31 August, 2009

Last Fire Thing

The moratorium begins right after this. I swear.

Timelapse - Los Angeles Wildfire from Dan B. on Vimeo.



It's like watching a lava lamp. A flaming lava lamp. Without the lava. Or the lamp. So, not at all I guess.

Places I Would Rather Be Part LIX



The beach, it beats wishing for death.

Well, this is some bullshit

There is nothing about this that bodes well.

Is this penguin deranged?



I don't know! Who does? Nobody, probably! Plus, he seems to be some sort of sergeant, so he's probably trust worthy. They don't give that kind of responsibility to crazy birds, sphenisciforme or otherwise.

30 August, 2009

The Fire



I think I'm somewhere on the left.

(Via)

Since I'm on the Subject



Over the past two years I've had plenty of movies foisted on me. Some good, some bad, some weird, and some repeatidly. No Man's Land is one of the good ones and I can safetly say that if I ever got into making films, this is the kind of film I would want to make. Don't let that disuade you, though. No Man's Land is a well put together drama and it shows just how smart a film has to be when you're making a war movie in a fairly obscure language for practically no money.

And for a Bosnian War movie, it's also pretty funny.

Free Foreign Movies!?

Free? That's way less than expensive! And if foreign movies should be anything, it is expensive!

How you feeling, Dennis?



I'm feeling phenomenal.

29 August, 2009

Nouns in Time



Emperor Suleiman ruled the Ottoman Empire from 1520 to 1566. He was probably best known among his people as "Suleiman the Magnificent Hatted." Truly, Suleiman had the biggest of all hats during this time in history, much larger and onion like than his two brothers, which is what eventually earned him the throne in the turbulent times following his father, Selim the Spectacularly Long Caped. During his reign he defeated many enemies, identified by their small, almost cap-like, hats and promised "No child in my kingdom shall ever have the indignity of a pre-mature widow's peak ever again. This I swear above all things."

He ruled until 1566 when an unusually strong gust of wind hit his hat and snapped his neck like a dry twig. It is said his head rolled for four miles before it settled in a small gopher hole where an almond tree is said to have grown.

The Third Thing I Have on My Mind

Sometimes dogs can be assholes.

Even at their worst, at least they aren't cats.

The Second Thing I Have on My Mind



While drinking with my dad, I was struck with the idea that whatever the hell this song is or isn't about would make a great movie. So I started writing it tonight. It'll be a metaphor for fiscal reform or something. It will win every award and I'll die of success within five years of it hitting the theaters. Everything has its price, though.

In other news, I really don't want to hang out with 1980's Nick Cave at all.

The First Thing I Have on My Mind

There's this.

I'm beginning to think that any one that didn't fall in love with this album is some kind of a mutant, dog-creature. Slavs write and vomit over the kind of "people" that didn't like Under the Blacklight.

And who was the fucking focus puller on this video? Was he drunk? Does he hate his craft that much that he would inflict that upon his craft? Really? What's the story here? Maybe I can chalk it all up to it being a pseudo-legal streaming music video on the internet.

(You Tube doesn't have the video and the only other place I could find it automatically plays the video when you visit the page, which is fucking obnoxious)

28 August, 2009

Shit My Dad Said

"Everything is getting so complicated. I mean, how many fucking pickles can you put on a cheeseburger?"

(Inspired by here)

Fragments of Some Sketchy Bullshit



Douchebags in the News

Joe Francis is the kind of guy that needs to be on fire. Maybe a ninja could jump over him, I don't know. Just as long as he ends up dead at the end of the day, I can be satisfied with the results and be sure that God's will is done. I think we can all agree on this point.

Something to Aspire To



When life gives you lemons you set fire to them and leap over them with your katana out.

(Yanked from here)

27 August, 2009

This Week in John Hurt



"Forgive me, sir, but I've been stuck here with no one but this sorry sack of Hibernian pig shit for conversation."

Today's edition of "This Week in John Hurt" is dedicated to Irishmen everywhere. Shine on, you pale diamonds.

Faster Than Fuck



I'd really like to drive an F-1 car.

I'd also like to not turn into jelly when I smash against a concrete barrier.

What to do? I guess I'll just have to stick with my more realistic dreams like dancing on the wing of a plane or headbutting a dude.

26 August, 2009

Of Junk and Yards



This is where your transportation goes to die.

Fuck Yeah Robots



Sometimes there's a time when you just need a robot punching an alien. That time is now.

Since We're on the Topic of Spelling



Vice Broadcasting Station's Wodka Wars. The title of the piece is probably the best thing about it (that and the host's chipped teeth), but I now suddenly find myself wanting to visit Poland.

25 August, 2009

That Horse is Still Givin' Me the Stink Eye

Here's a pretty good interview with Tarantino. I think it's kind of telling that he's a far more likable guy when you don't have to actually hear what he's saying. BFI interviewing him (or anyone, really) also goes a long way to making a good interview.

On another point entirely, if I was ever interviewed by a British magazine, I would insist upon them spelling words like humor and license the American way.

Sixty-Five Years Ago Today



Sixty-Five years ago today, Paris was liberated from German occupation. Let's all raise a glass to the heroes that fought so hard and for so long and for every Nazi scumbag that got slotted on account of that hard work.

