10 January 2021
09 January 2021
10 October 2020
10 July 2020
30 May 2020
Becoming is a really just passable ad for Obama's book. It has some really great and inspiring footage of girls all across the country. I mean, wow, what a mind-blow that must have been to be fourteen and have the former First Lady, this former First Lady, listen to what you're saying and give you a hug. Michelle Obama, of course, absolutely rules and is totally fucking missed, but the movie doesn't have a lot of bite or grit, which is the only thing I want to see. Oh well. Recommended only if you want to further lament our national state of chaos. It's a nightmare out there, each day worse than the last.
17 May 2020
10 May 2020
05 May 2020
Beatles fan service. Thumbs up.
03 May 2020
That said, the whole movie is yelling and explosions. Yipes. Definitely wouldn't have cared for it if I'd seen it as a pretentious grown-up rather than as a precocious child.
02 May 2020
26 April 2020
24 April 2020
21 April 2020
18 April 2020
Wes Anderson and co. took full advantage of the medium of film in this one, and - hey - that was pretty cool! The set design, pacing, dialogue, color schemes, casting, humor - all of it felt uniquely geared toward the cinematic experience. As we watched Grand Budapest Hotel I thought, wow, this feels like a shining example of narrative cinema's strengths and possibilities, even though when the movie ended I found that it hadn't quite - as the kids might say - "hit me in the feels" or made me want to award it four stars like I would with stone-cold classics like Silence of the Lambs, Frankenhooker, or Tales of the Grim Sleeper.
But, hey, bravo!!
11 April 2020
04 April 2020
14 October 2015
13 October 2015
27 May 2015
28 April 2015
28 July 2013
theme to Franco Nero's eyes, is a thing of absolute bad-ass masculine awe, but sadly these parts never come together in a way that elevates the movie into a majestic artifact for the ages. It's a stone cold masterpiece compared to late-period western dreck like Mannaja, so my guess is that all of its cool-ass sadness and fancy gun totin' tricked me into holding Keoma up to Peckinpah-level standards rather than a more appropriate Island of the Fishmen-informed yardstick.
07 April 2013
08 September 2012
Wow, is anyone cooler than Franco Nero? The guy has it all: tanned features, burly forearms, a perpetual morning-after leer, and a steamer trunk full of sweaters and Pendleton flannels. Even in my most generous dreams I'm only half the man he is.
07 September 2012
06 September 2012
15 August 2012
04 July 2012
11 June 2012
28 April 2012
Somehow even more offensive than the original! Is it because its very existence suggests many serious conference calls between studio executives and financiers, all of whom were looking for an advantageous return on investment? Is it because its existence further suggests the involvement by an even more populous collection of actors, technicians, and union laborers, many of whom probably had serious qualms about re-shooting such a film and yet signed on anyway? Is it because I still chose to watch this movie in spite of my own knowledge of and qualms regarding its production and promotion?
OR is it just because I watched the 1978 version with the non-stop Joe Bob Briggs audio commentary?
11 April 2012
23 January 2012
30 October 2011
14 October 2011
I don't like to say that my father drank himself to death because I feel like that implies agency, like Dad set out and to kill himself with booze rather than what actually happened, which is that he plain gave up and drank Miller High Life until his body did the same.
And that last part, it's probably the biggest reason I'm here on the Highland Cinema today. It's why I was so excited to see the Mentors a few years ago, why I search "most disturbing films" in Google whenever I reactivate my Netflix account, why I can never muster up the nerve to call a girl. All because of my dad. It's why I watched No Direction Home or bought Cat Stevens' Catch Bull at Four or why I tried to read a book on Richard Nixon. For years without me knowing it, Dad was the reason I couldn't help but put up defense mechanisms and deflate your enthusiasm with cynicism. He's why I felt it necessary to convince myself that the reason I bought used copies of Ham on Rye, Post Office, and Women wasn't because I couldn't pull myself away from sad, middle-aged alcoholics, but because I thought that Jon Daly and his Bill Cosby Bukowski character were just hilarious. Seriously....Jelloems? My God. Inspired.
