Posts Tagged ‘blood’
Woo-hoo! (Homer voice)
Oh, my goodness, dudes. The classes for the credential program into which I’ve been busting my ass to get accepted during my absence from the journal are so right-hand-to-Jeebus insanely expensive that I’d seriously sell my blood if I hadn’t been turned down in the past.* Anybody got any far-fetched ideas that are “so crazy they just might work” as to money-making schemes that don’t involve illegal activities or door-to-door knife sales (I consider those two things on a par)? I am taking ideas.
*Tragically true story.
Wednesday Addams: The original Suicide Girl.
Wednesday brought in this picture. Uh, “Calpurnia Addams?”
Ah! Wednesday’s great-aunt, Calpurnia. She was burned as a witch in 1706. They said she danced naked in the town square and enslaved the minister.
Oh, yes. But don’t worry. We’ve told Wednesday — “College first.”
I said before that writing about my dreams was too disturbing, but that is a cop-out. This dream I had about two years ago. Its winter setting was emphatically a part of its ominous overtones.
I dreamt that I was in a frozen town with my daughter, who was very young in the dream, and a man I had used to be with. I became separated from them during some type of dreary, macabre parade. There was something wrong and sinister about it, but I wasn’t sure what, and I was caught up in looking for my daughter and the man.
The procession of people were all bundled up in raggedy black clothes, like Victoriana gone to seed, and the “floats” were black carriages making tracks down a main street in the snow.
As I paced the street looking for the rest of my party, blowing on my hands and calling out for my daughter and the man, I saw a pulpy mess in the road and smeared, reddish-purple blood and tissue in the ruts left by the carriages.
They’d run over something that I had the impression was small and helpless but also somehow dear and marine, like an otter or seal or something. Each carriage kept rolling on, continually running over and through the remains of whatever this now bisected and strewn-out creature had once been.
I tried to escape the image by going down different side alleys in the frozen town, but they all lead back to the same main street. The sight of the gore and entrails against the snow was chilling and horrifying on a deep-down level which was out of proportion to the event, like as if it had some weighty significance that my mind was shying away from fully realizing. I woke myself up with the kind of shock and sweat that suggested it had been a terrible nightmare, but I could not, when recollecting the details of the dream, understand why it upset me so much.
I never thought about it until just now, but I guess it must have been my daughter in the street. I think that’s what my mind kept pulling me back from seeing.
This has not been an at-all uplifting or illuminating “Winter of my discontent” entry. But it does represent the second time I’ve attempted a Dreamtime entry. The first one was about a hanged woman. Based on that, you may think that I’m not doing so hot on the Dreamtime sharing, but that’s actually about the usual caliber of my dreams.
“The Movie That Knows No Limits of Evil!”
Christina Lindberg as Frigga in They Call Her One-Eye, aka Thriller — En Grym Film, aka Thriller — A Cruel Picture, aka Hooker’s Revenge (Bo Arne Vibenius, 1974).
Sorry for the complete lack of posts since New Year’s Eve but the site experienced a really, really dramatic spike in viewers and I couldn’t handle it, so I hid. (Master strategist and most put together chick on the block? This guy right here. Hope you can handle it.) I’ve talked myself in to relaxing about it and, now that the surge has leveled off, I feel more like I can get back in to the swing of things.
So Happy New Year, dudes!
In Thriller, a mute young woman is sexually assaulted and forcibly addicted to heroin, for which she is then somewhat-consensually but very miserably pimped out in order to maintain the unwitting habit.
Now they call her One-Eye.
Sally, Frigga’s only friend, brings Frigga the news that her pimp has written a letter to her parents purporting to be from her, detailing her new life and ending with the warning that she never wants to see them again. Devastated, they commit suicide.
Despite the battering the world has given her, or more likely because of it, Frigga finds secret reserves of strength in herself. Her disgust with the circumstances of her life begins to be directed not at herself, but at those responsible for her misery.
Having secretly saved some money and been taking self-defense classes, Frigga next scrounges up some weapons and musters her will to not just survive, but kick some ass.
(She also stops off to ditch the pink eyepatch and pick up a black one, black being the universal color of badass vengeance. Pink, not so much.) All her accoutrements in place, the newborn Angel of Death determines to take her revenge against her abusive captors.
The best and most widely used English-language tagline for the movie was, “The Film That Knows No Limits of Evil!” Director Bo Arne Vibenius’s previous outing had been an overlooked children’s film into which he’d poured a great deal of craft and creativity.
Though it received fair critical acclaim, audiences’ universal panning of that film, Hur Marie träffade Fredrik/How Marie Met Fredrik (1969), lead Vibenius to vow that his next movie would be the lowest, nastiest, exploit-iest, most audience-tuned picture possible: something grotesque and titillating that would appeal to the masses while simultaneously disgusting and punishing them.
In fact, he supposedly said specifically, “I’m going to make a super commercial, piece-of-shit movie.”
Winner, winner, chicken dinner!
That’s a severed head below, in case you thought it wasn’t.
Vibenius directed Thriller under the name Alex Fridolinski. The film was billed outside of Sweden as “The first film to be banned in Sweden!” which is several kinds of inaccurate but served to make countries who thought of Sweden as a sexually liberated place flock to the picture. In point of fact, the first banned film in Sweden was Trädgårdsmästaren/The Gardener (Victor Sjöström, 1912), and the second was Det Händer I Natt/It happens tonight (Arne Ragnborn, 1957).
Thriller has had an obvious influence on film culture, and many cinephiles in the business today cite the way in which the direction soars above its middling materal (rape-revenge structure being very familiar in the 70′s exploitation film genre) as an explanation for its rise to gem in the field status.
