Tuesday, May 31, 2005
Like my mom, most of my adult friends have their father issues. Some have dead fathers, others with absentees or fuck ups. I can't think of too many male friends who have talked about their fathers and don't have some onus revolving around their paternal relationships. My entire generation grew up under the (Phil) specter (hair) of divorce, though admittedly, none had it as bad as my neighbors growing up. Their parents divorced around 1984-ish, and the father moved out to Northwest Portland. Being friends I would sometimes sleep over during their weekends with their father, and do some skateboarding around the NW area (I was never a very good skater, sadly, though my brother became a master and still skates). About four years later their father developed cancer, even though he was a jogger, never a smoker, and in good shape. We saw him sporadically as he went through chemo because they thought it was cancer, and maybe it was. If I recall correctly he died in 1988 or 1989, it was before we moved. Still friends with the neighbors (though our friendship, as a later move proved, had more to do with proximity than anything else), my family went to the funeral.
At the time gay was a word used to describe something lame, faggot another word to which to describe someone doing something lame. They were contextless beyond their power to shock. Conceptually, I had no real awareness of homosexuality as more than just something described and a vague awareness of the beginnings of AIDS... hell at that point I don't even think I knew what lesbianism was, though I knew our next door neighbors were two women who lived together, and neither looked like they were husband hunters. I knew something was up with them, but I couldn't put my finger on it. But never had alarm bells rang more clearly than at that funeral. To see so many men. Men with mustaches. Men who didn't come off as 100% manly. Seeing so many of them crying over my friend's father's grave, I knew something was up. The funeral had no real effect on me, I had no emotional attachment to their dad, though he had a pinball game in his basement and I thought that was pretty cool. At the time, I felt sort of bad about being more attuned to the oddness of the event than any sense of grief, but by the time I was fourteen or fifteen (or shit, maybe even the evening of) I put the pieces together. Like a lot of things from childhood, you might not have the name of it, but you know what it is.
I once wrote a line about how sometimes you write things to bury them, and I probably stole that idea from Wong Kar Wai's In the Mood For Love, but unfortunately sometimes I write to purge my emotional state of being, whether that mood is goofy or this. At least you get the free prize with every blog reading. That prize: Cold Sores.
Monday, May 30, 2005
The Razor's Edge
This next week is noir with House of Bamboo and Nightmare Alley, and maybe some paper clips and a bucket of mayonaise just to see what'll happen.
My review of Mayonaise and paperclips: Romance in a Bucket:
Fatty and Metalic! Two Stars!
Holidays make a week feel sorta fucked up. I woke up at 8:30 this morning cause that's what happens. I'm happy to have my writing done, and I feel like, as they said in the depression, "prosperity is just around the corner."
"I think there's a vague sense out there that movies are becoming more and more unreal... I know I've felt it. The demand we put on ourselves was to be as spectacular as possible, but not depend on computer graphics to do it.
"Like many people, I've sat through these huge movies and thought, What went wrong? How come, when people have all that time and money, the talent for storytelling so often goes straight out the window?"
June 15th can't get here any sooner.
Sunday, May 29, 2005
I often site Sam Fuller, Howard Hawks, Akira Kurosawa, Jean Pierre Melville and Jean Renoir as my top five (cause why not, and the shit comes up, believe it or not), but Peckinpah and Welles also figure into this list, and in both cases, there are the parallels of the abused enfants terribles, in both cases one has to try and find the true versions of their films; they are artists you have to work with to like, but in a more interesting and exciting way than is the case with some modern entertainment that lack proper motivation or gravitas. I watched The Getaway this weekend, and it's good. I can't say I love it, but it's like an El Dorado for me, a lesser picture I can appreciate simply because it's more entertaining that 90% of everything else.
Friday, May 27, 2005
Thursday, May 26, 2005
Jonze has been lucky in many regards, but perhaps his false moniker (his real name is Adam Spiegel, of which he's lied about in regards to his relationship to the Spiegel fortune) tells the story by itself. He's an authentic phony. And that seems to be what comes through in both his Kaufman adaptations, the sense of the blurring of self, and hiding behind masks, though (perhaps thankfully) not in the Brian Singer mode. There is a sense in both pictures that the endings take off into an entirely different feel and flow than the rest of the film, and it's hard not call them disingenuous. What feels like the most honest moment in adaptation, in which brother Donald tells of his unrequited love for a girl to Charles, it comes in the center of preposterousness. What are we to make of a movie when two of the most talented film people around suggest that they have no solution to their movie but to sell it out? At what level does this become "real?"
And is it too much to draw upon his other assumed name, Richard Koufey, and suggests that it too tells a story? There is also a sense of the errant prankster in Jonze, the man who produced Jackass, and there is an element of that in his dance instructor appearances, but all accounts of the man is of someone mischievous, perhaps in the best possible way, but someone who doesn't like being himself to the public. And for someone with so much indie cred, he gets cut a lot of slack for directing numerous commercials. Perhaps that sort of street cred is meaningless when it comes to getting paid, but another generation might have asked (even ten years earlier): Why do them? What is this money for? Or is the joke on the commercials, as his work invokes the modern irony of selling/not selling that he and others (like Hammer and Tongs) have become noted for? But is this not effective is the purpose of ads is to draw attention to the thing itself by any means necessary? Again, at the heart of all of Jonze's work there comes the question of "How much of this is meant to be read ironically?" which can be translated into "Where is the real?" But with Malkovich, in the end I feel like if that ending's the real/serious, then give me the fake.
Which is why I think he's best work (or inarguably his most sustained work) is in the short form, specifically music videos. He is, as a friend put it, a one concept visionary. And his best work can usually be summed up in a sentence pitch. A guy on fire running in slow motion. Christopher Walken dances. A musical theater group dances on the street (poorly). A gymnast succeeds.
After the drubbing he received in Lost in Translation, it's hard not to feel sorry for the guy, and what Coppola did by airing their dirty laundry to the public (can that film be read without reading their relationship into it, and for bonus points, is the film more or less interesting without it?) But, all things considered, movies and film are better off having him and his sensibilities around. The question becomes, though, can he mature as an artist, and if he doesn't how long will it take for his sensibility (or schtick) to wear thin?
