Monday, February 26, 2007

The Lives Of Others

I was part of an Oscar pool last night and the goal was to win. So when it came to best foreign film I was forced to choose what I thought would win. So I settled on Pan’s Labyrinth. I felt bad because I wanted The Lives of Others to win. It was the best "getting it wrong" moment I felt all evening. Nikki and I actually cheered when it beat Pan’s; not that Pan’s Labyrinth was bad, I rather liked it. Nikki found I boring, which was a surprise, but it’s filmmaking could not be denied.

Lives writer/director Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck, a first time filmmaker created a movie so intense, so emotionally engaging and such a timeless piece of cinema that I would claim that it was actually the best picture of 2006. Ye it even beats out Children Of Men in my book. Hell he should win just for his name alone. How much of his life has been taken up just telling people, then teaching them how to pronounce it properly? This is not a good example of German efficiency.

The story revolves around Stasi officer who is in charge of spying on the life of a playwright and his actress girlfriend. It has all sorts of agendas interweaving throughout and it becomes such a stunning movie about transformation that it puts those cars into robots things to shame. (Yes I just compared the best film of 2006 to a Hasbro toy line.)

It also reminds me of a thing Kevin Smith wrote, “More often than not, a hero’s most epic battle is the one you never see; it’s the battle goes on within him or herself.” This is a movie about those changes within people, how they react to it and how a controlling government attempts to crush it. A government can destroy the body, but we decide whether or not we allow them to destroy our soul.

For me the strongest aspect was art versus politics. Something that I have always and will always have strong feelings about. There is no more important a voice than art and to me it is the ultimate form of freedom of speech. When it is good, it transcends its author/s and becomes it’s own entity. That’s kind of crazy. It’s like a big bang on a microcosmic level. People can debate about Citizen Kane and who is responsible for it, but at the end of the day, it’s Citizen Kane, end of story.

Anyway I just want to congratulate Florian Henckel von Donnersmarck on making a really great movie, winning an award that he justly deserves and on having a name that is just fucking nuts.

Thursday, February 22, 2007

A Little Catch-Up

Sorry folks, it’s been a while so here’s a quick list of what I’ve been up to.

Applied for several jobs
Saw a couple movies at the DGA
Lost 40 bucks at poker
Ate 12 York peppermint patties
Met with some agents
Played in a Hearts tournament
Got laid several times
Visited the Magritte exhibit
Had dinner with a ton of family members I didn’t know
Wrote a few short scripts for a project
Watched some television I haven’t seen in a while and have come to some very solid conclusions.

TV Conclusions:

is just a wonky show. I know I’m seeing episodes that are taking place after the show has apparently jumped the shark, but it’s just a poorly put together show. It looks like ass, it’s acted like ass and it’s written like ass. If I have to see that button nosed pouty girl furrow her brow in concern one more time, I’m going punch my roommate in the junk.

is exactly that. I have no faith in the writers to have any excuse for what is going on. It’s boring and takes itself way too seriously now. Remember when there used to be some chuckles? Not any more. There also used to be a cast. I’m hoping they are getting paid for all of the work they’ aren’t doing.

is fine, but I don’t see what the big deal is. Too many characters and not a lot happens from episode to episode. Whatever the big information is, usually pops up in the last five minutes of the show and most of the time you just get run of the mill sideline adventures.

I’d rather be working, playing cards, getting laid, watching movies or writing than spending the amount of time I have watching this stuff. Worst part, I’ll watch them all next week so I have more to complain about. It’s like crack this tv stuff is.

Sunday, February 11, 2007

By Request: Alan J. Pakula

Pakula was one of those filmmakers who had an incredible run in the 70’s. He basically was the guy who cornered the paranoia market with three key films.

The first was Klute, a mystery about a missing business man and a prostitute being stalked by a psychotic client. Could they be the same person? Hmmm, no actually.

This movie is one of those masterpieces that very few people take the time to appreciate. Its pacing, lighting, music and cutting are really impressive and display levels of information that you need to pay attention to.

