Tuesday, May 30, 2006

The taint is the body's Rhode Island.

I once fucked a girl who had a shamrock shaved into her pubes. Must have been a Celtics fan.

Monday, May 29, 2006

For the Love of Judy Garland

No, I'm not gay,Really.

Interesting weekend. The wife is four months pregnant, and we had to go to some parties this weekend. The one for her work friends was a pool party, and Aili wanted to wear the bathing suit. She did (looked good, if I don't say so myself, which I probably shouldn't), and she's got a bit of a belly. A lot of people she works with didn't know she was pregnant until a month ago. I have seen most of these people four times over the course. Christmas and the briefer of "stopping by the office" moments. Todd, one of the interns, is pretty cool, so I hung with him mostly when I wasn't at the beck and call of my wife. Todd's gay. That doesn't bother me, of course, but as the intern he's sort of a bad guy to side with, but we both feel like outsiders, and he attends these things with the same amount of obligation I do. Aili likes him, but she feels I should mingle more. One of her coworkers, Tina, started talking about the whole pregnant thing. I found it all overwhelming, to say the least. At least Tina was a straight shooter. Though being told by a woman about vaginal elasticity was a convo I never thought I'd have, I mean we knew about spotting, but whoosh, somethings you just don't want to hear from strangers. Things have slowly gotten better with the wife, all things, but everything's still tender. At one party I didn't drink and she was upset with me for abstaining. Second party, I had four beers, and she was mad that she had to drive. We got home and she got mad at me and herself. It was one of the most schitzophrenic conversations I've ever had. Basically, I explained to my life, in less words, that I love her. This has been hard to prove, but I try. But it's a serious concern, and one that I'm sure I'll be adressing for at least the next year or so.

People hundred of years ago were S-M-R-T, smart!

