31 January, 2010

One, Two, Three


Billy Wilder on the set of One, Two, Three, which is a move I stumbled onto on Christmas Eve last year and I do not have enough good words for.

(via If Charlie Parker Were a Gunslinger There Would Be a Lot of Dead Copycats)

Some Advice From Father to Son

Today my dad decided to give me some advice as we stumbled through the entry hall of the house.

Don't grow up. Don't get married. Don't have kids.


Thanks. Solid advice. I'll get right on that.

FUCK YEAH FILM MAKING

I haven't seen any of this guy's movies, but I feel like I like him.

He's got kind of a snooty, European film maker thing about him, but he's also talking about Dennis Hopper doing drugs and Snake Pliskin. I could hang out with someone like that.

Oh, and the weird, Mexican, drug movie is The Last Movie.

FUCK YEAH VIKINGS!

This certainly looks like it was made with me in mind.

29 January, 2010

What is wrong with you people?


What is this? Why would this make me want to buy jeans?

28 January, 2010

The Good Roosevelt

Because FDR was a no-good, commie, beatnik.
There can be no effective control of corporations while their political activity remains.

- Theodore Roosevelt, 1910

(via the Constant Siege, who has been on fire with the quotes lately.)

I missed this?

JD Salinger died.

That isn't good.

I am steadfastly against JD Salinger dying.

I'll Back You Up on That One


(And from another angle.)

Welcome to Siberia #11


Where all our Russian heroes are dead at the hand of other Russian heroes (God willing).

(After the Battle between Prince Igor Svyatoslavich of Kiev and the Polovtsy, 1880.)

27 January, 2010

FUCK YEAH VIKINGS


Wait! This isn't right at all!

Bringing the Payne

I care not how affluent some may be, provided that none be miserable in consequence of it.
Thomas Paine, 1796.

(via the Constant Siege)

26 January, 2010

Further Penance


Roger Ebert recently wrote a bit about a documentary on one of America's most successful and, apparently, infamous parparazzi, Ron Galella.

There's a documentary about the man and it's an interesting article to read about because I'm sure more than a few blog posts that I've seen are pieces that he's taken.

Not that he's going to be credited for it or anything.

Director Duesday


Lord only knows where I found this. Sorry for being a thief, internet.

As penance here's a trailer for a Herzog movie and an old, storied classic.



What in the World?

I just posted an old review of Repo Man on my portfolio blog, so I find the timing of this trailer to be a little more than coincidental. I find it to be down right insulting. I say this, because Jesus Christ I don't even know what I'm looking at.

EDITOR'S NOTE: The trailer for Repo Chick has been pulled. Spoiler alert: It is awful.

What the fuck is that?

I think I'm being punished for liking Repo Man.

Holy Hell

Bernard Xavier Philippe de Marigny de Mandeville.

That is a real name, everyone. Maybe even the best name.

24 January, 2010

Move Over Faulkner


I just found even more actual literature. Man, William, not even one of your books has the word "Die" in the title. You only have a reference to someone dying. What. A. Cop. Out.

23 January, 2010

"Long May You Run"


Neil Young played this last night on Conan's last show. I've never been a big fan of Neil Young, but as time goes on I seem to love the man more and more. Combining that with the fact that Conan's show was really good last night, I'll be damned if I didn't tear up when he played this for our favorite red-headed talk show host.

Yeah, Sure, That Sounds Realisitc


I've never been a man for whiskey, but this could change.

(via Modern Mechanix)

Speaking of Scum

I have hated Hugo Chavez for quite some time now. Now, I hated him back when I considered myself a Republican and that hatred has carried on to today, where I find myself as a kind of burnt-out, confused idealist. So, with that said, I'd like to believe that my severe, terminal dislike of the man is legitimate.

When I see things like this, I feel confident in my hatred. I am doing the right thing.

So the article begins:
Venezuelan leader Hugo Chavez Wednesday accused the United States of causing the destruction in Haiti by testing a 'tectonic weapon' to induce the catastrophic earthquake that hit the country last week.

President Chavez said the US was "playing God" by testing devices capable of creating eco-type catastrophes, the Spanish newspaper ABC quoted him as saying.


