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User Journal

Journal Journal: on HBO : Capturing the Friedmans

If you don't have HBO, rent it. If you haven't already caught it, it "Capturing the Friedmans" airs in an hour on HBO, then again next Tuesday night/Wednesday morning at midnight.

The film presents the case of a family accused and convicted of having sex with children, and then presents evidence the court never heard that appears to clear them. The DVD has extra information and interviews.

Should they have been convicted?

ImDb page.

Annoying Flash-only movie website.

If you see the film, please let me know what you think. Personally, I suspect they were wrongfully convicted, and that such things happen all the time.

User Journal

Journal Journal: Bush is *how* friendly?

Has everyone but me seen the AP/Yahoo News picture of Bush and HUD Secretary Alphonso Jackson from 3/3/2004?

Update: Photo is now gone from Yahoo, but I saved the picture and its page (page and the rest copied on the 12th). The dead Yahoo link, may still have original caption :

President George Bush, right, rubs the head of Alphonso Jackson, acting Secretary of the U.S. Department of Housing and Urban Development (news - web sites), before making his remarks at the White House Conference on Faith-Based and Community Initiatives event in Los Angeles Wednesday, March 3, 2004. Bush is on a two-day campaign swing of Southern California. (AP Photo/Kevork Djansezian)


A coworker and myself burst out laughing while another shook his head saying, "Now that's just sad."

"I guess they're really, *really* good friends!" says I.

"Still," says bummed coworker, "even if you feel comfortable doing that in private, please have the sense to refrain at photo-ops!"

I say, "At least it explains his defensiveness on gay issues."

Bummed coworker, "All it needs is the caption, 'Yessuh, Massuh!'". With that, he rolls his eyes and closes the browser window.

User Journal

Journal Journal: RIP Spalding Gray 2

From Bloomberg obit:

  1. The body of Spalding Gray, the author, theatrical monologist and actor who received critical acclaim for work that combined wit, dark humor and observations as seen through his own life, washed ashore yesterday on the Brooklyn waterfront, a spokeswoman for the New York City medical examiner's office said. Gray was 62.

    Gray was reported missing almost two months ago. "We've identified it as Spalding Gray by dental X-rays," said Ellen, Borakove, the spokeswoman. The cause of death of Gray wasn't immediately determined, she said.

Similar reports at CNN , Reuters, and NYT.

I'm glad that at least I got to see one of his live performances. While I can't deny that his material tended to be a bit self-absorbed, it worked because it gave a picture of himself.

His monologues revealed him to be passionate on his issues and compassionate toward people.

The Matrix

Journal Journal: last night's dream of music and memory 3

Had a vivid dream last night and -- despite the distraction of the alarm clock -- managed to remember a good deal of it. After emailing it to friends, one asked me to post this silliness, so I will ... but I doubt it'll work for those who are unaware of our real-life situations.

Part of the dream I can't remember is the thing I was obviously *trying* to remember. I'd gone over differences and uses of a bunch of minor scales yesterday and my brain was trying put the info in long-term storage, but I'd already lost the name of the particular minor I cared about from short-term, so the dream failed to resolve that. Also, the dream didn't follow linear time, but I've written this as if it did to make it more coherent.

The dream:

The starting point is fuzzy, but involved me as a teenage punk. At some point, good real-life friends (Girl and Guy) ended up in the scene. We went to Girl's's/my new apartment in West Philly and hung out in the attic trying to learn our instruments (two guitars plus Guy on 5-string bass guitar). Skipping the details, we sucked.

Girl suggested that if we just dropped acid, we'd figure everything out. I thought that was a GREAT idea! Guy thought that was a HORRIBLE idea! The cats (which seemed to be all the cats I've known any of us to own) decided that it should be a majority decision and they'd act as the Supreme Court if there were any Rules Violations.

I ran down to the fridge to get a fresh round of music acid (as opposed to dancing, filming, or other types that were stocked in the egg container-y thingie) and brought them back. By then, Guy had deferred to the Judgment of the Cats, but insisted that if he was going to be dragged into our madness, we'd have to document the event, and started a reel-to-reel recorder as I handed out doses.