The second rule of flirt club is: you don't talk about flirting.
The third rule is: when someone says "I have a boyfriend" or goes limp, the flirt is over.
Fourth rule is: Flirting goes on as long as it has to.
After those I'm getting bored with the whole flirt/fight thing. This week has been DOMINATED with flirting and flirt talk, or at least those stories have been the most interesting elements of my week. And I should say talking about flirting can become flirting in it's own way. For instance Monday not only did I hear tell of a coworker who was nearly raped into a relationship - he's a successful enough dude that people seemingly are trying to hook it up, but he's also older than I am and the women in his circle have the ticking timebomb baby clock action (note to self, there's an action movie premise in there somewhere) - but I had a guy, whom I've seen around a couple of times, proselytize me with the Leykis spiel. "Dating is a percentage game blah blah blah I tell a girl what we're going to do blah blah blah I took three girls home from this location blah blah blah." On top of that another coworker was (and I guess is) having "relationship issues" and complained that she can't flirt (though she does) and still feel good in her relationship, but that's another thing where this person is obviously younger than me and is thinking about marriage vs. their still half full bag of oats to sow. Somehow, and I'm not saying this like it's a bad thing, I'm a magnet for this stuff. As a writer I soak this stuff up like sock.
To a certain extent this all culminated last night at poker, where not only did I win some change, but I talked to a girl for a while who was giving out much of her personal history, covering religion and exes. It seems that she's a Catholic, and only likes dating Catholics. And she's looking for a man. In Hollywood. Who's honest. Good luck to you, lady. Maybe I could hook her her up with the Leykis fan.
Wednesday, May 25, 2005
You made reference to me in this post (http://damonhoux.blogspot.com/2005/05/blog-diarrhea.html), and I would like to clear things up, as I have children and you have painted me in a corner. I was born in 1933, in what was then known as Germany. My father was a devout Nazi, and he was killed in Ardennes during the battle of the bulge. My mother raised me by herself, and we struggled in strife for most of my adolescence in the wreckage that became East Germany. Fortunately our perserverence paid off, and I was quite the gymnast. By the age of 17 I was considered the East German master of the Pommel Horse, and I trained with Hans Von Stoecker, who himself had won three gold medals in 1948. I was in my prime for the 1952 Olympics, but unfortunately, my mother's radical politics kept me out. By the time 1956 rolled around my mother had recanted after spending some time in a political prison, and I was allowed on the team. Unfortunately, at 23, I was not the gymnast I was at 19, and took home a bronze.
Though the state loved me, I was bitter, for I knew I was robbed off my right place in the pantheon of Pommel Horse jockeys, and though I was offered some choice work, I ended up turning to Vodka as my solace. Though I had married into a prominent family at 20 (in part to help get my mother out of jail) and had four kids by 25, I was a broken man, Damon, a broken man.
When 1968 rolled around, there was a weird schism in our country. There was a sense of the world around us, and a world changing. Though my people were still wrecked with a sense of attrition and defeat, we watched as the world seemed to explode, and other countries tried to create rebellion. We never stood a chance, but in my circle, we experimented, and my wife and I participated in numerous group sexual encounters. We found that though the state could control everything else, they couldn't control our sex.
But after three years of fooling around, there was a sense of the party being over for some. Others moved on to more talk of revolution, some left the country, while others found solace, as I still did in alcohol. By 1974, I was 41 and fucking a student gymnast, whom I was also training. Let me tell you Damon, you have no lived until you slept with a gymnast who's also a teenager. She told some of her friends about our near Tantric sessions, and word spread. Soon enough I was known as a sex guru, and girls from all over our province were coming to (and for) me. Finally my skills at the pommel horse were redeemed!
When I turned 60, I was invited to be a part of a fictional Olympic jury, simply to keep East German jokes alive, but at 60 I was more man then you'll ever be. Even the faux-French judge said I was her best lover, as we wait around to be used as a punchline.
My point is this, Damon, don't judge. My life is more complicated then you will ever know, and you paint me in the corner for making out with a judge, you have no idea how sex has freed me from my mental anguish and prisons.
Tuesday, May 24, 2005
Monday, May 23, 2005
one day I hope to see you in a theater.
Your title rocks me like a summer wind.
I hope you turn into a franchise and I get more snakes on planes.
Snakes on a Plane!
Snakes on a Plane!
Snakes on a Plane!
Snakes on a Plane!
Snakes on a Plane!
Snakes on a Plane!
For a while they changed the title to Flight 121,
but that would not be snakes on a plane.
The greatness of this film is its simplicity,
the genius of such a perfect title.
Snakes on a Plane!
Snakes on a Plane!
Snakes on a Plane!
Snakes on a Plane!
Snakes on a Plane!
Snakes on a Plane!
Rock over London
Rock on Chicago
Gatorade, the thirstade, for that deep down body thirst.
Sunday, May 22, 2005
Damon: You too busy to call?
Jaweh69: I'm just doing my thing, besides, you're obviously busy with other stuff.
Damon: You see RotS?
Jaweh69: At the Arclight, bitch! Midnight Show!
Jaweh69: I get what he was trying to do, but I don't think it translates in total.
Damon: Two stars?
Jaweh69: About right. Jesus and I have been getting in huge fights over it. So I don't want to battle with you.
Damon: He lvoes it?
Jaweh69: Yup. It made him cry.
Jaweh69: You gonna bust an emoticon next?
Jaweh69: Seriously, I understand both points of view. I think the film delivers the stuff it needs to.
Jaweh69: Seriously, Damon, shut up. I'm sick of hearing it.
Damon: Why, what was the report?
Damon: I bet Lot didn't care for it.
Jaweh69: Lot HATED it. Wouldn't shut up. Solomon didn't care, he thought it looked pretty. Moses was tepid on it, but he liked the Bash bashing.
Jaweh69: Bush bashing
Damon: I knew it wouldn't be Lot's bag.
Jaweh69: Well, duh.
Damon: I'm a little surprised about Solomon's reaction, he's a big fan of the first two.
Jaweh69: Yeah, I think he was a little disappointed, but wasn't sure if it was his expectations. He saw it again on Saturday, but he hasn't reported back yet.
