New Orleans is hurting and so am I

My sister called me at work today. “I’ve got to talk to you right now. This is an emergency.”
I froze. “Oh my god, what?”
“We need the recipe for fudge that we always use.”
Later, I had a talk with my mom where I asked that no one use terms like “emergency” right now unless they really meant them. Our family does have some serious chocolate love, but needing fudge still does not qualify as an emergency.
“I’ve got Na Na’s fudge recipe at home. When I get home I’ll call you with it.”
“No, we need the recipe for the one with the chocolate chips and the little bitty marshmallows. We bought the ingredients already.”

Continue reading New Orleans is hurting and so am I

it’s not easy having a good time

I was originally going to use the title “I can’t take any more” but my brain followed it up with “My God, I can’t take any more of this. First, you dump me for Eddie. Then you cast him off like an old overcoat for Rocky. You’re like a sponge … you just take, take, take and drain others of their love and emotion. Well, I’ve had enough. You’ve got to choose between me and Rocky, so named for the rocks in his head.” (The next line in the film is the title of this entry.)
At which point I wondered exactly how many times I’d seen The Rocky Horror Picture Show, back in the day. Damn. I can’t remember whether “datalogging” is supposed to be one word when we use it in documentation at the office, but I have total recall of the trivial.
But then I remembered Sena Mall Theater in New Orleans (where Rocky Horror played for many years) and even though it’s a wine cellar now, it still reminded me of what’s going on there right now. Of what’s being predicted for the city in the next 24 hours when Hurricane Katrina comes to town.

Continue reading it’s not easy having a good time

not dead yet

Not resting, either, but not dead. In case y’all were wondering.
Remember when I said that the crunch time at my day job would end around August 12? Imagine a hollow laugh at the thought. We’ve got at least two more crazy weeks over here.
Plus, I am still getting used to budgeting time for posting at Cinematical, although that’s turning out to be a lot of fun. Of course I recommend reading the whole site, because I’m only one of a dozen or so bloggers sharing all kinds of news and commentary, but if you wanted to see what I personally have contributed so far, you can look here.
And I’m finishing up some volunteer work that’s taking a lot of time this week, although I expect the bulk of that work to end by Monday.
Meanwhile, I am deciding whether I want to see two movies this weekend that I have been waiting ages and ages (years, in one case) to see: The Aristocrats and The Brothers Grimm. Maybe I should ration them out. I’ve been hearing that the Terry Gilliam movie has been getting some negative reviews, but I suspect that critics’ expectations are high since it’s been seven years since he’s had a movie in theaters. (Lost in La Mancha doesn’t exactly count.) I’m in denial about the possibility of the film’s being a dog.

Continue reading not dead yet

oh goody, we’re going to talk about me

And the news is good: I am now posting items at Cinematical, a weblog that provides commentary on all aspects of film news, reviews, and issues. So far I’ve posted only a few tidbits of news because I’m still getting started. I didn’t want to jump in with some crazy story about how my brother blames Christopher Walken on his premature hair loss. I have already managed to mention the Alamo, though. Ultimately I think I will be posting daily over there, depending on my schedule.
I’ll still post occasional Austin-related movie info here, as well as entries that are a little too personal for a film industry-focused weblog, movie reviews, and rants. I may even tell stories about the cat, but only if they are of general interest.
By the way, while we’re discussing my new gig, I’m currently looking for more part-time freelance film-related writing work. Or non-film-related writing/editing work, for that matter. If anyone has any resources or advice they can share, please email me and let me know. I’ll be happy to send you the URL to my online portfolio if you’re seriously interested. I’m not looking for tech writing; I do enough of that during the day. But I would like some paid freelance opportunities for movie reviews, articles, or columns.
[Did everyone recognize the movie quote in the title? If not, go rent The Philadelphia Story.]

more Alamo love

The big news is that Entertainment Weekly named Alamo Drafthouse as the top movie theater in the country. I wish I could read the article myself, but I haven’t had time to pick up the printed magazine and it isn’t available online. (I can’t even tell whether they’re referring to Alamo Downtown or to the chain as a whole.)
So go read Matt Dentler’s post, which includes excerpts from the article, including the other theaters on the top 10 list.
I feel really lucky to live in walking distance (although we always drive) of one Alamo Drafthouse and an easy drive from several more. As Matt mentions, Alamo’s Rolling Roadshow is touring around the country this month. Check the listings to see if they’ll be in your neighborhood. I wish I could follow them like the sad little Alamo groupie that I am.
I wonder if Alamo felt any effects from this alleged “box office slump” everyone’s been complaining about. Somehow I suspect not. They don’t treat audiences like cattle or captive prey.
I’ll try to pick up an Entertainment Weekly in the next couple of days; if the article includes anything else notable, I’ll post that info here.

