So, er, just finished watching episodes 13 and 14 and the whole thing's fallen on its own sword. Forget I said anything.
Tuesday last saw me at the last of the Denver Public Library’s road series: Alfred Hitchcock’s 1959 summary/introduction North by Northwest - a 135min. (or so) picture that squeezes discussion time afterwards at the library (it closes at 9:00pm for a few more weeks until such time as the library once again opens seven days a week, but with shorter hours and a cast of librarians commensurately boned) – so through the magic of my new DVD recorder (under $100.00 at K-Mart, a $300.00 machine on blue light special. God bless America), I was able to prepare a DVD of scenes to discuss to grease the process of post-flick stop-start. Even still, security kicked us out before we got to the little montage of the three Saul Bass title sequences he did with the Master. Lots of people see the building that the crossed lines resolve into in the opening of North by Northwest, I tend to see lines of a ledger that feeds into this bitterness in the piece about money, numbers, and people reduced to the same. I have a theory that the financial failure of Vertigo and The Wrong Man fed the subtext of North by Northwest a lot more than that it’s Hitch’s most conventionally accessible picture. Don’t let its breeziness fool you: there’s at least a week’s worth of material in the film. Just its chronological placement between Vertigo and Psycho speaks volumes to its sneaky complexity.
Sad to report that someone stole the library’s best digital projector a couple of hours prior to the show along with a couple dozen Cokes and a few Snickers bars. Some homeless guy has a new stool, is what I’m thinking, or is trying his level best to hock a digital projector inscribed with “Denver Public Library” at the ARC. Quick-thinking salvaged the night, but Jesus man, call me old-fashioned but there’s got to be a special room in hell reserved for jackholes who steal from libraries and museums.
Heavy screening schedule last week with industry shots at In Her Shoes, Elizabethtown, Separate Lies, The War Within, Prime, Paradise Now, Wallace & Gromit, and Domino - plus, screeners for Balzac and the Little Chinese Seamstress, Hellbent, and The Future of Food were circulated, leading me to muse a twofer with the latter and the similarly outraged Darwin’s Nightmare for possible publication this week. Working meanwhile on a five-fer mega-piece on five direct-to-video horror/slasher flicks that will cut into my backlog considerably (believe it or not, except for a lot of “X-Files” and “Green Acres” to watch, I’m not all that far behind anymore) – I don’t hardly know what I’d do with myself without the panic and terror of getting chewed up by the machineries of my own procrastination and manic depression. Probably ease up on my meth habit a little now that my sinuses have started bleeding. (HA, a junkie joke – who snorts meth anymore! HA! Ridiculous!)
Already on the record with In Her Shoes and Wallace & Gromit, let’s just say that I can’t imagine that I’ll see a worse film this week than Elizabethtown. What a mess. Supposedly chopped down from an epic 135min runtime at Toronto (some have placed that time as fictional, too), it’s the kind of movie that has a conversation about who “They” are as in the “they” of “they say that…” – and has a line that goes something like “I’m impossible to forget but hard to remember!” This without even mentioning the eulogy that Susan Sarandon delivers (and can we have a dialogue about when it was decided that her character would even fly to Kentucky? She just sort of appears there when it seems about time that she should) that includes a boner joke and a tap dance to “Moon River.” I wonder if anyone remembers anymore what “Moon River” was all about in the first place.
As I managed to avoid going to any public screenings this week that were anywhere close to packed, I also managed to avoid any notable instances of audience rudeness. I did like the intense security scrutiny at Domino, however, it’s always the absolute worst pictures that get the most security. I tried to strike up a friendly patter with one of the ladies wanding my privates for recording devices to no avail. Could be the old Chaw charm doesn’t work on women wanding my privates. So is this a none-too-subtle commentary on what it is the studios think we’re most likely to want or surprisingly-humble commentary on what the studios suspect people will only want to see at an extreme discount (if at all)? Either way, it smells a little like evil.
Watched Anthony Mann/Jimmy Stewart’s 1955 The Man from Laramie on TCM this afternoon just before settling back to watch my frustrating Denver Broncos win a squeaker from the over-rated Washington Redskins. There is no better between-films spit bucket for me than professional sports live or on television – I tend to watch as much as I can. Online, bought a bootleg DVD of an Anthony Mann/Barbara Stanwyck western called The Furies (1950) for ten bucks as a booby prize splurge for my tape of three obscure Carl Dreyer films snapping while I was transferring it to disc. Didn’t work: still hurts.
On my bedside table this week: Pete Dexter’s grueling, hard-as-nails, and all-around great Train.
Here’s this week’s mystery capture. Running tally:
The Captain – I
Earnest – I
Asokan – I
By the by, in rotation now:
New Pornographers - Testament to Youth in Verse
Neutral Milk Hotel - Ghost
Patty Griffin -Kite
Nina Simone -Since I Fell For You
Richard Thompson -I Misunderstood
Rachels -Southbound to Marion
Lisa Germano -You Make Me Wanto Wear Dresses
Decemberists -Here I Dreamt I Was An Architect
Arcade Fire -Neighborhood #1 (Tunnels)
Billy Nayer Show -The Skinned Rabbit
The Beach Boys -God Only Knows
Rilo Kiley -Hail to Whatever You Found in the Sunlight that Surrounds You
Bjork & the Brodsky Quartet -Unravel
And You Will Know Us by the Trail of the Dead -All White
Smashing Pumpkins -This Time
Cat Power -Rockets
Radiohead -Packt Like Sardines in a Crushd Tin
Unit 4 + 2 -Concrete & Clay
Fiona Apple -Oh Well
P J Harvey -Driving
Sufjan Stevens -A Good Man is Hard to Find