Archive for June, 2008

How have things been, friend?

June 23, 2008

There are plenty of things to write about, namely the high amount of strange things that happened this last weekend, but right now I am just trying to recover from it all and think about just how to communicate in words how odd it all was. Since I don’t really know how soon it will be before I find the right way to tell the story of the weekend (which can only rightfully be done in collaboration with Corey) then I will write things like this post, which says nothing at all but passes as a post. To make it seem like at least a little something, here is a list that I just thought of sharing…

The 20 Favorite Concerts I’ve Attended, So Far
1.Okkervil River (April 7, 2008 @ Buskirk-Chumley Theater, Bloomington)
2.Wilco (June 23, 2003 @ Three Rivers Arts Festival, Pittsburgh, PA)
3.Beck w/The Flaming Lips as his band (October 22, 2002 @ Murat Theater, Indianapolis)
4.Dodos (April 11, 2008 @ Dunn Meadow, Bloomington)
5.John Vanderslice (October 5, 2007 @ John Waldron Arts Center, Bloomington)
6.Tony Marshall (May 19, 2006 @ Barley Island, Noblesville)
7.Kool Keith (July 12, 2001 @ Verizon Wireless Music Center, Indianapolis)
8.Silver Jews (April 14, 2006 @ The Bluebird, Bloomington)
9.John Vanderslice (March 23, 2008 @ Luna Music Broad Ripple, Indianapolis)
10.Phil Elvrum (September 1, 2002 @ Rhino’s, Bloomington)
11.The Flaming Lips (October 22, 2002 @ Murat Theater, Indianapolis)
12.Andrew Bird (February 4, 2006 @ Buskirk-Chumley Theater, Bloomington)
13.Wilco (October 13, 2005 @ Murat Theater, Indianapolis)
14.Fuck Buttons (May 3, 2008 @ John Waldron Arts Center, Bloomington)
15.Pearl Jam (June 22, 2003 @ Verizon Wireless Music Center, Noblesville)
16.Haley Bonar (February 4, 2006 @ Buskirk-Chumley Theater, Bloomington)
17.Times New Viking (June 4, 2008 @ John Waldron Arts Center, Bloomington)
18.Ben Folds (April 11, 2003 @ Depauw University, Greencastle)
19.Scout Niblett (June 21, 2008 @ John Waldron Arts Center, Bloomington)
20.Kyle Field of Little Wings (January 14, 2006 @ Luna Music Greenbriar, Indianapolis)

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A list sparked at random and due to the fact that I have managed to stay awake throughout an entire night for the first time in I have no clue when.

June 20, 2008

I honestly can’t really tell if I am awake right now. I know that I am not entirely awake. Tony, Corey, and I have roamed the parking lots, coffee shops, sports bars, hotels, basketball courts, and convenience stores for the last 10 hours, making a full and resilient effort to last until Panera opened at 6 A.M. As I type this sentence it is the very stroke of 6:26 in the morning, Friday, June the 20th, and we have managed to complete our hefty task.

My brother immediately fell into a baffling sleep and is lounged across a comfortable-as-hell-looking sofa  chair.

I am sitting at a corner table, typing away on my laptop while Corey sits beside me on his, feasting on a breakfast sandwich of some sort, I’m guessing it’s sporting a type of pig meat and whatnot.

I am listening to the Red House Painters song, “Funhouse”, which I feel is really the coincidental-but-inevitably-brilliant soundtrack choice for the event of the last breeze of time that has passed us so oddly. I might be rambling or being a complete nonsensical fuck-face of (Corey is dangling bacon amongst my left cheek at this very moment, which I would normally find sickening but like it because it proves the point of my prediction that the sandwich would include a main ingredient of pig meat)  astounding proportions right now, and so I will still go on without worrying if I am a dumb bastard. Apologies should be in order, mostly because of my lack of grammar that is basically found in each sentence and continues to mount as the paragraph lengthens, but I fucking am only worried about board games at this point for some reason, so I am not sorry. Without any further, worthless adeu, here is the list that you’ve all been (not) waiting for…

