Fetor "The Epitome of Corruption" release 1/2/09 at Cal's Liquors, 400 S Wells, Chicago, Il with The Rubs and Cadillac Rope, 9pm, 21+
Wednesday, December 31, 2008
Seinfeld as a bee reminds me of Tony, December 2008, originally uploaded by Brandon Wetherbee.
Monday, December 29, 2008
Sunday, December 28, 2008
Saturday, December 27, 2008
Friday, December 26, 2008
105. "Prelude to a Kiss"
I watched this film because it's set on the North side of Chicago. I finished the film because the odd story was compelling, human and well done. Without being overtly preachy, this play turned into a film tackled aging in a story about switching places. A young bride and a man about to die switch places. That's the story.
Alec Baldwin and Meg Ryan meet and fall in love. Within six weeks they're living together. At their wedding an old man requests a kiss and gets his wish. Unbeknownst to anyone, he switches places with the bride. The rest of the film is spent pondering some big questions in a new way. It kind of works. The performance of Sydney Walker as the old man is perfect. He doesn't overact and is much more believable as a twenty something woman in love than Alec Baldwin not playing his character on "30 Rock".
I've been to a handful of movies on opening night, 12:01am early Friday morning to be exact. I somewhat understand the idea of seeing something as soon as one legally can. I understand it more if alcohol is involved. If you're turning the theater into a bar, it makes perfect sense. At least it did for the "Snakes on a Plane" outing. Anyways, midnight openings are like most things that end at 3am, you end up waking up full of regret, usually with Taco Bell trying to seep out of your body.
Chapter three, which was released sixth, of the "Star Wars" trilogy part two (because the first three, parts four through six, were released together and parts one though three, released fourth through six, were released together) is the only sci-fi film I've attended on opening night. (While most North Americans between fifteen and forty know the above "Star Wars" films, try to explain the sequence to someone unfamiliar with Lucas' cash crop. It makes little to no sense.) The crowd was prepared for the worst. They also planned to be there for the long haul. I went on a whim with my newspaper editor. He decided to purchase tickets to the midnight showing around ten, allowing us an hour to keep working, a half hour for transport and about fifteen minutes to find seats. We were not good planners. People had been camped out since six in the morning. We were screwed. Our tickets to the midnight show would be honored for the three AM show, but since that show looked full, we would be seated for the six AM screening. Thanks to God or god or the Force or the force, I saw an old friend in line for the midnight screening. We sat middle, middle. We split a six pack. We had a good time. The film didn't disappoint and I was in bed by four in the morning. Not a shabby experience.
"Snakes on a Plane". We saw the film because it is called "Snakes on a Plane". Come on! Yes, this existed! And not all that long ago. The theater was packed with potheads, drunks and teenagers. It's the closest I've come to seeing "Rocky Horror" at midnight. Random paraphernalia was hurled at the screen. The aisle I was in was littered with empty bottles of forties. The theater passed out mock in case of emergency instructions. These cardboard sheets flew at the screen with grace. The film was awful. It was a wonderful time. The lines to the bathroom resembled that of an all-ages punk show at a coffee shop. The actual toilets resembled that of an all-ages punk show attended by a few thousand kids.
My most recent excursion to see a film before any of my friends did not go as well as the first two trips. I did not split a six pack and no one shouted catch phrases. Seeing "The Dark Knight" in downtown Chicago in the heat of summer was not as fun as it sounds.
The second installment of the Christopher Nolan "Batman" series was shot mostly in Chicago. It stared an Oscar-nominated actor who had recently passed away. It's Batman, for Christ sake. People wanted to see this film. Badly. All midnight and three AM shows were sold out weeks in advance. My girlfriend had the foresight to seek out tickets weeks in advance. Therefore, we had guaranteed seats. Hooray! Batman! Before everyone else! The film could not be ruined!
The bus was late. By a lot. We did not arrive at the theater at eleven at night. We arrived at eleven forty five. A friend we were meeting had arrived at eleven. He saved seats for us until the ushers told him to stop. We were not able to sit with him. My girlfriend's set of friends also saved seats for us. By the time we arrived they were only holding one. I was on my own. I spotted a seat middle, middle. I had a seat.
