Friday, January 30, 2004


Still housekeeping. I find 'em, I bookmark 'em, note where I got 'em from and they just keep piling up.
Gotta clean 'em out.

Plenty of add ons to the sidebar as well, so click about. I'm going through that period in my newfound blogging life where I'm finding EVERYTHING. Won't be long until I run out of time and space to read this stuff and then you better start currying my favor. In Russia, website cuts you.

I'm awfully predictable here, aren't I? If everything follows the traditional pattern, I'll soon disappear for six months and reemerge to blather on to an imaginary "audience" about my newfound girlfriend's inability to quit smoking and how I "promise to post more often". Three months after that, I'll explain how she dumped my ass "for no reason!" and how it hurts my very soul.

Then I'll try to seduce one of you at random. Will it be you? Stay tuned!

More meaty content simply BOUND to follow.

{Oh, hey; if they're already listed on the sidebar, I'm not gonna post a clickthrough on the link credit. I'm a lazy bastard. Cool? We cool?}


Myeck: The music section is loads of fun.
Kill Your Parents: Lord knows this is played, but I ain't even gonna front.
The Key to the Sex Question: via Dong Resin. Japan is for weird people.
Getting off on videogames: I'm really digging on Game Girl Advance.
Boys Kissing: via Pornblography. Amazing that somebody took this much time to endulge a desire to see Orlando Bloom and Johnny Depp make out. Who can fault that kind of diligence?
Berndt Brot: via Book of Joe. A kid's puppet show about a burnt piece of bread. Kinda like Ren and Stimpy meets Sartre.
LNSEMSF: via Squoogy. Explanation unnecessary.
New Kornfeld: The Onion is only a few hops short of jumping the shark, but I have a real soft spot for H-Dog.
Styrogami: This is simultaneously a triumph of the human spirit and one of the saddest things I've ever seen.
The World's Smallest Gangbang Auditions: I, uh. I. Um. Yeah.
The Creatures In My Head: via Mefi. Worth a daily clicky.
Starship Exeter: Even more time intensive than the Lord of the Rings tonsil knocking. Getcha geek on.
"This gallery is all about a model and her violent relationship to milk.": via Piss Resort. Mad Max and the Dairy Money Shot.
Get Your Stroke On: Fish N' Grits is porn for the XXL crowd. I dunno about you, but if I'm gonna yank it, I DON'T want to be thinking about Lil' John AT ALL.
The Scary Guy: "He is an absolutely unique character and cannot be duplicated."
Babespotter.com: via Fleshbot. This was cool ten minutes ago when it wasn't amateur porn. Now it's amateur porn. Where did we go wrong?
Real Men of Genius MP3 Archive: via memepool. Bud Light is piss; these are funny.
Incredible Stuff I Made: via Spofi. Plenty to explore. I like the JengaJam.
Escher Snakes: via Snarky Malarkey. Best for last. This animation is bloody incredible. Took 40 minutes for my DSL to load, but worth it to leave in the background.

Thursday, January 29, 2004


In which our erstwhile hero suffers for your sins.

small screen - january 2004 - the worst

Alright, first things first: It's not that bad. Don't get me wrong, it _is_ bad. Just not THAT bad. More's the pity.

Allow me a story. When I first moved to New York, I had a place to stay, a bit of cash and lots of spare time. I had always dabbled in being a film geek prior; but once I discovered the Museum of Modern Art, it was all over.

In 2000, the MoMA had two full size theaters with films playing on both screens, open most of the day, six days a week. A 75 buck outlay of cash gave you free admission to the museum and any movie for a year. Best dough I ever dropped.

In eight months, I probably saw two hundred films; from Griffith's Intolerance (with live piano backing) to Heavy Metal Parking Lot and most everything in between. I got a sense of what kind of diversity there was in film and gained a healthy appreciation for the depth of the media. I'll forever be a neophyte; only those who study this stuff obsessively can really claim to be experts in the field, but I was a voracious autodidact and I watched damn near anything that they'd put up.

The most difficult pieces would be "art films", often done in 8mm, video or digital and not uncommonly without plot, script, actors or focus of any kind. I'd sit through these hoping that there might be some payoff; some sort of message, knowledge or catharsis would be imparted by the filmmaker. I'd watch these films with around a hundred retirees and film geeks and bag ladies, "Titus-heads", so called after the theater's benefactors and namesakes Roy and Niuta Titus.

The name of the worst film I ever saw at the MoMA escapes me now, but the scene is still fresh. There were maybe sixty people in the theater when the film rolled. It was a little over three hours. It had no real plot, mostly distorted imagery, double exposures, constant wheedling background narration... genuine "artsy" stuff. The movie's only thru-line was the obsessive documentation of some balding bespectacled guy masturbating. Masturbating lying down, standing up, in closeup, in wide angle, in a refractory lens, in fisheye lens, ejaculating, withering to flaccidity, flogging the old soldier back up to attention. This was about as enthralling as you would imagine it would be for your average male het, but I was an impressionable kid from the sticks. Maybe there was a point? I'd hang in there and see what I learned.

After an hour of watching some nerdy guy masturbate, maybe half the audience had left. They've given up. Not me. I believed.

Two hours. More of the same.

Three. Three hours of mumbling narration and masturbation from trick angles. I wasn't even sure it was over when it ended. No discernable hint as to an end or... well, no money shot. Just: over. By the time the lights came back on, there were enough people left in the audience that I could count them on one hand. A geriatric man sleeping, a junky on the nod, a homeless guy and someone who resembled The Simpsons Comic Book Guy. And me.

Then, the punchline. A director of the MoMA program takes the stage as the curtain drops to introduce the filmmaker. Shoulda guessed it: the director was the masturbating guy.

He asked us if we had any questions.

What do you say to that?

See, THAT was excrutiating. THAT was uncomfortable. THAT was a bad film experience. Compared to that, Gigli was... well, it still sucks. But not quite that bad.

Gigli is the heartwarming story of two tough guy thugs (Aflopez) that kidnap a retarded kid to blackmail a state prosecutor. They do this in a really foolish way that makes no sense.

Then they bicker and bitch and deliver long, pointless monologues towards no real end except to showcase how fucking smug and impressed they are with themselves. Needless to say, although Affleck is an obnoxious uninteresting dipshit and Lopez is a lesbian with the philosophical depth on the subject that would match any second year college freshwomyn's, they end up having lukewarm sex.

Note that although cunnilingus is CONTINUOUSLY referred to throughout the dopey story, Affleck does not go down. We DO get the notorious "Gobble Gobble" line, but honestly it's no stupider than any other piece of dialogue that gets cooked up in this septic soup.

Then the crime boss who told Aflopez to nab the kid gets called to the mat by his boss (Al Pacino, apparently playing a crime boss who thinks he's Al Pacino) and gets shot in the head for reasons that don't bear closer scrutiny. Then for some reason our heroes are allowed to leave the murderous crime boss' den so that they can... well, it's not clear WHAT they're supposed to do now.

Apparently the focus group rooked into shepherding this bastard child decided that Aflopez should "do the right thing" and release their retarded ward onto the set of Baywatch in the hopes that spaz-o will "get some". I honestly wish I were kidding. Then Aflopez drive off into the sunset, into a brighter more beautiful world where they may shave one another's assholes in peace. Roll credits.

Where to begin with lowlights? The outrageous, offensively-written retard who vascillates wildly between Tourette's cursing or cute and cuddly sweetheart as the scene demands (as an aside, imagine how embarrassed Justin Bartha, the Screech likealook who got stuck with this part, must be. This was his FIRST movie. Ouch.)? Lopez's deadly lesbian thug who is forever promising to beat up a man twice her size, but never gets around to doing anything even remotely threatening? The baseless plot twists that leave you yelling, "Morons: if you cut off a corpse's finger, they'll fingerprint it and know that it's not the kid's" or "Why are you driving around with a kidnapped child in broad daylight? Aren't the feds looking for you?" or "SHUT UP! JUST SHUT UP!" at the screen? Leave us not forget the HORRIBLE HORRIBLE HORRIBLE (HORRIBLE) five minute monologues that Aflopez deliver on oral sex and the superiority of the vagina and scooping out eyeballs and how tough and smart and desirable they are (that vagina monologue is the Bizarro equivalent of Kidman's "Navy Fantasy" in Eyes Wide Shut; as embarrassing and poorly done as Kidman's was classic)? And how about that forgettable but astonishingly bone-dumb script? Or the overbearing "Hey Look! I'm Making A Movie!" direction? And why the hell name a film with a title so confusing that the lead has to keep correcting the pronounciation of it by OTHER CHARACTERS IN THE GODDAM FILM? News flash: If YOU can't say it, I sure as hell don't want to bother.

