Wednesday, August 31, 2005

It's a bird! It's a plane! It's ...



Incidentally, the cover of the Sufjan Stevens album ILLINOIS, which you may have heard me mention already on the blog about a million times, has been changed, thanks to a run-in with the legal department over at D.C. Comics.

See if you can notice the change in the new cover. It's not difficult.



Thus, if you have the original cover, you now have a collector's item.

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

... and I don't care.

Anyone else feel aimless and spectacularly bored as August comes to a close?

I mean, New Orleans has been pretty much destroyed, gas prices are rising even higher, the war is ongoing, and the most feeling I can generate in response is, "Ehh ... let's talk about what's on TV."

I've been oversleeping. I don't really care about much lately. I'm not feeling passionate. I'm feeling sluggish.

I need a project. Maybe I should resurrect the resume thing again.

I've not been feeling deep this week, just resigned.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Breakout.



Tonight, the first episode of PRISON BREAK airs on Fox. It stars Dominic Purcell and Wentworth Miller, and I've already mentioned it here once. The reviews have been great, and it has that must-see "24" feel to it.

Sunday, August 28, 2005

My friend Brad's old.

I didn't realize, upon receiving the invitation to dinner at Larry's this evening, that we're celebrating my friend Brad's birthday.

Argh. I don't know what gift to give him. Maybe another trip to the puppet show.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Things to do happily ever after.



- THE BROTHERS GRIMM, a Terry Gilliam film with Matt Damon, opens today in theaters, and I wish that I were more enthused about it, but I've heard very little good. I've heard it's visually interesting, which is par for the course from Gilliam, but I've not heard much in way of praise. But, given the slim picking at the multiplex this weekend, I don't have much else to talk about. Except that the cast of THE CAVE is hot, and they'll spend most of the movie wet. I thought JUNEBUG was coming out this week, so I was all excited. But it's not opened yet.
- At the store, while I was looking at this AGATHA CHRISTIE'S ROMANTIC DETECTIVES box set of DVDs, Shalewa and I ended up in this discussion about why we should get married and solve murders together. I was, of course, the one who suggested it. I said that we should get married - but only if we could be a crimefighting duo. I thought our unique chemistry and humors would make us keen TV detectives. And I said that, as a hip, bespectacled, sexy, sarcastic African-American comedienne pop-culture-geek married to a suburbanite, gay, crippled white guy pop-culture-geek, we'd have all potential fan-base demographics covered. And there's not been an Atlanta mystery-of-the-week show since MATLOCK. Shalewa said that our detective business would suffer because she's oftentimes clueless when it comes to remembering where she put her keys, and I probably would be terrible with fistfights or firearms. Still, I bet our witty banter would be damn good. Way better than HART TO HART. I mean, you guys would watch, wouldn't you?



- Speaking of murder mysteries, why in the hell did the show MURDER, SHE WROTE last eight years? I mean, in all seriousness, if someone was murdered every week that you happened to go somewhere, wouldn't you eventually be afraid to leave your house? Why in the hell did people, after about the second year of all those killings, keep inviting Angela Lansbury's character to stay with them? And, if you were plotting to murder someone, wouldn't you wait until a week when Jessica Fletcher wasn't in town? Wouldn't word of her reputation start to get around?



- This week, I watched all eight episodes of PROFIT, a show featuring the hot Adrian Pasdar that was on Fox in 1995 and got cancelled after four episodes. The two-hour pilot for the show, in particular, is one of the most amusingly shocking TV episodes I've ever seen. My jaw dropped at the first commercial break. And then that episode's ending was just great. (Pasdar really is hot, by the way. Pay no attention to the photos where he looks like he's a runner-up in the Al Pacino Lookalike Contest.)
- Keeping with the theme, if you've never read THE HOUND OF THE BASKERVILLES, it's a really good book. It is, thus far, the only Sherlock Holmes I've ever read. Great ending.
- My college film prof Richard Neupert, one of the greatest guys ever and my favorite teacher, wrote an entire book about movie endings. He called it, naturally, THE END.
- Do the usual chores.
- Check last week's list. Yeah, yeah, yeah.



