Friday, April 28, 2006

Drug Stories, Vol. 2

This story takes place in the same house as the last installment. It was late at night, tripping off of blotter acid on plain, white paper. Ric and I climbed up onto the roof of his house. Sitting up there, among the branches of the huge trees that overlooked the house, we hit the bong and looked out over the suburban street. On College Station Road, a cop pulled a speeder over. For the sake of safety, I assume, they pulled off of the main road and parked directly in front of us. And yes, it was a perfect, childish indulgence of transgressive impulses to sit on the roof of the house, tripping our balls off, smoking a bong, watching a cop write a ticket a few yards in front of us.

After they left, we laid back on the roof and looked up at the branches above us, finding patterns in the leaves. I began to make out a shape directly above us, where the branches of two large trees overlapped, of a man, arms and legs outstretched. "Look," I pointed out, "You can see the figure of Superfly Snuka doing a flying body slam off the top ropes onto us." We laughed at this a while. The more we looked at it the more clear it became, and the funnier it was. Then it got to the point where we couldn't not see it, not think about it, and I began to feel distinctly uneasy. Imagine spending the rest of eternity with the knowledge that Superfly Snuka's body is going to come crashing down on your face in the next moment. I believe this is the fate to Dante assigned to "heels." We became so wigged out by this that we had to go inside.

Later that night, I crashed in one of the beds in the house, but I couldn't get to sleep. Even though I was in doors, I knew that that sonofabitch was out there, above the house, ready to bodyslam the entire structure to splinters.

For reference:

Wednesday, April 26, 2006

A New Nominee for The Greatest Album Cover of All Time

NPR piece on this album. But first you should listen to John T. Edge talk about Mississippi tamales, which segues into the Yazoo Records story.

PS - I guess I should include a link to the album, huh?

Boxcar Bertha (Martin Scorsese, 1972)

I've wanted to watch this film for a while. It's Scorsese's first feature, a Bonnie & Clyde-type movie made for Roger Corman, but I wasn't expecting much. Nothing I've ever read about Scorsese ever paid much attention to this film. There is usually a brief mention, then they move on to Mean Streets, the first "real" Scorsese. Kubrick's earliest films are rarely discussed either, because they allegedly don't display much of Kubrick's style, so I was pretty amazed to find that this is, in every respect, a full-blown Martin Scorsese flick. His style is fully formed here: the urgently-moving camera, the use of music, the brutal violence. It's not very different from, say, Goodfellas. And it absolutely kicks ass. The camera follows characters being chased through trainyards, and the motion of the camera is as much a part of the excitement as the motion of the actors and trains. And the beatdowns in this film are fucking brutal, climaxing with the agonizing murder of David Carradine's union organizing martyr (this would make a great double bill with Bound for Glory, which I caught a bit of on The Sundance Channel earlier this month). This is as close as Scorsese would come to making a full-on action movie until the wildly uneven Gangs of New York.

Tuesday, April 25, 2006

OK, I'm Back!

We went up to Oakland last weekend (left Thursday morning, came back Saturday night) to tour the CCA campus, where Brandy will be going in August (supported by something like $100K in financial aid, although that still won't cover the whole thing). CCA has some amazing facilities. There are studios for almost any medium you can think of--a glass-making studio with a huge furnace, a bronze-casting studio equipped with a crane that can lift up to a ton of bronze out of it's cast, a room with about 20 weaving looms, and on and on and on. An impressive experience, to be sure.

We stayed with our friends Carrie and Brian, who live a couple miles from campus, and who were in the process of moving two doors down, so we were able to sleep in their old place. Carrie is an art teacher at an Oakland high school, and Brian does some kind of work installing museum exhibits, so they hit it off well with Brandy, giving her advice, buying her books, practically ready to adopt her. So it's good to know that there's someone up there that we can turn to in case there's a crisis.

They were also trying to get rid of stuff so they wouldn't have to move it, and in addition to some paintings, Brian, who first turned me on to the Travis McGee books, gave me half a dozen of them!