Acting? I've seen Lopez do good work: in Out of Sight. I'm presuming that Affleck MUST have a good film somewhere... seeing as I'm damned to see Paycheck (it's a P.K. Dick adaptation and I have a weakness for those), I'm hoping that's gonna be it. All things considered though, I'd be okay if neither one ever went near a camera again.

The direction, the acting, the writing: everything is tremendously self-satisfied and bored. There's a sense that everyone is peeved by the fact that they actually have to MAKE this film. There is no joy, no chemistry, no frisson, no nothing. At least the masturbating guy looked like he was having a good time; this cast looks like it's in a hurry to get to catering.

The only highlight is a bit cameo by Christopher Walken (playing a policeman who apparently thinks that he's Christopher Walken) wandering in on Aflopez to question them. When he doesn't get the answers he's looking for, he launches into some nonsense about taking them out to get pie that "tastes so good you put it on your head your tongue will knock your brain out to get at it... MMMMMMHMMMMMM!"
Walken realizes he's in a dog and decides to not only gnaw but eat and then shit the scenery.
That's about as good as this gets: fifteen seconds of self-mocking hysterics done by a slumming actor.
Don't even ask about Pacino; you don't want to know.

BUT IT'S NOT THAT BAD. It's just a bad Hollywood studio film. Lord knows, worse must have come out last year. Bad Boys II? Cat in the Hat? Hell, I disliked Thirteen just as much, only for different reasons. Thirteen was GENUINELY offensive; Gigli just wasn't capable of being taken seriously enough to be offensive. No, this monstrosity achieved punchline status because we like to see hubris repaid. Hardly fair, but this abortion certainly don't merit a cheering section. Saying that Gigli deserves better critical treatment is like worrying about Saddam Hussein's living conditions.

My fear is that a wave of would be hipster film watchers are on their way to rent or tune in Gigli in hopes of finding a so-bad-it's-good antifilm. Look elsewhere. This is only bad enough to be bad.


the espn review - the astonishingly low "rotten tomatoes" rating -
Cleaning Up Razzies - the Official Site - The Gigli Experiment -
The Onion Reports

Tuesday, January 27, 2004



Andy Milonakis made his first appearance on my hard drive in the form of CHONKY about a year ago. He's gotten a lot more popular, so excuse me if this falls into the "this again?" category. Andy's actually 27, by the by.
Mystikal is _fucked_. I liked this guy's music, but what in the hell is THIS heinous Kobe shit? Ugly.
Pathetic Geek Stories, previously of The Onion, has found its own home on the web. If you've never seen it, definitely worth investing at least a half an hour into.
Nice Tits. SFW, unless your employer is a tomcat.
Toy Tokyo, my favorite NYC toy store, has fixed up the web site. Great for browsing.
More Tofu Madness. Somebody get me one of these, please.
Ask Metafilter reps blogs. Where is the love?
AT+T's Natural Voice: Nice answering machine potential.
"I'm a Fucking Fish and I'm Not Fucking Funny": from that winner of a timewaster, Rob Manuel's Joint
Bolt City: Great online comic, via memepool
One last breaking link, appropos of Style Wars:Headspinning for the Pope... with video. Surreal, son. (big ups to snarky malarkey)

...a modest musical proposal...
This new Kanye West looks like it's going to reshape the continent. The leaks I've heard so far have been nothing but choice. It's funny, cause K's voice is fairly unremarkable but his flow, beats and lyrics are all riding high. Like the Neptunes, you could overlook four songs without ever connecting the name to the track until you finally go "Oh shit, is that HIM?"
Go find "My Way", "Self Conscious", "Slow Jams" and "Jesus Walks" and tell me what you think.

Monday, January 26, 2004


Joliet Prison, 4th of July celebration, circa 1905

I spent a large chunk of the day revamping the Blogroll and linkage, so you should click around and see what you find. Accidentally erased all my work and then cried for awhile. Been listening to Leslie Feist's Mushaboom for about five hours straight now and it's not helping my mood.

What a blah and nondescript day/week/month/year I'm having here. I may need to develop a dependency on some sort of drug and/or sexual aberration just to kickstart my shit back in gear. In the meantime, finding it a bit more difficult to keep to a workout/diet schedule. Suggestions, exclamations of disgust and exhortations to "Find Jesus" are welcome.

Prolly gone go get my sweat on and then maybe suffer through the last Matrix at the 1.50. Grandma fell last night and hasn't been doing too well.

On a different note, I sure am getting a lot of refers on Dave Elsewhere. You kids like him too, huh?
A healthy second place is the Aqua Teen Hunger Force review, but my FAVORITE refer was THIS one.

A sausage of links, maybe a film recap and less bitching to follow.

Sunday, January 25, 2004

"I Said A Hip Hop, the Hippy, the Hippy to the Hip Hip Hop; Ya Don't Stop the Rock To the Bang Bang Boogie,
Say 'Up Jump the Boogie'
To the Rhythm of the Boogity Beat."

Crazy Legs and the Rock Steady Crew, early 1980's

"When I grab my dick, you know, give you the dick...
That's not for the Olympics, you know? That's not for Broadway."
-Ken Swift, speaking about the art inherent in breaking battles, from:

Style Wars
small screen - january 2004 - starred!

In the early 1980's, New York City gave birth to hip hop.
Style Wars let the world know.

SW was originally conceived as a PBS style documentary of NYC's graffiti problem and the indigent youth behind it. Twenty years of foresight later, it's a love letter, a document of the roots of rap, multiculti, scratch culture, hip hop dance and graffiti as high art. The film divides itself neatly between interviews (mostly with the spray artists, but with the occasional nod to the fuzz and Ed Koch) and documentary footage of 80's NYC and MTA.

Rumbling, ugly trains roll from one station of urban blight to another carrying the supernova bursts of Red Devil tags. Broken down project playgrounds provide the backdrop for acrobatic, gravity-defying dancing. Sirens and screams get faded by fresh old school cuts; a trio of young writers on the platform freestyle Melle Mel as an A Train with their names wobbles drunkenly toward them. As Tony Silver, the film's director, puts it: this is opera. And it is. It's cool like cool hasn't been since.

Although there is some abstract social drama and didacticism laid down, it's VERY clear where the film's sympathies lie; you're less interested in the social ramifications of why these kids throw up graf and more interested in their own interpersonal beefs, specifically the simplistic Cap throw-ups that mar the more artistic and time-consuming burners. "Cap One" is the film's real bad guy, more so than the other kids or the cops. Cap is Vishnu the Destroyer: all acquisition and entropy.

Then there's the early breakers, as undeveloped and trailblazing as dancers as the skaters in Dogtown and Z Boys; every move is a new revolution, every style done for the first time. F'r Chrissakes, one kid talks about the new thing in from Cali: pop-locking. This is that old-time religion blazing; nineteen year old members of the Rock Steady Crew battlin' in the Boogie Down Bronx.

Rap provides the background, the constant. One young writer tries his hand at spinning over a breakin' battle; years later, that kid became th' Drama King DJ Kay Slay of Eminem v. Benzino and 50 v. Jah fame.

The film itself is only a little more than an hour, but the DVD extras (clocking in at over three and a half hours) are much more than frosting on this cake. Extras include interviews with the filmmakers, a ton of worthwhile outtakes and an entire disc of photography of graph art, where-are-they-now interviews (highlights include talks with Kay Slay, Rammellzee, Zephyr and the memorial tribute to Dondi White [although it neglects to mention that he died of AIDS, that other product of the '80's]) and brief talks with some seminal figures in the field. It's hard to imagine a better or more considered presentation.

These days, I got a nostalgia Jones for New York; I'm dancin' on DDR and listenin' to hip hop every day. I'm a wannabe blazer who was in the wrong place when the scene hit. If you are too, this is a window into a New York that no longer exists, into hip hop culture before Sprite heard of it, into graffiti before th' stencils. If you _were_ there, this should be an excellent rearview mirror to Brick City back in th' day.

