Today I spent several hours working on my blog.
May 18, 2013
May 18, 2013
CLASSICS, ENTERTAINMENT, MOVIES, RECENT, TV procrastination, MOVIE, cliche, hiding, roger, ebert, Ebert's little movie glossary, archetypes, stereotypes, hackneyed, conventions, fallacy, talking hero, villain, kill, silly joke, compendium Leave a comment
You go to enough different movies, you start to notice things.
You can read this excerpt in the introduction of a very small book called ”Ebert’s Bigger Little Movie Glossary: A Greatly Expanded and Much Improved Compendium of Movie Clichés, Stereotypes, Obligatory Scenes, Hackneyed Formulas, Shopworn Conventions, and Outdated Archetypes”. It contains hundreds of constantly repeated movie features tightly packed in a 116 paged hardcover bundle.
I had this volume for maybe a year or so, but never really got to it. Today I came up with a silly joke about a movie in the dearblankpleaseblanksincerelyblank mould. I decided to apply the concept of silly joke to movies, and movie clichés seemed to be the easiest target. The fact that I had a book about it made it even easier. The gods of procrastination were obviously plotting against me, giving me little excuse not to make this post and some more.
This will hopefully be the first of many posts about movie clichés, unless I get kidnapped by aliens wearing the same clothing, hairstyles, and jewellery.
May 17, 2013
by Charles Bukowski
if it doesn’t come bursting out of you
in spite of everything,
don’t do it.
unless it comes unasked out of your
heart and your mind and your mouth
and your gut,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit for hours
staring at your computer screen
or hunched over your
searching for words,
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it for money or
don’t do it.
if you’re doing it because you want
women in your bed,
don’t do it.
if you have to sit there and
rewrite it again and again,
don’t do it.
if it’s hard work just thinking about doing it,
don’t do it.
if you’re trying to write like somebody
forget about it.
if you have to wait for it to roar out of
then wait patiently.
if it never does roar out of you,
do something else.
if you first have to read it to your wife
or your girlfriend or your boyfriend
or your parents or to anybody at all,
you’re not ready.
don’t be like so many writers,
don’t be like so many thousands of
people who call themselves writers,
don’t be dull and boring and
pretentious, don’t be consumed with self-
the libraries of the world have
yawned themselves to
over your kind.
don’t add to that.
don’t do it.
unless it comes out of
your soul like a rocket,
unless being still would
drive you to madness or
suicide or murder,
don’t do it.
unless the sun inside you is
burning your gut,
don’t do it.
when it is truly time,
and if you have been chosen,
it will do it by
itself and it will keep on doing it
until you die or it dies in you.
there is no other way.
and there never was.
May 11, 2013
CLASSICS, DOCUMENTARY, MOVIES, OPINION, QUOTES, Uncategorized, WRITING anime, arts, audio, bear, cars, climate, constant danger, death in the morning, death row inmates, entertainment, full, gaming, grizzly bears, grizzly man, imminent death, katmai national park, muzzles, ordinary lives, oscars, pet fox, plane crash, science, siberian taiga, sole survivor, timothy treadwell, transportation, werner herzog Leave a comment
Timothy Treadwell has spent the last 13 summers living among grizzly bears in Alaska’s Katmai National Park and Reserve. For the last 5 years he has filmed 90 hours of the wilderness, the bears and himself. In one of his last recorded statements he seemed confident that he had found a way to live among them.
It’s understandable the appeal that this story had for Werner Herzog. He has no interest in ordinary lives, at least as a subject. His work dwells on the verge of death, where life finds its deeper expressions. He filmed humans in the South Pole, indigenous people living in the heart of the Siberian Taiga, death row inmates with weeks to live, a visionary air traveller the sole survivor of a plane crash, etc. He says: “If I had a chance to venture out with a camera to a planet in our solar system, I would go, even if it were a one-way ticket only.”
Treadwell does what no man before him had done, he proclaims and there’s truth to that. He lives in constant danger and if he didn’t love the smell of death in the morning he certainly grew accustomed to it. He has a pet fox, to the extent that foxes can be pets. In his footage he is often a few feet More
May 7, 2013
COMEDY, ENTERTAINMENT, HUMOR, QUOTES, Uncategorized celebrities, ck, comedy, common man, deep thoughts, entertainment, family outings, jack handey, jack handy, Jerry Seinfeld, louie, louis, one liners, phrasing, punch line, schizophrenics, stand-up Leave a comment
It is rare to find something that makes me guffaw. Part of that is due to my love of comedy and comedians. I’ve seen most stand-up acts worth seeing, and the ones I haven’t, I probably haven’t heard of them. Once you’ve seen it all, there’s a certain cynicism that arises. Patterns emerge, structure becomes obvious and punchlines seem evident even before the set-up is completed. Sometimes even jokes repeat themselves, with different but similar phrasing.
I recalled Louie CK talking about this sense of apathy towards comedy and what is needed to break it. Here’s an excerpt from his TV show where he talks about it:
It’s refreshing to find someone who breaks all patterns and manages to be funny in a complete new way. Jack Handy’s musings are constructed in unfamiliar moulds. Its premises are often unique and much of them even lack a punch-line. If Jerry Seinfeld is the observational humorist of the common man, Handey does More
May 3, 2013
I don’t follow the news anymore, but apparently they are dying.
