At The F#&%ing Movies

Does this-

Equal this?

And does this

Equal THIS?

Let's discuss.
Last summer, stuck in the countryside with very little to do, an old friend and I made a somewhat misled pledge to see every 'summer blockbuster' that passed through the local cinema. When I was much younger I for some reason mandated myself to attend every film that broke the $100 million mark (as evidenced here).
I can't do this anymore. I don't know what the fuck happened. Not to me, but to the movies, and the people who go see them. How can people I otherwise deem sensible and intelligent come tell me that this

was "fantastic", when it was essentially THIS:

with iron. How many more Marvel Movies will they have to see before they get as exasperated as I am with the tedious formula (Act One: Hero learns powers, to often comic and 'neat' effect. Act Two: Hero performs minor test rescue, using those powers. Act Three: Hero fights 'Big Boss' on a dark, rainy street).
I digress, kind of, but hell, it's all a vicious cycle. After the frustrationfest of Iron Man I knew that Indy was on its way. Not that I held out any exceptional expectation; hell, I just walked in off the street, pushing past the costumed guys and their costumed Dads (!). Now let's all be honest, whether you attended the original film in this series au theatre or whether you weren't even a glimmer in your Henry Jones' eye: this thing was just on par with an episode of frikking Relic Hunter, or any other piece of shit that has blatantly capitalized on Raiders in the last twenty-seven years. Now for fear this turns into my very first fanboy-esque rant, let me calm down a bit. The opening ten minutes of this film, until Indy nuked the fridge, were passable and inspired; the credit sequence encapsulating the 1950's perfectly and without words, setting us up in a distinct time and place. But speaking about the film seriously ends there, and what followed was the tried-and-true formula a la Iron Man- there's stuffy old Indy teaching, some shit happens and he's whisked off, blah blah.
And blah blah it is. Enough hate has been written all over this movie*. I'm going to continue on through the vicious cycle to its next step, and that's me, one of three males a t my sold-out screening, willingly attending Sex and the City- and enjoying it far more than Crystal Skull.
Romantic comedies are among the only films I've out-and-out turned off in the last few years. Fuckin' Catch and Release, Georgia Rule- oh, uggh. But here were well-rounded characters, if not in a realistic environment, feeling realistic things. I wasn't just pleasantly surprised, I was gobsmacked.
So I looked into this- how were critics and audiences feeling about the film version? I didn't use the internet- I used the people and papers at hand. And really, I didn't find one review, oral or written, that wasn't entirely concerned with intricacies and continuity carried over from the television series. These people, they better not ever use the term 'Trekkie' in a derogatory manner... ever. These people far surpass any intolerance Trekkies have for messing with what they consider 'canon'.
The reason I bring up Star Trek is that I cannot for the life of me think of a TV-to-film conversion that is more similar to the one Sex and the City went through. I'll cop to really, really enjoying Star Trek: The Next Generation, and being baffled and disappointed when it wrapped up and appeared on the big screen. Character and interactions that had seven years to form on television were presented as if to an audience that didn't even have a clue what Star Trek was. And it's been asked a million times- who in the shit is going to a Star Trek movie that doesn't know what it is and who it deals with? Those who had never seen The Next Generation were, I'm sure, not entirely converted by sitting through Star Trek Generations.
Yet sitting through Sex and the City, I nearly was. I heard all of the complaints, many of them from the people I attended the film with, and I'm damned sure that if I'd taken them to Generations or Nemesis I'd be getting an earful about wasted time. But they had a guy with them who liked the film more than they did. Somebody did something right with this film. And something is very, very wrong if a Star Trek-loving comic book fan is eschewing The Hulk and every other nasty attempt at mass-market entertainment that's coming down the pike for a girl's movie. I will totally see you at Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2.

* But I can't resist: I have to express the one thing about it that really drove me around the bend, and one of the reasons I compare it to a bottom-feeding, low-production value syndicated TV show. In the first two Indy films, he went through the ringer, sliding down muddy embankments, getting the shit beaten out of him- and he ended his adventures looking like hell. Yet after every breakneck sequence, and even at the very end of the film, sitting on that mountaintop, Jones looks like he just came from the fuckin' dry cleaners. Nothing's happened to him! His fucking pants and shirt are pressed when he's running through the kingdom of the crystal skull! And all this after Lucasfilm drops another one of those "we built 30 hats and jackets in various stages of distress" featurettes. I guess they only used one of each? This is just one of a dozen things that took me out of the spell this movie was attempting to cast.


