Thursday, March 15, 2012

100 Things I Love about Film (in no particular order:

1) “Sewer rat may taste like pumpkin pie, but I wouldn’t know cause I wouldn’t eat the filthy motherfucker.”
2) The first 20 minutes of Saving Private Ryan.
3) The dinner scene in Annie Hall.
4) Lt. Aldo Raine’s unwavering hatred of Nazis.
5) Vito Coreleone’s speech to Michael in the Garden.
6) “My name is Luke Skywalker and I’m here to rescue you.”
7) Aman-DUH!
8) Rusty’s compulsion to eat in every scene of Ocean’s 11.
9) The end credits of Michael Clayton.
10) Daniel Day Lewis in pretty much everything.
11) Nick Nolte’s tirade at the end of Blue Chips.
12) “That’s my mom’s favorite part”
13) Benecio Del Toro in Traffic.
14) Christopher Walken in Pulp Fiction.
15) North By Northwest
16) Spicoli
17) The unwavering love between Li Mu Bai and Yu Shu Lien.
18) “If I grew up on a farm and was retarded, Bruges might impress me, but I didn’t, so it doesn’t”
19) Meryl Streep’s glare over the top of her glasses.
20) “Gentleman, there is no fighting in the war room!”
21) Every second of 2001 A Space Odyssey.
22) Russell Crowe asking for money to feed his family in Cinderalla Man.
23) Rachel Dawes realizing the man jumping of the top of the building is none other than Bruce Wayne.
24) “A year ago these cops and lawyers wouldn’t dare cross you…”
25) Every scene with Alec Baldwin in the Departed.
26) Henry Hill’s paranoia at the end of Goodfellas.
27) Gene Hackman
28) Carey Mulligan
29) Emma Stone’s ability to banter.
30) Aaron Sorkin’s brilliance that is the Social Network.
31) David Fincher’s brilliance that is Zodiac, Fight Club, Social Network…
32) Wally Pfister’s eye.
33) Christopher Nolan’s surgical ability to get us all hooked.
34) Tarantino’s knowledge of Grindhouse/Exploitation flicks.
35) Martin Scorcese’s knowledge of all cinema.
36) Kubrick’s anti-studio sentiment.
37) George Lucas’s vision.
38) Spielberg’s Munich.
39) Denzel becoming Malcolm X.
40) Spike Lee getting the financial backing to complete Malcolm X.
41) Ben Kingsley as Gandhi.
42) Robin Williams as the Genie in the lamp.
43) East of Eden.
44) Rod Steiger in the Heat of the Night.
45) Casablanca and its capacity to never get stale.
46) Sergio Leone
47) Lee Van Cleef’s eyes.
48) “BLONDIE!”
49) The first ten minutes of Once Upon a Time in the West.
50) Sean Connery’s charisma as 007.
51) Daniel Craig’s ferocity as 007.
52) Matt Damon in Syriana.
53) George Clooney in Welcome to Collinwood.
54) The deserved respect of Marlon Brando’s Genius.
55) Amy Adams
56) Afro Samurai.
57) Cinema Paradiso
58) Kamal Hassan’s risk taking.
59) Natalie Portman’s not so innocence in The Professional.
60) Gary Oldman’s underappreciated turn as Commissioner Gordon.
61) Kathy Bates in Primary Colors.
62) Chili Palmer’s walk up the stairs and eventual tossing of Bear down the stairs.
63) The Royal Tenebaums.
64) Tom Cruise as Vincent.
65) “Attica! Attica!”
66) J.J. Gittes’s tactless joke.
67) Maria Elena’s tirades.
68) Terry Gilliam’s Vision.
69) Sam Raimi’s traditional filming attire.
70) Film not Digital.
71) Huge Budgets with amazing Screenplays.
72) Tiny Budgets with amazing Screenplays.
73) Dialogue.
74) The five minute Dunkirk Beach tracking shot.
75) The single shot from Children of Men.
76) Mel Gibson is Mad Max.
77) William Monahan’s wit.
78) David Mamet’s rhythm.
79) “As your lawyer I advise you to take two hits out of the brown bottle”
80) Gandolfini’s 5 minutes in True Romance.
81) The fucked up love story that is Kill Bill.
82) The visceral impact that is City of God.
83) The Girl in the Red Coat.
84) “That’s just like, your opinion, man!”
85) “It’s not the years, honey, it’s the mileage.”
86) Sean Penn in Sweet and Lowdown
87) Pan’s Labyrinth
88) The frenetic energy of Trainspotting.
89) Philip Seymour Hoffman as Lester Bangs
90) “Boy you two are just dumber than a bag of hammers!”
91) “AK-47! When you absolutely positively got to kill every motherfucker in the room…accept no substitute!”
92) “Happy Trails Hans!”
93) The complete satisfaction of watching and re-watching: A Prophet.
94) “Who are those guys?”
95) Toshiro Mifune
96) “The frost. Sometimes it makes the Blade Stick.”
97) The South Korean Film Industry
98) Tony Cheung
99) The short, but powerful resume of Heath Ledger
100) That the best is yet to come…

