That's the name of his blog. Anyway, I have to love a guy who calls that show Queer Eye for the Straight Guy "Gay Guys Who Dress Up The Breeder." Come on, you laughed; I know you did.
Here's a link to a bunch of scary movie reviews and other things, 'cos tomorrow's Halloween, and Susan at Cut on the Bias sent me an email, and I'm in a gererous mood caused by a couple of glasses of wine. I don't think I've seen any of the movies talked about here in full. In general, I don't care for movies whose main purpose is to scare. I need more substance... Or maybe it's because I am a nervous person who gets all the thrills she needs from driving to work every day. (Orlando traffic is not exactly so much worse than Miami traffic as it is merely less aware of the realities of physics -- something I did not believe was possible. But then, Miami drivers seem to be aware of the rules of physics, they are just deliberately defiant of them. Here in Mouseville, on the other hand, people don't even seem to realize that two vehicles cannot occupy the same space in the same lane at the same time.)
But anyway, I have seen bits and pieces of only a few of the movies -- The Birds, for example. I never got into that one, though I loved Hitchcock's earlier work (which was lighter, and he seemed not to hate his actors and characters so much). Then I read the Arthur Machen story the movie was based upon, and read that it was his idea that the natural world would turn against the human race because of all the awful things we did to each other during World War I. Well, thought I, if only you knew.
I prefer mystery and fantasy (which can have touches of horror, such as Lord of the Rings proved) to straight horror. I think it is because straight horror seems to come from a viewpoint that is almost entirely hopeless. You will be scared! and then die in horrible torment! or be scarred for life mentally if not physically! seems to be the message of most horror films. Eh. I go to the movies to escape reality for a while, not to have it rubbed in my face.
Looks like Mel Gibson is pouring on the Buckets O' Blood in his new Jeebus movie. My reaction: woah, tacky. I guess Gibson wants to draw in the Jason/Freddie crowd. Diana Moon is worried about the reaction in the country when the movie is released. I don't know -- I'm a little more sanguine (no pun intended! pinky swear!) about this, but then again I come from an era where the Jesus Movie was a genre to make fun of. (Jesus Christ Superstar, anyone? And how about all those Blue-Eyed Jesuses -- Jeffrey Hunter, Robert Powell... ) It's hard for me to wrap my mind around the concept of anyone taking a Mel Gibson movie seriously, no matter its subject. But then again, there is all this respectful (both the anti- and the pro-) scholarly commentary on the thing. You know, sometimes the only way to make the devil flee (whatever your devil is) is to laugh at it.
Okay, now we are bad because our Hollywood movies cast all the heroes as Americans and all the villains as British. Uh huh. One of the examples the writer uses is Pirates of the Caribbean, totally ignoring the fact that one of the the heroes of the story (the standard-type hero as opposed to the anti-hero type hero played by Johnny Depp) is played by Orlando Bloom, who would surely be surprised to discover that he is American not British.
(Via Steven Den Beste.)
Hey, Orlando (squeal! Legolas!) Bloom freaks, Check out Face magazine. Say, Border's sells Face. Hm...
And here's more, from some publication called Flaunt. Heh heh -- brunettes have more fun...
This is just a sample of my new All Fluff, All the Time™ blog policy! Tell me what you think.
Hey, what do you know, Elrond was in Priscilla, Queen of the Desert. (Or Agent Smith, if you prefer.)
Note to self: raid the Internet Movie Database for neat quotes more often.
From The Godfather: Part III:
Vincent Mancini: Well you tell him from me, that he can live, or he can die.
Michael Corleone: Vincent, will you SHUT UP!
From To Live and Die in L.A.:
Richard Chance: Uncle Sam don't give a shit about your problems. You want bread? Then go fuck a baker.
Tafeek: No, we don't have any first-class accomodations! However, we do have several very long hallways and some very nice closets!
G'Kar: Love to stay, can't, have to go. Kiss-kiss, love-love, bye.
And on that note, from The Adventures of Priscilla, Queen of the Desert:
Bernadette: Just what this country needs: a cock in a frock on a rock.
Bernadette: No, I'll join this converation on the proviso that we stop bitching about people talking about wigs, dresses, bust sizes, penises, drugs, night clubs, and bloody Abba!
Tick: Doesn't give us much to talk about then, does it?
And on that note: from ABBA: the Movie:
Reporter: Is it true you are the proud recipient of an award as the lady with the most sexiest bottom?
Agnetha: How can I answer to that? I don't know...I haven't seen it!
Okay, maybe not that one.
