Recommended if you like The Delgados and The Magnetic Fields
Recommended if you like The Delgados and The Magnetic Fields
Recommended if you like Leonard Cohen.
The bird on the wire.
What a horrible day.
My favorite holiday.
To understand young men whom the economy has left behind.
Young men turning to violence and mischief.
Hating the state.
No more funicular.
Reach out to someone with PTSD today.
Even if you don’t have the right thing to say.
Just make an effort.
Sure, I want someone to give a fuck about me.
It sucks to be thoroughly disrespected.
This film is better than Jojo Rabbit.
But it has no sense of humor.
Living hand-to-mouth is not funny.
Homeschooling is the best.
But our society has been ruined.
Our societies have been ruined.
Hearing helicopters is too much.
Bringing you back to a mind frame where no moment is safe.
This film is no Hanna.
But this is still a poignant story.
Saoirse has lost her touch.
It was all too much for Thora and Dennings.
Thomasin is the hope for acting.
The best actress working today.
But she has only made one film that is good.
And that film is perfect.
And that film is Last Night in Soho.
Living off the grid.
War is hard on kids.
Kids want to play.
We need fun.
All work and no play makes us fucking crazy.
God bless the truckers who are reclaiming our freedoms.
Sitting on a velvet couch in a cabin.
For years living on the forrest floor.
Now to curl your feet up sideways.
It means something.
It all means something.
And we are back to hellish life.
Get to know your neighbors.
My life has been stolen.
But I have successfully stopped drinking.
Haven’t touched the stuff for well over a year.
And I have successfully quit tobacco.
Haven’t touched the stuff for well over a year.
No nicotine up in here.
The challenge is living with something like GAD.
Sounds so easy.
But tack onto that tachycardia.
A level serious enough to require medication.
And tack onto that high blood pressure.
A level serious enough to require medication.
Good luck relaxing.
Good luck being independent of medications.
My daily struggle and challenge is to become less dependent on my medications.
It is like building a fucking pyramid.
The progress is infinitesimally-small.
Some days are a step backwards.
Tallying it up.
Am I making progress?
S L O W.
Very disheartening to be alone again.
All for naught.
She needed to be the fucked-up one.
But I got problems too.
I’m trying not to judge.
I’m still trying to reach out.
On my favorite holiday.
With a hole in my heart.
What’s your joy?
I just dream of an actress from New Zealand.
Because her story speaks to me.
It is the hope that someone out there will love me in spite of all my flaws.
I look really bad on paper.
Because I am really bad in reality.
But I am still a person.
And I am not dead yet.
I hope the cats do their job.
Till the end.
I’m not blocking any energies.
I’m not blocking anything.
Except a couple of dickheads on TikTok.
I can’t breathe.
Everyone is gay.
The whole world is fucking crazy.
And I need the crazy that fits with my crazy.
The crazy that matches me.
Reach out to someone with PTSD.
Don’t worry if you don’t say quite the right thing.
Don’t worry if you don’t get a response.
I’m lonely as fuck.
It means something.
It all means something.
Thank you, God, for giving me a friend for awhile.
Please be merciful and let me not die of loneliness.
This is the loneliest life I have ever known.
Way behind on Pauly Deathwish.
Right off with XTRMNTR.
Spirit of rock and roll.
His most popular track at this time.
Drugs flowing through the veins.
Overdose of light.
God is the ultimate drug.
Coming back from depression.
Girlfriend goes on a date with another bloke.
From London to Paris.
Vintage keys like French band Air.
Every touch from two tracks imbued with Radiohead experimentation.
Pink Floyd bass.
Here come the warm jets.
Camera clicking photos.
Levon and Robbie Robertson.
Rhythm of the saints.
This bloke has nothing to live for.
His girlfriend is a total fucking bitch.
Alone in the world.
Trying to overcome.
She don’t give a fuck.
Info op birthed.
Bloke has sophistication in attack.
Wars back started BLM.
Kept powder dry.
Amazing hip hop.
The Sea and Cake.
Stereolab as always.
Trump supporter smart.
Assessment of coup against Deep State.
The balls to review his own albums.
Dark side of the moon.