Hella nice and finally back in print, Style Wars is a serious no brainer.
Go get it.


NPR - seen - New York Graf - Old School Hip Hop.Com - Dancer's Delight -
B-Boys Hip Hop Links - Mr. Wiggles

Friday, January 23, 2004


We likes comments 'round here. Speak up or get run over.

Star Wars Geeks are Cool...for Me to Poop On: Rather than retype the whole damn thing, here's a pile of Star Wars crap previously posted over on MoFi.
FWIW: I was sure that my Star Wars geek days were done after I saw Attack of the Clones, which made my personal Bottom 9 of 2003, but I'm back after putting in over thirty hours on KotOR and finally beating it last night. Can't see playing it all the way through again just for the Dark Side ending and 'twas buggy as a locust summer but still more fun than I should be having at this age. If you ever got goosebumps when you heard that blare of horns and saw the words roll up the screen, you'll love it.
Speaking of video games, why aren't you playing DDR Max 2? To whet your appetite, here's some Dance Dance Revolution Videos. It's also excellent exercise. Here: have a listen. Later on you can audition for the inevitable movie. If not you can always Click Buttons And Dance Like Oobi. You shake whole body.
More quality dancing can be found at Hey Ya Charlie Brown via linkfilter and shortly via EVERYONE. This is too cute. Outkast, incidentally, is ice cold. Alrightalrightalrightalrightalrightalrightalrightalrightalright alrightalrightalrightalrightalrightalrightalrightokaynowladies!
The Running of the Dachshunds: For Snuffy. Yah, little weinerdog, Yah!
Zippy seems to be blogging.
Technical Virgin.com: via Everlasting Blort. " If straight guys were serious about wanting to have sex and not worry about knocking someone up, they'd hook up with each other."
There'll never be another: I always thought Aflopez would've been catchier, but nobody asks me anything.
I also would like to note that I don't know why the fuck I'm posting this.
But as long as I'm celebrity whoring, check out "No More Piercings For 'Scary' Christina Aguilera": "One of them finally gets up here to meet me and the mom was like, 'So go ahead BILLY, go and take a picture with Christina. Don't be shy. She won't bite,' and she kind of pushes him up and he runs back behind his mother and goes, 'But mom, she's scary.'"
And from the previous link, there's THIS would-be voice of the unwashed: Miles Thirst. Who do you figure this guy is pimping for, Sprite or Colt 45? We'll all know by the Superbowl.
Lastly, there's Tofu Robot, which makes me very happy.
"TOFU ROBOT T-SHIRT. You wear it you are a special guest for everywhere!"
Which is basically all I ever wanted.

Tuesday, January 20, 2004

"I hated this guy. I wanted to hit him in the gut.
He was evil. I was a 10-year-old girl."

Victim of Hiroshima bombing, 1945.
The patterns on her clothing have been burned into her skin by the bomb.

In 1955, a decade after the bombing of Hiroshima, nine young women were brought to New York to undergo cosmetic surgery. Their faces had been terribly scarred by the heat and radiation produced from the bomb.

The "Hiroshima Maidens", as they were called, became cause celebres.

One of the children's father was Rev. Kiyoshi Tanimoto, the lead in John Hersey's Hiroshima. Both he and his keloid scarred child, Koko Tanimoto Kondo, were invited on This Is Your Life. They accepted.

Unbeknownst to them, the show's host, Ralph Edwards, also invited on Robert Lewis, pilot of Enola Gay.

The little girl met the man who destroyed everything she knew and loved that day. Try to imagine it.

In the end, she held his hand.

The story of the Hiroshima Maidens has been the subject of a historical work, a children's book by the spectacular Laurence Yep, at least one film and is now the topic of a new play at St. Ann's Warehouse, "Hiroshima Maidens".

Scroll down to the bottom of this page to hear an NPR interview with one of the real "Maidens" and audio from the actual "This Is Your Life" episode.

Also here's a few words from Miyoko Matsubara in the name of peace.

I got nothing funny to say tonight.

Monday, January 19, 2004

I Ku, You Ku, We All Ku for Haiku

Can you haiku like I haiku?

Whether you're Basho-riffic or just a Dharma Bum, everyone loves haiku.

Try some Hip Hop Haiku, Sci-F-aiku, Periodic Table Haiku, Computer Written Auto-Haiku, Horror-ku, Anti-War Haiku, Quake-ku (but can it be better than 'Blue Wizard Is About to Die'?), Camel Toe Haiku and, of course, Porn Haiku.

Happy Monday Kids;
Wake up, wake up. It is time
To make the doughnuts.

(posted this over at monkeyfilter, but thought you might want to look it over too. For info on the "haiku virus", see here.)

Sunday, January 18, 2004

It's Not That I Watch A Lot of Television

But I DO watch sports and Comedy Central.

And I think a sign that your social life is getting a little weak is when you start bonding with the women in the commercials.

You know? Like you start to think that there could BE something there, that if you could just meet in some advertising party you could say; Hey, don't I know you? And she'd say, Yeah, I'm Ivana Milicivic from the "Big O" commercials, formerly of Mind of the Married Man and what is that alluring cologne you're wearing? And I'd be all like; Oh, I never wear cologne. You must be referring to my natural body musk. And she'd say, Well whatever it is, it's nice. Listen, this place is pretty dead, you want to go get some coffee? And I'd be like; Well, I don't really drink coffee, but I think I know what you mean; why don't we blow this pop stand and go listen to some records? And then we'd hang out and discuss what happened to Prince and who's our favorite Democratic candidate and why neither of us ever finished college and the books of Philip K. Dick and the art of George Herriman but then it would be way too late to leave so I'd sorta awkwardly suggest that it might be easier for us to just crash out at my place since we're already here and I can take the couch but oh no that's okay it's a big bed and we'd sorta curl up, still talking and there'd be that accidental contact in bed that turned unaccidental and then there's a little neck nuzzling and a light graze and then she turns over and we get that superrad moment where you're both breathing the same air and then you sorta halfway kiss but that turns into a serious lipsucker and light groping/stroking/cuddle until you're both so trashed and tired but horny but you decide that maybe this could be something serious and you don't want to fire it up on the first night so instead you spoon and then she has to get up early for work, but she doesn't rush you out but you're all like; Hey, I can dig it; so you leave the same time she does but that afternoon you get into a giggly phone conversation that sets up a date for Friday and then you meet at her place and soon after hot monkey sex would follow.

You know?

I'm getting that with two commercials.

One of them is that Dodge truck commercial where the married couple is driving their kid home in the new car and the mother leans back and says something about how the suspension makes the "ride smooth for FLUFFY." FLUFFY is the kid's teddy bear. When she says "FLUFFY," it drives me crazy. I just want to whisk her away from her brainless dolt of a husband and her Stepford wife life and go ride cross country motorcycles with her to San Francisco.

But the other girl is better. Less domestic. It's an ad for Dave Attell's Insomniac. They're doing an hour long special. In the ad, Dave's in a bar pointing at a Jack-O'-Lantern on the counter and there's this cute girl-next-door-type redhead sitting beside him and she's got a sorta bemused, almost annoyed "Who is this schmuck?" look on her face. And she's not looking at the camera, she's looking at Attell. Very real. And Attell says, "You know you're really drunk when you want to >bleeeeep< one of the holes." Then the scene quick cuts to the next gag, but just before it does; this girl's face does a total switcheroo, one of those sly, not-trying-to-laugh, half grins that signals the "hmmm. I might fuck this guy" response.

I love that girl.

If you're that girl, please call me.

Step away kid, ya bodderin' me.

Actor W.C. Fields on 8th Street in Newhall, in front of his home, c. 1935.

Oy. I watch too many films. Two weeks into 2004 and a blog I started with the intention of documenting my viewing habits is already eight movies behind.
Better start bailing the blog boat before the celluloid waters creep over these internet eyes and I sink to the bottom of the media ocean.
Didn't strain that metaphor at all.
I didn't.
Don't look at me like that. Stop it.
Alright, I'm crying.
Are you happy now?

Here's the first.

small screen - january 2004 - starred!

Having never seen any Fields before, I wasn't too sure what to expect. GODDAMN, but this mutha was VICIOUS! Lord knows that was Fields' stock in trade; his misanthropy schtick was the cornerstone of his act, but I wasn't expecting someone THIS rude. He attempts to wrestle piggy banks away from little girls and angrily cuffs women in the head. In short, he gets away with shit you'd get booted off the stage for today. He plays his character unlovable, repugnant, belligerant and selfish; but it's so believable and gross that you can't help but root for the sorry bastard. He's a helluva anti-hero.

