This sticker is dangerous and inconvenient but I do love Fig Newtons

Thursday, January 31, 2008

Easter Parade (dir. Charles Walters -- but it's Arthur Freed who matters -- 1948)

Watched this for the first time last week. Kind of a minor musical, when you get right down to it. I always expected every Arthur Freed musical to be some kind of masterpiece, but this one had a sorta warmed-over quality to it that just never really grabbed me. Actually, it grabbed me big time and held on like a vice grip when Fred opened the film with that insane drumming/dancing number and immediately after that I was expecting a real firecrack of a film, but alas, I went into movie-watching auto-pilot until Ann Miller showed up in sassy yellow and saved the night, if only for that brief canary-colored moment. I just kept thinking: I'd much rather be watching The Bandwagon.

Judy Garland, Fred Astaire, and Miller were all awesome, as usual, and the film was pleasant, so I came away liking all three stars more than I did before, so that's something. And it was nice to hear a song I could relate to: "I was born in Michigan, and I wish and wish again, that I was back in the town where I was born" (Of course, I'm only about two miles from the town in which I was born, and I never lived on a farm, though my mom used to live at The Farm, which is the name my family gave to the house on 11 mile where they had a pony and some ducks and that was surrounded by fields and forests, but which they eventually sold to some dudes who wanted to put up office buildings, and so I guess the song isn't that relatable, but I like to hear my home state immortalized in song).

I really expected more from the "Steppin' Out" number and greeted it with a ho hum. And what exactly was Peter Lawford's character all about? Was he a law student or something? Why was he friends with all these vaudevillians? He seemed pointless, except as the "Freddy Eynsford-Hill" of the thing, and the movie did have a distinct flavor of a second-rate My Fair Lady, so I guess that's how he fits. I just find him so dang boring!

Since I'm asking all these questions to myself, I'll ask another: What is an "Easter Parade"? Was this something unique to New York city, or did other towns and cities have Easter Parades? Shouldn't these people be at church?

Seriously, though, what was the point of Peter Lawford? I guess I'm betraying my biases, but what is ever the point of Peter Lawford?

Wash out the boring with a little Ann:

Tuesday, January 29, 2008

For Maxine

The Classic

Drive Through

It's hard to believe, but teenagers have no idea how to finish the sentence: "Pardon me. . ."

It's also hard to watch The Wizard of Oz and not expect this promo to pop up

Saturday, January 26, 2008

I'm sitting here reading The Habit of Being and I'm distressed to find out Flannery O'Connor loved Catcher. I'm annoyed by intellectuals at the moment. I'm bothered and simply bored with the learnedness and endless allusions; it's all too much thinking and not nearly enough ridiculous hyperbole. I suppose I should want to be more careful in this Internet where our words spread out across the world, and I should want others to be more careful too, in the spirit of charity, and I know the tide is turning against me out there in cyberland where everyone's sick of internet blowhards and snark, but I still want to make wild and unsustainable claims. I still want to embrace the brashness and permission-to-make-idiotic-statements that is the blog's birthright. Have I entered the party too late? I still want to celebrate the lower common denominator (though not the lowest -- we all have our standards and these are mine). I want to say, "Why yes, I just watched the first National Treasure movie and it was pleasantly entertaining, goofy and stupid of course, but endearing with its sleeve all covered in hearts for America, and I hope that doesn't make me some unwashed red state rube -- No! What am I saying?! I gladly accept!" Sheesh, lighten up filmy people, it's not like movies are literature or anything, and if I could say these things to Jeffrey Wells's face, I wish I would...

Our culture is pretty gross right now, I won't deny it, and I'm sure tomorrow I'll be carping over the fact that kids these days can't appreciate a good Frank Capra film anymore -- but sometimes trying to live up to the standards of the smart set is too much of a weight; it bears down on you until you forget why you wanted to read/watch/etc. all this "art" in the first place. And is Capra in or out this decade? I can never find out until the film brains have switched back again and I'm stuck with my nose on the outside glass and singing the praises of You Can't Take It with You...

Would it be too depressing to say that all the old joys now leave me cold? Basically, I'm just not digging the snow as much this year. It's been tons of snow off and on all winter and I've been sledding once so far, hurt my back on the first run down, and was poked in the eye by a tree. I promptly went inside afterward. Normally, the thought of going sledding again would be thrilling; it once was in times of yore, like, say, last year. A chance to regain some glimpse of lost days and grasp at evanescent desires, but dang, it feels like such a chore. Am I disappointing some reassuring image of myself?....