Of the wall.
Noel feeding back.
Liam blowing harp.
Ringo’s son on drums.
Don’t believe the truth.
How she lives now.
Nigel Godrich as always.
Big Star Third.
As important as the Velvets.
Big Star early albums.
Like The Byrds.
Phil Spector lives in the glockenspiel.
Lester Bangs lives here.
Many disappointed patriots.
Lamenting the shitty U.S. military.
While honoring the 13.
And Colonel Scheller.
A handful of gems in a culture of shit.
I love faggots as much as anyone.
David, Lou, Iggy.
God is the only hope.
So I prayed tonight.
Nobody loves me.
See you on the other side.
Rolling the dice.
So long, Charlie.
I’m guessing you got the vaccine.
Happy Hairy (?) Hardon Q.
QAnon Christian Slater.
The first of a long succession.
Anthemic melodies befitting Handel.
Matrix done right.
First song to mention Event 201?
“Follow the White Rabbit”.
Very Jefferson Airplane.
Power to the people.
Pro-Trump psych rock.
Be a rebel.
No vaccines, asshole!
Great snare work.
Verging on adrenochrome.
Hefner and Monroe.
Sexy dead bodies.
Pay to grind for eternity.
Absolute Flaming Lips.
Transmissions from the satellite heart.
What is God gonna do for America?
What is America gonna do for God?
Nation falling apart.
Hail to the creep.
Scorsese Glass Kundun soundtrack.
Carl Stalling project!
This is a SOPHISTICATED FUCKING RECORD.
AUSTRALIA, WAKE UP YOU CUNTS!!!
Give me ANZAC!!
Fucking awesome return to Bobby Gillespie.
Great fucking song!
“Australia, Here I Come!”
Even uses the comma correctly 🙂
Riot city blues.
Baby won’t ya?
Love and Rockets.
Bitch who dumped me.
By not giving a fuck.
By not participating.
By being a selfish cunt.
Q Team, come in!
How many years?
Second American Revolution.
There’s a Riot Goin’ On.
Second Pauly Deathwish song to mention Jean-Luc.
Who the fuck is this nigger?!?
She’s a fucking black hole.
I take it all back.
A pathetic bleeding vagina.
Money soothes all pains.
She’s a loser.
Jack Nitzsche all the way.
Rips your heart out.
I will die lonely.
Having given it all away.
Hear the typewriter click.
Are there two people?
QAnon stylometric analysis.
Obvious split in styles.
Gimme the rain, the rain, the rain, the glorious rain!!!!
I got close.
Freezing your tits off.
Seeing your breath.
We coming for the sexy bitches.
With stellar boob jobs.
Factory Records above all.
Baggy as fuck.
Gimme them saggy titties.
Real better than fake any day.
Ain’t returning my messages.
Would love that bitch like Cleopatra.
Suck her toes.
Conspiracy theory king and queen.
Blew it several times.
Because heartless bitch usurper.
Same birthday as Lester Bangs and Nostradamus.
Ends with Pocket Symphony.
Ya feel me?
Here is as close to perfect as I can imagine.
When I clicked on this film on Hulu (translated as Sidewalls), I just expected it to be another film that I would stop watching after 30 seconds.
It vaguely looked like it had Eva Green in it.
Or Natalie Portman.
Thank God it doesn’t.
Instead, it stars Pilar López de Ayala as Mariana and Javier Drolas as Martin.
Indeed, this is the second Argentine film I’ve found which borders on sheer perfection.
The other is El Crítico (which followed two years later in 2013).
Both these films are introspective and self-reflective.
In Medianeras, this is more subtle.
Martin carries around three Tati films in his backpack (the topmost [visible] one being Playtime).
But all of this is academic.
What is important to say is that Medianeras is a cosmic, transcendent romance for the 21st century.
The composition is taut.
The cinematography is deft.
The montage is formidable.
But equally, the writing by director Gustavo Taretto is pristine.
You can look him up.
He’s a big, bushy-bearded 53-year-old.
But I highly admire the mind which came up with this film.
And the eye which brought it to life.
Pilar López de Ayala is magical here.
So many beautiful touches of storytelling.
