Rum Holiday
Beyond The Stockade There Is Chaos And Nothingness

Friday, July 25, 2003  

Benthamometer: 13

Frippity fra, it's Friday.

I got nothing in the pipe right now so here are some reviews of some movies I've seen over the past week:

North By Northwest:
I like a man who says "I want to make a movie where there's a chase scene across the face of Mount Rushmore" and then does it. And I suppose if you ignore the gaping plot holes, character behavior with no basis in reality and the NEED FOR AN EDITOR WHO HAS THE BALLS TO TELL HITCH WE ALL GOT THE POINT TEN MINUTES AGO SO WE CAN MOVE ON TO THE NEXT SCENE PLEASE, then this is a good movie. Cary Grant, well, he's not my kind of guy, but he sure does manage to still appear minty fresh after being attacked by a crop duster (??) on some dusty, isolated crossroads in southern Illinois. Eva Marie Saint suffers from that peculiar old movie phenomenon of playing a character of 26 while looking easily 35. The movie started out on a promising foot and wraps up neatly at the end (bad guys fall off mountain, good guys get away) but the entire ending hinges on the audience buying into Thornhill's sudden improbable willingness to feel guilt.

Entertaining in places, ultimately like an ice cream sundae you were looking forward to until you realized they gave you fat-free ice cream and hot fudge made with Splenda.

This is the best movie EVER.

Oh wait, it's not.

CK: Checklist...

Clever: check
Very Clever: check
Extra Super Special Clever: check
I'm So Clever I Could Just Piss Myself: check
Meryl Streep: check

It's got, uh, gory car crashes, cleverness, Meryl Streep, a toothless Chris Cooper, clever parts, and did I mention it's clever?

OK, seriously I didn't hate it that much. But I knew in my gut I didn't want to see this movie, that it wouldn't interest me. And while I'm not sorry I saw it, I hate the fact that I can say "this movie bored me" and then have to think about whether that boredom was deliberately engineered. It wasn't, I'm sure, but the fact that I have to even think about that ticks me off.

And it sure made The Orchid Thief sound dull.

13 Conversations About One Thing:
Every scene and storyline in this movie rang absolutely false to me (it seems like I have written about this movie before, but I couldn't find it so you can skip it if you already know what I think). There are essentially four storylines that intertwine in places, and actually some of the past/future weaving of those storylines is nice. Storyline 1: Guy gets mugged, has crisis, leaves wife. Storyline 2: Lawyer wins big case, is on top of world, something bad happens, goes mad. Storyline 3: Bitter middle manager takes anger out on sunny-by-nature underling, karma bites him on ass. Storyline 4: Young housemaid survived drowning as child, always looks on bright side, has terrible accident, survives, gets briefly bitter, gets un-bitter, claims just rewards and probably sainthood, I don't know.

It felt manipulative, contrived, forced, and god help me dull. Is dull the new trend in movie making these days? There's this mystical/karmic POINT to it that mounts itself with blinking lights and parades around your living room. The stilted dialogue doesn't help. Not Mamet-type stylized stilted. Just dialogue by somebody who has maybe never studied (or heard) dialogue before. Ever. Maybe I missed the point. All I know is that I rolled my eyes an excessive number of times during this movie.


I don't hate everything. I really don't.

Have a good weekend.

posted by [AOK] | 4:56 PM

Tuesday, July 22, 2003  

Below: A twenty minute effort.

Time to go.

posted by [AOK] | 5:24 PM

Benthamometer: 12

When they were hanging in the store, they caught my eye. Curtains. Red. Perfect.

Not really red, more of a cranberry or really a burgundy. The package said Wine. In any case I thought I could maybe, you know, spice up the room a bit. So drab the way it had been. And red seemed so daring. So unlike me! Red! Yes!

I thought about the other decorative items and tchotchkies I could place about to accent the red. They would be subtle. People would say I just LOVE this room! I can't believe what you've done with it! and I would say Oh, it wasn't anything. I don't really have any sense of style at all, and the people would say Now don't be silly. This is fantastic, and I would say Gee I guess it is pretty great, and they would say

Well, you get the idea.

But now nobody can come over. Nobody can come over and I can't leave. Well, I can leave but I'm horribly embarrassed. I only go out for things like deoderant (though I need less of that these days) and stuff that goes bad like milk. The nice man at 7-11 has been extremely sympathetic, which surprises me. He was always just kind of stand offish before but I think he actually feels sort of bad for me. That and my predicament reminds him of something that happened once to a cousin of his in India. Sometimes he will give me a Ham and Cheese Breakfast Stick, free of charge.

See, unfortunately what happened was that when I first got the curtains up they looked great. I was really proud of myself for going against my instincts and bucking my home decor neutral-color slump. I poured myself a glass of wine and I just sat there at the dining room table with some quiet music, drinking the wine, looking at the curtains and imagining myself entertaining in that space. All the different kinds of parties I could have. From wild to sophisticated, the curtains went with them all.

When I got up the next day, however, it was odd. The walls around the curtains had started to stain the same color. It kind of freaked me out but I was in a rush to get to work. All day I sat at my desk and fumed about the dye in the curtains that must have been transferring to the paint on the wall somehow. I wrote a letter to the manufacturer and I mailed it. I dug frantically through my purse for the receipt. I would return them and get another brand and in the meantime maybe I would also let the manager know that he was selling curtains that stained the walls.

Later on I was sitting at the dining room table (or not really sitting, because I didn't dare) and looking around at the room that was now completely, entirely red. Nothing wasn't red. The books I left on the table, even. Every page was red. Needless to say I was a little surprised. I took the curtains down and stuffed them back in the shopping bag.

It was getting late and I wasn't going to get to the store in time. I ate dinner in my beige and sage green living room and watched PBS and went to bed. In the morning when my alarm went off I realized I wasn't going to get to the store that day either. As a matter of fact I wasn't even going to get to work.

The red wouldn't come off, no matter how much I scrubbed. It still won't. My arms, my face, my hair, everything. And every room in my house. Everything. I don't think it's spreading anymore, at least not very quickly. The neighbors seem not to be affected. I cover up as completely as I can before I go out, so maybe they haven't even noticed. But this morning I noticed a blade of grass or two under the dining room window that had turned red. Maybe it was just a reflection or something but I have a sneaking suspicion.

When I figure a way out of this, it's beige all the way for me, forever.

posted by [AOK] | 5:22 PM
hook me up
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