More important are the character arcs. Jane Fonda received and academy award as Brie Daniels the prostitute/actress who is trying to find herself. Her scenes with a therapist (pre cliché) are really impressive and watching her struggle with who she wants to be and who she really is, is just a knock out. Think of the flip side to Naomi Watts character in Mullholland Drive.

Donald Sutherland never gets any praise for this movie and deserves tons. He is subtle at portraying the investigator who just gets it. His slow turn as he falls for Fonda’s character is just magnificent and it’s the small things that add up to something very big. It’s like watching Robert Forrester in Jackie Brown.

Pakula handles the plot and the characters with a deft hand keeping the tension mounting and the people growing with out a hiccup.

The next film in this trilogy was The Parallax View. This was almost a science fiction film in a weird way. Warren Beatty is a small time reporter who investigates a Kennedy-esque assassination and discovers a corporation that trains killers. Is it a little over the top? Yes. Is it probable? Doubtful, but a great ride made spooky with the help of keeping it rooted in the reality of the time. With Warren Commission style bookends, it reminds us that there may be something bigger and badder out there pulling the strings.

The third film would be the one that sealed the deal. This time based on fact. All The President’s Men would bring home a Best picture Oscar and prove that Pakula could direct the hell out of a picture. He made a movie tense when everyone already knew the outcome. Plus the shot of Redford and Hoffman in the library looking for a checked out book just sums up the entire experience Woodward and Bernstein must have felt they were going through.

Pakula would go on to direct some real pieces of crap like Rollover in 1981. Or his last film The Devil’s Own in 1997 with Harrison Ford and Brad Pitt. Even with that kind of talent involved it was utterly forgettable.

He did have a few other successes, like Sophie’s Choice and the decent little B thriller Consenting Adults. He did have one large success in his later years with The Pelican Brief, dipping his toe back into conspiracies and thrills. Pelican never did reach the heights of his original trilogy, but it did have a few good moments including a parking garage sequence that he somehow made original after the device had been used to death over the years.

Oh, yeah. He also Produced To Kill A Mockingbird. That’s an important fact to remember.

Pakula died in an auto accident on the L.I.E. in 1988. This is one of those fact that I always remember because Paul Dano mentions it in the movie L.I.E.

He contributed to that great era of filmmaking in the 70’s and stands among other underrated filmmaker’s like Sidney Lumet and John Schlesinger. Guys that were never as hip as the Scorsese’s or Spielberg's, but just as influential.

Saturday, February 10, 2007


I'm looking for a new word and you , yes you, can help.

A new name for a friendship where carnal knowledge is involved, but not construed as dating.

This has been known as "fuck buddies" or "friends with privlidges", but I'm looking for something new. It can be funny, but I'm on the search for a word that has a certain level of mutual respect involved.

Suggestions so far include: Fuddys, sexxers and ASSociates (for the gay set).

Roll Over

Not the shitty Allan J. Pakula movie, but that action we take for granted.

There was a time when we couldn’t roll over. This time was called infancy. Then one day, “Plunk” we rolled over. This event has just happened for my non-nephew Izzy.

“Non-nephew” sounds a little weird, but he’s not my nephew by blood and “jewphew” makes me sound more anti-Semitic than I already am. So please send any ideas on how I can define this little guy in two words or less.

To him I’m the loud chap who is always drinking stuff out of a green bottle. I’ll end up being labeled “Uncle Dew” when he starts naming people in the speaking stage.

Stay on Target, John.

So Izzy learns to roll over and AG catches it on video. He then uploads it to YouTube so family members can see it. Here it is.

It’s not a Kurosawa film, but you can see the interest to family members. Plus it’s just an odd moment in life. At some point in time, every single one of us rolled over for the first time.

So this clip is posted and what do we find? A fuckin' flurry of these things, check it out!

They’re everywhere. It’s porn for the new parent set. You can just keep getting off on watching babies roll over.

I want a site where top-heavy women struggle to flip onto their stomachs, but their ginormous breasts keep them from doing it. You can hear old people cheering and applauding off camera, “Come on honey, just a little push. You can do it. Do it for Gram Gram.”

Yeah, yeah, John is disgusting. He’s equating innocent babies rolling over with porn. But think of it this way my oh-so naive friends it’s the first step.

