Mar 29, 2007

there are no small parts...

Only gay zombies?

So. A while back, certain people [namely me, Kay Rose, Holly Magnolia, Livia Harlowe] and I were talking about how there are no brief/funny puns involving gay zombies. And there aren't.

The sad thing is that I own this book [a gay spoof of the Choose Your Own Adventure Books from my/your childhood], which includes ZOMBIE DRAG QUEENS. But no humorous puns or cool slanguage.

I've seen this awesome YouTube video [entitled 'That Guy (of the Living Dead)'], which involves bears + gay zombies. Still no good puns are coming to mind.

Why is this important, you may ask?

Well, I helped out making a friend's film -a nifty little horror-comedy-totally Maegan Poland thing entitled "10 Signs Your Roommate is a Serial Killer." Anyways, I had to play dead.

So we took pictures of me made up and dead. I totally look like an awesome gay zombie.

And since things only matter when they're relevant to me, I now MUST resolve this burning question of "why are there no fantastically witty yet concise gay zombie puns?"

I probably am not as up on my horror knowledge as other people and therefore can't apply my fancy film school edumacation...

[I *still* somehow never managed to see any of the Romero stuff - I genuinely think the only "zombie" movie I've ever seen is 28 Days Later.]

But this is bugging the fracking HELL out of me.

So far, the only thing our friends have come up with is "Night of the Lisping Dead."

Which. Come on. We have to do better than that, don't we?

Mar 9, 2007

best. week in film. ever.

A long, long time ago, I went to a private, conservative high school.

In this place, a younger, no less wise huntergrayson wandered about, feeling alone and confused.

Then a mad hatter arrived to take over the theater program. Said mad hatter started offering film classes and, well, my life as I know it now sorta began then.

Keep in mind that this was before the DVD age reached full swing. So the mad hatter would show me mysterious bootleg VHS tapes that were burned from laserdiscs. [Yes, they really existed, look it up.]

Besides introducing me to the works of David Sedaris, that man is responsible for my first viewings of Beyond the Valley of the Dolls and On Her Majesty's Secret Service.

And the insane musical I just now discovered came out on DVD - Busby Berkeley's The Gang's All Here. There's a fruit hat, dancing bananas and a number that's a swooning psychedelic tribute to polka dots.

I can NOT WAIT to see this again. I can't...put it into words. It's just something you have to experience yourself.

Also, a brief review:
Running with Scissors - written/directed by Ryan Murphy:

For someone who balances so delicately on the razor's edge of camp every week on Nip/Tuck, it is surprising that he would make a movie so....dull. So inert. Bear in mind that I haven't read the memoir - my viewing companion had and is a HUGE Burroughs fan.

But the movie kinda sucks. It has no momentum, no "oopmh." It's a string of vignettes pieced together as a feature film- pearls through a necklace whose string gets more frayed as it goes along. The emotional modes are only two -- blankly delivered psychobabble talk about "feelings" and such or over-the-top screaming matches. And that's it. It's either one or the other rather than the rich and varied shades of melodrama that Murphy's TV show consistently delivers.

A more fitting title would've been, "Powerwalking, then Sprinting, with Scissors."

While the acting is decent enough across the board [look for Gabrielle Union to prove her dramatic chops in a "blink and you'll miss it" role] only two actors manage to seem like real people rather than cardboard characters. The first is Alec Baldwin, who earned Salon's Honorary Oscar in part for his turn here.

The other? Gwyneth Paltrow. Yes, her. I tend to stay away from her gossip threads because while she's probably an insufferable person, she has never ceased to remain a compelling screen presence in my eyes. Given how the entire film is barely distinguishable from a sad Tenenbaum retread, Fishstick must be commended for not doing Margot, part deux.

Evan Rachel Wood's faux-punk "fuck you" posturing sometimes makes her seem like early Avril Lavigne. Joseph Fiennes? Yet another screen role where "crazy" is little more than a collection of tics and business. Cross doesn't get much to do as Augusten, despite being the author of the memoir. Bening, is, of course, fantastic and startling. But none of them hold a candle to what the talented Miss Paltrow does here --

She makes you believe her. Oh, she's a nut. A spoiled brat and a space cadet rolled into one. But she is so deeply wrapped up in herself -- so uniquely on her own wavelength - that you can't take your eyes off her. You begin to believe her madness and start counting the seconds until she appears again.

At one point in the film, she claims that her cat is speaking to her and is begging her to keep her in a laundry basket-shaped prison.

And while the rational part of you says "Oh, that's terrible! Free kitty!" The other part of your brain starts to think, "well, maybe the cat *did* speak to her via its purrs."

Kudos, Fishstick. Kudos.

Mar 7, 2007

i'll sleep when I'm dead, again....

