thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Reflective)
thehefner: (Me: Rose)
I can't claim to have appreciated Mr. Gibson during his heyday on LAUGH-IN and whatnot, but affectionate bad taste compels me to post this nonetheless:

Now back to actual Heffie news.

So! Vancouver has finally stopped sapping our life forces and granted us an audience that didn't feel like trying to play catch with a zombie! Huzzah, responsive audience who laughs and indulges in actual give-and-take with the performer!

But hey, I can't take it personally; they've been that way even to some of the most brilliant Fringe performers here! Man, Vancouver's a harsh city. How spoiled we were by Indianapolis, with its boisterous midwestern American cacklers and guffawers! Henchgirl and I have been dragging our feet all week, feeling drained and miserable and stressed. How we've longed for the overwhelming good vibes of Indy and Winnipeg, where the joy of Fringe is rich in the air, and one cannot stay down-spirited for long!

But even if Vancouverites aren't exactly responsive audience members, I know for a fact that they still like my show! Well, by and large. I have four great reviews and one so scathing that... well, that I haven't and won't ever read the damn thing. Henchgirl has been screening my reviews for me, generously playing filter for my fragile little ego and letting me know if there's anything constructive in the criticism. There's never any point to follow the rantings of trolls.

But even though we're riding high again--and can call this Fringe a decided victory, as we've already broken even with two shows yet to go!!!--I cannot wait to get back to DC. Seriously, folks. Cannot wait.

I cannot put into words just how I yearn for the massive homecoming party I'm gonna throw on SATURDAY, OCTOBER THE THIRD AT EIGHT O' TH' CLOCK (putting emphasis on there just to get it on your radars). It's gonna be epic. We're gonna bust open the swimming pool AND the hot tub, the liquor cabinet will flow freely, I'm gonna serve my attempt at home-made grog (based on the grog of Piratz Tavern!) made with my attempt at home-made falernum, and mmmmmmaybe--just maybe!--I'll have a brand new Wii with BEATLES: ROCK BAND. But don't hold me to that just yet.

I'm tempted to foolishly say, "And you all are invited!" but hey, one never knows who exactly is reading an open LJ entry, so expect a massive Facebook invite to go out. And if, by some horrid mistake, you want to come and I don't think to invite you, by all means let me know!!!

Miss you all. Cannot wait to see you all again. We're in the home stretch, pallies and pallettes. It's gonna be coo-coo, y'dig?
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Reflective)
John Hughes is gone.

Y'know, as the years have gone by, the problems with Hughes' films have become more evident to me. For one thing, there's the fact that, much as I love FERRIS BUELLER'S DAY OFF, I kind of hate Ferris himself as a portrait of smug privilege a-go-go. Ducky has gone from being the patron saint of outsider geeks to the patron saint of so-called "Nice Guys." Ally Sheedy's delightful weirdo is creepily assimilated via makeover into being a nice normal girl. And then there's the torment that an entire generation of Asian American men had to endure thanks to Long Duk Dong.*

And yet, I think about some of the other truly beloved teen films. DAZED AND CONFUSED. FAST TIMES AT RIDGEMONT HIGH. SAY ANYTHING. They're celebrated for their authenticity, for tapping into a time in people's lives and capturing what it was like to be a teen, especially of that era.

And you know what? I hate those movies. Cannot stand them. Maybe because they are so realistic and true to life, I dunno. I hated my teenage years. Hated them. I have absolutely zero nostalgia for that time, no romance, no longing for those days. My teenage experience was hardly a universal one by any stretch, and those universal teenage experiences I *did* have were forgettable at best and god-I-wish-I-could-forget at worst.

That's why I love John Hughes' films. Because they weren't realistic. They were the myth of teenagers, in all their stereotypical glory, set against an absurdist backdrop distinctly detached from reality. They weren't real. But in their ways, they were more real than real. At their best, they could speak to the human condition in ways that anyone, from any age, could relate to and appreciate. There is the same level of humanity in THE BREAKFAST CLUB as there is in his non-teenage fare like PLANES, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES. As aintitcool's obit notes, "pop in SIXTEEN CANDLES and re-experience the absurd, but somehow heartfelt and grounded reality he constructs there."

That's what I love about stories like Hughes'. The fact that all the wackiness and absurdity is grounded in genuine character emotion and humanity. Thinking of it that way, the impact these films may have had on my own development as a person might be more profound than I had imagined.

I've also been bandying about an idea wherein I go up my own geek asshole and compare my preference for Hughes over FAST TIMES and their ilk to my preference for DC Comics over Marvel, but I lack the energy and eloquence for that right now, lucky you.