On Eating the Future



There's something kids just won't get any more: Snow on your TV. Now it's just a big, boring black screen, maybe a blue one with some green block text on it-- Whoopee.

I'm Pretty Sure This is Rick Rubin



Who are you to deny that this is Rick Rubin? Are you some sort of a wise guy?

If it isn't Rick Rubin, then maybe it should be.

24 August, 2009

If Haven't Told You To See This Yet

Then I'm telling you to see this now.



This movie really is goddamn amazing. I can't overstate how much this movie makes me smile.

Clara Bow, With a Doll



What a purty, purty woman.

A Formal Accusation

Photobucket

You tell, 'em.

23 August, 2009

What a Town

Oh boy, some ice!



There's just something about boats and ice that gets me instantly interested. There's certain things that do that for me. The arctic is one of them. Right now I can't think of any other examples besides "movies with piano tuners in them," but believe me, they're there, hiding.

AIRWOLF



AIR. WOLF.

How's it goin'?



Goin' well, I hope.

22 August, 2009

Yanks at Bougainville, 1944



Fighting in the Pacific sucked. Sure it probably sucked everywhere else, but at least Europe had booze and loose European women. All the Pacific had was bugs and sand and those hardly make for a worthwhile weekend.

Some City, Somewhere

21 August, 2009

One Last Club of the Horse

Thank you Dr. Kermode for showing me that I'm not taking crazy pills.



This review of the flick is also pretty good. It makes a lot of the points I do more eloquently and in less words. Good for them.

Inglorious Dumbledores

Editor's Note: Jesus. I wrote way too much about this movie.

My problems with Inglorious Basterds (here on called "Inglorious" because of its retarded spelling and because the "Basterds" portion is censored in the English title, so since even the Weinstein Company doesn't know what to call it, I'm going to play it safe) are many and I think that most of them are legitimate concerns. Not to say that Inglorious is a terrible film (it isn't), but it is a let down. Tarantino is probably one of the best film makers out there and it's nothing short of frustrating to see him turn out work that I can at best describe as "Okay."

My problem with the film begins with the fact that it can't differentiate between a German soldier and a Nazi soldier. This isn't just a nuance for war nerds like myself, this is an important fucking fact. Nazis are not synonymous with Germans in the same way that the KGB is not synonymous with Russians or the Klan is synonymous with Americans. To ignore this point completely compromises the idea of killing Nazis. Calling someone a Nazi should have power, it isn't something you just throwaway.

A German soldier is somebody you shoot at because he's shooting at you, he's somebody you put down because it's either you or him, because he's in the way. A German soldier isn't someone you beat to death after he surrenders. That's bullshit. That isn't what Americans do to POWs. That is what Nazis do to their POWs.

Even the high German command during their pogroms on the Eastern Front had problems with the Nazi government's desire to completely obliterate the Slavic people. This matters. German soldiers are human beings like anyone else. They didn't chose to be German, they didn't even chose to be soldiers, they were drafted. So to beat them to death and equate them with war criminals is incredibly problematic for me. I don't think it's fair and its more subversive and damaging than the ending is (which is obviously a flight of fancy). It takes a lot of work for me to be uneasy with killing German soldiers, but some how QT figured out a way. Good for you.

That is something I can't get on board with. You might argue that this is his point, but don't expect me to enjoy that kind of thing.

With that said, Inglorious has some great scenes performed perfectly by some really great talent. The Jewhunter is one of these characters. Every scene with him shines in it. The ladies are pretty good in the film, as well, even though I didn't know that they were two different people for about two thirds of the movie (that's my fault, but honestly, they couldn't find a brown haired woman in Germany to make it a little easier on me?).

These scenes just go to show that even though he isn't working at 100%, he is still capable of turning out wonderful scenes that are just as good as anything in Jackie Brown or Pulp Fiction-- something Death Proof cannot claim.

Though, if there is one flaw in the movie (I mean, if I had to choose one flaw) it's that a lot of these characters (like the two German born Bastards and the Nazi Killer) are completely underutilized. Even Brad Pitt, who has a lot of substantial scenes in the film seems to be underused. All of the characters do. I want to see more of these people, but somehow, despite the two and a half hour running time, I don't. Instead I get Eli "Fuckface" Roth shit-grinning at the camera and Mike Meyers inexplicably showing up with the Prime Minister to add absolutely nothing to the story. The under use of the characters is a symptom of the whole movie's problem, which is that it's fragmented and undisciplined. Instead of getting a solidly crafted story, we get a lot of good scenes peppered in between highly questionable ones.

A guess a perfect example of this is BJ Novak. For the few scenes that he's in he's relegated to Semitic set dressing. He might as well not be there. The few lines that he does say that made it into the movie just made me wonder why it took 98% of the movie to get him to start talking. He's funny. He's got great comedic timing. And yet, you chose to put Eli Roth front and fucking center instead.