"And now," I said, "let me show in a figure how far our nature is enlightened or unenlightened: --Behold! human beings living in a underground cave, which has a mouth open towards the light and reaching all along the cave; here they have been from their childhood, and have their legs and necks chained so that they cannot move, and can only see before them, being prevented by the chains from turning round their heads. Above and behind them a fire is blazing at a distance, and between the fire and the prisoners there is a raised way; and you will see, if you look, a low wall built along the way, like the screen which marionette players have in front of them, over which they show the puppets."
"I see."
"And do you see," I said, "men passing along the wall carrying all sorts of vessels, and statues and figures of animals made of wood and stone and various materials, which appear over the wall? Some of them are talking, others silent."
"You have shown me a strange image, and they are strange prisoners."
"Like ourselves," I replied; "and they see only their own shadows, or the shadows of one another, which the fire throws on the opposite wall of the cave?"
"True," he said; "how could they see anything but the shadows if they were never allowed to move their heads?"
"And of the objects which are being carried in like manner they would only see the shadows?"
"And if they were able to converse with one another, would they not suppose that they were naming what was actually before them?"
"Very true."
"And suppose further that the prison had an echo which came from the other side, would they not be sure to fancy when one of the passers-by spoke that the voice which they heard came from the passing shadow?"
"No question."
"To them," I said, "the truth would be literally nothing but the shadows of the images."
"That is certain."
"And now look again, and see what will naturally follow if the prisoners are released and disabused of their error. At first, when any of them is liberated and compelled suddenly to stand up and turn his neck round and walk and look towards the light, he will suffer sharp pains; the glare will distress him, and he will be unable to see the realities of which in his former state he had seen the shadows; and then conceive some one saying to him, that what he saw before was an illusion, but that now, when he is approaching nearer to being and his eye is turned towards more real existence, he has a clearer vision, -what will be his reply? And you may further imagine that his instructor is pointing to the objects as they pass and requiring him to name them, -will he not be perplexed? Will he not fancy that the shadows which he formerly saw are truer than the objects which are now shown to him?"
"Far truer."
"And if he is compelled to look straight at the light, will he not have a pain in his eyes which will make him turn away to take and take in the objects of vision which he can see, and which he will conceive to be in reality clearer than the things which are now being shown to him?"
"True, he now."
"And suppose once more, that he is reluctantly dragged up a steep and rugged ascent, and held fast until he 's forced into the presence of the sun himself, is he not likely to be pained and irritated? When he approaches the light his eyes will be dazzled, and he will not be able to see anything at all of what are now called realities."
"Not all in a moment," he said.
"He will require to grow accustomed to the sight of the upper world. And first he will see the shadows best, next the reflections of men and other objects in the water, and then the objects themselves; then he will gaze upon the light of the moon and the stars and the spangled heaven; and he will see the sky and the stars by night better than the sun or the light of the sun by day?"
"Last of he will be able to see the sun, and not mere reflections of him in the water, but he will see him in his own proper place, and not in another; and he will contemplate him as he is."
"He will then proceed to argue that this is he who gives the season and the years, and is the guardian of all that is in the visible world, and in a certain way the cause of all things which he and his fellows have been accustomed to behold?"
"Clearly," he said, "he would first see the sun and then reason about him."
"And when he remembered his old habitation, and the wisdom of the cave and his fellow-prisoners, do you not suppose that he would felicitate himself on the change, and pity them?"
"Certainly, he would."
"And if they were in the habit of conferring honors among themselves on those who were quickest to observe the passing shadows and to remark which of them went before, and which followed after, and which were together; and who were therefore best able to draw conclusions as to the future, do you think that he would care for such honors and glories, or envy the possessors of them? Would he not say with Homer, Better to be the poor servant of a poor master, and to endure anything, rather than think as they do and live after their manner?"
"Yes, I think that he would rather suffer anything than entertain these false notions and live in this miserable manner. "
"Imagine once more," I said, "such an one coming suddenly out of the sun to be replaced in his old situation; would he not be certain to have his eyes full of darkness?"
"To be sure."
"And if there were a contest, and he had to compete in measuring the shadows with the prisoners who had never moved out of the cave, while his sight was still weak, and before his eyes had become steady (and the time which would be needed to acquire this new habit of sight might be very considerable) would he not be ridiculous? Men would say of him that up he went and down he came without his eyes; and that it was better not even to think of ascending; and if any one tried to loose another and lead him up to the light, let them only catch the offender, and they would put him to death."
"No question."
"This entire allegory," I said, "you may now append, dear Glaucon, to the previous argument; the prison-house is the world of sight, the light of the fire is the sun, and you will not misapprehend me if you interpret the journey upwards to be the ascent of the soul into the intellectual world according to my poor belief, which, at your desire, I have expressed whether rightly or wrongly God knows. But, whether true or false, my opinion is that in the world of knowledge the idea of good appears last of all, and is seen only with an effort; and, when seen, is also inferred to be the universal author of all things beautiful and right, parent of light and of the lord of light in this visible world, and the immediate source of reason and truth in the intellectual; and that this is the power upon which he who would act rationally, either in public or private life must have his eye fixed."

Friday, May 26, 2006

A strange week

My wife has been pissy all week. We're going to a party tomorrow night. I plan on spending the whole time ignoring everyone else at the party. I hope that helps. And I wish I wasn't so delighted my wife is jealous. Not that this hasn't happened before. But I guess now it feels so stupid. My wife is hot to me. If you like Finnish chicks.

I got a call Tuesday from a friend from Portland. It started poorly when he said "How's it going with the fake wife?" I tried to correct him, but it went bad from there. He was critical of our relationship, partly because of reading this blog. And he reads this and I'm being critical of him, but my whole stance was "Look it's real now. It's real now."And we got into a fight, and then I have to come into the house where the wife is still upset with me.

