Joshua Gizelt (swashbuckler332) wrote,
Joshua Gizelt

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I skinned my knee yesterday...

...and I have already picked out a peg leg in case they have to chop it. All I need is a parrot (I think I'll keep both my eyes, thank you very much).

In 1974 (the year you were born)

Gerald Ford becomes president of the US

Hank Aaron hits his 715th home run to beat Babe Ruth's record

Impeachment hearings are opened against President Nixon by the House Judiciary Committee

President Nixon resigns

President Gerald Ford issues an unconditional pardon to ex-President Nixon for all federal crimes

Muhammad Ali knocks out George Foreman in the eighth round to regain the heavyweight crown in Zaire

Heiress Patty Hearst is kidnapped by and eventually joins the Symbionese Liberation Army

Dungeons & Dragons officially released

People magazine is published for the first time

Kate Moss, Alyson Hannigan, Penelope Cruz, Alanis Morissette, Leonardo DiCaprio, and Ryan Seacrest are born

Oakland Athletics win the World Series

Miami Dolphins win Superbowl VIII

Philadelphia Flyers win the Stanley Cup

Blazing Saddles is the top grossing film

All the President's Men by Bernstein and Woodward is published

"Killing Me Softly With His Song" wins Grammy for song of the year

What Happened the Year You Were Born?

More cool things for your blog at

What's not listed here:

Mel Brooks also released Young Frankenstein this year, Roman Polanski's Chinatown shocked the world, Robert Altman's brilliant California Split (still not out on DVD!) was roundly ignored, John Carpenter's career got kickstarted with Dark Star, Alan J. Pakula's The Parallax View redefined conspiracy cinema, audiences were scared shitless by Tobe Hooper's The Texas Chainsaw Massacre and Francis Ford Coppola made not one, but two bonafide classics, The Conversation and The Godfather, Part II.

Not to mention 2069: A Sex Odyssey, Big, Bad Mama, Emanuelle, The Four Musketeers, Herbie Rides Again, I Dismember Mama, I Spit On Your Corpse and a movie called Hitler Superstar. Steven Spielberg also made The Sugarland Express (his first theatrical release, Duel was a television production), thus setting him loose on the world...

Movies I've Watched

Cold Mountain

I was left cold by Anthony Minghella's visually and aurally stunning The English Patient, but enjoyed his spritely The Talented Mr. Ripley. Cold Mountain is pitched somewhere between the two, a little too formal to be as much fun as Ripley, but much more stately. The period depiction is spot-on, and Walter Murch's montage and sound design is extremely involving.

Jude Law is fantastic as Confederate deserter Inman, and Nicole Kidman is ethereal as his love interest. Even Renée Zellweger, whose screen presence I normally can't stand, acquits herself rather well in this film. Kudos to everybody involved for their accents as well.

An all-star cast includes Brendan Gleeson, Philip Seymour Hoffman, Natalie Portman, Giovanni Ribisi, Donald Sutherland, Ray Winstone, Kathy Baker, James Gammon, Ethan Suplee, Jena Malone, Melora Walters, James Rebhorn - hang on a second, I have to catch my breath. Most of these actors play people that Inman meets on his long journey, which gives them a chance to shine despite short screen time.

The film sports some gorgeous cinematography by John Seale (it's shot in Super 35, but the compositions give it a real anamorphic feel) and another sublime score by Gabriel Yared, and it does its best to live up to what it looks and sounds like. Unfortunately, I found that the ending fell rather flat. In many ways, it was sort of a knee-jerk ending.

The battle scene that opens the film is outstanding, and is worth the price of the rental. The DVD features an outstanding widescreen transfer and a thunderous DTS track.

Party Monster

Several of my friends have been after me to see this film so that they could get my opinion on it, including Suit.

Okay, this is one of those movies that I have to admit that I respect, but I didn't really like watching all that much. The performances, centering around two great turns by Macauley Culkin (he can act!) and Seth Green, are all wonderful, but unfortunately part of the Club Kids movement was its pro-arte element, and I found it very difficult to engage with the characters.