Another problem I had was the constant asides in the form of title cards or arrows pointing out top Reich officials or flash backs or mother fucking lectures from Samuel L. Jackson. I don't need these. What I felt was that Tarantino wasn't sure that we, the humble plebians, would get what he is talking about. He did this with Death Proof, when after the first crash, Tarantino took us aside and had a Southern sheriff explain to us what Stuntman Mike's exact motives were, a point that should have been obvious to anyone over the age of twelve who knows the name of "Sigmund Freud."

As I said, in Inglorious, this comes in the form of arrows and monologues that convey information in an interesting way, but also in a superfluous way.

And if this information is obscure, so what? Personally, I'm aware of the fact that nitrate film burns like a mother fucker and I'm also aware that many people probably don't know this fact, but is there anybody watching this movie that wouldn't pick up on this fact instantly? When you've got lines like "We'll burn down the theater with this film!" I think that most people would gather that the film is, in fact, flammable. That's just one example, though, it kind of goes on like this. When the Nazi killer is introduced, the film feels the need to hit the breaks and not only spell out his name on screen (his name, I thought, was obvious since it was just said twice and someone was pointing at him when they said it), but give us his origin as well.

What does this extra flourish of information add to the scene? I guess it paints him as something of a badass (and killing Nazis is pretty badass) and I guess it's a laugh. But I would argue that having this stoic German deserter standing there with only "Everyone has heard of [him]" is a far more badass than stopping the scene and giving me a five-cent tour of Tarantino's WWII Europe ("And over here we have Goebbels who is a top member of the Nazi Party, who in 1934. . . "). If it's important, it'll fit in the plot, if not, move on. We'll survive somehow.

A movie called "Inglorious Basterds" shouldn't have to be dumbed down for mass consumption. If it is, I think it is safe to say that something went wrong during the production phase. Leone never felt the need to stop his picture and explain just what the Man With No Name is doing here. He just showed it. Having to pause a movie and basically give us a footnote isn't clever or quirky, it's sloppy storytelling.

David Mamet said that "Information isn't plot." It's a pretty good piece of advice from a pretty good writer. I think Inglorious could have benefited from a little less information being tossed at the audience and a better attempt at figuring out what the plot is. I mean, if a character's background is somehow important it should come out in the story. Look at the comic book Watchmen. That's a perfect case of the past informing the present. Such a thing is possible, but not in this movie.

The music drove me nuts, as well. Unlike in his previous movies, the use of previously existing songs comes off as forced. It's confusing. Maybe it's the law of diminishing returns. Maybe I'm just jaded from hearing pop songs and film scores being re-purposed, but it didn't click for me in this movie. Whenever a song kicked on, it completely took me out of the scene. Everything was going fine and then some random Bowie song or whatever kicks in.

These songs don't add anything, they just feel like they're their to show off the fact that QT bought the Cat People OST from Amoeba in the 80's. Good for him, but I'll be fucked if I care. (For the sake of full disclosure, even Rushmore's insistence of pop song after pop song is starting to wear a bit thin.)

Look at how Tarantino uses songs in Jackie Brown or Reservoir Dogs and then compare it with this movie. I can wait.

You done? Good. See what I mean?

With Inglorious it comes off as "Here's the Morricone song from The Untouchables and here's the Morricone song from Fistful of Dollars and here's the song I used from Kill Bill that was from The Five Deadly Venoms." The difference between his past movies and this one is that in this case it's forced and completely out of character with the scene. With his previous movies (or with people that use the same technique like Wes Anderson), it makes sense. Here it's loud and it's clumbsy.

What I think the movie ends up as is a movie that, while having many good portions, is a mess. It's uneven, it's undisciplined, and QT is a far better director than what he's turned out this time. The man has made some of the freshest and more original movies of the past seventeen years, but now he's gotten complacent. And the same old tricks aren't working anymore.

The results this time aren't awful, but why settle for being alright when you have the talent to make something truly original? He isn't hurting for money, so why not take the risk?

The man who directed Inglorious is clearly the same mad genius that made Jackie Brown, Pulp Fiction, and Reservoir Dogs, but it's also clearly the same guy that made the Kill Bills and Death Proof. He's still suckling on the teat of fanboyism, which is unfortunate (for him, for me, for everyone, for cinema in general). At the very least, Inglorious shows that even at his laziest he can still turn out something original, if incredibly flawed.

I get the feeling that Inglorious is going to grow on me, because I'm slowly going to forget the crappy parts of it. Let's hope that comes soon, because I don't want to live in a world where hearing "The new film from Quentin Tarantino" garners dread.

Side Note: This isn't any fault of the film, but I can't help but feel that the actual theater contributed to me not having a fantastic time. The volume was waaaaay to fucking loud. I loathed whenever gunfire broke out, because I knew that for every second I say listening to it, that was ten more minutes I would have to wear a hearing aid as an old man.

Alright, I'm done. That's how I felt. Again, it isn't a terrible movie and I'm not going to sit by and listen to people say shit like I didn't "get" it or I that my standards/expectations are too high. I've thought about it. I watched the movie. I've done the research. I didn't like it and I didn't think it was a great movie.

Cunts in History Pt. 1



Phillipe Petain (Left hand side), Vichy French Jerkass, 1856-1951

I always thought it was funny that his name was one letter away from the French word for "bitch," but nobody every points it out. Maybe it's funnier this way.

