movies this week: I need more time

The universal forces that control film (no, I don’t mean Sony and Time-Warner, either) must have looked down from their celestial screening rooms last weekend, shuddered at the number of mediocre films opening in theaters, and decreed that this would be a better week. And believe me, I am truly thankful. (Also, I finally got my expectorant from Amazon yesterday … no more formula! yay!)
Most of the movies opening in Austin this week look very promising. I can think of at least two that I want to see while they are in theaters, and a few more I think I’ll enjoy on DVD. And of course there are still some movies hanging around from previous weeks that I haven’t seen, like Garden State and Silver City.
Why is the weekend only two days long? Why are night movies so expensive? How will I make time for everything I want to see? How important is a good night’s sleep, anyway, if you’re lying down watching movies instead—isn’t that sufficiently restful? I wish.

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beyond the tits of the Meyer vixens

In my high school and college days, several books had a marked influence on the films I watched and the way in which I watched them. These books introduced me to directors and movies that I hadn’t heard of before, causing me to seek out all sorts of obscure films—and this was in the late 1980s when such movies were very difficult to find on video.
The four books:

  • Harlan Ellison’s Watching, by Harlan Ellison
  • Joe Bob Goes to the Drive-In, by Joe Bob Briggs (John Bloom)
  • Joe Bob Goes Back to the Drive-In, by Joe Bob Briggs (John Bloom)
  • Shock Value, by John Waters

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movies this week: formula in bulk

I ordered some Mucinex from Amazon last weekend. Mucinex is an expectorant, or as my doctor calls it, “the mucus thinner,” which is the kind of pills you get to take all the time if you have crazy-bad sinuses. It was weird ordering something so boring from Amazon, and I did consider buying the fourth season of The Simpsons in order to get free shipping, but the practical, dull part of me pointed out that if I ordered two bottles of the stuff I could get free shipping anyway.
Yesterday I found the box from Amazon hidden near the front door when I got home. I scooped it up with the rest of the mail and wondered how two small pill bottles could be so heavy. Maybe they packed them in lots of stuff so nothing bad would happen? Still, it seemed suspiciously weird.
I opened up the box and found … three tins, about the size of medium paint cans, of Isomil Advance formula. Powdered baby formula. (No, you don’t get babies if you add water, smartass. It’s for babies to drink in their little bottles.) Formula everywhere. I have to take the box back to the post office today and hope that next time I get something resembling my actual order.
In Austin theaters this week (you knew I’d get to movies eventually, didn’t you? What a surprise), it’s formula everywhere, too. Instead of Isomil Advance, we have Advanced Sitcom Formula in cans of film.
When I write these weekly movie previews, I write the summaries for the movies before I write the lead-in. After writing three or four summaries where the storyline reverted to that old film-school cliche, “Hilarity ensues,” or better yet, “Wacky hijinks ensue,” I realized that a pattern was emerging. A pattern of the standard formulaic (unfunny) comedy.
It’s like wanting The Simpsons, expecting something less interesting that’ll at least make you feel better, and ending up with an enormous amount of useless formula.
Add water—or better yet, strong drink—and enjoy.

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that wacky hurricane

Most of my immediate family is safe on the north shore of Lake Pontchartrain, complaining that all the stores are closed and they’re having to find creative things to do with shrimp they took out of the freezer and boiled. (We should all be so unfortunate.) My brother’s family made it safely to Lafayette—it only took them 4.5 hours to make the normally two-hour trip, but they were pretty fortunate because I heard horror stories about how it took some people most of the day just to get to Baton Rouge (normally about an hour away from New Orleans).
And now it looks like the hurricane will land over in Mobile, once again curving at the last minute from a direct hit to New Orleans. I nearly took a job in Mobile once, but I ended up staying in Austin on a post-grad fellowship, so I guess I was lucky there.

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waiting for a right hook

What I am doing is sitting here waiting to hear about the right hook. Like in boxing, in which a right hook is a surprise swing aimed at your opponent’s kidneys … but this is actually a weather-related phenomenon.
Since I was a little girl, I have heard about hurricanes threatening the New Orleans area. (I was born after Betsy, the last hurricane to hit New Orleans directly, in 1965, and I am too young to remember Camille in 1969.) I can remember sitting in front of the TV set and hearing local newscasters recommend evacuation, and wonder what it would be like to go to a shelter, while my dad shook his head and said, “No, it’s not coming anywhere near us. Don’t worry.”
He was correct. Hurricanes in the Gulf Coast somehow always manage to take a sharp turn (usually a right turn) right before they could hit New Orleans. New Orleanians expect this traditional right hook. I don’t know if it’s voodoo or some bizarre Gulf Stream effect or the refusal on the part of hurricanes to settle the issue of the Bowl Effect Theory, but New Orleans has evaded an awful lot of potential direct hits.