Oh man, and we had a great breakfast at some cafe Saturday morning. Quite possibly the best breakfast I've ever eaten. I had plain ol' french toast with a side of bacon, but the toast seemed to have orange zest in the batter. Also eaten at the table (we all shared) were strawberry waffles (with fresh strawberries and strawberry butter), pumpkin waffles with cinamon cream cheese, riccotta pancakes, and...I can't remember what the other thing was, but all of it was incredible. And lots of coffee.

Fortunately, my Amazon order arrived the night before we left, so I was able to burn a Beastie Boys rarities CD (I had ordered the So Watcha Want CD single expressly to fill up this mix), which made for a hot driving soundtrack. We drove up in the van, which probably cost us a lot in gas, but definitely made for a pleasent trip.

Let's see, what else...Oh, this morning I finished Book I of Finnegan's Wake! Quite an accomplishment, and it took less than 2 years. I'm also about to finish the book-on-CD of Elaine Pagel's book The Gnostic Gospels. It's funny, this book is so dry, dispassionate, academic, considering how many kooks reference it. Just last night I watched part of one of those "Secrets of the DaVinci Code" documentaries on the National Geographic Channel, and the way some of the people who have written books about Templar conspiracies discuss the research that Pagels did is completely wacky compared to the actual book. They were interviewing one of the writers of Holy Blood, Holy Grail, which was funny, because he looked like a crazy old hippie. Come to think of it, most of the people they interviewed (all of whom had written crazy conspiracy books) looked like crazy hippies, or nerdy bums, know, they all look like The Lone Gunmen from The X-Files, which I guess is what you'd expect them to look like.

My Beastie Boys rarities mix (mostly taken off of the Anthology that I got from the library, with stuff from the Root Down EP and stuff I downloaded and whatnot. I was going to use the live version of Groove Holmes off of the Watcha Want single with Biz Markie vocals, but it's like 6 minutes long, so I left it off. And I wish I had "E-Ticket Ride" off the Mike Watt album...):

The Biz vs. The Nuge
Beastie Boys
Soba Violence
She's On It
Jimmy James (Original Version)
I'm Down
Time To Get Ill (Live)
Squat! (De La Soul)
Root Down (Free Zone Mix)
And What You Give is What You Get
Ch-Check It Out (Just Blaze Mix)
Skillz to Pay the Billz
Dub the Mic
So What'cha Want? (Soul Assassins Mix)
The Maestro (Live)
Benny and the Jets (w/ Biz Markie)
Son of Neckbone
Boomin' Granny
Body Movin' (Fatboy Slim Mix)
Rock Hard
Live Wire
20 Questions
Railroad Blues

Tuesday, April 18, 2006

Drug Stories, Vol. 1

Ric's house was on a circular side street off of College Station Road, itself a long stretch of not-very-busy backroad connecting the northern part of the UGA campus to the East Side of Athens. Nevertheless, the prospect of driving the half-mile down College Station to the supermarket, tripping as hard as we were, seemed risky. But common sense rarely prevails in these instances, and Jason seemed very sincere when he insisted that he was capable of driving that far.

The entrence to the parking lot was just a few yards before the busy main street, and it seemed like we would at least arrive there without incident. A car turned on to College Station just as we were about to turn, cutting off our path. Or at least that's how it looked to me. Jason apparantly had other ideas, was sure he could cross the lane before the car. It's hard to remember exactly what happened in that terrible moment, but I know that I screamed, that Bobbie screamed, that I was sure that our collective luck had run out, and we were about to become a flaming pile of twisted metal and cautionary tales. As we pulled into the parking lot, tears were running down my face, my nose was running, I felt as if I'd just had some sort of orgasm through my head, and I was furious that Jason had put us in such mortal danger. But before I could get a word of scolding out, he jerked the car to a dead stop, looked back at us, and yelled "Are you crazy? You're going to get us killed screaming like that! I'm trying to concentrate!"

