Posts filed under ‘movies’
I’m sure every single blog post about Crispin Glover at the Brattle a couple of weeks ago starts like that– I think, after he talked for a while, he said something along the lines of “just so you don’t go writing on the internet ‘that Crispin Glover sure talks a lot…'” before he took more audience questions (that wasn’t an exact quote, just a paraphrase). He *did* talk a lot. However, everything he said was really interesting and entertaining.
Back up. What was this all about?
I spent the 10th anniversary of 9/11 at the Brattle Theater watching Crispin Glover narrate his “Big Slide Show” and then show his 2007 film It Is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE!
OK, first I went to Tanya & Terrence’s post-wedding beach picnic on the Cape and then drove home and rode my bike to Cambridge to see Crispin Hellion Glover at the Brattle Theater. More about The Wedding Preparations That Spent Weeks Eating My Soul at another time (probably in a long rambling post that will come after [i.e., above] this one).
You may know Crispin Glover from starring in one of my all-time favorite movies, Willard. I liked Willard because it is about rats. Being born in the year of the rat, I relate well to Buddha’s Favorite Animal (so I’m told the rat was). I even had a pin that said “WWWD?” with the silhouette of a rat that I got from Newbury Comics– I was the only one who had any clue what it meant (and I had been working there the least amount of time)! Had Willard not been about rats would I have loved it so much? What if the eponymous protagonist had been able to communicate with wombats? Would I have liked it as much then? OK, bad example; that would have been AWESOME. What about… horses? I hate horses. Would it have rocked so much? Maybe not, but Crispin Glover has a way of making any movie awesome. Even Back To The Future, which I am still sore about having to have seen three times against my will (thanks a lot school, welfare camp and then school again for making us watch this movie). Not that BttF was a *bad* movie, just that as an impatient dorky 12 year old I would rather have, I don’t know, watched Monty Python & the Holy Grail for the 800th time or something.
Anyway, Crispin Glover’s slide show consisted of him narrating pages from his books. He’s written a bunch of books, or rather, created books– he takes books, most of them look like they’re from the Victorian era, and changes words around, omits bits and switches things so they become about something totally different. In short, it is SO COOL! It’s that kind of post-modern thing that sounds lame when you try to describe it, but is really nifty when you actually see it. I bought one book called Concrete Inspection that includes… pictures of medical procedures from the late 1800s? Truthfully, I can’t remember, though I read it more than once. I’ve been looking for the book for 3 days now. I can’t remember where I put it. Anyway, as a collector of surgery textbooks from the Victorian era I can appreciate it:
Ok, there’s my Flickr thing, I can’t link to individual photos anymore apparently. You’ll get to see an exciting photo of ELEPHANTIASIS OF THE SCROTUM, as is still the #1 search term that leads people to this blog. I was going to buy the book Rat Catcher, another one of C.H.G.’s books, near and dear to my heart because of the rodent theme, but I didn’t have enough cash on me and by the time I got back from the ATM, it had sold out. Alas.
Holy crap, I’ve been working on this entry for 3 weeks and I still haven’t finished it. Probably because I can’t think of enough ways to say that CRISPIN GLOVER IS AWESOME!!!