Damon: I'll stop then.
Jaweh69: Actually I'm going to roll out here shortly, to see RotS again.
Jaweh69: Jesus bought tickets, so I mean, whatever.
Damon: Fair enough. HAve a good one.
Jaweh69: Will do.
Damon: Ciao, God.
Jaweh69: Peace, and I'm out!
Busy review week, and next week looks like a full load as well. With two here (Warlock, The Razor's Edge), and probably some McQueen on the way. I think I've finally purged my Sith demons, so I got that going for me.
Saturday, May 21, 2005
To me, I see what people are reacting to but it's the difference between something done skillfully and not, and I feel like my complaints are objective, and not subjective. And, as is often the case with films like this, the question of rooting for something comes into play. White Dog has problems, and I think it pulls out of it because of what it's about. I was chatting with my friend Mike about Sith, and it got heated, and his theory is to pretend the first two prequels don't exist, which may explain why he likes it, he's created the needed backstory that enriches the film. I hate using the word create, mostly cause he might read this and object, but when there is backstory that's being ignored, I can't see it any other way. Perhaps if one could erase AotC and TPM from one's memory, then hey. But I still can't get past bad filmmaking that's problems are rooted in a terrible, clunky, and overly expository screenplay, and characters whose motivations are never properly fleshed out. If I can't understand why someone does something that's crucial...
God damnit, I'm boring myself.
Friday, May 20, 2005
"Luminous beings are we, not this crude matter" is what kept reverberating through my head, and Luminous are the originals. This shit is crude matter, the bottom line is that nobody's motivation works on screen. People do things because they have to. I guess the faithful have supplied their own motivations, while many critics have just waved their hands at the poor motivations and latched on to the spectacle, of which there is much, but I'm not a sucker for digital scapes, and probably never will be. The film is graceless. But it commits suicide with the "turn" scene, which has a character zapping himself with his own lightning for only the reason that it changes his face into some KNB circa 1987 monster. Why? Because he has to. It's as if Lucas has intentionally staged this sequence as poorly as he can to somehow cover up the fact that it doesn't make sense. I'm trying to find a similar analogous scene in a movie or play, the only thing that pops to mind is Hamlet killing Polonius. Imagine that done by four year olds, maybe, and you'll get close.
Thursday, May 19, 2005
No, that's not the whole point of this entry, today is the opening day of RotS, and I had to swing by the Arclight to see if I could get the group I'm going with dinner reservations (the Arclight has a bar and restaurant, to which we planned to get sloshed at). Yesterday two of my coworkers wore Star Wars T-Shirts, one for A New Hope, the other a Sith (he bought a poster and got the shirt, as I understand). Both wore theirs because they felt they couldn't wear them for the next couple weeks, or possibly ever again. The explanation given was the same as in High Fidelity "Don't be that guy wearing the Band T-shirt at their concert. Don't be that guy." So they wanted to show their allegiance without embarrassing themselves. As I went in to the Arclight, there were numerous people dressed in Jedi robes. Not even really good robes, either, but like cloth cut into robes (snobbery in my geek derision). I had to grab a picture on my cell phone, four of em, playing with plastic lightsabers, with another guy dressed as a Trekkie just cause, and a Princess Leia circa ANH. All I could do was laugh.
I guess, and this goes with anything - though I was less spiteful towards the LOTR dressers when I saw all three films back to back to back for the one day marathon - I have a certain amount of contempt for people who dress up for a movie that they haven't seen yet and don't know how it'll be. I guess they're saying they've drank the Kool-aid, but I can imagine nothing sadder, nor more amusing than the thought of one of those dudes strolling out of the screening, sitting down on the corner of the curb and bemoaning the waste of his time, if not his life. Perhaps people of this nature are so pre-sold that the movie cannot be bad, because they can rejigger whatever they see to meet or best their expectations. If that is the case, then what's the point of actually watching the movie?
But, and here's the meat of my point, which I've been meting out, am I a geek still? I mean you enter my place, and it's covered in posters, ahem, framed original one sheets. And little genre stuff, all things considered, though I do have a frame ESB in my kitchen. My place is crammed full of DVD's and books and magazines, with many of those books and magazines cinema centric. I think you can find Andrew Sarris's Auteur guide above my toilet, and a copy of Paulie Kael's Taking it All In a couple feet away. By all definitions of previous that makes me fanatical about movies.
And, to take it even more personal, I was an awkward adolescent. The films that turned me on as a youth were things like Monty Python and the Holy Grail, Aliens, the Star Wars films, The Nightmare on Elm St. Films. When I was 14 I bought a laserdisc player. Though I was too large an individual to attract any bullying (I'm 6'3"-6"4" now, and probably was about six foot by the time I was 15), and though never one to hang in geek circles (I didn't play D&D, or anything like that) I spent much of my time in high school biding my time and watching movies. I had friends, but I was more passionate about the films I was watching, and couldn't really share with my peers. But it wasn't until college that I really blossomed out of that shell.
So, okay awkward adolescence, and movie posters on his apartment wall, check, what else? I worked at a video store, could probably recite the majority of Holy Grail verbatim (or at least used to, I haven't been able to sit through the film for a very long tim), and have a large collection of cinema centric T-Shirts and memorabilia (a bar of Soap from Fight Club, etc).
But there's a bunch of catches. I work in the film business and have done so since 99. It's my job. I have had sex, and have had it with multiple partners. I do not live anywhere near the vicinity of my parent's basement, and haven't lived at home since I was 22 when I spent three months doing the no rent thing after college. I can and like to dance; evidence points to me having rhythm. Most of the movie T-shirts and memorabilia I own is because I got it as part of working in the business. I probably wouldn't have half the collection of DVD's that I do if I hadn't gotten a lot of them through my critic work. I guess I've fulfilled the geek dream by turning my passion into my business. I am paid to be involved with movies.