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movies this week: distracted by books

The Monster Book Sale is going on this weekend in Austin. Tons of library books and donated books are going to be on sale for $1 or $2, and then on Sunday the leftovers will go for $3 a bag or $5 a box. And all the money goes to Austin libraries, so how can I resist?
A smart bookcase store really should post ads outside of this sale, they would absolutely clean up on business.
Anyway, you can see where my mind is today, since I am going to the book sale after work. I have the baby stroller in my car so I won’t have to lug around a big bag of heavy books. My mind is not on movies, other than wondering if I can get some cheap film books. Last time I found a nice copy of The Celluloid Closet lost on the Architecture table.

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big sleazy labor quickie

Here we are in the PJ’s again. I mean the coffee shop, not my pajamas. I have to say this is a very nice PJ’s and I like it very much except I wish they’d turn the music down. That makes me sound like an old fart, but the music is not exactly to my personal taste and it gets intrusive. I could live the rest of my life without having to hear “Careless Whisper” again, thank you.
I guess we could go sit outside in front, but then we have to deal with smokers in close proximity. I would rather have the music.

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a quickie from the big sleazy

My boyfriend and I are sitting in a PJ’s in the New Orleans area, checking email and catching up on news and various other important computer-y things. I am trying to get used to my laptop keyboard, which kind of sucks, instead of the nice keyboard I usually have at home. Also, I am realizing that my laptop is extremely dusty, which the magical lighting effects at home somehow disguised.
I have two questions so far about the New Orleans area this weekend:
1. What’s the story behind those “Vote Pro-Life” signs in people’s yards all over town? (Some even have charming little fetus pictures on them. You can’t beat the anti-abortion groups for taste in graphic design.) Is there a particular agenda: are these anti-Kerry, or anti-Landrieu, or are they in response to a particular referendum or other election issue? Someone who lives around here and keeps up with local politics, please explain this to me.
(Incidentally, in our drive from Austin to New Orleans yesterday, we saw exactly two Kerry bumper stickers: one on I-10 in Baton Rouge, one in the Clearview parking lot in Metry. Lots of little “W” stickers though. Hmm.)
2. We were driving to Clearview last night to have dinner at Zea’s and we were pushed out of the way by a huge motorcade on, of all streets, West Napoleon. At first, we saw a limo and a police motorcycle and thought maybe it was a wedding. But there were at least a half-dozen motorcyles plus police cars and they were waving at us to get the hell out of the way and they were in a huge hurry. My mom thought maybe it was a high-profile politician in town and even guessed it could be Kerry. But would Kerry ride in a Hummer limo? A white Hummer limo? Urgh. That has to be the ugliest car I’ve ever seen speed past while surrounded by escorts. In fact—ugliest. car. ever.
My point is, if you are living around here and you kinow who it was, please tell me so we can stop guessing.
Okay, I am walking over to Target now to find a map of New Orleans to ensure we don’t get lost on the way down to Magazine Street. More later.

movies this week: summer ends (in theaters)

It’s Labor Day weekend. The summer movie blitz is over. In Austin, the Paramount summmer movie classics series is over. All that’s left is the lure of air conditioning in theaters since Austin still gets triple-digit weather in September.
It’s time for the long dark interval of mainstream movie programming before the Thanksgiving and Christmas releases start closing in. It’s a good time to catch up on the movies you might have missed earlier, as they drag on for one final week in theaters or hit the discount cinema.
It’s also a good time to keep an eye out for an interesting independent film, if you live somewhere like Austin where new low-budget films appear in theaters almost every week. Some are the same old routine indy-movie fare, but you never know when you might find a little gem.

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happy birthday, Dad

For those of you who were wondering, my nose is a lot better now. The stitches came out last week and barely any trace of the line of stitching is left. That side of the nose looks a bit red and blobby, like I had a scary acne attack, but that’s about it.
The only problem is that the area with the biggest wound repair is right over my nostril, which means a big wad of hard tissue, or something, poking down in my nostril and making it hard to blow my nose. Or as my dad would say, it’s making it hard to pick my nose.
It’s my dad’s birthday, so I thought I would make one joke in his typical style of humor. Someone mentioned the other day that my dad would have made a great comedian in the 1970s, which sounds just about right.

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