Saturday, September 02, 2006

“I’m still hopeful,” he said, “but it’s an act of will now..."

Michael Tolkin is the author of the book The Player, a sexy Hollywood satire which he adapted into the screenplay for the Robert Altman film of the same name. His other writing credits include episodes of the sitcom Taxi-pretty great credit as far as I'm concerned-and the thought-provoking The Rapture, which he also directed. And the inexplicably memorable Christian Slater skateboard action-flick, Gleaming the Cube.

Now he's published a book sequel to The Player, and talking up (in the New York Times) his idea that the real Hollywood players are seeing that game over sign...
“I don’t think America’s had a good movie made since Abu Ghraib,” Mr. Tolkin said, before clarifying that he’s talking about big movies, not the minuscule ones that have met the industry’s quotas for unembarrassing award nominees. “I think it showed that a generation that had been raised on those heroic movies was torturing. National myths die, I don’t think they return. And our national myth is finished, except in a kind of belligerent way.”

...Now, as [Tolkin's lead character]Griffin Mill explains, the world has turned off the fantasies that America once fed it: “When the moral lessons of the movies can’t blunt the pain or give you energy because you’re too poor or hungry or scared or trapped — so trapped that the Journey of the Hero is the story of how your oppressors won King of the Hill — you can’t be helped by anything except violence in the real world, but it’s the kind of violence the movies lay off on the villain, mass violence.”

Mr. Tolkin said his book is about “the destructive power of despair and hopelessness.” Which may just deter Hollywood producers from stampeding, as they did with “The Player,” to make the sequel into a movie.

“I’m still hopeful,” he said, “but it’s an act of will now. Reason tells you otherwise.”

Friday, September 01, 2006

I admit the irony of this song was never really lost on me...

It's just in 1989, I never knew it was gonna be so ironic so quickly.

Sometimes I feel so alive
Sometimes I see so clear
Just like the way we always were
So young and free from fear

I lose my fear of war and dying
and all the clouds just disappear
Only my mirror sees me crying
Each time I lose another year . . .

Wouldn't be a drag to be like you
Settling down and having kids
and telling them what to do
Well I'm gonna stay . . .19 forever

We can do magic in these times
be what we want to be
We'll all be rock 'n' roll stars
immortal on TV

And if you see me looking tired
I've just been sleeping thought the day
But I got something to keep me wired
So we can dance the night away

Wouldn't it be a drag to be like them
They're gonna sell out everything
But I won't get fooled again
Cause I'm gonna be . . .19 forever

You better believe it - you know my dream's still alive
You can love it or leave it
But I'm never gonna be 35

-Joe Jackson-19 Forever

PS: As you may guess, I would love to have posted a video link to this song. However, the only version YouTube has at the moment is a live performance from the old Letterman show, and the sound is terrible.

Wednesday, August 30, 2006

Poetry corner

I don't know what I'm doing
If I ever did

Noises from the outside world
Fill me with

There is nothing
There is no one
But letters.
No base
No home

I'm drowning
But the water is warm


I'm stealing this picture just because I like it

I stole it from Tom, on whose blog it's part of a post about climate change. This is an important topic...but I just like the picture.

Tuesday, August 29, 2006

The rule of threes...

Things that scare me

Three ideas:

-The idea that the current administration really has FUBAR'd things so badly it'll take 20 years to set them right.
-The idea that I'll die here.
-And the idea that something that happened when I was 15 has broken me beyond repair.

People who make me laugh

-Nathan Lane
-Maurice LaMarche
-Mark Evanier

Things I hate the most

-Movies with dialogue that makes me want to give myself a lobotomy just to make the pain go away. Also see: Wars, Star, episodes I and III.
-Japanese comics and anime.

Things I don't understand

-How anyone ever thought John Kerry was a viable candidate.
-The overhyping of Tina Fey.
-" " Kevin Smith.

Things I want to do before I die

-Put together a movie soundtrack with My Favorite on it.
-Get the voices of all the people in my brain into more people's heads.
-Go to England.