Taretto owes a small debt to Jeunet’s Amélie, but it is ever so small.
Indeed, it is mostly the music (the precious, tick-tock minimalism of the harp) and a pair of sequences involving humorous litanies.
The latter is achieved through copious edits of visual images to match the speaker’s rather cumbersome list(s).
It makes sense.
Amélie was a huge hit on the international stage just ten years prior to Medianeras.
And it too was an excellent film.
So Taretto has borrowed from a source which also indicates his good taste.
But our director has gone much further than merely borrowing.
He has created his own coherent language.
There are amazing sequences with Pilar López de Ayala in her apartment as her next-door neighbor wades through Beethoven and Chopin on a hoisted piano.
It is such that Mariana’s isolated life becomes a sort of postmodern ballet.
More brooding than anything.
But, above all, being lonely.
And that is what drives this home.
We have a lonely man.
And a lonely woman (Ornette).
And paths which cross.
It’s not just sexual tension, but philosophical tension.
We really don’t know if these two perfect lovers will ever meet.
They are so dangerously close to colliding.
We want these characters to live forever.
And they do.
In that they are composed of real life foibles.
As both watch Woody Allen in the dark.
[as I cry watching them]
And both turn up Daniel Johnston singing “True Love Will Find You in the End”.
As I live with my parents.
[as the late-Daniel Johnston lived with his]
But I do know this.
That the sidewall in Austin has said, “Hi, how are you?” for so long.
And I am stuck in San Antonio.
Probably a much shittier city than Buenos Aires.
But so achingly-close to my old haunts in Austin.
And I don’t know if I will ever see them again.
Because life is hard.
And my life is generally shit.
“Working” at Starbucks.
If my fiancée is dying.
And I am weeping.
Because I can relate to Martin and Mariana.
I can’t sleep.
It is 5 a.m. and I am writing a movie review which probably no one will read.
But I am happy in a strange way.
Because I found a film that reflects my life and makes me feel like all of my romantic longings and eccentricities are not for nothing.
So thank you, Gustavo.
This year has sucked.
But maybe the past sucked more.
Writing lonely movie reviews in the middle of the night.
Because antidepressants are a motherfucker to get off of.
I haven’t written like this in a long time.
Because I haven’t been lonely enough to hunt through piles of movies to find a gem.
This is a gem.
Do you know that feeling?
Has a movie ever saved your life??
Elton knows that feeling.
Sometimes we get degrees without thinking our lives through.
I have two such degrees.
And the first one makes more sense.
Because I DO love music.
But I live in Texas.
Don’t let anyone tell you that Austin is the capital of dick as far as music goes.
Business makes less sense.
I can’t get a job at a bank.
I am weird.
Like our lead character Megan.
It’s embarrassing as fuck.
To be unemployed.
When you want to work.
I want to work.
Let me tell you.
I stopped drinking.
I stopped using tobacco.
I got off of Ambien.
I got off of Xanax.
And now maybe I’m on the last part.
But it’s taken 8 months.
And my insomnia has gotten worse.
That’s a good first draft of a life.
A story that might connect.
It is my story.
And absolutely true.
But it will float in the ether.
Probably until the Internet ceases to exist.
I am as close as you are going to find to Herman Melville.
Or Henry Miller.
I am a film critic.
And a musician.
And a recovering drug addict.
It’s fucking embarrassing.
Maybe it helps my street cred.
Have you ever had a verbal altercation?
A really nasty conversation.
Where two sides are trying to demoralize each other.
Are you familiar with those?
There is some great acting here by Analeigh Tipton and Miles Teller.
And some great writing by Mark Hammer.
The story takes it a long way.
But having really inspired, talented actors is necessary to take it over the top.
And we shouldn’t forget director Max Nichols…who made this all fit together.
Hammer gives us “Please be a crossdresser.”
There is, in fact, a Psycho reference earlier in the film.
Part of some witty banter.
God…relationships are complicated.
And this film takes weird romance to a whole new level.
It is very inventive.
And, frankly, heartwarming.
Have you ever done something stupid in love?
Ever regretted anything?
Ever almost lost it all???
Maybe like It Happened One Night.
