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Saturday, June 26, 2004
Movies this week: The Final One
Movies are fun, movies are cool, especially when it's not work anymore:
Fahrenheit 9/11: Wow, I'd really like to tell you about this one, but I'm having a hard time digging up any information on this. Anybody heard of it? Michael who? I've liked Michael Moore for an awfully long time and have read two of his books (fine, one and a half. I couldn't quite make it through Stupid White Men). Loved Roger & Me, really liked The Big One and enjoyed Bowling for Columbine even though I thought he used a few cheap tricks to make his point in that one. But, fine, all right. I agreed with the sentiment, so it was tough to argue with the larger theme: that we live in a culture of fear and that that fear is crippling and very likely a Bad Thing. This film, by nearly all reports, is a much easier film to get behind because it's said to feature a lot less of Michael Moore's on-camera shenanigans and much more factual information that builds into a damning case against the war in Iraq. Which, these days, is not a difficult thing to be against. I mean, damn. You know? Damn! So, couple Moore making a film that he genuinely cares about, a nation that is dissatisfied, a Cannes Palm d'or award and all of MoveOn.org promising to see the movie and you've got what appears to be the non-Superhero event movie of the summer. Good luck getting tickets.
Baadasssss: Got that? Two a's and then another a and then five s's. I'm so glad I wasn't the movies editor this week because this movie title would have driven me crazy. Remember when Mario van Peebles went from being kind of cool (New Jack City) to an absolute joke? (Just pick a movie between 1991 and 2000) He did what is the best way to make a comeback in Hollywood: To go to your roots and re-invent yourself, in this case creating a movie about his dad's film legacy. If you think Baadasssss! is a cool movie title, just check out the name of his dad's movie: Sweet Sweetback's Baad Asssss Song. How ya like that? DAMN! And the original title of Baadasssss? It was "How to Get the Man's Foot Outta Your Ass." SHWAM! It there were an Academy Award for movie title, this family would have a dynasty going. They'd need a new mantle. Billy Crystal would have to write a song about them every March. What about the film itself? In print, it's been given lugubrious praise by even the whitest of critics (the kind who think Ashton Kutcher is the second coming of Richard Pryor), and it's the kind of career-reving film that makes you stop chortling when you hear the words "Mario" "van" and "Peebles" strung together in sequence.
Napoleon Dynamite: I was very skeptical of this one, especially after reading the initial sting of early reviews, which seemed to indicate that this was an indulgent knockoff of the magical loser-mysticism we love from filmmakers like Wes Anderson and Alexander Payne, writer/directors who care about their lowly, pathetic characters so much that we grow to love them. This one features quite the frizzy-headed doof. But is that enough to sustain an entire film? The part of me that still has a Screaming Hand Vision Street Wear skateboard T-shirt in the back of the closet says yes. Oh, this also reminds me: Rebecca used to carry around a hilarious postcard featuring a early-'80s style yearbook photo of a guy that looked quite a lot like Napoleon. It said, simply, "LOVER." We loved that postcard.
The Notebook: This is an adaptation of a sappy, but well-loved book I never read starring two pretty great up-and-coming actors (Rachel McAdams of Mean Girls and Ryan Gossling of The Believer) and two veterans who could still outact 2/3rds of Hollywood while on valium and no use of their limbs or faces, James Garner and Gena Rowlands. It takes place in the past and present and is a love story and an Alzheimer's movie (kinda like Iris) all in the same weepy package. The surprise here is that instead of releasing a mawkish mess into the world, it looks as if the filmmakers actually pulled off a hankie-worthy (would that people still carried hankies) tearjerker that seems like the perfect antidote to shit like Garfield: The Movie. Still, it's not going to beat THE best movie to cry at this year, Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind.
Two Brothers: If you are a tiger fetishist, this is your movie. Bring the wooden brush that you stroke and coo to whenever you see tigers on TV and dream of opening your own petting zoo.
White Chicks: Why, God, why? I have a show on my HD TiVo recorded called Nothing But Trailers that airs on HD Net. On that recording is a high-definition trailer for this film. I show it to my friends when I want to convince them that there's no God. The makeup job on this movie is out of some cross-dimensional horror portal; no one who's seen the previews for this film can believe anyone really thought the work was remotely convincing. And critics, who are a little embarassed that people saw them get teary-eyed at The Notebook are tearing the badly-latexed flesh off of this one, gnawing with glee at something they can truly hate, from the bottom of their black hearts. Grrrrr, White Chicks. GRRRRRRRRRR.