- OLDBOY's out on DVD now, and it's completely and totally amazing. Love love love me that Korean movie and all its sick, little twists. Oh, and AUDITION is available on DVD once again, and I've heard sick, twisted things about that one.
- This week's discussion question, I suppose, should continue the theme of this entire column. I don't care if you spoil anything, personally, but if you just want to say the movie title without giving details, go ahead. What's your favorite movie surprise ending? What's the worst, most stupid surprise ending ever? Or, on TV, what's been your favorite cliffhanger? What satisfied you best? What left you with a "Huh ..."? Does any cliffhanger beat "WHO SHOT J.R." on DALLAS? Does PSYCHO feature the best last-act twist ever, or is there something better? Is THE VILLAGE's cop-out, eye-rolling cheat of a "twist" really the worst ending ever filmed? Is the sickest ending from PINK FLAMINGOS, or can one of you come up with anything worse? Let's just talk about the way certain stories turned out. That's it. That's all. Over and out. See ya. Bye. The End.

One of these things is not like the other.



The movie poster for LORD OF WAR, an Andrew Niccol film starring Nicolas Cage, features a portrait of the star done entirely in bullets and weapons, which is pretty cool. The movie comes out in the fall, and Niccol's usually a really good screenwriter - except for S1M0NE.

Of course, the poster for LORD OF WAR confused me because it reminded me of the poster for THE WEATHER MAN, which I think was supposed to be released in the spring but was delayed. I seriously thought, at first, that THE WEATHER MAN had just changed titles. But now I know, I think.

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Welcome to the fold.

My bookstore co-worker Shalewa, who has the best background story ever and is an intelligent and articulate woman who just had a birthday, now knows where my blog is. She has her own LiveJournal, complete with tribute photos to Seth Cohen, so she's clearly good people.

Shalewa and I had our first real conversation when I told her about the time Lupo and I saw that stripper at Swinging Richard's perform a routine to Whitney Houston's "The Greatest Love of All."

Go visit. Be kind.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

To quote him, "Whoa."



Lupo, who loves Diane Keaton, just sent me this article. Thoughts?

I sign up for another class.

I'm going to take my fourth session of Advanced Adult Writing at the Margaret Mitchell House in October.

I feel like I'm going somewhere with this whole writing thing. (That's a truly atrocious sentence.)

Vic gets older.

My friend Vic turned 29 on Sunday, and, on her outgoing voicemail message, she said that she was "mourning the loss of her youth."

Frankly, isn't that a bit premature?

Jenipher on the move.

Jenipher told me yesterday that she has a new job in Florida, starting next month.

Go to her website, if you wish to congratulate her.

Friday, August 19, 2005

What she said.

Check out this post on this girl Rachel's blog. It's all about me ... and her prom. (Great dress, by the way.)

Thanks for the praise, Rachel, and I'm glad you had a good prom.

Oh, and this girl Amy praised me, too, for my mentions of the Center for Puppetry Arts.

The new A9.com search, specified to blogs, helped me find them.

Things to do with your favorite freak.



- I don't know about you, but I plan on seeing THE 40-YEAR-OLD VIRGIN as soon as possible. I mean, Steve Carell is funny and all, but the fact that the film was co-written and directed by FREAKS AND GEEKS co-creator Judd Apatow is as much of a selling point. I'm all about the FREAKS AND GEEKS love, if you've never spoken to me before. (Watch it. Best. Show. Ever.) Heck, even Seth Rogen is in the movie, and he's featured in two "Things to Do ..." items I'm mentioning this week. Seth Rogen rules.
- Fran├žois Ozon, the guy who made the trippy, weird, excellent movie SWIMMING POOL a couple years ago, is back with 5 x 2, a movie examining a French marriage from its end to its beginning. From the previews, I'm not able to discern much about why the marriage ends, but Ozon's twisted storytelling usually comes to a point where all of it makes as much sense as it's going to. So I'm looking forward to it. It's at the Landmark.
- In honor of THE ARISTOCRATS, the documentary where many, many different comedians tell variations on the same dirty joke, I was going to have this week's question to the populace be about your favorite dirty jokes. But then, at my bookstore this week, a couple customers filled my ears with bad language as they went into elaborate details about their sex lives, which I didn't ask them about. So I've already had my share of obscenity this week. So, um, I'm not going to ask for any dirty jokes on the comment board. (If you've got a good one, though, I can't stop you from sharing it.)