Unlike any drug known to man, this acid gave us instant comprehension of a wide array of music theory and application. With new-found insights and ability, we fell together in a seamless jam centered around some bluesy progressions but diverting from that repeatedly and purposefully to explore different minors -- with our prime groove using ... umm... whatever-that-minor-is-that-has-an-arabic-kinda-sound-to-it.

It didn't take much discussion before we'd ascended into this 'arabic' flavored jam for a LONG time and as it progressed we talked less and played more. Our speech -- questions and suggestions about who'd lead or where to head -- descended into increasingly less complete thoughts as our playing improved, and kept doing so until we reached the point we'd just grunt, smile and nod.

Eventually, I realized we'd lost the ability to speak, and I pointed this out by playing a riff that equated to the same sentiment. Guy gave back a sarcastic bass line that effectively said, "Duh! You can't take music acid and retain speech! That's what the instruments are for -- for TALKING!" And Girl -- like a firm but loving mother -- came back with a string of major chords suggesting we lighten up and get back to the music.

But by then the mood was different and the magic was wearing off and we couldn't get back to the Arabian theme and we all got frustrated. Still speaking via instruments, we became increasingly upset and dischordant. We couldn't find our groove. We couldn't remember what we'd been playing. We were coming down too fast and all our ability was evaporating from both mind and fingers.

We decide to play back the tape and jam with that. Sure, we wouldn't be able to record anything new while the tape was in play-back mode, but it was doubtful any additions would be as good as what we'd BEEN playing, anyway. One of us decided to make a written transcription of what we'd played in tab form, and we realized that we'd already lost the ability to read sheet music. Somewhere in there, we'd returned to actual speech, too.

After much talk, we were all straight, and had little incentive for jamming to the tape, but with all the talk we had not yet gone as far as to turn the tape off RECORD, so we did that, rewound and pressed PLAY. It turned out that the tape was just an hour-long loop (despite having two unconnected reels), so the rewind put us back to the point where we're saying stuff like, "Well let's see what we've got" "Are you going to tab this out in pen or pencil?" "There's no point in recording us talking"

We were distressed that we'd only got an hour of tape, but we'd really only talked for about 10 minutes, so we expected there was maybe 30 minutes of a great jam, 10-15 minutes of talking-by-instrument and falling apart, and a few minutes of whatever (we discussed this at length and did complicated-seeming math to derive this).

After various equations, we knew how to fast-forward the tape to the point where we hit STOP. We then switched to play-back with a great anticipation for the joyous music we'd made. For a long moment, there was silence on the tape. Then we heard a grunt. Then a few more grunts and breathing. Slowly we realized we could hear the muffled sounds of instruments being picked, slapped and hammered, but there was no music to it -- just tiny percussive hits devoid of differentiating tone.

The recording was only able to pick up our human noises -- not our music -- it was as empty as our memory of what we'd played.


Of all the movies I saw this weekend, I'm embarrassed at how much of the dream was *just* from the least 'important' flick, "50 First Dates" (spoiler: a girl can't remember new experiences, but eventually her dreams include the guy who loves her -- even if she can't remember who he is). The movie covers the interaction between memories and dreams. THAT part of yesterday I still remember. Still can't name that minor scale, though, and obviously I won't until get home and review it. Maybe tonight's dream will give me long-term access to it.


Journal Journal: band review: The Capitol Years 2

I don't normally review bands, and it's unlikely I'll be doing this again, but this is a local band that I'm embarrassed to have missed for so long. Until this weekend, I'd skipped The Capitol Year. After hearing an earlier album,it seems a good thing I waited. I might have been turned off by the simplicity of the earlier work.

Seeing them now as a first time listener, The Capitol Years struck me as a band ready to hit the big time. They've got everything that the last hundred or so one-hit wonders have had, but with the bonus that they've already got at least three tunes that *could* get high rotation if they ever got wide airplay. This is, of course, unlikely to happen in these days of Clear Channel domination, but it *should* happen.

Their current live show is most similar to their Jewelry Store EP -- a solid effort of college radio styled pop rock. By 'pop' I mean more like White Stripes rather than Brittany Spears. By 'rock' I mean more like Beatles rather than Led Zeppelin.