The costumes (many of which were provided by original Club Kids) are dazzling, but like the movement itself, it is all glitz and no substance... except those substances which can be abused.

In the end, the film does what every drug movie must, which is fine, don't get me wrong, but I never managed to get myself to care much.


David Mamet's obsession with the über-macho reaches a kind of apothesis with this dull piece of intrigue. Val Kilmer is great as a man who operates outside the system, but unfortunately there is little to connect him to the audience. Because of the stoicism of the character (the titular "Spartan") one can never get too close to him, so when he doggedly pursues a kidnapped girl, one gets the feeling that he is going through the motions for the sake of the film, rather than any personal investment.

Mamet's normally crackling dialogue falls flat here. These are characters of few words, and so while this mystery could have been engaging, it never really takes off. Juan Ruiz Anchía's widescreen cinematography is in genuine anamorphic Panavision, but the imagery stays rather dry and monochrome. Mark Isham's score doesn't have anything but the story to hang itself on, and so really has nowhere to go.

Six-String Samurai

This movie rocked.


After the Russians dropped the bomb in 1957, the last remaining free city is Lost Vegas, where Elvis was king. Unfortunately, now Elvis is dead, and Vegas needs a new king. Six-String Samurai follows the adventures of Buddy Holly as he travels to Vegas to claim the throne with his katana and six-string guitar, pursued closely by Death himself.

Writers Lance Mungia and Jeffrey Falcon (the former directed and the latter starred) touch on many aspects of the American landscape. This film doesn't so much as combine the samurai (and by extension, Western) and post-apocalypse genres, rock mythology and The Wizard of Oz as it sort of smushes it all together. The result is a rip-roaringly entertaining yarn, with great action.

Brian Tyler's score is great. I was worried because while both Children of Dune and Bubba Ho-Tep are great and appropriate scores (Timeline was buried in the sound mix), they share a main theme (though what a main theme it is), and I was afraid that, like James Horner, Tyler may have been a one trick pony. I can say happily that Six-String Samurai sounds different enough from those two works as so to lay at least some of my fears to rest. The music track also features some great tunes by The Red Elvises.

Unfortunately, although the DVD features a great Dolby Digital 5.1 audio track, the image is not anamorphic. Hopefully, there may be a special edition on the horizon at some point that will take care of that, and possibly have some more information about the creative process that went into making this movie.

* * *

My grandfather has noted that there is no news other than Martha Stewart's sentencing, which has forced him to consider what is really going on right about now that the American news media is concentrating on such a fluff story.

He's right. Something's going down and we're not hearing about it.

While the whole gay marriage amendment bullshit was struck down, I am nervous that this could become an issue in local elections. We'll see.

It's really interesting, but I have found that this division between the left and the right, the blue and the red, has become all-encompassing. I have found, interestingly enough, that I am not the only person who is avoiding this topic from time to time to avoid dealing with the fact that there are many (uninformed) people out there who actually think that they are doing some good voting for Bush this November. Those of us that have chosen a side will have no truck with the other, it seems, so it is perhaps best to keep it beneath the surface for now.

For my part, I see no reason why anybody who makes less than a few million a year would vote for a Republican, as they continually rely upon supply-side economics, which has been proven time and again not to work. Furthermore, the promise of "small government" is always shown to be a lie. Government balloons to gargantuan porportions under a Republican regime.

The fact is that the Republicans rely upon emotional arguments to get votes, and they also push the religion button. This is what gets poor, uninformed people to vote for them. Furthermore, current events are being spun in the American news media in ways that I've never thought possible before. Most people don't get their news from news sources anymore, anyway. They listen to talk shows, and think they are informed. They aren't.

This particular administration, however, is taking things to an Orwellian extreme, something which I find repugnant. We are being told that our rights are being trodden upon for our own good. Bullshit. Our freedoms are being sold to the highest bidder, and our military is being sacrificed for corporate profits.

Therefore, my line in the sand is drawn, and there it is. This shit has got to stop.

If you're for Bush, you're against America.

This is a pithy reminder of things we need to keep with us on the way to the polls...

Well, I'm off... going to see Spider-Man 2 again tonight.
Tags: cinema, memes, reviews

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