Cleansing the doors of cinematic perception... for a better now

Tuesday, February 14, 2012

Valentine's Day Special: 10 Favorite Things

Let's face it, humanity is a crock of crisis, getting ever worse as the months kick down to armegeddon. And the Academy Awards are a crock of bourgeois-courting boredom this year; and the Grammy's are hollow as a tin drum. And our old guard conservative politicians are so rabid they want to start burning women at the stake again and Obama's such a wuss he's liable to let them. And what's up with people actually professing to like the newer Star Wars films?

But what about the good stuff still being made or done in the world? There has to be some. Since it's V-day, this post finds me determined to accentuate the positive, and make a list of stuff still being made or going on, or coming out today or into the future to give us reason to stay with humanity in all its otherwise vile facets. It's Valentine's Day - HERE ARE 10 OF MY LOVES! 

Turner Classic Movies
Still awesome, with no commercial interruptions or editing, and constant new discoveries. How on earth did we get so lucky? Someone is looking out for this channel, and not a single vulture seems to have penetrated its outer radar. Recommended: the new Marlene Dietrich DVD with Dishonored and Shanghai Express. I thank GOD for TCM and the official patron saint of old movies, Robert Osborne. May he live as long as these immortal films!

30 Rock
The best thing in American humor since Mark Twain? Maybe. And Alec Baldwin is beyond incredible. Even if he's a real life liberal playing a Reagan-worshipping conservative, he fills his Jack Donaghy with love and iron-clad panther light and brings the show a tangible dignity it wouldn't have otherwise, despite the brilliant writing and stellar cast and guest stars (who could forget Chloe Grace Moretz, above, as Jack's rival for the Kabletown CEO successorship?)

 Breaking Dawn Part 2
I'm a very outsider, post-ironic fan of this series; I admire the unabashed third wave feminist Jungian aspects and hey, the secret's out: in the second installment of the last book, Bella's finally a vampire! I was so worried some dopey sense of bad faith lecture-manship would lead the other vamps to decide Bella should stay human, cuz it's so much more life-affirmingzzz. But in the first part of Breaking Dawn she outwits them all by using conservative mores (that the life of the unborn baby is more important than its mom's survival) to force their hand and get what she (and we) wanted all along, eternal life. And I can't resist Stewart's pout, regardless of what you say about its calculated overuse.

Foxy Shazam - Church of Rock and Roll
I discovered these guys accidentally on Spotify and was on the floor rolling and laughing uncontrollably within two songs -- like Ween met Queen! The lead singer is incredible and looks like a cross between Prince Valiant and Vincent Price! I don't know much about them... don't even want to ruin it by reading their Wiki. Right now they are perfect, though it helps to be old enough to remember when both 'foxy' and 'shazam' were essential parts of a Saturday morning cartoon kid's lexicon

The upcoming Bleeding Skull Book.
Josesph A. Ziemba and Dan Budnik deserve their own book, and one is in the works. Their lovingly deconstructed coverage of the most godawful horror films ever made is a definite inspiration to my own writing, and perfect example of seeing the bark and lichen for the trees, as it were. It's a whole new way of looking at crap, and they are hilarious at it.

The $1 House of Horrors Android app.
I was worried I wouldn't have instant access to Bela Lugosi's Monogram films on my X-mas present kindlefire, and here's this magnificent app... It got me through jury duty! They need to get The Black Raven up on there, though. But they got Fog Island, and that's a coup.

Blu-ray and HD
I'm not sure about this nth go-round trying to re-ignite the 3-D fad, but blu-ray and HD are here to stay, and that's another dream I had in the 1970s come true, especially on a deep blacks Bravia...I love you, Sony Bravia.

I've lived in Seattle and camped out near Portland and-- occasional errors of whimsy aside--Carrie Brownstein and Fred Armisen are the gods who shall destroy the poseur artsiness of those towns the way I never could in all my misanthropic early 90s drunken sneering.

Andy Serkis
Fans rave about Gollum but for my money no one does an ape like Serkis. His Kong and Ceasar in Rise of the Planet of the Apes were truly mind-expanding; he found the humanity in the ape and the ape in the human and made gestures so sharply observed that watching him opened some kind of Thelma and Louise-cum-PETA floodgate; tears gushed like a monsoon and I've never been the same since. If I had to go back to that old cage, Thelma, I just couldn't live. Now I even wince when someone says "my cat," as if cats or dogs should ever be owned any more than humans. 

Since her marriage to surrealist Canadian filmmaker Guy Maddin, Kim Morgan's been busy busy busy, but when she does drop a Sunset Gun post it's still thermonuclear science.  Her recent piece on Harriet Craig was like a punch in the stomach, fearlessly autobiographical and knocking loose all the barnacles of delusion and allowing raw healing reality to wash over the scars and make you forgive Joan Crawford. And just look at that awesome gossamer hair above, a perfection suited to the archangel of unflinching, passionate film writing. To me she's Dean Moriarty; she's my Motorcycle Boy.
So there we go. I'd count Mad Men and American Horror Story but their new seasons haven't debuted yet and you know how iffy it is when you're starting a new season... will either jump the shark? And I'd count Stephen Colbert but his endless narcissism even if it's a joke does wear thin. And Lana del Rey, well she's not exactly a reason to live, more like a partner when you jump, not that you would when crying while watching "Video Games" over and over is so much more dramatic.

And, or course, beyond all the lights and flashes and smoking craters, there's my dearly beloved Megh...

And a Happy Valentines to you, too, my dear reader... I love you more than these endless tirade words can say.

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