The Canadian Club











Well, Dave, someone heard my earlier plea about obtaining a free ticket to the Deli.  I mean, except for the free part.  And so it is that I am headed off to Hindustan today to see my Hindustani girlfriend!

But, I wouldn’t leave without throwing some questions your way, Dave… And so here are some things I was thinking about:

So, sifting through this compilation, I noticed this press release for something that calls itself  “Bezi Bra Discs,” basically subtle pasties.  This apparently resolves an age-old predicament

“With so many air-conditioned rooms, women wearing sleek bridal wear are seeing more than just wedding cake. They are seeing they outline of their nipples through their dresses,” says Anne Zuckerman, owner of Edith’s Inc. “This is not they way most brides — and their bridal party — want to stand out on such an important day as a wedding.”

Now, I have to admit to finding it a really bad sign that our contemporaries are horrified of this.  And yet, don’t you have some old acquaintance that “invented” and sold the same thing?  What were they called? Who has a patent on this?  And how could several people have the same bad idea at once? In essence, this invokes the Almodovar paradox, where what is presented as particularly sensitive to women, strikes me, rather, as sneering misogyny.

And, to answer your question, Dave, yes, I have seen three Almodovar films.  They basically have a drag queen‘s portrayal of the feminine mystique.  Perhaps it is in those grand gesticulations of mocking hyperbole that modern criticism reads feminism.  Or maybe I have it all wrong, and there is some confusion and distinction that I’m not making between movies that are feminist by nature, and those that are sensitive portrayals of women.

Moving along, I’m very curious about this thing called Momofuku.  Why is it extremely popular as a subject of Facebook status updates?  What is it?  Is its appeal related in some way to the popularity of those French Connection UK T-shirts?  Help me out here, Dave.

Finally, you have a kid, right?  Well, can you ask him what the deal is with all these poopyheads?

Well, that’s about enough out of me.  I best be shining my shoes and sliding my passport in its protective sleeve.  See ya on the other side of 2009!



{December 27, 2009}   Don’t get me started!

I’m ashamed to say it, Russ, but I’ve never actually seen an Almodovar film.  I know, lame, right?  In my defense, see Exhibit A; I also submit to you that since I usually watch movies and television while I’m working, subtitles are a bit distracting, so I’m really, really an ignoramus when it comes to Foreign Art Films.  Yeah, I know, cultural illiterate and all — believe me, I’ve been called worse by better.  OMG, this reminds me:  I’m rewatching Deadwood right now, thanks to a very thoughtful birthday gift from Pajamas, and it is so, so, so good — even better the second time because I have a slightly better understanding of the plot and can enjoy the amazing language more fully.  So I know that you’ve got NO TIME but maybe you can put that on your list, too?

No?

Fine.

So back to Almodovar.  Isn’t he supposed to be the guy who really loves and understands women?  Doesn’t, like, everybody say that?  Again, I can’t comment with any authority, since I base all my opinions these days on criticism, rather than on actual works of art or literature or whatever.  But hey, here’s my question for the (Boxing) day, Russ:  have YOU ever seen an Almodovar film?  Just asking.  What about you, Gentle Reader (especially Ty)?  What do you think?  Almodovar:  grody European misogynist or genius poet of the feminine experience?

None of this digression should suggest that I don’t share your opinion on the hideousness of Nine, which is just a big WTF all around.  I appreciate clever stunt casting as much as the next fellow, and I swear to you that no one loves the game of “Who would play the part of…?” more than I do, although, let’s face it, it’s never, ever clever to cast Kate Hudson in anything.  Moreover, I have more than an appreciation (an awe-struck reverence, perhaps?) for the casting of Fergie as La Saraghina, which is hilarious and great, given that sort of coarse, over-the-top, weirdly repellent sex appeal she has.  BUT.  On the other hand, even the inspired Fergie-casting is kind of a sad reflection on the state of Hollywood, isn’t it?  Like, they had to put someone whose yuckiness flies under the radar in that part, because you can’t actually put a woman on film who isn’t some ingenue/android, unless it’s in one of this lady’s films — and don’t even get me started on all the reviews that are saying it’s so refreshing to see a real middle-aged woman on film who hasn’t gone under the knife a million times, when she’s FRAKKING MERYL STREEP.  Seriously, MERYL STREEP‘s movie-star face = gritty realism now?

Um, what was I talking about?  Oh yeah, why don’t I remember going to see Natural Born Killers with you?  I totally believe that you hated it; I hated it, too (Pajamas actually liked it!  Don’t get me started!).  Nevertheless, I congratulate you on your prescience, even though I’ll have to take your word for it.  As for me, I haven’t followed the whole blog controversy too closely because it is LAME AND DEPRESSING.  Stupid lefties.  We don’t deserve to win.

How was your 25th?  How was the Chipmunks movie?  My Christmas was little bit

and a little bit

Happy Boxing Day, dude!