Besides the fact that I don't care about either Tom Cruise or sports-themed movies, it looks as if this film is yet another attempt to promote emotional diarrhea in society. I agree 100% with this:
I also believe that the good god of evolutionary biology gave us brains to judge, repress, distance ourselves and generally keep control over our emotions. This is because our emotions conflict with each other. Indulged in without thought or judgement, they lead us to catastrophe. If they control us, instead of us controlling them, situations that would merely be situations become instead emotional battlefields, and can do incalculable damage and cause incalculable pain. I associate emotional incontinence with poor, unhappy people, and I believe that their emotional incontinence is, above all else, what makes them poor and unhappy. They don't live their lives. Their lives live them.
Mr. Micklethwaite lives in Britain, where what he calls the "Princess Diana industry" has been making inroads against the famous British stiff upper lip. Or as he puts it: "Old fashioned (stuck up) stoicism is out. Emotional display is in. Self control is out." Sadly, from what I have seen and heard from my perch across the pond, they have been largely successful. I still remember the awful sight of booing, sobbing Princess Di fans descending upon Buckingham Palace with their teddy bears and flowers and candles and their demands that the Queen stand in front of them and shed real tears or they wouldn't like her anymore. One British writer (I think it was one of the Hitchens, though I can't remember which one) contrasted this hysteria with the solemn and dignified procession before Churchill's casket.
Here in the States, of course, keeping your emotions under control has always been optional, and most people don't seem interested in exercising that option. The advantages of doing so are slim: you just have to not mind your dignity and self-control earning you the label of "she's cold and unfeeling," and being accused of lacking enthusiasm (and therefore spoiling everyone's fun, because emotion junkies can't stand what they see as an unappreciative audience), told you should see a doctor about your "depression," and so on.
If I sound bitter, it's because I am. My least favorite parts of old Star Trek episodes were ones where Spock was coaxed, tricked, or browbeaten into losing his wonderful cool and displaying a "warm human emotion."
(Via Lynn at Reflections in D Minor.)
So Richard Chamberlain's is gay. That's got to be the least shocking news since... I don't know when. Let me just say I figured that out years ago -- for one thing, there was no, I mean no major gossip involving him with some other woman, ever. (Yes, I have been following his career on and off -- he's been one of my favorite actors since I can't remember when.) Anyway, that's always a big Hello Obviousman Here! moment when it comes to Hollywood people. And at least he didn't go out and get himself a beard like some other actors who shall not be named. (cough Tom Cruise cough.)
Another thing that doesn't surprise me is the revelation he gives about Hollywood's real attitude towards gay people. I can read between the lines: in liberal, caring Hollywood, it's not so much that they give a shit about who you shtup, it's whether or not money can be made off your psychosexual crisis. Sure he's got a book coming out (no pun intended) but he's no Ellen Degeneres. He's old, he's not even an exotic (and a scary Shakespearean vet) like Ian McKellan. His career is over, no one's going to pick him to star in The Thorn Birds 2, the Resurrection.
Update: my, someone's all bitter and judgmental. Weather a bit harsh on the high ground?
Ah, the Matrix Reloaded: "It's hot!" "It's cool!" "It sucks!" "It's the Best! Movie! Ever!" "It's a huuuuge disappointment!" "It's got Christian themes!" "No! It's got Buddhist themes!!!" "You're a sucker to go see it!" "No! You must go see it!"
For chrissake people it's just a movie. It stars Keanu Reeves, for godsakes. I didn't see the original Matrix in the theater, I saw it at a friend's house on his big screen tv. It was okay. I enjoyed it. The plot was fairly clever for movies of this sort, and the cgi and all that was amusing. But still, it was your basic hero vs. villains rescuing the fair maiden tale. And anyway, we know what movie you really should be anticipating as you would your wedding night.
This promotional free cable teevee I'm getting provides a bunch of Showtime channels. On something called Showtime Extreme they're showing some wack kungfu movie called Master of the Flying Guillotine. I turned the channel just as it was in the middle of some crazy flashback all in magenta. Some guy with one arm was chopping the heck out of some crazy old man with a braid. Then it goes into normal (pretty good for 1975 too) color. There's this scene in one of those kungfu schools with the one-armed guy telling all his students about said flashback. Then this weird horn music starts playing and they all turn to stare at this weirdo who comes in doing this weird Oriental dance and playing a horn. Then he starts some chopsocky free-for-all goodness. And oh my god, is the dubbing awful.
Now this "Indian" guy in a turban with an owl on his shoulder just set the hero's room on fire. Now they are chopping at each other. I really must get around to watching my (undubbed) Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon dvd one of these days.
