Thursday, December 29, 2005

2005 has a twist ending!!!

As the year tumbled onward, I knew the one sure thing about the films of 05 would be the big ass monkey in December. It was my trump card. I knew no matter how I felt about this years line up, that goddamn ape (I’m talking about Peter Jackson here) would swing down and pluck me from the chomping maw of mediocre/shit movies.

I truly felt KONG was the closer. As my wife is fond of pointing out; I was wrong as a motherfucker.

I loved KONG. For all its bloat and self-indulgence, I love it. I honestly cannot be objective about it. I love the original KING KONG. I love Peter Jackson, who has never made a film I didn’t adore. I love Naomi Watts in various stages of undress. KONG exploits every one of these things and makes me a lump of putty.

Then I see Brokeback Mountain.

You can’t rate it on the same level of KONG. I guess one could, but I can’t. BROKEBACK is such a human, agonizing piece of enduring art. I can’t quite equate it to another film. Forget the insulting “gay cowboy” moniker, it’s a universal film that should appeal to anyone with a heart. As moved as I was by KONG, I was not expecting this film to fuck my proverbial shit up as much as it did. The wife and I discussed this movie for a week. And it’s just one of those movie that gets inside your brain and rolls around for awhile.

So, BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN takes KING KONG for the lead.

It is your sworn duty as a student of film (not “film student”) to see a Spielberg movie when it’s released. If you're of my generation that grew up weeping to E.T. and a man being chased by a giant boulder is engrained in your personal iconography, it’s just what you fucking do. So MUNICH was seen and it completely blows me away.

So, 2005 wraps with three GREAT movies. Each one more impacting than the one before it. All three are the kinds of movies that I want to take everyone I know to see it, so I can watch it again through their eyes.


MUNICH is a film that Spielberg needed to do. There’s an urgency that I haven’t really seen in his work. Maybe in RAIDERS but this, of course, is totally (and tonally) different. Spielberg has always been considered the greatest. And he’s coasted on that through many films. With MUNICH I see the artist again. I see a man struggling to understand the violent world that he’s in and his art is a reflection of that process.

I’m going to go in-depth here. If you haven’t seen the movie, go see it and come back and chew the Chow Yun Fat.

The movie opens depicting a fragmented retelling of the 1972 Munich Olympic games massacre. A siege of a dorm room containing Israeli athletes by a squad of heavily armed PLO operatives ends…badly. It’s fragmented masterfully. We see actual news reports with Howard Cosell, of all people, seamlessly edited into film footage. The effect conveys what every Jew in the world must have felt at the time. A solidarity, tension, horror, confusion.

Watching the events unfold is Eric Bana’s Avner. An Israeli son of a military hero and an agent of the Mossad. He is immediately whisked away into a room with government and military folk, and Golda Mier. Policy is being hammered out and Avner is asked if he will forfeit his ties to the Israeli government in order to seek bloody retribution for his fallen countrymen. With a pregnant wife at home and initial moral misgivings, Avner accepts.

Avner heads up a similarly cherry-picked team of four other agents. Utilizing every convention of the modern spy/men on a mission genre, Spielberg parallels what we expect from this type of movie. It’s thrilling and engaging. It’s what happens to these characters after several campaigns that film gets it's hooks into us.

This is Spielberg at his most ambiguous. The Palestinian targets are portrayed as real human beings who love their children and share the same ideals as Avner. In one haunting scene the team shares a “safe house” with a cell of PLO operatives. Rather than another action set piece, the characters hang out and listen to the radio. Avner engages the leader of the cell, Ali, in a discussion about Israeli-Palestinian conflict. They are opposed but more similar than either realizes.

I really have to applaud Spielberg for being a conscientious artist and not making this a revenge flick. He allows his characters to not be good or bad, but to be how human beings truly are: a bit of both. His characters question their own actions. And Avner eventually becomes frayed emotionally and psychologically.

In MUNICH the phrase “An eye for an eye” hangs over every scene but is never uttered. It realizes that this cycle of violence is like uroboros slowly engulfing it’s whole body. And with the final shot of the movie, it should all be clear how totally accurate this all is.

Wednesday, December 28, 2005


Check out what was delivered to me yesterday evening:

From my best gal pal who hauled ass to California
to become an actress. And unlike 99.999999% was actually successful. The moral of this story is it's good to have loaded friends. Thx, woman...I'll never talk bad about you again (to your face.) I'd type "mwah" or some other affectation but I have a reputation to uphold.

Tuesday, December 27, 2005

I Survived Christmas And All I Got Was This Delicious Assortment Of International Mustards.

All in all, pretty good Christmas at the Miro Volcanic Lair. My oldest daughter got me my favorite gift. This badass Roaring Kong. Also came with a tiny Ann Darrow and a native to munch on.

I got a ton of books from the wife. My faves so far.

A motherfucking Fist of Fury t-shirt, which was awesome and unexpected. Some bottles of booze which are always welcome and needed.

We spent the day playing and cooking. The wife roasted a chicken. We made some scorching hot vodka pasta, some stuffed tomatoes, a salad with mandarin orange vinagrette. Some friends came over and we drank many bottles of wine and ate. All real casual. And very lowkey.

Monday, December 12, 2005


No amount of commentary or eulogizing could do the man justice. It's a crime that we only get a Richard Pryor for such a short amount of time. And we'll probably have "Larry The Cable Guy" for an eternity.

Fuck fuck fuck.

Thursday, December 08, 2005

Enjoy The Silence

Not much movie-wise to jaw about. With two small children at the casa maintaining the illusion of Santa Claus is a full time job. This entails sneaking out to retail establishments to procure toys at odd hours. The odd hours that I usually reserve for delving into my esoteria. My Dollar Home Theater is also subbing as Santa's waystation.

I have been enjoying revisiting Arrested Development. I'm a continuity nerd so seeing these in order makes what I already thought was hilarious show all the better. They do a really good job of referencing past eps. But the buildup from episode to episode is really worth forking over the cash to buy these. Where to begin...

This is one of the most solid ensembles EVER. All in the Family, Soap, The Simpsons, Seinfeld, Freaks And Geeks. Arrested Development can total stand with those titans. Will Arnett, David Cross, Jeffrey "Wat" Tambor...all geniuseses. But I feel Jason Bateman doesn't get enough love. The guy is a rock. Michael Bluth's inexplicable devotion to his family of self-centered, really, children is the heart of the show. Funny is easy...but funny with heart is what separates the weak from the strong (I'm talking to you, Family Guy).

I've been plugging away at Entourage. I can't really get into it. I'm only 4 episodes in...and I can't really connect to it. I guess because I feel like so far instead of exposing all the foibles of celebrity it's actually celebrating them. And as far as I can tell the show is about these hapless guys spoiling themselves with their pals money. I really rubs the wrong way. Piven is good and I find myself wanting a whole show about him. I'll stick with it, however and hope it hooks me.