Saturday, January 23, 2010

A review of James Cameron directed films

Wherein seen and unseen

  1. 1978, Xenogenesis. Never heard of it.

  2. 1981, Piranha II: The Spawning. Haven't seen it.

  3. 1984, The Terminator. Watched in the theater flummoxed I was enjoying an Arnold Schwarzenegger movie.

  4. 1986, Aliens. Wonderful action movie. I prefer the claustrophobic suspense of the first, but it's a close call.

  5. 1989, The Abyss. As a whole, not that good. But there are moments of greatness. Not a fan of the ending, especially the "aliens are here to save sucky humanity" director's cut version.

  6. 1991, Terminator 2: Judgment Day. Pretty good sequel.

  7. 1994, True Lies. Stupid and insulting.

  8. 1997, Titanic. Never saw it.

  9. 2009, Avatar. Haven't seen it. I kinda want to see it in a nice theater for the 3D effects, but I don't get out much and there's other movies I'd rather spend movie on. So 80% chance I'll miss this. One possibility: last year I watched all 5 OScar Best Picture nominees during the AMC theater marathon. I don't know if they're doing that this year or how it would work with ten movies, but, if nominated, that's probably my best chance of seeing it.

Other movies of note involving James Cameron:
  • 1979, Rock 'n' Roll High School. Wiki lists his involvement as "other." Dumbass movie that still negatively colors my opinion of the Ramones.
  • 1981, Escape from New York. Wiki lists his involvement as "other." Great movie with Kurt Russell doing the world's best Clint Eastwood impersonation.
  • 1991, Point Break. Producer. Totally fun action movie. Only way to make it better would be to decartoon Gary Busey's character and add a smidgen of reality to the skydiving.
  • 1995, Strange Days. Writer and Producer. Loved it in the theater. Haven't seen it since 1995 and don't remember much about it.

Friday, January 22, 2010

"It's a beautiful night... You can almost see the stars"

Wherein not a big fan of sushi

Economic theory:
Bud: Credit is a sacred trust. It's what our free society was founded on! Do you think they give a damn about their bills in Russia? [Otto does not answer] I said, "Do you think they give a damn about their bills in Russia?"

Otto Maddox: They don't pay bills in Russia. It's all free.

Bud: Free, my ass. What are you, a fuckin' Commie?

Otto Maddox: No, I ain't no Commie!

Bud: I don't want no Commies in my car!... No Christians, either!

Thursday, January 21, 2010

"A Playlist by Eric Puchner"

Wherein I'm not sure if I'd read his stories but I'd listen to his mixtape

Eric Puchner, talking music:
The book is full of references to bands of that era, X and Black Flag and the Circle Jerks — I decided to use their real names, perhaps because I couldn’t imagine my own youth (or anyone else’s) without them. As a teenager, I spent half my life in record stores. This was back before the Internet, before Pitchfork and Pandora, when there was actually something called an “Alternative Music” section. You couldn’t hear the music on the radio, so the only way to find out if you liked a band was to buy their album. In order not to squander your allowance, you had to know which labels to buy from: SST, Slash, Homestead, Twin/Tone. This is how I discovered all the music that came to define my youth — not just Los Angeles bands like X and the Dream Syndicate but many others that, to my surprise, have since become household names: the Meat Puppets, Hüsker Dü, Sonic Youth, the Replacements.

Wednesday, January 20, 2010

TMQ absurdity

Wherein going out of his way to complain about the least annoying aspect

If only Easterbrook understood the magical properties of copy and paste, this entire paragraph could have been avoided:
Another Reason Old Media in Decline: Tuesday Morning Quarterback was a lifelong subscriber to Columbia Journalism Review until, a few years ago, the phone rang at 8 p.m. during a family Sunday dinner, and it was a CJR telemarketer calling to ask if I wanted to extend my subscription. Instead, I said with full righteous mettle, "Cancel my subscription!" Recently, e-mails from the magazine have been showing up in my mailbox. Most e-mail services offer a one-click unsubscribe option. Not Columbia Journalism Review, whose e-mails say, "To unsubscribe send a blank e-mail to" The absurd length of the e-mail address is to discourage you from typing it out, or if you do, to make an error likely. This is an Internet variant of what TMQ calls the Voice Prompt Blockade -- those voice mail prompts which are designed to be impossible to get through.

Tuesday, January 19, 2010


Wherein the one where Molly Ringwald and Jon Cryer star in the remake of the 1979 Walter Hill movie


1 (yksi). Carthagessa

2 (kaksi). Rintasyöpä.

3 (kolme). Katsotaanpa, heittämisestä tapahtumista on olemassa keihäs, frisbee, Giant kuulalaakeri ... on vasara Olympic nakata? Noudan vasara.