And I look at a lot of my friends, and you know what? They would fall under the auspices of the same geek stigma. Two of my friends (a guy and a girl who are living together) actually played some D&D not so long ago, and both come home from work, crack beers and have been known to play Everquest into the long hours of the night. They are also attractive people, or that is to say, other than the guy wearing glasses (if that itself is a sign of geekery... who's to say), you'd have no idea they were geeks. Other friends in this geek range are married and have (a) kid(s). I know guys who fit under the qualifications of geekery and get laid all the time. Whatever the bad or socially akward stigmas attached to geekery cannot be attached to my friends. And one of the more interesting developments in geekery is that for a while now there are decidedly femme geeks who are not round and splotchy. Much like how my friends who could be labeled geeks are not round and splotchy. Just as I can say for myself that I am not round and splotchy.
But I look at those guys in their poorly made robes and I think to myself that they are dorks. But I would easily brand myself a dork. I just have limits of dorkery. You get me going, and I can rant as long as Knock Off's running time about how great a movie it is (91 minutes, I could do it). I guess, and this is no shock, that there is a class system in dorks/geeks/nerds.
But at some point I think a new label needs to be developed to describe this phenomenon, of the functional dork, the dorks who have no problem meeting members of the opposite (ir in some cases same) sex. Because it's not that I'm a geek dilettante, but there are some elements of this passion that I feel wholly removed from. It's the 21st century, and the world needs to meditate on the nature of geekdom, and all its facets. Then again, I've surrounded myself with the likeminded. Perhaps a regular Joe sees me wearing my Hulk T-Shirt and Kill Bill Vol.2 jacket and thinks "Look, a geek... I bet that guy thinks he's cool, or something." That though ties up my point. There is geek cool. This isn't a contradictory thing, even though (by some definitition of geekery) it should be.
Wednesday, May 18, 2005
And though I have no problem talking about new Star Wars to a certain length, mostly in anticipation, a part of me must acknowledge that when I was in pre-K I hung upside down on the jungle gym (though in that cowardly 4 year old way where you'd still use one hand to support yourself) and tried reaching for my lightsaber, while five years later, I'd have a friend over and we watched Return of the Jedi all night, I think a collected four times before we passed out. If I can find it I will scan in a Polaroid I have of my brother and I in our homemade fort consisting of deck chairs and bean bags, with our Hoth playstation and Speeder, with drawn in lasers where we proudly displayed our action figures. The first two films hold a place for me stronger than simple nostalgia, though, and they are why I keep going back even though some evidence suggests I shouldn't - but what is cynicism except the bitchings of a burned romantic? This though, at least, will be the first time I've paid to see a new Star Wars film since 1999. But no matter how good this is, it's still going have huge problems because the schism Lucas created for himself by essentially destroying the mysteries of the OT, and further polluting them. Plainly and simply, they cannot be watched in the order they've been chaptered. There's no point. Perhaps when Lucas dies someone else could come in and do their version of the PT. It would almost be great to have a Lumiere-esque collection of PT versions, since - as Lucas has proven time and time again - these texts aren't sacred.
I have read some people talking about how this marks a chapter in their life, and to a certain extent, it's going to be a while before cinema develops another franchise of such mythic proportions. But the first Star Wars series was an organic process in comparison, and simply calling it a franchise seems to suggest that it's meaning is minimized... perhaps it is. I can't see this as a chapter, it's just the biggest big summer movie of my adult life, but like most summer films, I expect little of it besides popcorn thrills. Though I love summer movies, they are not where my cinematic heart or interest lies, and it hasn't been since I realized the full power of cinema (not to knock visceral cinema, I still love it). I think after seeing the disaster of Batman, my expectations of big summer entertainment have been rejiggered to fit in context of the usual disapointments, with Spider-Man 2 the rare exception (I can think of few summer movies that have been as good or perfect as it since Die Hard). The Summer season is arguably like St. Valentine's day, something made up to make money, but damn if it doesn't feel good to do something nice for someone you love, be with someone you love on that day regardless. And so sometimes we settle for our Jurassic Parks, and Independence Days, because fun machines can be fun even if (and usually) they are nothing else.
The world has changed immensely since that time, though, those early eighties summers of fare like Ghostbusters and Gremlins, and Temple of Doom (Which may be no better or worse, though is arguably more seminal for someone of my age group), and geekdom has dug out a corner for itself, and is comfortable with its corner, not necessarily wanting or needing guests.
Studios are beginning to understand the meaning of niche marketing, and the success or failure of Serenity (a film made for fans, and pretty much only for fans) opens a door that Star Trek - The Motion Picture didn't. But in this niche-a-fying, ultimately whatever interest I will have in genre pictures will become even more removed, and that's disappointing - Star Wars wasn't genre entertainment, but it sure as hell became it. Escapism comes in many shapes and sizes, but there's escapism that you can go with, and other kinds that make you feel dirty for having seen it, escapism that doesn't seem far removed from Hentai. Escapism that somehow fulfills the escapist with the illusion of leaving self or fulfilling real life fantasies. I like science fiction, and genre material, but I blanche at the dress up factor, and there's an entire section of the population who's more than comfortable with that, and if more and more stuff like this becomes successful, there will be no need to court the crossover audience (and this is where I see the future of Star Trek heading, if they're smart). Like anything that courts a niche, the further it does so, the less it cares about anything but sustaining its faithful. Ultimately you can't make films for genre dabblers in our target-audience driven market, but I think it's going to be a while before someone figures out how to tickle me this way again.
Tuesday, May 17, 2005
Monday, May 16, 2005
That party last night was off the chains, that shit was off the hizook, for shiznook! I Come from the Galapagos Islands and am a Gigantic Sea Turtle! Your Blog is pretty cool for the partying, but it seems like you take the drugs! Please do not take the drugs, the drugs are bad for you! I got laid last night on your blog and I did not take the drugs! It was with a horshoe crab! I Come from the Galapagos Islands and am a Gigantic Sea Turtle!
Well, Gigst, I do not take the drugs. My anti-drug is poetry. Some day I will share some with you.
Sunday, May 15, 2005
Okay, well, you can sleep it off here, if you have to. Read this, and see how 19 and 25 = 143
Also of note: the Blog spell checker (which I should probably use more frequently) doesn't include the word Blog. Is this ironic? The East German judge says yes, but he's now getting into it with the Swedish judge, and I'm not talking fist fights. Full on Judge on Judge action, actually. Ew, that guy's sixty and East Germany doesn't even really exist any more.