DVDs: My review of Bad(der) Santa is up. Yes, I hated it. Yes, I know you can't believe I didn't like it, Pineapple Girl. Let's just agree to disagree, with the understanding that I'm probably right on this one. I've got a review of the Reno 911! DVD coming next week. That one's a good deal funnier.
Goodbyes: This is the last "Movies This Week." It's been more fun than a kick in someone else's crotch, but since I'm no longer editing movies at work, it's getting harder for me to keep up with what's going on in the world of movies. (This week, horrors: I couldn't make it through an entire issue of Entertainment Weekly.) So this'll be the last of this weekly feature. I hope you all enjoyed it.
Thursday, June 24, 2004
The XL Blog has been relaunched using the undeniably tasty Moveable Type and now you'll be able to look for my entries there, categorized by author, instead of wading through endless prose by more talented writers. Aren't you lucky?
This week, L'il Floaty Omie Head
catches up on recent past TV and talks about pretty people at the club.
I'm very, very proud of "Mutual of E! Network's Wild On! Kingdom."
Tuesday, June 22, 2004
Blogging about how busy and betixt and between I am is a little wanky, and I'm going to try to avoid that, but MAN! Busy! Betwixt! Between!
There's a lot going on and very little I can talk about (ooh, that's even wankier to say on a blog), but here are the highlights:
I'm no longer the movies/TV editor at my paper. It's a long story and not something I can talk in depth about just yet, but it's a good thing, I assure you. I'd been doing that job for three years and I got burned out around year 1.75. But it was fun and had lots of obvious perks and I'll miss the reporters whom I edited a lot because they were awesome and accommodating and just very good at what they do, which made my job lots easier.
So what am I doing now? I'm editing a new project that, again, I can't really talk in depth about, but it's a very cool thing and will be taking up the majority of my brain waves for the next few months. It's making me use latent parts of my brain that have mostly been stewed for the last few years, so that is both scary and exciting and exhausting. I go home every night just completely wiped, but I'm happy to be doing something new and different.
What else... the search for a house in New Braunfels has begun in earnest. (As in "Earnest Buys a House.") We haven't actually gone to New Braunfels or met with our realtor yet or anything but we're definitely wishing in that direction.
My dad's birthday fell on father's day this year (it's always usually a day or two in the vicinity). We took him to Joe's Crab Shack (his idea) for their "Fuckloads of Shrimp for $10" deal. On the way in, PJ and I couldn't stop playing the game where you try to grab a live lobster with the Game Machine Claw for $2 a go. We got completely obsessed with this one feisty lobster who would get snagged with The Claw and then leap backwards, like he was freakin' Westley of Princess Bride fame. He was really quite the dashing lobster, leaping away from danger every time. The deal with the machine is that if you snag a lobster, they'll cook it for you. It's not a particularly fun game for the lobster, but translating our love of video game amusements to an actual winning=dinner equation is nothing short of brilliant and we soon found we had spent more money than the actual lobster dinner would have cost with the two of us no closer to our crustacean quarry. We played on our way into the restaurant and on our way out, full of bellies, when a lobster dinner seemed like a lot less of an enchanting idea. Still, we wanted that fucking lobster, and we were determined to Claw him. No go. He escaped again in quick, agile backward leaps, like Kobe Bryant on a fade-away, but more aquatic and with less hotel infidelity in his past.
When we were out of $1 bills, the lobster started walking toward the front of the tank. I whispered, "What is he doing?"
The lobster taunted us. I swear to God. He waddled over to the front of the tank, raised his triumphant pincers and moved his mouth at us. I told PJ, "We just got fucking schooled by a lobster."
We were completely humiliated. A little kid who had been watching us, waiting to cheer us should we win the foul beast looked at us with something like disgust. He was now cheering for the lobster.
"Mwah mwah mwah!" went the lobster, with his awful taunting. He was still taunting us when we left the restaurant, full of seafood but still somehow empty inside in defeat.
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