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

Sunday, April 27, 2008

AFI meme, for procrastinators (which I am and always will be)

via Some Have Hats

The meme requires going to the AFI List of 100 greatest movies which is here, and then answering the following questions.

Your favorite 5 movies that are on the list
Aw man! Do I have to pick five? Seriously, I love a lot of these movies. Does that make me terribly mainstream? Tough shit, I am terribly mainstream and proud of it. These are "The 5 I have to pick because the meme said pick 5":

Gone With the Wind
The Godfather
It's a Wonderful Life
Bringing Up Baby

(but it could have just as easily been Network, The Wizard of Oz, Yankee Doodle Dandy, Rear Window, and The Maltese Falcon) (or it could have been Star Wars, Some Like It Hot, The Godfather part II, Fantasia, and Fargo) (or it could have been. . . okay, I'll stop)

5 movies on the list that you didn't like at all:

E.T. the extra-terrestrial
Guess Who's Coming to Dinner?

(I've seen most of the movies on the list, and other than the five I have no desire in seeing, and these two, I've liked pretty much all of the ones I've seen, in varying degrees, of course. The list, despite it's so-called "safe"-ness, consists of a good set of movies, for the most part, and includes a number of true, enduring classics. If nothing else, my satisfaction with most of the movies on the list should be evidence enough of my middle-brow tastes -- tastes I happily and unashamedly hold. But yeah, I never liked E.T., even when I was a kid.)

5 movies on the list you haven't seen but want to:

The Apartment
The Manchurian Candidate
King Kong
Duck Soup

5 movies on the list you haven't seen and have no interest in seeing
It's not even that these movies look bad or anything. In fact, if I watched them, I'd probably think they were at least pretty good. But for whatever reason, these movies look boring. Don't ask me why, even in the case of 2001 and M*A*S*H where I like the genres and the directors, but I'm just not that interested. It's a weird phenomenon that I suffer from, where certain movies, despite seeming to be very much in my wheelhouse, hold absolutely no appeal for me. For instance: In general, I like Kevin Smith's movies. But Clerks? Never seen it. And I don't really want to. Don't ask me to explain. I'm just not that interested. Anyhoo:

The Deer Hunter
Midnight Cowboy
2001: A Space Odyssey

Your favorite 5 movies that aren't on the list:

In a Lonely Place
The Strawberry Blonde
The Thin Man
Ball of Fire

Saturday, April 19, 2008

Two of my favorite things. . .

. . . Pope Benedict XVI and New York City!

Arriving at St. Patrick's Cathedral. The Pope, NYC, St. Patrick's Cathedral. . . sigh. Awesome.

One of my favorite moments in New York was going to mass at St. Patrick's (on the feast of St. John, for extra awesomeness value). It wasn't planned. We didn't know the mass times, we were just there sightseeing, and then all of a sudden, I heard the announcement for the start of mass and I pushed my way back through the crowds like a madwoman to the guy at the rope letting people in for mass. He was all Mr. Stern-faced, sick of tourists: "You can only go in if you're staying for mass," and I was like, "Dude! I'm totally staying for mass, this is amazing! Squeeeee!!!1 I can't believe I'm here doing this! asldkfjadkdjs;lfdjafldssjfa!" Mass was reverent and beautiful, but it was totally weird that while we were there celebrating the Eucharist all these people were going around the side altars of the church sightseeing and flashing pictures. It was beautiful and bizarre at the same time.

Speaking of beauty. . .

The Pope saying mass at St. Patrick's.

My Pope and my country! Woo hoo!

The spires of Saint Patrick’s Cathedral are dwarfed by the skyscrapers of the Manhattan skyline, yet in the heart of this busy metropolis, they are a vivid reminder of the constant yearning of the human spirit to rise to God.
(from The Pope's homily at the St. Patrick's Cathedral mass, April 19, 2008)

Wednesday, April 16, 2008

Similarities between Hitchcock's Shadow of a Doubt and television's Pushing Daisies

Both feature main characters named Charlotte who go by boy-name nicknames (Charlotte "Charlie" Newton in SoaD, and Charlotte "Chuck" Charles in PD).

Both deal with death and murder as subject matters.

