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Posts Tagged ‘Movies’

Because I spend too much time looking at stupid websites like the Daily Mail (just kidding, Daily Mail! You’re not stupid and I love you!) I wonder a lot about the lives of people who don’t know or care that I exist.  Recently, I have been wondering about celebrity children and how some manage to stay out of the news and others

Gwyneth with children Apple and Moses. Or, complete stranger children. No one would really know the difference since we’ve never seen them.

are more likely to be fodder for tabloids. The first time I thought of this was because I saw a picture of Gwyneth Paltrow out somewhere with her kids, and the kids’ faces were blurred out. How does she make this happen?  If this is a possibility, wouldn’t all famous people pick that option?

Remember Michael Jackson’s poor kids, and how he made them wear masks everywhere to protect their identities?  If someone had said to him, “Hey Jacko, you can either dress your kids up like circus freaks every time you leave the house, or we can just blur out their faces any time they’re photographed.”, wouldn’t he have chosen the latter?  Or maybe not, he did always seem a bit off.

As another example, I would like to cite the Jolie-Pitt brood. I know what all of their children look like.  Angelina Jolie and Brad Pitt are some of the most famous movie stars in the world. If anyone has the power to keep their kids’ identities secret, surely it would be them? But those kids are famous whether they want to be or not.

Angelina Jolie with her three daughters.

They were never given a choice.

The saddest example of all, of course, is little Suri Cruise. That poor kid. Sure, she seems like she’s well on her way to being a very spoiled, very rich kid (and now as a child of divorce, there’s no telling what sort of riches she’s in for).  But if you ever look at her when she is walking down the street, or being carried by one of her parents amidst a sea of paparazzi who are all yelling her name, she looks sad and miserable. There are times when she is very obviously shielding her eyes and hiding from the cameras.  And who can blame her? She’s just a little girl.

Tom Cruise is pretty darn famous, pretty rich, and, for most intents and purposes, fairly powerful. Couldn’t he prevent his daughter’s image from being plastered all over every tabloid magazine and newspaper across the world? What has Gwyneth figured out that everyone else hasn’t? Does she just have the world’s best publicist who threatens publications with lawsuits if images of the Paltrow-Martin children are published? But again, if that was an option, why wouldn’t they all do it?

Cute little Suri, in plain view of cameras

Suri, soon after the previous photo was taken. Seemingly, she is having a meltdown about an ice cream cone, but my guess is that she’s thinking “Enough with that f*ing camera in my f*ing face!” Her language may not be that appalling yet.

PS:  I would just like to note that I do have some decent design/desktop layout skills, but Word Press makes it next to impossible to insert pictures and place them where you want them. It makes everything go haywire, and when you move a photo, it will often put the copy of the blog into the caption of the photo. It drives me crazy, and then I just give up. As I have done here. You get the point.

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I’ve been watching a lot of the NBA playoffs over the past few weeks.  A few things have resulted:

1) I cannot get that dumb riff of whatever Lincoln Park song TNT has decided to play as the theme to the Playoffs out of my head

2) I have a renewed love of my home team, the Boston Celtics

3) I love Charles Barkley

4) I love Blake Griffin and his Kia ads

5) I’ve been thinking a lot about the movie Teen Wolf

Yes, this movie. No, I’m not kidding.

Teen Wolf, you ask?  Yes, Teen Wolf.  The movie from 1980-something starring Michael J. Fox as a teenager who finds that he is part werewolf (it’s ok, it’s a genetic thing – his dad had it too).  I started wondering, is it more implausible that a teenager would turn into a werewolf and be accepted by society?  Or more implausible that Michael J. Fox’s character, at all 5’4″ or whatever he is, would actually be on the high school basketball team?  I vote the latter.

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This morning on the Kevin & Bean Show in Ralph Garmin’s “Movie Beat” segment, he mentioned that movie-goers should sit through the credits of Iron Man 2 because there is bonus footage after the credits are done rolling.

