Wednesday, October 31, 2007


...going to see the latest final cut of Blade Runner tonight. Please God, please don't let there be people there dressed as Rutger Hauer and/or Daryl Hannah for Halloween. I can handle Edward James Olmos, but not that. Update to follow later.

Also, complete this sentence:

"Where you're going..." e.g. "Where you're going, they serve fry grease instead of coffee and the jukebox only plays bass solos." OR: "Where you're going, the crowds are so ugly even Paul Stanley doesn't love them." OR, in honour of tonight's movie, "Where you're going, the electric sheep dream of androids for chrissakes! Ooo!" I know you could do better.

UPDATE: OF COURSE no one was in costume. Plus, Edward James Olmos (or "EdJOlm" as the gossip rags call him) was way creepier than I remember. This is now the third version of the movie I've seen, on what is probably the biggest screen in DC. Funny thing is, it's still not THAT good. The Ford/Sean Young relationship is a bore, and a lot of it just kind of drags and feels weirdly inert. The whole appeal of Blade Runner remains about 6% Rutger Hauer and 94% the overwhemlingly amazing visuals. Just think, without that landmark cityscape Billy Idol's Cyberpunk album and all that anime I ignored might never have happened!

By the way, the military ads that seem to run before every AMC theater showing I've been to in the last few years are getting more and more ridiculously overblown. This time we were treated to an interminable, propaganda-laden music video by 3 Doors Down (who I hear just left their label and signed with In the Red) that actually drew jeers afterward. Plus, the total avoidance of Iraq in these ads is bitterly amusing, in a "Screw You, Taxpayer" kind of way.

Monday, October 29, 2007

Misselanius things I like (Did I spell "things" right?)

For starters, I like this comp:
If you intuitively trust two soul/funk/hip hop djs to put together a more interesting rockabilly/jump blues comp than, say, some lumpy wannabe greaser, your trust will be rewarded. As Keb Darge queries in the liner notes, "Why do so many people listen to so much shit today when they haven't heard this stuff yet?"

Whether you dig the new Radiohead album or have already kinda had your 160 kbps fill of it, you may be interested in another commercially viable band that took their sound even further out into abstratct territory. Try downloading this jazz-like (which in my head does not equal "jazzy," or even "jazzgasmic"), occasionally woozy-sounding gem for $6 next.
I like this funny show, which I didn't realize before I bought the dvd is only 9 minutes long and thus all over YouTube:

I really, really like this hardass movie, which is the Ultimate Paul Schrader Film. Taxi Driver was already the Ultimate Paul Schrader Script; I'm sorry the 70's never brought us the Ultimate Paul Schrader Game Show ("How much do you bid for this cache of small arms?"). This film is still not on dvd in the States, so of course I'm obligated to mention it here.

And above all else, I like - nay, love - the "Shreds" videos. StSanders, you are so aptly monikered. You can't not laugh at this:

Sunday, October 28, 2007

This whole premise is sweaty.

Hi folks, still dealing with a bunch of shit that I've tried twice to address here, unsuccessfully. One very, very minor issue right now: I really do not want to get back to the usual shallow subject matter of this blog, yet eventually I probably will. So if you're currently not getting enough shallowness from other sources, be patient.

OK, I will mention I recently watched what will hopefully be the only 7 minutes of Californication I'll ever see. I know, it's hard to believe that a show named after a Red Hot Chilli Peppers album could be lame, but hear me out. Within the first 30 seconds it looked pretty clear that this show would be Duchovny's slurpy b l0wj0b to himself, and sure enough what happens onscreen two minutes later? He gets a b l0wj0b! Actually, two of them: once in a dream (in a church! EDGY!), then another immediately upon waking up. I didn't want to stick around for the trifecta. HBO may be looking a little hapless lately, but despite its newfound hype everything on Showtime still looks like half-assed* sensationalism to me. Except for Penn & Teller's libertarian "truthbusting" show, which annoys me in other ways and may have been designed for people who find Bill Maher too cuddly.

One more completely random thing I'll mention, aprops of nothing: Lately I've been craving a neck massage. No, not some creepy variant of a massage either. It's for actual tension. Well, I guess it's kinda creepy in that I don't want one from a professional, but it's still not the premium cable kind, is what I'm saying. Wait, what am I saying?

*in this case, I don't know if I'd necessarily prefer the whole ass.**
** EDIT: It only occured to me this morning that this is the second of three posts this month to use "half-assed" as an adjective. Is "quarter-assed" a phrase? I may have to file it away out of necessity.

Tuesday, October 16, 2007

"It's all a big nothin'" - Livia Soprano*

*not the healthiest fictional character to channel, I know.

Hi, folks - all 4-5 of you - no more posts until November or so. Things are really rough right now. In the meantime, I'll leave you with this gratuitious zinger from the Washington Post review of Drew Carey's Price is Right debut:

Carey was as much spectator as performer. He lacks, at least so far, the ability to control the contestants and keep them from wandering out of camera range during their euphoric conniptions, leaving what might be considered the host's sphere of influence. Carey is something of a sphere himself; when he first came out from the wings at the start of the show, he brought to mind the giant mechanical peacekeeper that went haywire in the first minutes of the movie "RoboCop."

This of course coming from Tom "Pizza the Hut" Shales (as long as we're referencing 80's movies).

Saturday, October 06, 2007

Best director ever to inspire an awful Le Tigre song

Every time I read some reference to "mumblecore" (is that still around?) or catch five insufferable minutes of The Puffy Chair on Sundance, I'm tempted to think "What hath John Cassavetes wrought?" Long considered the "patron saint of independent film," not even the best of his microbudget progeny seem to have inherited the kind of odd originality and heavily spiked life juice that pulsates through his finest work -- namely, the entire run from Faces ('68) to Opening Night ('77), along with his "farewell" '84 film, Love Streams (still haven't seen Shadows). A Cassavetes film can be thrilling, albeit exhausting, for viewers who adapt to the extreme emotional shifts and individualistic, drunken language, or just half-assed and irritating for those that don't. But I don't envy anyone that would reject so many wild, priceless moments: Gena Rowlands waiting for the school bus in A Woman Under the Influence; Ben Gazzara taking time out from a forced mob hit to check in on the status of his awful nightclub act in Killing of a Chinese Bookie; Gena suffering through a horrific blind date in Minne and Moskowitz, only to eventually find true love w/ Seymour Cassel and his facial hair; Gena again "shaking things up" for Cassavetes by bringing him a stable of barnyard animals in Love Streams, to name but a few. If you're tuned to Cassavetes' wavelength, the creative rush of his films is still palpable, and certainly very few American filmmakers past or present were ever so liberated in their work, or reached so high for a new mode of self-expression.

But wait, I've just discovered there's more! Cassavetes apparently sought to make great strides not just in filmmaking, but in the realm of wacky talk show appearances as well. Cassavetes, Gazzara and Peter Falk appeared on a full episode of the Dick Cavett Show in 1970, ostensibly to promote Husbands, which as you can tell from the Life cover above was anticipated with much critical fanfare at the time. However, they must have decided the best way to do so would be to try to recreate the film's mad bender vibe on Cavett's show. Dick was a professed Faces fan and remains a great, witty sport throughout his guests' Three Method Stooges act, whereas Letterman would have probably gritted his teeth for five minutes before moving on to the next barely engaged interview. The full episode is uploaded complete with vintage commercials in part one below, as well as parts two, three and four.

Also, here's a bonus slice of Dick Cavett awesomeness (as always, bear in mind my criteria for awesomeness may differ wildly from yours): a great clip from the Orson Welles interview that Gazzara briefly refers to in one of the above clips