{December 24, 2009}   Schadenfreude goes to the movies

Dave, nothing could please me more right now — except maybe a free, round-trip ticket to the Deli — than this movie Nine being greeted like the piece of crap it is.  I mean, seriously, we’re almost out of the aughts, and we still have to put up with Latin-lover-mythologizing, misogyny-as-art bullshit being marketed to us as if we have the brains of big dumb people.

I mean, I thought only the French (and Almodovar… oh, and Bertolucci) were allowed to put out movies in which women stripping down passes for a thinking person’s entertainment… How could somebody see this movie idea and give it the greenlight??!!!??

Oh, and as you’ll notice, all the usual culprits are involved, Penelope “People get off knowing that I’m dumb as a brick and every character I play is dumb as a brick — but with an accent which makes it alright” Cruz; Nicole “I was in that Kubrick movie in which I emoted way too much” Kidman’; and, worst of all, Anthony “Can you make your characters die already — oh, and Juliet Binoche sucks, as does Kristin Scott Thomas” Minghella.

Now, I know, Dave, you have a personal axe to grind with Audrey Tautou (as do I, btw)… but she should at least be temporarily exonerated for not having anything to do with this flick.

Obviously, I exempt Marion Cotillard and Fergie from my opprobrium. The former due to her being awesome, the latter, because she taught me how to spell.

But back to why Nine is so appalling.  I think it may have something to do with Any Vow-bag European nostalgia.  Whaddya think Russ, will there be a time in the near future when our culture moves past our massive Jones for European accents, Robert Brassai and 1960s infantilism? In any case, I think this about sums it up:

Stacy Ferguson, known to pop-music fans as Fergie, is Saraghina, the village prostitute who provides the boy Guido with a glimpse of forbidden pleasures. Nice for him. The rest of us watch Ms. Ferguson stomp and gyrate through a number called “Be Italian,” which, like so much else in “Nine,” resembles a spread in a Victoria’s Secret catalog, only less tasteful. Ms. Hudson, for her part, struts through an embarrassing hymn to “Cinema Italiano” — with inane lyrics about “hip coffee bars” and Guido’s “neo-realism” — that recalls not Visconti or Antonioni (or even the Italian sex farces of the 1970s) but rather those lubricious Berlusconi-esque variety shows that baffle and titillate visitors from other countries who turn on their hotel-room television sets.

Right on!

On another, related note:  Do you remember when we went to see Natural Born Killers, Dave?  Do you remember that I hated it and thought it was stupid?  I like to think I have had some measure of vindication in the past few days.



{November 3, 2009}   Even Bob Hope had off days

bob_n_bing

Remember when there was that guy Russ who used to contribute to this blog?  Wonder what happened to him…

I hear he’s hiding his head in shame over something — maybe a little hypocritical — he said about Halloween and parties.  Boy, Russ’s Mom really gave him what for!  There certainly was a creative set of costumes and very little flesh.  Perhaps staying sober during such an event ensures that one’s memories are more positive.  I guess the lesson I learned was quite opposite from that set forth in Frazz, below:

Frazz

Now, to address your concern about The Prisoner remake, I think we can only conclude that all remakes of mod British classic television is destined for failure, essentially because Hollywood has a particular knack for screwing up both camp and offbeat adventure.  This reminds me of a lecture I attended recently that veered quite unexpectedly into a tragi-comic over-analysis of Little Miss Sunshine. (More on that later)

However, another reason why The Prisoner thingy will fail is, as you have noted, Jim Cazazwhatever.  This guy has a serious Billy Crudup problem.  Not to say that Billy Crudup does not really have a Billy Crudup problem of his own.  Here’s a guy who totally crudded up the early prognostics of a ‘serious acting’ career!  Still, the unique position of Jim Xaxasville is that nobody wants to watch him in bad movies when they could watch Billy Crudup in bad movies instead.

All that to say, however, that someone told me I have to prepare for class in a few minutes, which will be relatively more arduous than remembering that I used to participate in a vibrant and clever blog.  Yet, I have a feeling that Bob will be hitting the road with Bing again, and quite soon!

 



{November 2, 2009}   I am not a number!

Laugh3

So hey there, Russ, how was your Halloween weekend?  What did you wind up being, anyway?

I went to a movie this weekend, which was so exciting for me that I started giggling uncontrollably during the previews and remained more or less rapt throughout the entire film.  You know that scene from Sullivan’s Travels where the convicts are watching the Mickey Mouse cartoon and laughing their heads off?  And it’s such a great scene, but then you’re like, whoa, wait, did grown-ups ever used to think Mickey Mouse was that funny?  (Because, trust me, I’ve seen some of these recently with this guy and they are moderately amusing at best.)  Anyway, I was like those convicts in the movie.  I was like one of those moviegoers who supposedly ran screaming from the Lumiere Brothers’ train film.  I could have watched anything on the big screen and been delighted, I think.  OK, you’re right, maybe not anything.