It looks like DePalma's next will get financing and stay afloat. Thank God... I mean I will when he calls me next, but there you go.
The Bad: Witness my Borat impression!
"Hello, I am Borat!"
"Where is cage for wife?"
"I want to do a romance inside of you!"
Oh well, I don't think I have his cadence down yet, but my robot keeps getting better and better.
Saturday, May 14, 2005
Gardner: You ever been in love Phillip?
Phil: I don't know.
Gardner: Of course you know. If you ever thought you loved a woman, you loved her. That's all love is mostly. Thoughts.
God: It's pretty fucking meta.
Damon: Yeah, and?
God: I'm just saying you've put a lot of coded messages into it.
Damon: You think?
God: What do you think?
Damon: You want to get me on the couch or something?
God: No, but I'm just saying.
Damon: People think you're not you, God, that's the best part. They think I've made you up, or that you're one of my other friends.
God: Bitch, please.
Damon: The other thing, and I think it connects to what I was writing before, is that I feel a lot of writing is both making stuff up mixed with plundering your own life. So it's you and it isn't you.
God: Though I've read some of your other writing now too, those scripts you've sent me.
Damon: Finally. Why didn't you call me and tell me you were reading it?
God: Yeah, sorry about that, I'm busy, I'm God. Well, I wanted to surprise you,
Damon: It's cool.
God: But anyway, I was reading that one, and I was like "CODED MESSAGES"
Damon: I picked that up too, last night, when I was reading it.
God: But then you then make that part of the text.
Damon: I know!
God: Your meta is meta.
God: Meta meta.
God: You fucker.
Damon: What are you up to tonight?
God: You're not tired from last night?
Damon: Not at all, I slept it off.
God: Let me check it out, and I'll call you back.
Damon: Fair enough. Later.
God: Peace, and I'm out.
Friday, May 13, 2005
The film beings with an actress (Kristy MacNichol) hitting a dog with her car, and then taking the white dog in. After a sequence at the vet's that's poorly acted (partly by Fuller's wife Christa Lang), and a handheld style that feels amateurish, the first third grates as MacNichol makes small talk with her vapid boyfriend. Honestly, I was beginning to worry this wouldn't be as interesting as Rio Lobo, and was worried that I had signed on for an evening of a flawed late director's work that was more famous for it's infamy than quality. But at about the twenty five minute mark, the dog attacks a black actress on a shoot, and there's a slow motion sequence with MacNichol that almost works as poetry. Though the rhythm feels off (it's almost as if - perhaps because of the Ennio Morricone score - Fuller is trying to ape De Palma) it's this sequence where the real story starts to kick in: the dog is racist, and only attacks black people. By this point I was beginning to root for the film. Shortly thereafter the boyfriend and much of the awkwardness of the first act is almost totally jettisoned with the introduction of the black animal trainer Keyes - Paul Winfield struts into frame in an immaculate hero shot. He decides that he wants to break the dog's psyche, which is more important than killing it. Can racism be erased, or is the dog doomed to a life of violence? At this point I could start smelling the old Fuller I know and love. As the film wrestles with race relations, has Burl Ives throwing darts at R2-D2 and eating spoonfuls of sour cream, and includes a cameo with Dick Miller (after appearances by Fuller and Paul Bartel), the film showed enough gusto to get me interested, and invested. When the film starts coming alive is during a sequence where the dog tries to escape, and it shows the dog's thought process on how to get over a barb wire fence. That's fucking filmmaking!
I'm not going to ignore the flaws of the film, they're glaring and Kristy MacNichol is a blank slate who is at her most appealing towards the end when she is bra-less. And I'm not even attracted to her in the slightest (she has the worst case of 80's hair imaginable - it's a sorta mullet with curls... I can't do it justice). I think 1954 Fuller would have directed the hell out of this film, but with the inclusion of his entire family in the enterprise (his daughter Samantha appears towards the end), and the B-movie presences, it may have been a lack of money, and the film deserves slack for being the second most interesting film about race relations for the last twenty five years (I think first would be Do the Right Thing, but I haven't put much thought into this list, I mean what else is there? White Man's Burden?)
I mean I liked it, I'm glad I saw it, but it's more Verboten than Pickup on South Street.
Thursday, May 12, 2005
I have to say I enjoy this piece immensely.
Spending lunchtime, as he usually did, on the roof of his classroom, he almost wished he had a parasol, as the sunlight further enforced his discomfort. He was on his fourth Camel of the class day, having snuck upstairs twice during classes, and once during the short break between second and third period. The roof used to have a pile of cigarette butts piled in a corner near a storm drain, but either someone trying to be helpful, or - more likely - an annoyed janitor installed an ashtray near his nook.
On his sixth, with minutes to spare before sixth period, Leslie came and joined him. He taught photography and ran the yearbook, she science. Joining him, she wordlessly picked up his pack, and took a cigarette, lighting it with her own zippo, a gift from a college roommate. Leslie had the benefit of perfume, and the fact that she met him at eleven the night before, whereas Edward had started around eight. When they left around midnight, Edward was functionally coherent, but Leslie insisted that she drive.
Neither expected to run into each other last night, or for their evening to conclude as it did: their classrooms were on different sides of the building on different floors and their interaction was severely limited even after two years working together. He never really invested in much school spirit, and was rarely asked to be a part of the numerous afterschool activities. Some credited this to his father, who was the Principal of a crosstown school, which gave Edward the aura of being favored by nepotism. She was in charge of girl's tennis, and sometimes helped the drama department out. Edward was her junior by a good five years, and both had yet to marry. She was nearing thirty five, and still led a life not too dissimilar from her college days. The first year of her tenure at Adams, she was cagey about her bad habits: she'd only smoke after work, she'd only get drunk on Fridays and Saturdays, she'd only get high once a month. But as time wore her down, she found her addictions encroaching on her forced discipline. Trying to appease karma, she invested herself more in the school programs as once a month turned into whenever she felt like it.