And Macdonald Carey looks more than just a little bit like Lee Pace, only with bigger ears. Of course, if I work up the effort to do a screen grab and it turns out nobody else thinks he looks anything like Lee Pace, my whole theory is shot to hell.

Danged youtube for having a clip of the movie so I can't claim laziness as an excuse!

Well, here's a picture. Remember, I said "more than just a little," not "exactly totally without a doubt!" and I did say bigger ears:

Come on, just a little, right? Come on! Okay, whatever.

Monday, April 14, 2008

Your Artie, the Strongest Man in the World! Picture of the Day

He's up there in the right hand corner, frozen in superhero-sleep-position because his Krebstar 2000 radio (which was keeping him awake, 'natch) ran out of batteries. Poor Artie!

Saturday, April 12, 2008


This blog has become entirely too respectable. Time for a drunken ramble. Which is good, since I'm drunk, thanks to a wedding, and feeling all rambly, and now I'm drunk and will write and regret it in the morning. There are worse things to regret on a Sunday morning, I guess.

About 10:43 tonight I had the strongest desire to watch either a Whit Stillman film, a screwball comedy set in New York City, or listen to Vampire Weekend. None of these things came true. How I wish they could! My ipod died on the car ride home and it made me sad. Sometimes I wonder if I'm just entirely too strange and nerdy to ever find someone who can appreciate the thought of Central Park in the rain, a Thursday afternoon on Broadway and 79th, an evening watching French New Wave double-featured with Will Ferrell movies. I'm planning to move to Los Angeles, for a change, for a new career, for the weather, for God knows what, and of course, being from working class detroit, no one seems to understand why, "you're a writer? Oh. so what do you really do?" -- i'm dreaming that in l.a. they don't respond so practically, that in l.a. they'll ask you what you're working on and not judge in that harsh midwestern way, i'm hoping, i'm dreaming, but it's hard to move when you have no cash.

I wish I could muster the intellect to write about the old movies I've watched recently. I saw Raw Deal the other day. Claire Trevor, so flousy-tragic, voice-over noir, how could I resist. It's a chiaroscuro girl-fight between her and Gloria Grahame for the title of Favorite Noir Moll. Dennis O'Keefe is what Dennis Morgan would be if he'd been knifed in the face and sent up to San Quentin for a misunderstanding and a stolen 12 Gs. In a bit of What-the-hell! Dennis O'Keefe was in an episode of Petticoat Junction. Petticoat. Junction.

I would write more if I were motivated. But that's the problem: I'm not. I've watched some perfectly good writable movies -- Raw Deal, Mr. Lucky -- and shows -- PBS's Sense and Sensibility, Mad Men (which I've been rewatching in reruns and I'm not sure if it reinforces Baby Boomer narcissism or rejects it), John Adams, The Tudors (God help me, I'm only watching till St. Thomas More is martyred, I swear!) -- but nothing comes of it. Is anyone else worried that the film blogosphere is dying?

I guess I'm just tired of cyber-conversations. I want to discuss my random interests with a flesh and blood, is there no one else out there in my sad small town who can argue which is better: Pre-Code Babs Stanwyck or Ms. Bette Davis, Hays Code-style, or is Faye-Dunaway-fucking-William-Holden-in-Network better than them all? Can I have an intelligent conversation about Montgomery Clift already? Is there anybody out there who knows what these words mean: Gaius Baltar, Jeremiah Wright, Moqtardo Sadr, Madeline Kahn, Ron Stoppable??? I despair.

In my room, I have an entire wall covered in pictures of the Beatles. It is my Beatles Wall. At this moment, greatest Beatles song ever? Mr. Moonlight.

No. I kid. That's the worst fucking Beatles song in history.

True answer, right this moment? Hey Jude. Anthology 3, track 17 (maybe). I don't care if it's obvious or cliche or too popular, it's a great effin' song and sounds great at 1 am saturday drunk-like. No. Now I'm changing my vote to Rocky Raccoon. Try writing a masterpiece like that Mick and Keith!

I heard the best wedding toast tonight. My cousin -- the best man at his brother's wedding -- three lines (if that), ending with "To health and happiness." Perfect. We were rolling, everyone at my table. It followed fifteen minutes of bad poetry and crying and barely funny "funny" stories, which however heartfelt they may seem to those who are saying them had me wishing for a double gin martini to go with my Jack and Coke and put me to bed momma.