A simple quest to grab some juice and smokes (or whatever it was we were grabbing) can turn into an epic journey when you're tripping. The supermarket that you regularly shop in becomes an animated theme park, a museum full of masterpieces that require intense scrutiny. This particular branch of the Kroger chain was even more dangerous--it had a live lobster tank! Did all Krogers have a live lobster tank? I struggled to remember if I'd ever noticed one before. I spent a good 10 minutes staring at those creatures from the deep, wondering that I'd never noticed quite how strange they were, but that wasn't even the worst pitfall we encountered. No, that was the lipstick display.

Women are well aware of this, but being men, Jason and I were taken quite by shock by the discovery that lipstick shades are all given fanciful names like "Cherries in the Snow" and "Call it Red!" and "Bashful Rose" and...God, I wish I could remember them, because I know I'm forgetting some of the funniest ones. There were dozens of shades of red, each with it's own name, and soon we were riffing on it, coming up with names like "Red is the Reddest Red You Ever Read!" I'm surprised we ever got out of their. Bobbie and I were lucky, though. As we walked out to the parking lot, Jason ran into one of his father's friends, who stopped him to ask questions about the family, school, and so on for several minutes.

As we waited for Jason, some drunk guy walked up to us and started a conversation. He had just witnessed an accident--someone had slammed into a parked car, then just drove away. "Well," he opined, "You pay all this money for insurance, you have to get in a wreck every now and then just to make sure you get your money's worth." This made sense at the time. Finally, his wife walked up, and he introduced us. Or tried to, before realizing he didn't know our names. "Well," he said after a brief pause, "they're them, and you're you, and that's that," which struck us as such a profound truth that we actually began cheering and clapping, blowing our cover completely.

Tough Crowd

On May 30, 1582, [Thomas Cottam] was executed in the grisly way designed to demonstrate the full rage of the state: he was dragged on a hurdle through the muddy streets to Tyburn, past jeering crowds, and then hanged, taken down while he was still alive, and castrated; his stomach was then slit open and his intestines pulled out to be burned before his dying eyes, whereupon he was beheaded and his body cut in quarters, the pieces displayed as a warning.

-Stephen Greenblatt, from Will in the World

Cottam's crime, by the way, was being an undercover catholic priest in protestant England under the reign of Elizabeth I. More of a political thing than religous--Elizabeth didn't start seriously oppressing Catholics until the Pope issued a papal bull declaring that it would not be a sin to assassinate the Queen! The idea of an "undercover priest" is kind of cool, though, don't you think? Elizabethan England should be the setting for more genre films. Undercover priests roaming the countryside to excorcise demons. Shadowy conspiracies. Red Harvest/Yojimbo/Fistfull of Dollars scenarios with a protagonist playing Catholic conspirators and Protestant enforcers against each other. There's a lot of good shit there. I assume that most screenwriters were English majors, so you'd think they'd jump at the chance to write some iambic pentameter dialogue...

Friday, April 14, 2006

Leftover Randomness

I meant to include this in my last randomness post, but forgot. Better late than never.

Anti-War Images from the 1920's.

Thursday, April 13, 2006

Here's a fun game...

Try to listen to this without screaming. How long can you last?

Spittin' Wicked Randomness, Vol. 10

Things I'm looking forward to:

May 30:
The League of Extraordinary Gentlemen: The Black Dossier

From here:

The "League of Extraordinary Gentlemen Black Dossier" by Alan Moore and Kevin O'Neill. It's an original hardcover and "one of the more revolutionary books the industry has ever seen," said Dunbier The book follows the history of the group from its "very early" origins to the 1950s. Having 185 pages of actual story, it's larger than either of the original miniseries. "Kevin has been doing a fantastic job," said Dunbier. The book will use different types of paper for different sections and 3-D effects. While 3-D "normally (consists of) throwing balls at the camera; this one has real meaning and is incredibly complex. The way Alan wrote it and Kevin draws it is unique and fantastic. Alan has called it 'the most fabulous book in the history of the universe,' and he isn't far wrong."
"I've just talked with Kevin O'Neill about the new LoEG, "Dark Dossier", which will be a big story jumping all over the place from the dawn of time to the 50's. Remember the first "new" LoEG announcement where Moore mentioned he was going in a recording studio? It's for a record which will be sold with the book, including songs performed by (50's) characters of the book, Moore does the singing, à la Roy Orbson, american accent and all"

