Thursday, August 13, 2009

Hey you, start tipping and AMERICAN MOVIE

A few more thoughts I've been having on coffee customers now that I've moved from the mechanical hellhole of Blue Bottle Embarcadero to the soothing churn of a little spot in Dogpatch. Turns out, regardless of where you are and who you're serving joe, there's always annoying people who do annoying things.

I'd like to tell you about a few more of 'em:

1. Dear regular who does not tip, you are so much more annoying to me than the random schmoe off the street I've never seen before. Why? Because I know you, I know your drink and your pasty face and your greasy hair, and when you slip in each day and buy two regular drip coffees and then palm a sweaty five dollar bill on to the table all the while creepily staring at me from underneath the bill of your leathery hat, I'm already mad at you, because I know you aren't going to reward me with even a modicum of tip. Nope, I'm just going to get a gander at your long, dready beard, and a wiff of your stink and find my dislike of you building all that much more. Take this to heart dear readers, if you're a regular at a coffee shop and you aren't tipping, the men and women behind the counter are angry at you, displeased that you arrive each and every day, no matter how fantastic of a person you might be. Just keep that in mind.

2. Why can't people just come in to a coffee shop and order what's on the menu? People are coming in asking for wheat-gluten free snacks and coffee with almond or rice milk. Marina folk stumble in with their huge shades glued to their faces, I-Phones pressed to their ears, demanding non-fat decaf mochas. Everyone, EVERYONE is always asking for single shots when our sweet lady of a machine can only make doubles. Please please, for the love of my sanity, drop by our shop, say hello, but just take a gander at the menu, a quick perusal of how simple everything is, and then just order a fucking cappuccino or a latte or a fucking double espresso - as that is what we serve.


You really have to settle in to American Movie to enjoy it. Chris Smith's big splash of a documentary about a Midwestern filmmaker obsessed with putting together a horror film called Coven is a strange piece of movie. It's straight forward, in a way that Smith seems known for, and thus you're placed in to the world of Mark Borchardt and asked, quite simply, just to enjoy your time there, or get the fuck out. Borchardt is kind of a maniac, a father-of-three who lives with his mom and dad and is absolutely fascinated with putting together a film. He'll use anyone and anything who even show the slightest interest in the film and the three year ordeal he wades through to get the flick to screen is absolutely entertaining.

It's not just Borchardt either, it's the cast of characters he brings together - his stoner friend Mike, his near-death Uncle Bill, his accent-tinged mother/editor, his hoodlum friend Ken Keen, the diva of main male actor in the film - and the list goes on and on. Strange folk up in them Midwestern parts, and putting them through the trials of a movie is absolutely fascinating.

Alex compared the film to early Errol Morris (Gates of Paradise era Morris) and I couldn't agree more. Smith finds nothing wrong with just leaving his camera rolling on some strange scene, and I think that there's a possibility that this could seem boring. But keep watching, get invested in the life and times of Mark Borchardt, it's well worth it.

Friday: Written on the Wind (96)

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