crazy film festival month

I’m trying to make some movie-watching decisions weeks or even months in advance. I don’t mean last-minute choices like “Should we see March of the Penguins or Broken Flowers (aside: I keep wanting to call it Broken Blossoms) this weekend?” or “Should we see Bad News Bears at Highland or at Alamo Lake Creek?” Or even “Should I see The Safety of Objects next Monday at Alamo South with Rose Troche in attendance, or go to an important film-related volunteer meeting instead?” (Admission is free. Y’all should go even if I don’t.)
I am talking about the decisions on which film festivals to attend and for how many movies and whether I should actually take time off work and how much time I can take off work “just to see movies” before my manager gives me funny looks.
A bunch of film festivals are overlapping in Austin in late September/early October: the Quentin Tarantino Film Festival (Sept. 9-17), aGLIFF (Sept. 30-Oct. 8), Fantastic Fest (Oct. 6-9), and Austin Film Festival (Oct. 20-27). So I know there are film geeks all over town trying to do the same kind of schedule juggling.

Continue reading crazy film festival month

get out your red stapler

A special-edition DVD of Office Space is scheduled to release on Nov. 1, 2005—just in time for my birthday, although that is not a hint for a suggested gift. (The Astaire-Rogers boxed set, on the other hand …) The DVD will include an audio commentary from Mike Judge as well as some deleted scenes. The big question is whether the DVD will include the old animated “Milton” shorts that Mike Judge created before he developed the movie, but I can’t find any info on that yet.
Austinites seem to get a particular kick out of this movie because we find ourselves shouting, “Hey, that’s the apartment where my friend Chris lived!” or “Hey, that’s Metric Blvd!” or “Isn’t that the Alligator Grill?” I think a friend of mine once worked in the building where they shot the office exteriors (Greg, correct me if I am wrong). But what’s really funny is that the road the guys are driving into work in the beginning of the movie is actually in Dallas, not Austin. Helluva commute.
I’ve always felt that Office Space was half a good movie. Unfortunately the plot gets too tangled, loose ends are never tied up (when does he stop being hypnotized? if ever?), and some of it is just lame. Still, my boyfriend bought the DVD a few months ago when it hit rock-bottom prices and it’s an enjoyable late-night fluffy movie.
I get a kick out of the way some guys at the office actually do stuff out of the movie and think they are being ironic. For example, you would not believe the number of guys—and it is in fact the guys … this is not a female thing at all—who wear Hawaiian shirts to the office on Fridays. We considered chipping in to get our boss a red stapler (the story behind the red Swinglines is fascinating, by the way) but we decided it was a bit mean.
And we really do have TPS reports. The manager who devised them had never seen Office Space and didn’t understand why everyone hooted and howled in the meeting where the new reports were unveiled. However, our TPS reports do not require a cover sheet. Thank heaven for small favors.
[DVD news via The Digital Bits.]

still not on DVD … but cable’s got ’em

We don’t have cable TV. It’s expensive, especially when you add in the TiVo or the DVR or whatever you crazy kids are using these days to catch the shows later when you’re not home for them. We’re also a little bit afraid that if we get cable, we’ll end up vegging in front of the TV all day long, wearing out the buttons of the remote.
Usually when something really good is showing on cable that I can’t live without, I send out a general begging email to a bunch of friends and someone records it for me. I try not to abuse this goodwill.
It’s going to be difficult this month, though, because Turner Classic Movies is showing a lot of movies that aren’t available on DVD (at least not in the US/Region 1, anyway) as part of their Summer Under the Stars lineup. I wouldn’t have known, because of the no-cable thing, but I found the info on Out of Focus.
I couldn’t look up every single movie to see its availability on DVD, but I did look up a bunch that I thought were interesting. The following list may be heavy on Katharine Hepburn movies and Thirties comedies, but it’s a sample of some good movies you might want to catch on TCM. Or persuade other people to record for you. Check the TCM site for times, etc. I wish I had time to include delightful descriptions of these movies, but that’s what the Web is for.
(Note to friends: the only one I will probably beseech you to record is Theodora Gone Wild. Well, one of the very few, I promise. Well, maybe we should call the cable company.)

Continue reading still not on DVD … but cable’s got ’em