The Top However Many Things I Am Wanting To Type And/Or Am Thinking About At This Very Moment
1.”Tanning beds explode with rich women inside.”
2.There is a breezy draft blowing throughout the shop right now, causing the operating handles of the window blinds to sway at a steady pace. But this is not a fair fight, for the left one has been situated at least an inch and a half above the right one. Prematurely out of the race. Bullshit. Saddening. Goddamn.
3.Did anyone ever answer the question concerning the whereabouts of Carmen Sandiego? I mean, they were always so mixed on their thoughts about it, constantly changing their answer. With the surveillance technology that exists in today’s modern world, you’d think they could’ve ended this mess rather easily.
4.It is normal for me to think about random, overlooked, maybe under-appreciated animals on a daily basis, probably at least four to seven times a day. In the last 10 hours however, I have thought about what could approach not only a hundred animals, preying mantis’s, etc, but also the numerous ways that they can slither, scavenge, feast in dumpsters, nibble away at what most would consider “common” household items, and what have you. I might not be making sense, that’s if I haven’t lost you to another, more interesting website or whatever by now, but the point is that thinking about a fucking raccoon tapping on the cupboard door of a middle-class kitchen, simply to get into a box of whole wheat Zesta crackers, is something I like to do. Iguanas are capable of being conceited too, let’s not forget that.
5.I am tired. Maybe I should sleep soon. I want to own something maroon that is of extreme value someday.
6.My grandfather has literally spent the last twenty years of life (and counting) sitting on a leather blue chair on an average of twelve hours each day complaining, being self-indulgent, anticipating the power-hour combo of Wheel of Fortune/Jeopardy, and, chief among all things – HACKING. The man hacks up phlegm and various saliva, bits of whatever he had eaten minutes before, ALL GODDAMN DAY EVERY DAY, until the end of time, or his time. He refuses to either fix the problem or simply hack it out and spit it somewhere other than back into his body. It remains piling up in him, compounding into a future of even more hacks. An army of hacks. HACK HENCHMAN will be needed for recruit backup in the very near future.
7.I am stupid.
8.Goodnight.

The Long-Awaited Collaboration Blog

June 19, 2008

For the past few months, my friend Elissa and I have talked about starting a blog that we could both participate in, a place where we could pool our thoughts together on whatever random things we wanted to talk about at any given time. What initially sparked such an idea is the fact that we are always talking about favorites lists we would make of albums, films, etc, always comparing our interests. The thought of a collaboration blog was always a good one, we just didn’t act on it as quick as we’d have liked to, but those days are over. A few days ago, Elissa officially created IS THE ONLY LOVE, the place that we’ll look to frequently deliver our random lists, poetry, rants, music talk, complaints, trend-bashings, comic book talk, and more nonsense that we could feel like spitting out. I hope you will take a look sometime. We promise we will try to make it interesting enough to wanna come back.

Some lists, inspired by recent reviews.

June 18, 2008

My 10 Favorite Mark Wahlberg Performances

1.I Heart Huckabees
2.Boogie Nights
3.The Happening
4.Three Kings
5.The Yards
6.The Perfect Storm
7.The Departed
8.The Basketball Diaries
9.Invincible
10.We Own the Night

My 5 Favorite Zooey Deschanel Performances

1.All the Real Girls
2.Almost Famous
3.Winter Passing
4.The Happening
5.The Good Girl

My 5 Favorite John Leguizamo Performances

1.Summer of Sam
2.Cronicas
3.Spun
4.Land of the Dead
5.The Groomsmen

My 3 Favorite M. Might Shyamalan Films

1.Signs
2.The Happening
3.The Sixth Sense

My 2 Favorite Adam Sandler Performances

1.Punch-Drunk Love
2.Reign Over Me


My 10 Favorite John Turturro Performances

1.Barton Fink
2.Box of Moonlight
3.13 Conversations About One Thing
4.The Truce
5.O Brother, Where Art Thou?
6.The Big Lebowski
7.Quiz Show
8.Rounders
9.Miller’s Crossing
10.Cradle Will Rock

A Sign of the Times is “Happening”

