Doesn't feel like I have any time to blog these days (I'm writing this on Saturday morning) which stinks. I'l get the hang of working full time soon I'm sure but in the meantime little updates will have to do.
July 28, 2007
Quiz Show (1994): "A small disappointment can be indicative of a sad moral decline."
Notes: A re-viewing, Tivoed at home. When I first saw it in the theatres, I found it a bit formal and cold, too dependent on Federal Investigation Hearings (FIH'S), which may be the most exhausted staged scene in film history (senator looks imperious at witness over glasses, witness stutters but then declares great truth while leaning forward). But this time around, I remembered this review from Roger Ebert.
The 1950s have been packaged as a time of Eisenhower and Elvis, Chevy Bel-Airs and blue jeans, crew cuts and drive-ins. "Quiz Show" remembers it was also a decade when intellectuals were respected, when a man could be famous because he was a poet and a teacher, when TV audiences actually watched shows on which experts answered questions about Shakespeare and Dickens, science and history. All of that is gone now.
This is a such a sad movie, about the loss of innocence and civility but worse about disapppointment in ourselves. It doesn't argue things were better then, which would have been the easy route. It instead submits that, as a country, we once believed in certain noble things, even for the wrong reasons of class and gentle bigotry, but we gave them up, not just because of the temptation of money but by asking less of our fellow citizens. However much we complain about declining standards, says Quiz Show, we each brought it upon ourselves. I applaud its courage in saying so.
Author: Sherman Alexie.
Synopsis: Teenage Indian hoodlum, bounced from nth foster home, finds he can travel through time to crucial points in Indian history and that of his own family.
Backstory: I wiould read Sherman Alexie transcribing episodes of According to Jim.
Verdict: A quick, funny dark read but Alexie can do better. The prose feels route and sing-songy and it doesn't contain the longing of Long Ranger and Tonto Fistfight in Heaven or the lonely majesty of Reservation Blues. In the hands of debut author, Flight would be their finest hour. In the hands of a champion like Sherman Alexie, it's a pause on the road to better things.
July 24, 2007
Mr. McNally nabbed me on this one.
1. We have to post these rules before we give you the facts.
2. Players start with eight random facts/habits about themselves.
3. People who are tagged write their own blog post about their eight things and include these rules.
4. At the end of your blog, you need to choose eight people to get tagged and list their names. Don’t forget to leave them a comment telling them they’re tagged and that they should read your blog.
5. 8 is a magic number. Not three.
Eight Obscure Things About Me:
1. I have to roll over at least once before I can fall asleep.
2. 8 was my lucky number as a child.
3. I am great with names, not so much with faces.
4. When I was 12, I won a popcorn popper by guessing how many jelly beans were in a jar. It was at a Bar Mitzvah so I guessed 1313.
5. I'm kinda sensitive about my weight.
6. Since I think all day and way too much, I find manual labor and mindless tasks a blessed relief.
7. My first and middle names are Irish. I don't have a drop of Irish blood.
8. I believe that ice cream in a cone must be eaten outdoors.
Tag. You're It.
Close Encounters of the Third Kind (1977): "A movie that takes 45 minutes to clear its throat probably doesn't have much to say."
Notes: Seen as part of Smokler's Sunday Cinema, a weekly film screening I host at my house.
July 23, 2007
So this is like the coolest thing ever. Matt Nathanson, one of my favorite singers, just sent this little note to his mailing list.
the only reason i play acoustic guitar is because of the indigo girls.
i always wanted to be in a band, until the day i heard their first record.
then i just wanted to BE them. i think i've seen them live 40 times.
and they never disappoint.
this week, i wanted to take a break from the pre-release roll out of
"some mad hope," to share with all of you THE coolest moment in
my musical life so far.
over memorial day weekend, i was involved in an amazing
3 day retreat in new orleans with a handful of incredible artists,
including emily and amy (indigo girls). it was a workshop on
activism and the arts and it culminated in a concert to benefit
Sweet Home New Orleans. in the taxi on the way to the show,
i finally spilled the beans to them both about how influential
they had been to me and they asked if i wanted to "sing michael's
(stipe... of REM) part on 'kid fears?'"...
And he did. Here's the video.
Isn't it lovely when dreams come true?
July 22, 2007
This morning I came across perhaps the least shocking headling ever this morning on Arts Journal.
Right up there with...
Mood After Summit is "Cautiously Optimistic"
Hurricanes Predicted for August and September
Door Prize: Can you come up with a believable yet painfully obvious headline?
July 21, 2007
Young Mr. Lincoln (1939): "Great men often don't realize their potential until history provides them with a moment to do so."
Notes: Really a film about director John Ford's love for America during the depth of the depression. Message: We can and will be a great country again. Seems naive and schmaltzy now but it spoke to me.
Seen as part of the AFI 400 quest.
Practical Classics: 50 Reasons to Reread 50 Books You Haven't Touched Since High School
by Kevin Smokler
Bookmark Now: Writing in Unreaderly Times
edited by Kevin Smokler
The Customer Is Always Wrong: The Retail Chronicles
edited and compiled by Jeff Martin. Essay by me on page 45.