- My cousin Holly's in town this week. Last night, we went to Jillian's, and I got to play more games of Skeeball. It's like this entire month is carrying a Skeeball theme. Jillian's Skeeball, for me, was a more difficult game than the Skeeball at last week's trip to Chuck E. Cheese. I'm more adept to the Chuck E. Cheese playing field, and I felt out of my element. I guess now I know how professional athletes feel when they play away games.



- It's been far too long since we had a good Wes Craven horror movie to see. (No, I didn't see his Christina Ricci werewolf movie CURSED, though I was tempted to see if it qualified as "so bad it's good.") So I'm happy that this week, Craven takes on the friendly skies with the thriller RED EYE, starring Cillian Murphy and It-Girl Rachel McAdams. Even though it's not a slasher movie, like Craven's best, the buzz off it has been pretty good, and I'm in the mood for a good thriller.
- I don't generally read fantasy. On occasion, I've been known to pick up a sci-fi or fantasy book and attempt to read it ... before I get frustrated and give up on it again, but eventually I'm sure my reading range will expand to include a really good fantasy novel or series. (Heck, I read C.S. Lewis' THE CHRONICLES OF NARNIA when I was in the fourth grade.) George R.R. Martin's A GAME OF THRONES is the latest epic fantasy novel to gain my attention, and what I've read of it so far has me intrigued. Apparently, Martin has no qualms whatsoever about killing off central characters and heroes at random in his books. Fans of them have told me that the death scenes are merciless and violent. Martin's got a new volume of his series coming out in the fall, and the paperback of GAME OF THRONES has been really, really marked down at Barnes & Noble in anticipation of the new book. So I'm going to try and read it.



- UNDECLARED, another cancelled TV series from the creators of FREAKS AND GEEKS, debuted on DVD this week, so, if you're feeling a FREAKS AND GEEKS void, you should watch it. UNDECLARED, which examines dorm life in college with uncanny accuracy, was cancelled by Fox after less than a season a couple years ago. It starred Seth Rogen, MILLION DOLLAR BABY's Jay Baruchel and Charlie Hunnam from the British QUEER AS FOLK. Oh, and Adam Sandler and Will Farrell were in a couple episodes.
- Nellie McKay's GET AWAY FROM ME, which I bought about a year ago, is one of the weirdest albums I own, and I own some pretty odd stuff. McKay's music is, like, Doris Day meets Eminem. She's perky and blonde. The background music sounds like it's suited for a piano bar. And yet she's angry, and she's rapping. It's really weird, but the music's surprisingly catchy, even if some of it's more than a little precious. It's unlike anything you've ever heard or likely will hear.
- Do the usual chores.
- Check last week's list.
- The planning for author Hunter S. Thompson's memorial service has been going on for months now. I mean, he shot himself in the head months ago. The service won't feature any sort of wake for the "gonzo journalist" who wrote FEAR AND LOATHING IN LAS VEGAS, but it will have live bands, stars like Johnny Depp and Thompson's ashes getting shot out of a cannon. Really. Thompson's final wishes were for his remains to be cremated and shot out of a cannon, and Depp himself made a donation so that the cannon shot could be done. All of this, for me, begs the morbid question: How should my funeral go when I have one? What do you want your funeral to be like: quiet or quaint or New Orleans-style with hired Italian mourners? Are you guys planning for your final goodbye or last hurrah? Have you got your cannon lined up? Do you, too, want to go out with a bang?

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

No power in the 'verse can stop me.



Marla at my bookstore always, always wanted me to be a fan of FIREFLY. Since she knew I was a fan of BUFFY specifically and the Whedonverse in general, she knew that, if she talked about it enough, I'd watch FIREFLY and be converted into a fan of the show.

My friend Marley echoed such sentiments when she was living in Atlanta. She owned the FIREFLY box set, and I told her that I didn't think I would get into it because, well, the story didn't have a set ending. The show was cancelled before finishing its first season. Thus, I thought I would watch the whole show, then end up with nothing but questions about where it was all going and what the show's mythology was. Every show in the Whedonverse, and I'm speaking geek here, has a really, really elaborate backstory, and I figured FIREFLY did, too. And I thought watching the DVDs would be all anticipation and no payoff, much like spending the evening with my friend Brad.

Lindsay mentioned it to me several times. Heck, even Black's a FIREFLY fan.