Nothing pisses me off more than this ploy. First, because of my general feeling that movies today are just way too long. There’s no need to make a movie longer than 90 minutes.  If your movie is exceptionally excellent and  compelling, like The Hurt Locker, you are allowed to make it to the 2 hour mark. But movies that are 2.5 or 3 hours long? That’s just lazy editing.  I’ve never sat through a movie that long without looking at my watch and thinking, “When is this bullshit over? The plot stopped making sense 20 minutes ago. I have shit to do, and I really have to pee.”

Second, because it’s incredibly self-indulgent and ego-centric on the part of the filmmakers. You’re so amazing you get to steal an extra 10 minutes out of my day while I sit here like a drone listlessly staring at names fly up the screen until you give me some lame-ass 2 extra minutes of footage?  In my experience, these after-the-credit segments are either not funny/worth the wait, or they are some pathetic and obvious attempt to set up a sequel. 

So, if it’s essential to the plot, put it in your 90-120 minute movie. Otherwise, stop wasting my time.

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I used to speculate that we would look back on this era of “gay”-comedy in 20 years the same way we now look at the racist “humor” of the previous generation.  (Addendum: By “gay” humor, I don’t mean humor created by homosexuals but humor in which the butt of the joke is lessened by being categorized as being gay.)  I think we’ll cringe watching re-runs of “Will & Grace” then like we do with “Amos ‘n Andy” now. 

Recently I have come to question my own hypothesis.  I have recently started to wonder if the political black-mark on this generation won’t be using “gay” as a code-word for less (as bad as that is) but instead forcing black actors into a fat suit and a dress to open a movie.

Eddie Murphy: “The Klumps”, “Norbit” (et al(?)  I’m asuming there are more)

Martin Lawrence:  The “Big Momma’s House” series

Tracy Jordan:  “Fat Bitch”

Tyler Perry:  Career

Of course white stars/actors have donned fat-suits for rolls.  No less luminaries than A-Lister Brad Pitt (Friends) or Oscar winner Gwenyth Paltrow (“Shallow Hal”) or even Vince Vaughn (everything since “Swingers” (What?)).  The difference being that while some white stars have chosen to don the fat-suit other have opted not to…and still have careers.

Will Smith is a product of the ’90’s.  Denzel has been working since Bush’s father  was in office.  Who was the last black movie star (movie star, not rapper crossing over) who has had a big movie without playing a over-weight woman?  

A more cogent example may be that of Chris Rock.  Arguably the funniest person on the planet for the better part of this decade (inarguably in the conversation as such) and yet his movie track-record is horrendous.  Movies he writes, movies he doesn’t write.  Movies he directs, movies he doesn’t direct.  Is it possible that my kid is going to think of Chris Rock as the bust from “Head of State” the way I once thought of Richard Pryor as the catcher from “Brewster’s Millions”?

So now the question becomes; Who is seeing these movies?  Apparently the Tyler Perry movies are for middle-class African Americans.  So I’m told and so I believe.I live in the Northeast, our knowledge of Tyler Perry movies is about as expansive as my knowledge of NASCAR.  But one has to wonder if the principle ticket-buyers for these movies aren’t, in fact, white people who want nothing more than to watch a wealthy black man stumble around in a girdle and high heels for an hour and a half.  

Are these movies (and other movies in this millieu) a fair representation of what black comedians/actors have to offer?  Or is merely a refection of what the studio system will fund?  Or is it just a modern day minstrel show?

I hope not.  I hope not.  And I hope not.

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The Road

The Road: One Question in about Five Parts

1). Did you read The Road by Cormac MCarthy?

1a). If not, why not? If you can read and haven’t read The Road you are wasting that ability! And being mystified by the liberties he takes with punctuation is not a valid reason in this case. The book is condensed enough that you can double back on any missed comma. It is powerful, powerful writing (plus it’s really short).