I just realized tonight that my parents rarely listen to music. Sure, just like everybody they listen to music when it's attached to pictures on a screen, but I'm constantly listening to music. The soundtrack of my life, she's always a' spinning. If I'm in the car: radio. Walking to and from buildings: the ipod. On a trip, in my room, while reading, while writing, doing chores, trying to relax: Always music. My parents are another thing entirely. They'll put the car stereo on occasionally; sometimes fire up the Everly Bros. or Beethoven when doing house work, but it's rare. I know they like music. My Dad's an Elvis guy to the point where he sings just like him. My Mom eternally blessed me by passing on a love of the Beatles. Where did I come from? How did I create this need to constantly surround myself in sonic, melodic stimuli? It's not genetic. Is it a generational thing? Am I just another disconnected youth, shielding myself from human contact with quarter and half notes? By the way, as I write this: The Killers, "This River is Wild." I can't help myself; I need the music. And I'm just now realizing that I might be a total freak in this regard and should probably stop airing my obsessions out for all to see.

Movies I'm looking forward to:
The Young Victoria
Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day
Prince Caspian
Indiana Jones and the Crystal something or other

Friday, January 25, 2008

View from the Rickshaw of Doom!

This is from the New York trip. Basically, we had four full grown people and dozens of shopping bags sandwiched into the flimsiest rickshaw ever, and our driver was this adorable little elf of a man, named Brian, who is my New York hero, and he drove us all the way from the Golden Theater to the Empire State Building, in the rain, uphill a lot of the ways, and through the death trap known as Times Square. Seriously, I was freaking out that a car was going to just paste us while we were going through that chaos. Plus, I was in the back so I couldn't see anything but the back of my cousin's head. She's the one who took the picture. It was totally ridiculous and possibly the most fun I had while in New York. All I remember, besides fearing for my life, was laughing hysterically. We were like circus clowns in those little cars, and just when you think another clown can't possibly come out of the car, three more get out. I'm sure the people on the street who saw us pile out of that thing were thinking circus clowns in tiny cars. It was awesome.

Saturday, January 19, 2008

"Think It'll Work?

. . . It would take a miracle!"

Okay, so I kinda think he won't win the nomination because the McCainiac is looking pretty unstoppable at the moment (and I don't really mind that, even though I have some problems with McCain), but I'll admit it: I'm a Mitten! I just really like his optimism and his emphasis on innovation and American ingenuity (as a Michigander, I think announcing your presidential bid at the Henry Ford Museum is a cool way to kick things off). This video, though, is pretty funny whether you're for The Mitt or agin' him (via someone in the comments section at Hot Air):

Romney's only mostly dead. . .

Thursday, January 17, 2008

I gotta straighten my face

Shit-on-a-stick, people! Fifty thousand (57) of you descend on this place thanks to the very cool word from Michael Blowhard and I feel like a nerd-o-rama with my youtube links to kids shows and sophomoric attempts at beat poetry -- I'm really an adult, I swear! Is it too totally creepy to lie about your age? What if you're only doing it to avoid being thought an intellectually lightweight woman-child with the maturity of a twelve year old, instead of for some silly vain superficial physical appearance reason that compels most women to do the age-lying thingy? Should I say I'm seventeen? If I'm only some seventeen year old artistic teenager type, then my writing and theses will have the appearance of wise-beyond-my-yearsness instead of being these pathetic empty noises bleating in the much smarter and more interesting world of my blogging peers. And... that was a badly written sentence. Yeeaugh! I'm just digging the hole deeper, aren't I? Look! Totally rad pictures will distract you!


Sunday, January 13, 2008

Hem hem!

Excuse me, but I'd just like to point out my favorite supporting part of the last year and ask why in the heck she's not on anybody's radar (even though I know perfectly well what the answer is, and it has to do with The Major Movie Awards bias towards certain types of films and certain types of parts, and it's the reason why Cate Blanchett could potentially, if the Golden Globes are any indication, get a lead actress nom at the Oscars for a movie everybody (all 24 who saw the thing) thought was pretty shitty while Amy Adams, who created one of the most memorable performances of the year, is relegated to "undeserved long shot" status and derided as not being "Oscar-worthy" since she's in a Disney family film; Julie Andrews' Mary Poppins would've had a hard time in our gloomy, mopey, "adult" times).