June 13:
Beyond the Valley of the Dolls DVD

June 6: Dazed and Confused: The Criterion Collection
And I guess this kinda goes without saying at this point, but...

August 18: Snakes on a Plane!!!

Hey, MAD Magazine is still funny! Dailykos has evidence!

The Edison Frankenstien! Holy Shit! I've been wanting to see this for years! I think there's some bullshit keeping it from coming out on DVD, but the internet once again proves itself to reign supreme!

Bam! Blurp! Cruncheth! (thanks to CartoonBrew)

The spread of sugar, pineapple, other zesty things, and near-hideous amounts of gloriously beautiful burning ginger has the effect of, I don't know, a smurf-sized team of soccer hooligans quickly spreading across my entire tongue and delivering glorious beatings to every seperate part of it.

Citizen Kane

The first time I watched Citizen Kane was in my high school journalism class. Every class had a 2 1/2 hour block for final exams, and since our final was basically the last issue of the newspaper, our teacher passed out a 10-question exam (stuff like "name the newspaper with the largest circulation in the world" (Pravda, at least at the time), "define slander and libel," etc.) that took about 10 minutes to finish, and then we watched Citizen Kane, with Mr. Black occasionally pointing out important points like how the breakfast montage works.

The second time I watched it, I was working an all-night shift at the hospital, from 11pm to 7am. It was a slow time to work, and practically nothing happened between 1am and 5am, so I'd generally sit in the break room watching TV and trying to stay awake. As it happened, TBS was showing The Greatest Week of Movies Ever that week. That's not my assessment--that's what they were calling it. A whole week of stuff like Casablanca, Gone With The Wind, and The Godfather (not to mention such acclaimed classics as Cleopatra and The Ten Commandments). Obviously, this worked out nicely--in addition to Kane, I got to see The Maltese Falcon for the first time. The funny part of the story, I guess, is the night when they showed Giant, which...OK, I know that's considered a great classic and all, but my God was it boring! And it just would not end! How long is that thing, like 27 hours? Trying to stay awake while watching that was a chore. To this day, I count that among my least-favorite movies, although I've never gone back to watch it again. As an aside, it was also on that same job that I first read Watchmen in one sitting.

I don't really have any grand insights to share on Kane. Just some pretty pictures. Although, when Joseph Cotton gave that "You speak about the people as if you own them!" speach, I couldn't help thinking about George Bush. In fact, if you insert the word "Iraqi" before "people" you get a great sense of what was wrong with the neocon philosophy.

Wednesday, April 12, 2006

Gay Cowboys in Bondage

So a while back, I was talking about reconnecting with my friend Bob. Bob has done a great service, if not to the world then at least to me, by releasing a CD collecting the recordings of my favorite Florida punk band, Gay Cowboys in Bondage. GCIB were a fun punk band, maybe sorta like The Angry Samoans or The Dickies, but with a little more emphasis on comedy.

Half of the CD is taken up by their cassette-only release, We're Not Gay But The Music Is, which was one of the crucial recordings of my high school years. This was the best tape to listen to on the way to see a punk show in Miami Beach, or a midnight screening of Rocky Horror, or even just driving around town hoping for something to do. The tape starts off with one of my very favorite punk songs, "Domestic Battlefield" (which also was compiled on one of the Flipside Vinyl Fanzine volumes). This song is so fun and bouncy, it just makes me feel good all over. For some reason, one of the images I get listening to this is of those scenes of all the Peanuts kids dancing in A Charlie Brown Christmas. The lyrics deal with domestic violence, but in a pretty lighthearted way:

When Mommy sharpens her knife
I thrill to see Daddy run for his life
When Daddy grabs his gun
I trip Mommy when she runs

I dunno, that line always killed me, but the final line about "There's nothing like a marriage where everyone wants to be boss" always struck me as something that might have come from personal experience. And I love the way he delivers the phrase "all-out slander."