Sitting middle, middle at a midnight show is a double edged sword. You're sitting around superfans. They're going to be quiet and absorb each line of dialogue like a trained puppy, adoring each zinger. They're also going to moan at each blow against their hero, salivate at every explosion and cum in their pants at key points in the film. These pop culture obsessed arrogant know-it-all assholes make films awful. The problem is that I must include myself in this category. I'm not as bad as these kids, I don't make any noise during the flick, but I will inform you after the film that it's odd that Heath Ledger made out with Jake Gyllenhaal but not Maggie Gyllenhaal.
To my left sat three white dudes in the early twenties, ripping on each preview, laughing at awful quips about how Shia LeBoeuf does suck and that they are very intelligent, laughed at a few moments in the film, yet gasped at a few action scenes and even clapped, discussed the upcoming "Terminator" film staring Christian Bale before the preview screened and once it did they cheered. To my right sat a female around the age of twenty four that seemingly has never seen a film, gasped at each appearance of the Joker, laughed loudly at each comedic preview, clapped a few times and was the only voice in the theater for the majority of the film. She was never annoying per se, just extremely sad. I wanted to find out if she's ever had a friend, or more specifically, a friend that let her talk about her ideas, feelings, observations on life. The only possible explanation for thinking that Batman might die in the first 10 minutes of a film about Batman would be a Mormon upbringing and this is her first foray into the outside world, but I doubt that's the case because she told me she had been there three hours before the film started.
Why didn't the fan boys sit next to the loud girl? They could've produced the next generation of "Batman" fans.
Father's Day got me out of the house. Rather than visit my mother or putt around the apartment, I decided to head north, to the Chicago suburb of Skokie, and stop by a book sale.
I've lied to my mother about Father's Day since I can remember. I never wished I could celebrate this day proper, but I play it up like I do every year. "I hate this day. I hate Father's Day." When I was younger I would say the same thing, except the periods would be exclamation marks. No one hates Father's Day because no one cares about Father's Day.
There's something wrong with my 7-day pass. When I put it in the card machine (there's gotta be another word for the thing, not slot machine, obviously, but it's like a slot machine, maybe it's a card reader, but that would seem to be a better name for the machines that are outside the turnstiles at El stops to add money and check the balance) it reads 'INVALID' or "See Attendant: Code 43." It's not a big problem on the bus, the expiration date and time is clearly listed, but El stations are a little more problematic. An attendant was not on duty at the Chicago Brown/Purple line station at 3pm on a Sunday. Rather than miss the next train, I hopped the turnstile. While committing my crime, the speakers blared the automated message "An attendant is needed on the northbound platform. An attendant is needed on the northbound platform." I hid behind a pole before an attendant made it up the stairs.
I've been waiting for the #97 Skokie bus for 30 minutes. The book sale ends in an hour. It's looking like I'm not going to a book sale in Skokie.
I made the book sale. It was held outside of a mall in a large tent. The tent was the size of four football fields (Why are football fields used to comprehend the size of something large? If you've ever been on a football field you'll realize that four football fields are big but not gigantic. For those that haven't been on the field, it sounds bigger than most city blocks.). The sale stayed open an hour later due to demand and due to an overstock of books. The more books available meant the most books to take back to the library and that's good for no one. The fair stayed open an hour later, the prices were cut in half and I had an hour and ten minutes to walk around. I hit fiction first. I grabbed any book by Hemingway, Bellow and any other writer I enjoy. I took any book that would fit in my pocket. I took any book I heard I might like in the last five years. There wasn't a lot of books to take. After fiction I hit sports.
My girlfriend doesn't like me reading books about baseball. I understand her reasons. I tend to talk about baseball for the duration of the reading and the month following. If the book leads me to another book about baseball, I'll continue for even longer. For example, after reading "Money Ball" (which is awesome and I know believe in sabermetrics) I was recommended "Three Nights in August" and talked to anyone that would lend an ear about the Cubs straddling between sabermetrics and old school scoutery. My girlfriend did not want to hear this. She enjoys the Cubs, goes to games with me, gladly watches them on television and listens to Santo rant, but she doesn't enjoy the theory of baseball. Or I should say she doesn't like hearing me go on and on about my theory on why middle relief is indeed important.
