Thursday, January 31, 2008

No-No to Juno

I hate to say it, but I am really not feeling Juno. It just didn’t do anything for me. In fact, it kind of irritated me. I didn’t hate it. But let me just say that a certain Mr. Wes Anderson has a whole lot of super-contrived quirk to answer for. All that plinky plonky new folk faux-awkward alterna-music. Yeesh. At least they used Velvet Underground’s “I’m Sticking With You” to show how it was actually done back when it was authentic. (N.B. for a far better use of that song, see Morvern Callar, which is an awesome movie. I fucking love Samantha Moton.) Juno struck me as a bad pastiche of the aforementioned Wes Anderson (the plinky plonky contrived alterna-music), a Daniel Clowes movie (comic book elements in the art direction), those fucking irritating Judd Apatow movies (conservative misogynistic morals dressed up as hip and young and cool – of which the pubic hair views in Knocked Up are the most offensive aspect, as opposed to the monogamy/chastity aspect of 40-Year old Virgin and the Papa Don’t Preach baby-keeping aspect of Knocked Up), and Dawson’s Creek.(sassy smart-talking teenagers – and there was a baby-keeping arc in Dawson’s Creek as well…featuring Heath Ledger’s similarly baby-keeping girlfriend, Michelle Williams…whoah, it’s all tied up with a neat little bow…).

I have no clue why Juno was nominated for Best Picture, nor why Ellen Page was nominated for Best Actress. She is super fucking annoying and from interviews I have seen/read, she wasn’t acting at all – they cast her because she was the exact personality they wanted. Plus, I hate to say it but I am sick of Michael Cera – um, Michael, there’s a call for you – it’s Range, because so far you have none. Yeah, he’s charming and shuffly and nerdy and awkward but he’s still playing George Michael. Sick of it.

I did like certain things about it – I liked Juno’s parents (JK Simmons is so awesome in everything. It’s a testament to his acting ability that I am able to forget Vern Schillinger - the white supremacist psycho Simmons played in Oz – and find him totally believable as a typical suburban dad) and I liked Jason Bateman (as usual) and Jennifer Garner (first time I ever said that). I thought their story arc was very realistic and not something you often see. I liked how I was tricked into thinking Jason’s character was cool and Jennifer’s was an uptight bitch, only to wind up feeling the total opposite (well, not that he became an uptight bitch…you know what I mean though). I felt like the audience was able to totally feel the same emotions Juno was feeling towards them as those emotions changed. I like it when you’re able to realize things simultaneously with the character, as opposed to the filmmakers lazily relying on the suspense created by you knowing something the character doesn’t no – i.e. there is no “No, Juno – he’s a dick!! He’s a dick!! Why can’t you see it??”

I also think that Jason’s character finding nostalgia for his youth through Juno is a good analogy for the film as a whole. I have this theory that all the people from about 30-50 who grew up when a freak was still a freak and a jock was still popular are now feeling like they want to go back and experience the acceptance – if not predominance - of the freak in today’s youth. Latching on to a movie like Juno makes people feel good about themselves, like they have some cool cred they did not get in high school because they were too busy being conformist. Does that make any sense?

Thursday, January 24, 2008

For the fulfillment of New Year's resolutions

For the fulfillment of New Year's resolutions, I need this.

Here's how it works: When you're having, let's call it "a moment," you slide off the cap (ever so carefully so as not to disturb the existing pent-up vengeful fumes) and very quickly stuff your new anger on top.

It's a Jonathan Adler apothecary jar, by the way

Anyway, rage reduction is clearly on the agenda for yours truly in 2008.

Other resolutions:
- Be more decisive! And less wishy washy! (Be The Decider!)
- Possibly start think about quitting smoking. Or maybe cutting back? Need to think about this one a little longer...
- Ask my cat, Mimi, if she might consider bullying me a little less.
- Eat less dairy.

RIP Dennis Kucinich

Crazy couple of news days, people! Trader fraud, Gazan breach, Yahoo layoffs... Add to the mix some late breaking news from the Times Caucus blog. The elfin Dennis Kucinich is set to "transition out" of the presidential race beginning sometime next week! You all might remember that Den-Den was my candidate of choice last election so I have a certain soft (read: laughable, demented, or just plain weird) spot for the guy. I wasn't planning to vote for the man this time around (more on this later). But I can still feel a tiny little tear ever so slowly trickling down my cheek.

We could use Den-Den's drop out as an opportunity to talk about the dearth of presidential candidates who espouse liberal policies or to examine how the mainstream media squashes the "little guy" or even the pretty woman/subpar male combo endemic to American society. (Men: it's 2008. Time to start grooming, okay?)

But, naturally, the mention of li'l Den-Den makes me think of UFOs, which makes me think of little green men, which makes me think of outer space, which makes me wonder: Will space travel ever be a reality for me and my fellow middle-class Americans? I'm no Lance Bass, but I sure would like the chance to take a ride on the Great Space Coaster. Enter kooky English bazillionaire airline/music mogul Richard Branson's Virgin Galactic.