A little word-of-mouth from this guy never brought anybody down, either. So gird your loins, grab your tissues and barf bag, and give it a spin — and bid a fond farewell to Dickens December.
(many, many thanks to the wonderful cinezilla for a majority of the screencaps and the backstory on Vibenius’s bitterness after How Marie Met Fredrik — if you love movies, do check out his artful and brilliant blog.)
Promised a Movie Moment yesterday on Bonnie and Clyde (Arthur Penn, 1967), and here it is. The night that I first saw this film is one of those instances that really stands, clear, head and shoulders above others in my mind. I was a sophomore in high school and my father and I had got takeout Chinese food and rented Bonnie and Clyde some weekend when my mother was doing some church lady thing (now I’m a church lady, too … time marches on). As an already solid gold Daddy’s Girl, when my father told me it was “a very important movie,” and that “you will love it,” I was set with anticipation. Also, I really like Chinese food.
I had already read, a few years earlier, a good-sized, detailed book about Clyde Barrow and Bonnie Parker that I’d picked up at a thrift store. Lots of pictures, reprints of Bonnie’s poems, the whole nine. But what I saw was not what I remembered reading. I was surprised at the many deviations in the screenplay from the true accounts of their partnership and crimes that I’d read, yet I found the movie so absorbing and excellent, such a blend of glamour and grit, that I didn’t mind the liberties at all. I was totally taken with it — especially Faye Dunaway and her costumes and styling. Dad warned me to look away at the end, but of course I didn’t, and I gaped at the dancing corpses. This, I knew, was accurate, but to see it on the screen brought the unbelievably vivid violence of it to a shocking level that my imagination had not reached when I only read about their deaths. I thought then, and think now, that it’s one of the best movies ever made.
But not everyone shares my view. Especially initially, some critics outspokenly hated Bonnie and Clyde:
It is a cheap piece of bald-faced slapstick comedy that treats the hideous depredations of that sleazy, moronic pair as though they were as full of fun and frolic as the jazz-age cutups in Thoroughly Modern Millie.
(“Movie Review: Bonnie and Clyde.” Crowther, Bosley. The New York Times. 14 April 1967.)
Such ridiculous, camp-tinctured travesties of the kind of people these desperados were and of the way people lived in the dusty Southwest back in those barren years might be passed off as candidly commercial movie comedy, nothing more, if the film weren’t reddened with blotches of violence of the most grisly sort.
Oh, noes. Violence. That has no place in a movie.
Arthur Penn, the aggressive director, has evidently gone out of his way to splash the comedy holdups with smears of vivid blood as astonished people are machine-gunned. And he has staged the terminal scene of the ambuscading and killing of Barrow and Bonnie by a posse of policemen with as much noise and gore as is in the climax of The St. Valentine’s Day Massacre.
This blending of farce with brutal killings is as pointless as it is lacking in taste, since it makes no valid commentary upon the already travestied truth.
“As pointless as it is lacking in taste because it makes no valid commentary on the already travestied truth.” Let’s explore that criticism, shall we?
According to statements made by [posse members] Ted Hinton and Bob Alcorn:
“Each of us six officers had a shotgun and an automatic rifle and pistols. We opened fire with the automatic rifles. They were emptied before the car got even with us. Then we used shotguns … There was smoke coming from the car, and it looked like it was on fire. After shooting the shotguns, we emptied the pistols at the car, which had passed us and ran into a ditch about 50 yards on down the road. It almost turned over. We kept shooting at the car even after it stopped. We weren’t taking any chances.”
The lawmen then opened fire, killing Barrow and Parker while shooting a combined total of approximately 130 rounds. Barrow was killed instantly by [an] initial head shot, but Parker had a moment to reflect; Hinton reported hearing her scream as she realized Barrow was dead before the shooting at her began in earnest. The officers emptied the specially ordered automatic rifles, as well as other rifles, shotguns and pistols at the car, and any one of many wounds would have been fatal to either of the fugitives.
Officially, the tally in Parish coroner Dr. J. L. Wade’s 1934 report listed seventeen separate entrance wounds on Barrow’s body and twenty-six on Parker’s, including several headshots on each, and one that had snapped Barrow’s spinal column. So numerous were the bullet holes that undertaker C. F. “Boots” Bailey would have difficulty embalming the bodies because they wouldn’t contain the embalming fluid.
So … maybe that outburst of unthinkable retributive violence on the side of the law had a little something to do with the film’s objectionably grisly ending? Just a very, very belated thought for the late Mr. Crowther, who I must add with real respect was an esteemed and important critic in his time — pretty much until this review. All the cool kids stopped listening to him and assumed he was part of the stuffy establishment, and his reputation suffered. I think he really was not ready for this picture, is all.
Contrary to how he comes off in the review owing to our modern hindsight, Bosley Crowther had a very open mind, wrote against HUAC as curtailing art and freethinking, a brave and dangerous thing to do in the 1950s, and praised films with strong social content while disdaining jingoism and oversimplification of political ideas. Mr. Crowther insisted on the relevancy of foreign film to English-speaking audiences and did great things for the careers of some of my favorite overseas directors, including Fellini, Bergman, and Roberto Rossellini. That — to me — pitch-perfect mix of braggadocio and embellishment, expositorily satirical idealism, and vérité in Bonnie and Clyde, together with the innovative cinematic discourse which has been cited as ushering in a new era in Hollywood, just seems to have put him over the edge.
In any case, Bosley Crowther was not the only reviewer who found himself initially less than thrilled by Bonnie and Clyde.
Beatty, playing the lead, does a capable job, within the limits of his familiar, insolent, couldn’t-care-less manner, of making Barrow the amiable varmint he thought himself to be. Barrow fancied himself something of a latterday Robin Hood, robbing only banks that were foreclosing on poor farmers and eventually turning into a kind of folk hero. But Faye Dunaway’s Sunday-social prettiness is at variance with any known information about Bonnie Parker.