I found the Jose Canseco book, "Juiced", in the sports section. I bought the book. I started the book on the bus ride home. I finished the book within two days. The book was so bad it was good. The argument for steroids made no sense. The reasons behind not fucking Madonna did make sense. I did not see that one coming. Canseco blamed his wife for the fights they had, claimed to love his child above all, wanted the reader to know that he totally kicked ass and would still be kicking ass if Major League Baseball had any balls and he is Cuban. Did you know people hate Cubans? Well, they certainly do! Especially Cuban baseball players! That's why everyone wanted him out of the game! Not poor performance! Racist!
Canseco said his father didn't care enough about Jose. Dad went to his games, but wasn't affectionate. His mother provided that role. Yet another Father's Day and yet another time I was glad I did not have a father.
Upon finishing "Juiced" I tried to pawn it off on a friend. No one wanted to read this modern day classic. So it's behind the television, buried beneath wires, cables, cat hair and packing peanuts. Let me know if you want it. I'm sure my girlfriend will be glad to have it out of the house.
Thursday, December 25, 2008
Yet another holiday, yet another night spent watching ten-year old "Sex and the City" episodes.
"This is how it really is, Brandon. See, he wants to get married and have kids."
My mother provides consistent commentary so I know what's going on. She provides consistent commentary when she's alone.
"What's wrong with a guy like that?"
This episode is about single people and married people and how they're different.
Carrie wrote a column, or is writing...
"Oh, that's funny."
Anyways, she's working on a piece about single vs. married and how it's like the Cold War. I've eaten my four-thousandth calorie of the day. I'm not too worried about the weight gain. I'm the heaviest I've ever been. I also have more facial hair than ever, so I'm just getting my Orson Welles' look down. I'd say I wear it well.
"Want a cupcake now? Yo-oh? Want the top of a cupcake?"
Once the holidays are over I'll shed a few pounds.
"There's only what? Forty-five minutes to eat? Oh no, it's only a half-hour."
I'll walk around more, eat less, stop eating after ten at night.
"Only on T.V."
I'll visit the gym near my house. It's free the first two weeks of the year.
"Oh, that's on T.V.?"
Last night I was thinking about drinking to pass out.
"I never see that Marisa Tomei that much."
Oh, this episode also has a B-story. The lawyer pretends to be gay.
The lawyer is not gay on the show. She is gay in real life. This show is written by a gay man. At least the movie was written by a gay man.
"How disgusting. She just kissed her. I don't want to kiss no girl."
The old one is going to sleep with the doorman. I'm glad I'm a doorman in a bar and not an apartment.
"Look at her figure."
The old one seduced the guy on the street. Good for her.
"Ehh! Isn't that funny?"
I haven't said anything since I began this little piece. I can barely move. I tend to eat all the broccoli casserole I can in the months of November and December.
"She always loved Mr. Big. Always."
That dude is also on "Law and Order." He rakes in syndication money hand over foot.
"Especially him, he's established."
Now the desperate guy that was dating Carrie is dating the not whore and not lawyer. Did I forget to mention the desperate guy? Whatever. They're using Aretha Franklin's "Respect" to show the glory of being a single lady in the city.
"How come that is not boiling? I haven't heard the kettle yet. I don't want that Britney Spears shit. I'm going look at the..."
How long are these shows?
"What is that? We gotta go see that. That's a nice girl movie. I gotta go see that. Would you and Mike wanna go see that? No. I'm stuffed to the hill. What does that clock say? Eleven thirty nine? Twenty minutes. I'm so full. I won't be hungry for that oatmeal in the morning. I need that oatmeal. It regulates my blood sugar. Oh, sixty off. After tomorrow it'll be seventy."
The show is over.
"Oh. I'm so full."
I should abandon the television for a few weeks. The last two days have taught me that nothing is worth watching.
"We have to watch Nancy Grace at twelve. I'll think she'll like being in jail. Did you hear about the Santa shooting up people? It was the in-laws. Funny as hell."
The show is on again.
"See, it was meant to be."
It's a "Mr. Big" episode. Looks to be the first one.
The old one works in P.R.? I guess that makes sense.
This show makes New York City ugly. Maybe it's the time and not the place. It's so old they're not using cell phones.
"Now you know she's in love with him, right? It's terrible. It's so terrible."
Stephen Dorff is in this one. I actually like one of his films.
"Now if you know he's twenty he's too young."
Hey, mom! I'm twenty! I could totally fuck that old one! Even with my Orson Welles stature. Especially because my Orson Welles stature!
"T.G.I.F.! Now he's got to be twenty years old! Because they're twenty years old."
I drank enough to get aide in sleep but not enough to work effectively.
"There he is, Mr. Big."
Now the show is talking about men in their forties.
"What the fuck? What did he go in there for? Five minutes. I watch this every night, Brandon."
I never had much fun in the bars in New York. Probably because I wasn't smoking indoors.
"No, they ain't."
I'm pretty sure The Dandy Warhols is the music in the bar of the young people. I'm pretty sure they're in the basement of the Bowery Ballroom.
"Pony necked beers?!?"
"That's disgusting. Ain't that funny. Aren't you going to have some of that Fannie May Santa? Don't you want to taste it. Don't you want to open it so I can taste some."
I'll open the chocolate.
I opened the chocolate.
I ate the head of Santa Claus.
50. Liam Callahan "All Saints"
My mother asked me to read this book at the start of the year. She had gotten halfway through the text but gave up. She wanted to know if the main character had sex with a priest. She did not.
"All Saints" is about a fifty year old high school teacher. She has a thing, not really an affair, with a student. Another student dies. One is pregnant. It's a good book for the beach (I've read one or two books on a beach so I'm not really sure what I'm talking about) and a good book for other fifty year old women. As a twenty six year old male, I somewhat enjoyed the book. A basic understanding of Catholicism helped. A basic understanding of fifty year old women is not necessary.
I would play this song on my college radio show throughout the year. The station had the Lips' "Yoshimi Wins: Live Radio Sessions" and the EP is great. Their cover of "White Christmas" is great. It's so beautiful and sparse and heart breaking. Any decent filmmaker could make the audience cry with this song. Just put it over an image of a adult sitting alone on a park bench watching children build a snowman.
Wednesday, December 24, 2008
I want my tooth pulled. Well, that's not exactly correct. I want whatever is left of my tooth pulled, specifically the roots and whatever else is making it hard to sleep.
A cap fell out during a radio show I hosted in the winter of 2003. I was chewing gum and it decided it had enough and wanted to leave. It left and never came back. To hell with it, I thought, I never really wanted you. I left the tooth unattended until the next winter when I had a root canal. I didn't cap the root canal. The insurance didn't cover it. I had another root canal the next summer. I didn't cap the root canal. The insurance didn't cover it. I have done nothing to the tooth for the past three years. I have done quite a bit because of the tooth.
Large amounts of liquor seems to help. A dentist told me that I'm in pain when new roots are exposed. The alcohol helps numb and kill the nerve. I'll usually do a shot of whiskey and have a few beers. Recently I've been drinking rum. It ain't too shabby. My dilemma is when to start drinking. The hole in my mouth throbs from sunrise to sunset. The desire to self-medicate shares the same schedule. Yet I can't start drinking until most people get off work. Never mind that I don't have a normal nine to five and could start drinking at 9am without it affecting my job performance. That's not the point. The point, I think, is that if I don't drink until the evening, I'm not really an alcoholic. I'm just a masochist that's in denial about a love of hard liquor.
It will cost about $200 to get my roots pulled. Since there's nothing left of the tooth, there's no chance a bridge can be built or the tooth rebuilt. I'm a lost cause. Well, I'm a cheaper cause. Dentists over the years have given me quotes in the thousands. They wanted to rebuild my tooth or build a bridge. No dentist thought either would last for more than five years. Why spend so much on a temporary fix? I could just drink the pain away. Looking back, I've made the wrong decision. I've spent thousands filling this hole with booze.
Maybe this hole has scared me away from alcohol. I associate shots of whiskey with stabbing pains. Therefore, I do not take shots of whiskey without stabbing pains. Hence, doing shots to mask pain prevents me from doing shots for pleasure. Sound logic if I say so myself.
The UIC Dental School opens at 7am. Exams begin at 8am. Actual dental work begins at 9am. This is the place where I will get my roots pulled. The problem is that I've been drinking every night. I've been passing out around 3am. If I wake up at 6am and head over to the dental school I'll still be drunk. I'm pretty sure any competent dentist would not operate on a drunk. I need a dentist that throws competence to the wind. In fact, I need to find a dentist bar and gamble my way into some drunken surgery. This way, even if the procedure is botched, I'll be too drunk to care and I'll be able to sleep in.
