pressured to, or because I thought I should write something to use for the application… I just… had an idea and sat down to write. I didn’t write very much before I stopped, but there seems to be something key here that I’m not really grasping.

It’s not that I don’t want to be a writer… almost on an instinctual level, I _have_ to write, I need it. I can distinctly remember how good it felt to let the whole world fall away and just write and write when I sat down and wrote my plays. It was one of the most satisfying (or maybe it was the most satisfying) feelings i’ve ever had. For some reason, though, I’ve put a number of obstacles between myself and writing. Somehow it’s much easier to live my boring work-a-day life and watch tv shows instead of writing.

Then again, though, that was always the point, wasn’t it? Working on computers comes easily, almost too easily, and always has. I’ve got a knack for programming, and math and logic. That, however, seems to be one of the main reasons that I wouldn’t want to devote my life to working on computers. It’d be like sleepwalking all the time. Writing, though, is a challenge, and isn’t even really easy to get myself to do, but when I do sit down and get going with something that I’m writing, I feel awake and fully present…

To end, a mini review:

!/images/weather_man.jpg!

I watched a movie recently called “The Weather Man”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0384680/. I enjoyed it, although it was what the critics like to call a “downer”. I’d recommend it, though. One of the main points that the movie makes is that part of really growing up and being an adult is doing the things that are hard to do.

The whole movie is about Nicholas Cage’s journey of self discovery, and the interesting thing is that he doesn’t change that much in the course of the movie, but that is at the same time part of the revelation. He is who he is, and he can only change so much of his life. Realizing that helps him move forward and come to terms with certain things that have been troubling him. The movie does not have what you could say is a happy ending, but his character seems to have just that little bit more peace and self-understanding when it comes to a close.

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.

reed’s extra ginger brew

On Saturday night, I met up with my mother and her friend Val (who has been a family friend for years). Val cooked a huge meal for the three of us, including chicken tenders almost breaded with onion, rice pilaf, some ratatouille (eggplant, mushrooms, tomatoes, and a whole lot of delicious) and a salad. It was probably the best meal I’ve had in months, other than the burritos at “Guero’s”:http://www.guerostacobar.com/.

Val had some “Reed’s Ginger Brew”:http://www.reedsgingerbrew.com/home.asp, and seeing as how I had never tried ginger beer before, I had one, and liked it a lot. Accordingly, I went to Central Market yesterday and bought a four-pack, the last of which I am now finishing. (I got the “extra” ginger brew, which seems to mean that drinking this makes my mouth burn a little bit in a very odd fashion. Still good, though.)

I finally began seriously looking for apartments this weekend. I only looked at one place on Saturday, but because I contacted an apartment locator, she did some searching for me and there are two or three places that she is going to show me tomorrow after work. I liked the place I looked at a whole lot – gas stove, dishwasher, garbage disposal, *central air* (which I appreciate much more now). The places she’s going to show me are all closer to work, but if none of them cut it, I feel pretty good about the possibility of going with the place I saw saturday. Already I feel like I’ve done a better job searching for an apartment this time around, just because of the apartment locator. She seems to know her stuff.

(I have noticed that I can’t seem to type as well lately… it’s like every keypress happens in slow motion and the keys aren’t where they’re supposed to be. I think it’s because I write so many emails at work. I probably need wrist supports or something.)

I’ve watched all sorts of good stuff lately, too. Tonight I watched “The Machinist”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0361862/, which is that movie Christian Bale lost 60 pounds for. Every once in a while he’d walk around shirtless and turn sideways and I’d shudder a little. The movie itself was a sort of Lynch/Hithcock psychological thriller. I was seriously creeped out/on edge for the bulk of the movie, which is, i suppose, a vote of confidence.

Other than that, I finally watched the second part of “Angels in America”:http://us.imdb.com/title/tt0318997/, which I have had rented from Netflix since late May. I just kept thinking that I wasn’t in the mood to watch it, but of course once I finally sat down and gave it a chance it was wonderful and engrossing. (Random: Apparently having sex with an angel makes your genitals burst into flame…)

I also finished the second season of Angel last week (so far I like the show a lot) and am now halfway through the seventh of Buffy (I have been putting off watching it because I don’t want it to end, honestly.)

Finally, all of you must go out now and get a copy of “Teenage Fanclub’s”:http://www.teenagefanclub.com/ new album “Man-Made”. It’s absolutely fucking incredible. I’ve listened to it two or three times a day since I got it last week.

