Monday, November 30, 2009


The Film: The Lady Eve (103)

The Director: Preston Sturges (Sullivan's Travels (118), Unfaithfully Yours (292))

What Is It?: A classic bit of screwball comedy starring Barbara Stanwyck and the slightly creepy Henry Fonda. A gold-digging con-lady sets her site on the snake-obsessed heir of a massive "ale" company. Fast-talking, slap-sticking, generally nonsensical hilarity ensues aboard boats and in mansions.

The Experience?: Don't judge me but I think I might've watched a non-Criterion edition of this priceless little bit of slapstick puff. I know, I know, let the Criterion Gods lash me in to bloody flails. That said, I watched this entire film in nearly one sitting without falling asleep once. I believe the lack of subtitles and startling surreality may have been the cause. It might also be that I've seen this film two or three times prior to this.

Quick Notes

1. "Let us be crooked, but never common."

Kind of the running theme through out the entire film. It's a film about con artists who steal money, using disguise and sex and what-not, from numbskull rich folk, and the only way you can watch the film is to do so with a slice of smile cut across your face. Con artistry is funny folks! These aren't cons who'll shoot you dead, these are cons who'll swindle you, give the money back, fall in love with you, wheedle a little bit more out and then reform for good. These are 1930s con-artists, the kind you and I and everyone else in the whole wide world just want to hold and love and squeeze. These are well spoken con-artists who can fit in at a dinner table just as easily as they can fit in to a back alley speakeasy. The kind you can bring home to the parents.

2. Small feet = good women; "What does it matter ... if he's rich?"; the roles of men and woman portrayed terribly.

This is a slew of notes I scribbled over the course of the whole film, but they seemed so nicely themed so I tossed 'em together. Clever right? The Lady Eve (103) and possibly every film made in the 30s really bumbles the whole modern male-female dynamic. If one was to live their gendered lives in regards to The Lady Eve (103) men would be looking for pygmy-footed princesses and women would only find attraction in clueless, sometimes creepy members of the upper crust. Also, putting on nice dresses and affecting a bad English accent invariably makes you completely unrecognizable to the man who recently wanted to marry you (take note of that one ladies). Honestly, one of the more interesting facets of this whole quest has been the way that the male/female dynamic is portrayed in different films from different countries in different time periods. Especially interesting is that less than a hundred years ago women were stripped of their strengths (even the massively amazing Barbara Stanwyck can't hold her own in the throws of love with a rich man) and turned in to doe-eyed knockouts hungry only for riches. It's funny sure, but also telling of what the future was foretold to be for women in the 1930s.

3. Barbara fucking Stanwyck

My rant on gender in 1930s films aside, Barbara Stanwyck is amazing. Originally attractive (though semi-rodent looking), drop-dead hilarious, and imbued with a brassy strength reserved only for the hard-headed heroines of screwball comedy - she's outstanding in this, and I presume, every other film she's in. Especially when paired with Henry Fonda's Charles Pike, a bumbling, sycophantic man-child. In the real world, a woman like Stanwyck's Jean Harrington would use Pike as furniture, but as mentioned, this is a film about the 30s and in the 1930's everyone knew that women were just pretty faces, thus, and I'm not giving away much, the allure of a good, rich man is Ms. Harrington's ultimate un-doing. Nonetheless, color me crushin' on the late, great B. Stanwyck.

4. That said, Henry Fonda, yeesh.

Fonda's as famous as anyone in old Tinseltown and if you've seen Grapes of Wrath or any of his Westerns, you'll know why. His performance in The Lady Eve (103) though? Fairly creepy. He's a dawdling (two times I've used dawdling in this post, thank you, thank you) rich kid who loves reptiles and can't seem to realize that with his mattress full of inheritance money he could be shtupping, well, probably anyone. Strangely though, Fonda plays Mr. Charles Pike as a slow-talking dullard, a kind of slack-jawed yokel that exists better in the wild than in the complex game-playing of high society. I mean, that's how he tries to play it. Instead he comes off ala Rock Hudson in All That Heaven Allows (95) - and by that I mean someone you don't want your children to be left alone with. It is near unbelievable that a stone-cold fox like Stanwyck would waste a second on Pike. Creepy bastard.