Alternate Readings

Before I launch into the movie that will most certainly be at the number one spot come Monday, I'll lay out a bunch of trailers. If you care, you'll know where I'm coming from. Plus, a lot of these movies are pretty great and you should check them out. Also, looking at these movie might help you understand where Tarantino is coming from since, well, you know, that's what he does. It's his thing. There's also a lot of references I'm sure I didn't catch, so have fun finding them. Or don't and just watch The Dirty Dozen.

Where Eagles Dare (1968)



I just watched this movie not too long ago (in fact I think it was the last movie I got from Net Flix before I had to severe that relationship). Tarantino also mentioned the movie in an interview I heard while driving back from the movie that he can't decide the title for. He said that it was ridiculous that there's Americans and English actors speaking English as though it were perfect German, which seems like an obnoxiously trivial point for that director to make (but I digress). Besides having both Richard Burton and Clint Eastwood in the same film and Krauts getting killed by the bucket loads (as though you need more) the movie also has one of the best scenes involving a dining room that I can think of, as well as one of the best cross-double-cross-triple-cross-fake-out-double-fake-outs that I can remember. And again: Eastwood and Burton.

The Big Red One (1980)



The Big Red One is a lot like Secretariat, sure it ain't perfect, but it's got a lot of heart. The Big Red One has got Lee Marvin (one of the best actors of the 60's and 70's) as the grizzled sergeant who must lead his squad (which only ever seems to consist of him and three other guys) through North Africa, Italy, France, and eventually the German heartland.

There's lots of things in this movie that make it stand out from the rest (its sense of humor being one of them), but the one that sticks out the most is that much of the movie is from the prospective of a German officer. You learn to hate the guy (not that it takes much), but you also learn to respect the fact that even though he's a son of a bitch, the man is doing his job-- and if he were American wouldn't you want him to be exactly that? Not to say that he isn't, in fact, evil. With that said, there's also a fucking heart breaking scene in a concentration camp. Goddamn. Just thinking about that ruins my night. As much as that sequence works as a horrific reminder of the war, though, it also has a fair bit of wit to it.

"You don't murder animals, you kill them."

It's kind of a funny quip, but it's also frighteningly true. And even though it appears as an aside (and easily could be), this throwaway line comes back to what the movie is about (which you should find out for yourself).

I am also willing to be a large amount of money that the "Three whiskey" scene was transplanted directly from this film (though in The Big Red One, the shoe is on the other foot, as they say). Lastly: This trailer is shit. I keep on waiting for the punchline and it never comes-- someone actually thought that would be a worthy sell. Shameful shit.

Cinema Paradiso (1988)



Yeah, this isn't a Tarantino said that film burning was a "Eureka!" moment he had as a writer, which I'm willing to give him-- it is a pretty clever metaphor, the way it's used in the movie, but it's also a major point in this flick. So, you can feel a bit more dug into the joke having watched the two movies. Also: It is really, really goddamn good. Cinema Paradiso is like a (warm) hug, fresh from the dryer from all of your grandparents. (Further side notes: Man, You Tube is really dropping the ball on having the right fucking trailers).

Moving on.

The Dirty Dozen (1967)



The Dirty Dozen is Nazi killing done right and is, whether rightfully or not, the gold standard of all team-based war movies. There's ones before it and there's ones after it (and some of them are probably better), but none can really compare to Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson, Jim Brown, John Cassevetes, Donald Sutherland, and Telly Sevalas killing the shit out of every Nazi socialite, officer, and fuckbag in Germany. It's great. It's the kind of movie you and your dad watched together back before you got into high school and everything got ruined. It's full of unpretentious and it doesn't get blood thirsty or showy, because it doesn't need to: They're killing Nazis. Done and done.

Kelly's Heroes (1970)



Here's a movie that doesn't get enough talk. I love it. It mixes all of the older sensibilities of war movies like The Great Escape and The Dirty Dozen with the sensibilities of the counter-culture that was alive and well in 1970. Donald Sutherland has a great turn as a hippy-cum-gypsy-cum-tank commander and Clint Eastwod is always great as a grizzled super-human killing machine. Kelly's Heroes is also notable for having the best tank fight I have ever seen in any movie, World War II or otherwise.

Guns of Navarone (1961)



I haven't actually seen this movie, which I realize might shock and offend the two of you that are still with me. I'm pointing this out because it's a major part of the WWII film canon (even though it wasn't shot for thirty-five dollars by drunken Italians-- a detriment many films share), it's another WWII movie about a elite team, and, lastly, it is directly referenced by Jules in Pulp Fiction. It also gave us this:

Force 10 From Navarone (1979)



This is not a good movie, but I list it because it's got a few things that are worth noting. First off, it's a completely superfluous sequel with none of the original cast or involvement and is really about as good as you might expect it to be. Secondly, the movie has a young Harrison Ford in it as well as Robert Shaw's last film role (not a flattering one, either). It also has Carl Weathers in it, which is always fun, even if he is the movie's token black guy. Lastly it's one of the few movies I can recall that actually involves partisan fighters and the Baltics. It's unfortunate the movie is shit, but I find it interesting that it uses an obscure historical fact (at least to movies) as a plot point. Which leads me to a much better film about partisan fighting:

Come and See (1985)



Now here's a movie without a sense of humor. It's only appropriate that a movie this harrowing came out the same year that Blood Meridan first got published. Come and See is a Soviet made movie about partisan warfare in Belarus and follows a fourteen year old kid as he loses his life piece by piece. As you can tell from the trailer, it's just a side show of horror after horror with no real catharsis or humor-- So, I imagine, it's a little bit like what the war might have been like. It also has a seen of people shooting live rounds at the actors which isn't something you could get away with in a non-Warsaw Pact country.

