Thursday, October 30, 2008

Kiss Kiss, Dang Dang.

A few posts ago, I wrote about Sarah Palin and how, at first, I wanted her to be more than she actually turned out.
Watching The Last Kiss just now, I feel the same way. I wanted to love it for many reasons:

A) I want to be Zach Braff, always and forever.
B) I want to have Rachel Bilson.
C) It's got a damn good soundtrack.
D) Paul Haggis is a damn good writer.
E) Blythe Danner, Tom Wilkinson, Casey Affleck, Jacinda Barrett
F) Everyone else bickered about its "downer" status. I love downer flicks! (It wasn't entirely downer, either. Flakes.)

But... perhaps like Palin, it constantly feels like the camera is rolling. Like the actors, save for Wilkinson, are waiting for "Cut" or just jumped from an "Action" cue, spitting imbibed lines. I love the themes here, but the plot seems trite and the story rushed, and... I think this kiss was too forced, like old biddy lipstick kisses. I had to choke it down.

The real downer ending is that, well, sometimes you can't love something you wanted to love.

Tuesday, October 28, 2008

The world is better in polaroid-vision

Sure am missing on Europe. Excitement like that—daily discoveries, constant foreignness, unwritable fantasies—are rare around these parts.
Made these with Poladroid. Be sure to download the English version.

Boom goes the microphone

While watching the fluffy, slightly awkward Jawbreaker today, I noticed a scene where the boom mic fell into the shot.

See it up there, in the middle?

I've caught this a number of times, in War of the Worlds, Junebug, Stranger than Fiction (debatably on purpose there) and a few others.
Entertainment Weekly's Owen Gleiberman has a good take on the matter, but I always feel sleuthy when discovering a slip like this. Nobody's perfect, and catching the quick glimpse of the boom entering the shot is like a cine-freak's Where's Waldo.

Monday, October 27, 2008

People, people

Two things sprung to mind while burning the oil on some homework this evening. I’m at a coffee shop, one of the more hipster ones.

First: What makes this lady so special that she gets to broadcast her music selections for the whole establishment? Half of them are distracting rather than soothing, and I fortunately have headphones and other music to overpower her poor taste. Surprisingly, nobody has spoken up and told her to hush it. Rude.

Second: Do people need personal victories each day? I think so. Presently, mine come in the form of good tips, or exercising, or watching a great film. When I get deep into writing or structuring a screenplay, that’s the biggest victory. Tonight, these two people have been bickering that the wireless connection is spotty. Every time the owner walks by, they scream some complaint or incantation, Heaven knows what, trying to alleviate their situation. One of the two is so set on fixing the problem that he hollers suggestions every few minutes. Dude, do you just need a little victory or something? Then play rock paper scissors with the music maven, winner gets to overpower the other’s obnoxious contributions to the decibel level in this place.

Dirr. I also find personal victories in venting.

Friday, October 24, 2008

music that soothes, caitlin is dumb

MixwitMixwit make a mixtapeMixwit mixtapes

Indie Movie Life

Today's work shift felt like a scene from an indie movie. I was chatting with a frequent customer in the corner booth, looking out the window onto Massachusetts Street, when an eerie thing occurred:

A man pushing a shopping cart inched by the window as the rain poured down, searching for a face with which to make eye contact; he found mine instantly. His eyes were bitter and his disposition sour. He was sporting a sleek full-body cat suit, a masculine Halle Berry downgrade. In his shopping cart—a tattered plastic baby doll, with a head full of brown, pigtailed hair. His glare was so stern it was humorous.

"Did you just see that?" I asked firefighter Jay, the daily customer.

"No, what?"

And I wasn't making it up. I saw the weirdo a few hours later, sans shopping cart, burping the doll. What the?!

Also, a man in my section was wearing a dress. In his defense, he was on a date, with a woman.

Larry is Austin's equally weird younger brother.

Wednesday, October 22, 2008

Who wants an Oscar?

My movie-faring partner Caitlin recently shared a sad revelation: we haven't had to go out of our way to see a film this year. By this time last year, our weekends were full with one or two movies each. This is typically Oscar season, or the start of it. Yet so far, nothing has come our way that seems to have solid enough reviews or buzz for awards. And when they do... the critics shoot them flat.

What in the heck is going to get nominated this year? And who? The trailer for The Visitor was great, but the film was a yawn. Vicky Cristina Barcelona was one of my favorites (certainly the best of the year), but people still seem mum.

I anxiously await Rachel Getting Married, Doubt, Frost/Nixon, Australia, Revolutionary Road, Slumdog Millionaire, The Wrestler, The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, Milk and I've Loved You So Long (that is a long list, yet here I sit with next to no options). But when High School Musical 3's review is better than Changeling's and Synecdoche, New York's... I wonder if the other promising films will fall horribly short of the mark, a la Body of Lies.

Where's my Michael Clayton, my Assassination of Jesse James, my Into the Wild? Right now, the only film I've seen that seems to have a Best Picture shot is The Dark Knight, and justifiably so. Otherwise, I'll have to wait for the non-buzzed, super-hyped, anxiously awaited Quantum of Solace while enjoying my overdose of solace and quantum of extra cash. Looks like it's rentals for this kid.