Six by Fields is a sextet of shorts (about twenty minutes a pop) from the early 1930's (his complete sound work from the period) including his first film, a mostly unremarkable silent from 1915.

By and large, they're all enjoyable. The highlights are his "job" films; The Dentist, The Pharmacist, The Golf Specialist and The Barber Shop. These job stories follow Carl Barks' Donald Duck approach to character: plunk your vainglorious gasbag lead into a professional setting then let the gags write themselves. The slapstick here is sadistic, fiendish and delectable; Fields is unflappable and the scripts veer wildly into dada. In The Pharmacist, Fields' dejected and hungry daughter eats the family parakeet; in The Dentist, Fields lifts a woman out of the chair with a pair of pliers attached to her molars and then proceeds to carry her around in a yank and pull hump that mimics rough coitus. Shades of Dario Fo or Ionesco, seemed t'me.

There is one especially offbeat short included to challenge the more adventurous of you out there. That Fatal Glass of Beer veers SO deeply into absurdity that it toys with incomprehensibility. Ostensibly a Gold Rush style parody, TFGOB instead satires Prohibition style paranoia, theatrical parlez of the day and... well, who knows what. The jokes are dated and then some. One of the running gags has Fields opening up his cabin's front door into the tundra and intoning in a wattle-rattling growl, "And it ain't a fit night out... for maaaaaan or beast." Then somebody throws a handful of fake snow in his face. They repeat this gag, no joke, at least NINE times. What we're meant to make of this, I don't know.

Which brings us to a necessary caveat: these films employ a visual license and storytelling technique that might as well be alien to an MTV generation viewer. Musical score? Nope. Only one joke every three minutes? Seems that way. Six minute static camera takes? Oh, definitely. These are films that demand patience and an ear for the well turned phrase. The rewards are insight into the film roots of the genre of dark comedy and the exemplary performances of a master at the top of his game. Fields is indeed a one note actor, but that one note cries out FUCK YOU in a basso profundo that echoes down decades in sneering hipster-ese. He's still cool and (based on the evidence here) overdue for a renaissance

This disc is a Criterion issue, which means you're going to get a nice quality picture, a clean transfer and crisp sound. Sadly, no bonuses here; I would've liked to have seen some newsreel footage of Fields in repose with his harem and his whiskey. Shame that. Still and all, great presentation.

Bottom line? Seventy years later, this stuff is still pretty funny. Anybody think Euro Trip will be palatable in 2074? Speaking of which, does that abomination not look like the worst, most exploitative piece of shit to come down from the Hollywood bowels since Stuck on You? Maybe I just picked up a bit of the curmudgeon from the master here, but you gotta believe: "They don't make 'em like that anymore."

One assumes that Fields must have dulled his uglier edge down for his later work (could this shit really have flown in the forties?). Even so, I'm looking forward to seeing more of this guy's work in the near future. Maybe The Bank Dick. I'm finding that there's really not much of his stuff on DVD, though . My Little Chickadee, f'r instance, is VHS only; which is especially stunning if you bear in mind that the only season of the TV adaptation of My Big Fat Greek Wedding _IS_ on DVD. Where's the justice there?

Fields said "Attitude is more important than the past, than education, than money, than circumstances, than what people do or say. It is more important than appearance, giftedness, or skill." That sunovabitch didn't have much more than a BAD attitude and he made it work for him and it's still working. Highly Recommended.


the essay accompanying the disc - A brief biography - Some Pics - The Juggling Dub-C - Runic Symbol and Tarot Card(?) (Wouldn't have thought he'd share a birthday with Mariah Carey... and Alan Moore... and Michael Jordan?) - a few quotes (Please note that this neglects my all time favorite W.C. Fields quote. When asked why he never did drink water, Fields replied "Because fish fuck in it". Now _that's_ classy.)

More coming after football tomorrow. Calling Colts and Eagles. Let's see.

Saturday, January 17, 2004

A Quick Game of Blackjack

Nothing too spectacular here; I'm just cleaning out my favorites box. What's the opposite of the cream of the crop? The curds of the chaff?
Better links will follow.
Always assume it's NSFW, kids. We'll both be better off.
If I don't post a movie update shortly, you may claim my testicles for science. Happy?


Bidboy: "1/6 Scale Custom Christopher Walken Head!"
A Concise History of the World
Don't Blow: No update for months, but plenty to explore.
Fractal Recursions: Endless source of wallpaper and trip toys. Preeettty coloooorssss...
Design a Mutant
The Wall Taping Gallery
Broken Saints: This never appealed to me, but then I never gave it much of a chance.
Gorm's Guide to the Gods
Movable Frog
Beautiful Russian Amputees: "But if talking into consideration the difference of tempers, habits, whishes, education, living conditions, etc., isn’t that really too much work for the only FRANTANA? "
The Art of Ray Caesar: via monkeyfilter
phaneronoemikon: "and the blind albino aardvarks/and the livers were smashed on deck/and the drinking began/the moken mothwoman was hoisted up the pitchtotem/tied by knotted orchid rope from the manus." Alright.
Sweet Release: "Unlike anything else on the market, this formula of lipids and amino acids takes effect in just 7 to 28 days."
The Beautiful World of Fubbs
Tactics Arena: Final Fantasy Tactics Flash. Pronounced "Time Waster Deluxe".
Guide to Marvel's Pre-FF #1 Heroes: Obsessive. Click around to find a LOT more.
When I Am King: Rather blatant Chris Ware style swipe, but quite nice.
A Case of Curiosities
Nobody Here: via Bifurcated Rivets
Chickenhead: Great Desktops
Cereal of the 80's

Friday, January 16, 2004


You ever mentally compile a to-do list that was so utterly meshugganah that you doubted your own well being?

1: Go Home
2: Take a shit (important)
3: Finish Gandhi
4: Clean funnel
5: Make Tuna Salad
6: Run for an hour or so
7: Chisel Rock
8: Review last eight films watched
9: ... maybe I should blog this...
10: God, I'm pathetic.

Thursday, January 15, 2004

NYT Filter

"Lenny (Bruce) was a heroin addict, and I could care less about heroin addicts," Mr. Miller said. "Once I hear a guy is a heroin addict, and they tell me he's a genius, I think, really? I'm not trying to be judgmental. But anybody whose last vision is of a tile pattern on a bathroom floor, I don't know what kind of genius they are."
Dear Dennis Miller: Fuck you.
"People come to me and I can help them. It gives me some - possibly illusory - feeling of playing a role in the community."
The Sims Online Debate made the front page today. This is bad juju. Like a Hello Kitty novel written by William Gibson.
A review of online potato chip companies references online snack gurus
Taquitos. What's your favorite edible chip?
Two great items from the Online Diary:
The ESP Game (addictive) and City Creator (tasty pixels).

Also: Paging Professor X... WTF? Is this the aftermath of Chernobyl or some shit? And why do I feel like, truth or fiction, we'll never hear about this EVER AGAIN...
via Notes from a Different Kitchen

Wednesday, January 14, 2004

Tonight we've got a RRRREALLY BIG SHOE


Spalding Gray
is still missing: Found this out in a few blogs. Deeply troubling. I've loved Spalding for years, back when I thought I was going to be another monologuist and take over the theater. Instead, now you can talk to yourself in places like this and see if anyone wants to hear you ramble.
Spalding doesn't have a really strong internet presence, but you can surf more about it over here. I hope he show up, soon and well.
People can be snarky about anything: but it's not always such a good idea.
WHORE!: Herbzipper has been around FOREVER, but if you haven't seen it, you're missing out. Make sure to have sex with Herb while you're there.
Klaatu Barada Nikto: The Band. Contributor to much Beatles conspiracy theory.
KRAZY KEITH'S (almost complete) "ATE MY BALLS" LINKS PAGE!: In the future, when our kids are going to be "interfacing" via inhalable computers and the internet is actually larger and more complex than the concrete universe, your eighty eight year old ass is going to have to explain the "Ate My Balls" phenomena without making your entire generation sound like a horse's ass. Good luck with that.
Recorded Screams Coming from Hell: Downloadable, so you can relax with it over a martini. Also drop by here for the updated version. I KNEW they'd play that "bodies hit the floor" song in hell... probably that goddamn "Woo-Hoo" song too.
The Thai Elephant Orchestra: I actually OWN this album; it was a gift from an ex-roomie who did a radio show. Good for two things: falling asleep to and being able to whip out the case when your hipster friends say "Dude, what the fuck IS this new age nonsense?"
"Pile of shit, bulk": Someone PLEASE get me the shit hat.
The International Church of Pie: Save your fork... there's pie. This is really well thought out. I'm having a hard time navigating (tripod/angelfire sites=real shit hat), but it's tremendously well thought out. (via Bifurcated Rivets)
Slim Goodbody: Yo, Slim was DA SHIT back in th' day, son. WTF happened to his hair, tho? Make sure to give "Lubba Dubba" a listen.
When Ginger Snaps: No, not the film. The concept. Run, run as fast as you can; you're still a cookie. You can't run. I'll eat you. I will.
PIXELBREAKER: Explore, enjoy.