I didn't see a whole lot of this film in the one I saw tonight, which is just as well, hundreds of naked, dead, Slavic children is not what I want to spend my midnight showings watching. But that's just me.

(Also, it's some more BS that the audio of that clip is disable because it's freaking Mozart. Who is cracking down on their copyrights of Mozart?)

Le Corbeau (1943)



I'm listing this, even though it isn't a war movie, because, like Cinema Paradiso, it's directly referenced in The Movie Which I Don't Feel the Need to Name. The movie is a proto-film noir that was made in France during the occupation by Continental Films, which was a German owned production company that was founded specifically for the purpose of making films during the war (because, hey, people still want to see musicals and comedies, even if there is an air raid going off). It's a movie financed by an occupying power specifically to be shown to a people being occupied-- that's interesting, isn't it? Le Corbeau isn't a comedy or a musical, though, it's a cynical revenge and black-mail movie that ends with everyone getting their just desserts, even if they aren't quite as evil as the raven of the title.

While I'm at it, go see Elevator to the Gallows, as well (another movie I wouldn't have seen if it weren't for my film classes).

But that leads me to a movie that actually is about the resistance (and loosely, loosely based off of the director's experience as a member of the resistance):

Army of Shadows (1969)



I've heard that Army of Shadows is the "best movie about the French resistance," which is a statement I'm willing to take at its word. It really is an excellent movie. It is a bit slow like most of Jean-Pierre Melville's other work, but I guess it's a little like having a good meal. It should take a long time, you should savor every moment you have with this movie. What I think makes this movie stand out so strongly is that it doesn't romanticize the resistance to the Vichy government or the German occupation, it shows it as a clumbsy, ugly, and brutal organization that did what needed to be done (most of the time).

Au Revoir, Les Enfants (1987)



You might know this movie as half of the title of Quentin's first feature (the other half is, also inexplicably taken from Straw Dogs). But, his French is (or was) spotty, so he called it "That reservoir movie." Boom, that's how titles are written. Au Revoir is a fairly low key movie about children in a Catholic school and their friendship with one another. This is a movie you should really see if you want to bawl you eyes out. It's full of heart and humor, but ultimately, because it's a movie about children during WWII (and more specifically, the Holocaust), it can't help but get at you, even when it is being funny. Maybe it's even more tragic because the movie has so much life in it.

I don't know. All I'm saying is if you want to weep like a child without a God, you could do worse than this movie.

I got the sense that this movie was being quoted in the strudel scene, but, really, that set design could have been taken from anywhere. Somewhere like history, for example.

Lastly, here you go:

Das Boot (1981)



I'll throw this in here because it's kind of the definitive movie about Germans in World War II. It's also entirely in German, which much of the other movie is in (as well as French). This movie is amazing for a few reasons. Besides the fact that it's masterfully put together (even in it's two thousand hour long version) thriller, it also makes even the most jingoistic, Hun hating American empathize with German u-boat sailors. That's no easy task. The movie avoids judgement and morality in favor of just crafting a beautiful action movie. It's so engrossing that I didn't remember whether I watched it with subtitles on or a dub, because in my head the story telling was so well done, it never occurred to me that I was reading for about three and a half hours. Also: It's submarine warfare and there aren't that many movies out there that are about that subject.

This list tangetially agrees with many of my references. They have numbers though, so they probably have a better idea of what I'm talking about.

There's also a bunch of newer and higher budgeted movies about WWII that have come out, but they're all kind of obvious and I figure that most of you have already seen them (or they have Matthew MacConaughey and they suck). There's movies like Saving Private Ryan, Enemy at the Gates, and The Thin Red Line, which, as much as I love, don't need to be discussed here. They're known and I don't think any of those flicks got referenced in this one. So, why bother?

And on the plus side, none of these movies have this guy in it. Bon appetit.

20 August, 2009

"No one got blown up."



No one got blown up. And a few hundred people actually showed up to vote. So, by that slim measure, election day here has to be considered a success.


I liked the picture, so what?

Edit: Hey, here's so more! Afghan election photos for all!

Translation:



"Fuck you octopus, leave my shit alone!"

Everywhere you don't want to be

Afghanistan is a pretty gross and weird country. Like, even by most normal gross and weird standards.

Not to mention that place can't even get straight relations down right.

Reading all of this and keeping my knowledge of Frederick Forsyth in mind, it's odd and frightening to consider that the Taliban, at one point, were a good idea. Or, at least, the lesser evil. Just now I was thinking of a parallel between the Taliban and the KKK, but after about three seconds of thinking I realized that besides both groups being hateful, ignorant assbites the comparison really isn't there. I'd have to be a real heel or the director of Intolerance to start talking crazy shit like that.