5. Criterion class collision.

The last three films in the old Criterion Collection have been real introspective peeks in to the way classes work (on some level). Cries & Whispers (101) was a heart-wrenching peek in to the high-societies of Sweden, highlighted by the low-lidded stolen glances of a truly loving maid. The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (102) was a silly-faced dissection of the rich and all their plodding, bone-headed ways. And The Lady Eve (103) hilariously, at times, casts a sharp-eyed look in to the romantic notions of the rich and beautiful. Can I tell you again why I love Criterion? Because you could probably pair any three films consecutively and find some sort of connection - for each their own - and that's what makes me geek out the most. This isn't just a collection of random films, this a piece of curated art in itself and I'm starving to see what theme we, or I, jump in to next.

Final Thoughts: I've seen this classic a few good times, and I've enjoyed each and every. Throw down your luxurious ideas of a plot that holds together though, this is the 1930s people, anything goes and it goes quite frequently. Barbara Stanwyck, a little piece of my heart is buried with you.

Tuesday: Finally, another What's In Store

Wednesday, November 25, 2009

Happy dead birds and pornographic couches.

It's almost Thanksgiving! It's almost time for piles of dead bird and processed cranberries and sittin' around a table giving thanks for the things we take for granted most of the time.

This will be the first of my Thanksgivings, ever, spent away from the Seattle Sanders Brood and I'm a little sad but almost entirely excited as I get to spend the day with the absolutely fabulous Alex Healy. I have a long sort of stream-of-conscious exhalation about Thanksgiving and moving and family and the starting of new traditions, but I'm not up for it today, so maybe next year, around three hundred posts or so, I'll toss my hat in to that ring.

For now, I give you three amazing videos by the stop motion collective PES. Alex Healy showed me the couch-humping video on our very first evening spent together.

I give thanks to couches doing it.

Have a Happy T-Day everyone, be safe.

Tuesday, November 24, 2009

Still battling.

I'm still sick, maybe even sicker than yesterday, but even though my lungs feel like they're filled with prickly ball-bearings and my head feels like a little red balloon of snot, I'm optimistic. If I'm this shitty feeling today (and believe me you, I am) then, in a perfect world, I can only feel better tomorrow. Thus, this phlegm-filled day of work is hopefully the beginning of the end.

Sadly, for you and I believe me, I'm taking another day off writing anything lengthy and just presenting you with another fairly amazing bit of short I stumbled upon on the internet.

Vice Magazine (or Vice TV) puts out some fairly amazing bits of video and I've particularly enjoyed this series of urban exploration shorts they've been putting out. This one below is about the shocking subject of oil wells in ... Los Angeles.

Fascinating. Enjoy.

Monday, November 23, 2009

Sick as a dog, but I give you, a no-hitter on acid.

I'm sick - snotty nose, chest cough and a dullheaded lack of sleep that I'm somehow blaming on Belgium on all of their neutrality espousing ilk.

Thus, I'm posting late and I'm in no mood for idle chit-chat. So I'm posting this amazing animation I found (i.e. stole from someone else who found it on some other site - ahh the cyclical dance of the interweb recommendation) about Dale Ellis, the Major League pitcher who threw a no-hitter in the 1970s ... while high as shit on Benzedrine and acid.

It's a classic.


Tuesday: The Lady Eve (103)

Friday, November 20, 2009

Watch this now: THE CRUISE

Alright, it's late on a Friday. I've only been out and about from my room since 1:30 and I don't have the energy to write another tirade against some sort of institutionalized sign.

Yet, this morning Alex and I (Alberta for her third time) watched an amazing, short little documentary called The Cruise about a ridiculously intelligent double-decker bus tour guide in New York.

I'll be writing about this one soon, but thought you should take a quick peek at the trailer.

Have a good weekend. See you on Monday.

The Lady Eve (103)

Thursday, November 19, 2009

My dislike of bathroom signs and QUICK NOTES: HAROLD & MAUDE

Alright, so I've got some beef with traditional, man/woman bathroom signs and I've been chewing on it for a while and after a slightly uncomfortable incident at a rest stop fifteen minutes north of SF, I thought I'd vent. Because hell, I love to vent.

