Friday, November 25, 2011

And a few things for which I'd LIKE to be thankful (shameless plea)...

If you’re amazed at the quality of posts on this site (I know I am), please consider making a small donation to the Buy Ben Books, Music, CDs & Movies Fund.

I do have an Wish List, you know (look, there it is over on the left). In addition, these items appear on my iTunes version of same--to which I never did figure out how to link:

UB40: Greatest Hits
20th Century Masters: Grace Jones
After Eight: Taco
Please: Pet Shop Boys
Chorus: Erasure
Men and Women (Expanded Edition): Simply Red
Islands: Kajagoogoo
Opening Credits Laptop

I thank you.

How about some Monty Python for your "Black Friday" morning?

Thursday, November 24, 2011

A few things for which I am thankful...

In, as usual, no particular order.

The 99% movement
My friends
Sarah Jane Smith/Elizabeth Sladen
My West Wing DVDs
Keith Olbermann
Rachel Maddow
The unreasoning stupidity of my nemeses
That my local library carries lots and lots of "elegant comic books" (some people call 'em "graphic novels")
Keitha and Annabel, as always
The nephew, with whom I'll be seeing The Muppets this afternoon
iTunes and my iPod
My blogs
Finding a city worker who actually helps me
Erasure mixes
My cat
My mothers' cat
Jesus Christ Superstar, the movie
Kristen Stewart, Ashley Greene, Pink, Salma Hayek, and so on and so forth...
Star Wars: The Force Unleashed, even though I've come to think that the story will never be resolved...
Marc Maron's WTF
And yes, still, Saw
Courtney Love
And, what the hell, Facebook.

Wednesday, November 23, 2011

"Melancholia" is not about depression

Melancholia is a very dark film...but ultimately in a nice way.

Actually "nice" isn't quite the right word--better to say that although it looks fairly unrelentingly at the dark, it does not scorn the light, strangely does not wallow in misery.

However, that said, fair warning: There's a famous quote from Francis Ford Coppola who said of his film Apocalypse Now, referring at least in part to the mind, body and soul-breaking experience of making it:


"My film is not about Vietnam, it is Vietnam."

Well, Melancholia is not about depression. It is depression. It gets misery so right that it literally sickened me (insert here joke about my stomach for the Saw films' gore).

Yet in the end, by the very end, I felt spoken to. As though someone had painted a portrait (and the look of the film is quite painterly) in which I recognized...oh what the hell, I'm just going to dive into pretension here-part of my soul.

(This is as good a place as any to link to this NPR interview with Dunst about the film.)


That it does not overindulge in the blue colors is due in part, but only in part, to Kirsten Dunst. In what I take to be an imaginary sequence at the films' beginning, she is shot so lovingly that she instantly gained my affection.


Which was good, because the character was going to need it.

Incidentally, this is what I mean by painterly.

You kind of expect that it will be dark, given the title, and if you go in knowing something about the plot: A young woman tries to fight off her depression long enough to enjoy her wedding night...while the end of all life on Earth is in the stars.


Obvious but necessary statement: Dunst is a woman now. Obviously in physicality, she's been one this whole century (yes, even when she was "Bringing It On")--but what I'm referring to is the female human adult that this film lets her step into playing.

The difference between this and arguably her most famous roles as the attractive, nay beautiful Mary Jane in Sam Rami's Spider-Man films

and the cheerleading captain in Bring It On, is night and day.

Much of the talk here and elsewhere about this film is about Dunst; with good reason, but I must remind myself not to be stinting in my praise of Charlotte Gainsbourg who has the less-showy, maybe even more admirable performance.


She's Dunst's sister who tries to do the decent thing but deep, deep down suspects that her sister may be right about the meaning of lives (not a typo) or lack thereof.

Life is only on Earth. And not for long.

I was not crazy about the first (and last) Lars von Trier movie I saw, which was Breaking the Waves, another film about a mental breakdown and a marriage.

Ondas do Destino by vcheregati
Ondas do Destino, a photo by vcheregati on Flickr.

I'm afraid I just couldn't see how nobody in the coastal town of that film would help Emily Watson's clearly distressed young woman.

No matter how buried their collective throats were by the boot of religion.

A similar question pops up here through the first half of the movie, namely, has no one in Dunst's circle heard of Prozac? In the second half, though, as the movie's spotlight of destruction widens out from just the one person to the whole world; then contracts again to just a few...Prozac hardly would've spoken to the reality of the situation.

Tuesday, November 22, 2011

In that case, guys, you should have no objection to opening your mouths and letting us spray a shower of the stuff right in there, should you?

On Monday night, O’Reilly Factor host Bill O’Reilly and Fox News host Megyn Kelly sat down to discuss what really happened at UC Davis on Friday and whether campus police acted appropriately in showering a group of sitting students with pepper spray. Their conclusion? No big deal.

“Pepper spray, that just burns your eyes, right?” O’Reilly asked Kelly.

“Right,” Kelly said. “I mean, its like a derivative of actual pepper. It’s a food product, essentially.”

Sunday, November 20, 2011

...and the cause of same

11/365: Shower Paranoia...

11/365: Shower Paranoia by Betsssssy
11/365: Shower Paranoia, a photo by Betsssssy on Flickr.

Have you ever wondered what all the Disney princesses would look like as mermaids?

No, I hadn't either, but this artist has, and did kind of a nice job with it, too.

Disney's Pinup Mermaids by *erikasss on deviantART

How attitudes to women do change

See, now, I know this is just supposed to be a little cheesecake. And lord knows I'd be a hypocrite if I said I were opposed to that. But still, looking at this piece of artwork from the late 1950's, I can't help thinking it looks like it should be captioned...

..."Prelude To The Afternoon Of A Rape."