Alright, bedtime.

some weird sin

i am wide awake at 3:00 in the morning. this is not a good sign for my impending day of work tomorrow. i occasionally toy with the thought of calling in just because i don’t want to go, but i’d rather save my days out for when i’m actually sick and really need them (rather than just tired from lack of sleep), and besides, i’d like to keep this job, as much as that scares me at the same time.

on tuesday there was a going away party/baby shower for a woman who is so pregnant she looks like she might just about pop. besides her, there are something like three other pregnant women in the department, and one guy who has a pregnant wife. everyone in the room at this little party was well into their thirties, and the only subject of conversation was babies, and what babies do, and all of the little things you need to know when you’re about to have a baby.

it had never occurred to me before that such a thing could give me the willies, but all of a sudden it did. appropriately enough, later that night i watched an episode of sex and the city about a former wild-woman that the girls knew from years back who was now settled down and about to have a baby herself. somewhere along the line, this woman had transformed from a sex-maniac that liked to take her clothes off at parties to a housewife in connecticut.

(and then there’s the third season of six feet under, which finds nate settled down and married to a woman he may not really love because she’s had his child.)

i don’t know why the thought of women having babies should disturb me. i’ve never been in a relationship serious enough to imagine that in some distant future i might think about possibly marrying the girl, so why should babies be all that weird?

in fact, it kinda weirds me out that it surprised one of my co-workers that i had never been in a relationship “serious” enough to consider marriage. she also didn’t understand how i could call my last relationship serious without having considered marriage at any point. my mind splutters impotently at the thought.

the reason i’m still awake at this hour is that we went and saw batman begins at the latest showing possible, which is what i get for wanting to see the movie with all my friends who stay up until 8 in the morning instead of starting work then.

it was, not surprisingly, as good as i hoped. i really liked it a lot, actually, and i hope it does as well as i’m sure it will, so that the batman series can be seriously rebooted and done well.

as we were walking out of the theatre, i was talking to my friend mcphail about when we could possibly hang out, since he comes up to austin tuesdays and thursdays for his internship. i found myself saying “well, not this week or next, because i’ve got *mandatory overtime* because of *quarter-end*.”

at this point i had a bit of an out-of-body experience. was i that guy? did i just say “quarter-end”? the fact that i uttered these words in the middle of a crowd of college students only made it that much worse.

luckily, i’m going out drinking friday afternoon. it’s with the people from work, though. i’m not sure how i feel about having a dwindling group of friends close to my own age…

one final note: nothing like watching a good movie to get your storytelling muscles itching to work again. at the moment, i don’t feel guilty or inadequate because i haven’t written anything in so long. i just feel it there, and i know that before long i’ll be writing again. i don’t know what i’ll write, or how my inspiration will ultimately come, but… for right now… i feel secure again in the knowledge that it isn’t broken, or gone, it’s just resting. resting and getting strong for another trip out into the world.

i mean, look at this… this is the longest entry i’ve written in two months. that, surely, is a good sign. wanting to write something, anything at all, sitting down here and tapping out my thoughts… it’s making me feel just a little bit more alive right now.

luckily, it’s also made me tired enough to lie down and go to sleep.

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.

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.

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.

let’s be realistic here

my orientation for work is tomorrow at noon. i got the impression from the “interview” that this orientation would be more general to the temping profession, not necessarily specific to my work in the “Microsoft call center” that seems to be all the (dubious) information i have about my upcoming position. why a temp needs orientation on top of job-specific things, and what for, i’m not exactly sure, but it should be… _interesting_, to say the least.

problem is… i need to go to sleep now but *i’m not tired*. i need to go to sleep so i can be bright-eyed and bushy-tailed for the -torture- orientation tomorrow, but i don’t want to go to sleep. perversely, i want to drive to what-a-burger and get one of those barbeque chicken strip thingies that has been advertised lately. this sandwich has been haunting me – something deep inside my soul is convinced that the contraption must surely be _delicious_. probably all marketing, however.

anyways, i’m hungry, and even though i have a selection of food here, my body wants me to jump in the car and go for a drive. go figure.

you know… i had a choice when i signed up for my job between day shifts (8am to 4pm) and night shifts (4pm to midnight). now, since i am a nocturnal creature at heart (always have been, probably always will be), part of me was tempted by the thought of getting to sleep until 3ish before heading to work for the day. but then i realized that that’s exactly what would happen. i’d sleep until work, be there for eight hours, come home, maybe watch a little tv and conk out around 4 or 5. and i’d never interact with another living soul except for at work.

whereas with the morning shift, i’ll wake up, fill myself full of coffee, soldier on through until 4pm and then come home and take the inevitable nap. except, in this scheme, my nap is over by 7 or 8 and i actually have some time left to interact with other human beings, maybe even go out for a movie or something. and if i can resist the nap, i get actual daylight for a few hours. oh, i’ll inevitably still stay up until 2 or 3 in the morning, but i just can’t resist that. it’s in my blood.

my hackles actually rise a little bit when people talk shit about my sleep schedule. melanie used to do that, and it seemed so silly. why should she care when or how much i slept?

vince actually made a crack the other day when the cats woke me up at 9:30 and i couldn’t get back to sleep. he said that if i avoided a nap maybe i could get onto a normal sleep schedule… so i took a four-hour nap out of spite.

you know, honestly, i’ll be able to get myself up tomorrow morning. if i have someplace to be with some urgency, i can always force myself to roll over and have at it. it would be nice if i could have some time tomorrow morning to make coffee, get something to eat, and have a decent window of time to get to the orientation in case i (inevitably) get lost.

alright, i’m going to go buy the damn sandwich. maybe that’ll make me sleepy.

*EDIT*: mm well, that was definitely tasty, but did i have to eat the whole thing? now i’m going to have a nightmare about being a sled-dog or something.

tv shows on dvd

ah, the movie studios have got my number. i am a sucker for those box sets of tv shows that are so prevalent now. i mean, i knew this before, but this weekend i’ve started to realize that what gets me excited more than anything else these days is watching the first couple of episodes of a tv show on dvd and then realizing that if i like it, i can watch more. a lot more. these things are addictive. why, this weekend alone i’ve already started a fixation on both farscape and firefly (rented the first disc of that tonight). firefly in particular is *gorgeous*, looks very expensive, and was probably always too good for television. farscape is awesome, but the dvds are annoying. two measly episodes a disc? poo on you, ADV films.

i’ve got a couple more right at the top of my netflix queue:

Dead Like Me: Season 1: Disc 2
Freaks & Geeks: Disc 1 (Yes, i could borrow this from Doug. But I’m impatient.)
The Dead Zone: Season 1: Disc 1
Buffy the Vampire Slayer: Season 1: Disc 1
Six Feet Under: Season 2: Disc 1
Angels in America: Disc 2

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.

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.

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.

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

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.

From a Basement on a Hill

So I found Elliott Smith’s new album online, and I couldn’t resist…

When I was listening to “King’s Crossing,” my heart stopped.


the big problem is the main attraction
dominoes are falling in a chain reaction
the scraping subject ruled by fear told me
whiskey works better than beer
the judge is on vinyl, decisions are final
and nobody gets a reprieve
and every wave is tidal – if you hang around
you’re going to get wet
i can’t prepare for death any more than i already have
all you can do now is watch the shells
the game looks easy that’s why it sells
frustrated fireworks inside your head
are going to stand and deliver talk instead
the method acting that pays my bills
keeps the fat man feeding in beverly hills
i got a heavy metal mouth that hurls obscenity
and i get my check from the trash treasury
cos i took my own insides out
it don’t matter cos i had no sex life
all i want to do now is inject my ex wife
i’ve seen the movie and i know what happens
it’s a christmas time
and the needles on the tree
a skinny santa is bringing something to me
his voice is overwhelming, but his speech is slurred
and i only understand every other word
“open your parachute and grab your gun
falling down like an omen, a setting sun
read the part and we turn out fine
it’s a hell of a role if you can keep it alive
but i don’t care if i fuck up
i’m going on a date with a rich white lady
ain’t life great?
give me one good reason not to do it
this is a place where time reverses
dead men talk to all the pretty nurses
instruments shine on a silver tray
don’t let me be carried away
don’t let me be carried away
don’t let me be carried away

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.