(“Cinema: Low-Down Hoedown.” Time. 25 August 1967.)
Variety disagreed with Time‘s slight of Faye Dunaway, saying
Like the film itself, the performances are mostly erratic. Beatty is believable at times, but his characterization lacks any consistency. Miss Dunaway is a knockout as Bonnie Parker, registers with deep sensitivity in the love scenes, and conveys believability to her role.
(“Film: Bonnie and Clyde.” Kaufman, David. Variety. 9 Aug 1967.)
Overall, however, Mr. Kaufman pans the film, saying,
Warren Beatty’s initial effort as a producer incongruously couples comedy with crime … Conceptually, the film leaves much to be desired, because killings and the backdrop of the Depression are scarcely material for a bundle of laughs. … This inconsistency of direction is the most obvious fault of Bonnie and Clyde, which has some good ingredients, although they are not meshed together well. … Arthur Penn’s direction is uneven, at times catching a brooding, arresting quality, but often changing pace at a tempo that is jarring.
Fortunately, not everyone agreed, and more and more people began to “get” the picture. By the time Oscar season rolled around, Bonnie and Clyde received an impressive ten Academy Award nominations and secured two wins. Burnett Guffey received the Oscar for Best Cinematography and Estelle Parsons won Best Supporting Actress for her portrayal of Blanche, Clyde’s sister-in-law. The other nominations included Best Picture, Best Director, Best Actress (Dunaway), Best Actor (Beatty), Best Supprting Actor (both Gene Hackman and Michael J. Pollard), Best Original Story and Screenplay, and Best Costume Design.
1967 was a banner year for films — some of the movies to which Bonnie and Clyde lost the Oscar were Coolhand Luke, Guess Who’s Coming to Dinner?, The Graduate, and In the Heat of the Night. I said goddamn; what a year.
Modern critical reception of Bonnie and Clyde places it in the category of top films in Hollywood history, a landmark picture not only in the business and art of making movies, but also in the career of director Arthur Penn, whose death yesterday prompted this Movie Moment.
Bonnie and Clyde developed the aesthetic that marked Penn’s high-visibility period: slyly accented, harmonica-hootin’, harvest-gold-patchwork Americana; ever-poised violence; and an open invitation to apply the story as a flexible allegory for the issues of the day.
(“Anthology takes a tour of the Bonnie and Clyde director’s America.” Pinkerton, Nick. The Village Voice. 12 Nov 2008.)
Going back to my own reflections at the beginning of this entry, when I saw the film again in college (after which I regularly re-watch it now), I was able to crystallize exactly why the changes in the screenplay from how the real-life story played out so imperturbed me.
The accuracy of the facts being related is not as important as the yarn being spun, and that yarn needs to be by turns a little soft-focus with family, a little jump the crick in a jalopy while banjos play, a little sexy and simultaneously innocent, teeming with tinfoil chicken and mishaps and stolen laughs besides stolen money, in order for the juxtaposition with the sharp reality of the consequences of that story’s heroes’ actions. Not just at the end, but throughout the film there are these jarring standoffs and murders that shoot the child’s balloon of the idea of what’s happening right out of the sky and back in to the reality of what is happening — and its inevitable conclusion.
Besides that most of the changes between the real story and the script make the tale tighter and better solidify characterization, the embellishments and inflated sense of ego in the main characters and in the cinematic discourse with which we are presented are important to the overall type of story being told. The grand Depression-era myth of the infamous lovers, robbers, and murderers Bonnie and Clyde, as Beatty and Penn have conceived and shot it, is more like the story that Clyde Barrow would have told to cellmates in prison. This is Bonnie and Clyde, so far as we can tell, as they saw themselves, something like folk heroes flying by the seat of their pants, living a ruthless dream and getting real scars from it. This version is a compelling and archetypal campfire story, like the epic outlaw poem that Bonnie Parker wrote about them while they were on the road, “The Trail’s End” (later renamed “The Story of Bonnie and Clyde” by the press), excerpts from which I’d like to use to end this very long — but I think justly so — entry.
R.I.P. again to Arthur Penn, who had the courage to make this fantastic piece of cinema his way and received just due for it within his lifetime. May we all be so brave, visionary, and fortunate.
All screencaps via the wonderful screenmusings collection.
Friday night’s all right for fighting.
I’ve been unable to write lately because I’ve been in the hospital. Several hospitals. My liver and kidneys got sick of my crap and spontaneously agreed to stage a coup and attempt to abdicate; I had no idea they felt so strongly about disliking mashups, but I’ve promised to consider their opinions in the future. Looking back, it seems like such a silly thing to argue over. I think they feel the same. Anyway, I was jammed out to San Francisco for a bit, where the nicest cabal you can possibly imagine of highly intellectual medical overlords who are so smart and powerful that they get to swap people’s body parts around actually met up and voted to toss me a new liver so I could continue to be the body that rocks the party.
Preparations began for the transplant to ensue, but it all went on unbeknownst to me since I was mainly out like a trout for quite a couple days there and was pretty much wholly at the mercy of a luckily kind system — things went well for me, what with me spending my life being a good citizen E and paying in to this health care system and all. I do not know how it would have gone otherwise, but I thank God, truly, that from the moment I finally checked myself in to the hospital two weeks ago, until today at 1:30 when they released me, I’ve been taken care of with world-class speed, compassion, and totality.