Monday, January 12, 2004


G.I.S. for "funny hitler"

..."where do you get the links from?"; which is a lot like asking a comedian where he gets his jokes from.
If he tells you, he's out of a job.
Still and all, I'm feeling rather benevolent right now, so I'll tell you my main two sources.

One: The internet was created with the intention of replicating a hive mind. Many can contribute to one grand idea and a problem may be overcome with a "super-mind" more powerful than any the Earth has ever seen.
Initially, this was applied with great success to national security and the human genome.
Currently, a lot of people just use it to find other people's dumb obsessive shit.
Which is fine by me, because I just steal their dumb shit and post it here. Thus it has been and thus it will be, until the last syllable of recorded time, huzzah.
I try to make a point of occasionally tipping my hat to the finder I found it from, but often they found it from another and eventually the circle jerk just gets too crowded.
But I do respect my elders as often as possible.

Two: the God with 100 Zeros does all my work for me.
I let my mind go limp and type in two completely unrelated words into Google and then pick through the carnage.

Remember the machine from the Fly where you put a fly and a man in one side and a grotesque fly man comes out the other? It's like that, just with language.

Which is how I found this first link.

Sridhar is a terrible copyright scofflaw. Just look at his obsessive text file cache of Stephen King Books (click the creepy bobbleheaded King icon for flashfun). Why, he's got every Stephen King book ever WRITTEN in here and nothing BUT... Oh, wait a minute, this HARDLY looks like King. Nice try, though. Uh. Wait a second, what's this last file? Uh oh.

But that's not even the best part. How did I find little Sridhar?

By googling "impulsive knockwursts".

And I'm sorry I had to be the one to tell you that.

Now get back on your side of the curtain.


"Without getting too graphic, let's just say that when most of us think 'yeast infection,' we're not thinking about dog ears.": The accompanying photo is just too much for me.
Leia's Metal Bikini: Obviously, this is what the internet is for. I think I speak for us all when I say that Leslie has just taken MILF and FILM and made some beautiful sort of Porn/Star Wars Oreo with creamy filling from our very souls. (via the always entertaining everlasting blort)
"With all they have given you, in all these years, haven't they earned at least that much respect?": When I was a kid, John Byrne was one of my favorite comic book guys. Now, he is clearly utterly insane.
(via the nice folks down at Barbelith)
And if that turns your crank, try Robert Rodi's novel, What They Did To Princess Paragon, in which a thinly veiled John Byrne parody rewrites a thinly veiled Wonder Woman-type comic character as a lesbian... thus marring traditional continuuity FOREVER! It's been years since I read it, but I remember it being rather droll and fun for comic cognoscenti types...
Photos of Marilyn: A brief blurb in the NYT (scroll down to "Berlin") noted that Sam Shaw is about to exhibit over one hundred previously unseen Marilyn shots in a new book, which led me to this lush site.
Kariwanz: The fetish site that's just trying too hard.
(courtesy of the famed madamjujujive, through metafilter)

the NEEN samples: Conceptual art via the Whitney. More good stuff here than you can shake twenty sticks at.
For starters, check here, here, and here.
"Everybody! Move Your Feet and Feel United!": One of my favorites from last year along with the ultra wicked pixel video. The video is somehow cooler the smaller it is. If you can get it down to the size of a postage stamp, it's mind-boggling. I heart Jr./Sr..
The Art of Wesley Willis: Best known for such classics as "Cut Your Mullet", "Rock and Roll McDonalds" and "I Whupped Batman's Ass", the late great Wesley Willis was also a prolific visual artist. I gotta tell you, I like this stuff. It's the ultimate fridge art. Rock over London, Wes.
All About My Vagina: "There are no pictures of my vagina or vulva on this website." Good for confused young women and men to cut their teeth on. Not the vagina. The site.
The Toonarific Cartoon Archive: Slow loading, but frighteningly thorough. Great for unearthing images you thought you'd never see again. Look, it's Rubik the Amazing Cube! And the Noozles! And The Littles!
Purgatorio: One gallery of an unbelievable slew of 3-D images by David Camp. Because it's the internet, he's also written a 43,000 word fantasy novel to accompany this already mind boggling feat. It's a sad, sad world.

And presuming you give a damn...
Why don't you ever CALL anymore?

Sunday, January 11, 2004

Since when did The Simpsons get funny again?

Nobody told me. It's back. You could tell when Homer called Marge "Kitchen Lady". I've giggled my way to commercial.
I feel young again.


Beginning to feel like a neglected Sim. But the weather is lousy and my shoulder/neck/back/chest are still in pretty serious pain, so no activity for this kid. Leaving me stuck. Just not in the mood for video games or football or reading or anything solitary. Woe to this unloved voyager. Slap the front of your hand to your forehead kids; it's getting maudlin in here.
Add to that the fact that I can't seem to google my articles. I'm doing SOMETHING wrong no doubt, but it may just be that I haven't made the proper sacrifices. I did drain a rabbit of blood and eat the kidney, but would a dog have done better? I'm such a n00b.
Well, when in doubt, LADLE ON CONTENT, so here's a big steaming bowlful.

Woodchuck (Muskrat?) postcards: Coincidentally, just like the one gracing the top of this post. Lots of winners, including this excellent stoner poster to-be. Rush off to your local FedEx/Kinkos/AOL branch today kiddies; it's a winner.
TEO: A BEARDED DRAGON: And if that's not enough for you, be sure to look about the helmeted gecko page. A bit of exploration should also lead you to some design tips from a lady who clearly knows what she's doin'. Still, this is almost too much.
Datejesus.com: This was old two years ago, but as Manson said, "If I haven't seen it, it's new to me!" He seems to have taken down all his old NSFW Bathe with Jesus pics, but you can still try out Jesus' recipes.
Creative etymology for the young: "the question begs to be asked, "Why should a person from Bulgaria be such an evil person to someone all the way over in France?" If I had a nickel for every time I was asked that... Anyway, this is all pointless. The real boogerman is a jet set glob of mucous on the move, not some Bulgarian butt fucker. Set the record straight!
Erowid's Psychoactive Vaults: Yet another reason to love the internet? Potential hipster teenagers need not get all strung out to garner that all important "experience". Why bother when you can get the "virtual dope" over at Erowid's. Simply pick your poison and navigate over to "Experiences" and you can get a firsthand look at how the high can affect you. Stop by and "E-Shoot" some heroin with a stockbroker, "E-Drop" acid with an Air Force Sergeant and "E-CandyFlip" X with a very shook up author. Loads of fun.
Clickfest: Can you find your way out of the rabbithole? Handy for Exquisite Corpse writers.
With any luck, this will be the last we'll ever see of "Bearly Legal. com", but I wouldn't bet on it.
Stanmore's Massive Custom Implants offers the latest in real world bionics, from the SMILES Superstabilized Total Knee Replacement to this bitchin' total femur. The way I'm feeling now, I may find myself in the market for one of these. Donations accepted.

Maybe a movie update later. This Eagles/GB game looks to be going to the wire.