1. Roll over
2. Crawl
3. Walk
4. Turn on TV
5. Watch giant breasted women turn over.

It’s you’re glee at this first step in the child’s evolution that gets them where I’m already at.

So Izzy my boy, as soon as you’re ready, Uncle Dew is going to have ready for ya!

Keep livin’ the dream kid, keep livin’ the dream.

Monday, February 05, 2007

In Space No One Can Hear You F*@k

The first space soap opera.

Space Drama

It's got everything: Jealousy, international space stations, diapers!

Plus I like how they chose a photo so the lady looks like she's been partying with Nick Nolte and Rip Torn.

Saturday, February 03, 2007

While I Was Gone

Friday 1/26/07
10:30 AM
I have been sorting through boxes of stuff to figure out what to keep and what to toss. I came across a box full of old journals, notebooks, scripts, etc.
I kept most of the scripts and looked through the journals. It was a fascinating discovery. To read all of this stuff by a person I could identify with, but no longer knew. The amount of change and growth that has taken place for me over the past several years is actually impressive. Not that there aren’t moments when I can feel the want to revert, but my mind is in a very different space then where it was even two years ago.

I’d like to say that the most change happened when I cleaned up, but that’s not the case. A lot of learning had taken place while I was drinking and using, but it all seemed to snap into place when I finally did get my shit together. So, not too shabby.

If I can keep up this growth ratio, I’ll be one hell of a guy when I reach my 60’s.

8:46 PM

Took care of a bunch of business today and I’ve been eating like shit. Actually I’ve been eating like shit for a few weeks now. That’s all ending soon. Time to reach a few physical goals since I’m unemployed and can focus on that, plus it helps keep the budget down.

So I’m going through a box full of pictures and I realize something…how many of my girlfriends have I taken boudoir photos of? Most of them, apparently. Is this common? Is it my photo fetish that allows me to convince them to do this? All I know is I’ve got a lot of them and I have to say, I haven’t done that bad in the girlfriend department. They have been an attractive bunch all around. I can guarantee you I never photographed the trolls.

That’s just mean. Unfortunately it is also true. I’m a real shit.

Saturday 1/27/07
8:40 AM

A banging at the front door at 8:15, it was the gas man. That’s impressive. The gas company told me he’d be here between 8 am and 7 pm. Pretty nuts, right? So I’d written off the day, but guess again.

I answer the door and the guy says, “Gas Man.” Best part, he’s got one of those mustaches that has the waxed tips, like a bad guy from a silent movie. I had to work not to try and poke at it.

What makes a guy decide that is going to be his statement? I’m not going to get my ear pierced, or a tattoo of a propane tank across my chest, I’m gonna wax my mustache. That says, “I’m me. Look out world, I’m fucking here!”

Although it could just be so he doesn’t burn his mustache off sticking his head inside ovens and heaters all day.

Sunday 1/28/07

10:22 AM

Spent the rest of yesterday getting Gabe moved in and stuff arranged. It rained on and off all day, so that was fun.

We’re off to his place in a few minutes to pick up his remaining items and say adios to Arcadia.

It’s odd I feel like I live in LA more now than I have in the past several months.

So it goes.

Wednesday 1/31/07

Played poker again last night, lost but came in fourth out of ten, so not too bad. The issue being I need to place at least third to get any money.

Everything else has slowed down and the apartment is in order. All the lights have been fixed so we can actually see what we’re doing. I’m still waiting for a mail key, a pain in the ass. I’m dropping off rent tomorrow, so I can complain in person and see if it makes a difference.

Nothing new on the job front, but I’m waiting for internet on Friday so I can really get into it. I’ll need to find something relatively soon. Due to my lack of work over the past year, my unemployment check would only be worth about 97 bucks a week. Whoops.

Thursday 2/1/07

Nuthin’ happened.

Friday 2/2/07

4:03 PM

Hey, I’ve now got internet and cable and Tivo and all that crap. I haven’t had cable for about nine months and haven’t missed it that much. Then after flipping channels for about a half-hour, I realized I still wouldn’t miss it I didn’t have it. There isn’t a lot out there.

Jack is in town, so I’m getting together with him and his girl. I think her name is Rebecca. I’m bad with names.