My reasons for hating traditional man/woman bathroom signs:

1. First off, man/woman is a passe terms these days people. There's a lot of variance happening in well, the minds and bodies of a lot of folk the world over. Throwing up a sign that handily divides bathrooms between those with penises and those with a vagina makes a bold statement that the only people using these bathrooms are those who are men with penises or women with a vagina. That gender and genitalia are so easily paired in these days of transgender is egregious. In all ways we are a speedily evolving culture and I think the frontline push in many ways is a more gender neutral way of looking at things. A way of assessing people not by who they fuck or what they have hanging in their shorts, but by who they are and how they live their lives. A sign on every bathroom door that declares one can or cannot enter based on the junk, or lack thereof, between their legs stodgily rebukes that forward momentum, and I for one think it needs to change a bit.

2. Bathroom signs annoy me because they create a subconscious fear that I can't use one or the other. I hate walking up to a pair of bathrooms adorned with male/female signs, finding the male bathroom closed, and not feeling comfortable entering in to the ladies' bathroom because, well, it's marked only for women. For those who've never ventured in to the dangerous reaches of the opposing sex's lavatory I'll tell you this: aside from a trough or a few stalls, it's all the same, a bunch of places to seat your toosh and let the good times roll. It is ridiculous that an unused bathroom sits next to one with a line, and just because I have a peiner, means I can't pop in. Why can't we all just get along? Understandably there is a few cultural (nee gender) norms that make it seemingly uncomfortable to pinch one off in the presence of the opposite sex, but we can get over this people. We can exist in a world where bathrooms are bathrooms regardless of if you sit or stand to take a pee. C'mon!

And that's what I got. Maybe I should start a petition or something. Who's with me?

The Movie: Harold & Maude
The Director:
Hal Ashby (Being There, Shampoo)

The Experience: I've been meaning to watch this movie for ages. Hal Ashby is a bit of a legend from the 1970s and my ex-girlfriend claimed this was her favorite movie. Almost in a rebellious, "oh yeah" sort of way I avoided ever watching this film. But, Alex was curious after reading the book, and I thought, "Probably time to get over myself."

Something Interesting: Ruth Gordon, the fine actress who plays Maude, never actually drives the hearse in the car, as she never actually learned to drive. The whole rig is being towed each and every time.

Quick Notes:

1. What a Maude!

My goodness, Ruth Gordon might be the sexiest octogenarian I've ever seen. I mean it isn't that I find Gordon attractive in a physical way (or maybe I do, it takes a while for the brain to get used to the idea of being aroused by a woman 50 years its senior) there's just something about her character and the vulnerability she shows in the role that had me one eyebrowed up for the majority of the film. It's an incredible feat, by both Hal Ashby and Gordon, that they managed to make it totally viable that a strange, young man like Harold (Bud Cort) would fall in love with this woman so much older than him. She's a fox, through and through.

2. Bud Cort, super creepy?

Before doing a bit more research on this film, I found myself watching Cort's performance and thinking that this strange, pasty-faced, drug-voiced child couldn't be the result of actual acting. No, rather that Bud Cort himself was actually this strange. A kid you'd find burning ants, or flashing school children, and not be terribly surprised. Indeed, I've never watched another film starring Bud Cort (is there any?) but I imagined this to be him in real life. A little research in the can and it seems that Cort was a bit more proactive in his pursuit of a career and this starring role was not exactly a fluke. Rather, he listed Robert Altman (bless his soul) as a mentor and I've read stories that paint him as a bit of a filmic diva (such as the one where he wanted Greta Garbo to play Maude...). Nonetheless, this is an all-encompassing performance and I'm shocked that it doesn't spill over in to his real life.

3. God bless the 1970s.

Be it this film or any of the other ground-breaking bits of narrative that flowed like honey in the 1970s, it was a fan-fucking-tastic time to be a filmmaker operating within a studio. What other time period would let you play the love affair between an 80 year old and a 20 year old so straight? If this film was made this year, it'd star the Wayan Brothers and there'd be jokes about wrinkly vaginas and dick cobwebs. Thank you 1970s, if you were more corporeal I'd hug the shit out of you.

Final Thoughts: Rightly a classic. I'm going to start watching Hal Ashby's other films right now. I mean not RIGHT now, but soon enough.