They played second of three bands in the show and -- while competent -- they displayed the least technical prowess at playing their instruments. This was *not* a drawback. The other bands were older muscians with skill, but non song writing ability. The Capitol Years had well strucutred songs that ranked hands-down best of any local band I've seen in years. Their songs are even *more* listenable than 80% of the current small-club touring bands I hear. They do a pleasing update on an older style of rock and make it sound fresh. If Capitol Years had come up in the times of the old American Bandstand, any of their tunes would surely have garnered the standard praise, "It's got a good beat and you can dance to it."

I have to give somewhat backhanded praise because they struck me as striving too hard. The lead's personna and obviously-practiced stage moves frequently came off as too high school, but I give them credit for trying. I like bands that do more than just stand there and play, but certain bits were so over staged that it distracted from the music. They're young, though, so maybe they'll get it down as they mature.

Also, these guys aren't breaking any new ground. If you like the genre, you're destined to like these guys. Even if you don't, you won't switch channels if your college channel plays them. You might even find yourself humming one of their hooks. They're similar to dozens of other young bands. In their live set, one tune had a bridge highly reminiscent of the main riff for Velvet Underground's "Sister Ray". Another tune sounded like a Pink Floyd homage. All songs were in line with this pseudo-retro trend I keep hearing from a current subset of bands.

Despite my complaints, I'd like to see this band make it big. They strike me as *exactly* the kind of band that can both appeal to a wide audience now and mature into something more if given support. If they come to a club near you, please give them a listen. Tell me if their mix of showmanship and musical ability is or is not good enough (and non-threatening enough) for them to play on Conan O'Brien or another late-late show.

The Courts

Journal Journal: My bedroom *is* private! Yay! 4

I consider this to be the best right-to-privacy ruling in a long time. I know lots of people are thinking of this as a win for gays and liberals, but it is a win for people over bureaucracy. It favors all citizens (as long as they aren't suspect of being terrorists, having contraband items, engaging in immoral acts with children, animals, causing harm to another, or such).

To the point : The Supreme Court struck down a Texas sodomy law on the grounds that it violates a citizen's right to privacy. This ruling makes similar laws in several other states equally unconsitutional.

Comparing this to the 1986 Supreme Court ruluing that upheld sodomy laws, Justice Anthony Kennedy said the old t decision "was not correct when it was decided, and it is not correct today."

Take that, Santorum! -- We know you for what you really are! ( <-- see bottom of page) Ahem. Sorry for being petty. Santorum really pissed me off on this issue.

Read actual news at ABC News, CNN, Bloomberg, or any of a number of other sites. Me, I'm trying to think up the best way to celebrate!

User Journal

Journal Journal: Speech is only "free speech" when at odds with policy?(more) 17

This is a week old, but I've only just read the Economist article. I understand the need for crowd control, but the idea of _selective_ crowd control really irks me.

Basically, this guy, Mr. Bursey, is arrested for being anti-war in a Pro-Bush zone. He'd faced similar charges *years* ago after he'd done the same thing during the Nixon/Vietnam era, and they were dismissed by South Carolina's Supreme Court. When history repeated itself and the new charges were dismissed, our leaders sought out new ways to criminalize his behavior.

To quote the article:

  1. The prosecutors say that Mr Bursey was not in a special âoefree-speech zoneâ that was set up for protesters half a mile from the hangar. The pro-Bush people did not need to be there because they were not protesting. Mr Bursey told the cops, defiantly, that he was under the impression that the whole of America was a free-speech zone.


After NeMon'ess pointed out that Bursey will not be given a juried trial, I looked around a little, and immediately found some more links on the story. All but the last take similar positions. My apologies for not starting off with more details. Thanks to NeMon'ess for pointing this out!

  - Trial Started Tuesday. Bursey contends that the charges have changed "That wasn't what I got arrested for"

  - Trial delayed (for technicality).

  - PA Op-Ed doesn't like Ashcroft, mentions Bursey.

  - The Charlotte Observer's coverage is less sympathetic, and cites the fine to be 1/10th the price reported in other papers.

The Courts

Journal Journal: Polygamy, Sodomy, and Santorum 22

I'm looking for input on a specific side-issue to the following.

