Wednesday, January 22, 2014

DIY Double Feature, Mixed Media Edition | STUCK IN LOVE and "Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles" | Advanced Torch Carrying.

Read "Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles" by Ron Currie Jr. and then watch STUCK IN LOVE (aka WRITERS).

This DIY isn't as much about the quality of the works as it is about their themes. The book and the movie are about writers and love... specifically the kind of love that makes everyone uncomfortable, the carrying a torch kind, the "it's time you move on" kind.

We love it in our dogs, but not so much in our friends, and definitely not in our exes.

The thing is, as long as you're not being a creep, work through whatever you've got going on in your own time.  (If necessary, take the advice of the nice police officer and get some professional help).

You might regret the time you spent stuck.  No.  You probably will regret it.  Whether it's hours, days, months or years, regret will probably be a factor.  But, regret isn't so bad.  It's underrated, really.

It'll put hair on your chest.

Besides, sometimes the only chance you have of getting out is through.  If you try to skip ahead, if you think you're smart enough to get by on Cliff's Notes, you might get through some pop quizzes, but you will likely struggle with the essay final.  And that's most of the grade.

Love:  It's not easy, but it's doable.  There's a kajillion ways to get it right.  And as long as you're breathing, you've got a chance at getting it right.  Probably not the way you imagined, hoped or planned, but right just the same.

Well, right-ish.  Right adjacent.

If not, you can always get a goldfish.

Release:  2012
Director/Writer: Josh Boone
Starring: Jennifer Connelly, Greg Kinnear, Lily Collins, Nat Wolff, Logan Lerman, Kristen Bell
Genre:  Rom-com, probably
Plot review and other information about STUCK IN LOVE @ Wikipedia

Flimsy Little Plastic Miracles @ Amazon
Author: Ron Currie Jr.
Publisher: Viking Adult

Sunday, January 19, 2014

DIY Double Feature: TOOTSIE (1982) and SOME LIKE IT HOT (1959)

This pairing is obvious, I know.  Doesn't mean it's not good.

The viewing order is Dealer's Choice.  I think that phrase applies here.  I don't know.  I'm not big on poker.  It's just a phrase I've had stuck in my head for a few weeks, and I'd love to shake it...  So, I thought maybe if I used it, even if incorrectly, I'd be done with it.

Anyway, watch SOME LIKE IT HOT:

And watch TOOTSIE:

But before you watch either picture, watch this:

Then, while you watch the movies, think about all of the books you've judged and dismissed based on their covers, think about advantages or disadvantages you've had in life just because you were born you, think about what you could start doing tomorrow if you didn't keep yourself within the lines of your assigned demographic, etc.

But don't think too hard.  That guy is a fantastic actor and who knows whence those tears doth come.

Released:  1959
Writer:  Billy Wilder, I.A.L. Diamond
Director:  Billy Wilder
Leads:  Jack Lemmon, Tony Curtis, Marilyn Monroe
Plot summary and what not of SOME LIKE IT HOT @ Wikipedia

Released:  1982
Writer:  Larry Gelbart, Murray Schisgal, Barry Levinson, Elaine May
Director:  Sydney Pollack
Leads:  Dustin Hoffman, Jessica Lange, Bill Murray, Teri Garr
Plot summary and what not of TOOTSIE @ Wikipedia

Sunday, January 12, 2014

I GIVE IT A YEAR | 2013 | One Uneven Step Forward for Rom-Com Kind.

I'm not sure why I clicked on this one when Netflix recommended it, and I'm really not sure why I kept it on.  It looked terrible, and within the first few minutes it was pretty clear it was terrible, and yet I kept watching.  Maybe I'm coming down with a cold, but I didn't turn it off.  Whatever the reason, I'm glad I kept it on because in the last 15 minutes or so, something interesting happens.

We all know rom-coms culminate with the big reveal, some version of "I love you" and/or "Will you marry me?" but in I GIVE IT A YEAR, the question that is popped is:  "Will you divorce me?"

After a (very) brief search of the Internet, I learned this film was lauded as groundbreaking for deconstructing the romcom genre.  I'm not sure about that, but I am sure that the last 20 minutes were the goal of this film - the spark of life; everything else was just a bunch of blah, blah, blah to get us there.

I don't recommend that you watch the movie, it's a really tough slog for a few bright, shining moments near the end.  That said, the near end is pretty great.  I kind of love it.  A generous and honest break-up.  Josh (Rafe Spall) asks Nat (Rose Byrne) for a divorce, explaining she's perfect but not perfect for him.  And she is thrilled!  I wish I could share the scene with you, but it's not up on the Internet yet.