Tuesday, October 21, 2008

Six weeks ago, this was the best election ever.

And now I think it's one of the worst. Maybe it's my fatigue, and I'm sure most of you agree. I want it over, and I am not particularly excited about either pair.

It was when Palin was first introduced that I was elated with things. My Obama fatigue had already hit, and it fascinated me that McCain chose somebody so far away from prognostications. From the PR standpoint, it was a brilliant move. It took the media away from Obama for weeks, and for a while, the plan was foolproof. She's new to the practice, so they couldn't bring any heat on her. Nobody knew enough about her; she truly was a rogue. But now the media has had its fill; her interviews haven't helped. I don't look down at Palin because she leveraged a family member or this "shocking" revelation that her children flew to events on Alaskan funds. Give me a break. If that's all they can pull up on her past, then sign me up. However, it is her backwards steps that have me off kilter. I do appreciate candidates with strong religious convictions; I think that's an admirable trait. But she is too far to the right, just as I believe Obama is too far to the left. I loved for a couple weeks that my extreme leftish friends had to shut the hell up, because conservatives had their own renegade to follow. It was much shorter lived, seeing as the democratic renegade is likely the next president and rode his popularity for the past four years. Even this last push to the polls clearly shows people riding his wave higher than McCain's. Then again, I am secluded to my campus world.

I just don't see how Obama's background makes him any more qualified for the job; he's just lucky to have had 4 years to raise funds, supporters, and read up on foreign policy, etc. Poor Palin got a few days' notice. I never would have said this before, but I am starting to believe if Hillary wasn't the better choice between the two.

I think I just wanted Palin to be somebody she isn't. Or rather, she won't get the opportunity to be that person, because she has been so battered by the media. I think Alaska will do with her whatever she opts: she could very well be a senator in a few years. But her national image was nothing, and then it was brilliant for a week, and now... it's tarnished. I wanted equilibrium—a Republican answer to Barack Obama. It just wasn't researched enough, or the steam died too soon. But she wasn't ready. I wanted her to be; I wanted her interviews and her debates to be as "mavericky" as her convention speech. Nope. She did well on SNL, though. Heeeeey.

And, courtesy of JJ's linking it, here's a hilarious mash-up with Everyone's "favorite" hockey mom and everyone's favorite pregnant law enforcer:

I'm fine with Obama. That's it... I'm fine. It's a tepid feeling at best. I do hope he surprises me if elected. I love his passion, his ability to unite the masses, and I am optimistic that our global positioning will improve; I understand the hooplah. But I can't help but feel that everyone has been manipulated by pop culture. Those leftist friends I referenced earlier can't solidly defend Obama to counteract the way they bash Palin, and vice verse for the righties. They hate one for the same reason they love the other. It's utterly ridiculous how hypocritical people are, and how personal they take things. And the two men with an actual voting record, with actual experience and political promise—McCain and Biden—are getting quite overshadowed by the rookies.

Also, I have faith that the other two branches of government can keep things in order. As far as I'm concerned, we need a definitive change from the current state of affairs. Both tickets promise exactly that. Just let it be November. Heck, let it be January, let's see the change that the winner wants to implement, and let's get the next campaign started four years out this time.

Monday, October 20, 2008

Before Sunrise/Sunset

For proof that you don't need multimillion dollar special effects to tell a brilliant story:

These are two of the best films I have ever, (repeat: ever) seen, and the continuous dialogue between Delpy and Hawke is more engaging than any Michael Bay explosion. Both films center on a chance meeting between the two. Before Sunrise is in 1995, on their first encounter. They meet on a train to Vienna and are so taken with one another that they agree to spend the next day together before his flight and her next train; the day and night are spent walking around the city sharing a host of intellectual musings. They are clearly perfect for one another but the timing is not.
Before Sunset is the sequel, set one decade later, on a slightly less random encounter. The dialogue takes a new direction, discussing a failed attempt at a reunion, and a second chance at love.
Perfection. Perfect writing, perfect casting, perfect direction. Delpy is a dream, and Hawke complements her well. There is so much truth and transparency in these films. It's no wonder Hollywood can't pick up on them, or that the American people won't drop tens of millions. It's because these films are intelligent, and ask the viewer to invest themselves in the character's lives. If you're a heavy reader of books, I recommend this pair of films highly.

Knowing what you want

Something about me that often solicits comments from friends: I always seem to know what I want, both short and long term. This isn’t entirely true, but I do admit that my decisions are almost entirely based on getting from a definitive point A to a definitive point B.