Senator Rick Santorum (R., PA) commented on the Texas/Gay Sex issue before the Supreme Court (quoted from local newspaper -- a local TV station's blurb omits the second part) :

"If the Supreme Court says that you have the right to consensual (gay) sex within your home, then you have the right to bigamy, you have the right to polygamy, you have the right to incest, you have the right to adultery. You have the right to anything."
"All of those things are antithetical to a healthy, stable, traditional family," Santorum said. "And that's sort of where we are in today's world, unfortunately. It all comes from, I would argue, this right to privacy that doesn't exist, in my opinion, in the United States Constitution."

While Santorum has a point, I think he went too far overboard with his statements. First, "consensual" pretty much rules out what we think of as incest because law (and child psychology) already establish that we cannot expect children to be capable of giving meaningful consent when confronted with an adult -- especially when the adult is an authority figure. Second, I always worry when elected officials make statements *against* a right to privacy (want it reserved to people -- but save that for another day).

I see his point on this part: how can The Court determine that a state has no business violating a gay couple's privacy, but *does* have the right to violate the privacy of bigamists/polygamists? The simple argument is to say that states may not investigate ANY consensual sex, but states *do* have the right grant marriages to only consenting partners consisting of a single man plus a single woman -- which is public record and entirely outside the privacy issue (oh, and from here on, I'll lump bigamists in with polygamists).

In my mind, the above causes a problem for the very people protesting Santorum's remarks. Not only do homosexuals want bedroom privacy, they also want legal gay marriages with the same standing as currently-legal marriages .... and this is the side-topic I'd like to pursue.

Regardless of opinions for or against non-religious Civil Unions of gay couples, I would like to hear compelling arguments that assert, "gay marriage should be legal, but not polygamy." I've already heard plenty of arguments for keeping both illegal, so there's no need to repeat those arguments here.

So far, the best argument I've heard for a distinction is the (weak) claim that while we can assume gay unions to be consensual, polygamy is too often nonconsensual, and therefore it is in the interest of the government and its citizens to allow the former but forbid the latter (as keeping polygamy illegal protects poor helpless under-educated girls).

I'd like to hear a better argument for forbidding all from marrying more than one other person, but allowing any single, consenting adult to marry any other single, consenting adult. Anyone got one?

User Journal

Journal Journal: film fest weekend 1

Been a long while since I've written about movies (been too busy), but if I don't write notes for these, festival filcks, I'll never get around to it (just as I never got around to praising "Spider").

Biggest disappointment of the weekend:
I missed ALL showings of "Beyond Re-Animator" because a) I got a late-start on Friday, b) felt like it'd come out on video soon enough, and c) other movies seemed more likely to vanish if I didn't seem them. I can't describe the frustration I then felt on Saturday when I discovered that Jeffrey Combs, actor of the Herbert West role, was THERE!!! I would have loved to hear him speak and snap a quick photo, but noooo, I was too busy watching Iranian movies. I asked a couple hard-core Re-Animator fans how the 3rd installment rated and they loved it -- said it was way better than #2.

Anyway... The scale is 0-5. Only 'English' titles listed -- not real titles. If marked with "*", film had a guest speaker. The links will only matter to folks in or near Philadelphia, as they are for this year's annual Film Fest. At some point, I should probably post pics of the 'Horror' directors somewhere.

1) War - (link is more hostile than the film deserves) Russian take on an Action Hero movie. Here, the Good Guys don't go in guns blazing, they deal, feel disaffected, and deal with bureaucracy. When violence does occur, no one looks Heroic. Graphic violence. 4.0

2) Blessing Bell - Silent Hero gets tangled into an improbable series of events. While some things bring him to action, he stays mostly disconnected from the world. The film holds sadness, disillusionment and bitterness, but there are also small moments of love, and morality. Well worth the watch. 3.0

3) My Life as McDull - Animated tale of adult reflection on growing up in Hong Kong and cycling from hope to disappointment before reaching a more adult perspective. Should have been better than it was. For those who care about animation, it ranks about 3.0, but comared to all film, its only a 1.5.

4) Every Day God Kisses Us on the Mouth - A killer is released from prison with the warning to stop drinking lest he end up back in the same straights. Too soon, he's drinking and gambling -- with the misfortune of 'winning' against a gypsy whose wife curses the ex-con. Gobs of beautiful symbolism. Distinct sense of place (Romania), and culture. Film's ending felt arbitrary -- as if perhaps the crew had gone past their deadline, so that's all there was. Digital quality distracted. This could have been a 4.0, but technical problems scale its rating back to 2.5.