But, hey, on the plus side: Elections! Yay! Maybe things aren't so fucked! Maybe! Yay!

19 August, 2009

My Perfect Movie

My perfect movie would be Tilda Swinton and Cate Blanchet all glamoured up to the nines at a dinner party in the 18th century yelling at each other for three hours. It'd be shot all with candlelight, would have no plot, and would win every award imaginable, including the key to my heart (which I keep under a fake rock in our side yard).

Welcome to Siberia #6



Uh. . . is anyone out there? I got Scattergories.

The Dark Tower: The Long Road Home


Jae Lee is what artists should strive to be like. The man is amazing.

On a side note: Apparently the solicit of this issue's cover (that's the image you're looking at) colored some of the blood black and reduced the use of red in order to make it more appropriate for showing off in the marketplace. Kind of silly, isn't it?

Dubai: Where Crazy Dreams Go to Die

Vice won't get all schadenfruede on them, but I will. Nuts on Dubai. They had it comin'.

What I enjoy most is that I was right about this place! Me! I was right about something! I was smarter than a bunch of billionaire oil magnates! Little, ol' crazy me!

Computer is slightly on the fritz. This may be a slow day as far as updates go.

Edit: I have lied about that slow day bit.

18 August, 2009

When You're Right, You're Right

Christopher Hitchens is an asshole, but he's got a good point: This is some stupid bullshit.

Ladies. . .



. . . Sup?

Palette Cleanser



I can guarantee you that this hamster has never thrown a white phosphorous grenade into a Vietnamese hooch.

17 August, 2009

Okay, I Lied

Everyone, shut up! This needs to be seen! Right. Fucking. Now.

One for the Road



What would Catherine Denueve do?



Lord knows why LBJ is in that photo if they're talking about 1972 and the Paris Peace Conference.



And we lost that fucking war.

There's a lot of people that talk about how evil that war was. I am absolutely sure that every single one of these people have no idea what they're talking about. The fact that these people can completely condemn a war with no research, no flexibility, no sense of humor, no understanding of context or culture, or a general sense of wanting to learn is frightening. Yes, it was a rather shitty war, as far as wars go, but all wars are. Vietnam is a situation unique to America in the 1960's and it requires far more understanding than the belief that it was a simple play by JFK and LBJ to take over South-East Asia.



What I think is more frightening and more disgusting is a condemnation of soldiers that went there. While it may be true that Robert McNamara never personally dropped napalm on a village, he, and folks like him, had far more understanding and far less risk in running that war. The soldiers did not exactly have the liberty of morality or risk or even the choice to go into the fucking war in the first place. They were confused and angry youths with no direction, so of course things like My Lai happened. And, by the way, who reported that massacre to the public? Another American. Someone with a conscience. This doesn't excuse them, but horrific events like that illustrate the idea that war, even this war, is a tad bit more complex than the war crimes that defined it.



I'll now try to tie Apocalypse Now back into it.

It isn't a perfect movie by any means. Marlon Brandow is hopelessly out to sea during the film, it's missing narrative bridges that even the extended edition doesn't fix, and it cost more money than just about every war film before it and that's a lot of money to toss away when you don't have a final script. But what stands is a movie that is bigger than it's flaws. The flaws actually add to the coloring. It's like a human eye. The small imperfections in the iris somehow manage to make it a little bit more beautiful. You understand how beautiful everything else might be because of these little imperfections.



I guess the war is like that. It's an overblown mess that didn't win anyone any wars. It also lead to the destruction of at least one career. Apocalypse Now is a manic mess, that I think really understands the idea of wanting to do what is right and slowly going insane because of it. What is right is never what is easy and pursuing what is right often leads to even more trouble than if you just did what was wrong in the first place. Willard understood that, Kurtz understood that, Coppola understood that, and I bet even Nixon, LBJ, and McNamara understood that. They tried their best and destroyed themselves and their fellow man because of that.

There's a lesson in this, but damned if I know what it is.

Poster Time!







And, of course, the best of all of them, the one which I should, but still do not own:



Now that's a poster.

I think I like the Turkish one only because it's such a clumsy one. I'm not a fan of the Japanese one, because it's really sparse and it makes one of the more philosophical movies of the 1970's look like a shitty action flick. The family portrait one is pretty fucking cool though, because I haven't seen any other posters for this movie like it. Plus, it's made of a minor character and a throwaway piece of graffiti. Tonally, though, it's probably the closest to the movie (besides the red one, which is not only the best poster for this movie, but maybe, the best poster ever).

And little by litte we went insane

Apocalypse Now Monday continues!

Apocalypse Now Monday!



Because it was either this video or something substantial.

16 August, 2009

Listen to Raymond Chandler

He probably knows what he's talking about.

They just keep wanting to confuse me



I wouldn't normally pay attention to a comic book adaptation of a videogame (even if it is a videogame I'm looking forward too), except that this is a modern military comic book that's written by David Lapham.

That's odd.