I must not tell lies, people, and the truth is this woman is brilliant. For your consideration:

Best Supporting Actress.
I'm falling out of love with the one-subject blog post -- it's too much damn writing. What, am I in college again?! I'm not doing 'em anymore. Enough already, all you egghead showoff bloggers with your big, long paragraphs of smartness and insight and awesome analysis -- I don't have to play your intellectual games, blogosphere!

I can write short, meaningless, unoriginal little tidbits from my head, filled with canned snark I borrowed from TWoP, and I'm just as valid and cool as you! So keep your really, really brilliant writing and engaging combox discussions, 'cause I got tons of links to youtube and a couple of pretty good Bette Davis quotes from, and I'm perfectly, totally, really, really fine with that, okay? Stop judging.

Seriously, though, just gimme some short, punchy little blurbs and some links to embarrassing celebrity pictures and that's all I really need from you, blogosphere; links and attitude. It's what the interwebs was made for, and I'm satisfied with that...

Now go watch this!

Friday, January 11, 2008

Old School Nick YouTube Links!

Farewell, My Little Viking (part I)

An awesome fan video (though, unfortunately, unfinished)

Inside Out Boy!!!

"We've all been Hoovered!"

Weinerville used to come on Sunday afternoons and run for like two hours. I don't remember much about the show except the human heads with little puppet bodies and that they used to show cartoons, and that two people from the audience at the end of the show would be "weinerized" (turned into human-headed little puppets). Old school Nick was weird, basically.

Why I've always remembered this scene from Ren and Stimpy so vividly, I just don't know. But I do.

Submitted for the approval of the Midnight Society... The Tale of the Final Wish! (starring Bobcat Goldthwait!)

Even the commercial bumpers were better back then!

Monday, January 7, 2008

New York Journals, part II

These are my New York journals, my Kerouac-lite prose-poems, in my default shitty style that I revert to when I'm being lazy or just want to write fast, but I'm posting them anyway (as I stated below) 'cause it was my first-ever trip to NYC and I was in love with an image before but now I'm in love with the City and these are my puppy dog love letters and also I'm a narcissistic exhibitionist twit, so nothing goes unposted. I'm hoping my earnestness is enough.

NYC, NY 12/28/07
I never knew there were rocks like these in Central Park, big monsters of granite (?) pushing their way through the grass, attacking the landscape, prehistoric skeletons of the city, like the elemental cousins of the skyscrapers --
Everything in New York is famous,
Everything you do is iconic,
Everything you see on a clear warm December sunny day is a little piece of the miracle of human ingenuity,
and the Dakota is where rich people live and a famous man died and life goes on, NYC is bigger than a moment or a death, it is its own life --
So many people, I can't feel fear, the woman passing by the knock-off stand is my favorite New Yorker yet, she speaks to me so familiar:
"It's kinda cheesy right? But whaddaya want for 20 bucks!"
and she laughs like we didn't just meet 20 seconds ago (and then she's off to do whatever New York thing she's got to do) --
I think I love these people, familiar and open, yet strangers, tough but honest, you couldn't invent them though we try, so different, variety upon variety...
Avenue Q and puppet sex and Trekkie Monster! (and "We're all a little racist")
And the Empire State Building:
Where's the Ape and my Ginger-Rogers-feather-dress and Warren William? Up at the 102 floor we look out and see the world, what else is there than this? A Limo ride through the Lincoln Tunnel.

NYC, NY 12/29/07
I have seen a real New York street, a dingy thing covered with fire escapes, creeping their way up to clearer air -- but who wants that!
I want the crowded streets, the vendors, the smell and salt and t-shirts that hint of gasoline, a fish stand, cheap watches and a thousand hat-and-purse shops, all the same, it's Chinatown swallowing Little Italy --
A small church lit-up with Christmas lights and a Nativity scene, I feel like I just entered The Godfather, part II, and we eat at Angelo's, est. 1902 (or was it 1905? As if it matters, a hundred year old restaurant in Little Italy, NY, NY and I quibble with a few years), and suddenly it's Godfather the first one, waiting for Michael Corleone to come out of the bathroom with a gun, I eat Veal Parmesan and I'm completely content.