Hugo Chavez is many dispicable things, but I did not know that he was a conspiracy theorist. Now, it's perfectly understandable for a man who was almost thrown out of power by the Bush administration to see Americans in every shadow, but, Haiti? Really?

That takes a special kind of crazy that even Bush II can't take credit for.

Shitty Italian Politicians?! Cosa?!

So, Italy's Prime Minister Silvio Berlusconi, sexist asshole, billionaire, and all-around unpleasant person, is introducing a decree that would regulate the internet. Or as this story says:

Going beyond other European countries, the premier's government has drafted a decree that would mandate the vetting of videos for pornographic or violent content uploaded by users onto such sites as YouTube, owned by Google, and the France-based Dailymotion, as well as blogs and online newsmedia.

Now while I think we can all agree that watching out for pornography and violent content is a noble, and probably a necessary job, but it stops being noble and starts becoming dangerous when you give the government powers-- or the responisibility-- to censure and regular the internet, and that seems to be the gist of this decree. It becomes even more suspicious when you consider that Silvio Berlusconi owns a massive chunk of the Italian media. Somehow I doubt that his intentions are pure when it comes to "vetting" the content of the internet.

This, of course, is happening in a European countries with the highest paid parliamentary ministers, one of the highest corruption rates, and that a turn-over rate of government that would make your head spin. Italy, while one of the more beautiful places in Europe, is all kinds of fucked up and things like this (and scum like Berlusconi) are not helping.

Because the corner stone of any healthy nation is the restriction of information. Just look at the shining beacons of expression that China and Iran have become thanks to the government control of the internet.

In summary, fuck Silvio Berlusconi.

Sup


Danny and Peachy just want to know what you're up to.

It's a good question. You might benefit by answering.

(By the way The Man Who Would Be King is one of my favorite movies of all time.)

HUSTON


Whatever you think you know, John Huston knows better.

(via If Charlie Parker. . .)

(And maybe I don't say it enough-- or at all-- but you should follow these images to their source. I doubt you're relying on me, but you should find out where these pictures came from originally rather than relying on some blog to tell you how cool they are. At the very least you an cut the middle man out and just follow the links I post.)

The Lucky


Pool is fantastic. Twain is fantastic. Black and white is fantastic. Ergo, this image is fantastic.

(via this isn't happiness)

STOP WHAT YOU'RE DOING RIGHT NOW

I am as pumped as eight hundred dildos reaching towards heaven for this movies.

TOWARDS HEAVEN.

John C. Reilly. As a desperate, middle aged loser? With Marissa Tomei? Or however you spell her name? Who has not worn a shirt all the way through a movie for the past five years? And that chubby asshole from those Judd Apatow movies? I am pumped.

Oh wait.

Oh wait.

Oh shit.

Is that Catherine Keener?

This is going to be my favorite movie of 2010-- barring that the Coens don't finish True Grit.

22 January, 2010

I Have a Portfolio!

Kind of!

I haven't added anything and I don't know how impressive using a free blog to sell myself is, but there she is. In all of her minima glory.

A Bit Bombastic, Don't You Think, Keith?

He's an asshole and he's sanctimonious and he's using his hyperbole muscles so hard they're smoking, but this is important so I'm going to link his op-ed on the most recent Supreme Court decision.

Visit msnbc.com for breaking news, world news, and news about the economy


Wait a minute-- How does Microsoft being able to but a politician destroy the serperation between church and state?

Oh, Keith, never change.

Director Roundtable Directly Directs Direction

Now that's a lede, damnit.

You have much to learn LA Times and your roundtable of five Golden Globe nominated directors talking about the craft.

I don't care how insightful their answers may be, you can't grab the audience like I can.

Give me work, damn you.

20 January, 2010

VIGILANTE JUSTICE!

CHINA STYLE!

Even though this sounds like something that would happen in Chicago in the 1920's, I am perfectly okay with corrupt Communist Party members getting stabbed in the chest.

Call me old fashioned.

Der Treue Husar


I feel like I've been repeating myself on this blog. That means either I'm just getting boring or I'm developing a "leitmotif," which is basically the same thing, but in French.