Wednesday I get an Email out of the blue from an old coworker who tells me that someone we used to work with has died. I have had many mentors in my life, like any male of my generation who's felt his father was not the man he wished to emulate. Hal was a man of experience, and he definitely meant a lot to me. In rememberence I think of one of the things that made us friends. Early on, I did some thing stupid and he called me on it. I listened, and he did the gentlemanly "I'm going to heavily compliment for something else because I don't want you to feel bad." A couple days later we were doing the employee cake thing, and I had a slice, and he made a comment like "Well, having a second won't hurt you, tubby" (though perhaps more polite), and I said to him "Would it be impolite if I told you to go fuck yourself?" and he was proud of me. "You'll do just fine here, boy." We both had the habit of coming in on the weekends to work, so I saw him often, and like many older men, he would repeat anecdotes and jokes often enough that you knew when they were coming. And he was a Southern Gentleman so politics were a no no, and he was aghast with the annual pride parade, while occassionally his leanings steered into a direction that I would find offensive if I thought he wasn't so rooted in his way, and I felt they led to treating others in a less-than fashion. But the Pabst I drink I drink for you tonight. Hal. Cause, well, I loved you. And I miss you. Part of me knew, as Tarantino said in Kill Bill Vol.2, that one of the biggest killers is retirement. And when they laid you off, I figured you might have some problems adjusting. But this is tragic news. Hal. The last time I saw you was right before I moved to LA. You stopped by a lunch to see that I was doing all right (or was it a couple months before I left, dunno). You were brief but pleasant, a couple months later you were laid off.

Today I got a call from a friend who got into a car accident. Was okay, car totalled. Crazy story. He's one of my closest in and I hope the soreness just goes away and the insurance pays for everything. It's been a weird week. I hope my wife lets me fuck her tonight.

Tuesday, May 23, 2006

RZA presents: The Fallout (Parental Advisory: TMI ahead)

I came home today and the wife got home before me. The problem with my personal disconnectedness is that I often see things from above. Which sometimes has me contemplating the next move or the grand scheme when I should be in the moment. I can't say I think in chess, but maybe a little. Not good chess anyway. I think in bad chess. But somehow I knew when I got home, and I had a moment to peak, that Aili dumped her porn stash. Kept the vibrator, though. I'd ruminate on how odd I think it is that some girls like to watch porn, but whatever, I Was happy when she liked it, but I'm just as happy it's gone. I just hope she wasn't exposed to it the way I was. Finding your parents porn. The problem with kids is that you really can't hide that much from them. They're innately curious and will go through your drawers.

Part of me thinks I should never post stuff like this. But this is my hole in the ground to whisper stuff, and it may be embarassing or whatever, but I figure as long as I'm honest, then it's interesting, and meaningful. I hope I don't look at this in ten years and cringe. But maybe I'll just cringe because it was me. And if you can't be brutally honest with yourself, then what's the point.

Sunday, May 21, 2006

Fight Night

So I made a mistake by telling the wife that I had a sex dream that didn't involve her. Especially after having sex with her in the morning. It's almost a cliche to suggest a pregnant woman is sensitive about certain things, but you throw in married, and the fact that girl told me in my dream that she was 17, I mean that shit pisses a woman off to no end. So she was supremely irritated with me, and like all married couples after the initial "I'm pissed off at you" moment, it moved towards the whole "finding faults with little things you do" style of domestic abuse. Complaints about my chorework (which is admittedly a problem), and that I spend too much time on the computer. Even after her walk she was still upset.

As I've grown older, I've learned some things that I didn't know as a youth. And one of them is that you don't bring up the subject that's annoying the person until they do (and often they want closure for themselves, so STFU if you can help it), and never put it on the level of "well, do you want out" until you need to press that button, but that button is an emergency setting and you better not be bluffing in those moments (also, bringing up "do you want out/is it over" can plant poisonous seeds). On that note the fact that I thought my wife wanted out when she was telling me she was pregnant has led to some profuse apologies, but I love giving them to her, because somehow that reminder strengthens our marriage. I mean, anyone who's had more than two relationships knows these things, but the sort of level of abuse grows when you're married (or so I've learned) because there is that sense of elasticity. That we are committed means that she can extract revenge at great length and with a level of malice heretofore unprecedented.

