Monday, July 28, 2008

Preach On

It's preachy and talky, but just try imagine this (long) scene from "The Americanization of Emily" (aka the movie Julie Andrews did between "Mary Poppins" and "The Sound of Music," aka the movie James Garner once called "the only good movie I ever made") in a film today. It would be cut to pieces, if not cut out.

Tuesday, July 22, 2008

There's A Metaphor Buried In Here Somewhere

Monday, July 21, 2008

Revenge of the Jedi

It's always fun to see a prig face off against populists, but this clip of Roger Ebert and the late Gene Siskel defend fun against an assault from stuffy critic John Simon - who suggests the alcoholic country singer redemption tale "Tender Mercies" as a better film for kids than the popcorn "Return of the Jedi" - is an exceptional clash. Little did Simon know that he was fighting a losing battle against the forces of summer blockbusters.

In other news, "The Dark Knight" is currently listed on the otherwise invaluable Internet Movie Database as the best movie ever made. The list of the top 250 tends to skew fanboy, but still ... best movie of all time? Really? It hasn't even been out a week yet.

Very Dark Knight

Last week I saw both the new Batman flick and "Hellboy 2." Each film is based on a comic book, each film featured no real blood, sex or profanity, and each landed a PG-13 from the ever-arbitrary and mostly irrelevant MPAA. Yet "Hellboy," being cartoonish and silly, probably deserved a PG, while "The Dark Knight," being sadistic and intense (replete with numerous threats to women and children, not to mention lots of innocent folks being tortured, tormented or otherwise terrorized) probably could have passed for an R. Which would have been remarkable, given the lack of all the usual things that land an R.

Yet if the innocent and beautiful "Once" can get an R, then why not "The Dark Knight?" Just goes to show once again the hypocrisy of the ratings board, which would stamp a restricted sign on a film that mutters "fuck" once or twice in a thick Irish brogue, yet gives a PG-13 to a film featuring a madman that slashed a smile into the faces of his victims with a knife, impales someone's head on a pencil, and blows up an (empty?) hospital. Among other things. But, hey, he never curses, so bring the whole family, y'all!

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Monday, July 14, 2008

Bad for Obama

I understand what the New Yorker was going for with this cover, but I wonder if their NYC vantage has blinded them to the realities of the current political landscape. Now, I wouldn't call David Remnick et al. naive, per se, but for this image to work well as satire it'd need to exaggerate certain aspects of the Obama smear campaign, not conform exactly to what his crazy, ignorant detractors claim.

Friday, July 11, 2008

Tom Petty, Part 2

OK, made it to part 2 of the doc - it's four hours! - and it reminded me that, yeah, when Petty hooked up with the rest of the Traveling Wilburys, and later did "Full Moon Fever" (which like the Wilburys really reflected the input of ELO's Jeff Lynn, another dude straddling the A/B-list) he was firing on all cylinders as a pop songwriter. "Wallflowers," a couple of albums later, is pretty great, too. I suppose maturity suited the guy, though he's been pretty much coasting ever since.

One thing is for certain: Mike Campbell is an incredible, and very tasteful, guitar hero that makes me want to practice more. I've always admired his ability to play the perfect three or four note, two or three measure solo. Very few people can pull that off.

Thursday, July 10, 2008

Runnin' Down a Dream

I'm finally getting around to watching Peter Bogdanovich's four-hour Tom Petty documentary. It's very well made, and I think all the more impressive considering Petty is, even at his best, something of a b-lister about on par with prime John Mellencamp, but nowhere near someone like Bruce Springsteen. If anything, that's the ultimate failure of the flick (so far). Sure, he's a big star with familiar big star problems, but it's just so weird to see people praising the bejeezus out of the guy while barely mentioning his inherent second-class redundant status. To hear hacks like Bill Flanagan talk about Petty in the same breath as, say, U2 is pretty audacious. Love him or hate him, his career is a whole different animal. A nice animal, one you're glad to have hang around, but a different animal all the same.

Every time they flash an album or date on screen, I keep thinking what someone like Prince was up to at the same time, and then I think: no contest.

Wednesday, July 09, 2008

My Buddy, the Rain Barrel

Alma and I finally picked up a rain barrel from our friendly neighborhood green store (what, you don't have one?). I went there with an empty red kid's wagon to drag the thing back.

"I bet you got a lot of funny looks pulling an empty wagon," the owner asked.

"Not as many looks as I'll get giving a big weird barrel a ride back," I replied. And I was right! I heard at least two people comment on my precious cargo as I pulled it home to its new spot under the gutter.

Raccoon Baby Boom?

Coming back from my guitar lesson late Monday night (when Curt pointed out how unusual it was that as a student I had virtually no interest in learning how to play lead), I saw first one raccoon cross the road then, a mile later, another pair run across the street. Then, last night, coming home from an early show by Wolf Parade, I saw another two raccoons racing across the street.

So what gives? Is every night like this if you look hard enough? Or are we being overrun by scavengers?