Anyways, the hussar is perhaps the classiest of all cavalry ever to exist. Just look at that guy. He looks like a man who has a thing or two figured out. The primary reason I'm posting this image is that I found it on my old hard drive the other week and what struck me as the most amazing aspect of this photo is that it's a portrait of a man's back. How bizarre is that? I've seen hundreds of portraits and photos of soldiers and such and I don't think I've ever seen someone pose with their back to the camera (or the painter or whoever). That's interesting to me.

I also found out by looking at this image that the one sleeve they wear on their left arm isn't just a coat they couldn't be bothered to put on all the way, but it's half of a coat. I feel like that look is due for a come back.

It's also a good looking painting, so there's that.

Vikings: The Maddening

So, apparently that Viking movie that Mel Gibson is making that I mentioned a while back (which I can't even be bothered to find in my own archive), is not only going to be as crazy as an ultra-violent Mel Gibson period piece is expected to be, but it's going to be in Norse and Old English.

This is exciting, people.

Now here's some art by Massimo Carnevale (this is now my favorite Italian name of all time) for the comic book Northlanders, because Vikings are awesome as fuck.

19 January, 2010

In Which I Embarass Myself Greatly


It's safe to say that borrowing and playing Metal Gear Solid from one of my friends, Danny Howard, during the sixth grade was one of the more formative events in my life. I tend to say that about a lot of things-- Clerks, "The Weeping Song," reading Blood Meridian-- but in this case I know it's true. I say that because years later, I still think about that videogame and I think how can I make something with a tone that consistent and a world that seems that interesting, even though it may not only lose something in translation, but barely makes any sense at all.

This scene probably doesn't hold up all that well-- especially if you never played the game when it first came out. It's still one of the coolest moments that I can think of in my life of playing videogames. I've seen plenty of people die (often by my own hand) on the Playstation console, but up until this point I had never seen somebody die in such an elegant way. Grey Fox didn't just get killed by a giant robot, he made poetry. And if you can make the demise of a resurrected mercenary turned into a robotic assassin by the Department of Defense poignant, then you've done something right.


What blew me the way even more than the quality voice acting and script (at least for the time) was the character design. I've already talked about how much I love the Metal Gear Solid series' art by Yoji Shinkawa, so I won't spend too much time going over that. Each character, though, was perfectly designed. Each had a distinct look, a distinct personality, and, of course a unique array of weaponry that they would use against you over the course of the game. Each character had his or her own sphere of expertise and each of them was frightening and interesting for almost completely different reasons than the last character. There's the master of disguise, the gunslinger, the sniper, the guy with the big gun, the robotic ninja, and, of course, your evil twin. The bosses you fought were nearly as cool as the guy you played as. That probably more than anything else is what sold that videogame so well.

It's something I think about from time to time whether I'm writing about British soldiers, World War II commandos, a morbidly depressed manatee, or even something serious.

Sometimes I think

Sometimes I'll see old picks of Keith Richards and I'll think, "Yeah, he's a bit rough around the edges, but he's got that kind of got an ugly, roguish charm about him that loops back around and makes him attractive again."

Then reason returns to my mind and I realize that no, dude is mother fuckin' rough looking.

(via (Diet) Coke & Sympathy)

China Don't Give a Fuck

China don't give any fuck. Not hardly.

I'd like to think that the story about Google deciding whether to continue business relations with China concerns far more people than us Chrome users. As proof, here's Vice Magazine's take on the subject:
The countries official stance is best summarized “if you want to do business in China, don’t be surprised when we do something fascist.” Fair enough, China.

It's all about that harmony, folks, you gotta get that harmony going or else you don't know where you are.

Welcome to Siberia #10


A great place to crawl into a ball and wish for death in!

(via English Russia, naturally)

18 January, 2010

Jean-Pierre Melville


A la Bob Le Flambeur.

(via FRENCH WORDS JESUS FUCK)

How to Not Be a Terrible Writer in 2010

FURTHER NOTES ON HOW NOT TO BE A TERRIBLE WRITER TO FOLLOW:
I love Mark Twain. He's a decent guy. He was a fine writer and what's more is that he was not bound to the morality of his time. He stood up against what he saw as evil and against the ills in society that many people were simply willing to accept. That takes guts.