See, I’d just thought I had flu or food poisoning or something for a few days at the beginning so I had been woefully barfing it out and collapsing in exhaustion at home and figuring on waiting until the weekend’s end to go see my regular doc; when I couldn’t stop throwing up and finally threw in the towel and agreed to go to a quasi-emergency room several Sundays ago, they all freaked out when I got there and said my liver was failing, which I knew must be true when I couldn’t really wake up for about three or four days and came around in SF and realized I’d basically almost died. I mean, I know that with Lost having ended, I would have at least died with my curiosity satisfied on that front, but I was kind of hoping to see how the mysteries of the rest of life shook out, watch my kid grow up; you know, sentimental shit like that.
Right about the time I woke up in the City and started trying to piece shit together, my own organs rethought throwing the doors open to a stranger and began to make a slow, halting comeback over the last 14-15 days. The cabal agreed that this was great news and I would rock the party much better and perhaps longer with my O.G. body parts in tact, as long as they promised to stay put and eat their vegetables this time. They took me off their too-cool-to-quit-school list, but it did remind me to harangue everyone I know about becoming an organ donor. I’ve been one since 2001. (Blows on fingernails.) No big deal. Be a hero, dudes. Anyway, Promoetheus, your liver is safe again — for now. See you after breakfast. Yeah, I just called myself a harpy. The analogy got away from me in a hurry.
I was bounced back to a hospital in my home town as things improved, which is when the deep boredom set in, but my friends and family were incredible and visited with me for hours every day. Their support in both San Francisco, which for a lot of my stay I was mainly unaware, and back here at home played a huge part in my being able to cheerfully and ably plow through the bizarre obstacle course I’ve been running this past half-month. Also, I’ve never thought hospital food was that bad. I kind of dug it and knew all the servers’ names.
Every morning, I woke up early, put on mascara and lipstick, and pinned flowers from my bouquets in my hair. I joked with the phlebotomists and the transporters and the nurses, and walked all over the hospital, getting off at floors and halls in which I did not belong and striding around confidently in my gown like I had every reason to be doing what I was. Once, in an elevator, an old man and his wife told me if I was trying to break out, I needed to change clothes. I agreed I was pretty conspicuous. I would wear one gown the proper way and use a second gown as a sort of robe. They gave me non-skid hospital socks but Panda Eraser collects those so I stashed those in my bag to take home and sported my busted-ass flip-flops all over the place. The trick in the hospital, like anywhere, was to act as though you were completely authorized to be doing everything you did at all times.
Don’t take this to mean I was a rebel. I actually went out of my way to be the best little patient ever. I did everything they told me and more, smiled and thanked everyone by name, and assured nurse after nurse repeatedly that I was a “tough stick” and they were doing a great job trying to lay that IV line. From a glance at my arms, I am afraid I look just like the lifelong chasers I was puzzling over in discussing Mr. Burroughs two weeks ago. Tough stick means I apparently have dodgy veins. To say a lot of people took a stab at me is to put it lightly. My track marks are freaky. I ended up with some IVs in some really weird places because every time they placed one in a usual spot, something would happen and my body would duck and dive out of it and chaos would ensue. My bruises pose a puzzle to anyone who looks at me. See? I’m so not cut out to be a heroin addict.
All in all, I got pretty in to the swing of things, hospital-routine-wise, and I actually don’t know what I’ll do when I wake up tomorrow at 5 a.m. and there is no one there to weigh me and suck my blood and count my heartbeats. It’s like, it’s cool to send me home and all, but it’s my blood, dudes, remember? That stuff you have positively not been able to get enough of for two weeks now? You’re turning your back on it now, after all that obsession? You loved that shit. Is this how it ends? No takers? I bet people around here aren’t even going to get excited when I pee. No applause, no saving my urine in cups, no measuring it, no nothing — seriously? I’m just not sure how I’ll feel special.
I guess what I’m saying is, if there are any vampires out there who like watersports and don’t mind a love object who needs a lot of rest, holla.
I was finally sprung this afternoon. I have a lot of catching up to do, but the experience — as genuinely grueling, unexpected, and unwelcome as it was — certainly gave me a lot to contemplate. I’d been considering shutting things down around here because my original plan had been a yearlong self-audit and that’s been up for a few weeks now, but my incredibly long amounts of time to do nothing but think in a hospital bed made me realize my audit will never end and I have so much more left to think about that I couldn’t possibly quit now.
I look forward to a continuing future of malarkey, shenanigans, tomfoolery, jacknapery and maybe even a little monkey shines. Inexpressibly glad to be back and please join me!
addendum: Right before I signed the paperwork to go, one of my many, many doctors was chatting with me and handed me a stack of reports from my many, many blood draws and urine cultures, and casually commented, “Oh, and you have e. coli.” Now, I overlooked this at the time in favor of being outside for more than 30 seconds in a row as soon as possible and not even strapped to a gurney to boot, but it’s beginning to, you might say, “nag” at me. Isn’t e. coli kind of … pretty bad? I don’t pretend to be a medical expert but I seem to remember everything I’ve ever heard about e. coli being pretty bad. I’ll be looking that up now.
Did you ever have to make up your mind?
I’m'a lead off this story with the reminder that I’m lactose intolerant. So. I was at a friendoh’s place recently and after some pizza I found myself with time on my hands in the bathroom. All there was to read was People or something like that, so I flopped it open at random.
The page to which I opened had the headline “Who wore it best?” and showed three women who were I’m assuming celebrities — I did not really recognize them because none of them were Muppets, former guest stars on Star Trek TNG, or playmates of the month — all wearing the same dress at various red carpet events. I thought, given the human tendency toward recognizing and enjoying that which is patterned and symmetrical, this is an intriguing premise — only what would be better is if they were not in boring clothes at a boring party.
Twins Maurine and Noreene via thesisterproject. I’m going with Noreene because she looks more fun (open smile, body toward camera).
Welcome to the inaugural edition of Showdown! where we decide between either a) two people in one picture or b) two or more pictures of people with something in common: age, hair color, a thematic prop, or, in special cases — such as today — which playmate has put forth the best of two similar photos.
