The Wrestler

Esquire

Saw The Wrestler with my mom on Sunday night.

Helluva flick for sure—gets you right in the gut.

Seeing all those noxious fears of loneliness and regret made me a bit uncomfortable.

I suppose there’s value seeing it up there on the big screen so you do your darndest not to see it play out in a mirror.

Next outing to the theater better have laughter or lasers just to balance it all out.

Wasn’t all glum though, as my mom had homemade bean soup ready to take in afterward.

Good stuff.

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8 word reviews for the movies I consumed in 2008

In alphabetical order

I haven’t been writing these down even though I seem to average 2 a month, which is entirely possible because I don’t have kids or the wherewithal to learn CSS. Oh, and I don’t pick favorites just because.

27 Dresses
It was free on a plane ride. Disposable.

Burn After Reading
Just okay, wanted to like more than did.

City of Ember
Darkly pretty but excruciating journey. For moody tweens.

Curious Case of Benjamin Button
Almost got old,ended on time. Moisturizer reminder.

Cloverfield
Ow, my equilibrium. What the? Ow. Huh? What?

The Dark Knight
The opposite of everything that is Spiderman movies.

Forgetting Sarah Marshall
Forgot the movie, yet left no bad aftertaste.

Horton Hears a Who!
Thoroughly enjoyed. I’d imagine Seuss would have too.

Iron Man
Kicked much ass. (and five other awesome words)

Indiana Jones and the Nuclear Fridge
You’re kidding. I hate you. Color me suckered.

Journey to the Center of the Earth
I went for the 3D. It was fine.

Juno (2007)
Precious blessing from Jesus in this garbage dump.

.

Mamma Mia!
Wasn’t near drunk enough, hated every other scene.

Milk
Sadly like now: bad sunglasses and hate laws.

No Country for Old Men
Made me squirm, a lot. Scary done right.

Sex and the City
A long episode. Seemed geared toward primetime. Fine.

Slumdog Millionare
Not a romantic comedy. Something heavier, and poignant.

Speed Racer
Expected visual orgasm, walked out with dull migraine.

Sweeney Todd (2007)
Burton works well here. Soundtrack bests Broadway version.

Synecdoche, New York
Layered. Meaty. Salty. Sometimes painful, like Taco Bell.

There Will Be Blood (2007)
Why do I suffer these assholes and their oil?

Tropic Thunder
Ben Stiller made me laugh. Downey continually impresses.

WALL-E
Want! Oh wait, wanting BAD. But so GOOD!

Zack and Miri Make a Porno
Solid choice for date night. Seth Rogan. Bubbles.

MOVIES I MISSED THAT I’M PUTTING IN THE RENTAL QUEUE:
American Teen – Australia – Baby Mama – Be Kind Rewind – Beautiful Losers – Cadillac Records – Charlie Bartlett – Choke – Day the Earth Stood Still – Flash of Genius – Four Christmases – Get Smart – Hamlet 2 – Hancock – High School Musical 3 – Harold and Kumar 2 – Kung Fu Panda – Man on Wire – Nick and Norahs Infinite Playlist – Prince Caspian – Quamtum of Solace – Rachel Getting Married – Role Models – Secret Lives of Bees – Smart People – Son of Rambow – Surfwise – W. – The Wrestler

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a tin full of cookies

all that remains are these images

The remainder of Christmas Day:

We caught The Curious Case of Benjamin Button, which is a fine enough flick. I didn’t want Brad Pitt to get younger as much as I wanted to turn on some lamps around the set. Either it was a dark movie or the projectors at the Esquire were dim.

Afterward, Mom sent us on our way with—among other goodies—a tin full of cookies.

The contents did not last very long.

I’m not sure when my mother incorporated Chocolate Covered Coconut Balls into the mix, but it breaks with tradition and I will be petitioning to have them removed from holiday rotation. Luckily, few others share my distaste for coconut so it was easy to find homes for them.

The other good news is that the remaining three varieties (mincemeat, spritz, and thumbprint) rank as all-time favorite cookies, ever.

Making a movie about making a world

Shooting the action from above

Today I donned my first wireless microphone… you know the little ones they clip to your shirt for interviews? It was terribly exciting even if I was a bundle of nerves.

Here’s how it went down…

In July I got a note from a fella named Steve Juras. He’s working with a group of folks on a documentary about Ed Emberley’s Make a World book.

Related sidetrack: I’ve fawned over this children’s drawing book before, and also list Ed as a big inspiration in my life.

Steve was curious if I would be available to answer some questions about my experience with Ed’s book.

Heck yeah I would.

Fast forward a few months and the day was upon us.

I got an extra large coffee this morning and met the traveling film crew at the studio. They set up the lights and cameras. I fuddled through questions and crossed my fingers that editing can do wonders.

Wendy, the other third of Wire & Twine and fellow Emberley disciple, came out to chit chat in the afternoon. We both got to dust off our skills and do a bit of drawing to boot.

All in all? The experience was fantastic. We got to hear about the process of getting the movie off the ground and stories of other folks who found inspiration in the book. We also learned a little about Ed and he sounds just as awesome as we would imagine him to be.