What's more than his fight against racism or against Belgian colonialism/hand-collecting in the Congo, he also fought against terrible literature. Namely, the Leatherstocking series.
It seems to me that it was far from right for the Professor of English Literature in Yale, the Professor of English Literature in Columbia, and Wilkie Collins to deliver opinions on Cooper’s literature without having read some of it. It would have been much more decorous to keep silent and let persons talk who have read Cooper.

And so Twain begins.
Cooper’s proudest creations in the way of “situations” suffer noticeably from the absence of the observer’s protecting gift. Cooper’s eye was splendidly inaccurate. Cooper seldom saw anything correctly. He saw nearly all things as through a glass eye, darkly

Or this gem,
Cooper’s word-sense was singularly dull. When a person has a poor ear for music he will flat and sharp right along without knowing it. He keeps near the tune, but it is not the tune. When a person has a poor ear for words, the result is a literary flatting and sharping; you perceive what he is intending to say, but you also perceive that he doesn’t say it. This is Cooper.

Read the article already. I feel that there is as much to be learned from people making fun of bad literature as there is praising good literature.

Then again I've never read any of the Deerslayer books, but I have read two of Twains and he was a friend of Kiplings, so I'm more than inclined to trust the man.

Once Again

Photobucket
If you haven't tried to help Haiti yet, now is the time. Throw them five bucks and then move on with your day. It certainly isn't going to hurt.

(photo from the Wall Street Journal)

Tattoos!

Their locations and what they say about you!

17 January, 2010

Delon and Faithfull


Man, these people are so cool you could regulate the heat of a supercomputer no problem.

You know what though? That metaphor was not cool. Or really all that coherent. I'll work on that. Sorry.

(via the Impossible Cool)

The Thin Man


(via Film Noir Photos)

Fuck This


I'm buying a CD.

16 January, 2010

He say you brade runnah.


Remember the spider that lived outside your window? Orange body, green legs. Watched her build a web all summer, then one day there's a big egg in it. The egg hatched and a hundred baby spiders came out. . . and they ate her.

How to Not Be a Terrible Writer in 2010

Read it and learn. Steel yourself against the horrors of bad writing with such words of wisdom like,
If you have to write about drugs, don’t write about pot. Candy is more interesting than pot is. Knives are almost always cool.
And
The subway, huh?

Or
Write less dialogue, unless you are really good at it, which I guarantee you aren’t.

15 January, 2010

Warren Ellis Friday


I love love love this book.

Warren Ellis Friday


I honestly think that Transmetropolitan is one of the best things to happen within the past fifteen years.

It is at least three times better than 9/11.

When he came to Comic Con a few years back I asked him a question at his panel/one-man stage show. I asked him "As a writer do you ever feel that there's this albatross around your neck, that you're not going to top something you've done in the past?" He didn't pause for long and said, "Yeah, it's Transmetropolitan." It was kind of a downer, though if you think about it, if you can't make a better comic than Transmetropolitan it's simply because you're human.

Warren Ellis Friday


Warren Ellis is a god.

A god of amateur brain surgery and bukkake, but a god who deservedly sits in the pantheon among all of the other comic book greats.

You should read his work.

Cash


It's always a good sign when another blog (a more successful blog) posts an image that I wanted to post. It's vindicating.

Of course, most of these images had to have been posted on a blog in the first place.

Blogs like the Selvedge Yard.

Because how else would I ever find anything interesting?

14 January, 2010

Fuuuuuuuuck


The earthquake in Haiti is pretty fucked up.

The latest estimate I read on the news is that the death toll could top 50,000 people. That's insane.

There's more photos of the carnage here and here. Also, like Shit My Dad Says points out, you can text "HAITI" to 90999 donate ten dollars to the Red Cross (the ten dollars is automatically thrown onto your phone bill). And hey, here's five other ways one can help.

So there's that.