Things I can do

-This space intentionally left blank-just picture me giving a knowing smile...
-Spot an obscure eighties track within a couple notes.

Ways to describe my personality

-Wise (I'm not saying I've ever described it that way, but it has been so described).
-Lacking in tact.

Things I can't do

-Stop taking shots at Tennessee.
-Wait for the premiere of Studio 60.
-Really play the keyboards (or any musical instrument, but the keyboards is the one that hurts).

Voices I think you should listen to

-Annabel and Keitha. They're much smarter than me. (For newcomers, they're also characters that I created).
-Richard Kiley singing "Dulcinea"
-Kirsty MacColl singing just about anything.

Things you should never listen to

-People choking on their own irony.
-Any music that doesn't move you, no matter how much other people tell you they like it. I like what I like, you like what you like, and there's nothing wrong with anyone who doesn't like what you like.
-Anyone who tells you they don't like Joe Jackson. There's something wrong with them.

Things I'd like to learn

-How to pull out of a spiral.
-How to turn a nervous breakdown into a nervous breakthrough.
-To really play keyboards.

Favorite foods

-Cheap joke

Shows I watched as a kid

-Cartoons both good and bad. Nowadays I try to limit myself to the good.
-Star Trek.
-Doctor Who

I got tagged by the aforementioned Jen, but I don't like tagging people. Anyone who wants to can pick this up...

Well it hasn't been your day, your week, your month...

Thanks to Jen, who sent me the School Reunion: The '80s set from my wish list for my birthday (not that the rest of you should feel guilty or anything).

I wanted this set because it has a bunch of tracks that not having in my collection made me feel like such a failure as an "eighties man.'

Oh, it's very '80s. How '80s?

...This '80s. I don't know about you, but I say these are (in spirit) the same two kids as in the video for that Yes dance remix I posted a while back.

Then there's another little gem, the video for which I once noted has virtually the same plot as Stanley Kubrick's Eyes Wide Shut. Only the video does in less than five minutes what the great visionary needed two and a half hours to accomplish.

So thanks, Jen.

Monday, August 28, 2006

Katrina and the Waves

Just go read Krugman. Via the TG Women:
Last September President Bush stood in New Orleans, where the lights had just come on for the first time since Katrina struck, and promised “one of the largest reconstruction efforts the world has ever seen.” Then he left, and the lights went out again.

Apologists for the administration will doubtless claim that blame for the lack of progress rests not with Mr. Bush, but with the inherent inefficiency of government bureaucracies. That’s the great thing about being an antigovernment conservative: even when you fail at the task of governing, you can claim vindication for your ideology.

Maybe the aid promised to the gulf region will actually arrive some day. But by then it will probably be too late. Many former residents and small-business owners, tired of waiting for help that never comes, will have permanently relocated elsewhere; those businesses that stayed open, or reopened after the storm, will have gone under for lack of customers. In America as in Iraq, reconstruction delayed is reconstruction denied — and Mr. Bush has, once again, broken a promise.

New stuff from our man Mariano!

"...the unofficial official 'mystery artist' of Dictionopolis in Digitopolis." You can see more of his recently-posted work here.

You have to get used to losing things in life, or you’re done for

John Kander & Fred Ebb were so linked that the name of one was once a crossword puzzle clue for that of the other. As I've said before, I think they were the greatest show writing team of their generation, and I'm hardly alone in that estimation. But lyricist Mr. Ebb passed away a couple of years ago.

There's an article in the New York Times about what composer Mr. Kander has been doing since. Obstensibly it's about a long-in-progress musical begun with Ebb: Curtains recently opened in L.A. and is planned for Broadway.

I would dearly love to see it; have wanted to ever since Kander & Ebb talked about it in a book they published (and I reviewed) in 2003.