Friday: 500 Days of Summer

Wednesday, November 18, 2009


The Film: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (102)

The Director: Luis Bunuel (The Obscure Object of Desire (143), Viridiana (332))

What Is It?: A silly, wild satire aimed at the brainless and amoral antics of Spain's, ahem, bourgeoisie class. It's a downward spiral of dinner parties that goes from funerals to wars to shootings, all the while dancing the surreal shuffle. Fantastic.

The Experience?: Alex and I watched this film on our flight to New York City (something I'll be talking about in the next few days). I've already seen the film, so I spent much of it face first in her chest snoozing away. On the way home I was able to sit through three absolutely abysmal modern day films, thus, shining a spotlight on where my true love lies.


1. I hate bourgeoisie

Yes, I do tend to stray towards hating the social class, but what I mean by this is that I literally hate, abhor, loathe the word "bourgeoisie". It's 11 letters and six of them are vowels thrown together in a seemingly random order and writing it is a challenge, each and every time. Thus, because I'm writing about a movie with hated word in it's title, there might be a tone of anger lurking in the background, but please I do enjoy this movie, just loathe its title.

2. This might be the first.

I saw this film for the first time in a theatre at Whitman College and it was like somebody used pliers to peel my eyelids back. I remember staring at the screen, mouth agape, wondering how a film that didn't rely on special effects and explosions and Will Smith could be so engrossing. The other six people in the theatre seemed bored, but my usual bouts of nap that I bring in to every theatre, were gone. I remember grabbing the DVD box on the way out and seeing the words Criterion Collection. It may have been the start of my love affair. May of.

3. Surreal world.

Holy jeez, this is one weird movie. I'm sure there could and has been articles and books written about each and every individual scene in this film, about the symbolism and the intercut shots of the rich folk walking, seemingly aimlessly and the various parts of Spanish politics at play here, and I'm not going to write one of those. But I'll say this, even though I know nothing about Spanish politics of the 1970s, the way that each surreal moment builds upon the next keeps you in sway. It's amazing.

4. Did any of this really happen?

A lot goes on in this film. Coke dealing, shootings, sex, dinner with soldiers, martini's, and so on and so forth. But at the end of the film, as the rich folk wander down an empty highway under a scarily blue sky, you wonder to yourself, "Did this happen?", "Was this a dream?" The film begins with a death, or the discovery of a death, and whenever that happens I'm always slightly skeptical of the reality of what occurs next. Death is a powerful filmic symbol and an opening scene life extinguish has me wondering if this is just the afterlife, or some hellish retribution for lives gone wrong. In this film especially.

5. Rich folk, blah.

I don't know Luis Bunuel, or didn't know him, and I don't know a terrible amount about him, but from this film you can tell he is not a fan of the corrupt dealings of the rich. Every moment of every scene seems aimed at poking holes in the "discreet charm" that the rich give off. From their treatment of the poor, to their amoral behaviors, to their general dumbassery, it's a razor-sharp arrow aimed at deflating any sort of good will one might have towards the ruling classes. At times, the first and second time I watched this film I would turn my head and literally scoff at what was going on, on screen. I've only seen a couple Bunuel films but I'm pretty sure the majority feature the rich doing painfully stupid things. And that, that I enjoy.

6. No one ever eats.

This is a film about dinner parties and not a one of the main characters even gets a bite. I love the idea that these rich bastards can't ever find the time to do such a small but important part of life. They're too busy fucking and fighting and entertaining to sustain themselves. I won't ruin the end, but at the end when an amazing main character is on the edge of death, his wrinkled hand grabbing for a slice of meat is telling in so many ways.

Final Thoughts: As good the second time as it was the second. I like this early bit of the 100's for The Criterion Quest, just throwing out the big names (none of whom I've enjoyed previously) and making me smile all the while. This is a classic film, a film that you should see, once maybe twice.

Thursday: Harold & Maude

Tuesday, November 17, 2009

200 Posts! My favorite scenes from the last 100 ... and 2.

I blew it on Friday. And then I up and didn't post yesterday, my ranting promises from days previous, already things of the past.