Also, I figure this should be pointed out even though it is slightly off topic, but Pat Robertson and Rush Limbaugh are douchebags. Real classy, guys. It's good to see that even in times of disaster you can still make the respective groups you belong to look even worse.

13 January, 2010

But are they a Mary Sue?

Is the main character of your short story, novel, comic, treatise, poem, or anime a Mary Sue?

Well, take the test and find out!

My score is a 13, which besides being a rather auspicious number is also: 11-20 points: The Non-Sue. Your character is a well-developed, balanced person, and is almost certainly not a Mary Sue. Congratulations!

Hooray! The internet tacitly approved of my character crafting! Take that, dad!

Gentleman Machinegunner


"I do say, old boy, this machinegun has got quite the kick.*"

*Said machinegunner may or may not be a member of the English gentry.

(via X-Planes)

A Matter of Loaf and Death

Wallace & Gromit in A Matter Of Loaf And Death.2008 from thecontext on Vimeo.


A life without Wallace and Gromit is a life that is that much grayer.

12 January, 2010

It's Done

I finally finished the script to my comic book. Six issues and more than that many months writing and it's done. Finally. It doesn't feel like much because I've got a whole lot left to do, but it's something.

Now here's some of the references I've been acrewing for the comic over the years and months.

Gustave Dore, The Remains of a Crusade


From Newsweek, the hills of Afghanistan


Zalmai Zalmai, a ruined house from Return to Afghanistan


This is just a few images I looked over for reference or for inspiration, monochrome though they may be, they usually did the job. I rarely ran into writer's block with this thing, so hopefully that's a sign that the story makes sense.

Clara Bow is A Picture Star


She's also a bit of a doll, you see.

11 January, 2010

Will ya look at that?


This is some Lord of the Rings type shit over here.

Took Him Long Enough

Eric Rohmer just kicked the bucket.

Eric Rohmer was one of the original founders (if you can really use that word) of the French new wave. He also used to be an editor for the Cahiers du Cinema, which is a snooty leftist film rag that also happened to employ no-names like Francois Truffaut and Jean-Luc Godard (who is still kicking, by the way). He was old then and he's ancient now.

His last movie came out two years ago when he was 87. Not bad at all.

While I'm neither a huge fan of Rohmer's or of the nouvelle vague, it's not every day that one of the original members of a world changing art movement kicks the bucket.

So, let's enjoy the trailer of the one movie of his that I've seen:

What the fuck kind of trailer was that?


Ah, much better.

Sheeeeeeeeeeyit

Well, I'm excited.

Though this little teaser has an uncanny resemblance to the opening of Down by Law:


But how the two are similar, I just can't put my finger on. . .

In conclusion, David Simon talks about his new show at the National Press Club.

In Between Saving the World


Sometimes Bond just has to tie one on and pass out. Because he earned it, damnit.

10 January, 2010

Simple.

"Make things as simple as possible, but not simpler."
--Albert Einstein

That's a pretty good quote, I think. I almost sounds like something my dad would say, but not yelled at the TV from behind a pile of Miller High Life bottles.

The Man Who Got Even With God


I just got my old PC back from the brink and, while I'm greatful, I never realzed just how much shit I saved onto this thing. I literally have four thousand images in my "Ninja and Pirate" folder (which, actually has more than just Pirates and Ninjas in it). And that's just the tip of the ice berg. It's frustrating. I have so much shit at my finger tips it's hard to tell up from down. I'm over inundated with files here.

But then I get cool finds like this book cover, which I have no idea where I originally found.

Look at This Crazy Person

I was perusing around for the history of "They Fell Into Captivity" and I found this woodcut image of an Egyptian caravan driver:


This fucker looks as crazy as a snake's asshole and he's got an armful of cats. It's like all of our crazy homeless people today had versions of themselves in the past and they all looked exactly the same as they do now. This leads me to believe that bums are like great white sharks or alligators-- they hit a good formula for survival and they're going to stick with it.

What's even more amazing is that a very specific kind of crazy homeless person-- the cat lady/man-- existed in the same exact form them as they do now. Fascinating.

But seriously, look at that crazy bastard.

