A Graphic Novel That Moved

Sin City (2005)

…and for the art-house approach to cinematography, I give it 1 star. There were no other redeeming qualities to the film. Without a doubt the longest 2 hours of my life. I would have sworn it was at least 3 hours.

There is no cohesive plot to speak of. (not even the disconnected plot line of “pulp fiction”, which this film has been edited to emulate; ergo the “Guest director” credit to Quentin Tarantino I’m sure) The acting is reasonably solid, and the cast was well selected; yet the film was doomed from the outset (like many before it) by it’s lack of a properly crafted script. The jumps from story segment to story segment are jarring and hard to follow. Nor does the dialog seem natural; it comes out as if the actors are reading it off a page.

The symbology of introduced color does not appear to be consistent (Blue obviously means falseness or error in the film. But red means what? And why is there a Ferengi in the last segment? Was not aware this was a Star Trek film) Nor does the “graphic novel” approach to lighting and effects really lend itself to the cinema experience. This was, perhaps, the fatal flaw in approaching this film as a true “art film” experience; the lack of an internally consistent and recognizable symbology.

All and all a pretty poor film.

IMdb

A screwball comedy as Big as Texas

Lone Star State of Mind (2002)

“Didn’t I kill you once already, boy?”

Baby

That line still cracks me up. If you’re looking for reality, look somewhere else. If you are looking for some laughs while watching a group of impossible characters attempt what should be a simple task that turns out not to be simple at all; a quest that leads to getting shot, mutilated or run over by a truck (sounds horrible, don’t it? It’s a hoot) This is the movie for you.

IMDb


Editor’s note 2019. The Wife can be seen sitting at a table in one of the restaurant scenes. It also features a rare appearance by John Mellencamp. Yes, that John Mellencamp.

The Most Depressing Film I’ve Ever Seen

What Dreams May Come (1998)

I expected more from this film. The pre-release cinematography was gorgeous but the story.. Man. The kids die, the wife dies the main character dies. Depressing, horrible stuff and she goes to hell and everything gets worse. None of this is really a spoiler (even though IMDb has flagged this review as containing spoilers) because all of that happens in the first act of the film. It has to happen for there to be any story to tell in this movie. The entire rest of the film is spent getting back out of hell. You have to have some belief in an afterlife to have any reason to watch this film.

Cuba Gooding’s brief appearance is the only and I repeat ONLY positive moment in the entire film. A nasty depressing ride I can skip ever seeing again.

IMDb


Editor’s note 2019. Yes. I get it. It is supposed to be a tribute to undying love. I’m not buying the premise, and if I’m not buying the premise, the film doesn’t work.

An Introspective Look at Indie Filmmaking

Shoot or Be Shot (2002)

It’s an Aleatoric film.

I attended the premier in Austin, Texas. I enjoyed it immensely, especially meeting the cast members for questions afterwards. Sure the edit could use a bit of tightening, but the dialog was witty to sarcastic.

Harry Hamlin and William Shatner delivered solid performances. I have friends and family working in independent film and they completely got into this movie. Sad news folks. those people really are crazy. The real question is what is crazy in relation to film making? If you are making an independent feature, you are pretty close to certifiable already.

IMDb


Editor’s note 2019. The Wife borrowed my IMDb account to write that one lo these many years ago. I spruced it up a bit. We still tell the aleatoric joke to each other when we are watching something that reeks of needing a decent script.

My Favorite Fairytale

Joe Versus the Volcano (1990)

Joe Versus The Volcano (1990) Official Trailer

This is perhaps the most wrongfully maligned film in all of movie history. Everyone I meet hates this film, aside from the lead singer of Abney Park. He wrote a song about it. I’ve watched this film too many times to count. It was my favorite stoner film for a long, long time.

Stoner film? A movie you watch while you are high. Forget Cheech & Chong. Forget Heavy Metal. Forget Dude Where’s My Car. All of those are good. None of them end with a guy jumping into a volcano with his true love. A movie featuring Fish as the native chief who shows Joe which path he has to follow.