But hell if I know.
Because I’m a lousy film critic.
I just do it for the fun.
For the expression.
No other realm will have me.
Those who can’t, critique.
But I’m a feisty little devil.
As Roger Moore said in For Your Eyes Only, “We’re not dead yet.”
Special ed forces.
Positive mental attitude.
The Spy Who Loved Me.
And, in case of a blizzard, “shared bodily warmth”.
Stalking is a skill.
And some duct tape to fix the neighbors’ window.
Pretty bad ass.
Megan is PISSED OFF.
I’ve done that.
Hundreds of songs.
Some not even listened to.
Is it because the rest of the world are morons?
Maybe because I’m so captivating.
Reliving childhood trauma.
I’m still working.
Hollywood can go to hell.
I’m still here.
I came out the other side.
[more or less]
I almost blacked out there in the middle*
I guess there is a connection to Austin.
But not me.
Down here living in bumfuck San Antonio.
Sitting on my luggage.
With my Stetson.
Done been run over by a stagecoach.
And manure in the air.
I was in Brooklyn when this film was shot.
But I had no idea it was being shot.
Back when I was a professional musician.
But I’m still here.
Rotten Tomatoes can kiss my ass.
I don’t need anybody to tell me what’s good.
I waded through a ton of crap tonight to find Two Night Stand.
It is a fine movie.
It will last.
Fuck everybody else.
Holidays are hard for many people.
Perhaps we think of who we’ve lost.
But also there’s the pressure of the days themselves.
Christmas. New Year’s Eve.
Even times like the 4th of July.
I didn’t set out to write a heartrending post, but I don’t always know what it is I’m about to watch.
In general, Heavy is not a sad film.
It’s a masterpiece of minimalism.
Every shot…every movement in this movie is lovingly made.
James Mangold created a world which corresponds to the understated expressions of silent films as much as it does to the desperation of everyday life.
I’m sure some people have very happy lives.
But what Mr. Mangold has given us is a look at extreme awkwardness.
Do you ever feel awkward buying something?
It’s the interaction with people.
It comes and it goes.
But for our protagonist Victor, it mostly comes and stays.
I can’t recall an actor (Pruitt Taylor Vince) getting so much depth out of so few words.
No film I’ve ever seen handles shyness quite like this one.
Victor is a cook at his mom’s little tavern.
It’s the kind of place you’d find in Woodstock.
Kingston. Poughkeepsie. West Saugerties.
Though the setting is never named, these are what came to my imagination.
Those places that inspired Mercury Rev to create their masterpiece Deserter’s Songs and, before them, The Band.
But whatever this fictional town, it is positively not cool.
It is in the middle of nowhere.
And so a feeling of desolation pervades this picture.
Victor cares for his mother (played brilliantly by the late Shelley Winters).
They live together…just the two of them.
There’s a little dog.
It’s a quiet life.
Sure, it’s sad.
But it’s life.
Life goes on.
Open the tavern.
Pay the delivery man.
Cook the pizzas.
Clean up the broken beer mugs.
It just so happens that the place has a waitress/bartender.
And the actress playing this role indeed had experience.
Max’s Kansas City.
That’s right, Debbie Harry.
Debbie plays Delores.
She’s just as feisty as you’d expect.
She doesn’t put up with any shit.
And so the world goes on.
Day after day.
But one day, a ray of light enters lonely Victor’s world.
You can imagine.
Liv was 18 when this film was made.
Which brings us back to Woodstock proper.
Liv Tyler was born Liv Rundgren.
As in Todd.
It’s a complicated story, but this future actress/model knew Todd Rundgren (producer of The Band’s Stage Fright which was recorded at the Woodstock Playhouse in 1970) as father until well into her life.
Todd, of course, was also a resident of the area. This was back in the days of Albert Grossman’s Bearsville Records.
Which brings us to another fascinating little town: Bearsville, New York.
But Liv was obviously the daughter of Steven Tyler (lead singer of Aerosmith).
Liv didn’t find this out till age eight.
Back to our movie…
Into lonely Victor’s life walks a new waitress whose real life genes were those of lippy Steven Tyler and Playboy Playmate Bebe Buell.
