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Showing posts from 2007

Dear God, Why?: Before The Devil Knows You're Dead

Tuesday was The Boyfriend's birthday, and he wanted to go to the movies. He'd been wanting to see Before the Devil Knows You're Dead since it came out, and as it was playing at the Somerville, he chose that for his birthday movie. Having read up on it, I KNEW that I wasn't going to like it, but it WAS his birthday...turned out that he hated it too. As did the other three people who came to the movies with us. I discovered the only thing worse than a relentlessly depressing movie in which none of the characters are likeable and all the decisions are bad is a relentlessly depressing movie that continually LOOPS BACK on itself, so you actually end up watching the SAME depressing scenes over and over again. Maybe I liked it less than I could have because I hate non-linear story-telling. Or, as I said, it could be because I felt about it the same way I did about Chicago, in that I found all the characters to be shitty people whom I didn't care about. OR it could be that…

'Tis the Season: Christmas Music Essentials

So I uploaded my Christmas music to my iPod. Yay, it is the Christmas season!

1. "Carol of the Bells" performed by the American Boychoir. I didn't pick this version for any special reason (although it's quite good) I think it was just the first version of the song that happened to come up when I plugged it into iTunes.

2. "Mr. Heat Miser" performed by Big Bad Voodoo Daddy. This is not exactly a Christmas classic, but it is a lot of fun.

3. "I Won't Be Home for Christmas" by Blink-182. I like a little punk rock in my stocking, you know. Besides, I WON'T be home for Christmas, so it's apt.

4. "Santa Claus is Coming to Town" performed by Bruce Springsteen. This is a live performance, and Bruce and the E Street band rock the roof off.

5. "Rockin' Around the Christmas Tree" by Brenda Lee. As far as this goes the original (or, at least I think it's the original) is best.

6. "Most Wonderful Time of the Year" p…

A Passionate (if Incoherant) Ramble

So I was reading a review of the new Stephen King movie The Mist, right, and as usual there was all this bullshit about how it's cliched and crappy and not scary enough/too gory/not gory enough/blah blah blah. And I suddenly realized that there are very very few really GOOD King movie adaptations. Really, there's just The Shawshank Redemption, The Green Mile, Stand By Me, maybe The Shining, and if you want to stretch, Carrie. I've also heard good things about Misery, though I have never seen it. Most of the rest are just terrible, and I have always had a hard time figuring out why. I mean, I've read some books and articles about translating King's work from the page to the screen, and no one has adequately explained to me why there are so many bad bad bad interpretations. Then, when I was sitting there reading this review, I finally figured it out--the people who make movies do not actually understand Stephen King's books. (Well, either they don't understan…

The World According to Sesame Street

I recently decided to make use of my Netflix account for something other then renting terrible horror movies, and have added a bunch of documentaries to my Q (I can't spell that word, and I'm not even going to try.) The first of them arrived this weekend, The World According to Sesame Street, which is about efforts to bring Sesame Street to children all over the world, particularly in places where education may be lacking or places embroiled in societal strife. The doc itself was not really put together all that well--it was a bit choppy and kind of badly organized. However, it was fascinating to me to see how the "Sesame Process" works. There were three places featured: South Africa, Bangladesh, and Kosovo, each with its own particular struggles and needs. The South African segment detailed how they had used Sesame Street to promote HIV/AIDS awareness, the US backlash about introducing an HIV+ muppet on the South African show (Hello, Bill O'Reilly, you intoleran…

Triple Feature!

I watched Breakfast On Pluto with Cillian Murphy. Not a terrible film, but I didn't like it as much as I'd hoped. Although Murphy does make a convincing woman (so convincing, in fact, that I'm officially revoking his name from my hottie list because now whenever I see him I'm going to think of this role) I found the character of Kitten Braden so entirely stupid and naive that I couldn't sympathize with her. I know it's supposed to sort of be a fantastical fairy-tale sort of thing, but even fairy-tale characters have more sense than that. Mostly I wanted to slap her...although some of those outfits were stunning. A+ to the costumer if not the writer.

Then I moved on to Support Your Local Sheriff, one of my favorites, starring James Garner and Joan Hackett. Although the plot and actors in the (non-)sequel, Support Your Local Gunfighter are nearly identical with the exception of the leading lady, I find Sheriff a much better film. Garner's at his best here, Hac…

Nerd Alert...