I've known about the dental school for years. I've put off any procedure for years. Not so much out of fear of pain, but fear of getting work done, seeing the bill and going to debtors prison. Sure, that doesn't exist in the US anymore, but it's always been in my mind. I don't buy it unless I can afford it, unless it's education. I don't own a car, have a mortgage, pay credit card bills or bills for a wedding ring. I can't afford a wedding ring and I definitely can't afford a child. So I don't get my tooth fixed.
If you have good teeth you probably have decent money. If you have good teeth you have a loving partner that also has good teeth. Sooner or later one of those partners will want a ring. A ring to show everyone that yes, they are taken and yes, that person also has good teeth. While we're at it, now that we have these nice rings, we might as well have a condo with a mortgage and buy furniture that isn't quite good looking but very functional and was paid on credit car bills. We picked out the furniture on a trip to the far west suburbs in our nice sedan. You know what, why don't we move out to the suburbs in a nice subdivision? It's so quiet and nice out in the suburbs.
I am not ready to get my tooth fixed. I'm not against having a good set of chompers, a wife, a house and domesticity, I just don't know where to start and I'd rather start it right then end up in a sedan cycle.
1. What life decisions did I botch to end up here? It's 7:40am and I'm one of thirty or so other adults waiting to be seen by a UIC Dental School student. My tooth is bleeding and pulsing and bulging out of my mouth. Did I floss enough? Rinse with Listerine too often? Too much sugar? Too many cigarettes? Tons of processed food? Probably all of the above. Buy why here? There are other dentists, other options, ones that don't herd the masses outside of school buildings. We don't have insurance. All creeds, colors and sexes are here because we were hoping we'd die before we would need to see a dentist.
Now I understand why my mother told me to make a lot of money.
2. The parade of students has begun. They're my age but not my peers. They made the right decision. I don't really believe this. I'm beating myself up because I'm in pain and hungry. I've eaten an average of 800 calories a day the last week. I'm not losing weight because I'm drinking 2,000 calories a day.
It's the wait that kills me. Show up before 7am to wait outside the building. Sign the sheet at 7 and wait til 8 to see if you'll be seen. Wait an hour to fill out paperwork. You might wait until 5:30pm to be seen. Don't complain. You're 'saving' money.
If I've already gone down this path I might as well embrace it. I'm going straight to the grocery store and buying blond hair dye, baby food, Similac, Slim Fast, microwavable burritos, hot sauce and clearance shelf condoms. A steady diet of psychedelic drugs should help. I could fill this hole with pudding. Banana flavored generic pudding in a yellow box. I'll used condensed milk and powdered milk because it'll stay forever. It'll never go bad. The pudding in the hole will never go bad.
3. Waiting room two is humid. "Jesus loves you and so do I." The ceiling has been vibrating lowly, consistently. The consequences of recreational drug use is in every corner. Diabetes has reared its ugly head. Look to your right, why it's a small child, no more than four years old, and he's holding a bag of Cheetos! It's adorable! Just precious! Why the baby looks thirsty? Why, it is thirsty! Don't worry, momma is here! And shes' got a great ol big bottle of generic cola to wash it all down!
4. This hole should have been dealt with years ago. Literally, it should have been taken care of five years ago. Even that would have been too late. The pliers didn't work. Let me explain, I used pliers to pull out my tooth but it didn't work. The tooth was chipped a little, but I couldn't establish a good grip. I put on gloves to get a better grip, but well, Jesus didn't want this tooth to come out. Oh, Jesus!
Jesus is everywhere in this place. No, there aren't any crucifixes or statues or religious staff, but there are a lot of prayers and big ups to everyone's personal lord and savior. Though I'm wearing headphones and trying my damnedest to drown out the drilling and cell phone use and soap operas, I can still hear prayers. Prayers of thanks mostly. Maybe that's what I need, a chance to say thanks for a hole in my tooth.
5. I will be worked on. This will be taken care of. This shouldn't cost that much money. I should be able to pay rent on time. Thanks, Jesus! You're so crazy!