But only when I found out about SERENITY, the FIREFLY movie, did I really think about buying FIREFLY on DVD. Since SERENITY is an opportunity for writer Joss Whedon to continue the mythology - and maybe give the series a coda, I thought it would be worthwhile to finally watch the series. And early buzz off SERENITY, which has been screening in secret showings around the country since May, is that it's a really good sci-fi movie.

So I bought the DVDs a couple weeks ago, as I mentioned earlier here, and I've been watching several episodes a night since Sunday. (There are only 14 episodes, and I have no idea what the number of the episode I'm on is, which is a sign that I'm enjoying myself immensely.)

The show's a space Western set over 500 years in the future. Our Earth has apparently been used up, tapped of resources, and the human race found another solar system filled with Earth-like, unsettled planets. The bad guys on the show are the Alliance, which is the ruling government that unified all the planets. The good guys on the show, the crew of the Firefly spacecraft Serenity, used to be members of the Independence movement, which wanted all the planets to be ruled separately. (So the show has its own STAR WARS-ish "Empire versus Rebellion" thing.)

FIREFLY, the show, begins when this renegade band of outlaws and thieves, headed by Captain Mal Reynolds, takes on three new passengers, not knowing that all of them have secret ties to the Alliance. (Think a John Ford Western, like STAGECOACH.) One's a preacher named Shepherd Book, who isn't exactly who he claims to be because he knows an awful lot about crime and the Alliance. The other two are a brother and sister, Simon and River Tam. Simon was a doctor for the Alliance until he realized that the government was doing strange and weird experiments on his genius sister's brain, and he helped her escape - only he doesn't know what River is capable of or how badly the Alliance wants her back. (The show's suggesting ENDER'S GAME to me, though the show has yet to explain exactly what River is to the Alliance.)

So while each episode has the Firefly crew pulling some heist, the main mythology of the show deals with the crew aiding River and Simon's run from the feds.

Thus far, the show's great.



And I can't wait for the movie to come out, even if some people are now saying that it's the first of three movies planned for the series. Something tells me that the movie's all about River. I mean, she's on the poster. And check out this photo from ENTERTAINMENT WEEKLY.

Apparently, Joss Whedon and the whole cast of SERENITY is to be in Atlanta next month for DragonCon, so now, for the first time in my life, I have a reason to go to DragonCon beyond Orc-watching. I'm officially a FIREFLY fanboy.

Monday, August 15, 2005

My glamorous life.

My dad and stepmom stopped by my Buckhead bookstore for the first time after their anniversary dinner Saturday. My stepmom says she wants to learn Spanish in her car, so I got her CDs called "Learn Spanish in Your Car." A customer or customer's dog had crapped on the floor in the kids department, and another customer let me know (while my parents were there). The management had me pick it up with gloves and paper towels and a garbage bag (there's no HAZMAT suit in the supply closet), while the customer kept saying, "It looks human. And it looks adult."

Oh yeah, THAT'S when you want your parents to glimpse your big life in the city.

Maybe some faith would do me good.



It's about time they released this album. I've worn out my copy of "When the Pawn ...."

Friday, August 12, 2005

Thus far ...



I watched the first half of THE BEST OF YOUTH last night, and I highly, highly recommend that you catch all of it when you can wherever you can. Part One plays at the Landmark this weekend only.

The film follows the very different paths of two brothers in Italy from 1968, when a tragic event separates them, to 2000. And, as a viewer, you get to know them, their family and all of their friends and lovers as they deal with tragedy upon tragedy. It's always compelling. The movie feels very intimate, and you care about these characters. As they grow older, their nation goes through its own changes.

From what I hear, Part Two is even better than Part One, more plot-driven and more devastating. I intend to see it sometime this week.

THE BEST OF YOUTH is six well-spent hours at the theater.

Still need convincing? Read reviews here and here.

Things to do about your fear of snakes.



- RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK is the final midnight movie of the summer playing at the Landmark, and it's arguably the best one that they're going to show. (Last week, I didn't catch the 3D porno with John Holmes that they showed. I was afraid that something would fly at my eyes and make me throw up.) Is there anyone who hasn't seen RAIDERS? I think my parents took me to see it when it first came out in theaters, even though the ending scared the crap out of me when I was 5. I still don't know - and don't want to know - exactly how the Ark melted that Nazi's face off.
- There's a new Bergman film playing at the Landmark. It's called SARABAND, and it's a sequel to SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE. If I'd seen SCENES FROM A MARRIAGE, I'd tell you to go see it. But my favorite Bergman is FANNY AND ALEXANDER, so I can't endorse SARABAND outright. FANNY AND ALEXANDER, though, is great, if you're in the mood for a Swedish movie.
- I'm in one of those periods where I'm between books again. Last weekend, I finished THE RAZOR'S EDGE, and now I'm looking over all the stuff I've bought recently to see which of them I will read next. Since THE RAZOR'S EDGE was heavy, the next book will probably have to be something light or some heavy short stories. I could read WRITING DOWN THE BONES, but that seems like a book that I should more study than read. Other candidates for my attention are, once again, LITTLE CHILDREN or THE HISTORIAN, but I'll probably just buck both of those and read some short stories from Eudora Welty or Katherine Anne Porter. I've also heard really good things about Nicole Krauss' THE HISTORY OF LOVE, which features an opening sentence about something I understand - a guy's messy apartment. Or I could just read JUST LIKE HEAVEN, which is about to become a cheesy Reese Witherspoon movie.



- According to all the press I've read, the best new television show of the fall season is PRISON BREAK, which premieres August 29. It stars the extremely good-looking Wentworth Miller, whom I've had a crush on ever since he played a sarcastic, manipulative, well-dressed new student on POPULAR. Last year, friends of mine received a couple e-mails last year reminding you to watch the first episode of DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES. This year, I'm going to suggest you watch PRISON BREAK, which apparently works a lot like 24. I've also heard really good things about the CBS sitcom HOW I MET YOUR MOTHER, with Neil Patrick Harris, Alyson Hannigan and the adorable Jason Segel from FREAKS AND GEEKS. That show's about a guy in the future telling his children (and us) how he fell in love with his future wife, though something tells me the "mother" in the title isn't who we're led to believe it is. I've also heard good things about EVERYBODY HATES CHRIS, but it looks like an '80s-flashback, urban version of THE WONDER YEARS.



- The ads for THE SKELETON KEY make it look really interesting. I mean, the ads I've seen begin with, like, a dorked-out narrator who sounds like the same dorked-out narrator from THE EXORCIST's ads talking about how THE SKELETON KEY is a psychological horror thriller in the vein of THE SIXTH SENSE and, of course, THE EXORCIST. I'm wary of anything with Kate Hudson in it, but the ad campaign has me intrigued.
- My favorite movie about a real, functioning, long-term gay marriage, PRICK UP YOUR EARS, does begin and end with the actual murder-suicide of lovers Joe Orton and Kenneth Halliwell, so that probably reveals too much about what I think of gay marriage. But the actors in the movie, including Gary Oldman, Alfred Molina and the fantastic Vanessa Redgrave, are superb. It's directed by Stephen Frears. And the script is great. Molina and Oldman play the loving couple, and they're both nuts, too self-centered and constantly in competition with one another. Oh wow, writing this entry's going to win me dates. Watch this movie if you haven't seen it, though, and you'll see what I mean.



- With all the attention that the new CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY is getting, I was hoping that Roald Dahl himself would enjoy a surge in popularity. Though he's best known for his children's books and their subsequent movies, like JAMES AND THE GIANT PEACH and the excellent MATILDA, Dahl was also a perverse, disturbed man who wrote twisted, dark-as-hell horror stories that Alfred Hitchcock loved. If you've not read one of his murder stories, you're missing out.



- Speaking of Hitchcock, the great actress Barbara Bel Geddes, who was nominated for an Oscar and appeared in VERTIGO but was probably better known for playing Miss Ellie on DALLAS, died this week. If you can, track down and watch her third-season episode of ALFRED HITCHCOCK PRESENTS called "Lamb to the Slaughter." It's fantastic.
- Say you're going to do the usual chores that you don't do.
- Check last week's list.
- I'm in the mood to play board games. Last week, I played cards in Ohio. When did America stop playing board games? How can I get a group together to play RISK or teach me DIPLOMACY or something? I'd have to drive to Lupo's house in Savannah to beat him at TRIVIAL PURSUIT. Hell, even MONOPOLY would be fun. My parents played RISK when they were dating in college. Once, they played RISK with the dorm door shut, and my dad's RA caught them and asked them to explain. Apparently, when they said, "We were playing RISK," the RA misunderstood them.
- One of the commenters on the blog and I recently launched into a conversation about why we hated the AMC multiplex in Morrow, which has to be the worst theater in the area. On the flipside, though, Entertainment Weekly recently listed what they thought were the best movie theaters in the nation. None of them, from what I could see, were in Atlanta, though I'd have to say that my favorite theaters are currently the Landmark and the Tara. (The Fox doesn't count. I don't see movies there, even though it used to be a movie house.) My all-time-favorite Atlanta theater, though, is the former Madstone at Parkside, which shut its doors over a year ago. But I liked the Madstone because the staff was friendly, they offered a membership for regular customers, they showed vintage films, they had cool events, they served alcohol ... and they had board games set up in the lobby for you to play before the show started. I mean, Kacoon and I once played several games of Boggle while waiting for a special screening of DONNIE DARKO. That's got to be among the best theater experiences I've ever had. Where do you like to go to the movies when you like to go to the movies? What's been your best experience at a cinema? What's your favorite movie house, and why do you love it?