Then! A message sent down from heaven, the best man's (my cousin's) speech was an antidote, the equivalent of those old Oscar speeches where Clark Gable simply says, "Thank you very much" and then sits down. Succinct, gracious, maybe ten seconds in length. Rub-a-dub-dub time for some grub. It was the Gettysburg Address of wedding toasts.

Now: I'm sminking of gin. Only about 0.02% might ever get that reference, but for those of you who do, you're welcome. See: Rocky Raccoon, above (Anthology 3)

This isn't nearly as funny as it should be, i'm frickin' drunk yo! Oh well. Regret: The best motivation to do better next time.

Monday, April 7, 2008

Movies recently watched

Pretty Good, but suffers from cloying, unnecessary-pulling-of-heartstrings flashback syndrome and would have been much creepier if we never knew what happened to his family, call it the Val Lewton principle, What We Can Imagine Happened to His Family Is Always Scarier Than What You Show Us:
I Am Legend

I love Will Ferrell, okay? Lay off:

The MASTERPIECE that most people will think is too long and boring, but I could easily watch twelve more hours of Deakins's pictures and Casey Affleck's cold, cold eyes and never get bored:
The Assassination of Jesse James By the Coward Robert Ford

A little too stagy, and feels so slight for a Hollywood "classic", but Hepburn is wonderful in the party scene doing Shakespeare:
Morning Glory

Thinks it's a Cary Grant/Rosalind Russell/Ralph Bellamy screwball, when it should really be a Jean Arthur (or Barbara Stanwyck)/Gary Cooper/Walter Brennan (or Thomas Mitchell) screwball, and John Krasinski is Gary Cooper (so, guess who that makes Clooney?):
Leatherheads. To be fair, I thought the first half was good, and I loved the old Universal logo at the beginning -- perfect mood setter! -- but it got way too serious in the second half, and watching the third act revealed just how badly the first act did of setting it up (we should have seen those trick plays in the first act, just so we could actually know what we were missing in the third act once the rules came in -- the "no rules" vs "rules" thing seemed tacked on), and Zellweger's character became totally unlikable once she decided to not feel bad about tricking John K's character.

If this is 1936 and Capra's directing, reporter gal Jean Arthur feels bad about tricking the nice guy for a story, and she ends up falling for him in the end and they fight the real corrupt liars (like the sports agent and the commissioner who knows there's too much money involved to let a scandal happen). But it's 2008, so apparently using someone's affections and trust and then betraying those affections and trust is a perfectly acceptable move, as long as you get the story and expose the "lie." And of course you have to fall in love with The Clooney, since his name is above the marquee, since he's the "Last Movie Star", even though you have no chemistry with him and actual sparks with Jim from the Office, but whatevs -- this movie is just another in an ever-growing long line that prove that the traditional screwball comedy is the only major movie genre that couldn't survive into a post-1960 world. Which totally bums me out, because I really wanted to love this movie, and if someone who better understood the genre traditions of screwball had script-doctored this thing, it could have been a minor classic.

Thursday, April 3, 2008

The Old School Nick You Probably Don't Remember

For all the Old School Nick fans out there who consider Alex Mack "old school" (in my opinion, Alex Mack and Shelby Woo and Keenan and Kel were the beginning of the end for good Nickelodeon live-action shows), here's a true oldie: Out of Control. I had forgotten about this show for years until an old college roommate and I were reminiscing about old Nick shows and we both had vague memories of this weird show that featured a poor man's Cyndi Lauper, Uncle Joey from Full House, a robot that did something. . . we couldn't remember what, and had an aesthetic that I can best describe as investigative reporting meets the Goonies meets Monty Python meets the Yellow Submarine. Later my roommate found out the name of the show while searching on the Internet: Out of Control. Yes! How could I have forgotten it?! How could this show have gone missing and forgotten for all these years?! Without Out of Control all the great Nick shows that came after would not have existed. No Clarrisa Explains It All; no Salute Your Shorts; no Adventures of Pete and Pete.

This is the only episode I could find on youtube, so savor it: