John Hughes, director of films such as Pretty In Pink, 16 Candles, The Breakfast Club and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, has died at age 59 of a heart attack.
Thanks for teaching me how to be cool, guy.
My parents gave me a $15 iTunes gift card for my birthday back in March. I don’t buy AAC music from the iTunes Store, so to be honest I kinda forgot until I found it in my wallet and decided to rent a movie tonight. I got Starship Troopers, which I’d actually never seen. (I know, I know.)
Video quality was perfectly fine, though it stuttered and stopped working about 21 minutes in, which seemed to be because I had Firefox open with a bunch of tabs. I killed it and had no more problems. It streamed faster than it played, which was cool, though I gave it about five minutes after commencing download before I hit play.
All in all, I like the experience, and I’ll probably rent more movies this way. My only complaint is that the iTunes Store rental selection is a bit limited. I’ve just seen most of what they’ve got.
The thing Apple was gambling on — that someone like me would be willing to drop $2.99 to watch a movie rather than BitTorrent it illegally — seems to work. I don’t know that I’d have paid for the rental if I didn’t have a gift card, but if I wasn’t broke, I probably would, actually.
I’ll probably rent Jesus Camp next.
Rather than write a conventional review explaining why you should or shouldn’t see The Happening (trust me, you shouldn’t), I’m offering an alternative: A dozen and a half of the most mind-bendingly ridiculous elements of the film, which will enable you to marvel at its anti-genius without sacrificing (and I don’t use that term lightly) 90 minutes of your life. As this is intended to be an alternative to seeing the actual film it is, of course, overflowing with spoilers.
I’ve thought Shyamalan was overrated since Unbreakable, which was, well, unwatchable. Signs was just awful, and predicated on a completely stupid idea: aliens who are allergic to water come to a planet that’s 2/3rds covered with water, and also has water falling out of the sky at random intervals.
I did like Lady In The Water, though I’m the only one who did, apparently. I didn’t even bother with that silly one he did about the Amish.
The Happening looks and sounds totally retarded. I’m not even going to waste my time with it.
Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story had some funny moments, but on the whole, I thought it was trying way too hard. It couldn’t decide if it wanted to be satire or parody, and consequently it fails on both fronts, I think, despite some great performances and some genuinely funny bits — the Beatles bickering, the roadie’s penis hanging out next to John C. Reilly’s head, the bits with Tim Meadows as the drugged-out drummer trying to warn Dewey away from the various drugs he keeps finding Meadows doing in various bathrooms. (“You don’t want none of this, Dewey!”)
So here’s my impression of a style I think would have worked better for the film. Hollywood, feel free to call me the next time you want to do a rock biopic parody.
Dewey slams through the door into the bathroom. He’s full of rage and frustration.
DEWEY Damn you, God! Damn you, Jesus!He punches the mirror, which shatters. He grabs the sink and rips it from the wall. Bits of tile come with it, and water begins spraying everywhere.
DEWEY What the…oh, shit!
VENUE OWNER (from inside stall) What the fuck?The VENUE OWNER comes out of the stall. He’s a middle-aged, square type.
VENUE OWNER What the fuck did you do to my goddamn bathroom, you greaser sonofabitch?!?!
DEWEY I’m sorry, mister…I didn’t mean to…The venue owner peers at him.
VENUE OWNER Wait a minute…aren’t you Dewey Cox?
DEWEY Yes, I am, sir, and you can send me the bill…or my cousin, he’s a plumber, I can–
VENUE OWNER Bill? (laughs) Why would I send you a bill? You just made this bathroom famous!
DEWEY Huh? I’m sorry, I don’t get you…
VENUE OWNER “See the bathroom destroyed by rock ‘n’ roll heartthrob Dewey Cox!” Hell, I can charge people to come in here. (beat) I mean, we do that on bingo night anyway, but–
DEWEY You’re not mad?
VENUE OWNER Mad? Kid, you just made my night.The two of them look at the destroyed sink and the spraying water for a long moment.
VENUE OWNER Besides, happens all the time.
VENUE OWNER Oh, yeah. Richie Valens was in here last week…little fucker poured concrete down my drains and lit the goddamn kitchen on fire.
DEWEY No shit?
VENUE OWNER Oh, yeah. Where the hell he found a bag of concrete that time of night, I have no idea. (beat) Plus he kicked both the doors off my Cadillac.
DEWEY Wow. ‘Cause, I mean, Richie ain’t that big of a guy, you know–
VENUE OWNER I know, who woulda thought, right? But that’s rock ‘n’ roll musicians for you. It’s hell on my upkeep but heaven on my ticket sales, you know what I mean, kid?
DEWEY Yeah, I mean…that’s pretty crazy. I do feel better, now.
VENUE OWNER Yeah, don’t worry about it, kid. I got insurance for this.
VENUE OWNER Oh, sure. Had to. Ever since those Everly fuckers played here. Sick cocksuckers, the both of ‘em. Mean. Just mean.
VENUE OWNER Now get out there, kid, and show those teenyboppers how to rock and roll!
Don’t care what anyone else says. I have no cynicism here. It rocked, I liked it all, Shia LaBeouf was great, Cate Blanchett kicked ass, it was a great and worthy Indiana Jones movie. Even the retarded bits were awesome.
Would have liked to have seen Sullah in the end. I love Sullah. But that’s about it.
Thanks, Steve and George.
Here we have Scarlett Johannson and David Bowie covering Tom Wait’ “Falling Down”, from Ms. Johannson’s new album Anywhere I Lay My Head, which is an entire album (minus one original) of Tom Waits songs.
I’m personally not interested in the debate about actors making music. Waits is a musician who acts in movies. Nick Cave writes movies (and novels and lectures). Some actors are actually good musicians: I really like Brittney Murphy’s singing voice a lot.
But I was surprised by this. I didn’t expect such an icy, Nico-style reworking of the song. I think I like it, but I’m not sure yet. It’s gonna take a few listens.
What do you think?
Wristcutters: A Love Story is, as of tonight, one of my new favorite films. It’s about a guy named Zia (Patrick Fugit) who commits suicide because his girlfriend left him. He finds himself in a sort of Purgatory, a broke-down, trashy afterlife for suicides. He makes friends with Eugene (Shea Whigham), a Russian singer who committed suicide on stage, and gets a job working in a pizza joint. (Eugene bears more than a passing resemblance to Eugene Hutz, lead singer of Gogol Bordello, who is a friend of the director.)
One day, Zia discovers that his ex-girlfriend has also committed suicide. He and Eugene hit the road, looking for her. Along the way, they meet Mikal (Shannyn Sossamon, whom I have an enormous crush on). She’s trying to find the People In Charge, since — as she keeps insisting — she’s not supposed to be here.
It’s about death and love and friends, and it’s got Tom Waits in it, and it’s really funny and really sweet, and I love it. You should check it out on DVD. I give it four and a half out of five.