Monday, September 26, 2011

Monday, March 21, 2011

What be the meaning yo?

So the ancient question beckons: What is the meaning of life? What if there was no meaning? What if it didn’t exist? What if the meaning of life is the process of life itself? If that were the case, then maybe the proper way to approach the age-old query is to break down the process. Of course with my limited knowledge, what is divulged can be only theory. I guess theory wouldn’t even be the right word, maybe a shot in the fucking dark.

1) Knowledge: Life is about the process of acquiring morsels of truth. Bits and pieces of truth gained from the attainment of knowledge. Now this knowledge is not to be hoarded through books or through lecture. It does not come from a degree or from a position atop the social hierarchy. Instead, this is knowledge cultivated from the experiences of living. Life as we know it, is but a series of moments, strung together over time that envelopes us in a vast labyrinth known as experience. This experience is what allows us to judge what is truth and what is not. It is the barometer, which influences all future decisions. Like the cliché states: he, who knows not history, is destined to repeat it. However, the most important aspect is to realize that the smartest man in the room knows, that he knows nothing.
2) Joy: Bliss. Pure unadulterated happiness is another facet of life that cannot be underestimated. A kid chomping on an ice cream cone, their two front teeth missing, while a smile stretches across their face wider than the breadth of the Grand Canyon. It is what allows us to understand the meaning of misery, as misery is to joy as light is to dark. Without one, there can be no appreciation of the other. Of course, happiness is fleeting, but the ability to measure oneself, to sit down and appreciate the very moment of being happy, is a truly remarkable experience that should never be bastardized. By this, I mean, we cannot allow outside forces dictate to us what it is that makes us happy. Happiness is not found in a brand new Bentley coupe, and it is not found within the white sandy resorts of a place that most of us will never have the monetary means to get to. Instead, happiness is the small things. It’s the warmth of a hug from your grandmother or even a perfect stranger, as long as they have showered and they don’t seem too creepy (the stranger, not your grandmother). It’s the first day of summer, when the day is at its longest, and you know that you have your plan set and you are not going to waste a minute of it doing what you don’t want to. Joy in its purest form comes from within; it is not manipulated nor bestowed by or from others.
3) Love: Now many may say: Well isn’t Love just a facet of Joy? Not necessarily. Love can be a painful son of a bitch. Love can be a thankless endeavor chased by the lonely, or ignored by the heavyhearted. Yet, love is as much a part of humanity as is breathing. It is what makes the most mundane of conversations, the best night we ever had. Or the warmth that is felt when she smiles at you and says she’ll be right back. Love is an expansive word. Warped by the commercialism and false hope of the media, it is not a physical item that can be purchased at the drug store. A card stamped with Hallmark cannot even begin to fathom its depth, for it is the strongest part of our soul and yet the least pliable. It cannot be faked and it will not be bargained with. It is an emotion vested in all of us that some never get to measure, and that others tap into all so well.