They are making Grease 3. That's right, a sequel to the abysmal Grease 2, which was a sequel to the horrible Grease. Some history: Grease is one of my sister's favorite movies. (The Brooke Shields softcore porn vehicle Blue Lagoon is another.) Thank god we didn't have a videotape machine when we still lived in the same house, or she would have tormented me with 24/7 replays of both.
(Via Amish Tech Support.)
Oh man, I've seen the movie James Lileks is talking about in today's Bleat. Beneath the Planet of the Apes. First you come back to earth, discover it's run by apes, everyone dies, and then everything is destroyed (by a nuke -- how else?). I disliked the ending of Planet of the Apes. I hated with a white hot passion the ending of the sequel, and all the movies like it that came out in the seventies that assured us that Life Sucks Now and It Will Suck Even Worse and Then We'll All Die Screaming. Reason number 9854 why I hated the seventies. Even the fricking entertainment was like wearing a hairshirt. And I had forgotten the details of this movie until Lileks had to go and remind me. Damn him! Damn him to hell!
And on that note -- check out this discussion of religion in art during the seventies. The Blowhards have a question: was the seventies actually a period of religious revival (or, well, something) for America? My reply: you bet it was. All the crappy parts of religion. Good-bye, fun ceremonies and reassuring traditions: hello fanaticism and asceticism, or at least stabs thereat. We were Searching For Real Faith, Man, and we were gonna get it if it meant making everyone wear ugly clothes and watch ugly movies with ugly actors playing ugly characters. And can we forget: Anita Bryant?* ::Shudder::
I. Hated. The. Seventies. Can I say it enough?
*Ps: it's true about the snow. I remember that day: it actually dropped into the high twenties, and it was actually a cloudy day -- unusual during the cold season in Miami -- and it snowed for maybe five minutes. Not in my neighborhood, though -- but a couple of miles up the road. The flakes, such as they were, melted before they even hit the ground. I did get to play with some frost, though. I don't remember anyone complaining about the snow being some sort of godly payback for anything, but then we didn't run in those kind of circles.
Here's an explanation of why so many Hollywood celebrities are antiwar, from a Hollywood insider. Sounds reasonable to me. And note the juicy tidbit about Germany and France, those American-culture-despisers.
One commenter asked: "What about the audience?" I think we all know what most of Hollywood thinks about the people for whom all these movies and shows are being produced: terms like "cattle" and "submen" come to mind.
I'm serious -- sign this petition before it's too late.
(Via Dave Barry.)
Yes, I know, the Oscars are over, and now you feel... empty. But never fear, I'm here to keep banging the drum -- not of war, war gets "drums" plural, the slut -- but of the endless Oscar rehash! Why? Because there is Michael Moore bashing to be had, and I just can't get enough of it. I've had some MM fans attempt to defend their hero, and they tasted great! I've developed quite an appetite for them. Thanks to Fametracker, we have this tidbit to enjoy:
"Hi, I'm Michael Moore. It's a good thing you gave me an award for Best Documentary Feature and recognized the one thing I do better than anyone else: championing popular causes in such a way that even those people who agree with me fundamentally despise me for acting as their public spokesman. But I don't care! 'Sense of occasion'? What's that? 'Speaking persuasively and making cogent arguments instead of screeching slogans'? I've never tried that before -- why start now? No, I feel that the best way to get my message across -- my rather popular message, which is that war is bad -- is by bloviating semi-coherently and screaming over the boos and basically acting like a would-be bad-ass high-school senior trying to rile up the class with some confused crap in opposition to 'The Man,' filibustering as long as I can until the principal hauls me offstage to detention. So the more you boo me, the more my inner high-school senior -- the part of me that has cobbled together a simplistic political attitude from chants I've heard at protests and the table of contents of The Nation -- the more convinced I am that I, and only I, am right. So, now that you've given me this award, financing my next documentary will be a cinch. I think I'll make my next movie about how America is, like, bad."
[Have we taken Baghdad yet and started building Walmarts and Starbucks there? We haven't? Aaghh! We've lost! Run! It's a quagmire!]
Here's a little Oscar tidbit that might help break down the lingering Moore-stench:
Sean Astin appeared on Joan and Melissa Rivers' miniature red carpet to send a message out to our troops in Iraq, via television. In short, he said that since the beginning of the war he got down on bended knee to pray for them, and that he's still praying for them and for a victory, and that he hopes for their safe return.
Is that green sack J. Lo is wearing her version of a burkha? (Hey, for her, she's dressed modestly.)
I've got the Oscars on, but it's particularly dull this year. I don't think we're going to get any ghoulish thrills like Halle Berry's Bilbo Baggins imitation of last year.