That’s no ordinary gene pool.
But this is no ordinary romantic comedy.
In fact, it’s not a romantic comedy.
It’s not funny.
[He ain’t heavy, he’s my brother]
Because Victor is a portly fellow.
And this bothers him.
It’s something he tries to ignore, but living at home with mom…and being fat…and being shy…
It’s enough to give a guy a complex.
And this is not a rich family.
No psychiatrists here.
Just get up and go to work every day.
Cook breakfast for mom.
Feed the dog.
Go to the little grocery store.
Get some eggs and orange juice.
So I wasn’t sure what I was getting with this movie.
But I’m so glad I watched it.
I wouldn’t really call it an uplifting story, but that’s not the point.
It is cinéma vérité in the truest sense.
And the world needs these kinds of films.
There are no explosions.
Maybe there’s not even a happy ending.
I will leave that for you to discover.
But there are certainly very few cliches.
And so this picture spoke to me in a very deep way.
To reach out to anyone on the Internet who might be reading this.
This is a film about problems.
Not crippling problems which require literal crutches, but crippling all the same.
Pink Floyd summed it up as well as anyone when they sang about “quiet desperation”.
It may be “the English way”, but it’s not a uniquely British phenomenon.
I hate to talk about the “human condition”…because I fear I will sound like one of the putzes who pens the elevator pitches which adorn every film on Netflix [who writes those things?!?], but James Mangold did something very significant with this film.
Even the music is subtly artful.
We can thank Thurston Moore for that.
And so little harmonics and behind-the-bridge pings give depth to Victor’s struggles.
Standing by the staircase.
Is mom coming down?
Will the dog come eat his food?
There are heroes in this world.
And sometimes they are right under our noses.
Victor is one of those.
One of the greatest of all time.
I wasn’t sure I could handle the flood of emotions this film was bound to trigger.
But I went for it.
And it is, truly, a masterpiece.
In the U.S. we know it simply as Cinema Paradiso, but I wish to honor director Giuseppe Tornatore by reviewing it under the Italian title.
This film is full of fear and regret…because it is reminiscence.
Gone long from home.
Many years away from family.
Moreover, there are few films which portray a pure love for cinema quite like this one.
What we have is a mentorship. Alfredo, the mentor…and Toto, the mentee.
There are so many magical shots…so many jewel-like devices of cinematic deftness which make this picture truly special.
When I was a young man, this film taught me the potential of cinema.
And my fear at the time was losing my past.
But now that I have, by the grace of God, returned to my homeland, my fear tonight was reimmersing myself in the beauty of misery.
Or the misery of beauty.
In accounting, they teach you to ignore sunk costs.
But the human psyche still yearns for the one that got away.
We analyze our past decisions.
We lament our judgement.
But the costs of love, the economic costs of love (the totality of what was at stake) cannot be so easily dismissed.
Maybe it was not meant to work out.
But there are some very painful, lonely yearnings which age us like a bottle of scotch.
Perhaps our pain will be someone’s joy.
We cannot live with a “letter never sent”.
But a letter never answered can be so indescribably mournful.
And so we have come back.
Having tried our luck and worked our hands to the bone.
And we praise God for the opportunity to see Alfredo again.
The whole family.
It’s a trade-off.
And lost love still leaves us wistful.
Maybe we don’t understand the reverse culture shock we have been battling.
For several years.
Maybe we are yet too young.
To see our homeland with eyes of clarity.
This is what Philippe Noiret tells Marco Leonardi.
You’re not old enough yet…to be here.
Noiret is really the star of this film.
With his big mustache. And his close-cropped hair.
But none of this would have been possible without the child.
Toto. Salvatore Cascio.
His impish smile. His hunger to learn.
We see a filmmaker in the making of himself.
And while Jacques Perrin is quite special as the grown-up Toto,
there is one key personality I must touch upon.
This actress changed my life.
And I fell in love with her understudy.
Perhaps years later I did the same again.
Those blue eyes always kill you.
But it was when I first saw this. In 1998.
I fell in love.
And it didn’t work out so well.
It was too much.
Romeo and Juliet.