Dude... GO TO BED!
One more and I'll quit for the night. Promise.
I was sniffing out the surf and found pixelsurgeon, a pleasant little website all it's own, that led me to this dance performance site. Click on the picture labelled: "- DAVE ELSEWHERE Ft. @ the 2000 show - " for the accompanying video and I bet your jaw will drop like mine did.
The last half of this is simply beyond belief.
You can hear the audience gasp near the end, when they realize that what they're seeing shouldn't be possible.
He is Dave Elsewhere. Know him, for he is your god.
For chrissakes, he's pop locking to µ-ziq's "Hasty Boom Alert". You aren't allowed to get cooler than that, for your own safety and those around you.
Seriously, guys. He's from the future and he's going to kill Sarah Connor.
I want to have his baby.

Alright so I have RSS...

Exactly what good does it do me? Am I on the right track here?
Any recommendations on a good way to get a bit more computer literate?
Can I have my pony now?
Oh, and question: what's the policy on graphics and gifs? Do you note your sources? Is it considered good form? Is there any reason I shouldn't be linking pictures at all?
I'm still new at this and could use a few opinions.
Who the hell am I talking to, anyway?



small screen - january 2004 - good

ATHF has become rather justifiably known as one of the best things on Cartoon Network's raucous guilty pleasure, Adult Swim. It's also one of the hardest shows to catch in passing, as each episode is about fifteen minutes in toto. This is probably for the best as ATHF in great doses begins to wear a bit thin. In small doses though, television doesn't get much more surreal or cockeyed or gloriously catch phrase laced.
ATHF is the exciting adventures of an anthropomorphic trio of super heroic foodstuffs; an obnoxious sadist in the form of a giant Milkshake (Master Shake), a lovable but brain dead steak tartare (Meatwad) and a goateed carton of french fries that shoots laser bolts from his eyes and generally plays straight man/leader for the group (Frylock). They live in a run down suburban shithole next door to an overweight New Jersey style meathead named Carl who always has to put up with the fallout from their escapades. Carl has a pool that the ATHF are forever usurping. Master Shake tries to torment Meatwad. Meatwad just wants to dance and be happy, but his gullibility finds him forever following the wrong crowd. Frylock is a computer geek and serious Type A single dad.
Then fucked up shit happens. Generally, this fucked up shit occurs at the start of the episode when Dr. Weird, in his NJ laboratory unleashes some sort of insane monster onto the world at large. These monsters would include a spider in diapers, a giant robot bunny wabbit, demonic ears of corn and a giant light-loving moth slacker.
The animation is just to the left of South Park in quality, which ain't saying much. Even Sealab 2021 has better toon quality than ATHF, but the show isn't about visuals. It's about the loopy dadaist storyline.
ATHF is filled with the sort of plots that people always say you "have to be high" to understand. In reality, you just have to be very tired or despondent. It's safe to say that most of Adult Swim's followers certainly fit that demographic (what other network would have the balls to advertise it's programs with the slogan: "Have you got anything better to do? We didn't think so." )
Just to add to the general confusion, old school hip hop head Schooly D plays the show's theme song and throws in narration and occasional sonic wallpaper. Because nothing says hip hop like a chunk of meat.
Supporting characters in the show are almost always the centerpiece of the episode. Alien invaders from the moon are unglamorous hyper-pixillated blocks with the sophistication and vocabulary of pissed off seventeen year olds. Hip Hop baby rappers are unveiled as arachnids with pampers and a taste for sweet, sweet brains. Criminally minded leprechauns focus rainbow rays on innocent civilians and rob them of their tennis shoes. Sociopathic unemployed Ken dolls with lower back problems terrorize the neighborhood.
Let's not forget one thing though: It works. God help me, it's pretty funny.
ATHF is the 2000's answer to Ren and Stimpy; equal parts violent, confusing and existential, it goes perfect with pizza and beer, three roommates and a bong in the corner.
If there's any weakness to the ATHF formula, it's that DVD sets like this expose the show as a bit of a one trick pony. What works well for fifteen minutes gets ridiculous after an hour and by the end of two and a half hours of this, you get the same feeling as it you've been eating fudge for the same amount of time: dizzy and bloated. Too much weirdness. The formula implodes like a black hole of absurdity and eats it's own tail. Then it flirts with being almost boring.
Almost. This is still better than Friends on it's worst day.
Unfortunately, you may be one of the many who hunt this set down for the "commentary tracks" and "bonus material" that have been sloppily tacked onto the discs. Don't. One of the commentary tracks is mostly just the show's writers futzing about on an electric guitar. They sound drunk. Or stupid. Or both. In short, they sound like their characters. Not encouraging. Skip the bonuses as well; they are unpolished versions of the same cartoons with some unfunny jokes that have been wisely culled from the final cut. Stick to the straight and narrow and you'll be well rewarded. Easter Eggs amongst the Aqua Teens don't pay off.
Watching all 180 minutes of the first season of ATHF is just too much of a good thing, but if you have greater self control than I do, I RX two episodes a day for the next week or so. Just enough to keep you gigglin'! So commence to Jigglin'!


ATHF has a rabid online following. Here's a small sample of what's out there:

The official Adult Swim Homepage - Downloadable ATHF games - Meet and/or Avoid other ATHF fans - WAS the unofficial site; is now a toy store that sells plush ATHF dolls - Audra's ATHF Page (with lots of transcripts and goodies)

numba one in da hood, g...

Saturday, January 10, 2004



I'm already lost both of my first playoff picks for this week. I blame my injury.

Make it stop! Make it STOP!

Well, my shoulder and back are still pretty beat up so I'm leaving a heating pad on all day in lieu of shelling out mad cash for a walk in visit. Also, my first pick of this weekend's playoffs just lost in an astonishingly dumb game and the Patriots just scored a quick TD on the Titans so there's not much going good at the moment.
So howzabout some offbeat linkage to kill some time while we watch the game?

Creation of a dream: Shouldn't this be battery operated?
"Audiogame.net": Lots of sonic toys to kill time with.
"this is a page containing sounds i've heard and recorded, mostly around the city of chicago.": I love found sound. In college, I remember getting into an argument with a professor who said that it was immoral to want to look in the windows of your neighbors. Clearly, she never lived in the City where that sort of show is generally better than Must-See-TV.
Backwards Man Talk: Exactly how lazy do you have to be to need this?
"Get your Electrolux Death Ray Here!": Astonishing work. Reminds me of something my old friend Karl Hedstrom would do.
Modified Speak and Spell Sounds: Not at all unlike Autechre, ala Texas Instruments. The online Speak 'N' Spell is down, but you'll find something similar here and an even better version of the same here.
Pavarotti Loves Elephants:Yet another Joel Veitch creation. Unlikely to be the last one you'll find here.
"If only Sigmund Freud had known": A fetish site of women with long or abnormally large noses. Yes, they're serious. Seems SFW, but caveat emptor.
Killa Beez on th' Swarm: I'm not a huge Wu-Tang fan, but there's a treasure trove of remixes and rarities for listening or download on this site. The RZA, Big Baby Jebus and Meth shit is MOST interesting.

More after the Titans game.

Random thoughts while typing:
The Expedia.com musical insignia is a perfect example of advertising that works. I can't even THINK Expedia without hearing the jingle in my head... and now that I've done a little research I've discovered that it was written by my old Murfreesboro hometown band Self. Everything old is new again. Compare and contrast to that other classic of western civilization, the ween pizza hut commercial. I'll be singing these fuckers until I die. Thanks God!

Would like to get, learn and use Movable type; but I'm beginning to realize just how unknowledgable I am with anything to do with computers. PERL?

Friday, January 09, 2004

That boy just ain't right
Wow. Just got back from the gym with every intention of putting in a good long workout and was playing ball with some high school kids for about two hours (just as an aside, it's awfully embarrassing when those kids smoke your ass like hydroponic...) when I hurt myself fairly badly. Chasing a ball, lowered a shoulder and went straight into a (padded) wall and now it hurts when I move my shoulder down or cough. I'm inclined to guess it's a rear delt problem. Whatever, it hurts like the devil.
Came outside to discover I left the lights on my car on and the battery was dead. That kind of day, I suppose.
One jump start later, I'm going into the shower and would like to discuss a film with you later tonight if the pain stops.
Probably not, tho.

Tuesday, January 06, 2004

Having fucked about with RSS a bit...

I am now feeling comfortable saying I don't know what the hell RSS is or what I'm doing.
Explain to me in the morning, okay guys?