So it turns out that it can be fun to leave the house and be in the actual, physical world with other human beings (other human beings besides Pajamas and Footie Pajamas, I mean).  As your mom so aptly put it — and kudos to her for her stream of insight! — a lot of my gripes about humankind result from “not actually having left the house for Halloween in many years (don’t deny it!), and are based wholly on [my] readings of Us Weekly in grocery-store lines.”  That is, if by “Halloween” you mean, “any reason except for class or to pick up FP,” and by “Us Weekly in grocery-store lines” you mean, “Jezebel in your studio while eating a solitary apple-and-peanut-butter lunch.”  So yes, Russ’s Mom, your point is well taken.  I welcome your perspective from the outside.

Speaking of the Outside, do you think this is completely misguided, or potentially awesome?  I’m leaning towards the former, but mostly because of my distaste for Jim Caviezel.

So that’s what I learned this weekend.  What did you learn, Russ?



{October 24, 2009}   Oh, and another thing…

Hazmat-team

Quickly, before I don the suit and start on some pre-houseguest cleanup.

Russ’s mom, in typically succinct fashion, got straight to the heart of of the Lars Von Trier issue when she said “He stinks.”  I know that people have made the argument, as you alluded to, that the over-the-top martyrdom theme in his work can be interpreted as a feminist critique, rather than mere over-aestheticized, European-style misogyny.  Certainly, I’ve winced when I’ve heard people say that they can’t stand Mad Men because they don’t like seeing the racism and misogyny (really, I’ve heard this!).  But you can make the same claim about anything, can’t you?  Is the Saw series a brilliantly subversive critique of movie violence?  Is G.I. Joe:  The Rise of Cobra actually pure genius (I suspect yes, but that’s probably based on my weird, undying love for this guy).  Do we just make the distinction based on whether the director is European, as you suggested in your Brown Bunny comparison?  That might be the key, actually:  this is sly art, this is drivel.  This is vile, this is darkly clever.  You know what I mean, Russ.

So are movie critics just blinded by their infatuation with Fronch fries, Fronch dressing and Puroo?



{October 23, 2009}   Everything I cannot see

antichrist_xlg

So, I have been telling myself since seeing The Kingdom in two, three hour installments in Brussels in 1995 that I would see the next Lars Von Trier movie every time one came out.  And, for whatever reason… it just never happened.  And now there’s this:

The viewer hovers between genuine shock—whatever your tolerance for on-screen gore, what He and She do to each other’s and their own bodies is sickening to watch—and the eye-rolling resignation one might feel at a teenage son’s gothcore concert. You win, Lars—if I’m the bourgeoisie, consider me épatée.

And also this:

There has already been some debate among critics about whether “Antichrist” is grossly misogynistic or slyly feminist, an argument ultimately as fruitless as the question posed by the movie about the nature of women (see above). That talking fox has given the movie a handy catchphrase — “Chaos reigns!” — but a more apt one is delivered by Ms. Gainsbourg among bouts of howling, sobbing and penis smashing: “None of this is any use at all.”

And yet, there’s something so tempting — like the Devil? — about this new movie.  Could it be that I’m letting my love of Charlotte Gainsbourg overwhelm my judgment here?

So, my question for you, Dave, is:  If you were me, would you go see Antichrist?  And if so, would you strategically walk out?

What’s truly intriguing is that the genital mutilation has caught so much attention that the Brown Bunny-esque exigencies placed upon Defoe and Gainsbourg in the opening sequence have raised few eyebrows.  It’s as if the American movie critic can just shrug and say, “Ah, those Europeans!”



{October 17, 2009}   Pshaw!

As if TNR has ever sufficiently explained anything.  But really, do we need to ask why people want to look at the most violent, repulsive stuff there is to look at?  I mean, sorry, I know it’s not teh funny or anything (Wait, are people still saying “teh?”  They’re totally not, are they?) but PEOPLE ARE TERRIBLE.  As evil as that thing that nobody is supposed to touch at the end of “Time Bandits.”  That’s how terrible people are.

As for your question re “Time Bandits” and “Where the Wild Things Are.”  The answer is no.  That is probably true for, I dunno, everything else.  Or something.  Whatever,

I think I must have managed to answer your question about the opera in there somewhere.

OMG, EDITED TO ADD:  HOW COULD I LET THE DIRECTORIAL DEBUT OF NATALIE PORTMAN GO WITHOUT COMMENT?!?!?  Do you think it will be Manic Pixie Natalie or Ponderous Harvard Girl Natalie?  Oh, wait, it’s kind of all the same Natalie, isn’t it?

Edited again to add:  I am so Whatever that I am going to leave that comma at the end of the “Whatever” above.



{October 16, 2009}   Theodicy at the movies

First, to take care of some bizness you left unfinished with your last post.  You are right and you are right.

I don’t think this sufficiently explains the Saw franchise, do you?

Do you think Where the Wild Things Are (the movie) would have been possible without Time Bandits?

Why do they keep making these pitiful romantic vignettes in 1,000 clichés by 100 filthy directors type movies?  I had the misfortune of watching a small, but indigestible chunk of the related Paris, je t’aime and I seriously blew chunks.  This one is likely to be worse as it marks Natalie Portman’s directorial debut.

Finally, and somewhat unrelatedly, did you know people still go to the opera?  Why is that?



et cetera