Tag Archives: movie

The **Non-Spoiler** Blog About [that one movie]

22 Dec

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In an effort not to be assholes, (or get shanked by pain-of-death warning alerts put into human form), this week’s vaguebooking on [certain movie] on the Facebooks, has taken a whole new turn in self-denial social media. It’s like parental blocking, only for nerds, and proves that it is actually possible to go through life as oblivious as one wants to, and yet still somehow actively participate.

…I’d say we’ve come a long way from the whole tester “Game of Thrones” spoiler debacle. I don’t even watch that damn show and even I knew what happened with whats-his-face and her in that one scene.

…Which is good. I mean, IF you’re gonna fuck something like that up, best NOT to be the “Holy Grail” from childhood.

…Because, even if you don’t consider yourself a giant [certain movie] fan…it still packs a punch in your gut, if for nothing else than that this was a formative moment in our youth…in two generations (and now three) of it.

…Even if you hated [three certain movies], and loved, or were indifferent to the others, they were still very much there…in the landscape of your adolescent consciousness.

…And even if [character name] wasn’t your first crush, or a poster of [character name] didn’t hang on your wall, or you didn’t have the entire [place] in Leggo form, a [prop] in identical replication on your bookcase, the entire [collection] in hardbound, or [character name] wasn’t responsible for your first [uncontrollable anatomical purge]…every morning…for four years…you STILL were landblasted by the commercials, trailers, toys, and general everywhereness of media about it.

So, let’s be real: it does matter to you.

…[certain movie] is a sort of time capsule, in a way. Its theme song is as powerful as that breakup song you bawled through on 24 hour loop repeat, in nineth grade. Its characters are like looking back at yearbooks from High School. The signature [stuff], the constancy of [other thing]…it all comes wooshing back the absolute second the lights go out and [that one guy’s] trumpet blare blow begins the [sound] and the [feeling] of the thing until it sorta makes you wanna bawl like a three year old child.

…Which is why, if you haven’t, you should “GET YOUR DAMN ASS TO THE THEATRE AND SEE IT ALREADY! SOME OF US GOT SHIT TO TALK ABOUT, AND YOU’RE KILLIN’ OUR OBSESSIVE BOOK-ON-FB-POST-JOY!”

…Yes, I’m talking to you: [that one guy]!

~D

I Have To Go Be 16 Now…

30 May

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Regardless of the post-rehearsal double Long Island making me want to curl up into a ball under the covers and produce a lot of “Z’s”…I am here serving my devotion to you by my nightly blog.

…Because a promise is a promise.

…But a book is also a book and I have three new ones to take in, right now, courtesy of Dame Builder, who I’m playing teenage swappies with.  I loaned her the film, she loaned me the books, and together (though separately), we are feeding one another’s teenage angst and bubble-gum yearnings in the “Beautiful Creatures” department.

I want to be completely honest and say, “I really just wanna go get buried in one right now, no offence to all the yous.”

Had a full day, rehearsal was successful in being rehearsal-like, and we post-funk as a cast, like professionals. 

No big surprise there.

…So now it’s off to face-washings and some ridiculous southern-gothic sci-fi.

Huzzah!

(Also, it’s almost Friday. Another “Huzzah!”)

Now: onto virtual cupcakes of happy “Yay!”

~D

…And In Sweden, They Do It With Fire On Their Head!

17 Dec

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St. Lucia.

…An Italian Saint with about 1100 notations of conception and trials of faith, but I can’t for the life of me figure out which is the right one, or why a bunch of Nordic peoples, chose her, specifically, to celebrate.  Her day falls within the Yule, however, so its very possibly a turn of convenience, and great excuse for a party. And since she’s attributed for feeding the hungry…a feast is held, simultaneously.

…Being roughly a quarter Swedish, I always knew “about” the shindig, but had never taken actual part in it, until Marty showed up in all her blond-haired, blue-eyed, candle-burning, best.

She was always St. Lucia, while growing up, ceding the crown now to her carbon-copy niece. 

