is happening here/But you don’t know what it is/Do you,
Mr. Jones?” –Bob Dylan
quote has been like a splinter in my mind for some time
now. It’s like one of your own personal heroes walks up
to you and tells you everything about yourself, although
the two of you have never met before. A situation too uncomfortable
to enjoy and too disturbing to ignore.
lyric’s shown up many times unexpectedly to me lately and
ultimately led to a night where I listened to the song from
which it comes (“Ballad of a Thin Man” from Highway 61 Revisited)
for three straight hours one night in the middle of an OCD-fueled
stupor. (Pelican’s The Fire in Our Throats Will Beckon the
Thaw eventually broke me out of the spell; still, both great
albums.) Hearing it so many times in so short a time, I
was instilled with a level of paranoia that would send most
conspiracy theory nuts crying to their mothers. Is there
really something wrong? I mean so terribly wrong that your
only solace comes from complete, utter and total despondence?
Something had been tapping me on the shoulder for a while
now, and instead of continuing to be ignored by me, it decided
to bash me square in the jaw.
received this near deathblow while watching Derailed, the
new thriller starring the newly-single but still homely
Jennifer Aniston and the sketchy Clive Owen as lovers cheating
on their respective spouses that get pinched. But it’s not
as simple as having their affair discovered by either one
of their partners; they get busted by a bunch of creepy
looking gaylords from a new metal video or straight to video
indie flick. All Owen and Aniston really do is look at each
other dumbly and that’s when I had my revelation—that was
the catharsis that brought me back to life. And it wasn’t
mind wandered onto another train of thought when I was reminded
of a piece that the late, great Dr. Hunter S. Thompson did
for ESPN.com, called “The New Dumb.” It actually started
with the same Dylan quote as above and I was freaked out
even more. This coincidence was beginning to churn my brains
into cream when I saw what must be the future on the screen
above. A pair of creepy people who just stare at each other
as if they were constipated or severely retarded.
is the new sexy. The new hot, the new smart, the new...
oh let’s say powerful if you catch my drift. People everywhere
you go are getting or already are really dumb lately. They
either drive like total pussies or complete assholes. We
have a president who can’t seem to finish a crossword puzzle.
Celebrities—models of what is considered attractive—look
at people like dumb cows. This is it. This is the end. The
Dumb are trying to take over the world.
you’re not with The Dumb you’re against them. They’re supplied
by a well-known retail chain so they could probably pull
off an overseas invasion of another country. They drive
cars they don’t know how to drive and now they’re telling
you that they’re hot and you’re not. Some try to be hot
and dumb at the same time and do pretty well for themselves.
Take Jessica Simpson, for example.
took it like a man when I watched Derailed. I watched these
two allegedly hot people fart up what potentially could’ve
been a decent flick. Instead we get a Double Indemnity wannabe
with a hearty slapping of Hollywood bullshit and completely
unrealistic plot turns right on top of it. Next thing you
know, you’re challenging the theater manager to a duel in
front of the concession stand because you had to sit through
far, all my discovery really got me was a heightened state
of awareness, which makes getting out of bed in the morning
all the more difficult and nearly pointless. In the not
too distant future, the Retards are going to be running
the planet. The Dumb are taking over like a virus and the
Earth is starting to fight back. Hmm. If you know a good
odds maker (preferably Vegas), please e-mail me at firstname.lastname@example.org
and Prejudice left me with an uneasy feeling in the pit
of my stomach that was not entirely unfamiliar to me. It’s
not that it was bad or excruciating to watch—on the contrary,
watching Keira Knightley for over two hours was a joy paralleled
only by being able to sleep in on a Sunday morning, knowing
that I don’t have to work. I realized something while watching
I don’t know if this is going to work out, Keira. You...
you roped me in with Pirates of the Caribbean. I wasn’t
that interested at first, but you changed my mind. You kept
impressing me in King Arthur and The Jacket (you, not the
movies...). Then with Domino you showed me that you were
the one for me. You were a perfect creature flawlessly making
grace, beauty, language, and fearlessness one as you showed
your luminous glory from the waist up.
