Posts Tagged ‘Army’

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.

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Father’s Day/Birthday

June 16, 2008

“If I was a Pagan, then I would be one happy motherfucker.”

A quote earlier today from my dad, Mark Ferguson, commenting on the coincidence of his birthday being on the same day as Father’s Day…and displaying, as he does so often, how much he refuses to believe in celebrating them. Or any holiday for that matter, excluding Thanksgiving.

Career Highlight for Cusack in “Grace Is Gone”

June 4, 2008

PG-13, 84 minutes, The Weinstein Company

Throughout the entire winter season for cinema in 2007, (which happened to be a mighty fantastic one!) the James C. Strouse film, Grace Is Gone, was always in my top five most anticipated. The performance by John Cusack, in which he plays a father of two girls who learns of his wife’s death in Iraq and must find a way to break the news to them, garnered a nice little bit of attention in the fall with even some talk of a possible first-time Oscar nomination for the tremendous actor. That buzz, coupled with the fact that it received both the Waldo Salt Screenwriting and Audience Award’s at Sundance a few months earlier, made me think that it would easily find its way across at least Arts theaters in the US. Sadly, that never happened. It received about as limited of a run as a movie with a solid lead actor and award talk could get, never opening anywhere near here and ultimately totaling box-office numbers that were hard-pressed to topple $50,000. To add to the pain of waiting, the video release was rather long compared to most of the swift-paced rush to shelves for most films nowadays, with about six months of time from theater to DVD player. Nevertheless, on May 27th I finally had no more reason to nag and complain, for Grace Is Gone was here. It is a film, and in particular a performance, that I will never forget.

Cusack plays Stanley Phillips, a middle-aged man whose face blatantly shows a dissatisfaction with himself, some disappointment because he is not the family member who is strapped up in military gear and fighting in Iraq. Due to limitations in his eyesight, Stanley was denied from serving at a very early age. But his wife, Grace, with whom he married after meeting in the military continues to serve, which leaves Stanley at not only a feeling of guilt but in the position of raising not only two children, but two girls, and by himself. There is no questioning the love he has for his family, it’s just the level of confidence he lacks in himself that’s what stopping him from handling the regular parenting things the way he could. Each day that Grace is absent from their lives is another day the girls grow older, and it becomes more difficult for Stanley to get a grasp on the entire situation. But he is doing his best, which is all he can hope to do until she comes back. When he is approached at his doorstep by two men who inform him of his wife’s death in battle, Stanley enters an understandable state of shock. When his children come home he attempts to find the right way to tell them, but instead reverts to spontaneous propositions that they’re not accustomed to seeing from him, in particular asking if they want to take a sudden road trip to a popular amusement park, Enchanted Gardens. There are devastating emotions in the most subtle of facial expressions as his mind races faster and faster, through countless ways to find it in himself to let his children know that their mother is gone.

The road trip itself is like a coming-of-age-quickly excursion for Stanley and a chance, albeit under the most unfortunate of circumstances, to come closer to his girls, especially with his oldest, Heidi, played by Shelan O’Keefe in one of the best adolescent performances in recent memory. Strouse has created a simple and straight-forward screenplay that is very good, but in finding the right lead actor it becomes memorable and near fantastic. This is one of those movies that can find a level ground with everyone who views it, even those who disagree about the many directions and actions American government have taken on the war, because it doesn’t act like it has answers for anything. Strouse chooses to simply tell the story of how it all affects our regular families and those who extend from there on out. Cusack digs deep as Stanley, creating a character that can certainly be added among the most impressive in a career filled with outstanding performances. There are moments in this film, especially near the finale that will stay with you forever if you have any sort of feelings inside. Clint Eastwood was so impressed by an early cut of the film, that he agreed to do the score for it, which turned out to be a wonderful companion piece. Stanley was prevented from serving in the military and thus destroying his aspirations of becoming an identifiable American hero, but he still has time to realize that he can be a good, caring father, which in the eye’s of two children can be seen as heroic as anything anyone’s ever done on a battlefield.

Favreau + Downey = Solid “Iron Man”

May 13, 2008

PG-13, 126 minutes, Paramount Pictures

Just when I thought we’d already been hit with an overload of summer Hollywood blockbusters in the last couple of years, welcome in 2008, a year that is promising an onslaught. The newest Marvel Comics adaptation, Iron Man is kicking off a season that will bring us more superhero/fantasy/big budgets film, etc, than any year yet. I can’t say that I am very excited about this overdose that we’re going to experience at the multiplex every week for the entire summer, but there are a lot of daring choice made in the creation process of Iron Man, most notably the fact that they have handed directing duties to Jon Favreau, and so I became interested in seeing this project. It makes complete sense at this point in his directing career to tackle a major responsibility like this one, but I still found it incredibly surprising that Paramount execs took a shot with him. What is arguably even more courageous than the hiring of Favreau is what I can only assume the filmmaker himself played a major part in proposing, and that is the lead casting of Mr. Robert Downey Jr. This is the type of actor that has managed to become familiar to all moviegoers throughout the last 20+ years, rifling through big and small films and roles, with the utmost energy. However, it has been the last few years in which Downey has excelled tremendously, in all facets of the profession. Still, he is not the conventional choice for Tony Stark/Iron Man, certainly not compared to the huge names Americans are used to seeing in roles like this, but there’s something about this guy – he’s one of only a few who I could see tackling any type of role in this business. Teamed together, Favreau and Downey have started the season off with a loud bang, resulting in one of the top films of its kind.

There is a healthy mixture of action, humor, excitement, and drama throughout the movie, and it all can be credited to the brilliant performance from Downey, who manages to enhance every line that comes from his mouth and stamp it with his own distinctive qualities. There is always obvious pressure put on a filmmaker in a film like this, and most of it coming from trying to please the comic buffs while also attempting to make an accessible piece of entertainment, and Favreau understands this well. There is a fine line between an effectively fast-paced film and an annoying one, with most of the films like this coming out on the latter end. Favreau keeps the energy constant but never creating irritation or chaos with it, so it is a rare effective energy, which can be credited to a bundle of people and things. The special effects, action sequences, and gadgetry are all fun to watch and flawlessly done, top-notch and never seem ridiculous or tacky. The cast backing up the uncanny Downey is one filled with interesting choices. Gwyneth Paltrow is very good (if limited) as Stark’s assistant, Pepper Potts, in her first time on screen in a while. Terrence Howard gets a moderate role as Roadie, Stark’s longtime friend who works for the military. In yet another great performance, Jeff Bridges is Obediah Stain, the second-in-command at Stark Enterprises who has some villainous plans to take over the reigns. Clark Gregg, producer Peter Billingsley, and even Favreau himself have tiny but memorable roles in an ensemble that really satisfied this audience member.

This was a film that I found easy to enjoy, but I think what caused me to love it was the feeling its setting evoked. I guess what I mean is that none of it seemed like it was existing in a far-off superhero world. There are no corny images of a city glowing with outrageous tones, no henchmen spouting off idiotic one-liners, no cartoonish things about Stark or his alter-ego. Favreau made the film in as real a way as you could make a superhero picture, the characters existing in the real world, which really elevates this film and should be considered to be mentioned in the same breath as Christopher Nolan’s masterpiece, Batman Begins. I had this good feeling throughout Iron Man, one of those of appreciation for talents like Favreau and Downey finally getting a chance to break out on a big stage. These two are getting their due after a long and hard-treaded independent career, and good for them. What an unexpectedly great start to the summer season. It’s setting very high standards for the rest to follow.

10/10