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my hard drive was more infected than angelina jolie's massive mouth.

i apologize to the masses. if anyone knows who started that email-av.exe virus, please let me know. i will gladly use my frequent flyer miles to chloroform the bejesus out of them. and i will eat a delicious midwest express cookie to and fro.

just to catch up, here are some mini essays on the pop culture items i've encountered in the past couple weeks:

CLUE TO KALO: sometimes records get overlooked toward the end of the year because everyone's making lists. this is the music that will get ignored or initially dismissed for not being edgy enough, though when listened to carefully is quite complex both technically and structurally. softcore math pop at its finest. if you need to wind down but don't like that instrumental crap i listen to and/or want to learn a seven-part one-person round, try this.

SYRIANA: you know what i hate? characters. so let's forget about developing personalities that would actually lend mass audiences to caring about a complicated relationship between u.s. oil companies and the middle east. let's just put as much tension as possible into each wannabe-scene with random intellectual dialogue that might get someone interested in the subject matter, but then just fall asleep once they realize it's not actually a movie trailer they're watching, but an ACTUAL movie. finally, the armageddon of political thrillers.

TRANSAMERICA: the one-sentence synopsis of this movie makes me chuckle - a pre-operative transsexual is about to undergo surgery until she finds out she has a son that she must reconcile with first by travelling cross country with him. what that sentence doesn't tell you is what makes this movie worth seeing. not great, but after seeing syriana, i was impressed by just about anything that had characters that didn't scream things like "i'm wealthy! care about me!" sure it still tries to make a movie about a transsexual dealing with gender identity into a feel-good comedic romp, but it could have been a whoopi goldberg road movie.

AOKI TAKAMASA + TUJIKO NORIKO: last night the clerk at the market saw me with my headphones on and said, "let me guess what you're listening to...coldplay?" all i wanted was some freaking popcorn and french fries. "L7?" that was kind of a weird guess, but whatever, i tried to end this awkward moment by saying "no, but i do listen to some punk rock." i'm an idiot. "so what are you listening to? sex pistols?" ah crap. "no, cocteau twins," i say, idiotically telling the truth. "oh yeah i used to PARTY with those guys in washington! that's punk rock?" it was funny because they're girls, not guys, and they're from scotland. in any case, i ended up just saying something like "that's cool, no it's not punk, but i do listen..." and trailed off and walked away briskly. the fact of the matter is, listening to a lot of cocteau twins makes you wish there were more bands like them around nowadays - bands that you liked so much for their combination of beauty and originality. i have happily settled for takamasa + noriko's album 28, which is full of kooky yet undeniably gorgeous bubbly yet soothing melodies.

BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: when qualler and i saw this, we pondered the idea of for the film's opening day, changing the blogulator's name to "blogback mountain." it's probably going to get a crapload of awards, and i sound like any other movie blogger right now, but i don't care. this movie rules. if not only for the utter fact that this and this kind of ridiculous backlash accompanies it. you get pretty much exactly what you expect, but watching the nuances between a whole bunch of crappy actors who miraculously cure their inability to act with this movie (except jake gyllenhaal who's always a medicore man living in toby maguire's shadow) is why you watch this movie. oh and the FIREWORKS shot. that's all i've got to say. fall and tilt. fall. and tilt. ORGASM.

KING KONG: racism has never been such a thrill-ride. all tribal natives are evil and jump around half-naked with spears and peter jackson thinks that's a VERY important aspect of the original film to maintain for his $200 million-in-the-trash movie. as is everything else that was in the original. actually that movie was perfect so let's just re-shoot that and put a whole bunch of CG dinosaurs so i can show up spielberg, go ahead with the long awaited orange county reunion of jack black and colin hanks, oh and add a subplot that goes nowhere that involves a all-too-aware copy of heart of darkness aboard the boat that unknowingly only reinforces the racism going on in the movie rather than add any sort of deep literary context to our opus. did i mention that i hate peter jackson? but seriously, go see it if only for the half-hour fight between a one-armed king kong and three (yes the picture deceives) tyrannosaurus rexes. i felt like i was 12 again. but otherwise, complete trash.

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  1. Blogger Unspar! | 9:34 AM |  

    Two things: One: Heart of Darkness is not racist, unless you consider an unbiased depiction of slave labor and native Africans racist.

    Two: From everything Qualler told me about the reference, it's as if Peter Jackson never even touched the book, and that alone will keep me from ever seeing this movie.

  2. Blogger chris | 10:42 AM |  

    this is a pop culture blog, not an english majors' intelligent discourse blog, but...


    i'm sure your views/work on conrad are excellent (no sarcasm - i promise), and i do acknowledge that many believe he was not being racist in heart of darkness, but i happen to agree with achebe. that's all i'm saying.

    love ya unspar!