5) West Bank Brooklyn* - While the writer/director is a Palestinian American, the cast is not. Given that the majority of the film is a recitation of issues the writer felt important to announce about his cultural identity, I expect it would have helped if each actor had an intimate understanding of their character. As it was, it falls flat. *A cast member did a Q&A afterwards. 1.0

6) Day of the Beast* - Black comedy from Alex De La Iglesia that brings sarcastic fun starting with the inital scene that finds our Hero, a devoted Priest/Theologian with a senior Priest. He announces to the elder that he's cracked the 'code' within The Apocalypse of St. John, and now must do as much evil as possible. A tiny bit of 'horror-film action' towards the end. *Before the show, the director spoke. He was fun, foul-mouthed and amusing -- dressed in Misifts t-shirt and going coping with heavy jet lag from his flight from Spain. Score for comparing within it's genre: 4.0. Overall, 3.0

7) Stone Reader* - Documentary. Yuppie tries to impress us with his love of books, particularly one that is out of print, hard to read (even by the standards of his ultra-literate friends), and unknown to most everyone. If you like reading even a little, you'll identify with this movie's passion. *Director said that the book would be republished because of the film generated by this film. 3.5

8) Sympathy for Mr. Vengeance - Extremely violent and graphic tragedy. It has the pathos of Shakespeare and various Greek classics, but the ethos is far more bitter than found in most High Literature. A must-see for those who can handle the too-realistic brutality. 4.0

9) Women's Prison - While we know this film was banned in its native Iran, the question is whether the ban was for the way it depicts Iran's treatment of female prisoners, or if Iran was simply embarrassed to show a film this disjointed. The characters are flat cut-outs, who are shown doing a few different things over the span of decades and the only pay-off is to make the Heroine seem somewhat saintly. Yawn. The only interesting bits were simple, cultural things that could not help but get woven in. 2.0

10) Ten - Despite a low budget, talking-head approach, this is an interesting, insightful movie. Through a dash-mounted camera, we witness one woman driving her son, sister, and some other people around Tehran over the course of ... oh, more than a month. There are 10 segments, but some are repeats of the same people. The characters become amazingly well developed despite the limited view. 3.0

11) Eternal Blood* - Fun Chilean horror/vampire flick. Very moody/ambient. It might have limited appeal outside the Goth/"Vampire: the Masquerade"-playing crowds but I'm hoping a wider range of people enjoy it. The director says Fangoria has guaranteed it to come out on DVD in the near future. *Director says the Goth scene is still pretty big in Chile, and talked about how he met Masquerade players after a couple 'stalked' him at a club. He says he did play a little -- but not that much because filming takes up most his time. Within genre: 3.5 Overall, 2.5.

User Journal

Journal Journal: 1000 cu. ft. of snow 25

Yesterday, I spent 6 hours shoveling my sidewalk (1st priority -- required by township law), the doorways, dog houses (they couldn't get into their outside shelters), the fence gates, the car, and the drive way. All told, I figure it was about 400 square feet @ a depth of 1.75 feet plus another 100 square feet @ a depth of 3 feet where plows had showed all the snow from the road onto the sidewalk and into the driveway.

That last 100 feet really sucked to move -- very compact, hard, and heavy. Worse, most of that last 100 had to be moved twice because the first round of pitching it out of the way only got it to a temporary location that would have blocked a neighbor's car.

The rest was fluffy, which would have been great if it hadn't formed drifts onto everything I was trying to clear (the car looked like an extra white sand dune with a drift rounding one side up to 7 feet tall).

So ... water weighs about 62.4 pounds per cubic foot, and this snow was about 20 inches snow per inch of water, so we're talking over 3000 pounds of snow (someone check my math -- simple as it is, I'm not feeling 100% today).

I say all that to explain this: I'm sore.


Journal Journal: to find smallpox cure for U.S. Army 7

Saw an article in my print newspaper about starting a distributed task to find a cure for smallpox -- not a vaccine, a cure.

Install their screen-saver/client on your Windows (and only Windows) OS, and your spare cycles can be spent on the research (or on one of their other distributed tasks).