The face-down twin in the background is totally “selling it” better than the one in the foreground, who looks more like “asleep while sick” than “dead from axe wounds.” Fuck, why did I use this picture, now I’m going to have nightmares.
In fact we have already done a Showdown! by accident, which I will put together and repeat as today’s Flashback Friday. Anyway, here is the inaugural outing of this thrilling new category: Showdown!: Yellow Rain Slicker edition.
I noticed that the same slicker was used in the photoshoots of Delores Wells, Miss June 1960 and Sheralee Connors, Playboy‘s Miss July 1961. (Spoiler: they are both coming up as Girls of Summer.) Who rocked it harder?
Camera A? or Camera B?
“Leah bloodbath” by Nicole Lesser
America faints! enrag’d the Zenith grew.
As human blood shooting its veins all ’round the orbed heaven
Red rose the clouds from the Atlantic in vast wheels of blood
And in the red clouds rose a Wonder o’er the Atlantic sea;
Kate Moss by Ryan McGinley
Intense! Naked! a Human fire fierce glowing, as the wedge
Of iron heated in the furnace; his terrible limbs were fire
With myriads of cloudy terrors banners dark & towers
Surrounded; heat but not light went thro’ the murky atmosphere.
(William Blake, excerpt from “America: A Prophecy.”)
Damn. Sounds like America is in for it, yes? To be continued.
‘Nam-native Beetle-Bailey ear-necklace update: I still suck.
But seeing me hunched over and going through a ream of paper trying to do studies inspired kidlet to grab one of her own most recent “commissioned pieces,” the last assigned coloring project she had before school ended. Speaking of Jurassic Park and bloodthirsty drawings:
When she first brought it home, knowing what a girly-girl she can often be, I asked naively, “Is your T. Rex a girl dinosaur? With lipstick and fingernails?” She gave me a long-suffering, how-sad-that-my-mother-is-Grimace-from-Ronald-McDonaldland expression and said, “Mommy. Tyrannosaurus Rex was a killer. That is blood.”
Check. It was already all cut out so we put it on a couple popsicle sticks so she could use him as part of her various paper puppet shows.
Think about it: wouldn’t every single puppet show you’ve ever seen have been improved by the introduction of a tyrannosaur? It’s like a recipe for Imaginary Awesome and you just kicked it up a notch. T. Rexes are truly the paprika in the potato salad of the toybox.
So I was trying my hand yet again at drawing Beetle. The problem is I want his shirt open to display the necklace to best advantage as well as convey how unhinged he’s become, but both the open shirt and his chest itself are giving me trouble as far as drawing them as simply but representatively as possible, and I can only imagine my plan for his right hand to be flashing a peace sign will also end in tears. Meanwhile, kidlet, like I said, went and fetched her T. Rex puppet.
She made “Blarrrghhh, Gahrrrrr, Rawrrrrr” kind of noises at me from the other side of the table, kneeling so only the puppet showed and, when that did not sufficiently distract me, she snuck up beside me and pounced, pretending the dinosaur was biting my hand (very convincing flesh-tearing noises accompanied this move), and I said, “You’re very scary, but I’m kind of in the middle of this. Why don’t you go eat a Barbie? We can play later. Promise.”
First the T. Rex turned his cap backward, then they started the arm-wrestling. If you do not understand this humorous reference and you want to get in on the cheesey action flick joke, rent Over the Top (Menahem Golan, 1987). Don’t necessarily buy it though, heh.
Kidlet danced the dinosaur away, making stomping noises with her feet to simulate his weight stalking out of the room, then stuck the puppet back around the corner and said loudly in a deep, ominous voice, “You haven’t seen the last of Tyrannosaurus Rex!!”
I said, “I’m pretty sure I have, actually.” Extinction is a bitch. But the whole exchange cracked me up and lightened my mood. She’s so wonderful. I don’t know where she came from but I’m damned lucky she’s here.
Lastly, the best thing I have ever seen, a comic panel that never fails to cheer me up:
Everything is right in that picture. Especially how psyched the tyrannosaur pilot looks. I told you: they are the paprika in the recipe of AWESOME!
If you skip the Music Moments normally … don’t skip this one. Banned from the airwaves and all-but-lost to obscurity, this song is one of the best Vietnam tell-it-like-it-is protest songs and one of the greatest soul singles I have heard in recent memory, period.
via northern soul in the u.k.
“Sleeping in these foxholes
Hungry and cold
I had a dream last night
I dreamed I saw you
(You know that I)
I dreamed I saw you
(Yes, I did, yeah)
I dreamed I saw you
(Yeah, I want to say that I)
(I dreamed, a dream)
Yes, I did.”
There’s no tomorrow,
There’s no tomorrow,
There’s no tomorrow —
they’ll bury me.
I want everybody
in the sound of my voice this evening
to help me sing this hymn number five.
I want you to moan one time.
Sometimes I wonder,
I wonder what was it that I did?
I tried to be a good father,
I did the best that I could.
And I wonder, who’s going to take care of my kids?
I’m a long way from home, children.
But I want the world to know
the one thing that I did.
I’m gone for good.
via American Ethnography: Vietnam Zippos.
“Hymn No. 5″ was banned from stateside radio-play lickety-split for its “controversial” lyrics. I searched high and low on the internet for those incendiary, heartfelt lyrics, but no go. So, fuck you, censorious witchhunt world of the late 60′s and paranoid early 70′s played out across this present world wide web, because I’m not as lazy as you suppose — I’m typing them out myself. (see above.)