Edward just never gave a damn, but both felt as though they had to maintain the facade of authority - the night before their conversation quickly fell into a discussion of the things they felt they couldn't do simply because they were teachers. He mentioned going to an all day concert, she mentioned her hair, and both quickly disclosed their predilection for getting stoned. That was the cover suggestion for their heading back to her place, but when they got there, it crumbled shortly after she poured him the drink he really didn't need and threw on some Nina Simone. After roughly four minutes of settling in, hungry hands began making their way around previously foreign territories. He knew when she touched his hand and offered to drive what it was, and she knew two minutes after she walked in the bar that she would be taking him home. Both only had a vague knowledge of each other beforehand, brief meetings through the last two years, but sitting down and talking made something click. She was on her way back from the latest school production, this year it was a rather poor adaptation of The Merchant of Venice, and felt she needed to stop and have a drink and a smoke before she went home, wanting desperately to be surrounded by adults. He had been hanging with Curtis, an old friend who'd recently gotten married, and was quickly working his way out of Edward's life. Their kisses had the tang of tobacco and whiskey, but there was an obvious electricity in spite of the odor.
By the time the two began taking off their clothes, Edward was rather drunk, but the feeling of a warm mouth on and around his penis revived him sufficiently. She had him on her sofa, and while he gamely played with her nipples he realized he hadn't been fellated in a very long time. At Curtis's wedding, all of two weeks earlier, he was struck for the first time in a while that he was lonely. He had been single for two years, with only a handful of flings in the interim. He was a creature of habit, and going out to meet women wasn't often one of them. These days his weekends were spent biking, and usually camping. He'd pack himself a pint, some dinner and breakfast, a tent and light sleeping bag and two bowls worth of marijuana, and often wouldn't come back until late Sunday to his usually grousing dog Milo, an adopted pet from an ex-girlfriend.
As Leslie lightly massaged his testicles with her tongue and lips, she realized that she missed performing fellatio, but the activity of doing so was getting her so stimulated that she didn't realize that she was literally dripping with excitement. For her too, it had been a while, and the last one made her feel old, as the relationship had the dynamics of a teenaged fling. The sex itself was like many of their students: unformed but with possibilities. Edward was fighting for control of his body, and was mostly winning, but his rhythms were off, which lead to Leslie getting on top of him and doing most of the work. Even so, his light thrustings weren't all that spectacular, and at one point, he went limp while trying to take her from behind. Leslie dutifully felated him back into spirits. As an initial attempt, it had potential, but neither knew if there would be a return engagement, and both held back some of their predilections in case of offense. Leslie said she was on the pill, and both were too tired and horny to worry about diseases, so after a while Edward finished, and as Edward pulled out, Leslie quickly cupped her hand under her vagina hoping to keep from staining the sheets. She then waddled to the bathroom, feeling his seed trickle down her leg, but had to keep her other hand free to open the bathroom door, and she didn't want to coat the doorknob in semen. Upon entering the bathroom, she closed the door but didn't lock it, and entered the shower. Leslie felt good, the night felt like something, and after quickly looking to see if Edward was coming in, she licked her hand. She thought that maybe next time she'd actually have an orgasm, but that this was a good warm up.
Edward lay there for a brief dazed minute when Leslie made her way to the bathroom, and after she entered he made his way to the living room, unaware of the semen and female ejaculant that dripped off his now flaccid member onto her hardwood floors. Leslie had her own house; it was modest, but it was something. No pets, either. He stumbled, and awkwardly grabbed a Camel and his untouched drink. Standing in the middle of her living room, he lit up, and - still in a state of half sexual stupor, half drunken stupor - finished the drink. It was a death blow, and after his cigarette, he went back to the bed to lay down, while he heard Leslie taking a shower.
It took two minutes for Edward to know that he had no choice about the vomiting. Next day wasn't looking pretty regardless, but there was nothing he could do, and he only knew of the one bathroom. He stood up, and made a quick move to it. Leslie was happy to see him, but he could barely eke out an apology before hanging his head above the toilet. It took a couple of dry heaves before anything came out, but then came that warm spray of sick. His body convulsed and Leslie quickly turned off the shower and left the room. After the final purge, Edward swabbed his tongue around his mouth and spit whatever was left out. He flushed, and stared at the concoction that looked brownish and seemed more bile than food as it swirled and disappeared. He stood up, wiped away the tears, and looked for a glass. He couldn't find one, so he cupped his hand and awkwardly got enough water in his mouth to slosh around. He then spit into the toilet a second time and flushed again. He looked around and saw a window he could crack, which he did, and sprayed the cinnamon scented Glade above the toilet, and then examined the bowl, grabbed some toilet paper and wiped away the last evidence of his sickness. When he flushed the toilet for the third time, Leslie re-entered the bathroom, and gave him a glass of water, while Edward mumbled profuse apologies, and then they both collapsed into her bed.
When they woke up at 6:45, it was decided Edward would have to get his car after work, and the two quickly dressed, and though Edward would have to wear the same pants and dress shirt from the day before, she had an old T-shirt from an ex-boyfriend he could wear. Their communications were awkward, and neither had time for breakfast. Edward dawdled in the bathroom, still out of it, and so he only had time for a glass of tomato juice. He was so tired and confused he shampooed twice, and when out of the shower, found himself flicking through her medicine cabinet. He found her pear-tasting lip balm and dabbed a finger in it, putting some on. Throughout the day he found himself dragging his thumb against his lips in a faint memory of the night before. He also worried that his vomiting might have stained their relationship beyond repair, and that the Tomato juice made him a bit gassy on the drive in. He hoped their smoking would sufficiently cover the odor.
As they stood on the roof and smoked, nothing was said, but with five minutes left, Edward grabbed her hand and held it for a minute. The two looked at each other conspiratorially, and left it at that. Both knew what they'd be doing for the weekend.
Wednesday, May 11, 2005
I will say this, when they remake Slap Shot, someone's going to lose an eye.
Damon: Well, yeah.
Damon: I've had work today.
God: You left at nine.
God: C'mon, give me the excuse.
Damon: Look, God, here's the thing. Solomon has a problem. He's good for maybe two or three drinks, then he starts getting bad. I like hanging with you, but C'mon, it's getting ridiculous.