Well, I thought I was going to put these all in one big FPP, but that's proving unwieldy for several reasons.


small screen - january 2004 - the worst

There appears to be some question as to whether or not the French have a sense of humor. This film would suggest that they probably don't.
Brief synopsis: Plunked down in Edwardian England, we meet Irwin Molyneux, henpecked botanist who secretly writes socially damning crime fiction under the pseudonym Felix Chapel because his wife demands that they need the money to maintain their servants. This ends up not mattering because she nags them right out of the house, all that is except for their beautiful maid Eva who (unbeknownst to the wife) has been helping Molyneux write his stories. The fly in the ointment is their cousin, a snooty womanizing Bishop who is crusading against Chapel, claiming that he's corrupting the youth. Just to complicate matters, a vegetarian serial killer(?) named William Kramps is out to kill Chapel because... well, he read Chapel's book and it got him in trouble. It's not especially clear. As with much of this movie, it's not really important why or how things are happening, just that they're happening. So that leads to the Bishop inviting himself to dinner with the Molyneux's just after the servants leave. Mortified that she'll lose face if the Bishop discovers that she's without her cook, Ms. Molyneux elects instead to hide in the kitchen and have her husband tell the bishop that she's gone off to visit a relative, but will our Bishop believe THAT horseshit? Oh, no. Which leads to an (apparently) famous sequence with the Bishop saying... well, saying this:

L'ÃvÃque : Et à demeurent-ils exactement, ces amis qui ont la rougeole ?
Molyneux : Ah oui... Ã ils demeurent exactement ? Vous me demandez, mon cher cousin, Ã ils demeurent exactement ? Euh... ben, c'est bien simple, ils demeurent exactement dans les environs de... euh... Brighton, je crois.
L'ÃvÃque : Vous croyez, cher cousin... bizarre, bizarre...
Molyneux : Qu'est-ce qu'il a ?
L'ÃvÃque : Qui ?
Molyneux : Votre couteau ?
L'ÃvÃque : Comment ?
Molyneux : Vous regardez votre couteau et vous dÃtes bizarre, bizarre, alors je croyais que...
L'ÃvÃque : Moi j'ai dit œbizarre, bizarre ? Comme c'est Ãtrange... Pourquoi aurais-je dit bizarre, bizarre?
Molyneux : Je vous assure, cher cousin, que vous avez dit bizarre, bizarre.
L'ÃvÃque : Moi j'ai dit bizarre ? Comme c'est bizarre...

Well, actually it's not much funnier in English. Mostly disingenuous wordplay and repetition. Where were we? Oh yeah, the Bishop decides Molyneux is hiding something and that that something is that Molyneux has killed his wife. Something to do with a fake telegram. Again, not why it happens, but THAT IT IS happening. So when Molyneux slips out to a hotel with his wife after the Bishop makes it clear he's waiting until she shows up, he calls Scotland Yard. But wait! He's left behind a signed photo book of the hot chicas he frequents... including one page autographed personally to him! How scandalous! Then the city decides Molyneux is a dangerous killer. Then the wife refuses to let them just come forward and prove their innocence for reasons that remain dubious and then simply cease to matter. Then things get really confusing. I haven't even told you about the amorous milkmaid who likes to pull peoples ears or the narcoleptic psychic detective or the nutty aunt with the big inheritance and the dog that she keeps forgetting is dead.... I could go on this way for another six paragraphs, but I won't.
So it's part Rear Window and part As You Like It and part David Lynch and part Frank Capra and it's a French comedy of manners cum murder/suspense story and this is generally just the sort of movie I generally go gaga for and at the risk of sounding lowbrow (no less than Pauline Kael called it "Dadaist frivolity, with sequences that one giggles over happily for years"), it felt like a terrible chore to get through.
Dreadfully redundant and plodding word gags and a truly unlikable cast of characters make it tough to empathise. It's really NOT THAT STRANGE of a movie; more inexplicable and foolish than anything else, but foolish and inexplicable in a "Good Heavens" or a "WTF" way. Worst of all, it's not funny. Not a giggle to be found.
The acting is uniformly excellent but some of the characters (particularly Louis Jouvet, the Bishop, who wears a Scottish kilt for most of the last third of the film... don't ask) are SO annoying that I can't even concentrate on the acting.
Gorgeous camera work tho'; the cinematographer from Metropolis is responsible for the same here. Wonderful directing choices abound, including a few truly memorable scenes (the sleeping detective floating up into a standing J'accuse!, the vegetarian serial murder naked poolside in a greenhouse).
Maybe I'm an MTV Generation victim on this one, but I rather doubt it. I greatly enjoyed the one other Marcel Carne (DdD's director) film I saw, Le Million; and his Children of Paradise is one of my father's all time favorites. I'm gonna have to plead "didn't click for me" on this one.
Drole de Drame looks and plays like Surrealist Oscar Wilde, two great tastes you might presume would go great together but somehow don't.

an interesting French Louis Jouvet site - nicely designed French movie site complete with the title music... sounds like Howdy Doody, dunnit? - bbc review - the online home of the Boston Marcel Carne Archives -
Great Marcel Carne fan site with an annoying, stuttering MIDI version of "New York, New York"(?)

Watched this over two days. Kinda disappointing and unpleased and forced myself through the last twenty minutes or so. I was expecting a lot out of this so it really put me down. Later that night I ran off to watch Thirteen. Tres bummer, ya'll. I swear, I really DO like films.

Monday, January 05, 2004

What the hell am I doing up?

Oh, that's right: writing about movies I don't like.
Sleepy sleep. Then beach and gym and running and maybe some job crawling at the local gyms... and a few movies!
On tap: Deepa Mehta's Earth, Fellini's Juliet of the Spirits, Chaplin's The Great Dictator and Miike's Dead or Alive 3.
Should be a busy life.