Thursday, August 11, 2005

An odd reason to do the honest thing.



I am never going after another man's boyfriend again.

Last night, I saw this gay love triangle play out on CHEATERS, and it was the most hilariously sad and unnecessary case of bad drama ever. (It wasn't as good as the episode of CHEATERS where Joey Greco, the show's host, was stabbed and dumped in a lake by a guy he chased down in a speedboat, but that's only because that's the best episode of CHEATERS ever.)

At the end of last night's high gay drama ep of CHEATERS, a camera crew was chasing around the hot, cheating boyfriend and hot, clandestine lover around the pool table in a gay bar (which looked kinda like Boneshaker's) while the jilted, fey lover, in a business suit, yelled out, over and over, "HOW CAN YOU DO THIS TO ME, YOU (BLEEP)!!! YOU'RE NOTHING BUT A (BLEEP)!!! I WANT YOU OUTTA MY HOUSE!!!"

The cheater, of course, was all, "I'm going to explain this to you but not here!!! Not in front of a camera crew!!!" (Every time someone says this on CHEATERS, they sound completely reasonable to me, but such logic makes for bad TV - so the CHEATERS crew has to follow them around and pick a fight.)

I tried to think of the times when I've been interested in someone else's boyfriend, when I've tried to coax away someone else's boyfriend or when I couldn't understand why someone else's boyfriend didn't want me back when we apparently had chemistry. And I realized that I could be another "clandestine lover guy" on a gay episode of CHEATERS.

The cameras would never chase me around a pool table, I don't think, for I'm not often near a pool table. But, still, I don't want to get cornered in a movie theater parking lot by a convoy of black SUVs while Joey Greco throws a microphone in my face, making me look more like white trash than I already do.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Just so long as it's black-and-white.



Seeing the title of this movie of two 11-year-olds in love called LITTLE MANHATTAN, I was kinda hoping that it was like a BUGSY MALONE take on the Woody Allen movie, which is my favorite. Apparently, though, it's an original script.

You know, I think they could just redo MANHATTAN but with a cast of preteens. Think of it ...

Isaac, with Freddie Highmore from CHARLIE AND THE CHOCOLATE FACTORY taking over for Woody Allen, could be coping with his divorce from his second ex-wife Jill, who left him for a woman. (I think Dakota Fanning would be great in the Meryl Streep part.) Isaac could start dating the much-younger Tracy (who was a 17-year-old played by Mariel Hemingway in the original, but here should be played by a newborn), but he could be intrigued by the caustic, bitter, chain-smoking divorcee Mary (AnnaSophia Robb), who's more his age. Mary, though, is having an extramarital affair with Isaac's best friend.

Instead of going to MoMA benefits and all, they could hang out at the playground. The scene at the planetarium could occur over a supervised school field trip. Jill's lesbian tell-all could be an article in the school newspaper, rather than a book that serves as an "honest account of their marriage." Maybe Isaac could run down Jill's lover with a Big Wheel.

I think it'll work. LITTLE MANHATTAN, a Woody Allen film.

Oh yeah, like that's gonna happen.

Last night, watching MUST LOVE DOGS, I was thrown for a couple minutes when it was revealed that the Diane Lane character's chubby, balding, lovable, goofy gay confidante, played by Brad William Henke, was in a long-term relationship with a character played by Victor Webster.

I mean, damn, it's Victor Webster.