I think it's time for a movie marathon. I haven't seen PRETTY IN PINK in years, and am anxious to reevaluate my theories on Ducky. I've never seen NATIONAL LAMPOON'S VACATION nor WEIRD SCIENCE; appalling, I know. And it turns out my Mom's never seen PLAINS, TRAINS, AND AUTOMOBILES, which I must rectify this week. That one might be my very favorite. I can't think of any other film to balance to hilarious and the heartbreaking quite so wonderfully. The entire sequence on the highway, it's... it's perfection.

So yeah. Increasingly evident flaws and all, I will always love these films.

What's your favorite John Hughes scene?

*In looking for that Tomine strip, I ended up finding this rebuttal, which claims that LDD is actually a wonderfully subversive character who *defies* Asian stereotypes. I'm not sure I buy it, but I'd certainly like to, as I'd like to enjoy SIXTEEN CANDLES without guilt again. Probably ain't gonna happen, though.
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Reflective)

I actually care more about this one than McMahon, Fawcett, Jackson, and Mays. Combined. Dude was 97, so he had a good, full life. But still.
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Reflective)

R.I.P., Paul Prudhomme.


wait, what?
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Reflective)
The great Don S. Davis...

... Major Garland Briggs from TWIN PEAKS, Major General George Hammond on STARGATE SG-1, and Scully's father Captain William Scully on THE X-FILES, among many, many other film and television projects befitting one of the great character actors of my generation... has passed away at age 65.

I wish I had a way of ripping videos off DVD to put them on YouTube. If I could, the first thing I'd post would be the little interview conducted with Mr. Davis a couple years ago for a short "where are they now?" type segment on the TWIN PEAKS Season One DVD. Most of the cast did one of these, and most were marginally interesting little trifles, a couple minutes of an anecdote or two, but generally forgettable.

Don S. Davis' one, on the other hand, was about fifteen minutes long, following him through his house as he shows us his beloved black lab, his office area, his garage where he would carve wooden sculptures and decoys, and upstairs to his studio for a look at his art. During the course of this "postcard," as it's called on the DVD, we get a subtle inside glimpse into the heavy heart and soul of this soft-spoken, laconic man, and the result is--for me--one of the most moving little bits in my entire DVD collection.
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Reflective)
Shit. Piss. Fuck. Cunt. Cocksucker. Motherfucker. Tits.
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Reflective)
Stan Winston, father of the dinosaurs in JURASSIC PARK, IRON MAN, PUMPKINHEAD, GALAXY QUEST, the Monsters in MONSTER SQUAD, and of ALIENS and PREDATOR and THE TERMINATOR... has passed on.

Never has there been a better time to play the dirge-like TERMINATOR 2 theme.
thehefner: (Batman: Riddler)
Ever since I snagged this pimptastic icon of Frank Gorshin (god, isn't that how Eddie should always look?), I've been rather obsessed with making a Riddler costume for this year's costume contest. I have many elements together, but damn if I'm missing a few elements. Namely, a snazzy purple tie and matching handkerchief. Not just any will do, damn it!

Even though gin is the enemy--the most evil liquor on the planet and does not mix well with me at all, for it puts me in a certain mood and tempts me toward very foolish things--I was intrigued by the discovery of Tanqueray Rangpur, advertised as a lime-based gin at "goes with everything." After reading several glowing reviews online, one even preferring it to my choice gin Bombay Sapphire, I decided to splurge and give it a go.

The reviews and marketing were very wrong when they stated that it had a very light flavor, as taken straight, Tanqueray Rangpur is pretty damn orangey/limey (unsurprising, as the Rangpur lime is apparently like a cross between both fruits), a bit more like drinking straight Cointreau than I'd expected and hoped.

That said, last night I used Rangpur for a classic martini, letting the ice melt enough to both cool and dilute the gin just enough, and I must say the end result was pretty goddamn tasty. Now if only I could think of a good substitute for an olive, as I hate olives. Oh, the irony: I love a good martini, and yet, I hate olives! I can never truly enjoy a martini! Regardless, I wonder what would make a good garnish. A peel or wedge of lime? Hm.

Two losses from the past couple weeks:

I Hear The Robot's Roar No More: Mourning the loss of Universal Studio's King Kong, and by extension, the loss of animatronics everywhere (kinda makes me wish I'd actually seen the old Epcot Center back in the day.)

J'onn J'onzz R.I.P. (for now). I like how Peter Tomasi isn't even trying to hide his disappointment, essentially saying, "Yeah, this blows, I hope he comes back in a couple years!" Poor guy was doomed the moment they tried to revamp his whole look; I know a skimpy harness and pirate boots may not be badass, but anybody who thinks the black Dark-Jedi-or-whatever redesign was an improvement just didn't give a shit about J'onn in the first place. But to die like he did? Shit, J'onn and Aquaman, DC's two most underappreciated characters, both died punk-ass deaths that made both Fetts--Jango and Boba--look dignified by comparison.