From the infinitely worthy Soul Shack:
The Mighty Hannibal is one of those Soul artists that is wrongfully obscure. The world of popular music is filled with myth building, myths sometimes becoming truth, facts obscured. A handful of people these days remember Hannibal. The kind of people who like to hang out in dusty record shops, swap endless amounts of stories and usually useless little facts about obscure and forgotten Soul singers that are God’s gift only in our minds.
(“Platters That Matter: Hymn No. 5.” January 9, 2008.)
from photographer Declan McCullagh, “A dilapidated section of Hue’s citadel, site of major Vietnam War battle involving U.S. Marines and U.S. Army calvary regiments, slowly being rebuilt.”
Hannibal’s “Hymn No. 5″ is in my opinion an exception. It is one of those few obscure Soul records that should be saved from forgetfulness. “Hymn No. 5″ is both a record of rare beauty and relevance.
With the war in Iraq still taking young lives on a daily basis I feel it is important that art like this is remembered. It is through art that we understand the true atrocities of war. If we left it up to our politicians war would be narrowed down to one-liners and personal interest. The news may gives us the facts, photographers may give us the images, but art gives us the personal implications. A song like “Hymn No 5″ allows us to feel what war means, allows us to forget the bullshit of the politicians, the confusing statistics scientists use, transcend the daily cold news and actually feel what war does to people. Art allows us to experience the very human consequence of war.
Quoted in full because I could not have articulated it as well. A thousand thanks.
The Mighty Hannibal was initially active in the West Coast soul scene, working with Johnny Otis (“Willie and the Hand Jive,” “Harlem Nocturne”) and Johnny “Guitar” Watson (“Gangster of Love”) before launching his own less-than-widely-known but well-appreciated solo career. Born James Timothy Shaw, the Mighty Hannibal grew up with his folks Corrie Bell and James Henry Shaw in Atlanta, GA and then eventually wung his way West. (Can we put a permanent ban on calling it “Hotlanta?” Can that be done?)
I mention Mr. Shaw’s family as a roundabout and oblique way of announcing that we are coming up on twenty-three years since the overdose/drowning death of AIDS-stricken early porn-and-free-speech crusader Althea Flynt. (Seems random. Bear with me because everything is related and everything is falling apart.) The Mighty Hannibal’s first cousin, the famous lawyer, civil rights crusader, and all-around controversial dude Vernon Jordan (pictured above) has a common bond with Althea’s husband, never-once-controversial-a-day-of-his-life-wink-wink, the paraplegic and litigious Hustler mastermind, Mr. Larry Flynt (pictured below): they have both survived assassination efforts by murderous racist fuckface Joseph Paul Franklin.
For the record, Franklin —and hell, no, I am not throwing up a link to his attention-seeking, Aryan Nations-loving, hopefully-daily-reamed-out butthole; if you want to know more, wiki his sick ass — has never been tried for either of their attempted murders, though he has confessed. He currently sits on Death Row in Missouri, a sentence for which he thanked his jury, assuring them that if they had not condemned him, he would only escape and keep killing in the name of race wars. Also he was a big fan of the Beltway Snipers, who took their cues from his methodology. He was probably pretty surprised when they turned out to be of a heritage he thought was going to Hell. In his face. So, yeah, that dickhead’s on Death Row now. Uh, good? I guess? Not sure that killing him is the solution, although I understand it will satisfy a need for vengeance (which they’ll call “closure” and I deeply understand why because of some of my own shit but it still sits uneasy with me) on the part of his victims’ families. But still. What the good Lord makes of all that is anyone’s guess.
You are all like, why is this a picture of Larry and Althea Flynt and not of Joseph Paul Franklin, and I am all like, “Because I don’t support pathological interest in killers. How about focusing on the people whose lives they interrupted? Go somewhere else if that’s what you want, you stupid, sick fuck, and I hope you never endure the type of loss it will apparently take to snap you out of your ignorant murderer-worshiping, celebrity-and-violence-driven stupor.” If you’re offended by all that, then PLEASE feel free never to return to this journal.
When you stack Franklin’s heinous crimes — which I am not happy to have even touched upon in this entry but I did want to bring the fact of Mr. Jordan’s and Mr. Shaw’s blood relationship to your attention as they are both forthright guys who are serious about civil rights and speaking the truth no matter how ugly it is — up against the subject of this song, hate piled upon hate … it is difficult to even understand where the good can come from on this earth. There is evil in the big picture just as much as the devil is in the details. Genocide and crime and blood and war on one another, which can only be against God’s plan? ought they must be?, stalk every continent. There’s no tomorrow.
Yikes. In reviewing this, I guess it seems that foul mood of earlier today has not yet passed. Super-sorry. Kickass song, though, right? And again, please do scope out the awesome Soul Shack.
In many ways it is like the Slaughter of Innocents or Rape of the Shire. It is no kind of lesson to those experiencing it, not in the heat of the moment. Rather, it is a warning to those who read, and, as Scott McCloud justly points out, tacitly and with secret relish add their knives to the resultant “blood in the gutter.” Murdering the Object: it is still a Thing.
Jennifer’s Body, 2009. Directed by Karyn Kusama (Girlfight) and written by Diablo Cody (Juno).
Nerdy, reserved bookworm Needy and arrogant, conceited cheerleader Jennifer are best friends, though they share little in common. They share even less in common when Jennifer mysteriously gains an appetite for human blood after a disastrous fire at a local bar. As Needy’s male classmates are steadily killed off in gruesome attacks, the young girl must uncover the truth behind her friend’s transformation and find a way to stop the bloodthirsty rampage before it reaches her own boyfriend Chip. (the imdb)
“Jennifer’s Body” is not only a fantasy of revenge against the predatory male sex, though the ultimate enactment of that revenge is awfully satisfying. The antagonism and attraction between boys and girls is a relatively straightforward (if, in this case, grisly) matter; the real terror, the stuff of Needy’s nightmares, lies in the snares and shadows of female friendship.