The problem with this sort of gameplaying is that often you can spot the mechanics of it, which you sort of have to, to know what sort of trouble you're in. But you should try to take it on like you don't know that it's something that must be flushed out the system. As a writer this level of the rules of the game is very amusing to me, but I know that I must play it, so I have to quiet the part of my brain that tells me the whole thing is show. Strangely enough this abuse and ritual reinforces that my wife really does love me - there's something to be said for the notion that you can only really get under the skin of the people you care about. I too sometimes feel the need to extract some punishment, but Aili tends to close the books faster then when the shoe's on the other foot. Also, it's hard to stay mad when your wife throws on some Broken Social Scene and puts on the lingerie after taking a bath. I'm not a fan of sexgames in general, but this sort of apology is a game to itself, and it creates a Pavlovian instinct in me. To that extent I think sometimes we fight to apologize. Again, the elasticity.

And then so after dinner, when things sort of settled down because I did all the prep work and cleaning, and also did some mopping today, and we got one of those clean stick things so I could dust away some corner cobwebs, anyway, that of course being my peace offering, and when it came up again at a more rational level, I realized how badly I fucked up.

I felt sort of faux-bad before, but here's the thing to which I cannot and try not to tell to my wife. I live in a sort of bubble. I can perceive certain things about interactions, etc. But often I am completely and totally oblivious. Some have told me that's a side effect of being a dude. But I never think of myself as super-covetable. And so for me, the idea of having a dream about a young girl desperate to fuck my brains out is amusing. It's not low self esteem, it's just I don't look like Brad Pitt or Orlando Bloom. I look like Phillip Seymour Hoffman. And some women find that very attractive. But it's not Kobe Steak, if you know what I mean (though I should refrain from food analogies after mocking them in a recent review). So when a hot girl is flirting me up I find it amusing, but I don't always (and sometimes rather wrongly) take it seriously. Cause I flirt with everyone, and this is LA. The problem is when you're married, hopefully you are Kobe Steak to your partner. And when your partner is in an emotionally fragile position, as their bodies are starting to change, and their desire to know that they have someone they can emotionally, physically et al. count on...They don't want to know you got a boner from some young girl even if she is a figment of your imagination.

There's a level of emotional fragility that I had never seen before in my wife. She's feminine, believe me, she's got all the requisite requirements, but even her more feminine moments tend to have an edge. Perhaps it's the whole accent thing, the language barrier. And I've seen my wife cry before, but the dinner conversation opened a whole new floodgate of worries and concerns I never attached to her. And the only reason why I type this out, to commit such a memory to the world is wanting to hold on to the moment I found out I could love my wife more than I did before. There was a sense and an air before that she didn't need me. And I liked that when we were mostly just fake married. And now I know my wife wants me around. Aili needs me around. And so I've gayed up the blog again, and even mentioned sex. I told Aili that I didn't know until tonight that she needed me so much, and she told me I'm an idiot. She's right.

Mean Mr. Mustard-Houx-Livesly

I'm being mean
Also, mean

Variety said my Tcheky Karyo impression was phenomenal...

You think any athestists dig on modern country music? My guess is not.

I had a dream last night that I went back to college, and started fooling around with a girl, who told me after we had sex that she was seventeen. I woke up next to my pregnant wife with a boner. I'm still sort of fucked up by the whole thing.

Thursday, May 18, 2006

Nuanced Self-Loathing

I just got an Irrate phone call from God. He basically chewed me out for my last entry.

Okay, here are the facts:
1) I do not know Puff Daddy. I have a friend named Paul who was asking about God. Not Sean Combs. I did appear on a TV show. And I have a couple of rapping friend, and I have met numerous rappers through my friendship with God, but Combs is notone of them.
2) God did not resurrect Pauline Kael. I was just being (or trying to be) clever. God does not and will not resurrect people no matter how much you ask him, or how drunk you get him.
3) God will cop to getting drunk and telling me about Lohan and my kid.
4) God wants me to transcribe this, though he's never been as commanding of a verbatim convo: "Look, you and your entire generation are way too self satisfied with your smug and slightly phony self-loathing. You like to spin plates too much. I thought you kids were down with Yoda, and the whole do or do not. You just wasted an hour of your life making fun of yourself, but in such a way that smacks of self aware cleverness. For what purpose did you do that, to show what exactly. It's twaty. Stop it, or you'll become Napoleon Dynamited."

My promise to God: I'll try. I'll try to stop doing the aware and affected faux shyness. I will strive for true humility. And hopefully I'll get to the do part.

Wednesday, May 17, 2006

Of Gods and Monsters

I was talking to Sean "Puffy" Combs today. Long story. One of the things I don't talk about much, my internship with him, like the TV show I was on for two years. It just doesn't come up all that often. Anyway, he hit me on my cell, and was like "You, dog, love your blog, why haven't you talked about God lately? Cause last time I hung with G-diddy, he was all like 'yo yo yo Damon's got the good blog, talking bout me all the time' and shit. What's up, you guys on the outs?" And we talked about my lady, and J-Lo, and the Cavs, and Kanye, and, well, stuff.

But actually, no I still talk to God all the time, but alas, having a preggers wife means carousing with the boys isn't as oft a possible, cause weekends are now prioritized as wife time. Which means when I can swing it after work I hang, but with LA traffic the way it is, that tends to mean an hour or two or a movie with the group on the weekends, and then maybe The Cat and Fiddle for a while (where it used to be we'd close that shit down). And even the evenings get to be shorter cause I like spend some QT with the wifey when I can.

But a couple days back I got some time to sit with the boys, and God resurrected Pauline Kael to review my blog. That's the problem with drinking with God, never mind the drive home - and it's hard to say no to God's wine cellar, and assorted pleasantries (I can only be so polite) - some shit comes up and it's exciting, and then frustrating at the same time. Moreso than watching Cheaper by the Dozen 2, which is simply torturesome. And then if God gets drunk enough he starts making promises, many of which he ends up keeping, and saying things you don't want to hear (like he told me where Lindsey Lohan's going to be in twenty years... and then he spoiled the sex of my first kid. But you can't get too mad at God. He's God, and he's some great verbal skills). So he brought back Pauline Kael from the dead to write a review of my blog. It was humbling, to say the least:

"It's interesting to note that the epistolary has come back into a new sort of bastardized vogue with E-mail. Though letter writing was dying as I was, the internet has allowed for instant communiques of varied length, to which the latest iteration being the Blog. But the Blog, like pop culture, is an emphemeral artform. It is fast food thoughts, with a shelf life as long as it is kept warm. It's sad to see so many of my colleagues drawn to them, but the advantages (space, lack of editors) are also their greatest shortcomings. There's a powerful sort of empty vouyerism to it all, the false honesty of a public diary. Artists may censor themselves more in personal writings than in art, and that is why an artist's art is usually more interesting than their reflections, even if grains of greatness and truth can be found in them. I doubt a great writer could perfect the art of the blog, but if they did, it'd be like mastering the Limerick.

Summoned as I was from the dead to write this, I was instructed to peruse Erratic Thriller. Immediately the blog is off-putting as the author feigns modesty with his header in an attempt at cleverness. And starting from the beginning as I did - which seems backwards - one senses the author (Damon Houx) finding his footing. Essentially, as two out of three items in his profile suggests, he is interested in two things, movies and sex (and sexuality), but his work is weighed down in the mundanity of his life. Which is the inherent disadvantage to the blogging form. His movie observations are occasionally clever if I am to be kind, though his reviews are often too brief and too stock. Like many of his contemporaries, he fetishizes films that don't deserve the sort of attention he gives them. Witness his latest entries, where he speaks more authoritatively and with greater interest about a shoddy remake of a horror film than of Ozu, whom I must admit I tended to find lacking (Houx does little but applaud an artist he seems to little understand) {Houx note: BULLSHIT}. Too often he is a status quo writer with brief bits of fancy, though too often he doesn't question the reputation of older features without giving them a curt dismissal.

Like any personal dialogue, it's cruel to disect and criticize someone for who they are - some people may just lead more interesting lives (but that too can be seen as a cop out, great artists tend to manage a sense of interest in life's small pleasures). But it's more unkind to the reader who has to slog through such pedestrian narratives. If writing were a protean artform this attention to the banal might have greater purpose, but all human beings eat, produce waste and sleep, while many if not most enjoy sex and culture, to which one wants to find insight into the human condition to make such observations of worth. Some artists have their diaries collected post humously, and one fears the bloggers who may find their works collected. If I were them, I'd make sure their blogs were wiped off the face of the earth."

Sunday, May 14, 2006

You take the good, you take the bad...

I've been told I haven't gayed up my blog lately, so sorry about that. This week my wife got me an iPod, and I got her the Facts of Life box set. She got me the iPod as a gift for my new job, I got a promotion at work (I mean I applied for it, so it's sort of a new job). I think this was her way of smoothing things out... we got into a bit of a fight about it. Having me look after the baby is a real thing, and I think she resented me getting the job. I told her it wasn't necessarily permanent, and we're doing some tenative house hunting, and having a little bit of extra cash isn't the worst thing. But she read it as a possible passive-agressive attempt at asserting my masculinity. I know my wife makes more than me. I don't have a problem with it. Really, I don't.

Looking at houses... for a second time in my life. It's like we're looking at slightly larger places for ten times the cost of what I paid in Portland. If our jobs weren't so primarily located here, I think we'd both move. Aili's pretty cool about staying in America. She doesn't really miss Finland. There's been some other drama about the baby's birth. Her parents want to come but don't, and we're not traveling with the baby for the first year (I'd say). Not on a plane for some twelve hours or so. That just seems mean. To everyone. It's weird that I'm now seriously, for the first time since college seeing the schema of the next couple years of my life. Not in a major way, it's just the nature of the beast. We're already talking about schooling. This doesn't scare me, it's just what we have to do. Married for less than a year, it's a paradigm shift. There's a level of acceptance required, even if it's a positive change. I find it hard to put in words, I guess because there are great things about it, and bad things. Bad isn't the right word. It's like learning to use utensils. Or, as I already said, a paradigm shift.

My wife is an exercise junkie, and I don't know how she stands me. We went walking today, a five mile jag, and she told me it was a good way to test my iPod. Which I had a blast loading up with stuff, and choosing what to throw in, a mix of stuff I don't know but have been curious about (Girl Talk, Fisherspooner), and the classics (Talking Heads, London Calling, Notorious B.I.G.). I really did enjoy the walk because of the shuffle setting, but then I'd want to share with the wife, and then we did the shared headset thing, which lasted for about a block. So then I just abandoned the headphones and had to talk to the wife for a while. Heh.

And I'm told I get bonus points for not talking about fucking in this post.

Get More Scared

Ozu's Late Spring
Boo? Hiss.

I love putting words together. That I was able to put the title of this entry in my review of When a Stranger Calls just makes me happy. I love that it sounds bad. It's like blowing things up good. I'm watching Barcelona. So good.

Saturday, May 13, 2006

I'll be here all week

So, Poseidon bombed. And the variety will run such headlines as "Poseidon tanks" "Poseidon goes under" "Poseidon waterlogged" "Poseidon sinks." etc. etc.

Here's my take: B.O. Pos(e)i(d)on. It is the bestest and most cleverest. FACE VARIETY!

Thursday, May 11, 2006

God is alive and well and living in Sherman Oaks.

Such is the proof (thanks be to one Daniel Laugharn for the link).

I went shoe shopping with my wife today after we both got out of work. She's getting close to the four month mark.

(Parenthetical: I had a bedtime conversation that after the baby is born me and the wife are going to get a baby sitter after eight or so months after or whatever, and we're going to get a friend to watch our kid or something and we're going to go out and get really drunk and then have really drunken [and possibly other things] sex. I kinda feel like we missed our opportunity for that. It's a strange feeling. Then again my wife's response to "Hey, you know what? I wanna take you out some night and get really drunk and have sex." was "You mean Fridays?" We'll both be here all week.)