Not that I don't believe that love can conquer all, but, ummm, all the PBR in the world wouldn't lead a gay man who looked like Victor Webster to end up with someone who looks like Brad Henke.

The boss is gone.

For some reason, I feel as though it's all right to pretty much ignore anything I'm supposed to do for the day. We've been left without supervision. I've done some work, but, on the whole, I'm just not feeling it.

What's everybody else doing?

Tuesday, August 09, 2005

The Snapshot session.

My friend Scott and I were hanging out in a portrait studio at his workplace on Sunday, and some of the shots of me came out OK. Others, of course, I'm putting here because they're funny.

Prepare for complete narcissism.



Here I am, talking and not paying attention.



This one's too funny.



This one's good.


This one's OK.


Um.



For some reason, I didn't notice that one T-shirt sleeve was rolled up while the other wasn't. Oh well.

Thanks to Scott, who is a really good photographer and was a really good sport when I told him I needed an updated shot from my blog that didn't feature me wearing cosmetic glasses.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Something jarring.

Something big needs to happen. Something earth-shatteringly "oh my God" major.

I need to do something. I need to do something. I need to do something. I need to do something.

Make something happen. You, make something happen.

Someone get me a drink.

This day has annoyed me to no end, and I feel like it just started. The weather's dreary. The job's boring. And I feel as though I've done nothing of consequence with my time lately.

I want a drink, good conversation and an experience with a tinge of hope and romance. Something movie-made.

This is really frustrating.

Friday, August 05, 2005

Killer song.



I persuaded Edmondson to listen to Sufjan Stevens' Illinois earlier this week during a trip to Tower Records. It's a great album, and I recommend it constantly at my bookstore.

He heard it, called it weird and bought it.

Today, he sent me this e-mail:

I'm listening to the Gacy song way too much.

When I listen to that album, I try to avoid listening to the song "John Wayne Gacy"
too much because, even though the song is good, the album has better numbers. The lyrics are not as profound as the songwriter thinks. (A critic for ROLLING STONE, I think, said that the "Gacy" lyrics could've emerged out of a beginner creative writing class.)

The song's just creepy, with lyrics like this.

His father was a drinker
And his mother cried in bed
Folding John Wayne's T-shirts
When the swingset hit his head
The neighbors they adored him
For his humor and his conversation
Look underneath the house there
Find the few living things
Rotting fast in their sleep of the dead
Twenty-seven people, even more
They were boys with their cars, summer jobs
Oh my God


I try to be daring with my music tastes, but I just can't listen over and over to a song that suggests that, in some way, we're all like John Wayne Gacy. I can listen over and over to songs about murderers like "Maxwell's Silver Hammer" or the music from ASSASSINS or SWEENEY TODD. I just don't want Gacy in my head at all.

Things to do if you have six hours to read subtitles.



- This is perhaps the weirdest suggestion that I'm ever going to make of you guys, but, from what I understand, the movie I'm about to suggest to everyone is a masterpiece. THE BEST OF YOUTH, this Italian epic spanning several decades in the lives of two brothers and the women in their lives, is supposed to be an easy-to-grasp work of complete genius. Every review I've read of it, including Ebert's, suggests that it's an incredibly moving film. I'm going to see it at the Landmark, where it's playing exclusively, sometime during the next two weeks. Why is it weird that I'm suggesting we all see this movie? Because THE BEST OF YOUTH, which is supposed to be phenomenally good, is about six hours long. The Landmark, helpfully, is showing it in two sections that are about three hours long. Part One is showing this week, and Part Two is showing the week after. I read somewhere that a bad movie can be too long no matter its actual length and that a good movie can be too short no matter how long it is. I'm seeing THE BEST OF YOUTH over the next two weeks to put that theory to the test.
- This week on NBC's PASSIONS, the entire town of Harmony, with its population of witches, possessed dolls, amnesiac heiresses and beautiful dumb people, was hit by a tsunami. What I saw of the show on my lunch break was hilarious and cheesy. Usually, the show is complete camp, unafraid of spectacularly bad taste in the name of fun. The tsunami just proves that. It's a really fun, intentionally over-the-top show. I highly recommend you catch the wave. (Yeah, I said it.)
- The Postal Service's album Give Up plays in my car pretty much constantly when I'm "in between" finding new stuff to listen to. It's upbeat, smart music that functions both as contemplative emo and fun dance stuff. I found the album, of course, after hearing it sampled in a TV commercial.