The A.V. Club has written up two neat classic film appreciations this past week.

First, WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE?, one of my favorite horror films that isn't really a horror film, a pitch-black fucked-up movie made all the greater by the fact that it starred Bette David and Joan Crawford who haaaaaated each other in real life, just one of the many subversive meta layers of this film. Apparently WHATEVER HAPPENED TO BABY JANE? is largely forgotten, save for the same subculture of drag queens who hold it up as a widely-mocked camp "classic" alongside MOMMIE DEAREST.

As the article's author laments, this is a real shame. "Like PSYCHO, it's paradoxically classy, artful trash, or a trashy art movie. There's something weirdly subversive about watching artists as towering and brilliant as Alfred Hitchcock or Bette Davis sink their fangs into such lurid, pulpy material. To me, Baby Jane isn't a camp classic or a cult classic so much as it's a straight-up classic.

And secondly, they discuss my favorite Johnny Depp film, DEAD MAN, as part of their ongoing series of "The New Cult Canon." As with all cult film, DEAD MAN ain't for everyone, but this essay rather beautifully summed up why I love it. I mean, above and beyond the cast alone! Not everyone can appreciate such things. Stupid fucking white man.
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Reflective)
Harvey Korman... Count de Money (that's Monet), Hedy (that's HEDLEY) Lamarr, the Great Gazoo himself... is gone.
thehefner: (Titus: Goths Got Your Tongue?)
The AV Club wrote of Paul Scofield's passing:

A gifted stage actor with--as the AP notes--"a dramatic, craggy face and an unforgettable voice likened to a Rolls-Royce starting up or the sound rumbling out of low organ pipes in an ancient crypt," Scofield had few film roles following his breakout performance in Seasons, preferring to stick to the theater that he loved so much. Nevertheless, he scored a second Oscar nomination for playing the famed poet patriarch to Ralph Fiennes' troubled Charles Van Doren in Quiz Show, and had memorable turns in The Train, A Delicate Balance, Henry V, Hamlet, and the 1996 version of The Crucible.

Scofield was an unusually humble man, turning down parts frequently and thrice refusing the knighthood, but among other actors he was already a legend: When hailed as the heir to Laurence Olivier and John Gielgud, Richard Burton demurred that it was Scofield who deserved that rank; a 2004 poll of the Royal Shakespeare Company proclaimed Scofield's turn as King Lear "the greatest Shakespearean performance ever." Good night, sweet prince, and may your passing be the last we have to endure for a little while.

For my part, Peter Brook's 1971 film of KING LEAR is the greatest version of my favorite Shakespeare play I've ever seen, and Scofield's understated performance was somehow far more powerful than any shouting, yelping, crazypants Lear. It's a fucking crime that it's not on DVD.

As with Clarke's passing, t's wonderful we had him for so long, and it's still a real loss.
thehefner: (Bill the Butcher: Reflective)
When the first faint glow of dawn crept into the cave, Moon-Watcher saw that his father had died in the night. He did not know that the Old One was his father, for such a relationship was utterly beyond his understanding, but as he looked at the emaciated body he felt dim disquiet that was the ancestor of sadness.

--Arthur C Clarke, 2001
thehefner: (Oh Poopie!)
Note to self, do not start your day by rereading Garth Ennis' PUNISHER. And especially not "The Slavers" storyline. Excuse me, I think I've got to go cry now.

It doesn't help that yesterday, Steve Gerber died. Most of you will be asking "Who?" Well, I'd like to tell you in a way that does him justice, but I am ashamed to admit that I'm not the man for the job. It's like when Vonnegut died all over again. Here's an incredibly important and influential writer whose work I have largely missed, and now I feel decidedly left out.

So until some of the fine folks at [ profile] scans_daily can post some examples of why Gerber death is such a powerful loss for the world of comics, I present you with two fine obituaries/tributes by Tom Spurgeon and Mark Evanier.

With nothing of my own insight to add to the breadth and weight of Gerber's work as a whole, I will instead echo [ profile] robyn_ma's excellent thought:

I hereby declare that the Howard the Duck movie no longer exists, so that we no longer have to add disclaimers: 'Steve Gerber was a genius. He created Howard the Duck but the movie version totally fucked it up so don't blame him for that.'

No. Just 'Steve Gerber was a genius. He created Howard the Duck.' Full stop.

On, and for the STAR TREK and/or X-FILES fans out there, The Lone Gunmen argue who was better: Kirk or Picard.