6. My silence has brought me better service. Other patients have complained. Complaining doesn't work without money or consequence. "I'm next! I was here first!" Everyone knows you were here first, you informed everyone that you were here first. But you also informed all of the staff that you were here first and have angered everyone on staff. No one wants your teeth to be fixed because we're hoping you will die soon. It seems possible.
7. The shots didn't take. It took four extra attempts to numb my mouth. They wanted to make sure I felt no pain. The joy of dental school dentistry is the extra sets of eyes staring in your mouth, mentioning what the student that is in your mouth is doing wrong. Fuck it, I pay for one set of drugs. If they mess up, I get messed up.
The tools being used are sending shivers though my bones. Literally. For almost an hour I've been shaking on odd places without warning.
8. The drugs will wear off four hours after the procedure. I will drool for the next two hours. I lied and said I had a car waiting for me. I have a bus ride waiting for me. I wouldn't mind drooling all over the Ashland bus. I probably won't be the only one.
I can't sleep on the bus ride to Memphis.
Did Kelsey and I look at butterflies at the Field Museum during a Jimmy Chamberlin concert?
I watched SNL throughout childhood. I thought of New York City as a dark den of desperation. Buildings loomed over everyone, always shades of grey.
I just want to go back to throwing a ball against a brick wall, hour after hour, day after day, left alone in my head.
The bus driver has been swerving for hours.
Maybe I should get off at the next stop and set up a new life. Wash dishes at a diner. Find Jesus.
Tuesday, December 23, 2008
"This I Love", track 13 on Guns 'N Roses "Chinese Democracy" sounds like a "Nightmare Before Christmas" outtake. I'm not sure who influenced who, but I can guarantee that this song will be played at proms and weddings for years to come. It's really bad. Here's a really bad video for the bad song.
I kick myself every time I accidentally read YouTube comments. But every once in a while, I see a gem like, "fuck up u little dick, denmark is a hitt place thats not worth of axl thats wh stop bitching u cunt" and I know it's all worth it.
I kick myself every time I accidentally read YouTube comments. But every once in a while, I see a gem like, "fuck up u little dick, denmark is a hitt place thats not worth of axl thats wh stop bitching u cunt" and I know it's all worth it.
Monday, December 22, 2008
Sunday, December 21, 2008
Saturday, December 20, 2008
Friday, December 19, 2008
Thursday, December 18, 2008
Sunday, December 14, 2008
Kanye West was on SNL last night. He performed "Love Lockdown" first. His singing goes from poor to mediocre. His stage is the best SNL has ever seen. It's what Nine Inch Nails has been trying to have for the last ten years. It makes the singing OK. It doesn't matter. It doesn't matter that West trips on some syllables. The stage is the career. The man is the band. The first minute is every band you've had in high school. The last forty seconds is the release every artist strives to attain. At 2:32 a synth line kicks in that sounds like 100 distorted basses. It's the creative peak of the song. This performance is the summary of every band that has tried to create anything on their own.
The new album is his version of Bob Dylan's "Blood on the Tracks" or Martha Gaye's "Martha, My Dear", full of songs about heartbreak and loss. The difference between West and these two legendary performers is that he doesn't know private. He blogs. A lot. And understands why people like his blog. It's full of neat looking stuff that no one needs, not thought out musings about art. He doesn't seem to grasp the idea of a private life and that's perfectly fine. I personally think the lyrics on the album are atrocious. He has more in common with Fall Out Boy than Jay-Z. Once again, that's OK. He's being himself. For better or worse, the man is nothing but honest, something that Dylan and Gaye share with West.
Love him or hate him, you have to admit that stage is amazing in every way. Especially when it goes red. That stage will sweep the awards at the Stageys.
Saturday, December 13, 2008
49. Bill Cosby "Love and Marriage"
Bill Cosby writes like he shouldn't be married. He complains about his wife Camille for the duration of the book, albeit in a nice way. Anyways, it's not shocking he had an extramarital affair. I'm not being fair, but the book wasn't that good. It just warned me that I'm not ready for marriage and apparently, most people aren't.
104. "The Battle Over Citizen Kane"
This is the documentary that is included on disc 2 of the 2001 "Citizen Kane" DVD. It was now nominated for four Oscars in the documentary category. It's interesting. It tells the story of the William Hearst and how it connects to the flick and Welles. Interesting stuff. Sad stuff.