(via this place)

They Fell Into Captivity


They Fell Into Captivity, 1885, by Bogdan Villevalde

Unlike The Black Brunswicker, I have no idea how I found this painting, but I'm glad I did. Like The Black Brunswicker, though, this painting is also supposed to take place during the Napoleonic Wars. It speaks to the quality of the painting that I almost feel bad for the Russians posed here. Almost.

The Black Brunswicker


The Black Brunswicker, 1860 by John Everet Millais

I like how I found this photo on the eve of me finishing the writing chores on my comic book. I like it because it's perfect for the story and I never would have found it unless I was looking for something completely different. Funny how these things work out.

Dawn


A German soldier, stationed in Afghanistan, lights a flair in the morning light.

(via the New York Times Lens)

09 January, 2010

Now That's Propaganda!


Do you hear the call? Uncle Shem wants you!

08 January, 2010

The Future is Retarded


And it's now!

ALIEN

If you weren't aware, Alien is one of my favorite movies of all time (and if you aren't, what's the matter with you?). It's certainly my favorite horror movie, I can tell you that.

Alien is also one of the select few movies I've ever watched that's actually given me money as opposed to taken money away from me.

(via OMG Posters)

On Girls and Guns

“All you need for a movie is a gun and a girl.” ~ Jean-Luc Godard

(via The Impossible Cool)

Salarymen


After watching Ikiru and The Bad Sleep Well and in light of the success of Mad Men, I realize that there's a massive, untapped market

Which is, of course, sharply dressed Asian men in the 1960's.

I call it Salarymen and it's about hard drinking, suicidal, fillandering, chauvantistic Japanese men in the post-war era doing what they do best: Business and chain-smoking.

It'll basically be the same show but with more karaoke, humidity, and ritual suicide.

It'll sell like hot cakes. Or steam buns or whatever.

(via Parts Hereto Unknown)

Letters to Walken?

Letters to Walken.

I'm pretty sure these aren't real, but like Jesus or Santa Claus, it's a better world believing that they are the genuine article.

More Bad Dudes in Time

As a good American and as a sound warmonger, I've never felt particularly bad for the victims of the two a-bombs in 1945-- at least from an objective, scientific, logical perspective. Obviously as a human being, it's hard not to feel bad for the hundreds of thousands of people who lost their lives for no real concrete reason other than "Your government sucks."

With that said, I'm glad that this guy is dead. I say that because he's clearly some kind of super human monstrosity and I can only imagine a world where he used his powers for evil rather than good. I shudder at the thought of such a world. But, with that said, with him in the ground we never have to worry about a world where Yamaguchi-san finally snaps in one of his atomic rages and kills the whole bloody lot of us.

What I'm saying is that if two atomic bombs can't kill the man, only God could help us if he ever went rogue. When people talk about hard men, they'll talk about gangsters or sheriffs or soldiers, but they'll never talk about people that just survive. I think it's safe to say that if you survive not one, but two atomic bombs, then you're a pretty hard mother fucker, because if that doesn't qualify you, then nothing does.

Are you in need of a good weep?

Because if you are, Akira Kurosawa's Ikiru is the movie for you.



I had trouble enough finishing the synopsis on the back of the box without tearing up, so when I finally ran through the movie, it straight up devastated me. Now, it is certainly true that the trailer for Billy Elliot also makes me break down like a child, but that shouldn't be taken as a slight against Kurosawa's movie about a dying man.



It's star, Takashi Shimura, also has one of the best faces in cinema. I've seen him in other movies before (actually, I've only seen him in Akira Kurosawa movies), though in none of those films was he its star. In Ikiru he's on screen most of the time and he's amazing. If there ever was a man that could put on a hang-dog look, I think it'd be Shimura. The dude knows how to look pitiful.

Sure the acting is a little off-- an unfortunate mix between the movie being from the 1950's and being Japanese-- but he (and his co-stars, many of which I recognize, again, from other Kurosawa movies) do an outstanding job. I'm fairly certain that Shimura could eat a bowl of soup on camera and I'd be tearing up. He's really got that well assembled of a face.

Seriously though, this movie will fucking break you.