Page One collects and condenses footage taken inside and around the New York Times. Director Andrew Rossi had full access for one year to a lot of what was happening in one of the most prestigious newspapers in the world. That amount of material probably led to the muddled final product he ended up with.
We follow some of the news that are happening, the Wikileaks being the most interesting by far. We get the opinions of the traditional media on probably the biggest scoop since Watergate. Assange the God. Assange the Devil. It’s interesting to find where they stand. More
May 1, 2013
BOOKS, COMEDY, ENTERTAINMENT, HUMOR, MOVIES, OPINION, RECENT comedy drama, dirty clothes, drama, elizabeth olsen, entertainment, josh radnor, laundry room, letter writing, literature, memory lane, oscars, richard jenkins Leave a comment
A movie that loves books can’t be all that bad. Liberal Arts has an aura if you will; you can’t smell the book pages, but you kind of do.
Jesse (Josh Radnor)is a newly single 35 year old who describes New York City as the greatest city in the world. He then walks around with his head stuffed in a book. In a laundry room he leaves both his bag of dirty clothes and his book unattended for a few seconds and his clothes are stolen. Not the book.
The call from his mentor inviting him to his old campus in Ohio is more than welcome. He smiles upon the chance to drive down memory lane and test that old Golden Age syndrome.
He rekindles his friendship with Peter (Richard Jenkins), and we quickly understand why they formed a bond during the time shared in class. I felt a certain privilege being in the loop with Jenkins character, knowing certain things that were not shared with others, and I imagine Jesse would have felt it too.
Peter introduces him to Zibby, a 19 year old. The close-up of his reaction upon seeing her hints at what’s going to happen. More
April 29, 2013
MOVIES, OPINION, QUOTES, Uncategorized, WRITING 2011, abyss, blood spatter, cars, current-events, death, drama, herzog, into, Jason Burkett, Michael Perry, penalty, politics, row, transportation Leave a comment
107 min - Documentary
Ratings: 7,3/10 from 6.355 users Metascore: 74/100
Reviews: 33 user | 114 critic | 30 from Metacritic.com
Director: Werner Herzog
Michael Perry and Jason Burkett are both 28 years old and currently reside on the state of Texas. Both stand guilty of murder. They killed three people in order to drive a red Camaro. Both blame each other, and innocence is claimed by both.
Michael Perry is set to be executed in 8 days. Jason Burkett will serve 40 years. We later learn that he was saved from the needle by a convincing testimony from his father, in which he blamed the outcome of his son’s actions on his upbringing.
These are no Red and Andy. They are both equally guilt. So why will one live and the other die? We infer that question, but that question is not asked.
In this movie, unlike most of his work, Herzog avoids saying much.
He doesn’t judge, criticize or condemn.
In his first interaction with Michael Perry, Herzog says something to the effect of “I don’t need to like you to know that killing you is wrong.” This is the one time he states his opinion, and the documentary doesn’t go about to prove his point. He lets the facts and the people he interviews tell their story.
We see a lot of footage of the crime scene. Liters of blood partially hidden under a rug, blood spatter painting a white all, a body floating on a lake, the shape of a man in the distance, covered in blankets. There is no question of the wickedness of the crime.
His interviews help to paint the picture more than the facts could. His questions are honest questions. He means to get to know the subjects and not the facts or their opinion on the facts. Herzog talks with one friend of the killers and little is said of them. He tells his story, which adds so much more to our understanding than his recollections of the killers would. In an interview Herzog recollects this moment:
When I have this chapter, the dark side of Conroe, you know who you are watching? You are watching a man who has learned how to read and write. What a glorious achievement, very admirable, and a young man who was stabbed with a screwdriver and his friend throws him a knife, and he does not pick it up. He looks at the knife, and he does not pick it up because he wants to see his children at night. So the dark side of Conroe isn’t that dark, because there’s such a phenomenal, phenomenally wonderful young man like Jared Tolbert.
He talks with the family of the victims. With a man who lost his little brother and with a woman who lost both her brother and her mother. Their pain is unmistakable.
He talks with Delbert, the father of Jason Burkett. He talks from prison, the place where he will most likely spend the remainder of his life. His was a life of violence, but years in prison seem to have improved him. They might do the same to his son, but Michael Perry won’t get the same chance.
He talks with Captain Fred Allen, who was directly involved in the execution of more than one hundred men until he just couldn’t do it anymore.
He talks with Reverend Richard Lopez, a man who spent a great deal of time with Death Row inmates, and asks him about a squirrel.
As I met these people, something stuck out. Two things seemed to tie all of the subjects. God, and violence. All believe in both. Guilty and innocent alike seek comfort in God and find consolation in Him. Their certainty is scary. Michael Perry is at his scariest when he talks with unassailing confidence of God.
He and Jason committed violent crimes. But they were also surrounded by violence. I’ve never met a person who was in jail. They had. Family and friends. Being stabbed with a screwdriver and cutting a throat weren’t rare occurrences. Yes, they could have led honest lives free of violence, but they were in the worst place to do so. There are studies that backtrack the violence in the south to the violence culture of Irish sheep herders of the mountains, who had to kill to keep their life sustenance. It’s the only civilized place in the world where Death Penalty is still in practice. The sister/daughter of two of the victims found solace in watching Michael Perry’s heart beat its last beats.
God and violence go hand in hand. If you kill your God will send you to Hell. If you kill in Texas your senator will. Herzog tells us that this is wrong one time, but his movie repeats it relentlessly.