Gay Cowboys in Bondage - Domestic Battlefield (mp3)
Gay Cowboys in Bondage - Muppets (mp3)

The song listed as "Muppets" is probably the best example of the band's silliness. There's at least one other song on the cassette that I consider a true classic, "Cuffs on my Hands." This song covers unique subject matter that many punk kids of the 80's could relate to: not being allowed in to bars where your favorite bands were playing:

I'm without ID
I hope they don't card me
I wasn't expecting it

I got a friend at the door
I guess he's not my friend anymore
I better go hide

I'm not looking for trouble
I don't even drink
I just want to hear some of those local bands that make me think

You see it's not that I'm scared
I've been there before
It's just the chance that I take when I walk through that door

Cuffs on my hands
And still no bands
Sure I'm underage, but this is an outrage!

I'm not gonna post that one--the CD is only 6 measley bucks, dude! If you're interested in regional 80's punk, it's a bargain!

The energy and exuberance in that recording session is infectious. There's lots of hooting and hollering between the songs, and I wonder if I heard it now, would it sound forced or desperate? I think no, because you can tell that these are kids, hyperactive teenagers that were maybe two years older than me, and it sounds like what a bunch of nerdy drama club kids having an all-night party with their parents out of town sounds like. Looking at the pictures, I feel like I know these guys, which is probably a good deal of what appealed to me back then. Hearing this was almost like hearing my own album.

Also included is the 6-song 7" Owen Marshmallow Strikes Again, which is not quite as good as the cassette, but does have some great, funny punk songs like "Big Fat Baloney Sandwich" and "Funny Red Mustache (The Kool-Aid Song)," as well as some more serious stuff like "Fist Will Follow" and "More Bruises." Although I think of them as a "funny" band, at least half the material on here is pretty serious, and "More Bruises" is actually a pretty stark account of child abuse with no jokes.

Rounding it out is a live recording at Flynn's in Miami Beach, which is great because I never got a chance to see them live. There's some good material, including a cover of the theme from Maude, and it ends with the owner cutting them off and chastising the audience for throwing food. "Now who's gonna clean this up?" And it seems fitting that such a childish recording should end with sound of an adult scolding them for making a mess. The booklet contains all the inserts for both releases, an interview from Suburban Relapse zine, and a gallery of handmade flyers.

Gay Cowboys in Bondage - The Completely Silly Discography 1983-1984 is available from Sound Idea Distribution for the absurdly low price of $6. Buy it!

[EDIT: Hey, look, I got a comment from GCIB lead singer Milo! How cool is that?]

Tuesday, April 11, 2006

Cue Noir - Chronicle of an Eventful Weekend

Lots of stuff to talk about. Let's start with Friday night.

Joe Biden was on Bill Maher, and has apparantly already announced his candidacy for president in '08. Futhermore, he's saying all the right things. He has plans. He has ideas. He seems to have been listening to the advice of good people. He's learned from Howard Dean's campaign. At this point, I would call Biden and Feingold the two frontrunners. Let us please not hand that status to Ms. Clinton, who has little going for her beyond her celebrity. But most of all, let's let the candidates come to us, rather than rallying behind one this early.

Fuckin' Affleck was on Maher too, and gets special kudos for calling conservative journalist Bill Sammon on blatant bullshit multiple times. After Sammon tried to paint DeLay's stepping down as some kind of victory ("Tom DeLay was the fundraising poster boy for the democrats--they want him there!"), Affleck countered "He's a Republican who is running a criminal enterprise out of his office, don't blame the Democrats for pointing it out!"