I also really love how they stick the landing for the scene too, when Nat looks at the best friend of her soon to be former husband, and...

(Let's be honest, that's often the highlight of a break-up).

I don't love the additional scene on the train station platform where the couples realign to be with the best, most appropriate partner but, like the divorce scene, it is similarly generous and honest.  And sweetly idealistic, really.  Plus, it fits nicely in the tradition of "so tidy they're fully cheesy" screwball/early-romcom endings (see:  THE PALM BEACH STORY, IT HAPPENED ONE NIGHT, THE AWFUL TRUTH and, well, probably a whole lot more).

Apparently Dan Mazer wrote this script because, with the exception of WHEN HARRY MET SALLY and KNOCKED UP, he was unsatisfied with the genre of late.  Which is saying something, those films are twenty-five and seven years old, respectively.  Mostly I agree with him, and I'm sad I can't get on board with this film.  That said, I think his effort could prove to be a good evolutionary step forward.  Perhaps I GIVE IT A YEAR will inspire another rom-com, and maybe that one will feel fresh and smart.  Maybe?

If you like romcoms, treat the existence of this one the way you would a news article about advances toward a cure for the common cold.  Not a reason to get too excited as it'll be years before you benefit, but take pleasure in the fact that there are people laboring to create a better future...  One with, maybe, a few solid rom-coms.


Released: 2013
Director: Dan Mazer
Leads:  Rose Byrne, Rafe Spall, Anna Faris, Simon Baker, Stephen Merchant, Minnie Driver
Writer:  Dan Mazer
Genre: Romantic Comedy
Plot review and other information about I GIVE IT A YEAR @ Wikipedia

Friday, January 3, 2014

January 2, 2014, at approximately 1:40 p.m...

This might be an asshole of a thing to do, but I'm going to do it anyway.  Because I just might be an asshole, and no sense in hiding from facts.

Yesterday I left my home to meet a friend right round 1:38pm.  I remember because I looked at the clock, noticed I was late, and calculated how many minutes I'd have to pick-up in my walk downtown; no time for a relaxed amble.  As I headed up the main street that runs by my home, a parade of emergency vehicles went the other direction.

A parade.

Police.  Ambulance.  Fire.  Multiples of each.

Enough to make me pause at the top of the hill, look back toward the hollow, and think about returning home to make sure everything was OK.  But that's a slippery slope, that kind of behavior.  A person could spend all day checking to see if stuff was left on, plugged in, running, burning, unlocked, etc. and so I kept moving forward.

Later, I saw this tweet:

According to Google, the Vista Bridge is 0.3 miles from my home.

I clicked the link and read:
This afternoon, January 2, 2014, at approximately 1:40 p.m., Central Precinct police officers responded to the report of a male subject shooting himself and falling from the Vista Bridge. Officers are on-scene and attempting to render assistance to the person. The incident is ongoing and information is limited at this time. 
And this is the potentially asshole part.  I don't mean to use someone else's tragedy as a Soap Box for my own message.  Well, I do.  Obviously.  No way around it, that's what's happening here.  But only because if I said only what I wanted to say, I could just use Twitter.  Because all I really want to say is:  Please look out for each other out there.

But if I just tweeted that line, it would just seem like I was fumbling a quote from Hill Street Blues.

To say what I want to say, and have it carry some degree of heft, I need some context.  And the quickest way to get that is to use the actual one.

For the record, I didn't read that tweet from Portland Police and begin looking at the bridge in my background differently.

This incident wasn't, like, an eye-opener for me.  That's not why I feel compelled to say something.

It's called Suicide Bridge for a reason.  Oddly, the same reason I make it a point to call it Vista Bridge.  Not because I can't handle the good and bad of the bridge, but because I'm not a fan of making suicide cutesy or jokey.

That said, it's better to be talking than not, and if you have to be cutesy or jokey to get talking, then go ahead.  My tastes will probably always err in another direction.

I don't like all of the pink ribbons and sundry pink sugar surrounding breast cancer either.

I know, I'm a killjoy.

I guess the thing is, the thing I have said out loud a few times since last night, and once already in this post, yet still feel like I want to say it again here, is:

Please look out for each other out there.

It's a gross simplification, but I'm not designing a program or proposing public policy here, it's just a request.

As much as you can, please look out for each other out there.