Thursday, January 13, 2011

Top 10 of 2010:

10. True Grit

9. The Other Guys

8. The Fighter

7. The American

6. Kick Ass

5. The Town

4. Scott Pilgrim Versus the World

3. Shutter Island

2. Inception

1. The Social Network

Monday, January 10, 2011


What is beauty? The dictionary definition is: the quality present in a thing or person that gives intense pleasure or deep satisfaction to the mind, whether arising from sensory manifestations, a meaningful design or pattern. By that rationale, beauty is a set object, a sensory perception that is inspired by that which surrounds us. However, beauty is different to each person. What appears to inspire a positive reaction in one person may not instill the same thing in another. The definition may hold true, but no matter how depressing the cliché, beauty is most definitely in the eye of the beholder. Whether it be watching your child take their first step, speak their first word, or break their first inanimate object, what may come off as annoying or spoiled to the outside observer, may be a cherished moment in the eyes of the parent. So what is beauty? How can it be defined as one to all people? How can the same instance be one and the same to all? It can’t. It never could be. What defines us as a person is not necessarily based on what we do, for perception is as much of a factor as any action we partake in. Beauty is the sun setting over the ocean. The golden ripples on the water slowly fading in and out as the sun descends over the western horizon. Beauty is your 5-year old niece telling you to not be so angry on your worst of days. It is the soft sigh your lady gives you in the earliest of mornings as she turns over and her short breath slowly catches the side of your neck, while still in the throws of a satisfying sleep. It’s Keith Richards’s guitar on Gimme Shelter. It is the utter exhaustion yet elation your dog feels after it’s just sprinted two miles with you on a deserted trail. The sound of your mother’s voice on your sickest of days as a child, telling you that she’s made you something to eat. Beauty is the bride on her wedding day. Her hair perfectly formed, her dress perfectly adorned and a radiance that forces one to never look away. Beauty is the voice of your best friend cracking as he gives his wedding vows to the love of his life. It’s the taste of grape lip-gloss on her lips as you lay the softest of kisses on her. It’s the smoky yet sustained voice of Nina Simone, wailing that black is the color of her true love’s hair. Beauty is none of these things and it is all of these things. It has no definition and it has no timeframe. It is timeless, and it is without comparison. Beauty is that which we cannot get enough of and it is that which we rarely get to experience even though it exists around us on every waking second of every day. It is the roses that we were told to stop and smell. It’s the written word. 26 letters rearranged to create the most poignant of dialogue or the cheesiest of blog entries. It is all these things and more. It’s all we can hope for and all that we can never find.

Wednesday, December 29, 2010

Never fund an addict:

“So how many years has it been?”

Fucking Jimmy. The same witless look on his face as the last time he saw him. Front two teeth long gone, the stench of a 2-week bender was quite evident on his scent. Unpleasant as it was it never bothered him before. It was more of something that was put up with and lord knows he too at one time must’ve stunk up the ethos of those unfortunate to be around him.

“It’s been a while man…long enough to fucking know better.”

Jimmy snorted in his own distinctive fashion, tickled by the far too familiar relapse of most junkies. They had been compadres years ago. A time lost in the raising of his family, he no longer dabbled. But, she was gone now taking the two young ones with her. The drinking began soon after. At first it was a few beers at the bar. Then it turned into a few beers at home, but after awhile, the beer just did nothing for him. At that point it was nothing more than tropical Capri-Sun. So he beckoned his good friend Jack Daniels. A man of deep conviction Jack never let one forget the absolute joy he could bring into one’s darkest of days. The sleep came easier with the black and white bottle. The visions in his head slowly began to lose their realism and even these images slowly faded into the blackness. It was quite the plunge. 15 years sober. Some of it state funded, but clean nonetheless, the slippery slope was quite the easy one to find. After a few months drowned in the barley and rye, a thirst for the good stuff began to take hold of his good senses. Definitely not good for one’s good health, but he knew he could handle just one take. In moderation most anything can be a dream. The abuse was never a problem was it? It was the lack of nothing to do that made him an addict.