And my favorite L.A. radio show, Spaceways, was seriously ON Friday night. I wish they had a playlist up so I could remember what I heard.

Saturday morning, I had an hour or two to kill in a busy schedule, so I went out to the free BBQ at the Autry event. I probably should have gone later (I was there from about 11 to noon), because there was little BBQ to be had that early. I did have a BBQ lamb burrito and a pulled pork sandwich from two of the vendors, neither very good. Mostly, I walked around, smelling what the competitors were cooking and listening to the band playing traditional cowboy songs on the stage. I stopped for a while to talk to the 4Q team, made up of 4 SoCal foodbloggers (BBQ Junky, You Gonna Eat That?, The Survival Gourmet and Soul Fusion Kitchen). It was fun meeting them, and I did get to taste the ends chopped off of Professor Salt's ribs (which apparantly took 4th place--well-deserved, from what I tasted). Next year, I'll plan better.

Sunday night, I went to The Egyptian to see the film noir Angel's Flight. For readers not from L.A., this requires a little background.

Bunker Hill is an old neighborhood that forms the western border of Downtown Los Angeles. It's a geographically unusual neighborhood, formed on the slope and top of a steep hill, with tunnels running major streets (including Sunset Blvd., I think) through the hill below. The most unique feature of this neighborhood was Angel's Flight, a pair of wooden cable cars that transported residents up and down the side of the hill. In the late 60's, this neighborhood was largely demolished, and Angel's Flight with it, to make way for high-rise office buildings. So the Angel's Flight has long been one of the key icons for Los Angeles history, architecture, preservation and restoration buffs.

Introducing the film, the organizer began with this story:

In the years that I've been writing about film noir and programming noir festivals, the one question that I get asked more than any other is, believe it or not [I don't--CO], 'How many films can you name that feature the Angel's Flight in them?' Well, there's a few, there's Act of Violence, there's Criss Cross, and then I always say, 'there's one film called Angel's Flight, that was filmed entirely on location in Bunker Hill, but that's a lost film, so we'll never be able to see it.'

He went on to talk about Huell Howseler doing a segment on the restoration of the Angel's Flight (more background for non-Californians: Howseler is an old gay man with a southern accent who has various shows on local public TV stations wherein he visits interesting places around California and makes them seem boring), and he happened to interview one of the people standing around, who said "my uncle wrote a movie about the Angel's Flight. It's a sort of film noir," which prompted Huell to ask "What's a film noir?" and somehow ended up with Huell programming a film noir festival (I couldn't figure out if this was at a theater or just on public TV) featuring Angel's Flight, A Touch of Evil and The Killers.

The movie is from 1965, incredibly low-budget, and features an awful lead performance by William Thourlby, the original Marlboro man, who apparantly financed the film to try and launch his own career. The idea of this film playing beside A Touch of Evil and The Killers as an example of noir style is pretty funny. That said, it has a tight, eccentric sript, makes excellent use of the geography of the hill, and features a pretty cool jazz torch ballad theme. There's also a great bit part by a young Rue McClanahan, as a combative drunk, and she just tears it the fuck up!

The best part is probably the performance by Indus Arthur as a psycho stripper and serial killer. She wears a stark hairdo reminiscent of Mia Wallace (only blonde) and displays a strange intensity. The host later commented on her strip club dance, which he called "the sleaziest strip club scene in any film noir." Her character also paints strange portraits which reminded me somehow of Dan Clowes' work.

The film ends rather abruptly, and when asked about this after the screening, screenwriter Dean Romano explained that the cops had shut down the permitless shoot before they could get the last shot. In all, Romano's stories about the filming were at least as interesting as the film itself, particularly his explanation of how he had hunted down a copy in the early 80's, and found one in a film lab that was getting ready to throw it out. He had inserted a dedication to Indus Arthur, who died at age 40 of cancer, and was performing in the theater two weeks before her death, with nobody outside her mother knowing she had cancer; and to Ann Richards--not the former Texas governor, but the singer who performed the theme song, and had taken her own life.