  3. Blogger Dave | 11:37 AM |  

    I've never read Heart of Darkness (yeah, that plot line was odd), but calling this movie out for racism because the tribal people "jump half naked with spears" seems pretty overly-sensitive. It's a group of about 100 people living on a rock in the middle of the ocean. So yes, I suppose that tiny tribe of people was not shown in a very positive light (but they sacrifice people to King Kong, so they're jerks anyways), but come on now.

    I'm not saying this film was a uniting force for the world or anything, but you had a ship with a pretty diverse crew - I can think of likable black guys, an asian dude who was a pretty true early 20th century asian dude without being racist, and some sort of pirate cook - all living in harmony, killing dinosaurs and capturing giant apes. Racism seems like a strange thing to take away from the mindless thrill ride that is King Kong.

    By the by, how can you criticize the new one for being racist and call the first one "perfect" when they both contain said natives?

  4. Blogger chris | 12:23 PM |  

    1 "likable" black guy, aka the wise black man stereotype that's been present in film since birth of a nation, and 1 asian stereotype (again, old and wise, but auxilliary) that had maybe 2 lines in the whole movie. otherwise they're all white, especially the ones with the most power.

    just because a movie's mindless doesn't mean it doesn't carry textual weight. in fact i would argue that it carries more because it is such a giant blockbuster and is accessible to a larger audience, thereby affecting more people. and because people think it's "mindless," it gets to get away with this shit? so if it's an indie movie with a deeper plot and characters, then it's more reprehensible for doing things like this?

    just because it's a fictional island and fictional tribe doesn't mean that the materials/knowledge used to create those characters came from an offensively americanized viewpoint of "how darkie tribes act/behave/dress, etc." rather than offering any other kind of perspective.

    and i was being sarcastic about the first one being perfect. sorry that didn't translate. the first one's trash too. and the 70s version too.

    for some crazy reason i think it's important to change/reenvision a film if you're going to remake it.

  5. Blogger Dave | 2:22 PM |  

    Ah, sorry. Yup, I totally missed your sarcasm.

    First of all, Chris, you're not crazy. Remakes SHOULD change / reenvis- oh, wait- Sarcasm! (Badum-Ching!)

    What's wrong with making the minorities "wise"? 'Likable Black Guy' is a pretty vauge discription to be calling offensive. Yes, it's certianly arround a lot, but it's like saying that having a 'mean white guy' is a stereotype. They're just commonly used types of characters, aren't they? (Forget all your schooling that tells you that making a likable black guy is racist for a moment.) I felt like all the characters were so basic and without backstory that you could easily switch around the races of any of the crew. But then again, I suppose they didn't - would it have been better if the captain had been a black guy? (The captain = another wise old soul.)

    I guess I give moviegoers more credit in terms of filtering content of movies. When I said that it's just a big dumb blockbuster, what I meant was that I don't thnk people are going to see a tribe of people who have dark skin attack a crew of a boat when the crew arrives on their dinosaur-infested island, and assume worse of real people with dark skin. Would this problem have been fixed by making the tribe have lighter skin? Or making them giant lobsters?

    You're right that the white people are the ones with power here, but unless you're actively looking for racism, I don't feel like that necessarily translates into it. No one is out there calling Dodgeball racist because white dudes have the power (actually there probably IS someone out there calling Dodgeball racist). Once you're trying to pick it out, though, the casting certianly doesn't do much to argue. I'm guessing that the refrences to Heart of Darkness must be giving the other parts more weight than I can appreciate, as this movie certianly didn't come off as any more "racist" than any a film in which there's a minority victim / villian.

    And you forget the pirate cook. Truely, having a pirate cook is pushing boundries (a trend some would argue was begun by the previously mentioned Dodgeball). I'm not arguing the quality of the remake - it definately was a pretty basic special effects update, but fighting big grasshoppers is fucking gross, and it was awesome.

  6. Blogger Dave | 3:13 PM |  

    Hey, I need to ammend my previous blabberings - I said that, "this movie certianly didn't come off as any more "racist" than any a film in which there's a minority victim / villian." Which on second thought really isn't true. It has a history of racism, and that should have been taken into account when remaking it. What with the white guys sailing off to grab a big black gorilla and bring it back to America in chains. Sooo... Pirate Cooks?

  7. Blogger chris | 3:40 PM |  

    haha i was going to say what you just said...that's pretty much the only reason it pisses me off more than your average hollywood racism. that and i'm jealous that i wasn't given $200 million dollars to remake a story that has the potential for greatness but has been largely pointed out for its oblique racism over the years. he had the opportunity to change it, but didn't. that's sad. but yes, you got me on the pirate cook. and all this race stuff aside, i did have a lot of fun while watching it. i cannot deny it. did i mention there were THREE t-rexes? i did think the bugs were stupid though. went on for too long, and where the hell were those slimy worm things from? some other movie i can't remember...anyone?

  8. Blogger Dave | 4:12 PM |  


  9. Blogger P. Arty | 10:03 PM |  

    Way to return with a bang, Polley.

    By the way, I sincerely support you renaming the blog "Blogback Mountain." That's genius.

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