His movie was interesting, too– it was written by a guy with cerebral palsy as a sort of 1970s movie-of-the-night thing. As such, the plot was pretty straightforward, the dialogue was basic, and there was a lot of booty. A lot. Now I understand that CHG wants to break taboos, but breaking sexual taboos is the bread and butter of the amateur artist who wants to be “edgy.” Lord knows I’ve sat through enough student and barely-out-0f-art-school performance art pieces for weird visual sexual things to be totally blasé to me. Yes, I’m a jaded, cynical bitch. I hear the words “break taboos of [incest, rape, sex, etc.] and just yawn. Anyway, I must say that the sex scenes in this movie between a wheelchair-bound middle-aged guy with cerebral palsy and young hot chicks was just weird and disturbing enough for me to find kind of fascinating. The whole thing could have been totally tacky, but the stark yet striking art direction, the direction itself, and the soundtrack made it really cool. I’ve lamented the fact that the Allegretto from Beethoven’s Seventh symphony is way overused for dramatic effect in movies. In <i>Zardoz</i> it was just distracting. In <i>The King’s Speech</i> it seemed tawdry and like a cheap manipulative special effect. It Is Fine! EVERYTHING IS FINE! is the only movie in which I think Beethoven worked for and not against the filmmaker’s intentions. There was also a lot of of Tchaikovsky’s Nutcracker Suite, which was sort of weird at first because you’re used to hearing it either relating to Christmas things, or backing up prancing hippos and such. However, I think it totally worked, too. There was one scene with a girl whose apartment was decorated in arabesque arches and middle-eastern looking décor. She was wearing flowing harem pants, and the music to that particular scene was the “Arabesque” from the Nutcracker. At the book signing at the end, after I spent 2 hours in line because of course I was dead last (how predictable, me!), I asked CHG about the connection, figuring he had some deep reason for it since he seems like a totally analytical kind of guy. He said he hadn’t noticed that. I was actually kind of psyched that such a weird coincidence occurred! I also asked about his middle name, Hellion, because, as a name nerd, it always struck me as being really awesome. Yes, it is his real middle name. Rock on!
There are very few people I was madly in love with when I was 15 that I’d still consider hittin’ it with. Of course, I had notoriously bad taste in men when I was 15– remember I was dating Todd “Christmas was a bad investment for me” M. Who else… Simon LeBon? No. definitely not still on the hittin’ it list. The dudes from the Thompson Twins? Mmmmmmmaybe. Unlikely. Stuart Adamson? Well, he’s dead (RIP). River Phoenix? Also dead. Robert Downey Jr., however, is still in my top 10. I just saw Iron Man 2 which was pretty cool if you like stuff blowing up (like I do). I think anyone else in the lead role would have made this movie lame and predictable. Yes, RD Jr. is awesome in every movie, even that one about the town that got flooded and had the psycho killer appear whenever they played the Andrews Sisters. What was that? Oh yeah, In Dreams. Holy crap, Neil Jordan directed that! Anyway, not the greatest film on earth, but would have been 1,000 times lamer had Robert Downey Jr. not been in it. Only You was kind of a lame cutesy fluffy film, but it had strangely more depth with RDJ. So there you have it… 22 years later he’s still awesome.
Today I went to the Kendall to see the movie “Please Give,” which of course was sold out. I think it was opening weekend for it, and well, this is Cambridge and the movie was about pretty much everyone who lives here. So, instead I saw “Greenberg,” which was one of those movies that made you cringe from the awkwardness of the situations the messed-up characters get themselves into. It was pretty good, though.
At the Kendall parking garage, you get your ticket when you go in, take it into the theater to have it validated and then pay the rest of the parking fee at the booth when you leave. Instead of having a booth that you drive up to, you go to a window on the ground floor of the parking garage, wait in line with everyone else who just got out of a movie, and then have the people behind bullet proof glass re-validate the ticket so you can leave. Somewhere in this process I managed to lose my ticket. I got it validated by the movie theater… I think I must have thrown it out by accident when I chucked the napkin that my pretzel came in. So I’m standing in the garage at the window going through all my pockets and papers shoved in my bag and can’t find it. The dude behind the glass says I’ll have to pay the fee for a full day’s parking, which is $20 (a major steal in the Boston area!). Of course they don’t take credit cards and I don’t have enough cash on me so now I have to find an ATM. The dude behind the window calls me back and says if I get something stamped by the movie people that might suffice. Meanwhile, this scrawny scruffy looking 20-something stoner-type dude appears out of nowhere and says “hey, you can have this one, I have an extra” and holds out a validated ticket. He gets his own ticket validated and the guy behind the counter is intrigued. “Hey, how did you get that extra ticket?” he kept asking the stoner dude. The scrawny dude just kept making gestures and saying “I have magical ways” and “it’s a mystery” before walking off. I seriously think that was my guardian angel. I mean, “Greenberg” was good, but not $30 good! So scrawny stoner guardian angel, thank you, wherever you are!