More on Bunker Hill noir: in a recent Entertainment Weekly, Robert Towne was asked to pick his favorite movies about L.A. One of them...

THIS GUN FOR HIRE (1942)''Bunker Hill is the downtown area re-created in Ask the Dust, and this movie contains some of the last shots of Bunker Hill before it was torn down. I love it for that.''

Wednesday, April 05, 2006

2005 Films

I watched Brokeback Mountain last night, so, even though there's still plenty I haven't seen, I feel like I can do a tentative list of my favorite films of last year. Emphasis on favorite--not necessarily the "best" films (what does that even mean?), but the ones I enjoyed the most. Or at least some combination of the two.

1. Oldboy - One of the best movies of the 21st century so far.
2. Kung Fu Hustle - The greatest Kung Fu flick of all time.
3. Cigarrette Burns - As nice as it is to have Romero back, it's even better having John Carpenter back, which he most certainly is on this. Working from a great script full of dread, gore and general geekiness from first-time (I think) screenwriters Drew "Moriarty" McWeeney and Scott Swan, Carpenter does his best work since In the Mouth of Madness. At least.
4. Hustle and Flow - Everyone likes this movie, but I think they underestimate how great it is, because it's so enjoyable, and has the seemingly corny theme of following your dreams. Everything about this movie is great: the performances, the songs, the blues-y incidental music, the sense of place. I would say this is a better Rocky than Rocky, but maybe that's because I have more interest in hip hop than boxing.
5. A History of Violence - An absolutely perfect noir drama (with occasional kickass action sequences) from David Cronenberg.
6. The Aristocrats - Brilliant examination of the art of comedy.
7. Wallace & Gromit: Curse of the Were-Rabbit - Slightly less great than The Wrong Trousers, but that's a pretty high standard.
8. Grizzly Man - Funny, touching, scary, true.
9. Where the Truth Lies - Twisted noir centered around Rat Pack entertainers, with lots of wild sex (including a lesbian scene with a girl dressed as Alice in Wonderland). In other words, made for me!
10. Land of the Dead - Not my favorite of the Dead series, but a pretty kickass examination of class issues in Bush's America. Hard to believe this was made BEFORE Katrina.
11. Rize - Not the best-made documentary, but contains some of my favorite images of the year.
12. Brokeback Mountain
13. The Squid and the Whale - Two good dramas that I don't have much to say about.
14. Enron: The Smartest Guys in the Room - Enthralling examination of corporate America, and of soulless people that honestly believe that money is the only thing that matters. There is seriously something wrong with these people, these dead souls. I should probably do a post just about this movie.
15. Batman Begins - I liked Kong OK, but if I had to pick a blockbuster from this year, I go with this one.

Also liked: Good Night and Good Luck, The Constant Gardener, The 40 Year Old Virgin, King Kong, Harry Potter and the Goblet of Fire, My Summer of Love.

Haven't Seen: Munich, Matchpoint, Syriana, Capote, Tsotsi (I'll probably count that as 2006), Hostel, March of the Penguins.

The Fucking Worst: Revenge of the Sith - I think this may be my least favorite movie of all time. I mean, there are some good things about the movie--in fact, I'd say there's only about 20 to 30 minutes of bad stuff. Unfortunately, those 20 minutes include the reveal of the Emperor, the death of Mace Windu, the turn of Anakin to the dark side, the Anakin/Obi Wan duel, the birth of the twins, the death of Padme, and the reveal of Darth Vader. In other words, every important plot point in the entire prequel trilogy. But the rest of the movie is fine. And now that I finally have that off my chest, I am never going to mention the ill-conceived prequel trilogy again. I promise.

No, really...

Tuesday, April 04, 2006

Beastie Boys on Fresh Air

Red on Green

In honor of me finally figuring out what I'm doing. Apparantly, converting the .bmps to .jpgs makes a big difference. Thanks for the advice, Charlie and Paul.