The train ahead of mine broke down at the Roosevelt Avenue station. They managed to get the train I was on into the station just enough to open the doors and evacuate it before taking it out of service. While I have been riding the subway all of my life, I am not nor have I ever been a Nomad (see the Commuter's Lexicon), and so this was the first time I had ever walked through a train. I was surprised at how long it really was... and I was coming from the middle of the train!
"Terrific. I'm about to get killed a million miles from nowhere with a gung-ho iguana who tells me to relax."
I watched my HD-DVD of The Last Starfighter this weekend. Of particular interest to me was the opportunity to hear Craig Safan's exciting score in Dolby TruHD lossless sound. This was, in and of itself, a treat, but I was also surprised to notice how much more music there is in the film than on Intrada's CD, which was a significant expansion of the original LP (which I still have). While there are rather nice pieces throughout the film, one standout bit is the cue heard as Alex breaks the record on the Starfighter game. Maybe one day Intrada will reissue this disc as they did with their earlier expansion of Bruce Broughton's Silverado and release the complete score of this. I have to admit that I wouldn't mind a suite of selections from the Starfighter video game itself, which were all based on Safan's thematic material.
I felt that the movie holds up rather well. Yes, the CGI is comparatively stone-age, but if anything that only increases this film's importance as it was one of the first major motion pictures to have relied so heavily on (then) photorealistic computer imagery. But what makes the film really work is how earnest it is and because it's got a fun cast. Lance Guest is an extremely amiable protagonist, Dan O'Herlihy is a hoot and Robert Preston is just... well... Robert Preston. Catherine Mary Stewart doesn't hurt either.
I want that retooled DeLorean of Centauri's.
"I was right in the middle of a fucking reptile zoo, and somebody was giving booze to these goddamn things."
I had heard of Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas long before the film came out, which I saw more because of my interest in Terry Gilliam than Hunter S. Thompson. Dan finally loaned me a copy of the book, which I found immensely interesting, if not a little bit harrowing. The edition he has contains several other stories, some about Thompson's relationship to Oscar Acosta, which puts the book into a greater historical context.
The book's subtitle, "A Savage Journey in the Heart of the American Dream" really snapped into focus for me the fact that the Las Vegas that Thompson and Acosta terrorized is not the same one that exists today, despite all the sleazy "What happens in Vegas stays in Vegas" advertisements. The city they went to profane was an alcohol-soaked adult playground built on corruption; it was a place the likes of which we don't see in this country any more. The paranoia that they develop over the course of the book due to their massive drug intake forces Thompson's alter-ego Raoul Duke to reflect, among other things, on what it is that people want to get out of vacationing in Vegas, that desire to be bad, to not need control, to lose "the pain of being a man." They are fulfilling that same idea, merely taking it to a furious but logical extreme.
It is interesting that Thompson wrote such an epitaph to the 60s, although it makes perfect sense. There is a point in the book where the fun stops and the drugs start taking over, and the binge takes on a life of its own, and Thompson's use of that experience to reflect the demise of a naïve but seductive philosophy and the onset of reality has great resonance. As he assesses it, the 60s were about uppers, the 70s were the domain of the downers. There were as many people at Altamont as there were at Woodstock.
Reading the book also gave me a fresher appreciation of the film. I think that Gilliam's aesthetic reflects a sort of horrified reaction at what mainstream Western culture views as desirable, which is a perfect match for Thompson; both are also iconoclastic Americans who embrace chaos as a storytelling tool.
"You better think of something fast, because, if he turns me into a mummy you're the first one I'm coming after."
So Rob Cohen is making a new Mummy movie, and Maria Bello is replacing Rachel Weisz as Evy, and this is coming out on August First. Not that I'm really all that jazzed about The Mummy: Tomb of the Dragon Emperor, but since Cohen is making it that means the score will be by Randy Edelman. I'm not a particularly big fan, but his music has never bothered me much either... and what I'm thinking is that I might have a chance to make a Mummy trilogy mix. I'm sure if nothing else that I'll be able to find enough interesting material in Edelman's score to bridge the Jerry Goldsmith and Alan Silvestri music for the first two films. Hopefully, however, Edelman will produce a score with something as good as his main theme from The Mask. I already have an idea as to how to open and close it...