4 (neljä). SKAALA? Ei, en usko, että he olivat tarpeeksi johtaa näyttelijöitä. Designing Women kuulostaa paremmalta. Ja se oli parempi Näytä kuin oikean vastauksen.

5 (viisi). Tiedä.

6 (kuusi). Synkronitehosteet.

7 (seitsemän). Tiedä. Koska hän mainitsi Coldplay, täällä on hyvä haastattelu viimeisimmässä tuottaja, erittäin lahjakas Brian Eno:
"Zappa was important to me because I realised I didn't have to make music like he did. I might have made a lot of music like he did if he had not done it first and made me realise that I did not want to go there. I did not like his music but I am grateful that he did it. Sometimes you learn as much from the things you don't like as from the things you do like. The rejection side is as important as the endorsement part. You define who you are and where you are by the things that you know you are not. Sometimes that's all the information you have to go on. I'm not that kind of person. You don't quite know where you are but you find yourself in the space left behind by the things you've rejected."

Tuesday, January 12, 2010

Общая неточным переводом ответов

В которой в русский

1. Французская Гвиана

2. Рединг? Макет? Печать? Издательская? Искусство? Этот вопрос является чрезвычайно расплывчатым. Verso является левая страница и ректо это право. Но есть, наверное, несколько общих развлечениях, который работал бы с этим.

3. Если это не-антология, которая должна исключать Роберт Стэк неприкасаемых и ведущий Нераскрытые тайны. Нет ответа

4. Четырнадцать?

5. Шанхай?

6. Не знаю

7. Они все были сука-хлопнул Мэри Тайлер Мур. Факты.

Wednesday, January 06, 2010

Movie promotion, no box office required

Wherein I think it's about time to test out this Netflix thingy

From the Slate Movie Club, Roger Ebert:
[Tilda Swinton]'s taken difficult or impossible roles. She's worked with free spirits like Sally Potter, Jim Jarmusch, Derek Jarman, Tim Roth, and Spike Jonze. She personally helped haul a "cinema wagon" across Scotland by rope to bring good movies to the outlands, and when she finally makes a flat-out terrific thriller, what happens? It grosses $64,000 in U.S. theatrical release. How is that possible?

Magnolia gave it a shabby release. No promotion. I saw it on a screener before it opened at Facets Cinematheque here in Chicago. Dana, you thought Tilda was the year's best actress. I thought she was the year's best actress. The voters in IndieWIRE's annual poll thought she was the year's best actress. She won the Evening Standard best actress award. New York Times film critic Manohla Dargis wrote, "Ms. Swinton demands to be seen even when her character is on a self-annihilating bender so real that you can almost smell the stink rising off her. So I sat in my seat, cursed the screen and was grateful to watch an actress at the height of her expressive power claw toward greatness." When Manohla gets like that I almost want to move over a seat.

But-who in America saw the film? Most critics didn't. Certainly not enough to win her any big-city critics' awards. Is there an Oscar campaign? Don't make me laugh. What do we do, pals? Roll over and accept it?

I put Julia on my best of 2009 list and was startled by the unanimous agreement among the readers posting on my blog. Where and how had they seen it? Now we're getting to the intriguing part. Turns out it's an Instant Streamer on Netflix, included at no extra charge as part of every one of its 14 million subscriptions. What Magnolia did right was allowing this to happen. Just this year, streaming on Netflix has finally penetrated the moviegoing population. If you have good net service, they deliver an HD- or Blu-ray-quality picture-no glitches-and you can stream as many movies as you can see. So all of these people in Arkansas, Alaska, Vermont, and East Jesus have seen Julia, and they love it. Word of mouth.

Remember back in the 1970s? (No, come to think of it, you don't.) Annie Hall became the lowest-grossing movie in history to win the Oscar for best picture; four Oscars in all. Trade experts called it "the first Oscar cable campaign." Cable TV was in its infancy, but most of the Academy visitors in Los Angeles subscribed to a plucky start-up called the X Channel, which screened the hell out of it.

Flash-forward. Netflix has greater penetration than X Channel ever did. All voters have to do is click on the remote. They don't have to go out to a screening. They don't even have to sort through their Oscar screeners and put one in the DVD. If they watch Julia, they will see the year's best actress, and they may vote for her.

Here's my crazy notion. With so many popular and critical voices behind it, maybe the Academy will arise from its slumber and vote outside the box for change. These could be the first Netflix Oscars.

Tuesday, January 05, 2010

You're not the boss of me now, and you're not so big

Wherein back in the vinyl purchasing days I was an LP not a single person However I did buy two 45 rpm records One was Boogie Fever and the other was Theme From S.W.A.T.

annoying and pointless block of text:
1. francis scott key 2. mules 3. I forgot about him 4. world's tallest building 5. barbershop quartets 6. mike vick 7. no clue. reading the second paragraph under History in the SWAT wiki, suggests a possible answer of "location never identified." This is confirmed by checking Hill and Malcolm.