God: I've known Solomon for ages. And the thing about people with alcohol addiction is that it's on the people with the problem to do something about it. It's on Solomon.
Damon: Well, yeah. But you should talk to him about it.
God: Okay, I will, it's just, you and Jesus.
Damon: Look, he'll always be your son. But I'm close to you God. That's just the way it is. We get along, and I like him, it's just. Look I moved to town cause we were friends, and I'm getting to know your crew. Maybe eventually they'll be my friends too, but right now I'm your friend and their acquaintances, it'll take a while, okay?
God: I know, it's just.
Damon: Yeah, I know, and you know, thanks again. Hanging with you has been great. You know everyone... Literally.
God: You see that Mena Survari just got divorced?
Damon: Yeah. Doesn't Solomon have an eye for her?
God: And she does like older men.
Damon: He's got a thing for the freakgirl.
God: And you know she's about to go into the coke and drink frenzy
Damon: For sure, though Chris Klein is single now, so who knows?
God: Klein likes the "American Pie."
Damon: You watch American Idol?
God: No, but Jesus does.
Damon: Good, I'm sick of hearing about it. I think the whole scandal thing is what they're doing to keep it fresh.
God: Maybe so. I bought the Clay Aiken autobiography for Jesus, and he got so mad at me.
Damon: Clay Aiken, that's such a great punchline.
God: You want to go to White Dog on Friday?
Damon: You know it.
God: Cool, I'm friends with some people, so...
Damon: Rock it.
God: All right, I may bring Solomon, though.
Damon: Fine, but let's have drinks after, okay?
God: Fine, maybe I'll call Mena.
Damon: A drunk and a fetal alcohol syndrome baby.
God: Match made in heaven.
Damon: rim shot.
God: Peace, and I'm out!
Tuesday, May 10, 2005
Monday, May 09, 2005
If you take out the Dae-su masturbating, and replace TV with computer, that's not so far from my life, and a lot of people I know. Though I still get down the old fashioned way when it comes to sexin' (you know, an auto-erotic asphyxiation closet that's adorned with Punky Brewster and Wilma Darling images) somebody I know once said since 2000 every girl he's slept with he met through the internet. Most of the people I'm close to these days I met through a computer. The job I have right I got through my internet connections. On line, I've written close to a thousand reviews, and at least half of those for a very respectable website, the J, and that may have some real world ramifications. And my relationship with the online world continues to evolve, and there are some work possiblities coming up that have everything to do with the name I've carved out for myself online. With the blog stuff, this place can and may become my clock and calendar, and arguably it's already my church. I have people I know simply through on line stuff, people in different states and countries that I might not be able to pick out of a line up, but people I'd call close friends, and confidants.
So my question is: Why hasn't Cronenberg made a movie out of this phenom yet? Cause eXistenZ didn't go far enough.
Since I'm being a pretentious twit, let me pimp my friend and backhandedly pimp myself:
My friend DK wrote this book, dedicated it to me, and included my reviews of both Bills. I really like the book, so I'm not just saving gravy, if you know what I mean. I mean, I don't know what I mean, but.
I am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang
I watched Velvet Goldmine last night, a personal favorite of mine. I'd call it the best musical of the last decade, but Hedwig makes that hard. Though it may be the better movie. I should get out to see Kingdom of Heaven, but I might not. I'm that lame. I spent a lot of this weekend writing other things and talking with people. Mostly, sad to say, about Star Wars. I mean, I like talking about Star Wars, but I'm starting to be happy I'll be done with it in a week and a half. I'd write more about Velvet Goldmine, how I love the structure of it, how I love using Bowie as a symbol of how the 80's tried to shove homosexuals back in the closet, to which some went willingly, etc. etc. But I'm lazy after writing so much this weekend. And by a lot, I mean a lot.
Saturday, May 07, 2005
God: I know. He called me again this afternoon. Drunk.
Damon: God, damnit.
God: He called to tell me that he was too drunk to go to his AA meeting.
God: I know. Anyway, Jesus saw RotS Thursday. He went with John Singleton.
Damon: Yeah, I heard. I heard John loved it.
God: Big time, at one point he hooted and Jesus was totally embarrassed to be sitting next to him.
Damon: As embarrassed as he was watching Shaft?
God: Almost. C'mon, Shaft's not that bad.
Damon: You're wrong, God. You're wrong.
God: Um, last I checked I'm not.
Damon: Do you guys have the DVD around, we can watch it next time I'm over.
God: Actually we don't.
Damon: I mean I'll conceed that Jeffery Wright is phenomenal in that movie, but they had all the elements and fucked it up.
God: I don't really want to watch it again.
Damon: Are you conceeding?
God: Um, maybe a little.
Damon: "It's Egyptian cotton, you fuck."
God: Jesus has been playing the new NIN a lot.
God: Eh. He'll never top The Downward Spiral.
Damon: The fragile was like a half hour of a good album spread out over two hours.
God: I liked his Bowie remix, though.
Damon: The guy has skills, but yeah.
God: Jesus starts bumping Trent's stuff, I go in my room and throw on some Oasis.
Damon: You guys are so stuck in the mid ninties.
God: You wanna catch Kingdom of Heaven this weekend?
Damon: Maybe I still have I was a Fugitive From a Chain Gang to get through.
God: Fair enough.
Damon: Tomorrow night might be good, though.
God: Fair enough.
Friday, May 06, 2005
Thursday, May 05, 2005
God: Hey Damon, sorry about that. Something came up. Solomon really needed me. He's been getting 2 o clock drunk for the last couple weeks. I don't know why, either, Jesus thinks it's cause his latest girlfriend broke up with him two weeks ago, but he's been drinking like this for a month now. I think she cheated on him, well I know she cheated on him. Oh the fucking drama. I show up, he's crying and talking about his small dick. I was all like "She was a waitress at a club, and when Colm Feore tips well and expresses interest, you're going to come across as archaic." The fucked thing was a month ago he was all like, "I'm so happy to not be dating a starfucker this time...." He ended up smoking some pot and mellowed out a bit, but he's been like this for years. I don't think he ever got over the time he slipped it to Sheena E. Me and the gang were on tour with Prince, just hanging with him, awesome dude, very grounded, all things considered, and though Prince was like "I don't touch the stuff" Sol and Sheelia slipped off back, did some coke and ended up fooling around. I know you're super busy tomorrow, but if you're around lunchitme, I might give you a buzz, maybe we can grab lunch at The Steak Escape. Anyway, glad you won money. Oh wait. You haven't won yet. Well, it's not like you're going to get this until you get home anyway.