On the plane ride back, Simon and Garfunkle trill in my ear, whispering the siren call and nostalgia of the city, and I cry because I don't want to leave, I miss it so much and I haven't even left New Jersey, how can I get back, how can I make that my life?

Suburbtown, MI 10:15 p.m.
Watching the Giants try to spoil New England's perfection, I'm utterly depressed seeing the blue and red and the "NY" and the screaming fans and to know that only a few hours ago I was there, and then they show a shot of the Statue of Liberty and I'm a wreck -- It's all I can do to keep a stream of tears from bursting, I'm already bored with my life and being home, I love my family, I really do, but this place is a drain, it's an exile, (almost), now that I've seen the center of everything, now that I've been to New York. A little melodramatic? I don't care. You didn't just leave the cold, fast City to come home to extended family lumped all over the house, the smell of ham and gingerbread mixed with bad perfume, and the dim yellow lights of lamps reflecting off of chintzy Christmas gold and every TV on. I'm allowed some melodrama.

Saturday, January 5, 2008

New York Journals, part I

These are my New York journals, my Kerouac-lite prose-poems, in my default shitty style that I revert to when I'm being lazy or just want to write fast, but I'm posting them anyway (as I stated below) 'cause it was my first-ever trip to NYC and I was in love with an image before but now I'm in love with the City and these are my puppy dog love letters and also I'm a narcissistic exhibitionist twit, so nothing goes unposted. I'm hoping my earnestness is enough.

New York, NY 12/26/07
Like an outsider, and yet I belonged -- or I wished, at least, or I dreamed, deluded but delirious and HAPPY! stupid grin but who cares! -- it was a crowd at night, and lights, and lights, and lights, all up and alive and I was too, I had finally met the city and mood to match my own where the day starts at Midnight and all is movement, all is tough and mystique, all is lights across the Hudson a vision that's in the frame of every famous movie ever made that skyline, that star-filled-lights-on-black-sticks-that-stick-into-the-air, blacker than the sky, they rise and rise, and me all Midwestern wide-eyed awshucks I've never seen such blackness and buildings and lights -- it's a cliche, I know, but it's like a dream and I can't believe the view from my window in Jersey City. How can I be so at home and yet have it all feel so new? How can I see the Coliseum and Lenin's Tomb and the Bridge of Sighs and yet stand in the tacky, radiant, rushing, brilliant flash of Times Square and cry, a little, out of the corner of my eye, and get a chill? -- How can it be that New York is the greatest city in the world and I'm here?

A dream?
A dream.

New York, NY 12/27/07
Ground Zero
A church yard, cemetery a thousand years old, it seems
A boy, four years old, a headstone
Dead and yet God's Will the faith of our fathers, so seemingly solid but I wonder what doubts entered a weary mother's mind...
St Paul's stands amidst the rubble of the attacks -- the asshats, the jack-offs who did this and for what? -- I love my country so much at this moment and I rejoice in our strength, our humility, and don't laugh, it's true, America is still a shy child in a world of bitter men...
The subway again, and we ride it with apprehensive confidence
Darling I love you!
Park Avenue!
Lexington Avenue!
Fifth Avenue!
The world is contained in this city and I am here and this is all...
The Met is too big to embrace, like a Madison Avenue concoction, like a darling young man, it's the entire sum of perfection, it's the compilation of genius, it's. so. fun. So much stuff!
And Rockefeller Center,
it's the reality of unreality, it's there and it's a picture, it's within reach and it's fake but then I realize it's not, it's there and I'm there and I go to mass in St. Patrick's and I am partaking in the body, blood, soul, and divinity of Christ and I am here and life, His life, the life of the city and all life all living all reality all truth is here and now I know why writers come to New York City...

Friday, January 4, 2008

New York is the Center of Everything

There's a scene in the musical Gypsy, where Mr. T.T. Grantziger's secretary and Momma Rose are in a heated argument over Dainty June's audition for the big New York producer and Rose says sarcastically: "They're so smart in New York!" Cratchitt, the secretary, answers with haughty confidence: "New York is the center of everything." Momma Rose doesn't believe it of course, calling Grantziger a hick and New York the "center of New York" and nothing more, but to a young girl aged about twelve, Cratchitt had it right. Sitting on my living room carpet, up way past my bedtime on a school night, watching the great America musical tale about showbiz stardom, I secretly wished one day that I could be in the center of everything, pushing my way down the glittering and grimy streets of New York, a writer, or a performer, or a critic, or some other dazzlingly sophisticated career that would let me catch a show on Broadway before dashing off to whatever fancy soirée would follow for the glamorous New York set. I stayed up to 2:30 am that night, unable to go to bed until the movie finished, and it felt like just the sort of hour to be up in New York, and most definitely not the hour to be up in middle-class Michigan.

When I was in high school RENT was on the cover of Time Magazine and our marching band did it for their show and won states. I was not in marching band, but I did play in the symphony band, so the band geeks were my people, and I was captivated by their show. Unlike a normal marching band performance, the band didn't wear their typical marching band military getup. Instead they wore outfits inspired by the show, Salvation Army Value Village resale clothes and their parents' old hippie garb and some stuff of the punk/grunge aesthetic. And midway through the performance the whole band would put down their instruments and sing Seasons of Love and I had chills in the gym that Spirit Week Friday afternoon. Of course, a year or so later we stood in the freezing cold outside the Detroit Opera House hours before the opening curtain, waiting in line with all the other teenage bohemian-wannabes for those $20 front row seats, and when I finally saw RENT on stage for the first time, New York had once again become the center of everything. It helped that by that time, after eleventh grade AP English and my first student film, I had decided I wanted to write and direct films, and there was Mark with his sixteen millimeter shooting gritty documentaries about Greenwich Village artists and it seemed like my destiny. NYU became an obsession. New York became an obsession. I had created a fantasy based on movies, tv, musical theater, popular songs and my own fevered (delusional?) imagination and I knew New York was it for me. I had to get there.

Reality set in when it came time for college applications and my parents informed me that not only would they not allow me to go to NYU, there was no way in hell they could actually afford to send me there even if they would let me go, and the whole filmmaking thing was too weird and impractical to their Michigan ears, so I dicked around, lost in impossible dreams, and without the metaphorical stones to apply there in rebellion of my parents' soul-crushing decision. I never even applied to NYU on a whim, such was the level of my laziness and pessimism. I never got to go to New York. And for years after, with two trips to Europe, and various other vacations elsewhere under my belt, I had still never been to that faraway neverland of steel and celluloid dreams. The fantasy of New York only grew with each passing year that I stayed in Michigan. My version of New York had reached such a grandiose level that many friends and family were sure the real thing could never live up to what I had created in my mind. My New York was two-parts Hollywood hokum and three-parts teenage romanticism, and there was no way the reality could match the illusion...

So I went to New York for the first time last week.

St. Stephen's Day, and I was on a plane to Newark, and then a few hours later on the PATH to the World Trade Center subway stop. It was three days and it was everything I had imagined only better and more. I wrote psuedo-Kerouac style prose-poems each night in my journal as a way to commemorate the experience, and they're terrible and sophomoric, in the style I tend to slip into when I'm lazy and want to write fast, that horrible stream-of-consciousness thing that I thought was IT when I was sixteen and that I can't help but revert to when I'm faced with all the giddiness of being sixteen again, which is what the City reduced me to the second I saw its skyline. I'm gonna post the journal entries here because I'm a narcissistic exhibitionist and simply can't help myself. And they remind me of my trip so I'm sentimental about 'em. And besides, who reads this damn thing anyway. But New York was great. It was just as advertised, the city that never sleeps, a helluva town, the center of everything. Now I just have to figure a way to get back.

Wednesday, January 2, 2008

Awesome Dicks Rule on New Year's Day!

I'm so glad we beat Florida. It was nice for the seniors, and for Carr, who is such an awesome dick to those frumpy sideline reporter-wenches that I totally love him! Shut up already Lisa Salter.

Urban Meyer, however, is kind of a whiny dick; not good. And I just cannot warm to that Tebow guy. I like Dennis Dixon and the quarterback at WVU so much more. Heck, I liked Troy Smith more! And I'm a U of M alum!

Anyway, things should be interesting next year with Rich Rod taking over...

Thoughts recently rescued

No Country for Old Men = Very meaty, in both senses
Atonement = Best Actress Oscar should go to Briony, all three