But I'm here now, with some of my favorite moments from the last 102 films. Yup, in my life of watching Criterion films I've consumed 102, and there's been some scenes that've really stuck with me. Sad, gory, freaky, beautiful - for some reason or another, they cling in my mind, and I thought, in the continuous quest to get you watching these films right along with me, to share a few.


Top Scenes From The Last 102 Criterion Films

The Film: Seven Samurai (2)

What Is It?:
The final moments of the film, the town has been ravaged but saved, many of the samurais lie dead or dying. The final three, their names I forget, stand in front of the burning funereal pyres, the wind blowing their top-knots in slo-motion.

Why Do I Love It?: Because it highlights exactly what this film is about - the end of a culture. With the death of Kikuchiyo to the harsh blast of a rifle, Kurosawa signals the end of the samurai culture. No longer will swords and honor be the ruling power, instead a new wave of existence has begun. These three men, stoically standing, are a powerful image of a time long past. Gets me every time.

The Film: Robocop (23)

What Is It?: Robocop, out and about making a name for himself as the new corporate face of crime-fighting, stumbles upon a mugger holding a woman hostage with a knife. There's lot of banter back and forth about "killing" and "putting weapons down" and then Robocop just targets the knife-wielding thug and blasts him. Screw the hostage.

Why Do I Love It?: I'm a sucker for cheesy action and the idea of a robo-man-cop firing his strangely automatic handgun in to the sneering face of a 1980s mugger is just so cornball it works. I still find myself, when drunk or bored, doing the Robocop walk. Don't know what the Robocop walk is? I pity you.

The Film: Diabolique (35)

What Is It?: The final moments of the film. The body has been discovered, again, in the bathtub, eyes open in fishy-eyed death, and our conspirator-turned-victim has stumbled into insanity. And what does that body do? It gets right up and pulls those fishy eyes out and is a living, breathing, person.

Why Do I Love It?: This whole film rotates around this crux of a murder discovered. Of two women who've killed to save themselves, but now must face the facts that somebody knows they've done a dirty deed. And then, right at the end, right when the tension is so unbearable you just want to snap, director Henri-Georges Clouzot, turns everything on its head and you're stuck staring, slack-jawed, almost mad at how well you've been had. Buh-rilliant.

The Film: The Third Man (64)

What Is It?: The first reveal of the notorious Harry Lime. A cat, a shadow and the shiny shoes of one Orson Welles. Then, a bus, a break in light and whammo, Harry Lime in all his glory. And then poof, he's gone.

Why Do I Love It?: Orson Welles can steal a scene without even a word. He's considered a genius for good reason and this slice of pie from a true classic American film always proves it undoubtedly to me. That smile, good or bad, you just can't help but be happy that Welles is in this.

The Film: Sisters (89)

What Is It?: The final dip in to the brains of the two sex-fueled, homicidal twins. It's all sepia and it's all fucked up. Each and every bit.

Why Do I Love It?: Originally, because this film caught me so completely off guard. I knew this was going to be a weird one, but yikes, DePalma really knocks the oddball out of the park right here. This scene though, when everything is coming to light and everything is unraveling is just so over the top fucking crazy and Alex and I just sat there, mouths open in shock, stomachs roiling, completely won-over.

The Film: Gimme Shelter (99)

What Is It?: Mick Jagger's final freeze-frame. Murder in his eyes.

Why Do I Love It?: The Maysles took what could've been a concert-film-gone-wrong and turned it in to a dissection of the Summer of Love. That in it self is amazing. Even more amazing is the subplot of Mick Jagger and company pretty much realizing their infallibility. The final shocked look on Jagger's face as he sees a man murdered on screen says it all, "You are rockstar, not a god." Gives me chills just thinking about it.


And that's what I got. It's loose and short and grabbed on the fly, but there's a thread here of pay-offs and suspense and a certain type of looming violence that really seems to grab me. These are all great films, but hell, so are most of these films, and you should be watching them, each and every.

Again, thanks for reading. Here's to another 100.

Wednesday: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (102)

Friday, November 13, 2009

Post 200! My top 5 films from the last fifty ... or so.

Well shit storms.

I've finished 200 posts, (201 if you're counting) and I was planning to put together my top 5 from the last fifty films I've watched. I'd already written an outline, started to think about the films that had really embedded themselves in my psyche, had even composed a congratulatory though snarky intro to what would be my top 5 films of the last fifty.