June 17, 2008

R, 91 minutes, 20th Century Fox

One of the key ingredients that goes into an M. Night Shyamalan film is not even the film at all, but the power of its trailers and TV spots to keep the anticipating audience pondering of what lies beneath, plus ultimately grabbing new interests from those who were either not going to see it or were thinking twice, based on the competition at the summer multiplex. Shyamalan certainly started off his career of eerie thrillers with a bang, as The Sixth Sense caused an unlikely sensation in 1999. He further polished his skills with two effective films that followed, Unbreakable, and Signs, the latter of which I believe to be a brilliant film. With his career approaching the level of top tier among Hollywood summer directors, he got real risky with his patented twists and turns in 2004’s, The Village. As if his fan base wasn’t split down the line enough before releasing that film, The Village definitely got Shyamalan extra lashings and criticisms from all new groups, including me. That was the first time I found myself appalled at the “trick-ending obsession” of his, and what’s worse is that I was very much involved in the first half of the movie. It was set up perfectly for a more haunting, more realistic conclusion, but it falls apart into complete absurdity. Just when I thought he could get no more insane and over-reaching, 2006’s Lady in the Water was unveiled. I’m not going to even start displaying my disappointment in that movie, so I’ll simply leave it at that – a major disappointment and so bad that it, combined with the disaster of The Village, pounced out nearly all of the hope I had left for the once-promising director. But what is so ingenious about Shyamalan and whatever studio funds each of his movies is, I’ll mention it again – the intriguing advertisements. That is the one thing that has been consistently brilliant throughout his career, and it is no different with his newest film, The Happening. There are questions presented in the ads that were enticing enough to make me forget the recent bombs in his filmography and give him another solid chance to redeem himself.

It would be easy to expect and assume that Shyamalan would continue to follow the stapled trend of the intricate storyline with a surprise ending nailed to it, but with The Happening, it is clear from the start that he has dialed down his efforts to shock, in favor of simplicity, which he proves can be just as profound. Actually, to say that he has just dialed down from what we’re accustomed to seeing him do, is an understatement. A strange incident occurs in New York City’s Central Park on a beautiful, sunny morning. The fair number of people populating the area at the time are frozen, seemingly manipulated by an unknown device, and begin killing those around them, and/or committing suicide. The unexplainable happening quickly spreads throughout largely populated spots in the city, people dying is odd ways at an alarming rate. Shortly thereafter, the national news, having no way to pin down a real answer to this disaster, informs the world in the way it always like to resort to if clueless – that it is most likely the work of terrorist masterminds. Meanwhile, in a high school in Philadelphia, a science teacher named Elliot Moore has ignited a classroom debate on what might be the reason for the declining population of honey bees in the world. Elliot is an enthusiastic teacher, almost a throwback to the olden days of individuals whose one and only goal was to legitimately educate young minds. Mark Wahlberg plays this character in a way that makes him an undeniable original among protagonists in modern thrillers. Just as Elliot is a throwback to the real schoolteacher, Wahlberg makes himself comparable, with the tone of everything involved in this performance, to the great actors of the very old days. Roger Ebert said in his review for this movie that he would most likely be in the minority of people who liked it, and I can easily see why he called that out. From the opening fifteen minutes the audience is going to decide whether or not to have patience with the entire experience or not, and I had the immediate feeling among my full crowd that I was in a minority myself. Shyamalan has done a risky, even brave thing with making the main characters, both Elliot and his wife Alma, quirky to a high level, but it is a risk that I thought paid off once I let it all sink in and accepted them for who they were. Zooey Deschanel takes on what I think is an extremely difficult role and handles it with an odd, magic subtlety.

When the Moore’s and their close friends begin to run for safety, like the rest of the Eastern part of the country, Elliot prepares solutions, equations, rustles over possible reasons in his head how, why this could possibly be happening. It is such an interesting, humane way to tell this story, through the eyes of a resilient and humble science teacher. When the rampant paranoia of terrorism and other things are seeming less and less an answer for what is happening, then we are forced to face the fact that it could very well be the initial warning signs of the end of times. The movie isn’t trying to make any intricate, complicated plot developments, but rather is displaying a story of survival in what could or could not be the end of it all, and Shyamalan scores here by writing the Moore’s as truly good people. There are real conflicts in their lives that we get to see unfold, some things that were held inside are seen coming out because of the fear of dying in an instant. Wahlberg gives what I think is arguably is best performance yet, taking major risks and ultimately creating something entirely different than anything he’s ever done. I know there will be people, many people, who will question why an actor like him would play a role like this. I agree that it just doesn’t seem like something that could work out, but it is obvious that Wahlberg wants to broaden his range even more, to become a full actor, and this is a great step in doing that. I tried to stay away from a lot of the core details of the film, because those are always supposed to be left for the viewer to discover for themselves on screen as they unfold, and particularly in a Shyamalan film. I am happy to say that he has stayed away from the focus of leading to a “ending for the ages”, and it pays off. I am certainly not saying that the ending is any less something to anticipate, just not the “surprise twist” this time around. It is a fitting ending, one that is more frightening, and timely, than anything he has offered yet.

8/10