Lapham, to me doesn't exactly scream "War comic book writer for DC!" type to me. He strikes me more of a "Spralling crime-melodrama writer for a little known indy publisher!" type.

It's an interesting choice.

Actually, now that I'm going over the books he's worked on it makes a little more sense. He's written a couple of mainstream comic books, as well as the Terror Inc. on Marvel's ultraviolent MAX imprint (Terror Inc. is notable for basically being a long form Frank Frazetta painting with the DHS and dumpster loads of machine guns thrown in and the gypsies replaced with even more gypsies).

This piece of art reminds me of this image I found a few months back.



It can't be just me that makes that connection.

Recently his current book Young Liars got the heave-ho by the brains at Vertigo (or DC, I should say). It's a pretty interesting book that's about as bat-shit insane as I think all good comic books should be. It's been getting pretty decent reviews, as I recall, but then again, it is being shit-canned.

The Nightwitches

I'm really fascinated by outsiders. I think most people are, or at least most Americans are. The underdog (even though we're about as far from being an underdog as possible) is almost always more interesting than their taller, stronger, faster opponent. If I gave a shit about sports, this would probably be the time that I make a relevant David/Goliath analogy.

But that simply isn't going to happen.

Maybe it's just the gambler in me that likes long odds. People who don't quite fit into the world around them and probably shouldn't exist are the kinds of people that I find most interesting and they're the kinds of people that I like to write about (which is kind of the thesis for my WWII comic book).

So, with that said, The Night Witches are just as cool as their name would indicate.



The Night Witches (so named by their German enemies) were a bunch of badass broads during WWII that flew thousands of missions over the skies of Stalingrad (which was the sight of one of the bloodiest and longest battles in human history). They flew obsolete biplanes built for crop dusting into the face of their better armed opponents night after night to harass them with bombing raids. They didn't wear parachutes either, opting to carry a revolver in case they crashed in enemy held territory.

By the end of the war, the Soviet women bomber pilots had earned 23 Hero of the Soviet Union medals and dozens of Orders of the Red Banner, flew more than 24,000 sorties and dropped 23,000 tons of bombs. Most surviving pilots had racked up nearly 1,000 missions each.


So good on them. Too bad they're Ruskies, though. Oh well, nobodies perfect.

What makes The Night Witches even more interesting is that the Soviet government was supposed to have been obliterated within a month and a half by every think tank, expert, and scholar in the early 1940's. Which made sense, after all Hitler's army crushed richer, older, more experienced countries with ease. France, before the war began, was supposed to be the powerhouse of European military might and they were beaten in about two months. Hitler's army also decimated the British army at Dunkirk, (about half) of Poland, and a handful of other nations. So, what could this backwards, Slavic country where they were still getting used to the idea of mechanized farming and literacy do against a mechanized army that almost single-handedly conquered Europe in a year?

Apparently they could not only fight the Krauts to a stand still, they eventually steam rolled the whole country over the course of the next four years (with, you know, the help of the rest of the Allied Forces).

The Night Witches kind of represent a microcosm of the Soviet resistance to the German blitzkrieg. They might not have been well equipped, but they fought back anyways, slowing down the German advance and, at the same time, scaring the living hell out of them. Women fighters weren't entirely unusual in the Red Army (I think we've all seen Enemy at the Gates), but they were just about every other army on Earth. Aviatrixes were even more rare (though there is a whole history of this kind of thing), which makes them a minority of a minority. But, I think what's most important is that despite the odds and every bit of reason, they took to the air to fuck up the German forces in any way they possibly could. That takes balls.

Er, well, you know what I mean.

(Garth Ennis recently released a comic on the Night Witches a few months back. Mr. Ennis, if you weren't aware, is probably the best war comic writer living today, so it might be worth your while to check out.)

15 August, 2009

Now That's a Protest!

This is too good to look over.

Oh man, it's just like Suttree!

And it's about as depressing as Suttree, too! Except it isn't the 1960's, so it isn't quaint or stark, it's just awful. Plus it's Nashville, not Knoxville. Completely different terrain, that.



Let's hope a giant rock doesn't crush any of them during a thunderstorm.



God that book was not fun.



But none of his stuff is, so it isn't like I didn't know I'd be grossly depressed by the end of the novel.

Joe Medicine Crow is a Class Act

He's also a pretty badass dude.



Just check out these excerpts from this website:
In 1939, he was the first member of the Crow tribe to obtain a master’s degree. His Master’s thesis, “The Effects of European Culture Contact upon the Economic, Social, and Religious Life of the Crow Indians”, remains the most widely read source on Crow culture. He has received honorary doctoral degrees from the University of Southern California and Rocky Mountain College.

Medicine Crow is the last traditional Plains war chief, having achieved the war deeds necessary to be declared a "chief" during World War II. He served in Europe, and earned the Bronze Star, a US Forces individual military decoration for acts of bravery or merit, or for meritorious service. Medicine Crow was also honored for his service to France during World War II when he received the National Order of the Legion of Honor from the French government on June 25, 2008. He was recognized for leading a war party that, under fire, retrieved dynamite to use to attack German guns. He also overcame a German soldier in hand-to-hand combat on a street in France (sparing his life), and captured fifty SS horses at a farm where German officers were staying.