And then realized that merely ten posts ago I'd already written it. I'd already cobbled together my favorite films of the last fifty, each and all, and posted it on this very website for you, the readers to enjoy.

So again, shit storms.

This happens more often than not, and now I'm off to work in a huff and a hustle and all I can leave you with is the link to the top 5 of the first fifty list I wrote previously.

Blast it con'sarnit, and such and such. Here's the link. I apologies for the sputtering anti-climax.

Monday: Ruminations on my favorite scenes from the last 100 films.

Thursday, November 12, 2009

Post 199.5: Sonic Youth loves Criterion!

I just thought this was fucking peachy.

Sonic Youth, a great, great, great band, loves themselves some Criterion films.

Twelve of them in fact, and you can read which ones right HERE.

Post #200! Lets do a numerical break-down.

First, quick apologies. I've been in New York for the last seven days. And much to the chagrin of both my employers and loyal readers, I go in to sort of work hibernation when I'm traveling, thus things like newsletters and Criterion Quests fall to the wayside quite quickly. But I'm back, battery fully charged, and rearing to start posting on a daily basis. DAILY, read that, DAILY. Every day I'l have one maybe two different posts for you to peruse. In what form or length I doth not know, but they'll be here.

I'm trying to be a writer here folks, and you now what that means, I gots to write.

That said: Holy fuck, I just hit 200 posts. Leonard Cohen blasting in the background, I've achieved, for the first time in my semi-amateurish career 200 posts. If I broke that in to pages, I'd probably have somewhere near an entire book of my oft times senseless ranting.

To say the least I'm proud.

Today, I wanted to do a bit of a numerical break-down of what I've accomplished so far, what I've yet to accomplish, and so on and so forth. Tomorrow, I'll be doing a list of my favorite films in the second fifty, and then in the wee hours of next week I'll be doing a post on my favorite scenes from the films I've come to love so much. At least the ones I can remember.

With that said, thanks for sticking with me for the last year. It hasn't always been the most consistent, but I think there's been some good heartfelt stuff on here. So pat yourself on the rump, it's been a good run and hopefully it'll keep getting better.

A numerical breakdown.

Years I've been writing Criterion Quest: Just over 1.

Number of films I've finished in that time: 60

Number of films in The Criterion Collection (currently): 501

Number of films I've left to watch: 400 (not counting the films coming out on a monthly basis by this prolific organization)

Number of years, by this number, it'll take me to complete my Criterion Quest: 6.5 (again this said if Criterion stopped putting out films right now, which they won't, they'll just keep pumping out gems and I'll struggle to keep up, and you'll watch this struggle, and then my eventual mental collapse - should be golden)

Number of Michael Bay films I've watched in The Criterion Collection: 1

Number of times I've had to defend The Criterion Collection based on that fact: countless

Number of times I've explained The Criterion Collection to rubber-necking gawkers and had them list of seven or eight other films they think should be in it: also, countless

Number of readers I've accrued over the last year: I'm thinking in the 30 range, but every once in a while I'll get some comment from an unknown and all of sudden I get to thinking that maybe there's an invisible army of loyal readers that are just to shy to speak up. Then I'll be too busy to post for two weeks and I imagine my invisible army dwindling to nothing. Can I get a little help here?

Number of times I've had to close my eyes in horror while watching a Criterion film: I mean Salo (17) had hundreds, but I'll also give a few to Peeping Tom (58) and The Night Porter (59). So, I'd say, uh, one hundred ... and two.

Tears shed: At least a few during Cries and Whispers (101) and a good deal during The Unbearable Lightness of Being (55). I'd say a small buckets worth. Hmmm ... this isn't quite as numerical as I thought it was going to be.

Well, shit, I can't muster any more numbers. But if you've got a bit of spare time over the next six and half years, I'm going to promise, that I'll try to be here in one way or another every morning for as long as I can. Hang on, it could be fun.

Friday: My tops of the last fifty films.

Tuesday, November 3, 2009

Two away from 200.

Haven't watched a Criterion film in weeks. No reason really, just haven't found the time or energy to pick up Bunuel's classic The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (102), and let me tell you, I love this flick. Hell, in the last few days I've been in such a constant state of movement (the lack of bike makes it much, much more time-consuming to get, well, anywhere) that watching a film seems almost laughable.