So the shopping, Aili, was amazed. It took me four minutes to buy shoes. Literally. We went and got dinner afterwards (the wife has to have Zankou Chicken, like five nights a week. Seriously. She doesn't care if it's cold either, sometimes I have to grab some on the way home), and she was still flummoxed at the speed of light shopping.
"If I see what I want, I get it."
"What does that say about me?"
"Everything it needs to."

Sunday, May 07, 2006

Humanizing the ubermensch

A Great Movie
You're a Hooker!

1) United 93 is a great movie, I think. It opens in a very smartly banal way. Little happens. There are no movie moments to speak of (even the arrival of a late passanger is what it is), and for me I spent much of the front end thinking of what happened to me that day. I will share my 9/11/01 reminsces on the 5th anniversary later this year (shortly before my child is born). But then the shit hits the fan, and the you are there factor is pretty amazing. In some ways it's a horror film. Very intense, and well worth seeing.

2) I reviewed 400 Blows above. I took my copy to Amoeba. And got the box set of Doinel films. Yay for me.

3) Most blockbusters raise questions like "How'd they do that?" or "That's amazingly stupid!" The question M:I:III raises is "How did they spend 150 million and get so little?" The main special effects of the film are shots of Tom Cruise running. I mean, that shit costs NOTHING. Nothing. I had gone in hearing it wasn't so hot, and perhaps the elements of spinning plates, but for serious, for really reals, I didn't expect something so empty. The problem is that (as my title suggests) the film tries to humanize a character who isn't human by nature. And the fact that he wants to do his dangerous job and then have a girlfriend/wife... well it makes the character look like an ass. And without the sense of geography to the action scenes these sequences don't build at all. There's one amusing bit where Hunt is dressed as Phillip Seyomour Hoffman, and so it's obviously Hoffman running around. That amused. And so did Simon Pegg, who shows up for some quick scenes and kills. But bad exposition and funeral flashbacks really kill the thing. Hitchcock knew the MacGuffin was the thing that moved the plot but didn't matter, but you have to have interesting characters and other agendas to make it work. Not here. Just a rampant failure. And JJ Abrams doesn't know how to direct a movie.

Saturday, May 06, 2006

My old job and me.

I still follow the numbers. Every Saturday I hit MCN or B.O. Mojo to see how much business the movies did. These numbers told the story of how my Monday was going to go. Sometimes I'd stop by the office and see exactly how my theaters did. I worked in exhibition for a theater chain for five years and had over a hundred screens under my belt. It wasn't a hard job, per se, but there were things to it. You don't get to add second prints on Monday normally, print buys were long done by then, so there was always a gambling aspect to the job. I sometimes think of one of the last gambles I took (and lost) and wonder if that reflected on me being let go. Sometimes I think it did, but mostly I figure the books were closed long before I got myself into a small hot spot.

Off topic, but just the same, I'm glad things have worked out how they have, and I'm glad to be in LA with my often glowing pregnant wife. We're more than three months down, with less than six to go. We're expecting in early October. Scary scary. The doctor's appointments have gone well. We've decided we're waiting until birth to find out the kid's sex.

But the old job is why I'm fascinated by M:I:III's 17 million dollar opening. It tells a story, because nowadays one day's number suggests the fate of a film. Word of Mouth has been successfully killed as a factor into long playdates for big films. Sure, word of mouth happens, but it's few (The Sixth Sense) and far between (My Big Fat Greek Wedding), and isn't effective on what are considered easy sells. Most word of mouth goes now (thanks in some small part to AICN) to pictures before they open. They solidify the see/not see factor. And once you've studied the patterns of box office, you get a pretty concrete sense of what a number spells, because you've seen those numbers before.

And then also, the 17? Could be fictional. The film's reported budget of 150? More than likely made up. Cruise gets back end (hey now) percentage points. The film has been in development for years. The film was also probably shot in a lot of Paramount owned locations, so the studio paid itself money to make its own movie. Numbers are often fudged a little to make people happy.

Me, I'm going to see United 93 tonight.