Seriously, I needed something to fill the gap between my semi- regular Tuesday horoscopes and Sex Blog Thursday so here are a few things I recommended from the pop cultural landscape.
Movies. What qualifies me to recommended movies to you? Well I work in the glamorous fast paced world of movie rentals. duh! And one of the things that makes my life so much better than yours is that I get to rent movies a week before the rest of the world does. So unless you've done something extreme, like seen it in a theater, I may give you a heads up on what to look for and what to avoid. Thats assuming I don't have any late fees because when you work there you can't owe anything at all or they won't let you rent. And pre-streets (thats what they are called in the biz) are only one day rentals so its easy to get late fees. Don't look for any prestreet recommendations today though...I have late fees. And besides..nothing B movie crap comes out next week anyway.
A. Pans Labyrinth.
OK, in all seriousness this in one of the best movies to come out for rental in a while. Visually it is outstanding which means it stands out from the pack. (sorry..is the snobby know it all voice outwearing its welcome?I'll tone it down.) It is a Spanish movie set in fascist Spain in which a young girl and her mom go to live in the country with the mom's new husband, a sadistic ultraviolet general who is trying to crush the guerrilla resistance in the surrounding woods. The movie is a fairy tale really, more Brothers Grim than Mother Goose. The girl soon discovers a bizarre magicical world hidden just beneath the hopeless reality of her own. A horned Pan-esque creature called a Fawn sends her on three character testing missions as things continue to get worse at home. Thats all I'm giving away from the plot, but I will give you a couple of heads up, because that's just what I do.
First, this is not a fairy tale to show your kids. It is brutally violent in places and the scary monsters will give them nightmares. There was one scene in particular where I had to look away from the screen and every time I glanced back what I couldn't watch was still happening. The violence isn't glamorized but it is frightening...
Second, the movie is in subtitles. That fact alone has turned so many people away from seeing it which is sad. You wouldn't believe some of the ways American movie watchers react to the shocking news that movies are made in other languages. Its become standard practice this last week to warn people about the subtitles after mass angry calls and returns.
One woman I warned got into an angry racist discussion with a lady next to her in line. "Why do they have to go ruin good movies like that?" she asked dumbstruck. Apparently we had shattered her illusion that the rest of the world is either too poor and/or stupid to make thier own movies. And how dare they inflict their language on us. We are Americans dammit. Both ladies agreed that the last thing you wanted to do was listen to Spanish of all languages. Not on purpose. The fact that the womans husband is Cuban had little affect on her view of the Spanish language. It always surprises me that people can be so willing to give such rude and racist opinions to strangers, confident that everybody will agree. It seems that around here (Oregon, I can't say for other places) Mexicans are a group that it is becoming frighteningly popular to talk bad about . Another woman,(who was Russian) after I informed her of the whole subtitle businessjust kept repeating over and over like a mantra "Thats Stupid. ugh. Thats stupid. Thats so stupid." And to answer the number one most asked question of the week...no we don't have any copies just in English. Yes, all the copies on the shelf are in Spanish and its not gonna do you any good to go to Blockbuster because it's not just our company with the bad taste to put foreign movies on the shelf. Sorry, that was a rant...but jeez. It can really make you lose respect for people. More so than if they are big renters of Steven Segall, Van Damm or Jessica Simpson.
B. Sherry Baby.If I had to describe this movie in one word it would be ....honest, but I'm going to use a few more words. You know me, a regular Chatty Cathy. It stars Maggie Gylenhal as a woman just released from prison and dealing with trying to start a new life without falling back into the heroin habit. Her brother and his wife have been raising her young daughter, the system seems to work against her and shes got herself a real fucked up relationship with Daddy dearest. This movie could easily gone the cliche route of bringing out the sad music when we are supposed to cry and telling us everyapect of these characters pasts that explains why they are what they are, but it doesn't .You can infer volumes from the way Sherry fights for her dads atttention at a family gettogether.Maggie Gylenhal was robbed of an Oscar nomination which she clearly deserves for so completely bringing this character to living, breathing, damaged life.
Books. Since this has turned into a monster I will only do one book pick today. I was going to do a whole section of how fucking awesome Chuck Pahlonick is complete with all kinds of interesting facts but I want to get to bed and you are probably halfway out the door to the video store. Chuck wrote the book that became the movie "Fight Club" with Brad Pitt and Edward Norton. I like that movie a lot, but it one of the only books by him i haven't gotten around to reading yet. But I have read "Choke" and so should you.
Trying to summarize one of his novels is like teaching Spanish from a Taco Bell menu. It won't do it justice and won't really tell you anything about the real story. OK fine..the main character is a sex addict who works in a cheesy Colonial Village with his loser friend who is always being locked in the stockade. He gets extra money by pretending to choke in restaurants, which gives someone else a chance to "save his life" which somehow ends up with them writing him periodic checks. Oh, and his mother was a crazy extreme activist who did things like switch the labels on colors of hair dye in the store or release the animals at the zoo. Go read it. At the very least it will make you that much hipper.
"When the Sun Goes Down" by the Arctic Monkeys "
Nasty Naughty Boy" by Christina Augularia
Crooked Teeth" by Death Cab for Cutie
"Apology Song" by the Decemberists
"Jolene" the Dolly Parton and the White Stripes version
"Needle in the Hay" by Elliot Smith
Angie Baby" by Helen Reddy
"Trailer Trash" by Modest Mouse
"Papa Don't Know (What Mama's Gonna Do Tonight)" by the New Pornographers...and since thats a remake get another one of their sons..try "Ballad of a Comeback Kid"
"Kissing the Lipless" by the Shins
"Superstar" the Carpenters and Sonic Youth version. compare the versions and also listen to the words and see if it's what you always thought it was about. Did you think it was about a crazy stalker who lets a rock star fuck her while he's playing in her town then tells her "Maybe I'll be back again someday" and she obsesses like a psycho over him. hey..thats just my take on it. Maybe you hear a love song.
"If you want to sing out sing out" by Cat Stevens from the "Harold and Maude" soundtrack.
At the very least you will have a very interesting playlist while you respond to my blog with some top recommendations of your own.
Tv. If you haven't been watching the most recent "The Real World" you don't know what you've been missing! Psych. I haven't spent much time with those brats or liked any of them since Real World Hawaii...*I miss Ruthie. She was unfairly painted as an out of control alcoholic and forced to go to rehab but now you can't get an audition unless you show up drunk and ready to fuck. You have a lot of recommendations from me already. Watch your season finales and I'll help you find some awesome shows on DVD this summer. Fine, you don't have to twist my arm. Your assignment is to watch at least the first two seasons of "Buffy the Vampire Slayer" and write an essay discussing Angel going scary evil as a metaphor for a guy suddenly turning into a different person the morning after a girl sleeps with him.
What are you waiting for. Didn't you ask for my advice on what you should fill your head with? You didn't? Oh...well I'm still asking yours. What are some of your favorites this week? I hate to tag people because who knows what will happen to my fragile ego when my call to action is ignored...but you have my permission to tag yourself. Or fuck yourself for all I care.(I care. if you want to write about your favorite ways to do that I'm all ears.)