The project's FAQ explains how this is getting funded.

  •     Q Who is funding this research?
    The Smallpox Research Grid Project is funded by the United States Army Medical Research Institute of Infectious Diseases (USAMRIID) and our corporate sponsor, IBM. Accelrys and Evotec OAI have donated their technology and services while researchers at Oxford and Essex Universities, the Robarts Research Institute, Sloan-Kettering Cancer Center and The University of Western Ontario are leading the research and providing their expertise.

        Q Who gets the results?
    The United States Department of Defense (USAMRIID). Only US government supported research sites could test the drug as research restrictions control work on the vaccinia virus.

I thought about that for a few minutes, and decided that while I'd prefer a cure to be available to all, it might be okay to let the DoD keep the cure to itself -- at least for a while. My opinion would probably change if the CDC or another agency actually found cases of smallpox.

The Courts

Journal Journal: RAVE act -- S. 226 : Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act 4

This is a bunch of snippets from a local music mailing list that I get. Emphasis and [editorial comments] are mine; CAPS are theirs. They're, ummm... rather hysterical on the subject, but as someone who goes to tiny live shows, I don't want to see promoters/venues scared out of holding such events. Also, I'm happy they included an opposing view (two at bottom).

We continue to receive email from people asking why we oppose the RAVE act when we do not, in fact, have anything to do with the rave scene. The fact remains that law enforcement officials could use this law to shut down ANY kind of music-oriented event that they deem "undesireable".... The decision to press charges, make seizures, and shut down events (which can put small promoters right out of business) is at the discretion of LOCAL LAW ENFORCEMENT and not judges!

You may recall that last year's RAVE Act was incorporated into Sen. Daschle's domestic security bill (S. 22). It gets worse. Senators Biden (D-DE), Grassley (R-IA), Feinstein (D-CA), and Lieberman (D-CT) have introduced it as a stand-alone bill (S. 226). It's not called the RAVE Act. Nor does it have a findings section talking about raves or electronic music. It's now called the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act. DON'T BE FOOLED! It's the RAVE Act in new clothing. If enacted, it would harm innocent business owners, undermine public safety, and stifle free speech and musical expression.

For more information on the RAVE Act and how the S. 22 "crack house" provisions will affect public health, free speech, and property rights see this link [ed. yes, the source is biased]

Your help is needed to stop this disguised RAVE Act from becoming law!!!

** Please forward this action alert to your friends and family. The Senate needs to know that voters find this bill unacceptable.


*** Call your two Senators. You can contact your Senators through the Capitol Switchboard at 202-224-3121. To find out who your Senators are go [here].

Tell them:
1) You oppose the "crack house statute" amendments in S.22.
2) These provisions are just like the provisions in the RAVE Act last year.
3) The provisions would endanger public health, free speech, and property rights.
4) Urge them to contact Daschle's office and work to get these provisions removed from S.22.

** Fax Senator Daschle (even if he is not one of your two Senators).

To fax Senator Daschle go [here]. [ed. if you do this, it would be best to edit the letter]

*** Fax your two Senators. Tell them to oppose S. 226 the Illicit Drug Anti-Proliferation Act. [ed. if you do this, it would be best to edit the letter]

If you'd like to hear both viewpoints on the RAVE act, you can hear an interesting discussion about the subject on , a nationally syndicated show on NPR radio. An audio stream is available.

Another article can be found at [this National Review link].

The Media

Journal Journal: 2pm Eastern: 2 Towns of Jasper online discussion

I wish I'd noticed this sooner. Heck, I wish I'd made a JE about the fact the show aired last night! Now there's only ~45 minutes before the discussion begins (and I have too much work to follow it).

A while back, I wrote a JE on the film "Two Towns of Jasper"* when its directors brought it to my town. It aired last night on PBS as a P.O.V. episode. Today, there will be an online discussion with the directors. PBS's has a page with info on that, and other things about the film.

* p.s. if you're looking at my old JE, the 'interesting' part (rather than the synopsis) is in the Wrap-up section.