(“Hell is other people, especially the popular girl.” 18 September 2009. Scott, A.O. The New York Times.)
The relationship between Needy and Jennifer is rivalrous, sisterly, undermining, sadomasochistic, treacherous and tender. …
Ms. Cody and Ms. Kusama take up a theme shared by slasher films and teenage comedies — that queasy, panicky fascination with female sexuality that we all know and sublimate — and turn it inside out. This is not a simple reversal of perspective; “Jennifer’s Body” goes further, taking the complication and confusion of being a young woman as its central problem and operating principle. (Ibid.)
In this movie, hell is actually two girls, embroiled in the fiendish complexity of a deep female friendship. The fact that one of them is a boy-eating demon is, believe it or not, secondary.
(“Jennifer’s Body: Megan Fox Is a Man Eater.” 18 September 2009. Pols, Mary. Time.)
Female empowerment would have been the obvious message here, with Jennifer’s bloody appetites stemming from a take-back-the-night scenario gone terribly awry, so it was a pleasure to see Cody and Kusama delving instead into the frequently disempowering effect of female friendships. (Ibid.)
As a comic allegory of what it’s like to be an adolescent girl who comes into sexual and social power that she doesn’t know what the heck to do with, [Jennifer's Body] is a minor classic.
(“Horror-comedy with feminist bite.” 18 September 2009. Rickey, Carrie. The Philadelphia Inquirer.)
“There is within Diablo Cody the soul of an artist, and her screenplay brings to this material a certain edge, a kind of gleeful relish, that’s uncompromising. This isn’t your assembly-line teen horror thriller. The portraits of Jennifer and Needy are a little too knowing.” — Roger Ebert, Chicago Sun-Times.
Kusama and Cody’s collaboration is a wicked black comedy with unexpected emotional resonance, one of the most purely pleasurable movies of the year so far.
To quote Courtney Love (whose song “Jennifer’s Body” gave the movie its title and whose music plays over the closing credits), Jennifer Check is the girl with the most cake.
(“Jennifer’s Body: One of the most purely pleasurable movies of the year so far.” 17 September 2009. Stevens, Dana. Slate.)
“At least nobody’s falling in love with a brooding hunk of an eyeliner-wearing vampire in this movie. Come to think of it, I’d like to see Jennifer get transferred to that Twilight high school and shake things up.” — Richard Roeper. (I never thought I’d agree with him on anything, but holy cannoli, Richard Roeper. Have mercy! A quote like that gets a gal hummin’: I may yet have your stupid, studio-ass-kissing baby, after all.)
Megan Fox, whose previous roles called on little more than her ability to successfully straddle a motorcycle, nails this tricky role. She does more than look sensational—she shows us what it feels like to be a sensational-looking young woman and to wield that as your only power. Fox seems to understand the key gambit of Cody’s script: Her character is less a teenage girl turned monster than an exploration of the monster that lurks inside every teenage girl.
The negative early reviews with which “Jennifer’s Body” has been greeted are puzzling. Critics seem irked that the picture’s not a full-on horror film or a straight teen comedy or a familiar satirical combination of the two. But the movie has other intentions: It’s really about the social horrors of high school for adolescent girls.
The picture has a tone — smart and slashingly sarcastic — that’s all its own. It’s actually kind of brilliant.
(“Jennifer’s Body: Girl Trouble” 18 September 2009. By fucking KURT LODER. MTV.com)
Needy: You know what? You were never really a good friend. Even when we were little, you used to steal my toys and pour lemonade on my bed!
Jennifer: And now I’m eating your boyfriend. See? At least I’m consistent.
Needy: Why do you need him? You can have anybody that you want, Jennifer. So why Chip? Just to tick me off? or is it because you’re just really that insecure?
Jennifer: I am not “insecure,” Needy. God! Wh–? That’s a joke! How could I ever be insecure? I was the Snowflake Queen!
Needy: Pffft. Yeah. Two years ago — when you were socially relevant —
Jennifer: (draws in breath) I … am … still … socially relevant.
Needy: — and when you didn’t need laxatives to stay skinny.
Jennifer: (full monster morph time)
Man. Frenemies always know the right buttons to push, amirite?
I think Needy’s relationship with Chip was really, really threatening to Jennifer. I think it is why Jennifer claimed to need to find talent outside of Devil Kettle and why she fixated on that Nikolai tool to begin with — she wanted Needy’s attention back, and she needed to create drama to get it, by going for a guy she knew her friend would have qualms about. She thought Needy would be jealous and want to ride to her rescue. Except it backfired because not only could Needy see through the so-called punk’s ridiculously fake exterior and the desperate, shallow need for everyone’s adulation that was his true inner core, but Jennifer’s pursuit of him exposed the same hollow innards in herself. That’s my take on what tipped the action in to play. Seaquest out. Back to the pros.
Not since Brian De Palma’s Carrie has a horror movie so effectively exploited the genre as a metaphor for adolescent angst, female sexuality and the strange, sometimes corrosive bonds between girls who claim to be best friends.
(Jennifer’s Body.” Rodriguez, Rene. 18 September 2009. Miami Herald.)
Most stills courtesy of One Movie, One Day on the tumblr. Thank you so, so much for all your awesome, superfly screencaps!
Super-busy day, y’all. Lunch with Special K and then the Cappy is in town tonight!!!!! Eeeeee! Haven’t seen each other in two years. It’s going to be so wonderful. So here’s some Wednesday for your Wednesday and I am mainly outie for the rest of the day. Love!
Mrs. Firkins: Mm. Well. Wednesday brought in this picture. Uh, “Calpurnia Addams?”