05 January, 2010

Just Straight Illin'


Sometimes I see photos like this and I wonder if the homeless have it more figured out then we do. Then I remember that if they did, they wouldn't be homeless. Then I take a sip of champagne.

(via Vice DOs and DONTs, which I can't exactly link right now because of my computer being a massive gay shite)

Bad Mother Fucker


Watch your thetans, Isaac Hayes is loose and he don't look happy.

(Via Cinema is Dope)

Undertow


I just finished this little slice of souther gothic cinema and, after an opening thirty minutes that I was kind of lukewarm about, the shit suddenly hit the fan and I realized that I loved this movie. I wanted to get drunk with it off of a home still and go shooting owls with it in the middle of the woods, because I know if I ever went over to Undertow's house I wouldn't find a TV.

It reminded me of Shotgun Stories, another Southern Gothic-esque movie, and I was reminded of something my friend Will said about it which is that Shotgun Stories, "Was the best movie David Gordon Green that David Gordon Green didn't make." After seeing Undertow, I feel like that's a fair assessment of the situation.

Two things spoiler-free thoughts strike me:
1) Someone needs to buy that chick Kristen Stewart a smile. Stop moping. Just stop it.
2) I have never seen a movie so badly in need of a shampooing.

Actually, now that I think back on the movie, I realize that there's a third thing that struck me which is that I want to re-read Cormac McCarthy's Suttree, but I don't want to have to fight through another six hundred pages, especially knowing what lays for me at the end.

Anyways, it's on Instant Watch, so run, don't walk to see it. Just make sure you look where you're stepping.

04 January, 2010

Huh.

Apparently, at one point in the past, there might have been a hominid that was smarter than even we are.

“There’s just one thing we haven’t quite dared to mention. It’s this, and you won’t believe it. It’s all happened already. Back there in the past, ten thousand years ago. The man of the future, with the big brain, the small teeth. He lived in Africa. His brain was bigger than your brain. His face was straight and small, almost a child’s face.”

Interesting.

But of course we all know that this skull was placed there by God to confuse us. God does that a lot. Tricking people, I mean.

This.


This is what it's all about, folks.

(via Vice Do's and Don'ts)

What's it the secret, Errol?


"Gin."

(via The Impossible Cool)

Welcome to Siberia #9


Where herding reindeer ain't no goddamn joke.

(via English Russia)

Trans Sic Gloria Candy


The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp

"It addresses something I've always been profoundly interested in — what it means to be English ... it is about bigger things than the war. It takes a longer view of history which was an extraordinarily brave thing for someone to do in 1943, at a time when history seemed to have disintegrated into its most helpless, impossible and unforgivable state."
--Stephen Fry

A while back I saw The Life and Death of Colonel Candy and I have to say that I'm thoroughly impressed. It hits a whole series of notes that are perfectly in pitch with many of my interests-- World War II, technicolor, the Boer Wars, duels, red heads form England, and taxidermy. It's also an incredibly well written, acted, and directed film. That it was made during the height of World War II is even more impressive.

It should be stated that a film with a practical credit sequence, that is credits which appear on a drawing or a painting or, in this case, a tapestry, are easily twenty-five to thirty percent better. It's a simply fact of the visual arts that I do not entirely understand, but there it is. Any time a gong is hit a film also improves substantially in quality.


Another aspect of this film that I find wonderful is its love of the household and of stuffed animals-- taxidermied animals, more specifically. As a kid who grew up in a manor full of elephant feet, water buffalo heads, and petrified ravens, I love seeing a home that is full of these kind of grim, but beautiful things. A house filled with animal heads is a house that feels like home to me. It's a shame that all of the cool animals you'd ever want on your wall are incredibly illegal to trade in.

I have mixed feelings about hunting. Most people probably do (except for the people that out right hate it), but then again, there is something kind of amazing and thrilling about it. It's something that is usually shown in an ugly light and rightfully so. But it also shows how wonderful we are as a species, how we can basically go anywhere and do anything and come out on top. The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp is wonderfully unpolitically correct about this kind of thing and intentionally so, I mean, how are you going to make a film about the British gentry in the turn of the century if you aren't going to have an elephant shot at some point?

You can't, damnit! It's simply not done!