I think the best part is that a whole new audience is going to be introduced to his lifelong work. There can’t be too much good stuff in the world.

To get in touch with the filmmakers, visit their pre-production page or join the Ed Emberley Fan Group on Facebook.

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Where I forget about the landfills

and buy the toy anyway [ alternate photo ]

It was a safe bet going into the theater. I’ve enjoyed every single Pixar release and I pretty much knew I’d like WALL-E.

I dig robots, hand-holding, and long walks in deserted areas.

The movie did not disappoint.

(sidenote rationalization brought on by green-guilt: I’ve stopped buying body wash in plastic containers, switching to bar soap. I don’t think this makes up for my weakness in the toy aisle, but the little fella does make me smile)

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Into the Wild, and a quick trip west

Too many photos to sort, here’s a well kept Pinto in the parking lot of Cracker Barrel somewhere off I-70

Last Thursday night I rented Into the Wild – a flick directed by Sean Penn adapted from a based-on-a-true-story book by Jon Krakauer.

Whoa.

I really liked it.

I wrote down a few quotes from this soul-searching roadtrip of a movie (most from Hal Holbrook’s character):

“The core of man’s spirit comes from new experiences.”

“When you forgive, you love.”

“I think good gets better.”

Though it clocks in bit over two hours, I wasn’t quite ready for the film to end.

Inspired—not to trek into the wilderness of Alaska, but to hit the road—I decided to visit my friends across the Mississippi. Dan had a booked weekend of performances, so it timed out well.

I packed a lot of good times (and good food) into less than 48 hours, and the being on the road felt great.

I’m looking forward to more travels this summer, but for now, it’s time to hunker and get some work done.

Current music: Hot Chip “Ready for the Floor”

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No Matter How Small: A movie, a little politics, and crafts

A Seussian clover

I went and caught Horton Hears a Who a few weeks ago, and boy did I like it.

I walked out thinking, dag, that was quietly heavy in a good way. Todd Walters finds better words over at The Millions where he wrote Horton Hears a Who! as Political Theater.

“Horton also stands accused, like Socrates before him, of corrupting society’s youth with his alternative vision of the natural world.”

I’m one who looked at it more this way: “…for most viewers, Horton Hears a Who! will be nothing more than a colorful story about two imaginary worlds with a simple take-home lesson: Respect the rights of others regardless of their physical stature or societal position.”

(Which, as someone who pays taxes and doesn’t get equal treatment from the government, I have to champion the message.)

But this post isn’t just about a great animated movie, or how I pine for equal rights. This is about a little something I made for a 5 year old girl who went and saw the movie with her dad this weekend.

How to make a clover for your very own Whoville.

Easy stuff to find at a fabric or craft store

Materials:

– A small piece from a bright pink feather boa (one boa can make about 20 clover)
An artificial flower (stripped of everything but the stem and a few leaves)
– and some stem wrap tape.

Cut the boa into a 3 inch strip, double it over the stem, and wrap about a half inch of the base with the green tape.

Now this isn’t the most sturdy of toys, but when you hand it over, remark how careful one must be with such a potential world. It seems to work just fine.

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There Will Be Blood, Once

A scene from Once

Dag, how can I put all this down brief-like so I can feel like I captured the gist without taking away too much time from actually living (and sleeping)?

If you consider watching movies “living”—which I do, because movies are the only real thing I do outside of work and love that keeps me tethered to the world as I know it. Aside from music, eating food, and laundry.

I’d throw sleeping in there but I’m not sure that keeps me tethered to the world.

Recent viewings in front of screens:

There Will Be Blood – Saw it projected on Saturday by myself because my other half prefers brighter cinematic entertainment (and I can’t blame him). This flick was one helluva character study. It’s dark and rattles the stomach. I didn’t enjoy it, but I was moved and it made me think. I’d probably go back for seconds after some time has passed. Kind of like White Castles.

Once – Home rental helped me score the shot from the TV (above). I wanted to record something to memory to remind myself of the movie. It surprised me like Murderball, and something else I can’t remember but truly enjoyed. Mind you it had a little shaky camera like Cloverfield, but there was respite.

Speaking of that Cloverfield, you might have seen or read about the characters videotaping or using their cell-phone cameras in times of duress, and this is a reflection of society today. I say it would have been extra ironic and fun if someone had said, hold on, let me stabilize the camera and frame this shot nicely. I’ll stop complaining about the lack of tripod now, forever.

Back to Once, I’d bought the soundtrack a while ago knowing that Glen Hansard of The Frames was involved. I still have a glow from his 2004 tour.

The soundtrack totally makes sense now and I am smitten with everything about this flick. I’ve heard reviews call it a new musical or refinement of music video, and maybe it is. I don’t care, it’s extremely genuine and made me feel all warm and stuff.

Also on the small screen, I’ve been watching Project Runway, but I can’t add any more flavor than Dave White’s weekly updates on The Advocate. Here’s last weeks. His words make me laugh, and I got to ffffind this picture and remind myself that sometimes the show can be a hoot.

Current music: Coconut Records “West Coast”

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