Derelict Junction

Providing missile launch codes for foreign cryptographers everywhere.

Monday, June 27, 2005


No, not about the sexual preferences of Husker Du.

In my last entry, I casually mentioned X2 possibly being the best superhero film ever. What a difference 2 days can make!

'Just saw Batman Begins, and it's amazing. It miffs me that I've heard people debate whether it's the best Batman yet. It has to be. -Has to be!

Clearly, it's the most well thought-out superhero film ever. And while current Christian Bale man-crush is still intact, the real star is director Christopher Nolan. It takes true leadership to walk into a franchise and take it in a new, much better direction, instead of just re-hashing out the same old stock.

For example:
  • He transformed the previous Gotham from archetypical Tim Burton playhouse into the gritty urban decay we all knew it should have been.
  • He took out the curvaceous Corvette-stylings of the Batmobile and turned it into a high tech tank that we truly believe could take all that punishment.
  • He had the gall to actually develop Batman's psychological state.
  • He extracted most of the cartoony lines and characters.
  • He made it a priority that we believe what we were seeing, not allowing the luxury of knowing "it'll all work out in the end".
  • Hell, he even removed the nipples from the previous Batsuit! (Although, you don't need to be a visionary to realize that was ridiculous.)
I hope George Lucas walks out of that movie and says, "Wow. Maybe I shouldn't have killed off Liam Neeson in half of a bad movie."

Saturday, June 25, 2005

Greatest Joke of All Time Nominee #4 & #5

In accordance with Gay Pride Weekend here (which is always amazing to watch), here's a couple of jokes of the season:

Eugene Mirman, from The Absurd Nightclub Comedy Of Eugene Mirman
I saw recently, Teen Wolf. My favorite thing in Teen Wolf is there's a point where Michael J. Fox is going to tell his super-fashionable friend, Styles, that he's a wolf.

They're in Michael J. Fox's garage, and right before he tells him Styles goes, "Dude, you're not going to tell me you're a fag?"

And, of course, Michael J. Fox goes, "No, no, no, don't worry. I'm a wolf! I'm a magical creature that eats babies! I'm not gay! -You can relax, it's cool."
Louis CK, from Louis CK, Live in Houston
You know what's funny to me? -That people get angry that there are gay people they don't even know. Some people get so angry, like somehow, that someone's gay, like -thousands of miles away, fucks them up.

I could understand it if two guys are blowing each other on your lawn, where you're trying to cut. "Arrgh! I'm trying to cut there! Someone has to stop these gay people! This behavior... it's not right!"
Here are a few more gay-pride suggestions:
  • Check out ma bro, and blogger extraordinaire, Scamboogah's take.
  • Watch X2, possibly the best super-hero movie ever, and notice the thinly veiled parallel that openly gay director Bryan Singer draws between being a mutant and being gay (especially when Iceman "comes out" to his family).
  • In addition to the X-Men movies, watch any of the Lord of the Rings films and admit that the coolest actor in the world, Ian McKellen, is a raging queen.
  • Break out one of the best post-punk bands of the late 80's, Husker Du, and remind yourself that all that great influential alt-rock was created by 3 gay men from Minnesota.
  • Reflect on all the times you were at a sporting event and watched the whole crowd whipped into a frenzy by the gay voice of Freddy Mercury and Queen's "We Are the Champions".

Thursday, June 16, 2005

Basquiat Moment...

Ever see the movie Basquiat? Everyone told me it was horrible, but I completely disagree. Maybe I liked it because I had no fore-knowledge of Basquiat to have offended or compare to, but still, I highly recommend it.

Well, there's a scene in the movie where one morning Basquiat is coming out of a drug induced haze, it appears his whole life is coming apart at the seams and he suddenly sees something that cheers him up: Duckman. I remember duckman from living in New York in '89-90, he was a guy who pushed a shopping cart exploding with stuffed duck toys. He spent his days dancing on the streets of New York, selling ducks and generally cheering people up.

I had a very similar experience the other day. Except this is what I saw:

So, embrace your own community's most beloved mentally ill citizen!

Monday, June 13, 2005

Top of your Netflix lists, people!

A study in pacing.
Pacing in the movies is one of those things that, when done right, you never think about. It's kinda like trying to strangle someone, but not letting them realize it. Hitchcock knew this, and it's the common thread in all great thrillers. Here are two DVD recommendations, both with marvelous pacing:

In the same vein as Memento and Requiem for a Dream, The Machinist is a gritty psychological thriller that clearly outlines what could happen when you combine faulty neuro-wiring and insomnia.

If you've heard about this film at all, you've probably heard of lead actor,
Christian Bale's weight loss. Before anyone goes and sees the muscular version of Bale in the new Batman movie, check out the emaciated, 119 lbs. version in The Machinist. -A spectacle that director Brad Anderson spent many scenes showcasing.

In the "special features" section, Bale explains that the script described his character as "a walking skeleton", and he merely complied. Can you imagine the look on the screenwriter's face when he saw Bale on the set for the first time? When asked how he dropped so much weight, his answer was simple, "'Stopped eating." According to IMDb, he lost the 63 lbs. on a diet of
salads, apples, chewed gum, smoked cigarettes, and nonfat lattes. As unimaginable and dangerous as that sounds, visually, it's stunning.

What the film lacks by Hitchcock over-influence, like its overly-dramatic music score, it clearly makes up for in the performances and the visuals. Someone once told me that Scorsese's Raging Bull was a visual masterpiece because you can stop the it at any scene and appreciate the rich composition of the frame, as if it were photograph (cue Def Leppard music right... now!). The Machinist is the same way. In a very Fincher-esque way, the characters blend in with the gritty environment, beautifully composed while always seeming natural. -I would assume, incredibly difficult to achieve.

[A little aside here, on current man-crush recipient, Christian Bale. I don't have incredibly high hopes for his new movie, but here's a few things that have got me interested in Batman Begins: -directed by Christopher Nolan of Memento fame (after first, Requiem for a Dream director Darren Aronofsky and then David Fincher pulled out), -the cast includes Liam Neeson, Morgan Freeman, Gary Oldman, Rutger Hauer and Tom Wilkinson, -Nolan made the crew watch Blade Runner for inspiration, and -making their feature film acting debuts - former lead singer of the band James, Tim Booth, and former coked-up baseball star, Dwight Gooden (we should all win prizes if we actually recognize them). All that just might make me forget that douchebag scientologist, Tom Cruise, jumping on Oprah's couch whenever Katie Holmes is on screen.]

Very minor spoiler alert: Also, to any Total Recall geeks out there who just can't get enough of watching Michael Ironside get his arms amputated, let me just say, you will not be disappointed by The Machinist.

If you don't know anything about this movie, try watching it without reading the synopsis on the case. No big deal if you do, but I was just wondering if I would have liked it even more if I didn't already know the specifics of the plot. It's nothing that isn't revealed 20 minutes in, but I think it might be even more thrilling if you didn't already expect the revelation.

Much like The Machinist, Primer is beautifully paced. It amazes me that a genre like the scientific thriller, which is usually dominated by big-budgets and special effects, can be done so superiorly on a small budget by a first-time director (Shane Carruth, who's definitely got "the goods", as they say).

Without talking about the subject-matter, I'll note that it won the Grand Jury Prize at the Sundance Film Festival last year, if you're down with that.

So before this summer's block-busters come out, check out these two small-potatoes films. Then just sit back and try to figure out just what those huge Hollywood budgets were actually spent on.

For a further, relatively outdated, look into my cinema psyche, check out this ancient link on YMDb: