Monday, February 26, 2007

I Loved You When It Was Cool!

From a NYTimes article making the claim that The Departed won because the industry was trying to take back big name glory from the Indie-Scene:

It was less poignant than telling that these four men, Mr. Scorsese included, were onstage together, having become what they once assailed. They are the establishment, and they are not ready to cede the field to a moshed-up world of indies and global filmmakers.

Well, yes, at least two of those guys are truly powerful, but there's a reason for that.
But I take a bit of umbrage towards the assertion that these guys are some kind of powerful monolith standing in the way of Indie recognition. When was the last time George Lucas won a screenwriting or directing award? Heh. Coppola garnered his first awards by making The Godfather, and has virtually no power (for multiple reasons).
Spielberg and Lucas are truly powerful, but they don't award themselves.
To make movies on the level that these directors envision requires quite a bit of clout, one way or the other.

As for the indies and the internationals: There are always more bad films than good. Indie (or international) does not equal better by default. Let's not forget that.

Even if The Departed is just an excellent example of a popcorn movie (it's more than that), then we can only concede that that is very much a good thing.

A win for this one is an opportunity for better films to be made overall, in theory.

The only way these key filmmakers from the early 70s American scene gained their current prominence was by learning how to make movies that are as riveting as Scorsese's winner. Period.

Jesus, thirty seconds after Scorsese finally wins an Oscar he's labeled "The Establishment"


This makes up for last year.

Sunday, February 25, 2007

...Last Call

The Pics, Where I'm Really Carin' Much At All:

Cinematography: Emmanuel Lubezki for Children of Men

Animated Feature: Happy Feet (Haven't seen it, but the trailer is so cute, and Cars kinda sucked)

Art and Set Direction: Eugenio Caballero (Art Direction); Pilar Revuelta (Set Decoration)/Pan's Labyrinth

Direction: Show Me All The Blueprints. OR I'LL KILL YOU.

Documentary: Al Gore's Big Adventure

Editing: Alex Rodriguez and Alfonso Cuaron (COM)

Supporting Actress: Rinko Kikuchi (Babel)

Best Picture: The Departed

Saturday, February 24, 2007

...So That They May Not Understand One Another's Speech

I'm too taken by what I've seen to go back and quote verbatim David Mamet, but to paraphrase him: What could happen to just anybody, by chance, is the subject of gossip, not Drama.

So, after last year, and in some cases after many years before that, it's very surprising that I can say that this time around, the Academy, whether by choice or not, has chosen five films that center around events that could only occur to a very peculiar set of people under a very peculiar set of circumstances.

It's tempting to try very hard to keep from coming back to that old grindin' axe, but this is a stark contrast to what the Academy wrought for us to hold up to a standard last year.

And thank the golden-age gods, because, and perhaps precisely because, the strongest films this year were surrounded by one of the most abysmal roundups of reprobating paeans to many a rambling flea (see below this post, fer instance).

The films I've seen (save for Little Miss Sunshine) in the major category are all stories consumed with the whale and not the flea.

The two finest films of 2006 were undoubtedly Robert Altman's final kinofuck and Alfonso Cuaron's panorama of a thousand languages, but of course, in a recurring Academy tradition, they were too awesome to be nominated.

Babel is still the red-headed step-child of the Mesoamerican Triad. But it's probably the squash in this case. Would that make Pan's Labyrinth the beans? Probably. He's fatter.

I got lost in my carby metaphor.

Anyway, let not what I've just said fool you. I'm won over. The chronological hullabaloo is not a distraction this time, and the difference in depth, power and directorial mastery is unbelievable between Inarritu's latest and his overrated 21 Grams. It's a fantastic piece. If it wins, I'll be more than satisfied, perhaps even floored. A win for one of those three is a win for them all.

Any one of the five choices would be an interesting one for The Academy. Do they go for LMS in an oddball (and totally undeserved) way? Do they give it to The Departed, signalling a win for masterful entertainment over a "deeper social message"?
Do they give it to Clint Eastwood, for what would decidedly be his most unconventional film?
Do they give it to Babel, with all of its transgressions and unfriendly-to-Americans-multiple-language-sets?
Or do they give it to a biopic? They won't do that. That would be the most conventional choice for them, which is what usually wins out, but The Queen doesn't have that kind of buzz. Mirren will likely win, but the movie itself will not.

See Babel. It seems to be a parable, but it's not perfect. It is astonishing, though.

Glossed: Joseph Andrews, The Wyf of Bath's Tale

Sneak PEAK: Adam Freeland - GU Mexico City

Could There BE Anymore Casualties?: Babel, Symbiopsychotaxiplasm: Take One

Friday, February 23, 2007


Postscript: AHAHahahahahahahahahahhAHAhAHHAHHAAHA


It's happening more and more often. Last year, I found out, long after I'd sworn off the notion of ever going to see it, that The Wicker Man was directed by Neil LaBute. This confused me. I still haven't seen it, and probably won't.

Now, it's happened again with The Astronaut Farmer. Billy Bob Thornton as a former astronaut building a rocket in his barn? The concept and the marketing scheme are in a head to head thunderdome match, the trophy of which goes to the one that ends up irking me the most. Anyway, I was all set on not seeing it until I found out it's by the Polish Brothers. What's going on?

I'm glad they've gotten high-profile work, and now that I know this is by them, I may actually have to see it. They've been derided as Coen/Lynch-come-latelies, but I think they're much more exciting than that gives them credit for. Now this...

The movie itself doesn't actually look bad to me, it's just a strikingly weird premise.
My greatest hope is that the movie features nothing but two hours of Billy Bob Thornton farming astronauts.

Thursday, February 22, 2007


From Claire's LJ:

Oh, I'd forgotten about this little meme.

1. Grab the nearest book.
2. Open it to page 161.
3. Find the fifth sentence.
4. Post the text of the sentence in your journal along with these instructions.
5. Don't search around and look for the coolest book you can find. Do what's actually next to you.

Here goes:

"This is the ritual for a leprous disease in a cloth of wool or linen, either in warp or woof, or in anything of skin, to decide whether it is clean or unclean."

Fun. and. Informative.

That IMDB dumb-cribbing is on its way. Also, at some point, a T2 sestina. Can the magic repeat itself twice?

Bustin' Elves

In case you actually missed Joan's sestina:

Being The Lord of the Rings Sestina

Nine companions set out from Rivendell,
Led by the most effeminate of Elves.
They journeyed in order to make a quick toss:
A great lake of fire, a small ring of power.
They were happy to leave and toasted with a pint;
Fucking lembas bread isn't as tasty as meat.

But there's more than one kind of delicious meat
To be found on the road from Rivendell;
And the mead goggles that come when you shotgun a pint
In the company of smoldering, pouty-lipped Elves
Can wield a strange but alluring new power;
A dwarf's not the only thing you can toss.

Not all love can be measured by pint;
It might be torn asunder in one swift toss
By a devilish beast that's the bane of the Elves.
It hungers for attention and old man meat
Just like Mr. Anderson in Rivendell
The uppity one with the eyebrows of power.

Never should have fucking left Rivendell
Could have tapped that sweet evenstar ass of the Elves
Could have shown ol' horseface just what to toss
And reveled in greasy Gondorian power.
Another op'nin, another pint;
In the sandwich of fellowship, I am the meat.

On the road to Isengard, the tower of power
If I slit a throat, would it fill a whole pint?
These Uruks smell worse than Rivendell.
I managed to drop my leaf brooch with a quick toss.
I can't carry it for you, but I can carry meat.
Give it to us raw and wriggling; you keep nasty Elves

I'd cut a bitch just to get a cold pint
Like the Magic Bullet, I can chop and toss
But I can't get my hair to stay sleek, like the Elves'.
In this deepening darkness, love is my meat.
It's like they told me in Rivendell
The smallest hobbit can contain great power.

A new power is rising, a dark lord to toss
Rivendell sends forth a fellowship of meat
Let's drink a pint to the Elves.

- Dame Livia Harlowe

....but I Can Carry Meat.

Lights fade low: Moonlit scene. Futon. Jesse Half Sleeping. fairly out of it. Phone Makes Holly Sound. Jesse Clicks Off Phone. Picks Bitch's Way Out. Figures Holly Out Drinking With Friends like On Chinese New Year. Chuck's Phone Rings. Jesse Checks Message on his Phone.


Jesse: Well, this must be important. Hey, what's happening?


Jesse: Did Chuck answer his phone?

Holly: Not happily.

So, long and short, y'all remember the Sestina from earlier. I'd meta-link it from here, but Joan, well, last week, on Facebook:

Joan: I think I'm emotionally ready now to try the LOTR sestina, and wait with bated breath for you to e-mail me my six key words.

Jesse (drunk):


And then Joan pulled off this master-stroke.

Between Holly's recent verse discovery, and mine and Joan's resurrection of a defunct poetic standby for the purposes of the geek-rehash, I'm thinking we might be on to something....

COMING SOON: IMDB Cut and Paste.

Friday, February 16, 2007

Wednesday, February 14, 2007

Tuesday, February 13, 2007

Yeah, but I Get to Drink it First...

We're more than a little with you, oh gentle Midwestern critics.
Still haven't grokked Babel, The Queen, or Clint Eastwood's big two. Thing is, and I've had some lengthy discussions of late about this, I don't think my seeing them will change my mind a whit about the unbelievable snubbing of Children of Men, save for in the technical categories, where if the Academy hadn't nominated it, they would be truly, adamently bonkers, not just merely the middlebrowers that they are.

It seems that every year the overall nominees become better and better, with glaring, sometimes unbelievably dunderheaded nominations being passed around for what I can only assume are private megamanical celebrations of unadulterated power. I would be giving them a little too much credit if I indulged that belief. This year, however, there seem to be no real terrible nominations (only a major, rather mainstream snub with COM)

In the end, I say I don't care about the Oscars, but I'm lying, because a win for Gladiator has given us plenty of movies like it where Braveheart sufficed, and I shudder to think of the pail of Crash imitaters that might surface, but that could be a knee-jerk. Would I be upset if more people made movies like Babel? Well, I haven't seen it, but probably not. There's nothing that's been nominated this year that could do any damage, not really, and I won't be upset if any of them go home with the big prize (though a win for Little Miss Sunshine might be pushing it, it's absolutely impossible to get upset for any reason over such a funny little flick)

I wholeheartedly agree that lighter fare should sometimes win. After all, Little Miss Sunshine is serious business, just like all great comedy.
In the end, it's foolish for the most part to assume you have a classic on your hands until after years pass. Name a best picture winner other than Titanic, or maybe The Lord of the Rings that you really remember or think about anymore. There are some, to be sure, but it might be harder than you think. It's your memory that decides what's great or not. When you're done with it, and a year later it still rocks you, then you might be on to something.

Addendum: So having said that, why am I not saying anything about the posthumous Altman snub? After all, A Prairie Home Companion is also lighter fair as well as serious business, and LMS can't come close to touching it. Well, here's the thing, what I said about memory and yadda yadda yadda yadda. All true, but sometimes you know. And most of the time they don't. They only begrudgingly give out accolades to any person whose entire career was devoted to giving the industry the finger.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

Wednesday, February 07, 2007

Warmness Shortly Thereafter, Following Krunkness

To any and all who'll be rockin' into Chattanooga this weekend, bring extra blankets and pillows, for all our sakes.
Yes, yes, we've been well furnished with blankets by our respective moms as well as most recently by good friends, but more blankets will always be necessary. The nights they are a not lookin' to be quite so cold as late, but you know the ol' drafty yellow house; She doesn't retain warmth the same as others do.
So please, let me know if you've gotten this message by Thursday, or I'll have to call you and remind you.
Party party.

Endite, You Glorious Bastards!: Defoe - Moll Flanders, Richardson - Pamela, Fielding - Shamela,
The Knight's Tale, The Reeve's Tale, The Miller's Tale, The Man of Law's Tale

Go to Sleep Now: The Crane Wife - The Decemberists

Granny Just Bought Me an Annotated: Bible

Been Rockin' Out with My Brand New:

Tuesday, February 06, 2007

I'm Eating It!!

And so, Studio 60 will fall by the wayside in March. It will, according to NBC, return at a later date. They did indeed order a full season, so we can expect them to make good on the promise. After that, I'd say it's probably done and gone.

Holly, I'm with you, because the past 3 or 4 episodes haven't been half-bad, have in fact had some very nice moments, and even the weakest Sorkining is far preferable to even the strongest Haggis-punch. I'll bring the oreos, but I may in fact make actual haggis. To fling.

In all of Sorkin's preaching, he's never stooped to a Haggisly low. He's come close a coupla times (a point that, after last fall, I won't belabor), but someone with his track-record can be forgiven. Charlie Wilson's War comes out this year, far as I know. Lookin' forward to it.

Sunday, February 04, 2007

Ellie Lama Zabachtani

Project Remove From Copyright is underway.....slowly.

Here's a golden oldie from the year in Brno.

The process of moving old posts from TDOTHSAOFS over to here (allowing for meta-links) is excruciating, if only because I refuse to correct any mistakes or improve anything stylistically while I'm re-editing the code.

Which inevitably means that what's fit to print will be limited (my work on the old blog was sloppier, by and large, than it is here, though I feel it got better the last two years I used it).

It's fun, at least for me, when I find a post, such as the above, that I need do nothing with and can still smile about.