3/6/07 7:45:05 AM

I know how Billy Chenowith dies.

I have no idea how my grandfather will. Besides likely sooner rather than later.

Yeah, that’s a thought that will keep one awake even if they had all the Ambien in the world. I’m seriously considering drinking at sun-up just to turn my mind off.

I’ve been an insomniac since birth because, well, my head is a scary and busy and infinitely changing place that I spend most of my time in. But it won’t shut up. Ever.

Sigh. Almost five-o-clock somewhere, right?

Since my phone has a World Clock, the answer is Casablanca*.


[Longtime readers will recall that the headline is a callback to my very first post. Have I come full-circle or simply shame spiraled back to the start? Only the fans can decide – and remember, if you don’t vote, then you don’t get to pick your next American Idle.]

* - another “romantic” film that leaves me cold inside.

Mar 4, 2007

wearing my geek badge with pride....

Okay. I know it's uncool in this day and age to be genuinely sentimental about anything. Especially - with all the blogs and the Defamer and the snark - about the Oscars.

But. Growing up? It was pretty much my favorite night of the year. Almost on par with Christmas. Not that I remember the winners or the moments - my memory is fuzzy at best and non-existent at worst - but the important things - the buildup, the dresses, the thrills? Are ingrained in me as long as I can remember. I remember my parents letting me stay as late as they lasted [on the East Coast no less!] I remember being so tired and frustrated the next day - frustrated because how many fifth graders can dish gossip and fabulousity in small-town suburbia?

But. But. I believe in the Oscars. What they represent and what they promise. Because, despite what anyone says, film is THE art form of the 21st century. And no matter how many times they get it wrong, no matter how many boring montages they put out?

Watching the canonization [or the attempt to canonize] of a medium as it's still evolving is....something that is so NOW, so thrillingly new and modern and exciting can you not love it? And because cinema is so good at straddling the line between art and business, between the masses and the select few, between individual entertainment and community spectacle? That holds so much much potential - that to deny their power is to deny the trials and the triumphs that make us human.

Sure, I realize that for a shy, creative [i.e. 'gay'] desperately depressed boy from Tennessee who wanted so much to run away from anything ordinary that the glamour of Hollywood could appear to fill you/us/me to the brim with hope. It can offer an escape for all of us.

Allowing that - I don't subscribe to the US idea of 'celebrities - they're just like us!.' No. Screw that. As my teacher once said, 'movies are life as it should be.' Why not give us something to aspire to? Something to inspire us.

I don't want them to be 'just like us' I want them to be beautiful and terrifying that we can study yet never understand. I want them to wear things that are stunning or strange. I want them to have gigantic/excessive/'spontaneous' displays of emotion that play every emotion like a note on a piano until they reach places that make you mere humans seem totally dead inside [which means that, sorry haters, I adored Misses Berry and Paltrow.] Make you seem like old-school Cenurion model Cylons. I want them to carry themselves with such fucking confidence that they soak up the gaze of a billion fucking eyes worldwide and you can tell that they're thinking 'is that all you've got?' I wish them to flub, to fume, to fail spectacularly and then recover so well that all is forgiven, forgetten, and fantastic.

I know I'm not the first person to say this but, really, modern celebrities are our Greek Gods. And I'm okay with that. The Gods, if you know your mythology, felt free to come down from Olympus to mingle and mate with us mortals. But they're not us. They look like us, they play with us and they entertain us. But they're not just like us and they never will be.

Since I'm not exactly a religious person, cinema is as close as I get to God. Think about it. A gathering where you sit, surrender to a higher power and FEEL. Together.

It helps, of course, that I just saw 'Zodiac' with a huge group at the Arclight, in the Dome, in digital with seemingly all of this great, weird, disparate city of Los Angeles. [somehow I completely blanked that my friend I talked to 12 hours earlier was going to the same show...then Calliope brought her brother and his girl...and pretty much half of H'wood- an Office confab, the Best Week Ever crew and maybe Caroline Rhea, depending on how much work she's had done.]

I'm not exactly good with scary movies - especially one that, since it's unsolved, is way too real - and by 'not good,' I mean 'am a total fracking girl.' Seriously. I couldn't deal with the requisite nervous laughter [which, to be fair, was completely justified because the humor *was* weaved into the script.] Half the time I couldn't console the actual girl clutching my arm.

But all of us screaming, laughing, watching at the same moments? Breathing the same air, the same mood, the same dream [because cinema is nothing if but a shared dream...not that I can link to the requisite academic papers right now]?

That's fracking transcendent, right?

My one qualm? Robert Downey Jr. as a substance abuser? How much miscasting is that? :)

ETA: All men should be required to wear 70s slacks. Seriously, come Zodiac's DVD release, you'll be able to tell the religion of each of the cast's members.