Monthly Archives: February 2001

Caught a sneak last night thanks to my friends rescuing me from the dank boredom of an apartment where the major source of lighting is bulbless. It was a good rescue.

The Mexican is not the sappy romantic comedy the trailers lead you to expect. Funny? Oh, yes. Sappy? Nah. Romantic? Sort of. It's the story of Jerry and Sam, two folks who love each other, but "can't seem to get it together." In fact, they spend most of the movie on separate, though connected, adventures. Jerry has to find, keep (that's the hard part), and deliver a legendary gun to his boss. Sam is being held for insurance by a hit-man-cum-relationship counselor, played brilliantly by James Gandolfini.

The script is tight and witty, with surprising and delightful dialog sprinkled with great one-liners. My favorite came from Gandolfini: "I'm just here to regulate funkiness." The satisfying plot is made for folks with a few brain cells to rub together. The direction is clever--it isn't often where just the act of switching to "storytelling" mode brings laughter from an audience. Gore Verbinski brought out flawless timing in his actors. The laughs, and there are plenty, come at all the right moments.

Bottom line? Last year Kel and I saw Gladiator early in the season, and we knew it was an Oscar contender. The Mexican is our first Oscar contender for this year. Kel and I agree that James Gandolfini will be nominated for Best Supporting Actor, and I predict a screenplay nom for J.H. Wyman.

I can't think of anyone to whom I wouldn't recommend this movie. Universally appealing, I expect moderate box-office, critical acclaim, and...oh, just go see it.

Nocturnal Annoyance

Don't you hate those dreams that aren't pleasant, but aren't harrowing enough to be called "nightmare"? Those dreams where you wake up irritated. Well, I was plenty annoyed with Jerwin and Jeffrey this morning. Jerwin was doing this live streaming walkthrough of the new place, but you had to do something funky with your config to view it. So Jeffrey is helping me set up my laptop according to Jerwin's instructions, and boy did it ever get screwed up. I still couldn't use my laptop by the end of the dream.

Hee. I love you guys, even if you did mess up my imaginary laptop.

I'm being sued for something I paid off in 1996. The lawyer asked me if I had the check number. I said: "1996? Oh, I don't think so." He was kind of a moron--which is really strange. I don't think I've ever met a lawyer that sounds like customer service rep for the phone company. Of course, I called the original company and they have all the information for my payoff. What's irritating is I was served on Saturday, and there was no relevant information on the summons, so I had to stew all weekend wondering what the hell was going on. That's pretty nerve-wracking. At least the guy who served me was friendly.

Have you ever known a vampire? No, I'm not talking about the blood-sucking kind. This is the person who seems hollowed-out, unchanging over the years, decaying before your eyes. They have only one dimension. Deep conversation or contradictions must be carefully avoided, because a strange kind of logic rules the vampire mind--it is incomprehensible to living human beings. If crossed they will turn this logic on you, unable to see how wrong or hurtful they are. All the vampire has left is ego, and this must be protected at all costs.

Vampires suck the light out of the room when they enter. The pain you feel in their presence is your soul being siphoned away. They don't mean to do it, but lacking a soul themselves, they must. They are not aware of their status, or that they are hurting everyone they contact.

What makes vampires? Lack of love. Avoidance of pain. Avoidance of any emotion.

So, have you met a vampire? Most people have. I'll go you one better. I've watched a vampire be born. Someone I've loved for years and years--I watched him slowly hollow out until there was nothing left but an animated corpse. It makes me want to cry. I tried to keep loving him, but it just became too difficult. Being with him was an ordeal that made me tired and jumpy. I finally had to say goodbye. Not forever I hope. I wish very much that he'll be able to get help, fall in love, anything that will gain his humanity back for him. I'm sure it will take a few years. I'll miss him until then.

Of course what truly scares me, because I am essentially selfish, is how close I am myself to becoming a vampire. I hope my friends will warn me if I cross over.

Kel and I ordered pizza and Pepsi and sat down in my tiny apt to watch this rental last night. I've never met a John Waters I didn't like.

Cecil is the story of guerilla film-makers operating in Baltimore (of course), who kidnap a major star and force her to act in their film. The film-within-a-film is called Raging Beauty, a radical Death To Mainstream Cinema screed, told with violence and broad declarations. To film it, the crew and stars stage actual terrorist acts against the Hollywood machine and film them. For some reason everybody has a gun.

The outcome of this convoluted plotline is a scream. Melanie Griffith is not my favorite person, but she was pretty darned good in this. She needs to go underground more often, as that's where her best work (as in Something Wild) is done. The director and film crew (including a bearded woman as a producer) are suitably commited to extreme acts. Each of them has the name of a director tattooed on a body-part, and the entire crew is under enforced "celibacy for cinema" until the production is wrapped. They're willing to die for their art--and many of them do. The film contains some hilarious bits, including the repeated rescue of the crew by sympathetic movie-goers, and the multi-drug addiction of Lyle, played by Adrian Grenier.

If you're a Waters fan at all, definitely pick up this film. If you are at all a film snob, pick up this film. If you like the unusual, pick up this film. If you don't fit any of those categories, watch it anyway, but consider yourself forewarned.