I wasn't even going to post today, as I haven't finished the last two-thirds of nor the entirety of Hustwit's first film Helvetica, but then I realized: it's getting pretty close to post numero 200. That's sort of an accomplishment. I mean, I have no idea who still reads this blog (if anyone) but this has to be the longest, most consistent piece of online writing I've done.

I was looking back yesterday with Alex, trying to posit when her name was first mentioned in the blog, and was almost shocked by the work and time I've put in to this thing.

200 hundred posts?

Getting old we are, this blog and I. Hopefully I'll put together a bit of a summation of my blog's life in the days to come. But first, I'm going to polish off Bunuel's film. In one big surreal gulp.

Wednesday: The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (102)

Monday, November 2, 2009


I've been a little anti-past lately, what with threatening Facebook messages about ten year reunion planning peppering my inbox.

But, also strangely thanks to Facebook, I got news yesterday that my high school sweetheart, the one, the only Katy "Fucking" Browning was just recently engaged to a good friend of mine Nathan Stoltenberg.

A few reactions:

1. Awesome. Nathan Stoltenberg (though I don't stay in touch well enough because, well, I'm shitty at those types of things) is a man I've loved like a distant relative for a long while. Be it fantasy books, hip-hop, blunts, ping-pong tourneys in the midst of tragic break-ups, little league baseball, or Ford SHO's, I feel like Stoltenberg and I have shared some memories and the fact the he's getting married to the one, the only, Katy Browning , just plasters a toothy grin on my face.

2. Surreal. Not only is my ten-year high school reunion hurtling down the shoot towards me, but now these two fantastic folk are tying the knot? I've known both these kids since I was in elementary school, when I was still wearing collared galaxy shirts and glasses that wrapped around my oddly shaped ears. Life's changed drastically for me, and for everyone in the last year or so, and I got to admit, it spins me for a loop to know such old chums are finally leaping in to the marriage ring.

3. Age. Yup, I'm, you're, we all are getting old. I was pondering just the other day when my friends, notoriously slow on the marriage tip, were going to start throwing rings on fingers, and then popping out wee ones, and hell, look what I get for wondering. Is this the first rock in the marriage avalanche?

It's as if I can feel the grey hairs starting to fill in the Hair Phoenix.

Regardless, congrats Nate and Katy, I hope your wedding has an open bar.


The Movie: Objectified (2009)
The Director: Gary Hustwit (Helvetica)

The Experience: Alex is a sneaky monkey and every time I'd leave the room for longer than five minutes, I'd come back and she'd have watched another ten minutes. Thus my experience with this fantastic film was in spurts and stops with a few gaping holes in between.

Something Interestin': This is the second film in a proposed trilogy. Hustwit's first was Helvetica, about the beloved typefont and there's been rumors that his third film will focus on the always fascinating subject of architecture. I, for one, am on the edge of my seat in anticipation.

Quick Notes:

1. What a mood.
There's a real simple, elegance to this little film about industrial design and it's importance in our lives. It's a very clean, melodic film, packed with beautiful imagery. All of this should be, as Hustwit is interviewing designers of products. If the film were a shambly mess, I'd be suspect. It's not though, oh no, it's streamlined, short, and a true joy to watch.

2. A subject you never thought was interesting, made interesting. It's what great documentaries do my friends, make the mundane seem fascinating and Hustwit has done just that. Industrial design isn't something we think about all the time, but it's constantly with us. Every thing we touch or sit on or read or interact with has been, to one degree or another, "designed" and, in most occasions, not without some thought put in to it. The world of objects is a hyper-reality constantly battering against us (much like the fonts of Helvetica) and to hear some of the top industrial designers in the world discuss their ideas makes just sitting in a hip little coffee shop seem all the more interesting. Every thing has concept behind it ladies and gentlemen, and this film helps to see what some of those concepts might be.

Final Thoughts: Hustwit's a refreshing new voice in documentary cinema. I poo-pooed his first film a long while ago, but I blame the viewing experience. All-a-tingly to see what Hustwit does next.

Tuesday: Fucking a, The Discreet Charm of the Bourgeoisie (102)