I feel like now that you have me, you feel like you’ve won
me and I’m just some kind of... some kind of prize. It’s
almost like you’re not interested anymore and when you rarely
are, it’s more out of convenience than anything else. I’m
not going to put up with this forever. I’m not the guy I
used to be. I was once the guy who would’ve seen your new
movie Pride and Prejudice and loved every minute of it.
Oh yes, I would’ve relished in that dry, British charm that
you used to get me behind the dumpster on more than one
occasion. The costumes and the lush countryside would’ve
mesmerized me. But that was when I used to talk about my
feelings. Now I just move on instinct and walk off the bullshit.
I haven’t even kept a diary in years, baby.
just didn’t care about Pride and Prejudice, honey. You’re
young; I’m old. You know I can’t take that shit the way
I used to. But that doesn’t mean I don’t care about you.
I do, I really, really do. But I need to know that you care
about me too. I want Keira, not KEIRA. And I don’t get to
see Keira too much any more. I don’t have a good time with
KEIRA. Please baby. Bring back Keira. You know I’m crazy
over my little chipmunk, but enough’s enough.
Just... give me a call when you... get through whatever
you need to get through or do whatever it is you feel you
need to do. Maybe I’ll answer. Don’t bother calling if I
see you wearing fur coats again with Adrien Brody. That
guy’s been a weasly skirt-chaser since he won that Oscar.
If nothing else, please don’t let me see you with him. Please
give me that much...
Rich Or Die Tryin'
Why is it every time you see a movie about a black guy trying
to get out of his current line of work he always decides
he wants to be a rapper? Wait. Never mind, I know why. It’s
because either it’s a rapper playing the character or it’s
the only option Whitey left him. Either way, it’s bullshit
and unfair to anyone who could possibly be involved.
been a few years since we’ve seen the last installment of
the rapper-turns-actor series. Last installment was Eminem
in 8 Mile, the rap version of Purple Rain (harrowing!).
It had a few nuggets of street cred—directed by Curtis Hanson
who’s beginning to not kick as much ass as he used to.
now we’ve got 50 Cent playing himself and telling the story
of how he came up, for anyone who never noticed the bullet
scars in his back. He was a drug dealer and tried to get
out of the life. His boss didn’t like it and shot him. He
rises above and becomes a rapper who sells a shitload of
albums. The movie kind of plays out like Scarface, which
is not surprising seeing as how there’s not a rap album
made after 1995 that doesn’t contain at least five Scarface
don’t get the whole 50 Cent thing. Maybe it’s the name.
I mean, 50 cents isn’t that much. Why 50 Cent? 50 Buck would
be more understandable. 50 Grand maybe? Or maybe it’s his
music I’m not getting. One of his songs made me very angry.
It wasn’t a very angry song; it just sounded like an ice
cream truck to me. The music from ice cream trucks really
upsets me and makes me angry. I don’t know why—I mean it’s
not because of some childhood thing where I never got to
the ice cream truck in time or that I couldn’t afford it.
The music just really pisses me off in ways I can’t fully
articulate. Kind of like couples who’ve only been together
a short time getting portraits done at Penny’s. Who does
that shit? The music from the trucks—the whole dinglydinglydingdingding
shit is like a swordfish up the ass. I heard it once outside
of a bar in Eden and I actually started a bar fight out
of spontaneous and unbridled rage.
paint a picture: You’re in the middle of a war as popular
as the AV squad in any given Midwestern junior high school;
and as a result military enrollment is at an all-time low.
What do you do to turn it around? The answer is simple.
You have a means of communication cleverly disguised as
entertainment that can also be used as propaganda while
testing the malleability on its audience—the movies. Shit!
They did it with John Wayne in the forties, so why the hell
can’t it work here?
studio fatcat crumbum who greenlit Jarhead, the new film
recounting a marine’s experiences from the Gulf War, must
have thought he was going to get a relieving scratch on
the back from some kind kickback/commission for every new
enlistee who saw this film has got another think coming.
Reason being is that Jarhead doesn’t paint a glamorous picture
of war and because it’s not your grandfather’s war picture.
previous war movies, there was a known and tangible enemy.