I actually heard myself utter the phrase "I'm not the borg, for chrissakes! Just because he knows something doesn't mean we all know it!" today.

You know, I was always cool with being a nerd because at least I wasn't, you know, a Star Trek nerd. Unfortunately, turns out I AM a Star Trek nerd (Next Generation or Voyager only, please.) I blame The Boyfriend. We've been watching a lot of Voyager, and it's really pretty good. Jeri Ryan in her super-spandex body-suit certainly doesn't make it hard to watch, either. However, I still can't believe that I willingly watch Star Trek. Oh well, resistance IS futile, I guess.

A Letter to Bobby Flay

Dear Bobby Flay,

I hope that one night soon Gordon Ramsay and Anthony Bourdain pull you into a dark alley and kick the ever-loving shit out of you.
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P.S. Putting three different variations of chipotle sauce on a dish does not make it interesting. It just makes you a pretentiousdouchebag.

iPod/uPod: "Come as You Are" by Nirvana (from Live in New York)

This is the song that finally got me into Nirvana. Up until this point, I didn't really get it. I mean, I'd heard of the band, and understood that they were popular, but I didn't understand why. Then I went to nerd camp for the first time, and this kid in my class sung this song constantly. I thought it was kind of interesting and asked him about it, and he informed me that when I got home, I needed to go out and buy In Utero immediately, because it would change my life. I did as he suggested, and though it didn't change my life, it certainly did change my perspective some. Frankly, it wasn't until the Beautiful Loser burned me a copy of Nirvana: Live in New York that I REALLY GOT IT. Listening to Kurt wail "Come as you are, as you were, as I want you to be..." hit a part of me--the teenage angst part?--I didn't even know I had. This song led me to listen to the entire album, which was of course mind-blowing. The lyrics aren't entirely logical or …

Today's iPod/uPod winner is: "Birdhouse in Your Soul" by They Might Be Giants

This song holds a special place in my heart, as it was a mandatory part of every nerd camp dance. When this song would come on, everyone would join hands and then run, in a long chain, all around the cafeteria where the dance was being held. It's one of those songs that whenever I hear it immediately takes me back to a particular time and place where I had some of the best times of my life. Musically, it's got some nice harmonies but isn't really anything special. The lyrics, as in most TMBG songs, are very clever. The image of keeping the "nightlight on inside the birdhouse in your soul" is an appealing one. Even the idea that there's a birdhouse in your soul is charming. My favorite lines are, of course, as follows, "There's a picture opposite me / of my primitive ancestry / who stood on rocky shores / and kept the beaches shipwreck free. / Though I respect that a lot / I'd be fired if that were my job / after killing Jason off / and countless …

Just pay the man already: Rent

I tried to watch Rent the other day. I know I'm supposed to like it because it's about the freedom and struggle of the artistic life and blah blah blah, but I have to admit that...I hated it. I mean hated it so much I couldn't even finish watching it. I found myself sympathizing with the villain, who just wanted to clean up the neighborhood and build a nice studio. While all the main characters were whining about paying the rent, I was sitting there thinking "Well, if you can't afford to pay rent on your really shitty apartment, maybe you should stop strumming your guitar and go get a job at Kinko's or something!" I thought most of the characters (except for Angel and Tom Collins) were more annoying than charmingly bohemian. Seriously, Maureen and her "performance art"? Give me a break! And although I liked the music, a lot of the songs went on waaaaaaaaay too long. I mean, how many choruses of "No Day but Today" did we really need? I …

OnDemand is not to be trusted: Mean Guns and R.S.V.P

So I watched two movies today. One was pretty good, and the other sucked ass.

We'll start with the one that sucked ass. It was called Mean Guns, and I'm not sure why I decided to watch it in the first place. I suppose because I saw that Ice-T was in it, and I like Ice-T. However, it turns out that Ice-T has made some poor movie choices and this was certainly one of them. Basically, the premise is that a mob boss has called together in an empty prison 100 criminals who have betrayed him. He hands out guns and bats, and says the last 3 survivors get $10 million. Therefore, the entire movie is mostly people shooting and beating each other to death. It's not a bad premise, but it was really REALLY badly written AND acted. I have seen two films with Christopher Lambert in them, and both made me wonder how he manages to stay employed as an actor. I've seen high school kids act better than that guy. Hell, there was an 8 year old in the movie who acted rings around him. Even Ic…