- Since the space Western SERENITY comes to theaters sometime in September, I ordered a copy of the cancelled television show it came from, FIREFLY, earlier this week from Amazon. This woman who works at my bookstore just raves and raves about the show, and they started replaying it on the SciFi Network in anticipation of the movie. The whole "space Western" premise is fun, and, from what I've watched, the show's got a pretty twisted backstory. And it's a Joss Whedon show. And the cast, including Nathan Fillion in the lead, is really good looking.
- THE MAGICIAN'S ASSISTANT by Ann Patchett is now being read by both Dena and Lindsay, whom I know read the blog. Dena actually started reading it because she read Lindsay's comments on the book here. I feel all-powerful, like I could just create book clubs on a whim.
- Ebert gave Jim Jarmusch's BROKEN FLOWERS four stars in his review. As I said earlier, I hated it. Hated hated hated it. Hated the endless, quiet scenes. Hated Bill Murray's take on a bemused ladies' man. Hated that the main actresses had so little to do and that the plot went nowhere. (Despite this, though, I am still going to see a six-hour Italian film based upon his recommendation. I usually agree with him.)



- I was supposed to go see a screening of THE DUKES OF HAZZARD earlier this week, but I missed it. From what I've read of the reviews, though, I didn't miss much. Of course, Jessica Simpson isn't really my cup of tea, anyway. Johnny Knoxville's cute. But isn't everyone just playing second-fiddle to the car? Besides, nobody's cuter than John Schneider was when he was in his 20's.
- Yesterday was Lupo's birthday. I love Lupo. Whoa, I think I just came up with a sitcom title for Logo.
- MURDERBALL, which I mentioned last week, is really good. Go see it.
- Reset your damn alarm clocks so that you can actually arrive at work on time.
- Clean your damn apartment.
- Make your damn bed.
- Come up with another curse word besides "damn."
- Check last week's list.
- Now that we're in August, what do you guys think the best movie blockbuster released this summer has been? I think it's BATMAN BEGINS, and I'm guessing a lot of you would agree with me. Anybody have any other suggestions? What upcoming films are you looking forward to?
- Would a studio release a documentary about an average guy who spends 30 days using some prize money to get himself a date with Drew Barrymore, even though he has no way of getting to her at all, if it didn't have a happy ending? I haven't seen the movie yet, but the trailer for MY DATE WITH DREW intrigued me. It looks funny. At one point, this average guy talks to Corey Feldman to see if he'll introduce him to Drew, as if she still talks to her old rehab buddies or anyone who reminds her of Tom Green. Would anybody let Corey Feldman set them up on a blind date?

Thursday, August 04, 2005

Pretentious crap.



Ran into Solenn, CJ and Stephen while attending a screening of the new Jim Jarmusch movie BROKEN FLOWERS, which stars Bill Murray.

The movie annoyed the hell out of me. Lots of film was used to show Murray alone in his car, driving. Or sitting alone and listening to the radio.

BROKEN FLOWERS isn't LOST IN TRANSLATION, unfortunately.

Tuesday, August 02, 2005

Writing class malaise.

My writing needs something. I don't know what yet. I need something. I don't know what.

Monday, August 01, 2005

A milestone for my writing career.

Meanwhile, the web editor at McSweeney's sent me an e-mail over the weekend telling me that they weren't interested in the variation on the Waffle House story that I submitted. It was my first official, professional rejection, and, upon receiving it, I was actually really happy. I never actually expected McSweeney's to publish it, but it was worth a shot.

And, heck, if he'd sent me a sad, ridiculous form letter, it would've been longer.

Instead, I got this:

Benjamin:

I’m going to pass, but I appreciate the look.

John Warner
Website Editor


How cool is that? Now I can say that I've submitted something and been rejected, just like every other writer I've ever read or met or known.

The thing to do is try again.

Shakespeare in the cornfield.

I don't know if I will ever write about my trip to Ohio for my family reunion, for there's not really much to tell, really. It's funny to me, though, how my entire family suffers from the same denial that I've often accused my mom of exhibiting.

People faked illnesses to get away from one another. No one ever told anyone to their face how they really felt. I can't be more specific than that, but it was silently vicious.

Everyone's performing, so much so that the behavior becomes contagious. Even I'm tired from sneaking away to talk to the people I really want to talk to and holding up a fake smile.