1b). If yes, do you intend on seeing the film adaptation? I wonder if I will.

As stated above, the book was awesome but it was a vivid depiction of what amounts to the last days of humanity. And it’s not the good kind of end days that movies usually give us where an average-looking guy is forced to repopulate the earth with a buffet of busty concubines. It’s the bad kind where people are forced to eat each other to survive.

My fear is (as it was when I opted not to see “Bruno”) that there may be some stuff in there that, once seen, cannot ever be unseen. It probably won’t be exactly like “Bruno” (I doubt there’s going to be any anal bleaching) but still the principle remains the same.

Granted, having read the book the argument can be made that I have already “seen” the worst of what it has to offer but that is just theater of the mind which can be blunted by memory and poor reading skills in a way that theater of the theater cannot.

Images get much stronger suction in the mind than words (that’s why everybody exits this blog when they don’t see a video of someone reading this instead of having to read it themselves).

1b(a)). If yes, when you were reading the book, did you stop reading when the boy and the man were in peril or did you stop when the suspense had been lifted?

I found myself only able to put it down when they were safe, opting to stay with them during times of crisis.

1a(a)). If you haven’t read it, may I strongly recommend that you do so. Granted, this isn’t an actual question but I’ve already typed in the title and now just need to fill up a few more number and letter combinations. As previously stated it is a sublime piece of writing and, all the better, you can read it in one sitting. That may not be much to everyone but to the rest of you nerds out there who keep a “List of Books” each year, it is a quality stat-padder as we inch towards November.

2). Are there any other books that you’ve read and loved but had no desire to see adapted?

For me, the one that jumps out is From Here to Eternity by James Jones. Uh, what a book! Big and heavy like real literature but subtly and ironically funny in a way that was light-years ahead of it’s time. I have seen the wave crashing on the beach and people have told me I need to watch the movie but I can’t bring myself to do it. Pru is just too perfect as he is.

Okay, that was 2 questions and a statement in 4 parts but that doesn’t really role of the tongue now does it

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I have my most random thoughts in the shower.  Sometimes they are actually clever or will help me solve some sort of problem – an epiphany of sorts.  Other times, they are truly very stupid thoughts that I would be embarassed to share in a public forum. 

At any rate, this morning my shower thought was about how much I still love the movie Billy Madison.  Maybe not so random a thought (see #3 below).   Here are some reaons why, all these years later, it still cracks me up:

1) Billy: “What day is today?”
Frank: “October?”

2) The family maid is the only person in the film who can shock Billy the way he is shocking to other people, e.g., “If you stay home, you can help me shave my aaarmpits.”

3) Shampoo vs. Conditioner!! “Stop looking at me, swan!”

4) Bradley Whitford as the bad guy.

5) The entire O’Doyle family gets their comeuppance.

6) “No, I will not make out with you!”

7) Old Man Clemens and the flaming bag of poop.

‘8) Steve Buschemi as the guy Billy picked on in high school, crossing Billy’s name off the top of his “People to Kill” list…and then lying down and smearing lipstick on his face.

9) The moderator of the academic decathalon has perfect deadpan delivery of two of my favorite lines from the movie: “If there is any cheating — especially with my wife who is a dirty, dirty, whore — I am just going to snap.” AND “Everyone in this room is now dumber for having listened to you.”

10) “You blew it!!”  To an eight-year old.

11) “If peeing your pants is cool, then consider me Miles Davis.”

12) “69!! Ha ha ha!!” followed by the confused silence of third graders

There are several others, and I will not be tedious and list every single one of them here. But you should re-watch this movie if you need a mindless laugh (and who doesn’t need that?).

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From Mike.  I promise that I will have an original thought of my own soon and stop relying on Mike for new content.

The story of how Matthew McConaughey got the role of Wooderson in Dazed and Confused is that after he auditioned he went up to director Richard Linklaterand said, “I’m not this guy.  But I know this guy.”