Wednesday, May 04, 2005
Damon: Been busy, May looks to be a banner month.
God: Well, especially since you're designing banners now.
Damon: rim shot.
Damon: You hear about Thursday?
God: Hell yeah, sounds cool, you should go.
Damon: I know, get my one sheet signed.
Damon: I know.
God: So what about the Katie Holmes Tom Cruise thing?
Damon: What about it?
God: What are your thoughts?
Damon: My first: So phony.
God: You think she's a beard?
Damon: But see, now I don't know. It seems so obviously phony that maybe it's not.
God: You're going around the bend on that one?
Damon: Yeah, I like betting the long odds. But in terms of his gayness, maybe he just likes having trophy girls around. I think he's gotten so far into Scientology that he's past sexuality.
God: See, Jesus is way more cynical about it.
Damon: But you guys aren't so crazy about the Scientologists, are you?
God: Not a fan, no. Xenu. What the fuck's up with that shit.
Damon: Still.... Cruise was great in Collateral.
God: We, you know me and JC and Lot, saw it digitally projected, and I liked it but Lot would not shut up about these gossipy girls behind us. We got out of the screening and these girls were already on their cell phone, so Lot went over and grabbed the phones out of their hands and broke them. These girls were pissed, so Lot made us run away. So, even though I liked it, every time it comes up around Lot he has to tell the story of how he broke their phones. By the fifth time he told that story, Jesus was ready to punch him. And you know how hard it is get Jesus that mad. Hey Jesus (what?) say hey to Damon.
Jesus: What's up?
Damon: Not much, J, what you got going tonight?
Jesus: God had to hit the bathroom, so he passed the phone to me... he's always like this, I mean it's not like we don't talk, eh, sometimes he doesn't like speaking his mind.... Anyway, we're going to hit the 101 around ten, grab a omlette, and probably hit the Well, but Lot's been talking about going to Giggles, though.
Damon: I'm playing poker tonight, get some stuff ready for the thing tomorrow. Last time I went out with Lot he got so drunk he got kicked out of Cheetah's for touching a girl's... look I was shocked he got away with grabbing her boob, but God's got some clout in this town, so I wasn't too surprised, but does Lot even know how big G tipped to cover that shit up?
Jesus: Lot's been like that for a while. I think he's got entitlement issues.
Damon: Wouldn't shock me.
Jesus: That was the front door.
Jesus: I think God forgot he was on the phone with you. Yep, I hear his car.
Damon: Maybe something came up.
Jesus: Fair enough.
Damon: God was talking about the Cruise Holmes thing.
Jesus: He is such a gossip.
Damon: I know.
Jesus: Anywho, I've got a report to work on.
Jesus: I've been taking some college classes on the side, so I'm taking an econ class. I think the girl who sits next to me is a stripper. She's got the nails for it.
Damon: High heels?
Damon: Belly ring?
Jesus: Of course.
Damon: If you see her with a roll of ones, it's over.
Jesus: My striper-dar isn't what it used to be though. Normal girls can look hella slutty these days.
Damon: Since I favor the librarian look...
Jesus: Grow some stones, dog.
Damon: (laughs) Good talking to you.
Jesus: Back at you.
Sunday, May 01, 2005
There's a signing in LA for The Big Red One on Thursday. I don't know if I'm going to go since it would require:
1) Driving there
2) getting my BRO poster out of its frame and
3) buying a second copy of Big Red One.
But, hell, with a movie that good...
But this leads to another thought. My desk has a drawer filled with old love letters and pictures from other relationships. I never look at them, but I can't bring my self to toss them. This thought I think is a natural response, the only thing I've ever destroyed is a set of picture I wouldn't wish a garbageman to stumble upon.
Other than that, my nostalgia closet isn't very deep. I have a journal from Russia, and it hasn't been cracked in ages. And one yearbook. Otherwise, I just have a small collection of my past writing, from high school and college (the college stuff is embarrassingly on line. When it comes to being a journalist, and good grammar, I've learned more in the last three years then I ever learned in school, and I still have bad habits, like run on sentences that never seem to.... JOKE IS OBVIOUS).
This all reminds me that I got a letter on Friday from a high school friend I haven't talked to in years that had a picture of her second child. I doubt I will respond. Though I guess we're all guilty of navel gazing from time to time, publically and privately, this type of post is generally as deep as my nostalgia goes. And I think it's the reason why I decided to not include the ability to respoond to stuff like this. Sometimes my writing is just simply meant to be me metaphorically whispering my secrets into a hole in the wall, which I'll momentarily cover with dirt.
"... Back in 83, I was getting more pussy than a dumped bag of fish guts... Warren Beaty used to come by to marvel at how many girls would be hanging out at my place. And yeah, I put a lot of the money away, but by the time 87 rolled around I was showing up at Lucas's doorstop saying "I hear you're making Willow." Look, Damon, here's the thing, I love cocaine. I love it. And I've kicked it, but I have a problem, and some times I fly down to eat a whole bunch of crops. I'll freebase it by burning the Cocoa leaves. I get so high, I end up at Antartica freezing my nuts off, or in Australia, hanging with Russell Crowe. I told you I know Russ right, next time he's in town, I'm totally going to introduce you two. You're so fucking talented Damon, I... I turned down some work in Return of the Jedi. Lucas was going to write a sequel to Dragonslayer specifically for me. I fucked it up, man. I was cut out of Reign of Fire, that's how bad it got. I mean, I can still sell houses, but, I mean, God damnit (untilligeble for the next two minutes) and the fucking god damnit cock snorting horse fuckers over at, where was I... God damnit, my cigar fell in my lap. I burned a hole in my fucking robe. This shit is silk. God damnit. Damon, I'm going to have to call you back, is that okay? Okay, I'll talk to you later."