Whether it was a yellow-skinned sneaky son of a bitch or
a goose-stepping fanatic, you always had the luxury of knowing
who the bad guys were. But with Jarhead, the enemy is the
waiting to fight the war. It’s the despondency, the lack
of working equipment, the wondering and/or finding out if
their old lady’s fucking around back home, and worst of
all, the lack of live targets. I think you could put any
random person through enough bullshit and they can justify
going through it all again tomorrow—provided they be promised
they’ll be able to kill before the day is out.
at times tries really hard to be Stanley Kubrick’s masterpiece,
Full Metal Jacket—namely in the opening scene with the drill
sergeant barking Hartman-style in the faces of the worthless
maggots he will eventually turn into soldiers. The interview
scenes are also reminiscent of Full Metal Jacket, while
the numerous references to Apocalypse Now and The Deer Hunter also
make you realize a new kind of war movie has been spawned—and
start to make you miss the good old days.
we hit the final act. Desert Storm finally starts. As opposed
to a barrage of battle scenes, the audience gets an onslaught
of unsettling imagery. When going to “dehydrate,” the film’s
protagonist Swafford comes across a collection of charred
corpses. He sits thoughtfully for a few moments and upon
his return, his staff sergeant asks what was over there.
“Nothing,” Swafford replies.
the ending kind of fizzled out like a dud grenade, the film’s
director, Sam Mendes, who’s given us such gems as American
Beauty and Road to Perdition has laid out some really wild
sights while simultaneously pulling great performances out
of Jake Gyllenhall, Peter Sarsgaard and Jamie Foxx. Again,
Mendes has created a new kind of war movie. Or maybe he
just made a movie about a war that didn’t last as long as
the average sneeze. Either way, it’s worth checking out...
animated cartoons, celebrity voices, aliens. Yeah, yeah,
yeah. Mildly amusing and good for a few hearty chuckles,
but ultimately nothing to really write home about. I will,
however, tell you about something that you damn well better
include in your next letter home to your dear old silver-haired
mother and your crossword puzzle-loving dad who’s got his
what is this modern marvel you ask? Goblin Cock.
Cock? I knew this cat was a nut, but the lunatic’s finally
lost it. Hear me out. Goblin Cock is a band that just put
out one pretty cool album. You may enjoy the album if you’re
into the sludgy guitar sounds of bands such as Cathedral
or Paradise Lost—stuff reminiscent or early Black Sabbath.
Sludgy doom metal stoner rock. Think of Queens of the Stone
Age with a Gwar sensibility. The album is called Bagged
and Boarded and its cover features an angry, evil-looking
goblin king who sits upon a throne with his junk sticking
out of the bottom of his robe.
the reason that I’m professing the word of Goblin Cock is
not for a good album, but the video that features these
lunatics in all their ‘80s metal glory is an achievement
that will inspire even the most cynical of hearts. This
video can be seen with a simple visit to
dipshit. What are you getting me into? Well, I could
tell you but that would be spoiling the surprise. But I
will leave you with this—ringwraith costumes, lesbian softball
and evil robots.
an old principle out there called the crap vs. compensation
factor that helps you decide if going through with something
is ultimately worth it. I first heard it applied toward
corporate culture and a karmic punishment of a job I worked
a few years back.
people there didn’t blink. If something went wrong throughout
one of their days, it wasn’t seen as a problem but an opportunity.
Anyone who was salaried usually wound up sticking around
a few hours later than they were told they’d have to in
the interview. But none of this mattered because they all
loved their jobs very, very much. Now I’m not 100% sure
here, but I think I saw lobotomy scars on more than one
occasion. As for the rest, they probably drank excessively
while emotionally and/or physically abusing their families.
For as much as I slag the place, they had great benefits,
there was a café on the premises that made a mean pulled
pork sandwich, and some of my female co-workers had some
very liberal views on sex, which they shared.
that job, I had to ask myself if feigning Stepfordom and
playin’ the game were worth the pittance I received, the
tumors growing in my balls and the pure, unadulterated frustration
that would eventually kill me. Crap vs. Compensation.
my former employer, I had a choice, whether I admitted it
or not. But when I saw Shopgirl, the new movie starring
Steve Martin, Claire Danes and Jason Schwartzman I could
at least take comfort in the fact that I didn’t really have
a choice. Community service sucks.
some fail to realize is when you see a movie there’s a lot
more to it than sitting in a darkened theater for the better
part of two hours. There’s so much more to it than acting,
direction, set design, cinematography and so on. There’s
the matter of the obnoxious prick who has to throw his two
bits in with either a running commentary or shrieking laughter.