Let’s put a pin in that and I’ll get back to it’s relevance later.

A year ago the state of Massachusetts created a tax-break through which the commonwealth would refund 25% of all money spent here on film production.  In the just over a 12 months that have elapsed Boston has turned into a veritable Hollywood East (numerous stars have passed through town (the Cruise family and Cameron Diaz are here as I write this)).

However, look at this:

The Pink Panther 2
Mall Cop
Ghosts of Girlfriends Past
My Best Friend’s Girl
The Women
Bride Wars

Granted none of these movies is a classic (or even good) but one has to recognize the star-power of the collective cast.  Hathaway; Hudson; Ryan; Benning; Baldwin;  McConaughey; Steve Martin; Sandler et al.  And that is all well and good, but where is the Boston-ness of these movies?  In the name of full disclosure I will admit not having seen any of the above movies but am pretty sure based on advertisement and reviews that Boston stood in for Paris in The Pink Panther 2.  Really?

(And, yes, I am aware that Dane Cook of My Best Friend’s Girl is from a local suburb but that doesn’t make the movie any more Bostonian.  And, no, I’m not going to take cheap shots at Dane Cook).

Moving on.  There is a scene in the under-rated Gone, Baby Gone in which the missing girl’s uncle is giving Casey Affleck‘s private eye an over-view of the case.  At one point he brings up the fact that he no longer drinks (he “put the plug in the jug”) then (and this is the important part) he pauses…and waits to be congratulated.  Young Affleck rolls his eyes and gives him a prefunctory ‘good job’ just to move things along.

The guy’s niece is missing (allegedly) but he feels compelled to boast about his sobriety.  That is Boston.  That guy is familiar to me.  Remember the story I related at the beginning?  I’m not this guy, but I know this guy.  This is an example of a minute detail enhancing a universal message.  Those people are Bostonians, not Parisians or Nebraskans.  Maybe there are things in Coen Brother movies that distinguish a midwestern ethos without differentiating from a collective humanity but I wouldn’t know, I’m not from Minnesota.  It doesn’t make their movies any less good, it just means there might be layer that is lost on me for reasons of simple birth lottery geography.

I know guys like the uncle in Gone, Baby Gone.  I know that every prolatariate worker in Boston with the slightest ambition takes night classes at Suffolk like Matt Damon’s character in The Departed (note: The Departed is excluded from this conversation because it was A) before the tax breaks and B) primarily filmed in NY.  Though in fairness, William Moynahan’s screenplay is a pitch-perfect example of what I am discussing).  To me those characters are real people (none less that “Dottie” in Gone, Baby Gone who actually is a real person).  I know them.  Ben Affleck knows them too.  

All of this is a round-about way of getting to the point that I was heartened to see a bunch of emergency vehicles surrounding Fenway Park when I passed there the other morning.  At first I was afraid my brother had acted on some of the threats that he’d made against JD Drew then I realized they were filming a movie.

Affleck is adapting another crime novel by another local author–very similar to his directing debut (though, to be fair, Denis Lehane is the new Robert B. Parker (was the new George V. Higgins) so I can’t say with certainty Mr. Hogan’s novel carries the same weight amongst my socio-economic strata, we can hope however).  This is good for Boston and for local film.  If Ben Affleck can continue to prove that F. Scott Fitzgerald was wrong in saying, “There are no second acts in America”, the Bay State arts community will be all the better for it.
It is nice that all those previous movies were made here and spent money here but there is a certain civic pride in being able to say that we (collectively) have produced something of quality.

I look forward to seeing “The Town” because it will be a local product with inherently local aspects to it.  I look forward to watching actors try to say “cah” or “bah”.  I look forward to smiling slightly to myself when there is a line (or less) snuck in there specifically for me.

Plus my wife says we’ll see it opening weekend…because it has one of the Gossip Girls in it.

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