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.

for some reason i thought

for some reason i thought my last entry was much less coherent than it actually was. i read it today and it kind of makes sense (more than i expected). after i got back from the ‘dam, i’ve just spent the rest of the weekend basically sitting around. i went to the tate modern art museum saturday night, which was awesome. i also read “arcadia” by tom stoppard, which was awesome. i finished White Teeth on friday and it was pretty damn good, definitely worth a read. i just started on Wonder Boys by Michael Chabon, which has already proved to include a whole lot of details either different from or not included in the movie. so it’s as much of a revelation as i was hoping it to be. last night i watched the Dead Zone on tv (the movie with Christopher Walken) and it was pretty good, but i read the book over the summer and they left out a lot. it was sort of like the reader’s digest version of the book, which i thought was kind of lame. they didn’t develop walken’s former girlfriend at all, or really any of the other characters as much as they should have. but every time walken had a vision, it was great. his flinches were intense, especially since the director (david cronenberg) was firing a pistol offscreen every time.

i’ve got around $1100 left, which is pretty good if i don’t tell you that i started the semester with $2200. oops. of course, i actually only have about a month and a half left here. i think i’ll probably travel to another country at least once or twice more, but i’ll try and be as frugal as possible (if possible). i can go to germany and stay with a friend, so i think I might do that. cause I mean, come on… it’s Germany! yeah.

it really does sort of feel like home here. i’m probably going to have reverse culture shock when i go back to the states, which will be not so much fun. i’m probably going to try to go to grocery stores to find the things i’m used to now, and i’ll fail miserably. oh well.

i feel like as a “writer” i should be writing more or something. but i’m lazy. endlessly lazy. i mean, i don’t have that crazy drive to write at all hours of the day. does that mean i shouldn’t be a writer? i don’t think so… i mean, i’m always coming up with these images and stories. or whatever. i just need to find a niche. or something.

you know what’s kind of annoying about being here? the fact that i want to see movies like: punch drunk love, rules of attracting, the ring, etc. etc. etc. that won’t come out here while i’m here. also, michael chabon (author of wonder boys and other great books) is coming to my campus… while i’m here. DAMMIT! oh well. i’m in europe. you make some trade-offs. ha.

i had a dream last

i had a dream last night. in my dream, i and several of the people here for the semester decided we were going to go back to america for a little visit. the first thing we found out when we got back on campus was that the theatre department was doing the cherry orchard – which we did last year – only the cast was filled with new theatre majors i didn’t know. when we were trying to get into the theatre, the guy who was taking tickets stopped us and wouldn’t let us in. i just remember thinking that he should know who we were, but he didn’t.

another part of the dream was greg shotwell complaining because he hadn’t “seen any titties yet.”

i also had one more dream before this one in which i thought i had become a part of the movie castaway, except the plot was completely different, and had something to do with a family of five. i think the connection was that the father was played benevolently by tom hanks. most of that dream has disappeared except for one image where something is wrong with one of the children and tom is putting his hand on her head for comfort.

actually, these stories about my dream are slightly falsified, because i’ve made up logical stories to explain the illogical images that stuck in my memory. i’m not sure what my dreams were exactly, but they were something like the above.

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today we went to westminster abbey, which was basicallly this huge, gorgeous church that also happened to be a tomb for a very large number of people, including darwin and isaac newton as well as a huge number of kings and queens. all of the tombs were decorated with extremely flattering sculptures, some of which were very bad. a few of the sculptures had subjects placed in extremely uncomfortable looking positions, or (even better) ones that equated the dead with either ceaser or god, according to which way you looked at them.

i wandered around in there for around an hour and a half while talking to this girl, erin (6’2″, red hair). somewhere along the line we decided to leave there around 10:30, and we ended up wandering around a little before eating some lunch, and then we went and saw a movie.

the movie was called “heaven” and it’s actually the new movie from the guy that made “run lola run”. it was kind of interesting because it starred an american and an australian and was mostly in italian (and english). and was directed by a german.

ribisi spoke italian pretty convincingly, which leads me to believe he maybe grew up speaking it in his family, or just had a very good tutor.

i can’t really describe the plot of the movie, except that its verrry different from run lola run. very slow, methodical and symbolic. (not that lola wasn’t symbolic).

it doesn’t come out in america until october something, and probably won’t leave new york. so… watch it on video.

i’m happy because “frailty” is coming out here soon. i wanted to see it but never got the chance to while it was out in the states. i’m secretly hoping that “salton sea” will come out while i’m here, but that might be unlikely.

the movie i’m especially looking forward to seeing is “lost in la mancha,” the documentary about the terry gilliam movie that was never made.

well, it’s getting close to five and i think i might get kicked out of here soon, so i’m signing off. keep signing the comments, please. it fills my heart full of gravy.

…right…

P.S. it’s 4:45 while i’m writing this, which means it’s 10:45 where you are.