a seemingly random journey through cinema's heart of darkness. so to speak.

Wednesday, September 26, 2007

YouTubing-To-Obscure-Shameless-Self-Promotion Wednesdays: Ya ever see a foot with four toes?

Like many, the American version of The Office lost me immediately, with a painfully unfunny mimic of the first episode that was about on par with a third party watching me and my friend's endlessly quote it in poorly-done impersonations. But over the intervening years, word got out that it actually got its shit together, both honoring the show and becoming its own thing. Turns out that's completely true. I've been Hoovering up the show's first three seasons of late, trying to catch before the fourth seasons premieres tomorrow night. And while David Brent & co. have nothing to worry about, that's because, again, the new show is its own, almost as awesome entity. Hey, I'm as shocked as you.

It seems that each episode I decide on a new favorite character, and right now that character is Creed Bratton, the mysterious quality control guy who doesn't open his mouth up much but when he does manages to reveal new, increasingly disturbing factoids. He's played by Creed Bratton, who used to be the guitarist for the Grass Roots (of the terrific "Midnight Confessions"). The ficitious Creed Bratton also used to play for the Grass Roots and it's a sign of the sly excellence of the show that they let the viewers figure out that this obscure footnote in music history is making fun of himself. (The real Bratton's Wikipedia page is here, while his character's is here.) Here's a comp of, reportedly, all of his appearances from seasons two and three (he barely made a blip in the brief first). Apologies for the scratchy audio:

The Weekly. I interviewed Robert Benton in honor of the so-so multi-character Feast of Love, though our conversation turned more to his past works, like Bonnie and Clyde and The Late Show. Burnsy decimates Feast here, where I also do up the Michael-Douglas-goes-nuts indie King of California and the human traficking saga Trade. Also, Rep. Also also, some ill-reasoned complaints and fuzzy math with a piece of hate-mail directed towards last week's In the Valley of Elah review.


Sunday, September 23, 2007

Belatedly Plugging (Shamelessly)

Been a bit distracted of late, so here goes two weeks of self-promotion, shameless division. Only did a Six Pack (on loathsome pro-vigilante movies, in honor of The Brave, Despicable One) and Rep in the 9/12 issue. The 9/19 issue, however, found me wicked busy. Did a lead for Paul Haggis' less-terrible-than-Crash-but-still In the Valley of Elah, plus a Six Pack on Cinematic Iraq Allegories (The Village, Land of the Dead, etc.), plus reviews of In the Shadow of the Moon, Vanaja and Eastern Promises (grade since dropped a smidge on the latter), plus a not altogether skimpy Rep. Boy, are my arms tired.

Also, in case the bold "nouveau" to your right hasn't caught your eye yet, I'm partly atoning for my lazy Blogspotting by posting skimpy effluvia -- reviews, random insights, tired one-liners, drive-bys and whatnot -- over at my newly founded Twitter page, where brevity (i.e., 140 characters per post) is the soul of wit.

Oh, and yes, YTTOSSPWs will return Wednesday. One hopes.


Sunday, September 09, 2007

Where on Earth I Have Been

In California. Specifically, Los Angeles, with a brief stop in San Diego (and an even briefer stop at the Denver, CO airport). Out to visit a close friend who moved out there about two years ago, the 8-day trip wound up being my first bone-fide vacation in years. (When I have time off, I usually just go to a film festival, which is hardly a break.) Here are some highlights:

* Fell back in love with the Eric Schlosser-approved In-N-Out Burger. Despite some major strides in a healthier lifestyle back home, I totally threw it to the wind, eating far, far too many of their burgers in the week-plus than I'd like to admit. I also munched on a Bob's Big Boy Burger -- boy, is it a shame this place no longer exists back here -- and a Fatburger, which I found not as good (and way overpriced) compared to In-N-Out. Back to carrots, walnuts and salmon.

* Ate catfish in non-fillet form -- i.e., very little meat and some annoyingly tough-to-initially-detect bones -- at a Thai restaurant.

* Dropped an appalling amount of money during two (2) separate trips to Amoeba Music. Some major finds: Françoise Hardy's English-language album If You Listen; Primitive Plus, the hard-to-find first album from Boston whiteboy rapper/emcee Edan; Krautrock outfit Faust's mindblowing The Faust Tapes; McCarthy, the band that eventually became Stereolab (but not without sounding like alternately R.E.M. and New Order first); and a $7 copy of the R2 Articial Eye transfer of Godard's Week End that didn't turn out to be too good to be true. (The R1 New Yorker version is notorious garbage.)

* Saw someone I hadn't seen in far, far, far, far too goddam long.

* Was given a personalized(-ish) tour of the Paramount lot. Highlights: a window full of Oscars; replicas of several city streets; Dr. Phil's car entourage and lot cart, which has, um, monster wheels.

* Wept uncontrollably upon stepping foot in BevMo! Pennsylvania still (still!) has cartoonishly puritanical drinking laws; for instance, right now (quarter to 7pm on Sunday) one can't buy a bottle of wine as liquor stores, with very few exceptions, are closed on this, the day of our lord. A week ago exactly (adjusting for time difference, that is), I walked into a BevMo! and happily grabbed bottles of Späten, this awesome dark Heffeweissen and one of those wacky mini-kegs of Paulaner. (I also scored glasses for Heffeweissen, Stella Artois and Duvel. They survived the flight.)

* Went to the Hollywood Bowl for the first time ever. No Monty Python, but Rachmaninov, Shostokovich and Stravinsky were way pleasant. Also: wine and cheese.

* Attended the Getty Villa, the purdiest museum I've ever been to.

* Didn't drink any whiskey whatsoever at this ritzy whiskey bar called Seven Grand.

* Attempted to hike; was thwarted by the first desert rain in what? A billion years? Made up for it, if partially, by bouldering (with my brand new hiking shoes!) and "climbing" the trail up to the Griffith Park Observatory. Heard a pack of coyotes wailing on the way back down. Ominous.

* Ate some great BBQ.

* Drove out to Newport Beach. Body surfed for some 2 1/2 hours before, er, getting whacked something fierce on the head by a boogey board. My head bled, very minimally, for several hours later. Fun!

* Ate at a fancy-schmancy seafood restaurant in San Diego. My meal, which turned out to be in a giant fucking tin bowl, required wearing an actual bib. Not pretty.

* Snorkelled at La Jolla cove. I swam over (harmless) leopard sharks and swam with a bunch of bright yellow fish. Also seaweed and algae. Best. Thing. Ever. Except for the whole totally sunburnt back thing.

* Did karaoke for the first time since I was probably fifteen. Apparently I do a mean Girl From the Cardigans.

* Smoked medicinal marijuana. What paranoia?

* Didn't watch a single movie the entire time I was there.

The last two week's of PW pluggin'. Didn't feel like doing even the minimal of blog updates out on the West Coast, so here goes. From 8/29 issue, I reviewed the lo-fi 9/11 2 yarn Right At Your Door, wrote a Six Pack on unusual remakes (Losey's M, McBride's Breathless, Chris Rock's take on Eric Rohmer) and did Rep. From the 9/5 issue, I reviewed Dans Paris and Ten Canoes (second and third down), Six Packed decent movies shot on shitty video (The Celebration, Colossal Youth, Inland Empire) and Repped it up.