Saturday, July 29, 2006


For those living in or near Austin, Jacques Tati's Playtime will be playing at the Paramount Theatre on Saturday, August 5, and Sunday, August 6 in a 70mm print. I saw it there two years ago, and I hope to see it again many times. A DVD is available, but if any film needs to be seen on a huge screen, it's this one. The DVD might just reduce it to mush. There are multiple events happening on the screen simultaneously, so the viewer is left to decide what to look at, what people to watch, how to see the movie. You could watch it fifty times without repeating yourself. It's a French film, but it is unsubtitled because the dialogue consists almost entirely of grunts, groans, mumbles, squeals, incomprehensible mutterings, and small-talk pidgin French and English. The film has many things to say about work, play, loneliness, community, and life in a city. It is also one of the funniest films ever made. Tati constructed an artificial mini-Paris in rural France that is this film's setting and filled it with bustling, ugly, beautiful, chaotic life. It is something to see, and I hope you do.

Friday, July 21, 2006


While Roger Ebert recuperates from emergency surgery, several different columnists at the Chicago Sun-Times and his web editor are taking over the reviews for him until he returns. Opinion columnist Bill Zwecker is somehow one of these substitutes. Zwecker has the writing skill of a retarded twelve-year-old mountain lion given the gift of speech. Here are some samples from his review of "Clerks II":

"Where would they be 10 years hence? What would their lives be like today? Not only has Smith given us some very humorous answers, with "Clerks II," he has achieved something rarely accomplished by any filmmaker -- the creation of a sequel as good, and possibly funnier, than the wonderful original that inspired it.

Is "Clerks II" outrageous? Absolutely.

Somewhat over the top? Without question.

Completely intended for a very adult audience? You betchya."

"As I found myself laughing uproariously at the craziness and zaniness of it all, I also discovered I was drawn in by Smith's clever (and totally subversive!) way to make us think about the core values of love, friendship and loyalty.

And fans of Jay and Silent Bob will, I think, be totally delighted by how these iconic stoners are used by Smith to add even more richness to this juicy mixture of great offbeat humor.

After seeing 'Clerks II,' I walked out of the theater saying, 'OK, Kevin Smith. All is forgiven. Obviously, 'Jersey Girls' was just a silly aberration. You not only have not lost your comedic touch -- you've taken it to new heights.'"

To completely read the very full review, click on this juicy, zany (and totally subversive!) link.

Chilled-out entertainer

I hate bumper stickers. I don't care what your other car is, where your child attends school, how much you love and/or hate Jesus, dead babies, and/or the Dave Matthews Band, or who you vote for. I don't understand your need to tell all who drive behind you these things. I also don't understand why you would want to assist in U.S. culture's wildly successful program of reducing all aspects of human behavior, discourse, personality, taste, and politics to mass-produced identity brands. One of these identity brands is the counterkultur-intellectual-ecowarrior-TVhater. This brand comes in two flavors: purple Kill Your Television and vanilla raspberry swirl Throw Away Your Television. These neato slogans niftily and zanily forget that instead of killing your television, you should be killing yourself. Television brought us "The Office." "The Office," though it is a TV show, is one of my favorite films of all time. It will stand the test of time. It is great. It is funny, brutal, and compassionate. It is good. Your bumper sticker has dumbed down our world more than any television program, including "The Nanny," "That 80s Show," and "Friends." Kill yourself. You are too dumb to find the button that turns your television off, so you are too dumb to live. I don't care if your child is an honor roll student at Austin High. In fact, he/she sounds like such a genius that he/she can run the household for you after you blow your brains out. Now, if you'll excuse me, my dishwasher failed to properly clean my favorite cereal bowl in its entirety, so I am going to print several bumper stickers extolling the virtues of killing dishwashers.
By the way, TV also brought us "Curb Your Enthusiasm." What did you do? Asshole. Wheat from the chaff, buddy. It's not that difficult.

Tuesday, July 04, 2006

It's a cheap shot, but...

From's trivia for "director" Michael Bay:
"Films often feature a US President giving a major speech before a major action is to be committed."
from personal Michael Bay quotes:
"I write my own action. There's a scene in The Island (2005), a highway chase where a pile of train wheels fall off a truck and smash into the oncoming cars. That thought came to me as I was driving next to a truck carrying rail wheels. My mind is very fertile, so I'm like 'That's very dangerous!' I sent someone out to do research and found out those train wheels weigh a TON each..."

Happy birthday Plop Blop and the current worst country on earth!

My mind is very fertile. Once I saw a dog take a shit, and wrote a scene where a dog took a shit. My mind is very fertile!

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