I felt I was lower-class.
I had no confidence.
It is these things which we regret.
How a word could have been different.
How a revelation might have changed history.
But we praise God for Pupella Maggio.
Thank you, God, for your blessings.
This film has made me very emotional.
Because it is a masterpiece.
And we shall sail on.
Into the night sky.
And remember how Ennio Morricone guided our every blessed footstep in our Garden of Eden. Over paths encrusted with tiny diamonds here and there…which would catch the reflection of the moon. We walked the path the best we could.
Here we have a great film.
From an actor with whom I was so lucky as to work on one occasion.
It was an honor.
And yet, I didn’t really get it.
That this movie, Rocky, was so central to the American dream.
But it’s more than that.
It’s the backdrop of Philadelphia.
The iron gates you gotta kick open.
And the screenless door you gotta reach around.
It’s the machete stuck in the wall.
And the black leather jacket to hang over the handle.
The knife stabbed into the wall.
And the black fedora that hangs on it.
But most of all it is Talia Shire.
To offset the brutality of boxing.
A shy soul.
In kitty cat glasses.
It’s the pet store.
The failed jokes.
The parakeets like flying candy.
And Butkus the dog.
You know, I don’t hear so well…because I got punched too many times…taking my best shot at music.
And so I’m a bum…but I got into the arena for a good 15 years.
And those final four…when I was a contender.
When I met Sylvester Stallone.
I was standing next to greatness.
A great actor. A great figure in film history.
We are taught to denigrate our American movies.
That they could never be as good as the French.
But the American films inspired the French.
It was Truffaut and company took Hitchcock from novelty to pantheon.
But it’s shy Talia.
Telling a story. A real love.
Getting up in years. And maybe she’s retarded.
Maybe he’s dumb.
But to him she’s the prettiest star.
And he perseveres.
However many rounds it takes.
Because fate has called him to one woman.
Why does he fight, she asks.
It’s a big obstacle.
For Rocky and Adrian to overcome the awkwardness of their collective insecurities.
For them to communicate.
But it’s such a beautiful story.
When Pauly throws the Thanksgiving turkey out into the alley.
It’s dysfunction. Dysfunction everywhere.
Abusive meat packing desperation.
Always an ass pocket full of whiskey.
And just a favor to the loan shark.
I can break thumbs.
But you don’t wanna do that.
In the world of crime, but not of the world of crime.
Poor, simple icebox. Some cupcakes.
Never enough beer. Anywhere.
And the genius of spectacle comes along.
Carl Weathers. Like Clyde Drexler.
Reading The Wall Street Journal.
Like Trump…thinking big…and juxtaposing entities.
To speak to the sentimental. Sentimental.
Because you don’t wanna be known as a whore.
It’s that reputation. A hard lesson.
Big brother to a little sister.
You don’t wanna smoke.
Make yer teeth yellow.
But you gotta work.
To stay in this game.
Train. Train. Train.
And maybe you get one shot.
It all comes down to this.
Burgess Meredith like Rod Marinelli.
The wisdom of hard knock cracks.
But we like ice skating.
$10 for ten minutes.
When you give life back to a prisoner of home.
When you give love to a lonely fighter.
Rough around the edges.
Desperation of poverty Pauly.
Makes us all a little crazy to be so trapped economically.
But God has called you to greatness.
And will you answer that call?
Can you imagine the career?
Is anything at all clear?
We only know tenacity.
Fighting till the very end.
Hospital and next day Pentagon basement.
Be an expert for your country.
So many skills needed for a nation to flourish.
Go the distance is not just Field of Dreams (another great sporting film).
Going the distance. Till the very end. Tour of duty.
God, please get me back home.
We’re so close now.
You’ll have to cut me so I can see.
“When you’re lost in the rain in Juarez” and you only want to hear her say “I love you”.
And she you.
You made it.
You lost by decision. But you proved it to yourself.
That you could go the full fifteen rounds with the best.
The best and brightest.
That you could be the shy, awkward bum to overcome.
Don’t say that.
You’re not a bum.
We want. Need. That positive reinforcement.
When the whole world tells us we’re losers.
You won by keeping going. Every day.