Saturday, May 04, 2013

Kermit & Steve


20 Film Stars

I came across a list titled "20 Film Stars You Definitely Won't Remember in 20 Years," and since I didn't do a list here like I originally planned this week, I thought I'd comment on this one. I'm always intrigued by lists that use words like "definitely" or "obviously" or "you probably believe" or "you never knew" or especially lists of movies "you've never seen," because I find those qualifiers a tad insulting and needlessly aggressive. So here's a little commentary on the people I "definitely" won't remember in 2033.

20. Taylor Kitsch
I'll always remember Taylor Kitsch because I absolutely loved John Carter and Friday Night Lights. Now, it might be framed as "Boy, whatever happened to Taylor Kitsch, remember that summer Hollywood insisted he was a movie star and America said no?" But I'll always remember him.

19. Brendan Fraser
Not if my wife has anything to say about it. Actually, Fraser's starred in a number of movies I just outright love, including one of the films cited in this entry as terrible, Looney Tunes: Back in Action. He's pretty much fading into obscurity already, and his movie career seems pretty much over, but I have a lot of flicks to remember him by.

18. Ron Perlman
Bullshit. There's always going to be work for a guy like Ron Perlman. He may not be a leading man, but he's a go to creature actor and a fantastic character actor. Shit, the oldest movie I've seen him in is back 32 years now. The guy's no movie star, but he's going to take a while to forget.

17. Hayden Christensen
No one from any Star Wars movies will be totally forgotten. He may not have a career--hell, he barely has one now--but he won't be forgotten, even if in your heart of fanboy hearts you think the Prequels will somehow fade into obscurity. (They won't.)

16. Jason Statham
I don't have the energy to care about Statham, but I figure his career path will probably be like Chuck Norris': he makes risible films, stars on a long-running syndicated action series for rednecks, goes into infomercials, and then because someone on the internet remembers how "awesome" his movies were when they were six, he becomes a meme, and then we never get rid of the guy and no matter what kind of horrible shit he says on the internet, you can never talk reasonably about it because some fuckwit who thinks macros are replacements for wit wanders into the conversation to say "A watched pot instantly boils for Jason Statham!"

15. Kevin James
Dear god, I hope so.

14. Leslie Mann
That's a possibility, especially as Judd Apatow's films become more frustrating and polarizing. I think when his career fades out (and I think it will), she'll probably go with him, just because she's so identified with this sort of nasty side of his films. It's too bad, because I love her, but I think the characters she plays in her husband's movies can be so hard for men to take that no one wants to put her in other roles. Maybe she'll get an HBO series like Enlightened or something in a few years. But I think when she's gone, she's gone. Then again, if being in The Cable Guy didn't kill her off, who knows?

13. Sam Worthington
I don't even remember him now. And apparently I've seen him in a couple of very bad movies.

12. Luke Wilson
Why the hell did this even happen in the first place? Boring, boring, lifeless, dull, boring.

11. Tom Felton
Not as long as the Harry Potter movies live on, and considering how young its youngest fans are, that's going to be a long, long time. Again, like Hayden Christensen, he may not have much of a career going forward, but he won't be forgotten. (Aside: I do love the original author's assertion that Felton's role in Rise of the Planet of the Apes was "several years ago." Apparently 21 months is now "several years ago.")

10. Justin Bartha
Who even remembers him now?

9. Danny McBride
I love Danny McBride. Love him.

8. Anna Faris
That seems to be happening already. What happened with her? I loved her.

7. Megan Fox
Her career will be very hard to get back on track, but I think she'll be remembered a bit as one of our many momentary It Girls. I mean, the tabloids still talk about Shannon Elizabeth and Denise Richards. Not in a positive way, but that's still being remembered. And as much as I don't like Fox, I still defend her against the whole Michael Bay situation and I think she was good in Jennifer's Body.

6. Shia LaBeouf
I used to defend his talent, but it seems to have gone up his ass along with his ego. You have to be very stupid to have what he had and then just blow it. Seriously, look at Tom Cruise: he's dull and not very talented and is in this weird cycle where his movies always seem desperate to make you believe he's 32, but people work with him and his movies make a lot of money. Even with his weird cult, he's still a movie star. Everyone agrees he's weird and unlikable, but his movies still make money. I don't think anything short of being caught in bed with a dead child is going to derail that motherfucker. All LaBeouf had to do was be ungrateful and basically tell Spielberg to go fuck himself, and that was it. Game over. Once you've pissed of Spielberg, obscurity awaits. And since those Transformers movies are pretty ephemeral, I think the only way LaBeouf is going to be remembered in another decade is as the guy who helped make the fourth Indiana Jones movie so reviled among a lot of movie fans.

5. Zac Efron
My penis says otherwise.

4. Renee Zellweger
There was a time, about 15 years ago, when I would actually go to see a movie just because she was in it. I'd say that's not the case anymore, but when would I have had the opportunity? It's a shame about that. She was talented, she won an Oscar, and Bridget Jones's Diary is wonderful. She's such a non-presence now. I think the last movie I saw her in was Appaloosa, a movie I wanted to like but didn't.