The Bridge

The other day, I watched what has to be one of the most depressing documentaries of all time: The Bridge. Basically, this guy set up a bunch of cameras around the Golden Gate bridge, on which he caught footage of around 20 suicides. Most of the film is interviews with the family/friends of people who jumped from the bridge, people who witnessed the jumps, experts on both the bridge and mental health, a photographer who managed to wrestle a girl back over the railing and away from the edge, and one guy who jumped from the bridge and lived. I was pretty shocked, because I didn't think they'd show the actual footage of people jumping off the bridge, but they did. It's very bizarre, you see these people up there, walking around, talking on the phone, looking out at the water, and then suddenly they're plummetting down head first. A very surreal thing to watch. I don't think it's a documentary I'd recommend to anyone. In fact, I kind of wish I hadn't watched…

Struggles of the Artist: Festival Express & More Thoughts on Art School Confidential

Yesterday, I mentioned my feelings about Art School Confidential. In the comments section, the Lovely Artisan responded with this: "I really, really disliked Art School Confidential. I thought it was really muted in comparison with what I find hysterical and terrifyingly ironic about going to art school." I think she has pin-pointed one of the problems I had with the movie but could not exactly put my finger on--with all the actual drama that occurs naturally when you transplant a bunch of creative people into one place and force them to live and work together, who needs some lame-o, badly-written murder plot? I know that when I arrived at [Wild Liberal Art/Entertainment Industry College], I sure experienced a very severe culture shock. Having grown up in a small town, just being in Boston was nerve-wracking. I had to deal with suite-mates who were both nice and completely insane. And most of all, I had to deal with classes. The one thing I discovered that was more difficult…

"Don't have unrealistic expectations.": Art School Confidential

I watched Art School Confidential the other day and have mixed feelings about it. In some ways I thought it was hilarious, but it kind of failed overall. I'm not even sure everyone would find amusing the stuff I did, because my laughs had a lot to do with having gone to an "arty" school. There is a part in the beginning when one of the characters goes through and points out the stereotypes in the class, and I immediately was like "Yes! I remember those people! The blow-hard! Yes! That idiot who doesn't ever get it! The person whose work everyone else is cooing over and I'm sitting there like 'I don't understand why anyone would think this is good.' I remember all of this! The professor who doesn't really give a shit about teaching but needs to pay bills until his 'great work' gets picked up!" Atmospherically, it was very, very close to perfect--in my opinion. Ethan Suplee's filmmaker character in particular was dead-on. Howev…

Today's iPod/uPod winner is: "Age Six Racer" by Dashboard Confessional

I think part of the reason I like this is because it's a bit more cheerful than most DC songs. It's about loss, but it's more a wistful longing for childhood times past. Not so much the "You left me, so I'm going to roll in broken glass until you come home, you whore" that they often seem fixated on. It's also got some really stunning harmonies, which are complimented (in my opinion) by the fact that the song is instrumentally so simple. The other reason I like this is because it takes me back to dorm life. Every time I hear it, I can imagine myself at my desk in 309D, facing the window, listening to this song and playing Snood. It's kind of funny how a certain song can slingshot you into a particular moment in the past. The only other sense that seems hooked up that way is smell (the only problem with scent-related memories is that sometimes I'll smell something and it's tied very strongly with a particular emotion, but I can't figure out…

The Angriest Traveller: "A Cook's Tour" by Anthony Bourdain

I LOVE Anthony Bourdain. I think he's hilarious and interesting, and having seen his show on the Travel Channel, I found him to be smart as well. Therefore, I decided to pick up this book--it seemed an apt choice to read during my first trip outside the "Western world."

I found A Cook's Tour to be entertaining but uneven. In some places Bourdain is wickedly sarcastic and funny, in others he drifts into sanctimonious preachiness. In some ways, I would have preferred he save us the treacle and simply stick to his own personal observations, but at the same time I think at least the treacle is genuine--he really IS touched by the places and people he's visiting. He has a way with words, but sometimes it seems they get away from him. All in all, a fun and enjoyable read.

A Letter to Sienna Miller

Dear Sienna Miller,

You are untalented and badly dressed.
I am sick of looking at your smug, pointy face.
Please go away.

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P.S. Those of us who are FROM Pennsylvania can (and do) use the term "Shitsburgh." We're not big on other people using it, though. I'd be really careful using terms like that in a place where roughly 85% of the population could kick your ass.

P.P.S. Banging Jude Law doesn't make you special. It just means you have a vagina.