Saturday, May 1, 2004

UNFORGETTABLE: Jen and I finally saw Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind and, like, wow. A more conceptually and structurally audacious movie than pretty much anything Hollywood ever puts out, ever, and it works -- brilliantly, poignantly, movingly.

But it also highlights, to me, a major absence in American film criticism. Almost all the pieces we see are written prospectively: "I think this is why you should (not) see this movie, but I'm not going to spoil any major twists or plot details, but I can mention what the themes of the movie are without ruining your moviegoing experience."

That's all well and good, and it has its purpose, but there's too little space granted to the other kind of criticism: retrospective: "Okay, now that you've seen this movie, let's talk about how the whole think works (or doesn't). Everything is fair game."

In that kind of analysis, you can talk about how various narrative decisions work, and whether they improve the movie. You can talk about the ending without upsetting anyone. You can get into deep analysis of theme -- not just which themes the movie addresses, but how they're resolved, and whether it's satisfactory.

Case in point: in Eternal Sunshine, there's a series of events that's set in motion in the third act by a supporting actress that were unexpected, yet thoroughly logical and added greatly to the depth and emotional complexity of the movie. I don't want to talk about it here on the face of the post, because I don't want to spoil it either, but if you've seen the movie, you know what I'm talking about. Can we use the Comments feature and work our way through this movie?

More later. This website is going through such changes that, by Monday, you may not even remember what was here before.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

THE OTHER FIFTEEN PERCENT: Today marks the twenty-first anniversary of the greatest press conference in professional sports history.

Now, I'm not one to make lists, but this one's better than Herman Edwards' We Play To Win The Game, better than Practice? We Talkin' 'Bout Practice?, even better than John Chaney's interruption of a John Calipari press conference in 1994.

No, we take you back to the friendly confines of Wrigley Field on April 29, 1983, and Cubs manager Lee Elia's not feeling friendly towards the fans after a 4-3 loss:
The [DELETED] don't even work. That's why they're out at the [DELETED] game. They oughta go out and get a [DELETED] job and find out what it's like to go out and earn a [DELETED] living. Eighty-five percent of the [DELETED] world is working. The other fifteen percent come out here. A [DELETED] playground for the [DELETED] . Rip them [DELETED] . Rip them [DELETED] [DELETED] like the [DELETED] players.

Link is unexpurgated, and not safe for work. There are 35 f-bombs in all, and it's something. Hear them all via this link.

Wednesday, April 28, 2004

VERILY AN ARTIST IN ROGUERY: For those of you who enjoyed The Devil in the White City as much as I have (more on that later), go here for a bit more on H.H. Holmes' time in Philadelphia.

One correction: the "Chicken Man" buried near Holmes is Phil Testa, not his son Salvatore, but, yes, it's the same "Chicken Man" as this guy. (Here's his house, too.)
THOUGHT I WAS A DONUT; YOU TRIED TO GLAZE ME: Let me get this right: there's a Wu-Tang reunion at a NYC show, and a rapper gets arrested, and it's not the O.D.B.?

Is it time for him to make his triumphant return to the O.D.B. McDonald's?

P.S. Phew. Rakim's been cleared.
IT'S LIKE THE MOVIE 'DEEP BLUE SEA', ONLY THE SHARKS ARE A LOT SMALLER AND SAMUEL L. JACKSON DOESN'T GET KILLED IN THE MIDDLE OF THE BIG SPEECH: If only a single one-hit wonder from the summer of 2002 was going to come back, aren't you glad it's that crazy Maryland fish that walks on land and not, say, Jimmy Eat World.

Oh, the memories.
CHILDREN, CHILDREN! FUTURE, FUTURE! Sure, the Global Olympic Torch Relay was going to be exciting as-is, but isn't it that much cooler knowing that it's got a theme song?
Pass the Flame
Unite the World
It' s time to celebrate let our voices be heard

Pass the Flame
Unite the world
Bring us all together

We can grow a forest
On a dried up river bed
We can build a mountain
From a grain sand

Reach out, hold out your hands(x2)

Yikes. "Hands Across America", you're no longer the douchiest song ever, even in the non-Sting category.

Tuesday, April 27, 2004

SH'E'S SO EXCITED. SHE'S SO EXCITED. SHE'S SO . . . SCARED: Pointer sister June arrested on cocaine charges.

Apparently, she was trying to make her neutrons dance.

Sunday, April 25, 2004

AND WE HAVEN'T EVEN GOTTEN TO THE FINN-CENTERED EPISODE YET: Are we all in agreement that -- episode to episode -- this season of The Sopranos is the best since the first one? Not a bad episode yet, and things are moving forward in realistic, compelling, and always entertaining ways. From the creepiness of the Fran Felstein stuff to Tony B's arc to the Little Carmine v. Johnny Sack war to Tony Siragusa's return to HBO, it's all good. All of it.

Let me take you back to David Chase's NYT interview of February 29:
HEFFERNAN: How is "The Sopranos" different from the rest of television?

CHASE: The function of an hour drama is to reassure the American people that it's O.K. to go out and buy stuff. It's all about flattering the audience, making them feel as if all the authority figures have our best interests at heart. Doctors, lawyers, psychiatrists: sure, they have their little foibles, some of them are grouchy, but by God, they care.

HEFFERNAN: So what's "The Sopranos" about?

CHASE: It's not about that.

HEFFERNAN: What, then?

CHASE: If I could tell you, I wouldn't have to do it.

I say enough here about bad television. This season is television at its absolute finest.