big screen - january 2004 - the worst

The kind of movie that's gonna spur a lot of mother/daughter conversations that end with the phrase, "MOM! I don't care what it said in the movie, I'm not smokin' crack!"
Brief synopsis: thirteen year old girl (Evan Rachel Wood) from the right side of the tracks goes from footy pj's and a shiny happy relationship with her divorced AA mom (Holly Hunter) to a dicksuckin' pillsnortin' jailbait dropout. When she is shamed at school by wearing uncool socks (?), our heroine tries to reinvent herself in the image of the BGOC (bad girl on campus, nikki reed). This leads to some pretty lame shoplifting on Melrose place, some very bad mutual fashion choices and all of a sudden they're two peas in a pod. A BAAAAD pod. Our bad girl proceeds to corrupt our good girl with sex, drugs, drink and loose ethics. Mom trips out. The bad girl easily subdues Mom's better judgement with tactics that seem lifted from the South Park "molestered" episode. There's some light lesbian play between our castor and pollux that never turns into anything but is just prurient enough to make you wonder if it's intended as being more prurient than it is. Mom trips out more. There's an intervention that doesn't work. Our good girl has been self mutilating. Our bad girl corrupts everything. Good girl fails seventh grade and tells Mom "fuck you" and does whippets. There's another intervention where the bad girl shows her true colors and good girl realizes she's been played. Mom really freaks out and hugs her kid and says "I love you and your brother more than anything else in the world but I won't let go of you right now".You don't have to be a genius to figure out where this is going and if you can't figure out what the ending might be you're giving the movie too much credit.
13 is an overinflated Very Special Lifetime Event that rode its backstory into the spotlight. Seems the co-writer (and co-star) of the movie put it together at the ripe old age of thirteen, giving the entire enterprise a patina of versimilitude. Strangely enough, no one seems to have considered the downside of letting a thirteen year old plot out a movie: predictable twists, MTV/Go-Ask-Alice cliche and some really uninteresting stock characters and moments. Worse, this is a film with the sensibilities of a teenager; the sort of movie where it's considered SHOCKING when pre-pubes discuss blowjobs as tasting "gross" and we get to watch all the gory detail of a confused kid cutting up her arm with a pair of cuticle scissors. Horrors! I am appalled. Truly.
Actually, no. No, I'm not. 13 is a kinder gentler American Girl's perspective of one of my absolute LEAST favorite movies of all time; Kids. But where Kids went so far over the top as to attain twisted Reefer-Madness-meets-Grand-Guignol infamy, 13 is uninterested in aiming for a too jaded audiences gut. The self-mutilation, underage sex, drug use and oh-so-dirty language are only a notch below what you'd find on your average day to a Jerry Springer set. Nothing's especially shocking unless you ARE a thirteen year old. Or the mother of one. And there's your target audience. If you're neither of the above, this isn't going to shock you and if it doesn't shock you, there's not much to hold your attention... except for the acting.
Thirteen's saving grace is its spectacular acting, primarily from Evan Rachel Wood. It's stunt acting, very similar to the turn Hillary Swank did in Boys Don't Cry. Though it's unclear as to whether or not Wood's got anything else in her tank, this is a career making film for her. She's honest and frighteningly real in a role that's got cheese written all over it. Anyone else in this part makes the movie unwatchable and it gets walked out on in the first reel. She's that good.
The rest of the cast isn't bad either: Holly Hunter is ALWAYS great. I'm developing a light affection for Jeremy Sisto and Deborah Unger as character actors and Nikki Reed is pretty horrifying as the enfant terrible. Negative points for casting an actress who really reminds me of my ex-girlfriend: Sarah Clarke (no, she's fine. Does remind me of my ex, tho...)
Scripting throughout Thirteen is generally so fluid and believable as to feel mostly naturalistic and as flawed and unwieldy as the plotting is, I have to guess that a great deal of the script was improvised and worked out on camera. Reinforcing this theory are the occasional script hitches that sound so wooden and poorly designed as to make you stop and ask if you really heard what you heard. "That's right mom, it's a TONGUE RING! How else can I say it; I don't speak no other languages!" Really, does your kid quote Marshall Mathers when you harangue her? Mine doesn't. Can I HAVE your kid, then?
Bottom line is that a general lack of creativity, a stultified narrative and an utterly predictable ending make this film a snoozer. It's not going anywhere you haven't been and it's so obviously inflammatory and overblown that it's difficult to take it too seriously (I had a sister who "went wild" around that age and I easily recognize the lack of creativity, intelligence and truth in this story). Add to that an overly assertive rookie style of camera direction: needlessly assertive "look-at-me-I'm-directin'!" quick cuts, attention grabbing visuals that add nothing to the plot, unnecessary and distracting monochrome and cinema verite sequences... it's as if someone with the attention span of a sixteen year old is editing the picture.
All this would be at least mostly forgivable in light of the excellent acting if not for some really deeply offensive character traits that mar Thirteen throughout. One of these I didn't see discussed in any of it's reviews: a nascent racist attitude. Black characters in 13 are used as shorthand for violence, sex and drug use. Sequences of interracial romance are part of the backbone of 13 but it's unclear to what effect. When Wood rhapsodizes about how "if we all had interracial relationships, all racism would be gone in like, one generation", we're supposed to recognize how urbane and color-blind Thirteen is being. This might be a bit more convincing if we met a single black character who was something other than a playboy or a thug. This is solely confined to the black characters; black boys are, to a one, walking dicks. One can't help but feel that we're meant to be stunned not just by the fact that this thirteen year old girl is having sex, but that she's having sex with BLACK PEOPLE! I'm SHOCKED! NB: the only male characters who rebuff sexual advances or are rebuffed by the girls are white? Gwuh?
Hip hop slang, mannerisms, music (and boy, it's bad no-name, copycat rap, too) and posturing are also used as simple notation to highlight the ugly downward spiral of our heroine's descent. It's all pretty blatant.
Equally offensive, many of the jailbait sex sequences (particularly one potential trois) are often played up to be erotic. Any cautionary film that seeks to simultaneously tittilate is walking awful close to the bullshit line and this one goes to that well a few too many times. Girl-on-girl is one card this movie desperately wants to play, but it simply doesn't have the balls. Instead, lesbian activity is used like black boys: it's a sign of something bad. Somewhere somebody important should find this offensive, shouldn't they?
Oh yeah, we do get Holly Hunter naked, which is cool, but the context of her sexuality is exclusively meant to be humiliating rather than erotic. Now THAT'S fucked. This cautionary tale would rather show me a underage teenage threeway than a really hot grown woman engaging in consensual sex. What are we to make of that?
Also, I call bullshit on any movie that opens with the subtitle "Four months earlier". Earlier than what? When we came to the theater? Lay out your plot with some intelligence and foresight, goddamn it! What, was the "two girls punch each other in the face" sequence really so uncuttable?
Wood is really the only redemptive thing about this picture, but even she can't make it recommendable. She'll likely get an Oscar nod, but don't be fooled into the theater. Wood's performance is the ONLY thing special in this afterschool special. Otherwise, Thirteen is just good acting wasted.

official site - pretty much a right-on review - evan rachel wood's site - deeply bizarre web chat about nikki reed

Watched this movie at the local $1.75 movie theater. Now who can bitch about that? Gotta love a genuine buck theater. This was my second movie of the day and both of them were bummers. I came awful close to walking out of Thirteen, but Wood and Hunter kept me curious. General vibe in the theater felt awful close to mine: annoyed, dumbfounded and eye-rollin'. Isn't it funny that you can often gauge whether or not you're the odd opinion in a theater? Isn't it funny that this is intended to be some sort of an "art film"? Isn't it sad that this is what "good hollywood movies" are supposed to be?
Music while writing this review comes courtesy of Gabba.pod, Fruits of Chaos and ZenZen. Go visit their abundant lairs. Great stuff out there.
(sorry to bust your comment Bryant. Still organizing)


Rather than some garish complicated rating system, I have some pretty simple recommendations for a movie. They'll divide themselves as:

1) The Worst. I would not recommend anyone watch this film. You'll find it's pretty rare that I go this route. In fact of the 172 films I saw last year, only thirteen qualify as The Worst. Of those thirteen, seven were so bad that I was actively vehemently opposed to ANYONE watching them. Those seven will get the special hall of shame treatment, Bottom 7 of 2003. I'm avoiding those suckers like the plague and I think you should too, if you know what's good for you.

2) Good. If a film had enough points of interest to hold my attention, but didn't really leave me charged or changed, it was good. Self-evident, I should think; but this IS the internet. You're intended to qualify everything in this goddamn place.

3) Starred. These are the movies that were fuckin' good. Movies that were REALLY fuckin' good fit into the Top 25 of 2003. Movies that were TOTALLY FUCKING AWESOME go into the coveted Top 9 of 2003.
I don't know how I can make this clearer.

I'll think about it.

No, that's pretty fuckin' clear.

For each film I'll provide the date I watched it, whether it was small screen (more likely) or big screen, and a recommendation along with some qualifying commentary.

Just for kicks, I'll likely also toss in a few pertinent links and (when appropriate) the circumstances surrounding my watching of the film. Sometimes what's going on offscreen when we choose to see a film is as important to our understanding and enjoyment as anything that happens on the screen is.

I'll try not to get too anal with the hard facts. Lord knows anyone can research any of these films in a few minutes thru the wonder of great Lord GOOGLE faster than I can say "bloated review", so I'll keep it loose and personal.
Because that's what I am.
Loose and personal.

First one coming up. I'll keep them in one FPP and update regularly, alphabetically. Everything else will satellite.

Can you hear me Houston?


Here's the gist of it:

First and foremost, I'm using this as a forum to publish my film list for 2003, as well as my 2004 films as I see 'em. I saw a LOT of films last year and plan to see a lotta films this year. Some of these moved me deeply, some of them moved my bowels deeply. All of them affected me and I'd like to tell you why and how and whether or not you should waste your time going after them yourself.

The reasoning behind my film jones, some pointless ruminations about the way we see films and my rambling thoughts on the media in general are bound to get some play as well. It's my page and my prerogative. It's the way that I wanna live.

Secondly, I listen to a lot of music. And read a bit. And play video games. And watch sports. Course, that isn't ALL I do, but you can bet I'll certainly be talking about that stuff quite a bit. So, if you care about ANY of the above, who knows? Stay tuned; I might have something interesting to say. I mean, I doubt it; but they say the sun shines on even a dog's ass sometimes.

And of course there's the ever popular linkage. Whatever doesn't get sent here will likely show up here.

Lastly, I want a diary. Just like Anne Frank, except in this universe the Nazis won and then were conquered by aliens. But I digress. So random "what's-up-in-this-guy's-meaningless-life" diversions are likely to crop up. No extra charge. You can thank me later.

Goals for myself would be to improve my maddd 'ritin' skillzzz!1!!, make a few online friends, cypher html well enough to revamp these pages somewhat, sniff around the web to figure out how to host music and maybe even upgrade to a new blogstyle and then learn to ride sidesaddle.

That's what I got to start. What do YOU bring to the table?