The crooked road. The crooked road that he takes to work. The crooked road that mars the plaster in his apartment. The crooked road is everywhere in the film, as is Melanie Griffith who shows off her acting chops by credibly presenting several different characters with the same face.

The New York accent that always sends him down the wrong path. Poor Joe. Repeatedly sent the wrong way by people who use him, yet he always manages to find something of value everywhere he goes.

The mistake everyone makes is taking this movie seriously. It’s not serious. The thing I find most mystifying is that anyone would try to take a film seriously that starts with Once Upon a Time and ends with …And They Lived Happily Ever After. It’s a fairytale. The best fairytale. Try reading Mother Goose or the Brothers Grimm and then get back to me. None of them can hold a candle to this movie.

They just pay me to drive the limo, sir. I’m not here to tell you who you are.

Marshall, performed by Ossie Davis written by John Patrick Shanley

IMdb

Things You Wish Your Computer Had


I created none of these. These images were the content of an eMailed Microsoft Office Document that I received about 20 years ago. I have no idea who created these, although the doc itself has a creation date of 01/24/2001 and the author’s name was set to Steve Brook of WGBH Interactive. It made me laugh. I am backdating this post to that date.

But You Get to Eat Ice Cream for Dinner!

In 1974 my tonsils tried to kill me by strangulation and so my parents found a surgeon to cut them out. This was merely a pause in the lifelong battle I’ve waged with allergies, a battle with my own immune system. The surgery marks my earliest memory of hospitals. Of medical care. My throat hurt for a long time after that, but I didn’t care because I got milkshakes for meals while I healed. As many as I wanted.

Ear infections were a common thing. I learned through repetition to let my mother know when my hearing changed, when my ears started hurting. The doctor’s office, dentist’s office and the hospital were less than a block away from our home in that small town. The county hospital shared the same alleyway with my home, with the emergency entrance at the end of the muddy alleyway behind the next door neighbor’s house. I don’t recall a single time that the emergency entrance was used at the hospital, although I’m sure my memory is in error.

I played in the mud of that alleyway for many years. I rode my bike through the potholes in the dirt track every summer that I lived there. Rode that same bike to the county pool that was two blocks away as often as I could. I would have lived in that pool if I could have figured out how to sleep there. However, frequent trips to the pool lead to frequent sinus infections and being banned from the pool for weeks at a time, so I had to make sure to get the water to drain out of my sinuses every time I went swimming, a miserable process of laying my face on the hot concrete at just this particular angle, so that the water could be coaxed into leaving the tied up passages in my head.

Entry 2 of the Meniere’s Story that I’m working on.

The First Time I Realized I Was Different

I am laying on the ground with the world spinning around me. I grip the earth with my hands, the grass blades poking me between my fingers, but the sky continues its kaleidoscope whirl over my head. My stomach knots into a hard ball and I vomit onto the earth under my cheek. Failure.

I’ve failed again. I’m not tough enough. I’m not strong enough. I’m never going to be good enough. I can’t even handle riding on a merry-go-round much less do anything more important in my young life.

I must have been seven or eight at the time, although this was an experience repeated many times so it is hard to separate one memory of nausea from the thousands of other memories of nausea. Spinning rides predominate amusement parks and playgrounds across the United States and probably all across the world. Tilt-a-Whirl. Teacups. These amusements have almost never been amusing to me.

I laughed along with the other children, when we would go to these places. I pretended not to be sickened by the spinning that took forever to stop in my head. You play along, as a child. You don’t want to be the spoilsport. The stick in the mud. You don’t want to be teased for being different, so you conform to the norms expected of you and never question why they are norms if you can’t achieve them. You pretend not to be ill, until you can’t pretend anymore.

Part of the Meniere’s Story That I’m generating as a page.