3. Katherine Heigl
I think Heigl's problem--and she made the same mistake as LaBeouf of badmouthing where she came from--is that she's just not that interesting as an actor. She's not deeply talented. She's pretty, but bland. And she tried so hard to be a romantic comedy lead when the simple face was that she just wasn't funny. Or likable. I think it's pretty much over for her and she's already fading into obscurity. You can't even really count on her rabid defenders so much anymore.

2. Taylor Lautner
He'll always be the Shirtless One from the Twilight movies, but his career probably won't amount to much. There are too many women in the world who named their kid Bella to ever really forget Taylor Lautner.

1. Channing Tatum
Duller than ditch water but people seem to like him. Not my type of sexy. I like Zac Efron.

Don't Touch Pac-Man

Friday, May 03, 2013

Wednesday, May 01, 2013

Film Week

A review of the films I've seen this past week.

COMPULSION (1959)
Riveting crime drama based on the Leopold and Loeb murder trial. Bradford Dillman and Dean Stockwell are excellent as the sociopathic college students who commit "the perfect crime" in order to prove how intelligent they are. There's a lot of subtext going on, but the film never loses sight of the emotional state of the characters or the mechanics of the investigation, bringing in Orson Welles in the film's second hour as a Clarence Darrow analogue who makes an impassioned plea against the inhumanity of capital punishment. ****

THE GIRL WITH THE DRAGON TATTOO (2009) ****
THE GIRL WHO PLAYED WITH FIRE (2009) ***1/2
THE GIRL WHO KICKED THE HORNET'S NEST (2009) ***
Stieg Larsson's Millennium Trilogy plays really well all in one day, though the returns do diminish over time (I felt Hornet's Nest was mainly the trial mopping up the relatively more action-oriented dealings of Fire; it was compelling, but a little more static). I think Noomi Rapace is very human and intriguing as Lisbeth Salander, and I like the weary humanity of the whole thing. It's not slick, but it's organic, and I like that very much.

INSERTS (1974)
Interesting, bizarre, angry film about a silent film director reduced to making pornos in his living room for hustlers. Richard Dreyfuss stars in a performance that is interesting but at times a little too modern for the level everyone else is pitched at. I was surprised at not only how graphic this flick was, but how really intense and psychosexual. It's also stagey, taking place in one room in real time, but that wasn't a drawback to me because so much of the dialogue carried it, and particularly the performances of Bob Hoskins and Veronica Cartwright. Not totally a success, but it at least tries to be a serious movie about sex, which is hard to pull off. ***

CUTTER'S WAY (1981)
Great, modest, character-driven thriller about a man who may have witnessed a murder (Jeff Bridges as Richard Bone) and his friend (John Heard as Alex Cutter), a war veteran and alcoholic who is more or less drifting through the days and who becomes obsessed with uncovering the murderer's identity. It really is a fantastic thriller, but the film is more interested in the characters and their relationships, and that adds a unique layer and an edge of sadness to the proceedings that is riveting. John Heard's performance is tremendous. This feels like something of a lost should-have-been classic. Is this even a cult movie? It deserves to be. ***1/2

THE HAPPY HOOKER (1975)
Extremely dull and not insightful, but Lynn Redgrave is charming. *

Lovely Liv


Tuesday, April 30, 2013

Health Report Update

I am no longer in suicide intervention. I've been graduated out of the program and am now at an absent-to-mild risk of suicide. I can still go and see my suicide counselor if I have to, but I'm not on regular appointments with her anymore.

I had a really hard time this weekend, what with Becca gone to C2E2 and being all alone for days. I didn't handle it well. I felt sort of extra-alone this weekend, and instead of trying to make human contact, I just sort of wallowed in it. I had a return to suicidal thoughts, but I didn't find them comforting anymore, which according to my suicide counselor means that I've made a fundamental change in thinking.

I also feel more confident and more equipped to emotionally regulate my reactions to frustration and anger and despair. Not having the unhealthy coping mechanism of thinking about killing myself was the point of this treatment, and I've gone over that hurdle. I feel relieved.

I actually thought after having suicidal thoughts and a panic attack on Saturday evening that she'd tell me I still needed the program, but the whole point of this was to stop thinking of suicide as something comforting, and I've done that. The rest is for me and my therapist to work on. I'm not "fixed" or anything, but I've made a real change, and I'm going to try hard not to let myself think that one failure negates all the success I've been having.

My counselor told me today that I need to give myself a break and stop punishing myself and stop thinking that I don't deserve to be happy or even comfortable. That's a change in thinking that's going to be a lot harder for me. I've learned that I don't really feel happiness or excitement as deeply and fully and powerfully as I feel sadness and anger and frustration. I have a lot of empathy for others, but none for myself. I don't often let myself celebrate successes, which I'm sure you can tell from the tone of this post. I feel like I'm just being informational instead of enthusiastic. That part's still hard for me. Making my successes more meaningful than my failures is something I'm going to have a hard time with, because I don't really know how to enjoy the moment as much as I'd like to, but I do know perfectly well how to tear myself down for failing.

But I'm not at risk for suicide anymore, which does make me feel confident.

Sunday, April 28, 2013

Song of the Week: "Jane B."

The luminous Jane Birkin, from the album Jane Birkin/Serge Gainsbourg, from 1969. (After Chopin.)