I also enjoy Toyfare's take with their Picard/Kirk fight: Kirk takes off his shirt, so Picard has no chance but to take off his pants and throws them at Kirk. "... Pants? You've just violated the rules of engagement!"
thehefner: (Jaws: Pimp)
By Jeremy Smith

"With a narrow face, broken nose, and furtive eyes, it was always most likely that Roy Scheider would be a supporting actor." - David Thomson, The New Biographical Dictionary of Film

Thomson's a learned fellow, but that's bullshit. The only inevitability that attended a Roy Scheider performance was one of excellence; even in movies as soulless as The Myth of Fingerprints or as downright awful as The Punisher ('04), the presence of Scheider bore the promise of something special. Sometimes, especially late in his career, the movies defeated him. But there were some late breaking triumphs: a heartless insurance company CEO in Francis Ford Coppola's The Rainmaker, George Schaefer in RKO 281 and a condemned serial killer on a (rare) great episode of Law & Order: Criminal Intent.

If Scheider ceased being a movie star after the 1970s, it's only because Hollywood lost interest in the everyman. Despite the back-to-basics, no-bullshit credo of the Reagan revolution, audiences quickly fell in love with the impossibly handsome or the impossibly muscled. Flawed protagonists (or simply classic protagonists with flawed features) were unwelcome reminders of American imperfection; if you weren't swaggering, you were providing aid and comfort to the enemy. It was enough to drive Al Pacino from the big screen for four years.

Scheider disappeared himself for a few years during the late 80s, returning in 1989 with a tremendously vicious turn as a hit man in Eric Red's very good Cohen and Tate. A couple of years later, he'd play the legendary Dr. Benway in David Cronenberg's fascinating(ly flawed) adaptation of Naked Lunch. It was wonderful to have him back, but you couldn't help but feel that he was frustrated with the absence of depth in the roles.

Perhaps that's because we were frustrated that Scheider's ascent to the top tier of American actors was abruptly halted after his transcendent performance as Joe Gideon in All That Jazz. Here was Scheider - the tough cop from The French Connection, the stern-faced truck driver from Sorcerer, Chief Martin Brody from Jaws - playing a chain-smoking, pill-popping, skirt-chasing Broadway choreographer. If you want to know why men of my generation never felt at all emasculated about loving musical theater, this is why! Telling a company of women (and, yes, guys) how to contort their pliant bodies while juggling romances with Jessica Lange and Ann Reinking seemed as manly as playing defensive tackle for the Oakland Raiders. According to Bob Fosse, choreography begat pussy. Even at seven-years-old, I knew this was a good thing.

And then there's Martin Brody. The last sane man on Amity Island. Mr. "Smile, You Son of a Bitch." More than any other hero in film history, he reminds me of my father: he drinks, he smokes, and he's not much for people. But he risks his own life to protect his family and an ignorant community from an inexplicable threat. For all his bluster, he gives a shit. And he's just good enough at his job to sink a bullet into a pressurized air tank.

Men like Chief Brody aren't heroes anymore because they're either too improbable or too likely to be defeated. Actors like Roy Scheider aren't leads anymore because the common man is defeated. Narrow face, broken nose, furtive eyes... that's too much goddamn character.

Roy Scheider: 1932 - 2008

Take it away, Mr. Vereen:

thehefner: (Jaws: Pimp)
Before I get to the main story, I feel you all should know that my grandmother just ate an entire an entire loaf of sourdough bread in one sitting. Well, okay, in fairness, she didn't eat the end bits. But everything else, yeah. It's gone. Within half an hour, whoop, gone. Maybe I'm just not a big bread eater--just bread on its own and all--but that strikes me as a bit excessive.

RIP Roy Scheider. I shall remember you every May 14th when (in accordance with the new holiday started by James Wolcott this past year) I celebrate Worldwide Roy Scheider Day.

Next up, I think I desperately need to finally watch THE SEVEN-UPS, Scheider's starring role and a sorta-sequel/companion piece to THE FRENCH CONNECTION.*

So, my friendly peanut gallery, what are your favorite Roy Scheider memories? Between JAWS, 2010, ALL THAT JAZZ, KLUTE, SORCERER, BLUE THUNDER, NAKED LUNCH, and MARATHON MAN, I'm sure you folks have one or two to spare.

*It's funny, that era of true crime has created so many stories (true, fact-based, and fictional), one can really watch THE FRENCH CONNECTION, THE SEVEN-UPS, THE FRENCH CONNECTION II, SERPICO, PRINCE OF THE CITY, and AMERICAN GANGSTER (just to name a few) and I bet it'd really feel like one huge saga. Would any other movies fit into this "world"?

September 2012

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