When I Was Young and Full of Grace, I Spirited a Rattlesnake

When I was young I liked to think that a bad thing would never happen to me. I liked to think that a fine home would drop out of the sky, all hardwood and plant-filled with a view of the sea, and with it would come a calm and sensible wife with a blonde bob and an ass that looked fantastic and tantalizing in a pair of beige capris. And there we would live quietly, going to farmer's markets and listening to a lot of public radio.
Not that anything bad is happening, or has happened. It's just that whenever I've seen a dog, large or small, lately, the thought has crossed my mind that that dog might seize on to my calf and lock its jaws down to the bone, & I'd have to kick and kick at the top of its head as the owner yelled indignantly about just what I was doing to their anthropomorphized little mamer.
I don't know why such a thought has been emerging regularly, and I certainly don't think it is a sign of some kind of mental imbalance. Perhaps some people would; like those types that gasp and feign to weep at, say, the plight of Brazilian children for as long as it takes for an image or concept to cross a localized television screen or radio wave. Those types are usually pretty quick to get back to their list of organic groceries to be picked up at the next farmer's market, or whatever other activity assuages a Modern Western Liberal's vague sense of 'Global Responsibility' or whatever new phrase has been invented to make happy people uneasy.
Maybe it's because of a recent conversation about divorce in which I described my own in vivid detail to a freshly married individual without realizing exactly, obviously, why she was asking. Maybe it's because those dark things are currently at the periphery of my consciousness, whereas they were at the forefront for so long. Why? Well, ask me the questions the aforementioned did. I'd probably tell you about how while one can sometimes quickly get over a person, they can sometimes take much longer to get over a situation. In that long period of time I learned to embrace and even enjoy a deep malaise, straight through to its natural ebb. This too could explain why I am in possession of dozens of emotionally apocalyptic records by deeply serious songwriters that I am no longer all that interested in listening to.
Is this how someone becomes selfish? Smug? Even smugger than a smug married? Is this how someone becomes satisfied with a prissy blonde housemate who may or may not put out after six to eight months? Have I been through my dark night of the soul, and am I left to peter into blandness? What would it mean if I told you I don't even care to ask these questions anymore. At least for the time being.

Mates of State, a band that is a married couple. Listen to Get Better, which, amazingly, I hadn't until I Googled them just now.


Bananas. BANANAS! List archive- singles

Yikes, maybe more interesting than the films-- here are my top ten pop singles from 87-93, cut down from my personal list of 30 (!) each year- I could never manage this now. Look out below for the TOP 25 SINGLES OF THE 80's, which is actually pretty hot.


10. Bob Seger, 'Shakedown'
9. Bananarama, 'I Heard A Rumor'
8. U2, 'Where The Streets Have No Name'
7. Los Lobos, 'Come On Let's Go'
6. George Michael, 'I Want Your Sex'
5. Beastie Boys, 'Fight For Your Right'
4. Sting, 'We'll Be Together'
3. A-ha, 'The Living Daylights'
2. U2, 'I Still Haven't Found What I'm Looking For'
1. Los Lobos, 'La Bamba'


10. INXS, 'Need You Tonight'
9. Bon Jovi, 'Bad Medicine'
8. Terence Trent D'arby, 'Wishing Well'
7. UB40, 'Red Red Wine'
6. Tracy Chapman, 'Fast Car'
5. INXS, 'Never Tear Us Apart'
4. Midnight Oil, 'Beds Are Burning'
3. U2, 'Desire'
2. Guns N' Roses, 'Sweet Child O' Mine'
1. INXS, 'New Sensation'


10. R.E.M., 'Pop Song 89'
9. The Cure, 'Lovesong'
8. Edie Brickell and New Bohemians, 'What I Am'
7. The B-52's, 'Love Shack'
6. Tone Loc, 'Wild Thing'
5. Love and Rockets, 'So Alive'
4. John Cougar Mellencamp, 'Jackie Brown'
3. Milli Vanilli, 'Baby, Don't Forget My Number'
2. Prince, 'Batdance'
1. R.E.M., 'Stand'


10. Vanilla Ice, 'Ice Ice Baby'
9. Jon Bon Jovi, 'Blaze Of Glory'
8. Faith No More, 'Epic'
7. The Northern Pikes, 'Girl With A Problem'
6. Depeche Mode, 'Policy Of Truth'
5. The Northern Pikes, 'She Ain't Pretty'
4. INXS, 'Suicide Blonde'
3. Julee Cruise, 'Falling'
2. Depeche Mode, 'Enjoy The Silence'
1. Sinead O'Connor, 'Nothing Compares 2 U'


10. Sting, 'All This Time'
9. U2, 'The Fly'
8. Extreme, 'More Than Words'
7. Bryan Adams, '(Everything I Do) I Do It For You'
6. Enigma, 'Sadeness Part One'
5. R.E.M., 'Shiny Happy People'
4. EMF, 'Unbelievable'
3. Crash Test Dummies, 'Superman's Song'
2. Jesus Jones, 'Right Here, Right Now'
1. R.E.M., 'Losing My Religion'