Welles portrayal of Hearst is the one most of us now, a newspaper tycoon who lives in his own world both figuratively and literally. He dies alone and dreams of his lost childhood. This wasn't the case of the real Hearst, but art prevailed. A good lesson for certain people concerned about their legacy to learn.
Thursday, December 11, 2008
48. Anne Frank "The Diary of a Young Girl"
It is a shame that I did not read this in junior high or high school, I know this. For that I apologize. There's not much I can say about the book that hasn't already been written. It is a classic and extremely important for a reason. Rather than write a review or anything, the following are a few of my thoughts throughout the reading.
-While visiting a friend in Amsterdam, I did not have enough money to visit the Anne Frank house.
-For better or worse, I can not see myself being friend with a holocaust denier.
-The Neutral Milk Hotel album "In the Aeroplane Over the Sea" is really good.
-I wish I read the version released after Otto Frank, Anne's father, passed away.
-I should have read this ten years ago.
-It's difficult to read this book on public transportation.
-Anne Frank was a better writer at 14 than most award winning writers.
103. "Kiss Me Deadly"
This is the one 'classic' that I do not understand. At all. In any way. I do not understand it whatsoever.
The film is considered a noir. I think this is so because its star is a P.I. So what? That doesn't make it a noir. It makes it a film with the lead being a Private Eye.
The story is convoluted. Our P.I. picks up screaming woman, gets in a car accident, watches her being tortured, is left for dead and follows the why behind all this. Why? For the money? That doesn't make much sense. For the mystery? He's not a child. It's unbelievable, poorly acted and the script is awful. It looks more like a B film than a classic. I do not get it at all.
It's supposed to be a warning against nuclear war. It's not a very good warning.
102. "Fred Claus"
Vince Vaughn sure does like making money. Christmas flicks are destined to at least break even and this one did much better than break even. The gross had to be the reason this movie was made. It doesn't really appeal to children, Vaughn fans or film buffs. I think the target audience was families that couldn't agree on a film on Christmas day.
Vaughn plays the title character, the brother of Santa. He lives in Chicago and wants to open an OTB across the street from the Board of Trade. He dates Rachel Weisz and isn't the best boyfriend. He kinda looks out for a neighborhood kid. He goes to the North Pole so his brother will loan him money. It's not a very good story. None of the characters have any clear motives. Why wouldn't Santa, who has seemingly all the money in the world, just give the brother money or say no? Why would Vaughn call his brother for money is he 'hates' him as much as he says he does? Why would Kevin Spacey's (this is the B story) character want to shut down Santa's services? Why would Weisz continue to date Vaughn? Whatever. It's fine. Vaughn does have some monologues that are actually funny and he is charming, like always.
This film taught me two things. 1. Elizabeth Banks (in the C story) is the ideal girlfriend for filmmakers and, 2. Jon Favreau made a much better Christmas film in 2003.
Sunday, December 07, 2008
101. "Being There"
What a wonderful film. I would have adored this film in high school. Peter Seller's performance is excellent and deserves all the acclaim he's collected in the last 29 years. By now you've either seen it, heard of it or will never see it. I encourage you to see it. The last sentence makes me seem like I am a 'film critic' that takes myself too 'seriously'.
If I were an actor I'd study Seller's performance as Chance.
Monday, December 01, 2008
100. "Role Models"
A very formulaic film. A great Hollywood film. Like a good Britney Spears song, the machine is well-oiled and every once in a while lives up to its potential.
Paul Rudd is smart and thinks he's smarter than everyone else but is unhappy. Seann William Scott is Stifler at 30. Elizabeth Banks plays the stereotypical girlfriend, the catalyst for Rudd's change in behavior. Rudd and Scott are assigned kids from a youth group because Rudd went off the handle at work. The kids present a challenge. Big budget film 101. Doesn't matter. Rudd, who co-wrote the script, is loved for roles like this and there's good reason. He's quick witted and funny to boot. The kids are great and, like all great kids films, there are a few shots of breasts, a pair seen by the younger kid.
See the flick. You won't love it, it won't be your favorite film of the year and you will feel like you've seen it, but it works exactly the way it should.