Blame it on Oscar... this post, from February 13th, has continued to attract fulminators of every stripe. Here's the latest entry, which contains those well-worn arguments that we have grown to know and love. I don't even have the heart to fisk it -- actually, I'm kind of tired. Enjoy, from Meghan:
Let's just start with you Donna, poor, poor deluded Donna.
(She's responding to the previous commenter on that post.)
"You would not have the right to say what you think in any other country..."
In fact, people all over Europe have the right to say what they think. And their leaders listened to them. It's this funny little thing called Democracy. You know, that thing we're supposedly bringing to the Middle East. You've heard of it, it's that thing of which fundamentalist Muslims are supposedly jealous?
Any of you knuckleheads ever hear of a guy called McCarthy?
Any of you hypocrites ever hear of a guy called Jesus? He was certainly anti-war. And don't throw out that "eye for eye" crap. That was in the old Testament and specifically repudiated by Jesus.
ANYWAY. Neither Osama nor Saddam would have any fucking power if it weren't for Bush Sr., Rumsfeld and Cheney.
And, let's not forget my propagandized compatriots. (Oh, wait, that's right. Only ignorant denizens of the third world are vulnerable to propaganda, not desperate, poor people in Middle America.) The French lost more soldiers in World War I than America has lost in ALL ITS WARS COMBINED. Perhaps they have a better sense of what war does, as opposed to Americans, for whom war is something you watch on TV and cheer for like a sporting event? And, while Hitler was taking over Europe, after he had already killed hundreds of thousands of Jews, America was carrying on normal diplomatic relations with him. In fact, the Bush family continued to conduct buisiness with Nazis even after we entered the War in 1941.
And as far as movies are concerned, the movie industry already waters down any thoughtful or remotely "offensive" movie for you people. What more do you want? How bout the kind of movies that were made with ths approval of the Chinese or Soviet governments (to the exclusion of anything not in line with government directives), only ours are all pro-Bush? Pro-Life? Pro-Creationism? That'd be a great way to celebrate the freedom we, nominally, enjoy in this country.
"One, two, three, four, we don't want your ratings-stealing, tv-audience-diverting war!" So sayeth the Oscar organizers. To think that people might be glued to the news channels showing real-live conflict instead of watching Hollywood actors wearing thousand-dollar outfits making their
anti-America-and-the troops antiwar speeches. Oh, the humanity!
C.S. Lewis' Narnia Chronicles are going to be filmed. They've picked the guy who directed Shrek, which makes me wonder if it's going to be animated like Shrek was. I'd rather it be a live-action film, mainly because I just prefer live actors to animation, and I think the examples of the Rings films show that the technology now exists to make a non-cheesy, good-looking, convincing live-action fantasy film. The only difficulty I can see will be with the talking animal characters, and there have already been some movies out that dealt with that (Cats and Dogs, etc.).
Another precious artifact of my youth, tampered with:
SCI FI has signed director Michael Rymer (Queen of the Damned) and actors Jamie Bamber (HBO's Band of Brothers) and Katee Sackhoff (Halloween: Resurrection) for the new four-hour original miniseries Battlestar Galactica. Production begins in Vancouver in March. Battlestar Galactica will air exclusively on SCI FI in late 2003.
Without the shoulder pads, poufy "dry look" hair, and computer terminals consisting of black screens with green character display it won't be anything like the original.
(Via Sharon Ferguson.)
Hollywood is finally coming out and standing tall for a cause they all believe in: money. Yup: war or no war, the Oscars will go on.
It'll be Oscar time soon, and already the infuration (is that a word? it should be) is starting. Exhibit A: Michael Moore's opus Bowling for Columbine has been nominated for "top screenplay" by the Writer's Guild of America. Funny, I thought a "screenplay" was this thing where you either wrote, or adapted from another work, a bunch of dialogue for different actors to say, along with a bunch of scenes, with the result being, oh, something like this. I didn't think that some guy filming himself going around the country being obnoxious to real people fell under this definition. That goes to show you how little I know of screenwriting, I guess.