Because point B is a little compromised in definitiveness right now, I’ve been mulling on what exactly I do want for the long haul. I’m trying to see how it can all fit together, how it can all be accomplished. Let me paint the picture for you:

• First and foremost: A family. An open-minded wife with a free spirit. Not liberal or conservative, but a thinker, like me. Moderate and mellow. And kids to raise in this fashion. I think having kids would be the most rewarding thing that life can offer. Oh, and ideally my wife will have similar career interests as me, or is at least ambitious in her own career. I want to split parenting 50/50 across the board.
• Locale: Well, I’m not entirely stoked about moving to LA. For now, I see the move as temporary, perhaps just a few years. Long enough to build contacts and expand my role in the industry elsewhere (read: NY, San Fran, Seattle, Chicago, Boston, Europe, Australia). Because I’d like to travel more and live in a number of places before I ultimately “settle down”, I don’t see how I’ll last in LA all that long, unless something wholly promising or addictive keeps me there. Who knows, I could always return. I’m just not ready to stand still, and I may as well move somewhere that requires a vehicle while I still have the current one and am paying loans on it.
• Work: I’d like a job that travels. Film festivals would be perfect. Man, if my yearly routine meant Telluride, Cannes, Rome, Berlinale, Sundance, Karlovy-Vary, San Francisco, Toronto, Tribeca… what a life! Or, if I could work on film/tv productions and go on location, I’d simply be beside myself. Travel. Is. A. Must. I expect to travel with my family very often. I want to move a lot, as aforementioned. I don’t care about material things. I want things I can see and remember, not see and keep. If you keep it, then you have to move it when you also move. That’s just annoying.
• Also, I want a career that doesn’t require a résumé. I never want to be concerned about “moving up” or playing politics. That’s just dumb, and a waste of time and friendships.
• I need to write, for the rest of my life. And get skilled in photography. Whenever I die, I want things to have been documented, regardless of anybody ever caring. That is how I find fulfillment—knowing I reflected, shaved off the corners, and drew full circles around my experiences.

As I step into the first phase of the working world, I know I need to build contacts, build a reputation as a hard worker, and get connected from one thing to he next, simply so I can achieve these other things. Ideally the pieces will subsequently fall into place, but I’m leaving room for chance, for fate, for fortune.

I really like my outlook on life at this moment. Yesterday I thought to myself how the place I’m at right now, mentally and spiritually and emotionally, is the most healthy it has ever been. I’m not pessimistic, I am naïve enough to dive off the deep end, I don’t have a lot of chips with which to gamble, and I possess enough fear to take cautious and rational steps. It’s the perfect balance. Translating this to the future would be the icing.

Friday, October 17, 2008


A good day following a bad day can really change your perspective. Life, you're such a tease.

In other news: this is the most perfect season for Kansas weather.

My heart beats on for Lawrence in the fall.

Building immunity

It's difficult to lay a finger on what I am feeling. I want to be inspired, like I was for so much of this year. But it seems an impossibility with my schedule. When I am not in school, I am at work. When I am not at work, I am exercising or doing homework. When I am not applying myself to either of those, I am relaxing because I need the break.

Work got bad on Wednesday. It isn't worth explaining, but I was basically equated to a worthless, helpless worm by a superior. It's funny how sometimes people see exactly what they want to see. It also doesn't help when said people are potentially bipolar.

Here's what he should have seen: The kid has a table of 11 people, and just got triple-seated on top of that. He's pretty overwhelmed.

Here's what he saw: Why isn't the kid getting waters to his new table? Maybe I should curse at him and remind him how inferior he is.

Boy, waiting tables can teach you a lot. I thought just my host and busing experience for 4 years taught me a lot. I had no idea. And it seems I screw up everything at least once. For instance, last week I shook the iced tea dispenser to see if it was full. To gauge it, I looked through the tiny window on the front. Nothing moved. It's empty, I thought. Well, I was wrong. It was full of water, and because of that, it looked empty through the window, and I set it to fill itself up. I returned 10 minutes later, the whole floor and counter covered in tea. Whoops.

Having a job that I don't necessarily look forward to is also good for me right now. For one, I really need to build up my immunity. I need to walk in, face the fact that somebody doesn't like me for completely illegitimate reasons, and deal with it. Other people like me. Serving tables isn't something I'm very good at, and that's not a major disappointment to me. It just motivates me to get a good job after I graduate; one that caters to my interests and doesn't haunt me when I'm off the clock.

I want to be in control of my mood, and in control of my mind. I also want to be inspired, to come home and feel energized enough to write or read. My free time right now exists to dilute my brain from everything else. My head is on a clock until I get to come home to Sioux Falls in November. This next month is an endurance test.

Woo, fall break. Sooo fun.

Wednesday, October 15, 2008

For update's sake

Hi friends and famdamily.
I miss you all.
Going through a hard time.
Paycheck to paycheck.
One journalism class in particular is controlling my life.
Work is OK, I like the people, but don't like waiting tables. It's motivation to move up and out after graduation, to find a real job.
The "real job" part is a real headache. It's hard to network with California folk from Kansas.
Grad school seems sillier than ever to me right now.
I wish I had a girlfriend.
I wish I had a savings account.
I wish I had stability.

I gave up drinking for a while. Partially to save money, but mostly for my immediate health. I feel so much better when I don't drink. It has never been a problem, and I may have a "worthy" beer from time to time. But I'm exercising a lot more and eating a lot better. My mental health is great, save for the ruminating I do about 2009.

Let me reiterate,
I miss you all.