Journal Journal: "The Hours": Should you see it? Will you like it? 12

To estimate how much you'll like the film The Hours, give yourself 3 points for each of the following:
  • you're female,
  • you're over 25,
  • you've gone through menopause,
  • you read classic novels,
  • you sympathize with victims of AIDS
  • you saw (or will see) the movie with your girlfriend(s)
  • you've enjoyed watching Oprah
  • your Home Team's SuperBowl playoffs don't/didn't interest you

Give yourself an additional 5 points if:

  • beyond merely liking her, you are a Meryl Streep fan,
  • you enjoy period-piece films,
  • you saw and liked "Far From Heaven",
  • you liked how Nicole Kidman showed her acting chops in "Eyes Wide Shut",
  • you care which movies get Oscar nominations,
  • you have a liberal streak.

Give yourself an additional 9 points if:

  • you cry at sad movies,
  • someone close to you (nuclear family member/lover) has/had a mental disorder,
  • you're on (or host) a nationally broadcast show in which (among other things) you interview artists.

For each of the following SUBTRACT 4 points:

  • you don't (didn't) know Virginia Woolf was a real person,
  • you watch lots of old foreign films,
  • you've read the book,
  • melodramatic musical scores annoy you,
  • you pay attention to camera work
  • the above national show you're on is a public radio show.

Multiply your score by 3, add 36, and you'll have an estimated letter grade (using a 10 point scale) for the film. Note that if you had all the additions and none of the subtractions, you may be prone to give the film more credit than it deserves.

Okay, maybe the above isn't as accurate at predicting a grade as it is in describing the audience when I saw the film (the show host was for NPR, but I expect she'd be more cautious in praising the film than someone on, say, "Entertainment Tonight" -- which is why the distinctions are split).

If you fit the profile, go see it. For my personal thoughts on the film, see the Summary on my main page (with rating), or a few more words about it by themselves.


Journal Journal: movies 12

Must leave work. Must jot down links and make FAST reviews. Much more detail on my thought about these films over here, and in the sub-links there-in.

Jim Broadbent duo (evil Mr. Squeers in NN, and evil Boss Tweed in GoNY -- and Roger Ashton-Griffiths is also in both):

Nicholas Nickleby: This is the sort of film where actors get to show their chops, but the source text is so long that the film seemed like a series of people announcing life-changing events. The movie flowed as well as it could, but there wasn't time to dwell on anything. The best part about the film is watching actors Act. They have pretty thin characters to portray, so it all comes out as more stage-y than real, but it is fun to see talented people going at the roles.

Gangs of New York: Like Nicholas Nickleby, this film was too rushed -- which is quite a thing to say about a film almost three hours long! I never felt any connection to the characters. The film didn't make them likeable and didn't give them much depth -- just lots to do. As a result, *I* didn't like the characters or care much what happened (this is unlike "About Schmidt" -- which depicts everyone in a VERY negative, unsympathetic way, but which I considered a really good film) Didn't see why it bothered to throw in September 11th stuff. Seemed out of place.

The rest:
The 25th Hour: Disclaimer: I love almost every film Spike Lee makes. The fictional characters are more realistic, and the movie is compassionate towards them. Also, it has some shots I expect will stay with me for years. Like 'Gangs', "The 25th Hour" also had a September 11th tie in, but it this case, it was useful and embedded within the movie. See this one. I loved it, but you might merely like it. A couple (only a couple) scenes have heavy violence.


From the "War Is" (anti war PR) film series at UofP:

The War Game (1966, B&W): Filmed for the BBC, but banned from view at the time.
This is a sort of fake documentary that uses actual accounts to suppose what would happen in the event of a nuclear war in Britain. Using the information that was current at the time, the film points out that NATO troops may be the first to deploy nukes. It then shows a fiction of how horrid a nuclear war would be in graphic detail.

Bed In: I think anyone who's had an interest in the Beatles or the 60s as a whole has seen footage of the week long "Bed In" held by John and Yoko in a Montreal hotel. This film is Yoko's personal cut. It is of interest to see what she felt was worthy of inclusion in comparison to other depictions, but it isn't a particularly useful anti-war device.
Most any documentary about the event will be more informative, so only watch this is you are a serious Beatles fan. It is not required viewing for anyone else. Oh, if you are a film student, you might enjoy how they did the end credits (low budget and interesting in a college-level way).

More stuff on these linked within here.

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