The waste of sperm and egg who can’t sit still and keeps
kicking the back of your seat while gnawing away loudly
on their overpriced popcorn. The malignancies behind the
wheel of their SUVs who drive either like total assholes
or the way that old people fuck. And by the way, to anyone
who was driving on McKinley Parkway in Saturday, November
5th between 3:15 and about 3:40 PM—I’VE GOT YOUR
LICENSE PLATE NUMBERS YOU SUBURBANITE PRICKS. YOU THINK
YOU’VE GOT IT BAD NOW? YOU’VE GOT ME ON YOUR HANDS NOW YOU
SUBURBANITE SHIT WEASELS! AS YOU BREATHE YOUR LAST, ASK
YOURSELF IF THAT FOURTH TRIP TO THE OLIVE GARDEN THIS WEEK
WAS REALLY WORTH IT. WERE THE UNLIMITED BREADSTICKS WORTH
rant should give you some kind of insight into what I had
to deal with before seeing Shopgirl. As I finally took the
keys out of the ignition in the theater parking lot, I thought
to myself that this better be an amazing movie. Naturally,
it wasn’t. Even though it’s based on a novella written by
Steve Martin, he turned in only a marginally enjoyable performance
as a rich prick who woos a retail slave played by the oddly
physically misproportioned Danes. Whoever did the costume
designs for her would’ve done a better job flattering her
by just telling her she has a nice head. I shouldn’t slam
the wardrobe people—they didn’t have much to work with.
And as for Schwartzman, he just played Schwartzman.
the end, the compensation wasn’t remotely worth the crap
I dealt with getting to see Shopgirl.
Night, and Good Luck
few years back, George Clooney proved that he’s capable
of more than acting like George Clooney when he made his
directorial debut with Confessions of a Dangerous Mind.
It was a stylish look back at the ‘60s and ‘70s through
the eyes of a... well, a nut. It was the tale of “Gong
Show” host Chuck Barris, and the acting was great, the direction
was fantastic, and the fact that it was written by Charlie
Kaufman didn’t hurt either. As a follow-up, Clooney brings
us Good Night, and Good Luck, the tale of how television
journalist Edward R. Murrow and his producer Fred Friendly
brought down political juggernaut/asshole/Hannity-ancestor
Joseph McCarthy during his communist witch-hunt in the mid-‘50s.
tells a lot of the story through preexisting news footage
of the time, and the film is in black and white. To his
credit, Clooney fails to make the mistake of actually getting
an actor to play McCarthy, which goes to show that he’s
actually paid attention and learned something from his production
company partner, Steven Soderberg.
Night, and Good Luck is actually a great film and a nice
parable for the political climate today. It knows when to
back off at a 93-minute running time and takes its leave
like a houseguest that knows to split just when you begin
to get bored of their ass. It’s dry as a desert; there’s
very little action as far as high drama is concerned (but
there is a lot of smoking, smoking, and more smoking…viewers
should be allowed to light up for this flick just to add
ambience). I wasn’t expecting contrived shootouts or a bullshit
car chase, but for the events that led to the end of one
of the darker chapters of American history, you’d expect
a little more than the reading of some telegrams and meetings
in the boss’s office. Otherwise, it was very well done.
the high point of the whole Good Night, and Good Luck experience
for me was overhearing a group of senior citizens comment
that they thought Joseph McCarthy was the ventriloquist.
Now I don’t know if it was the senility talking, but even
I know the difference between Charlie McCarthy and Joseph
McCarthy. And I grew up on MTV, horror movies and non-practicing
Catholic guilt. If I couldn’t tell the difference, I’d have
an excuse. But this cat was probably keeping his wife barefoot
and pregnant for a five-year span while stroking it to The
Lawrence Welk show every Sunday night for 18 years while
this shit was going down! Jesus Harold Christ!