I was feeling kind of sad and lonely today. I don’t know why; I just get like this. Perhaps it has something to do with my so-called boyfriend and how I’ve seen him for a total of about 4 hours in the past 3 weeks. Funny, the last one did that too. I got to thinking– what is it about me that makes dudes want to completely ignore me all the time? I’m not that annoying, I don’t think. At least, *I* don’t find myself that annoying. I think I’m pretty awesome, to tell you the truth. Anyway, the few men on earth who don’t find me completely repulsive end up avoiding me for weeks on end. WTF?
So because of this I went to see a movie. I saw Where The Wild Things Are. Here’s a word of advice: if you’re feeling lonely and a little down, and feel like nobody listens to you and the world is a sucky place: DON’T SEE THIS MOVIE!! I don’t know what I was expecting, but it certainly wasn’t this. Don’t get me wrong, I really liked it a lot. It was awesome. however, I found it to be a totally harrowing and painful nihilistic downer. It’s about Max, a lonely boy with a busy divorced mother who feels like nobody pays attention to him. He “acts out” and annoys his mother. He finds a boat and sails to Where The Wild Things Are. The Wild Things are a commune of giant neurotic child-like beasts who are in the midst of all sorts of interpersonal strife. They think Max can help them. In the end, he just ends up making everything worse. The End. The Wild Things were like watching a gigantic hairy family reunion complete with cranky old Jews (two of the Wild Things were a couple named Ira and Judith), gross failures in communication, tears, fighting and various shades of awkward silence. My family doesn’t actually ever have Wild Rumpuses, but perhaps I should introduce one!
When I got home, the last thing I wanted to do was work on my stupid vampire novel (yes, I’m participating in National Novel Writing Month), so I went and saw another movie: 2012. It was long, and had kind of boring stretches, but basically was the Disaster Movie To End All Disaster Movies. There was fire! There were volcanoes! There were earthquakes! There was stuff blowing up! There were airplanes in peril! There were tsunamis and flooding! The special effects were super awesome. The plot was thin and peppered with feel-good moments like any good disaster should have. Plus, in the end it turned out that after they saved all these rich people and heads of state, the only place on earth that wasn’t destroyed by the flood waters was Africa, so everyone could go happily live there. Awesome.
I’ve seen a lot of scary movies. I’ve seen genuinely creepy movies. For example, The Blair Witch Project was one of the scariest movies I’d seen. I saw it right after it was released, well before the backlash started. Seriously, that film broke new ground in suspense! I’ve seen films by David Cronenberg, Dario Argento, all sorts of slasher movies, creepy Japanese movies etc…
Nothing has disturbed me as much as the Planet Earth series. Here’s a scene:
We’re in caves in Borneo or Papua New Guinea or someplace. The caves are dark, so no vegetation can grow. The only nourishing thing there is bat poop. 100 meter high piles of bat poop. Who lives on the mountains of poo? Cockroaches! Millions of them! Millions of them swarm on the piles… and one bat falls into the pile accidentally and the roaches swarm around him and eat him alive. ::EEEEEEESSSHHHHH::: I’m getting creepy goosebumps!
Somehow it’s all the more sinister with David Attenborough narrating. You can do the Dracula voice, you can intone like the rednecks in Deliverance, there is nothing scarier than a really uptight British accent. It’s the voice of ultimate “we’re lying to you to make you think everything’s OK” Maybe I read 1984 too many times. I could probably chalk it up to watching too much Doctor Who as a child, where all the evil villains in space were trained in Shakespearean acting. I don’t know, the way he rolls the “r’s” in “cockroach” makes my skin crawl.
The Voice Of My Nightmares
Another thing that makes me shiver when I think about it is the bit on cordyceps. Cordyceps are a type of fungus that gets inside insects, controls their brains and then grows mushrooms on them from the inside out. This was all shown in exquisite detail with time-lapse photography.