But it (the article) is really about coming to terms with loss. As Kander slowly and at first unsteadily begins writing again to his own lyrics, with the occasional "general ideas, sample lines and help in evaluation" by Rupert Holmes.
Eventually Mr. Kander found the way forward. “I made this switch in my head, quite consciously,” he recalled. “Instead of dealing with it as a big trauma and a big cry of grief, I started to think of it as just a different chapter. You have to get used to losing things in life, or you’re done for,” he added, a thought that evoked what seemed, at first, like unrelated childhood memories. The time his Aunt Rheta put her hand over his to teach him his first chord: C major. And the season, even earlier, he spent isolated on a sleeping porch recovering from tuberculosis. “I’ve always thought that I became a listening person then,” he said. “Listening for the sounds of footsteps coming toward me.”

If your ear, he seemed to suggest, was tuned to the frequency of human contact, it was necessarily tuned to the frequency of human absence as well. Love and loss were not separate channels. “And once I acknowledged that,” he said, “I felt free to go to work.”

Now is the time for all the cool kids to stop watching '24'

You longtime fans...note how he optimistically yet again uses the plural...will know that I've had somewhat divided loyalties on the subject of the '24' show recently. On the one hand, I was genuinely offended by the show's creators and some of the actors getting into bed with the evil wing of the Republican party("Chloe" even accepting a kiss from Rush Limbaugh, the whore).

But, on the other, god, yes, I remember how happy I was during the season finale. It was one of the only series that didn't disappoint me all year. But now it's won (certainly deserved) Emmys for best drama series, best actor for Kiefer Sutherland, and directing.

It's too popular. It's too succesful. It's time to bail. The backlash is coming, and I'm going to be out in front of it. I'm fairly certain I'm right about this, and fortunately I have about five months to think about it.

Other things to say about the Emmys:

Best dressed women...and when I say that, what I really mean is women whose breasts I most enjoyed (low-cut dresses are back in style...but I'll never understand how they ever go out)...
Jennifer Love Hewitt (left) and Katherine Heigl (below)

And speaking of...I do not know Kelly MacDonald. Don't think I've seen her in anything since "Trainspotting" ("Wake up Spud...Sex!! ... casual sex...!!") but, I love her.

Any woman who is sexy, can (apparently) act a bit, and thanks one person and one person only in her Emmy acceptance speech and it's the my kind of actress.

Helen Mirren also had some nice things to say in praise of writers and writing, especially those who write big parts for women. And the star-studded Los Angeles audience listened with the greatest of interest to everything she had to say, and then they went home and hoped their agents would get them a guest-star bit on "America's Got Talent."

You "fans" will also know I stopped watching "The West Wing" about three years ago, nevertheless, I'm pleased to learn that with Alan Alda's win last night the series set a new record for overall Emmys won by a drama series.

And I don't watch “Entourage,” but I've been a fan of Jeremy Piven's since "Cupid," so...

As for Blythe Danner winning again for "Huff"...well, as I think I said when the nominations were announced: If anybody from this season's misfire deserved a nomination it was Hank Azaria or Andy Comeau, their work was often the only thing worth watching.

But nobody from this season's misfire really deserved a nomination, much less the win. Sorry, Blythe. Nothing personal.

I thought Conan O'Brien did a teriffic job as host; actually much better than Jon Stewart did at the Oscars. Yet Stewart's presentation with Stephen Colbert was funnier than any of O'Brien's running bits.

It occurs to me that Stewart may be at his best when he's the contrast to the establishment, as he was last night and as he is on his own program, not when he is the establishment, as he was on Oscar night.

Sunday, August 27, 2006

I'll have more to say about the Emmys later, but...

...did Kate Jackson really just evoke 9/11 in her tribute to Aaron Spelling?

Random Flickr-Blogging: IMG_3280

"All right. Now for the last time, pay attention. I'm not going through this again. You put your right foot in..."

Original source here.

In retrospect, Betty would come to see the amount of time Jake liked to spend hiding in closets as a rather telltale sign.

Original source here.

And yes, I'm still very depressed. A state of emergency in Florida. Hezbollah. The continuing exploitation of 9/11. The Democrats. Once again, it makes you wonder what's really worth staying alive for, doesn't it?


Original source here.