Saturday, May 4, 2013

The Smell of the Popcorn

These money-seeking mailed letters from AFI President Bob Gazzale make me hate "the movies," things I ostensibly like. To wit:

  Letter from AFI’s Bob Gazzale:
Dear Friend, 
The smell of the popcorn. The excitement of the lights going down. And of course, the story on the silver screen in front of you. 
You never forget your first movie. 
Only at the movies can you escape into another world, delve into real life drama, laugh out loud, or dive under your seat at a thriller. 
I can’t imagine a world without motion pictures. Can you? …
Another one:
Dear Friend, 
If you’re reading this letter, you must love movies. And you’re not alone. 
Film is America’s most popular art form, offering moviegoers like you the chance to explore other worlds, times and characters. For some, it’s a needed escape. For others, an intellectual pursuit. And for many more, just a whole lot of fun. 
But whatever draws you to the silver screen — and whatever you draw from the experience — I’m sure you still get excited when the lights go down and a film begins to roll. And I’m sure you can’t imagine a world without movies... 
...So please don’t miss this chance to become the next member of AFI. You’ll feel a little extra joy and satisfaction every time the lights go down and the magic begins.

Saturday, April 30, 2011

Did You Know This Movie Had These People In It?

David Cronenberg ... Postal Supervisor
Costa-Gavras ... Gas Station Guy
Robert Wise ... Stanley's Neighbor
Christopher Lee ... Evil Sender
Atom Egoyan ... TV Studio Guard
Norman Jewison... French Chef
Gillo Pontecorvo ... Talk Show Guest #1

I did not.

Monday, March 14, 2011

Wednesday, February 23, 2011


Sort of by accident, I saw an episode of popular NBC Thursday night sitcom Community the other day. I found it excruciatingly awful. Because it's ashamed to be a sitcom, it's done in that obligatory Office, fake doc, palsied-cameraman, "shot how humans really see!" style. And it stars Joel McHale, whom I know some smart, funny folks actually like, but whose prick persona rubs me every wrong way. He's the bestubbled motherfucker on The Soup, which is also an enraging smugstorm. I used to like Talk Soup in the Kinnear days, though if I were to revisit those I'd probably find that they weren't much different in tone than the McHale version, so I'm not pulling a "I like the early stuff better" nostalgia card.

Community's humor rests on meanness, silent-shocked reactions to AWKWARD faux pas, and an endorsement of Liz Lemon-style Sarcastic Modern Uptightness. Anything that doesn't pass the SMU test is an "other," not only goofy and mockable but worthy of scorn and contempt. Based on that one episode, Community seems like everything annoying about Arrested Development, minus what wasn't. Like that show, the pop culture references are frequent but unassailable because JUST left-of-center and not completely Rip Taylor-outrageous. One of the community college kids in the show was obsessed with LeVar Burton in the one I saw (the actor made an extended cameo). I like Chevy Chase, of course, and wish he weren't on it.

I have trouble articulating what bothers me about NBC Thursday Night brand comedy (30 Rock's alright with me), and I'm also kind of tired right now. Comedian Eddie Pepitone, in this clip, says it better than I can. I quote below, then the video:

These kids run out on this stage... and bang - they’re on fucking Parks & Recreation.. Fuck them.. and fuck Parks & Recreation as well.. which is so fucking boring I want to kill myself and my family, if I had a family.. I do not have a family, but if I did I would murder them in front of Parks & Recreation. When they’re talking to the camera about the other characters in the show, and you realize life is such a vapid whirlpool of nothingness.

Monday, January 3, 2011


Blinding brilliant lights from heaven.

Saturday, January 1, 2011

Hideko Takamine

This great actress died this week, though it wasn't much in the news around here. Her work with director Mikio Naruse is one of the great director/actor collaborations in cinema. Liquid Metal salutes!

Friday, November 12, 2010

Solo Saunter

"It's about last call, a sloppy kiss goodbye and a solo saunter to a rock show in an abandoned building."