“You gonna hook that shit up or what Jimmy?”

“Well allow me to welcome you to my humble abode brother, first and foremost. Good to see you again. Back where you belong…”

Fuck the pleasantries; the very fact that he was in Jimmy’s “apartment” pushed the urge to the precipice. Even after all the years, the jonesing was still strong. Like the urge of a serial killer to blood-lust, the mere minutes of waiting began to feel like hours.

Jimmy slowly pulled out a small baggie opened it and slowly begin to tap, tap, tap it onto the most unseemly of spoons imaginable.

“Is that shit clean Jimmy?”

“Trust me my friend, in a few minutes it won’t even matter.”

Jimmy placed the spoon over a bunsen burner. Back in the day it was solely zippo lighters or whatever other burning apparatus existed in the moment. Jimmy had moved up, snagged from an underfunded chemistry department no doubt, but industrious nonetheless. As the cooking commenced, Jimmy reached over with his free hand and pulled a needle off the table and placed it too in the blue flame of the Bunsen burner. As the preparation began to wind down, the anticipation was palpable. Jimmy pulled his belt off and tied it to his own arm. Before realizing what was taking place, Jimmy quickly placed the needle in his own arm. The blood squirted back into the syringe before he pushed the plunger all the way down and collapsed on the filth riddled floor.

“Jimmy! What the fuck! What about me?”

“Fuck that man. You’re clean. Just cause the bitch left you doesn’t mean you need to end up where I’m at…”

Monday, December 27, 2010

a little taste...

Ruffled hair, wrinkled two-button suit, his eye focused on his single malt, the faint smell of her hair engulfs his nasal passages as a sigh slowly escapes from behind his tobacco-stained teeth. It had been so long that he forgot. He couldn’t for the life of him remember how it came to this. Her green eyes used to focus upon him. A genuine glance of admiration and love lay behind her sultry soul shades as she used to whisper to him, that he was the only man for him. However, that was 8 years ago. He sits alone in the shoddiest of bars, sipping on his 4th straight drink, lost in the thoughts of the woman he once knew. Everything about her was all that was right with the world. Like a gift at Christmas, their love was pure hope and anticipation. The lust was good, but the understanding was great. As he reaches into the inside pocket of his suit, the bartender tells him that it is now last call, and also reminds him yet again that he can’t smoke in here. His hand reappears tightly clenching a crumpled and worn $20 bill, which he slowly places on the counter. The last of his money, meant for bus fare, was used instead on the generous spirits of a shitty bar. It was never meant to be this way. Sent to the Pelican Bay Correctional Facility, he had no way of even consoling her when they lost their child. They were going to name him Charlie after his favorite Uncle, a man who died too young and far too beloved. The innocence of their love had tainted itself in the filth of reality. Pure love, pure ecstasy in the arms of another; he had never experienced it before. Lost in the meandering fortunes of the concrete jungle, his eyes maintained on an unfocused path. But she set him straight. Her long dark hair, her slender frame, a petite nose, and cheeks adorned with the deepest of dimples, she was a vision that had slowly faded from his memory as the days went by. No matter how hard he tried to remember, the look of her face became more and more obscure as the days turned to weeks, weeks to months, months to years. All that remained were random remembrances of her scent and faded sounds of her erratic yet charming giggle. She was everything. And through the years the realization that he now has nothing began to eat at him. Her love is what he took for granted, and now it’s all he can hope for…but it’s too late. As the saying goes, time and tide wait for no man. And after 8 years even the most loyal of the loyal would have no reason left to stick around. Gone on her way, their memories she couldn’t keep from him. He tried to do the best he could, or so he convinced himself, but in the end, ego trumped her love and for that, he will never forgive himself, even if the great state of California had forgiven him for his other indiscretions.