Joe Medicine Crow was also featured on the Ken Burns documentary series for PBS "The War."

Just this week he recieved the Presidential Medal of Freedom, which is the highest honor a civilian can recieve in the United States. Other recipients of the medal include JFK, Nelson Mandela, Colin Powell, Harvey Milk, Aung San Suu Kyi, Mother Theresa, Rosa Parks, and Simon Wiesenthal. Then again Jesse Jackson, Jimmy Carter, Julia Child, and Andy Griffith won the medal, so I don't know how to feel about this thing exactly. Mixed, I guess. But, I'm sure if anyone deserved this award (I mean besides Mother Theresa and Nelson Mandela) it would likely be Joe Medicine Crow.

14 August, 2009

Dive

What is going on?

How the fuck do you get released from prison after attempting an assassination on the president of the United States?

I mean, I know it was only Jimmy Carter, but still, he was a goddamn president.

This is even more confusing than the David Mamet movie on Anne Frank and far less exciting.

In other news, life just gets stranger and stranger.

And here's another decent review on a Tarantino movie. This time it is Jackie Brown.

P-38 Formation


(Just recently stolen off of The Constant Siege, Lord knows where he stole it from, though.)

13 August, 2009

A Purty Picture

Sorry for the grimness and words. As an apology, here is something in black and white.

Briefs in Brief

Now, I think we can all agree that Quentin Tarantino hasn't made a worthwhile film in about twelve years, but that's no reason to forget that he made some of the better films of the 1990's, and, in fact, probably defined that era more so than any other single film maker. Here's a pretty good review on his sophomore film Pulp Fiction (which I have not seen in far too long, having mysteriously lost my copy) and here's a worthwhile summary as to why Mr. Tarantino has been so disappointing for the last decade. I'm not looking forward to Inglorious Bastards all that terribly. I got burnt the last couple of times I went to see his films. This is because I would much rather see an actual movie than him masturbating over a few thousand feet of celluloid for a few dozen million dollars.

But that's just me.

And here is another news story: Apparently the founder of Blackwater Worldwide (now known as the extreme private military corporation "Xe) has been indited for murder. Blackwater is, of course, one of the more infamous PMCs in the world (PMC=Private Military Corporation =Private Military Contractors=Mercenaries), not only because it is one of the most profitable ones, but because a number of its employees have been accused of being accessories to murder, manslaughter, and any number of unpleasant activities while serving the Department of Defense. You probably know Blackwater (or Xe or whatever) from the infamous incident in Fallujah where four of their contractors were ambushed, killed, mutilated, and eventually hung from a bridge. Though, if you follow that, you'll find a whole rabbit's hole of fucked up shit involved with the corporation, including the fact that Mr. Prince is, in Jeremy Scahill's words, a "Christian supremacist." So, anyways, I hope he burns in Hell.

Where was I? Oh right, I wrote a paper about most of this business (which I recieved a D for, but Alternative Media can kiss my ass anyways). In summary, don't take that class (Alternative Media).

Enjoy.

Les Paul, Dead

So, someone else decided to go and die on us. This man, was of course, Les Paul, better known as "Little Lord Guitar." Mr. Lord Guitar was notable for playing both jazz and guitar in his heyday and somehow not earning the ire of both the white, black, and gypsy communities. Mr. Guitar's most notable achievement was, of course, being named after the ancient Sumerian god-king, the Les Paul Sunburst.



"Les Paul" as he was known to the public invented a number of electronic instruments and recording equipment geared to "frighten and harass old folks." What Les Paul did in his long two-hundred year career goes far beyond freaking out old people, though (in fact Les Paul spent most of his life as one of them, walking among them, eating among them, complaining about the proliferation of Japanese cars and rap music among them, as well as devouring the flesh of their lessers to gain an ever fleeting inner power among them). Yes, indeed, Les Paul was a pioneer in the music community, eventually allowing many groups such as the British (who simply didn't "get" music for the better part of this millenium) to play their version of rock n' roll and blues music (one of the many spoils they collected from Africa, though, unlike gold and women with large posteriors, they simply had no idea what to do with it).

One of his closest friends had this to say about him, "He would often sit upon his throne of guitars and skulls (mostly guitars) and say, 'I'm the Lord Jesus Christ, I invented music and I'll skull fuck any poltroon that says otherwise!' He was a crazy fucker that [Les Paul]."



But, besides inventing the electric guitar, which was originally used to confuse enemy anti-air forces into dance (and was known as the "Ein Dancengruppen" by German forces), Les Paul also created multi-track recording, which allowed a whole generation of music producers to bypass talent and skill in favor of doing coke and over-dubbing entire albums into entire indistinguishable messes.



Yes, sirs and madams, Les Paul was one of the greats. And today, we mourn not only his death, but the fact that we have lost one of the great minds among us. A relic, even, a man from a time and a place where people had to actually know what a scale and notes were, back before we could breed asexual androids with autotune programs built into their larynxes to entertain us for literally hours before their corporate benefactors have to melt them down into the latest generation of faux-rockers. Yes, sirs and madams, we lost a great today.

Les Paul 1677-2009.

He will be missed.