I’ve always had a problem with dead bugs for some reason. When I was a kid, I really didn’t care one way or the other about living bugs, but insect corpses freaked the crap out of me. i remember seeing a bunch of dead wasps in my grandmother’s dusty back room and screaming and running away and not wanting to go into that room forever (which was painful since it was the room where she stored all her antiques and dusty boxes of random stuff that called me to explore them). The cicada shells you find on trees still freak me the fuck out. However, I haven’t had a bug corpse incident in a long time; I didn’t even remember that I had a problem with dead bugs until I saw this episode! Don’t you love it when something triggers your childhood fears and gives you nightmares? Let’s hear it for the subconscious!
Note how this segment start with ants. I HATE ANTS! Ants are the only creature great or small on god’s green earth that I unequivocally despise.
OK, I just posted that segment and I can’t watch it. I’m getting the willies just writing about it. So, if you ever want to know my weakness, like you’re trying to extract information from me about that secret government alien implant… just show me pictures of bloated insect corpses with mushrooms sprouting out of them with David Attenborough on an endless loop saying “cockroaches.” Believe me, I’ll cave.
It’s lame I know, but I was filling out one of those cheesy Facebook survey questionnaire things the other day because I had nothing else to do that I felt like doing… and one of the questions was “what is your dream job?” So I answered, “art director for movies.” I’ve always wanted to design movie sets, but ironically the only class I failed in design school was Art Direction. It’s always been there in the back of my head, though. I never really thought I’d ever do it because I had absolutely no idea where to even begin, and I’m sure it would require more school. No, I can’t afford more school. Even if I could, I don’t want to do anymore working full time to support myself while going to school full time, because that shit SUCKED!!!
So then I had a revelation… I could volunteer to do scenery on some student movie or something. So, I looked up on the New England Film website (there is a movie industry here since they now give tax breaks to people who film here) and found some people making a movie that needed a crew. I emailed them and I’ll meet with them on Sunday. Wow, that was easy! Now I can see if this is something I really can do! There’s no budget, so I doubt I’ll have to design sets from the ground up, I mean like constructing walls and stuff, because I don’t have any experience at that sort of thing. But, if they just need someone to sew up a tablecloth or paint a room, or even work out what goes in the room and where, I’m there! Though this will probably eat up all my free time should I get picked to do it, I’m really psyched!
The man who helped create the idea that sometimes the weirdo underdog in high school actually comes out on top has died… that would be John Hughes, writer of such 80s icon movies as The Breakfast Club, Pretty In Pink, Weird Science etc. Truthfully, I didn’t appreciate these movies until way later in life, as I thought of myself as way too sophisticated and cultured or something to watch this teeny-bopper crap when it came out. I was so sophisticated I could recite the entire Monty Python and the Holy Grail from memory by the time I was 14. I was so sophisticated I religiously watched Miami Vice, but I was too cool for Sixteen Candles. Uh-huh.
I actually really dug Some Kind of Wonderful— it was basically Pretty in Pink with the sexes reversed… and the right people ended up together in the end, finally! At Bard College They would show movies sometimes in the student center (i.e., old gym) and one time they showed Sixteen Candles. At hearing the news, the Students Of Color Association (or whatever it was called; there weren’t enough ethnic people at that school to have individual student groups for Black people, Asians, Latinos etc.) staged a protest because of negative Asian racial stereotypes (Long Duck Dong) and showed Sixteen Candles as an alternative. Truthfully, I don’t think anyone showed up to either one. However, by then (1993), the 80s were already a kitchy nostalgia trip, and these movies were cultural icons. And yeah, I never saw The Breakfast Club until I was like 25.
So what can I say on the matter? I must say I was seriously annoyed by the Home Alone saga cycle and I wasn’t a huge fan of his oeuvre post 1987… but it’s sad when people die I guess. I really can’t bring myself to get too worked up over celebrity death. Alas, there will never be a Beethoven’s 6th.