An excerpt from the site
Virgin Galactic is the world's first spaceline. Giving you the groundbreaking opportunity to become one of the first ever non-professional astronauts. Virgin Galactic will own and operate its privately built spaceships, modelled on the remarkable, history-making SpaceShipOne.

Virgin's vast experience in aviation, adventure, luxury travel and cutting-edge design combined with the unique technology developed by Burt Rutan will ensure an unforgettable experience unlike any other available to mankind.

With safety at the forefront, our unique spacecraft is being designed at Rutan's base in Mojave, California alongside a concerted research and development programme.

"The deal with Mojave Aerospace Ventures is just the start of what we believe will be a new era in the history of mankind, one day making the affordable exploration of space by human beings a real possibility." - Richard Branson.

It is these spaceships that will allow affordable sub-orbital space tourism for the first time in the history of the universe.

The catch (in addition to the fact that this sci-fi shit is insane) is that Burt Rutan's precious SpaceShipTwo is still under development with no firm launch date in sight.

But that hasn't stopped Stephen Hawking, Victoria Principal, Philippe Starck, and other such suckas (I mean cultural icons) from signing on for a ride at $200k a pop. For those of us who are less financially well endowed, Branson says, "Even though the dollar isn't worth much anymore, US$200,000 is still too expensive for the majority of people. Within five years of launching, I would hope the price would come down fairly dramatically."

Keep your fingers crossed, kiddies. 'Twould be nice to spend some time in space before we completely destroy the planet and are forced to retreat to escape colonies on Mars.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008

My Angry Squiggle

I can never find a picture of the Boynton cat with that squiggle that signifies anger over his head, but you know what I'm talking about. Here's a picture of him sans squiggle. He is at work, and it looks like his job sucks, so it's implausible to me that he is squiggle-less, but whatever. The point is that I have been avec squiggle for some time now. R2B2 and I stepped away from the blogosphere for the holidays, and then I became too enraged to do anything other than rant even less coherently than I do here, while R2 emerged from a cloud of similar rage to enter a new zen-like state which I am calling Post-Rage.

needless to say, the cause of both of our rages is politics. I'll let R2 handle the R2 Rage beat, but mine has been all about John Edwards. I am not going to go on and on about this because a) most of the three people who read this are already the lucky recipients of my rage-filled e-mails over the past month, and b) it's getting old - laughably, ludicrously old. the one benefit of the DefCon 5 level my rage has recenlty reached is that I no longer bother with reasoned arguments, so my rants have been getting shorter. The gist: I have grown increasingly unimpressed by Obama (whre's the beef, Reagan man?) and Clinton (why aren't you asking Obama where the beef is, lady?). I have grown increasingly impressed with Edwards. Bunches and I went to SC to go door to door for him, and we went to a rally here in Atlanta. We love him. Love him!!

There is a poll on The Nation's website which says a lot about how I'm feeling right now. Seems like there are a lot of people out there like me who feel that Clinton and Obama are a) nowhere near progressive enough and b) just what the right hopes to be facing come this fall. And it looks like, unlike Obama, they may actually have a workable strategy behind their "hope" - eg keep the one candidate who can beat them out of the mainstream media spotlight and effectively out of the race. It's no accident that Edwards - the candidate who refuses corporate and special interest donations and has stated his intention to break up this country's intelligent-discussion-sucking media hegemony - is the candidate getting the least attention (by FAR) from corporate-owned media (aka "the media").

Oh angry can I hold you at bay when the only coverage Edwards gets in the mainstream media is about how he let fucking Letterman ruffle his fucking hair????

RIP Ennis del Mar

So Ennis Del Mar is taking a dirt nap. Sucks. That was one of the best performances I have ever seen by an actor. I still break down in tears when I think of that amazing movie. Heath Bar was robbed of that Oscar (don't even get me started on Best Picture...) - PSH-Balanced was amazing as Capote, but it was an impersonation. When you take on a character who actually existed and whose tics and flourishes and cadence and mannerisms we all know, you may do it well but you're not creating anything. Heath Ledger created an authentically haunted human being from nothing but a few lines of fiction. He reached deep down into the darkest pit of hompohobia that lurks at the heart of every heterosexual man and used it to create an incredibly shattering and unforgettable character. I can think of few actors who have actually made me feel genuine emotional pain, as opoposed to merely sympathy. It actually hurt to watch him.

That said, I reckon he was a big old smackhead, and if you play with fire...I saw a recent interview with him and he was scratching all over his own arms in a manner most familiar. I think heroin is making another comeback. The "coke is it" craze of the past 10 years is over - there is a shortage of coke and it's super expensive and weak. Shitty 8 balls are going for like $175 right now. Meanwhile I keep seeing people with eyes that look like pools of oil, and there was that episode with Ariel Pink and the nodding off on stage, and check out Winehouse (if your eyes don't bleed from looking at her these days - now THERE'S someone it hurts to watch).