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Friday, December 19, 2003
Movies this week...
Sorry for the lateness. I think you probably know what big movie is in theaters this week anyway.
Charlie: The Life and Art of Charles Chaplin: So, check it out. I've seen two movies about Charlie Chaplin: Chaplin and The Cat's Meow, which wasn't just about Charlie Chaplin (it was more about William Randolph Hearst than anything), but which featured a fantastic Eddie Izzard as the trampy one. Now, I've seen these two films, yet I've never actually seen a Charlie Chaplin film. I feel like I know all these things about the guy, but have seen none of his work. Have you ever met somebody that has a really cool reputation as an actor/filmmaker/macrame artist, whatever, but while everyone knows them through their work, you only know them because they live next door or because you pet sit for them or something? Isn't that the weirdest thing to hear somebody else say, "You know (insert famous name)?!? Oh my God!" and you only know them as a close-talker or a bad tipper or whaetever. That's how I feel about Chaplin. Except I never met him, he doesn't live next door and as far as I know, he wasn't a bad tipper. But they made a documentary about him. And this is it.
In America: I've stated before my insistence on seeing no more British Isle movies about raisin' a pint or having naked elderly bare ass on a moped before, but this movie, apart from its apparently lack of moto-ass, seems different. For one thing, it doesn't take place in Great Brittain, so there's no chance that they'll pop in for a bit at the pub on Worshestershire Street or that there'll be big smokestacks graying the lives of aspiring pint-sized ballet dancers. Instead, we have an Irish family illegally coming to America in an indeterminate time period (echoes of the '80s, but also modern gadgets) in a film that is purported to tug at the heartstrings, but in a welcome, gentle way, not unlike a heart tugging you may pay good money for at an expensive spa, would that the treatment was offered. It's being hailed for being humanistic without being schmaltzy, and you know I like humanistic non-schmalance.
Mona Lisa Smile: I've come to a truce with my own mind about Julia Roberts. As long as she's willing to come out in Steven Soderbergh movies, I'm not going to begrudge her the occassional Runaway Bride. But this shit? My goodness. Have you seen the trailer? It's like Dead Poets Tweed Skirt Society. Never before have I been less willing to see a Maggie Gyllenhaal movie. And how annoying is it that Julia Roberts keeps talking in interviews about how old she is compared to the other actresses and how she's the mother hen now and no longer the ingenue like these twentysomething actresses. That would be fine, only you get the sense that she's only saying that so that the actresses will be like, "Oh, no, she's just as young and pretty as us!" or "She's not old! She's gorgeous!" or that they'll bow and kiss her little pedicured toes over letting them be in her prestige project. You just want to take her by the teeth and slap her with a roll of film stock.
The Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King: So what can I possibly say about this that hasn't already been said? Either you're totally psyched about it or you think it's an enormous and stupid waste of time. Luckily for us former D&D players (excuse me, former AD&D) players), the geek-to-acceptance ratio is high among civilians, proving that even the lamest, most cringe-worthy idea can be made epic by talent and vision. (Coming soon: The Care Bears Trilogy directed by David Fincher. Special extended DVD editions to follow.) I haven't seen this movie yet and I'm actually glad because if I wait till next week, I may have time to watch the first two movies in their extended DVD form. (Two Towers just arrived in the mail the other day, thanks to a gift from two wonderful friends north of the border.) I'm a fan. I'm amazed that these movies can last more than three hours and still feel significantly shorter than an episode of JAG. I love that the movies were made with care and passion, that everyone involved seems to have come out of the experience transformed and proud of their work and that what now seems like a very obvious formula for success (brilliant directing + involving, epic tale + talented cast + state-of-the-art special effects + not letting the special effects get out of hand = box office legend passed down through generations of Hollywood accountants in song) once seemed like a huge, dangerous risk to undertake. Sometimes people take huge risks and they pay off in a big way, making the world tilt ever so slightly in a positive direction toward the sun. We should be thankful for people like that.
DVDs: The afforementioned Rings, as well as the second disc of the Aqua Teen Hunger Force set (the one with the awesome David Cross episode), The Battle of Shaker Heights (which I may see out of grim curiosity) and the long-neglected, long-dust-collecting Frida which escaped its full-body cast and ran away with Whale Rider to have babies instilled with very positive feminist values.
Video games! Lots of video games!
A huge roundup of some of the year's best videogames (some notable ommissions had more to do with that they didn't send us review copies than mere trifling issues of quality) ran in today's paper in a splashy, art-heavy package on the Life & Arts front.
Of course, online, where we have the awesome powers of multimedia, Flash and high-resolution imagery, it looks like... a lot of text. Regardless, hope you enjoy. It took a lot of time putting that story together.
Thursday, December 18, 2003
Mood update: Outlook still gloomy
You know how when you're right in the middle of a feud with someone and you're just completely fucking seething, I mean so pissed that you end up eating at Subway instead of partaking of free potluck food just because you can't stand to look at anyone in the face with your sour, stomach-acid rage, and then all of a sudden, they give you a really lame compliment and you have to smile and be like, "Oh, hey, thanks," especially because your boss is there?
How much does thatsuck?
I'll answer that one for you: A lot. A damn fucking lot.
Cedar trees, shifty compliments, having to work the day after Christmas... remind me again what I'm still doing in Austin?
Movies This Week is going to be a little late. Work has been a huge fucking pain (like 10 needles in each eye pain) and I'm just not feelin' it right now. Hope you guys got to see Lord of the Rings last night. At the rate things are going, I won't make it to the theater to check it out until Christmas day.
Robbin' the cradle
This ran last week, but just made it online: The Jack Nicholson Age Disparity Chart.
Wednesday, December 17, 2003
Queer Eye for Saddam
Apparently, silly minds think alike.
Tuesday, December 16, 2003
This recap was like the picture of Dorian Gray
I think I aged five years writing the second half of my recap of The Reagans. I gotta give props to Deborah, who does the West Wing recaps. I just do not know shit about the White House.
Monday, December 15, 2003
Saturday Night Live is such an easy target to bash that I hate it when people criticize the show without saying exactly why the show is unfunny or inconsistent. It takes away from the difficulty of putting on a live 90-minute show like that every week, and how within all the filler, there've been some pretty great sketches, even in the last few years. I watch it every week, no matter how bad the guest host sounds in hopes that there'll be at least two or three solid skits.
I wrote about SNL in today's XL Blog.
One other cool thing: Supastah comic Michelle Biloon alerted me over Thanksgiving that the new paperback edition of Live from New York has a quote of mine in the blurbs page from when I wrote a review of the book a whlie back. It uses the word "catty," which is pretty bad-ass.
Next week on Bravo, watch a very special Queer Eye for the Straight Guy starring... Saddam Hussein!
Watch as he's shaven, made-over, jhuzhed and primped, and brought back to his newly redesigned spider hole!
Check out this very special episode of Queer Eye! He'll go from dictator to dick-tasty!
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