Sunday, September 30, 2007

I lost my father

Last night the wife and I went out dancing. Her mother is still with us, and so we were out until last call. We went home, and, well it's dancing, we were rared and ready to go. I couldn't rouse myself until 11:30.

I finally talked to my mom around 12:30 to find out that my father died this morning. You expect some sort of emotional something. A physical shift. There is nothing. Strange. I guess it takes time or being around a body. Now it's just a notion, a notion I was familiar with since my father told me at the dinner table, when the strokes started. I think it was post college, in the months after where I was staying home before moving in with some musicians. My mom, father and myself were having dinner. My father lost his latest job, and we were aware of his medical condition. Things were getting worse with him. At dinner we asked my father what he wanted to do with his life. If he had said "I wanna rock!" I would have been overjoyed. Instead he told us all he wanted to do in life was die. Shortly thereafter he had a minor stroke and so we rushed him to the hospital. I would like to think that that was the impetus to get the fuck out of my parents' house. Though I think it had more to do with pussy. As most things do.

I think about watching The Royal Tennenbaums. I think it's been long enough, but I fear it will be a formality. An attempt to feel something my reviving old emotions. We shall see. My wife rushed to the store in the interim and got a home pregnancy test. We've got a second bun in the oven. I think we both knew before today, but I can't blame her for trying to counterbalance. When I'm done with this my wife promised me a blow job. We'll see if I can make it.

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Lazy Sunday

Good Cronenberg films make you want to fuck. Well, that's not always true, but when my briefly tortured relationship with my wife began we saw A History of Violence. How we did not fuck when that movie was over is kinda beyond me. Except it isn't, I'm a deeply reticent man. It's my curse.
But EASTERN PROMISES is limp-dicked DC. I was talking about this with Beaks yesterday, and I think the film would have been better if the journal Naomi Watts gives Armin Mueller Stahl implicated his competitors, therefor making Watts morally culpable in something vs. giving the diary to the man to which the diary becomes his downfall. Viggo is great, but the main story is not the focus of the plot, which leaves the film feeling limp. Which is too bad as we had an extra hour on the babysitter and I would have loved to have nasty Cronenberg-fueled sex with the wife.

Today we're up to nothing. Been doing more yardwork. It's okay. Hitting my zen on it.

Saturday, September 01, 2007

Nothing like a funeral to find out who misses you

The DVD Journal is no more. Last Thursday we had a bit of a celebration, many of the core group there for the final sort of party for it all. The editor, Alexandra du Pont, D.K. Holm, myself, Dawn Taylor, and Scott Anderson, all regulars over the nine year run of the website, all critical members of the core group. Others, those who've moved away from Portland, or were never there to begin with were there in spirit like Yoda at the end of Return of the Jedi. Funny that it should all end at the Aalto Lounge. Funny. Funny because that's where it began for me in the winter of 2000.

Sometime in 1998 my brother was working at Powell's with D.K. One afternoon I was in the bookstore, and spotted Doug at an info counter and chatted his ear off for a good hour. I was there to pick up an R. Crumb book I had recently read about, and that helped cement our now-decade long friendship, as did a piece Doug wrote about me in The Portland Mercury. Doug used to have something of a roundtable back in the old days of Portland journalism, back when he wrote for the Willamette Week. Sometime after we started hanging out, and after his kindly assistance in ushering me into the Portland critic scene, the table began anew, and continued frequently until I left Portland.

This used to happen at Berbati's, and as I made my segue into film buying, sometimes - actually most times after work on Thursdays - I would saunter on down to join Doug, and a collection of people, some critics, others friends, who would join us for a night of spirited discussion. Around this time as well, the TV show DK did - originally with Pat Holmes, then with Kerry Fall and myself - was shooting at Berbati's as well.

Doug was looking for a DVD player at some point in either late 99, or early 2000. He was to review Bringing Out the Dead for the J, and didn't have the player yet. I think I helped him get his player, and got it set up - I'm not sure any more. This helped alert me to the J, which I knew was located out of Portland, but hadn't read as much as DVD File or The Digital Bits. Mostly because I was more interested in the info of what was coming out than anything else. I was also writing for, which gave me a number of free DVD's. But after reading the Journal I wanted in. Sometime after Doug moved, we started relocating the roundtable to the Aalto lounge and so the members of the table somewhat shifted. And since the table brought together a number of the writers, eventually the editor joined every once in a while. It was there I met him, and circled writing for the site. Eventually, one night, after many drinks, I finally put my cards on the table, and he suggested I write something for free. I wrote a couple like that, and was then brought on.

The editor edited. For Binary, no one touched my prose, which was - to put it nicely - early. To look at some of that stuff now, even though I have also adopted a more personal first person voice for much of my other (non-screenplay) writing, mastering the Journal's third person tone was hard, and something I struggled with for much of the run. I knew a lot about movies, still do, but even as an English major, I never knew much about the nuts and bolts of writing. And so for much of my journey through the J I learned about writing. How to construct sentences, how not to be too redundant, how to use sentences to make my point as much as the words. Things I may have intuited but did not understand. I never had that sort of technical mind. And so I learned much over the years.

At some point my role shifted. I knew more about the tech specs than many of the writers, and so I wheedled my way into a position as the managing editor, trying to catch typos and spec errors. Every Sunday I would spend a good couple of hours (after having finished my writing) pouring over the reviews that were, more often than not, some of the best reviews on the internet. And being there meant the editor had someone to bounce ideas off of, and occasionally listen to the gripes that come with dealing with so many writers, and all their bad habits (I was chewed out more than once for some poorly worded prose, lashings I took with a certain sadomasochistic pleasure as I knew I would learn something from them).

When pushed I could actually write some pretty okay stuff. One of the first ones I wrote that was something that gave me positive feedback was Mulholland Dr. I had fun tearing into bad movies, and one of the best tear jobs was beating up on Pearl Harbor. I really enjoyed writing at length about Tarantino's films, and so Pulp Fiction will always be a personal favorite as will my works on Kill Bill: Vol. 1 and Kill Bill: Vol. 2, which were later published in a book. I also loved writing about Melville and so Le Cercle Rouge and Le Samouraï are also faves. Writing about great films also got me going so The Band Wagon, La Dolce Vita, and Seven Samurai have a special place in my heart.

I think my favorite will always be Straw Dogs, though. I really worked hard on that one, felt like I got to something there.

The rhythm was developed, discs were gotten each week, I was also made courier at some points, and a weekly routine was established. I moved from a basement apartment to my own home, and was able to bring Clarence Beaks on to the team. But, as the editor put it "our own world has changed in the past decade as well, with marriages, children, new homes, career changes, and various other things that happen to sensible people when the subtle business of adulthood creeps up on them unawares." In 2004, I moved to Los Angeles and got a new job, in 2005 I met a girl and got married, and last year I had a kid and bought a home - such describes my life perfectly. With my move the round table stopped happening (as I've been told), but the site soldiered on. Thoughas long as I've been writing for the J, the editor has been threatening to quit - or at least for the last five years. It was "too much work," but he (like myself) has never been one to just sit around, and so now he does other things.

Some may ask "So did you bone Du Pont?" The answer is, sadly, no. We joked about that on my return, as I'm now married. It was always weird. She was usually in and out of relationships, and it never clicked. She's happy where she is, and vice versa. Though because she's kept to herself and is kinda "mysterious" I could probably get away with saying I did. Though, honestly, I was never her type.

The DVD Journal was a labor of love. and visiting the front page now, it's nice to know that people will miss it.