Speaking of Fat Mike, I was at my friend's house the other day and we were watching tapes of The Daily Show (he tapes it because he's at work when it's on, and asleep by the time it repeats -- having a small child will do that to you). He had about a week's worth of the show on tape that he hadn't seen yet. The interviewee on the first episode we watched happened to be Mr. Moore himself. Someone had managed to stuff Moore into a halfway-decent looking suit, that even managed to fit his vast bulk (man he has porked out since that TV Nation stuff), and they had hosed off his flop-sweat and scraped the five-o'clock shadow down to a mere mist. In other words, he looked halfway decent and not like one of the scary Mumbling Starers that you encounter at the bus station at dawn. I wonder if the ever-more-distinguished John Stewart had anything to do with getting Moore to spiff up. Anyway, Stewart asked Moore how he was feeling about all his success yadda yadda. Did he feel great about it? Well, fuck me if Moore didn't go into this shoulder-hunching, downcast-eyed, fame-ain't-what-it's-made-out-to-be act. I swear he was actually going to say "I feel humble, Jon," but some last shred of decency in the man stopped him. After this bit, my friend decided life was too short to bother with this fellow, and hit the fast forward button.
Bill Whittle is back with a long essay on celebrities who seem to think that the fact they earn lots of money for pretending to be other people makes them Our Betters.
I'll use this as an opportunity to remark on the notion of the idea of the artist as a superior form of human, brought up in this cancelled thread. I do think that the presence of superior talent in one form or another of the artistic pursuits awes those people who don't have such hypertrophied skills. Every human being has an instinctive response to what we call "art" -- there is no civilization that does not produce it, that does not somehow design its buildings and utensils to be pleasing to the eye as well as useful, that does not paint pictures or designs on flat surfaces, that does not form wood or mineral substances into shapes that are not useful in themselves, and that does not produce some sort of musical noise. It's part of being human. So it is natural when someone who is very good at doing one or another of these things -- making designs or music or pretending to be someone else (acting) -- that those of us who have no particularly strong talents in these areas should think that the artistic person must be an all-around superior type of being. But that is not the case at all. What an artist has is a superior talent in one field, and it is often at the price of any other field of endeavor that human beings think is important, such as social relations. That is why so many artists have such crappy personal lives, why so many of them show themselves to be utter idiots when they open their mouths to opine on any other topic but their particular field of expertise, why they don't seem to have a lick of sense when it comes to the smallest everyday tasks. This is of course a simplistic breakdown of the situation, and there are many artists who have fine marriages and manage to make their car payments on time and don't attempt to talk knowledgeably about things they don't understand (such as geopolitical politics) and aren't total creeps to their fans, but they are in the minority, or at least that is what I have come to conclude after years of associating with artists, musicians, and writers.
Update: Here is an example of an actress who has not sacrified her dignity and common sense to the fostering of her "talent." Could this be the start of a trend? One can only hope. (Via Junkyard Blog.)
Columnist grouses because other people don't share his same tastes. Hijinks ensue! Okay, not really. But is this the best thing Jonathan V. Last could think of to write? Does anyone really care about the Oscars anymore? Sure, I think it would be fine and dandy if Peter Jackson and the cast and crew of The Lord of the Rings got a collection of those ugly little gold statues to use as table centerpieces, paper weights, door stops... But if they don't it isn't going to diminish my liking of the movie one iota. And if a lack of sufficient Oscar points keeps certain people to whom that is a criteria for watching a movie away from LOTR, that can only be to the good.
More evidence that it is adults who can't tell the difference between pretense and reality, fiction and non-fiction: an "anti-war activist" who is also (unsurprisingly) a vegetarian (but what about the helpless vegetables, who can't run away? does no one weep for them?) has made a "documentary" condemning the "murder" of "over nine billion people" -- in the plotlines of movies. No, really. Here's my favorite quote:
He justifies his figure of nine-billion Hollywood dead from just two movies. In Star Wars,a blue and white planet is vaporized and although it is called Alderaan, Livingston argues that out of 109 planets known to astronomy only one contains humans and the people in the film refer to it as "home." Given Earth's population, "that is six-billion dead right there," he says.The Globe and Mail article is huffing and puffing over the efforts of studios to prevent this fellow, one Peter Livingston, from using clips of their films in his so-called "documentary," but leaving that aside, has no one taken him by the hand and told him: "Peter -- Peter dear, we have to tell you this: the people up there on the big screen? They're just pretending to die. No, really. They get up after the cameras are off and go home. Yes -- it's called acting." I can't wait until he visits a library and realizes the shelves are just pulsating with a thousand years or more of death and destruction.
Damian Penny points out that there is another culture here on earth that really does "glorify death and murder" -- real death and murder, as opposed to fictional death of imaginary people. But it's our culture that is evil. Right.
And I thought I was OCD where Lord of the Rings was concerned; check out Pejman's detailed examination of plot and other inconsistencies in Star Wars. I am somewhat more sanguine when it comes to plot holes in movies -- heck, for the bar scene alone I am almost willing to forgive George Lucas a whole bunch of other film sins. (Such as explosions in the void of space that make sound, grr grr.)
Update: he follows up here.