10. INXS, 'Not Enough Time'
9. En Vogue, 'My Lovin' (You're Never Gonna Get It)'
8. The Cure, 'Friday I'm In Love'
7. Eric Clapton, 'Tears In Heaven'
6. Barenaked Ladies, 'Enid'
5. U2, 'Mysterious Ways'
4. R.E.M., 'Drive'
3. Guns N' Roses, 'November Rain'
2. Red Hot Chili Peppers, 'Under The Bridge'
1. U2, 'One'


10. R.E.M., 'Everybody Hurts'
9. Nirvana, 'Heart-Shaped Box'
8. Leonard Cohen, 'Closing Time'
7. The Rankin Family, 'Fare Thee Well Love'
6. The Proclaimers, 'I'm Gonna Be (500 Miles)'
5. U2, 'Numb'
4. Blind Melon, 'No Rain'
3. R.E.M., 'Man On The Moon'
2. Spin Doctors, 'Two Princes'
1. Soul Asylum, 'Runaway Train'


25. Culture Club, 'Karma Chameleon'
24. UB40, 'Red Red Wine'
23. Duran Duran, 'Notorious'
22. XTC, 'Dear God'
21. The Smiths, 'How Soon Is Now?'
20. A-ha, 'Take On Me'
19. The Eurythmics, 'Sweet Dreams'
18. Tears For Fears, 'Shout'
17. New Order, 'Bizarre Love Triangle'
16. The Ramones, 'I Wanna Be Sedated'
15. Men At Work, 'Who Can It Be Now?'
14. Peter Gabriel, 'Sledgehammer'
13. The J. Geils Band, 'Freeze-Frame'
12. Men Without Hats, 'Safety Dance'
11. R.E.M., 'The One I Love'
10. Pink Floyd, 'Learning To Fly'
9. Corey Hart, 'Sunglasses At Night'
8. U2, 'With Or Without You'
7. John Cougar, 'Jack And Diane'
6. Tom Cochrane and Red Rider, 'Boy Inside The Man'
5. Guns N' Roses, 'Sweet Child O' Mine'
4. Crowded House, 'Don't Dream It's Over'
3. Dexy's Midnight Runners, 'Come On Eileen'
2. The Alan Parsons Project, 'Eye In The Sky'
1. The Police, 'Every Breath You Take'

I smell a summer mix CD.

Bananas. BANANAS! List archive- film

Recently found myself in receipt of two Hilroy scribblers, in which I kept meticulous top ten lists for close to a decade. You KNOW I have to post these. There's more where this came from (wherever this came from)- will 'update' when they find their way to me. I've hyperlinked some forgotten films that I took a shine to at the time. Really should have scanned all this to display the era- specific design of each yearly report...

1987 (!)

10. The Secret of My Success
9. Dragnet
8. The Lost Boys
7. The Living Daylights
6. Planes, Trains and Automobiles
5. Stakeout
4. Beverly Hills Cop II
3. Throw Momma From the Train
2. The Princess Bride
1. La Bamba


10. Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
9. Beetlejuice
8. Crocodile Dundee II
7. Hot to Trot
6. Short Circuit II
5. Big
4. Willow
3. U2: Rattle and Hum
2. Cocktail
1. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?


10. Ghostbusters II
9. Heathers
8. Star Trek V: The Final Frontier
7. License To Kill
6. Parenthood
5. Dead Poets Society
4. Batman
3. Bill and Ted's Excellent Adventure
2. Pet Sematary
1. Indiana Jones and the Last Crusade


10. Flatliners
9. Presumed Innocent
8. Pretty Woman
7. Ghost
6. Young Guns II
5. Wild At Heart
4. Total Recall
3. Die Hard II
2. Back to the Future Part III
1. Pump Up The Volume


10. City Slickers
9. The Addams Family
8. Point Break
7. The Silence of the Lambs
6. Bill and Ted's Bogus Journey
5. Dead Again
4. Dying Young
3. Terminator II: Judgment Day
2. Robin Hood, Prince of Thieves
1. Star Trek VI: The Undiscovered Country


10. The Last of the Mohicans
9. Howard's End
8. Wayne's World
7. Basic Instinct
6. Sneakers
5. Batman Returns
4. Lethal Weapon III
3. The Player
2. Leaving Normal
1. Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me


10. The Firm
9. The Age of Innocence
8. Tim Burton's The Nightmare Before Christmas
7. Indian Summer
6. In The Line of Fire
5. Indecent Proposal
4. Jurassic Park
3. True Romance
2. A Perfect World
1. The Fugitive