If Bukowski had genius, it was in his fearlessness, a fearlessness that was rooted in defeat and completely without bravado. His finest moments are exercises in emasculated machismo: waking up and vomiting stomach acid into the bathroom sink or pulling out and telling her you can't cum because you're just too fucking blitzed, hon. Bukowski's charm is this gallows humor, the matter-of-factness with which he celebrates a homely woman's fat ass or talks back to his boss as he's getting chewed out about his far too frequent trips to the water fountain. Bukowski was prone to rambling and incoherence, but that's why we remember him. We like that he was a self-professed dirty old man who drank beer by the case and spent his nights in front of a ramshackle typewriter in an even more ramshackle welfare hotel. His adult existence was rejection letters and soulless shifts at menial jobs. But that's what gives us hope. Maybe someday our own brooding and half-ass will could amount to something so great as literary fame and fortune.
But then there's the mean-spirited sorrow of Charles Bukowski, a bleary-eyed insensitivity and inadvertent nastiness that make me want to take back everything I just wrote. There's the way he calls his girlfriend a bitch and a fucking whore while they're in front of the cameras. Or the way he opens his mouth and makes me nervous that his staggering intensity is about to trap me in a conversation peppered with bloodshot glares and sweaty finger pointing. Born Into This shows us Bukowski slur his way through horrible poetry readings while co-eds and burnouts cheer him on and he sucks down Screwdrivers. These scenes are book-ended with footage of agents and sunglasses-clad celebrities who speak with a glowing fondness for Bukowski's legacy as a drunken Bard of the Los Angeles streets. The whole time I can't help but think of the sadness and pain he'd gone through. I can hardly get over how offensive it is that anyone could mythologize or encourage such hurtful and melancholy behavior. It's almost unbearable.
But even after all of that I still feel a romance for the lonely alcoholic, awake and creative at one in the morning. Which is why tomorrow I'm still going to buy Factotum even though I didn't like Ham on Rye, and I thought Post Office was just okay.
Here's my favorite passage from Charles Bukowski. From the final two paragraphs of chapter thirty-eight of Women, published in 1978:
That night she drank half a bottle of red wine, good red wine, and she was sad and quiet. I knew she was connecting me with the racetrack people and the boxing crowd, and it was true, I was with them, I was one of them. Katherine knew that there was something about me that was not wholesome in the sense of wholesome is as wholesome does. I was drawn to all the wrong things: I liked to drink, I was lazy, I didn't have a god, politics, ideas, ideals. I was settled into nothingness; a kind of non-being, and I accepted it. It didn't make for an interesting person. I didn't want to be interesting, it was too hard. What I really wanted was only a soft, hazy space to live in, and to be left alone. On the other hand, when I got drunk I screamed, went crazy, got all out of hand. One kind of behavior didn't fit the other. I didn't care.
The fucking was very good that night, but it was the night I lost her. There was nothing I could do about it. I rolled off and wiped myself on the sheet as she went to the bathroom. Overhead a police helicopter circled over Hollywood.
25 August 2011
I pretty much take Matthew Timmons' advice on everything, probably because we had the same PE class in seventh grade and he had a Metallica t-shirt. In recent years, Matt's been all, "You should move up to Seattle," and "You should buy that guitar," and "Dude, that TV! It's just like mine!" He's also been, like, "You totally need to call that girl," and "Eh, probably shouldn't call her again," and "It's Always Sunny is incredible, Booth. What am I, an asshole?"
So far it's all worked out pretty goddamn well.
19 August 2011
I like RA the Rugged Man because he's a tough white dude who raps about offensive things and I listen to a lot of Necro. But I also like boxing because of a Larry Sanders extra and I decided to go to Prague after I saw some Polish animation, so my logic isn't always the most sound.
18 August 2011
I'm kinda tired of the story where I went to see ArnoCorps and got blackout drunk on a few PBRs and one whisky sour and I vomited all over a girl I liked in the back seat of her car. But the story I'm not yet tired of is the one where I got home the next day reeking of of hangover and remorse and I put on Take Me to the Plaza just so I could watch Jonathan Richman sing about how beautiful it was to live in a world where the sad sun stared at you through the trees and men sat in the cafe crying in vain and your heart hurt so bad you can't eat, you can't sleep, you just wandered around. After that, I knew everything was going to be okay.