Morticia: Ah! Wednesday’s great-aunt Calpurnia. She was burned as a witch in 1706. They said she danced naked in the town square and enslaved the minister.
Mrs. Firkins: Really?
Morticia: Oh, yes. But don’t worry. We’ve told Wednesday: “College first.”
The Eyes of Laura Mars is a brilliant and appropriately grody American entry in to the wonderful giallo genre, with all the campy-but-seductive hallmarks and tricks of that trade — ice picks to the eye, topless models in front of burning cars, erotic obsession and guns — you might expect. I feel that the cinematography helps it to transcend any of the sillier stumbling blocks it faces with script and story.
The John Carpenter-penned flick (he has sole story credit and shares co-writing duties with David Zelag Goodman and some half-dozen others) stars Faye Dunaway as the titular character. Barbra Streisand turned the part down, although she does perform the main song on the soundtrack, “Prisoner (Love Theme from The Eyes of Laura Mars),” which had modest chart success with its release in ’78.
Laura Mars is a risque photographer of violent erotica who begins to have visions of brutal murders. Tommy Lee Jones has an early and steamy turn as brash young turk Detective John Neville, an art aficionado and lead investigator on the case of the serial killer whose crimes Laura is seeing. At first, Laura only sees the victims when she looks through her camera lens, but soon, she is having the visions all kinds of inconvenient places, including behind the wheel of her car.
We see Laura first struck by a vision when she is photographing for an advertising client in the first part of the movie, doing a shoot with burning cars and lingerie-clad models Lulu and Michele, who later wind up murdered in various states of undress, fighting each other. Here are some more of her models, with whom she is depicted as having a very friendly but I think rather condescending relationship, topless because why not? I’ll tell you why not:
I realize models get demeaned a lot but when you’ve got a film which treats the topics of violence, sex, and imagery as interrelated in a logical thread, then you run the risk of implying the girls deserve it when you have them parade about naked and additionally get patronized by the better-than-them, wryly maternal heroine, the “smart girl” with the camera who is superior and holds some kind of moral ace so may not be as likely to die, does that make sense? Just sayin’.
Also featured are baby Rene Auberjonois and baby Raul Julia as Laura’s best friend and ex-husband, respectively; always great to see either of them in a cast. Rounding out the suspect/victim list is this handsome fellow, Brad Dourif, who plays Laura’s chauffeur Tommy. Tommy has a checkered criminal past, but, as you can see, he has cleverly thrown everyone off the trail by styling himself like Charlie Manson.
Neville seems to suspect her initially but, already an admirer of her photography and with an inarguable chemistry between them — hard-working detectives go to gallery shows on their off-nights, happens all the time — they grow to trust one another and he becomes her lover. Raise your hand if you agree with this decision. SPOILERS FROM HERE ON: IF YOU SOMEHOW HAVE NOT ALREADY GUESSED THE INEVITABLE AND DO NOT WISH TO KNOW THE ENDING OF THIS FABULOUSLY RIDICULOUS BUT SOMEHOW TOUCHING AND MEMORABLE FILM, READ NO FURTHER!!
Has she never seen a giallo film??? Laura! He is clearly hella the killer. You always sleep with the killer, innocently making him breakfast and smiling to yourself as you watch him walk down the steps, calling him to cry later when you find your friends dead. You’re falling in love with him as he mercilessly murders everyone else in your life who matters to you, coming closer and closer to the real objective of killing you, circling in a lazy loop like a hawk who is picking off mice in your orbit in whom he has less interest, merely maiming them and dropping them in your path, just to see you scamper faster!
Laura gets in a car wreck because her eyes are busy envisioning her best friend being murdered, and naturally runs straight to Neville for some scotch and sexytimes. Dig the tartan blanket on her and the red scarf on him!
Whoa, that analogy got completely out of control. All apologies. Giallo movies are just so fun to yell at. Anyway, I loved the story that the following series of screencaps told so much that I took a cap of it myself to demonstrate the strength of the cinematography in this film, the discourse between camera and viewer which itself points up the voyeuristic relationship between the observer and the observed and sex and death in the movie.
In this scene, Det. Neville has just finished a rambling, disjointed story to Laura about how Tommy the now-dead driver’s mother was a prostitute, and how Tommy’s father came home one day, and “outraged by the condition of the child,” he slashed her throat, but as he tells the story and Laura has shades of doubt (she knows Tommy and knows he didn’t grow up the way it’s being described), Neville slowly and chillingly begins to transpose the pronoun “I” for “he.” He winds down the story with the totally creepy line,
“I sat and watched the blood dry on her face, until it was just about … well, the color of your hair.”
He throws this shocking revelation down and then just flashes her the g’est look ever, waiting for her to piece it together. And that’s the story this series of screencaps tells. How awesome, am I right? Continuing in that vein, note how the mirror in the below shot continues to toy with ideas about perception, reality, objectification, and physical verisimilitude.
Laura has finally caught on and has in her hand the gun Neville gave her when he was being a pimp several screencaps back. I will not give away the final twist of who kills who or how. See how honorable I am?
Now you see what I mean about the cinematography in this movie? Victor Kemper did a top-notch job with what is essentially a very campy and “b” quality script, almost singlehandedly raising the level of quality to the movie. It’s that and the acting (mainly) that I think have made The Eyes of Laura Mars the giallo cult classic that it is.
This may be the longest Movie Moment yet. It was more like a Movie Half Hour, huh? Sorry. To wind things down, I need to throw a major thank you out to Screenmusings.org, from where I originally got all these grand screencaps. (Any reduction in quality they have suffered in my crops and resizes has been entirely my doing — these are, like, enormous, gorgeous HD quality original screencaps on screenmusings, take my word for it.) Check it out, tons of great movies, screencapped and beautiful.