All this reminds me of another fantastic film I mentioned a few weeks back, The Naked Prey. It's a film which deals directly with hunting and imperialism in a far darker way than Colonel Blimp (of course, Colonel Blimp really isn't about either of those things, it's just in the background). The Naked Prey served as the inspiration of Apocalypto (a favorite of mine) and when you watch it, it becomes obvious why Mel Gibson, or anyone else, would want to borrow from it heavily. It mixes all of the basics of the American adventure genre and throws them into a far more interesting setting (the South African bush) with far more political and racial subject matter.

In a very tenuous way it's kind of a companion piece to Colonel Blimp, because neither both films are about things like the Apartheid government or Nazi Germany, rather they're dramas about a set of particular characters who happen to live in this world. There actually isn't a single battle in Colonel Blimp and the one fight that the movie is built up to ends entirely differently from how most other movies would end such an event.


Another similarity between the two film is that The Naked Prey (which was made in 1966) deals with the antagonists in the film (Africans of an unnamed tribe) with a balance and respect unusual for both the time and the location of the movie. It doesn't simply make the hunters persuing the main character obstacles to be overcome, they're people that are presumably as complex as the unnamed protagonist in the movie. Colonel Blimp treats its enemies with the same decency, while he combats Prussians, whipsnappers, and fogeys, they're all eventually shown in a favorable light, one that makes them more than just people with opposing values to the often clueless and boisterous colonel of the film's title. In either film the villains of the movie are far more likely to be friends with the main character than anyone else. It's simply time that seems to separate them.

It was a profound statement to say in 1966 that maybe Africans, even Africans with throwing spears can be as intelligent as any white man, I think it was even more profound to say that Germans could be just as humane and petty as any member of the Allied forces.


The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp understands that a man can be a man of peace and at the same time be a man who follows orders and shoots and people or gets into sword fights with them. This extends to things like war, as well. It's both and attractive thing and a grotesque thing (I mean, just look at their uniforms!) and it is something that we, as humans, will never, ever be able to entirely make sense of. Or do away with.

This is a movie made (partially) about World War II during World War II, and yet it isn't a movie that is entirely of the time. It still manages to be relevant to many issues we see in the news today.

The "issue" it talks about, even though the term "issue" was never used by those of the generation that made the film, is that of torture and of ungentlemanly warfare. People worried about it then and they worry about it now. Guantanomo Bay, Abu Ghraib, blacksites, drone wars, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera. Basically, somehow, Colonel Blimp brings up these timely issues and reminds us that even in 1943, when it was far more necessary to play rough that people were still concerned about being brutes.


There's one particular quote that I was struck by. It came about three-fourths into the movie and it comes from one of the good Colonel's friends. Not to spoil anything, but his friend has had a rather rough go of the 1930's and he argues with the Colonel about what he sees as foolishness and naivete.

"If you let yourself be defeated by them because you are too fair to hit back the same way they hit at you, there won't be any methods but Nazi methods. If you preach the rules of the game, while they use every foul and filthy trick against you, they'll laugh at you. They'll think you're weak, decadent."

It might not be great advice considering some of the uglier things America has been responsible for, but it's something to think about, especially considering that particular war. Sometimes a little bit of bad manners can go a long way, but you can only do that for so long before people start thinking of you as rude.


"I wonder if he's going to be a grand old man as you."

Though, at the end, if you ignore all everything else, this movie is about growing old, in all of its distinguishment and indignities. The Colonel is constantly transformed from one kind of person to another, from being a bachelor to being married to being a widower, from active duty to retirement and back again. Through through all of this he remains a soldier and in his own way (and thanks to a frame device), he is very much the same man in the beginning of the film as he is in the end. A profession which is more than just a job, it is his vocation. The Colonel is a man, for better or for worse, is comfortable with who he is and even at his lowest point doesn't forget this. It's why he's such a lovable character.

"My idea of perfection is Roger Livesey (my favorite actor) in The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp (my favorite film) about to fight Anton Walbrook (my other favorite actor)."

--David Mamet

(The photos are all from Google, except for the one of the hunter, which I believe is from Wikipedia)