Monday, January 28, 2008

your gardens and bridges green with shit came running i'm back


This is a painting a friend of a friend of mine made called "DEATH TO BLOG," but this blog lives; listen, I got a real job, where I make phone calls and fill out purchase orders and try to learn FileMaker Pro and act very concerned when paperwork goes astray, and it is at a non-profit so my heart's supposed to be in it, which means first, less blog-time and second, when I am not at work I want not to see a computer but rather to listen to Morbid Angel or Fleetwood Mac, steam myself some vegetables and mix up some tahini sauce, drink this one kind of $10.99 shiraz, and read novels so late into the night that I cut it real close arriving at this real job every morning, and I'm gonna take my tax refund post-my tuition write-offs and get "wack boug" knuck tats. SIKE! I'm not hating, I promise.

The best snack I've eaten since I stopped posting in this blog is this kind of Ritz Cracker I can't find a picture of on the internet because I can't recall its name, but their thinness amplifies their faux-butteriness in a sort of sharp, irresistible way. I ate them in my coworker's car somewhere in New Jersey.

The best movie I have seen, by far, is not really a movie but rather the 6-hour or whatever TV version of Fanny and Alexander.

Let me say first that I haven't liked any of the three or four other Bergman films I've seen; I find their intensity both forced and coercive. I had no idea that he could (or would) do something like this.

After you watch something for that long a period of time, you necessarily feel a little shaky heading back out into the world. When you sit in front of a TV for six hours (and I can recall for you one particular string of Memorial Day Weekend Law and Order franchise marathons), you stand up and feel blunt all over, your muscles slack and your brain unable to point itself directly towards anything you'd want it to focus on; you open the wrong door in the kitchen looking for pretzels, you wander into dark rooms thinking "ah, this is just my parents' house, but the TV has just told me a criminal's likely lurking here, but I'm too checked the fuck out to remember to turn the light on and find out one way or the other." That's why going to the movies in New York is the best--as soon as you leave the theater, you're shocked, cold-water style, into being a person again, since it's bright even though it's night-time and you need to wend your way back to the subway and skirt the usual cabs and jocks, and what stays with you from the movie in those moments are probably the things from the movie, whether moments or moods or whatever, that were the truest. When I left Fanny and Alexander, I felt confident that I was walking around in a world where I might come across a ghost at any moment and it'd be cool, just kind of the way things are.

"Sumptuous," I think, one might call this in writing its DVD-box blurb. I wrote that thinking of the red velveteen interiors of the opening Christmas segments, of the loving shots of the smorgasbord and of the beautiful grandmother (this blog, I swear it, is going to have a long post on amazing old ladies someday soon), but the adjective might apply as well to the emotions expended in the film. One could as easily describe the professor uncle's infantile rage/affection towards his wife as "lavish" as one could term the set design. As soon as the movie goes over-the-top, though, it slips back into something recognizable or genuine.

Let me digress for a sec and talk about There Will Be Blood, a movie so perfect in its pitch and tone, so well-shot and controlled for almost precisely its first half, that loses itself so badly in its second (I drew a really accurate hand-graph of the movie's failures at a party a while ago that I would reproduce in Paint except I'm on a stupid Mac). Anyway, Fanny and Alexander never unwinds like that. The terrifying but lil'cheesy girl-ghost-twins appear for no longer than they ought to and do not return; the old Jew's legend flies repeatedly off into a fantasy realm but lingers on his face and closed eyes, letting you feel as bewitched by his own tale as he and Alexander.

The closest thing I have experienced to watching this is the times when I'd sit and watch as many episodes of Twin Peaks as I could get from Kim's, but F + A has depth in addition to its trickery, where TP (which I'm not hating on, hey!) settles itself in vague irony. Nonetheless, you rouse yourself from the couch and don't even need to dream about B.O.B. since you imagine him so vividly around the corner. That's how alive Fanny and Alexander is, I guess I mean to say.

Anywayx2, it's about a big tight family in turn-of-the-century Sweden, and what happens after tragedy strikes it suddenly and tears little Fanny and Alexander and their mother away. You should watch it, I think, and since it was made for TV, whatever I said above, you can totally see it at home, since they just show it in HD in the theater anyway.

Wednesday, January 23, 2008


Towards the end of Lords of Dogtown, arrogant skate-shop owner Heath has been abandoned by the Z-Boy skaters for better and more legitimate sponsors, for drugs or trouble. Fame and women drift away, and he finds himself reduced to sanding surfboards in the back room of what was once his own shop. His hair mangy, a cigarette drooping from his lip, he notes "Maggie May" coming on the radio and sings along, as much as one can sing while you're sanding and smoking. The moment has a weird and rueful power and represent, for me, the apex of Mr. Ledger's acting prowess.

(I'm back, Layla)