…And the honor of BEING St. Lucia comes with the ability to make special spiced and raisin-dimpled Lucia buns, and coffee, at the crack of dawn for the Mom and Pop of the house, bringing it to them, while wearing a white dress with red ribbon belt, and sporting a crown of melting candles in a wreath on your head.

…And sometimes this whole deal is repeated again later, when all the older relations come over for the feast…

…So you have to be careful not to set fire to yourself, not just once per year, but multiple times.  Apparently, it’s the elder’s jobs to sob over you, while watching you wander around singing songs at them, bending over with a tray of goods to offer, while praying to all that is holy that the hot wax dripping and drying on your hair, won’t actually ignite.

…It almost never does (just for the record.)  But I’m still not totally clear on the kind of percentage that “almost never” constitutes.

What I do know is that a LOT of food is involved…and a LOT of that food is made up of meat, spices, potatoes, creams, breads and butter. So I mean, it was immediately obvious to me, that this was going to be an awesome thing.

…Then too, there is the liquor.

…Liquor that took us three stores to find and collect. Because this magical mix called Glogg, the St. Lucia drink of choice, is made from not just one, not just two, but THREE kinds of alcohol, simmered in a pan with a bunch of spices, raisins, and almonds thrown it…then lit on fire with the help of Aquavit, and finally sieved and drunk.

…Which is a magical experience that can seriously fuck you up by evening’s end…especially if you “Skol” a shot of Aquavit with every new party arrival before hand…which was apparently Marty’s Pop’s job, every St. Lucia Day.

Being “traditionalist” is every sense of the word, we felt obliged to take up that banner, and roll with it as well.

Family peoples came.

We “Skol’d” ’em.

They “Skol’d” us.

…We watched (and helped as needed) whilst Marty, flushed a deep red, resided over Johnson’s potatoes and lace cookies and Lucia bread and spritzes and Swedish Meatballs…and then everyone ate, and drank, and laughed for like the next forever-hours, until it was time for Marty to go home.

Our guts, rumbled from so muchness in foods and drinks, that we switched then to waters…and the party distilled even further, leaving Ma n’ Me n’ Uncle Big Guy, swappin’ stories and poking our bellys to help in the digestion.

…This was all (btw) after a five-hour emo rehearsal, directly following an until four in the morning party-fest sleep-over, which directly followed an almost three-hour screening of the Hobbit with some very excited individuals, which directly followed a full work week.

…Which is why I spent all yesterday having an affair with a long-running TV series, while wearing my pajamas.

I ain’t no fool.

~D

Mr. President

13 Dec

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Having the night off from rehearsal, I thought I’d go n’ visit our little Arthouse, The Grand, and geek out on some study time.  Just me, n’ a couple of my teachers…namely Daniel Day-Lewis, Stephen Spielberg, Sally Field, Hal Holbrook, and Tommy Lee Jones.

…I picked well.

“Lincoln.”

…The screenplay: far less epic in content, the costumes and sets: less opulent than Hollywood has always previously shown us to expect of the period, the battle scenes: awkward, and chaotic…equally that in the House, with its members in full head-on debate, and quiet scene after quiet scene of a man whose face you could never mistake for anyone else’s: hair in an unruly coif, sunken cheeks amidst angular bone structure, with deep-set, hooded eyes wearing the weariness of War, and fast-approaching end of his first term of Presidency.

It took me a bit to understand exactly where they were going with all this.

…Not the “story line,” mind you, but the way in which they were telling it.  And why. 

…The point being: we already know the history, what was fought and won on the battle field, and in the House. But suppose we put all those high stakes and risks, and political choices into a different perspective, by remembering for a moment, that this person who made it all happen was not “Abraham Lincoln” as we know him to be. 

…Suppose we follow him into his bedroom, overhearing his interpretation of the days events while his stockinged feet are propped up on a sofa leg, with his wife’s discarded evening dress hanging before him.  Suppose we watch this giant of a man (in form and in legend), shuffle in slippers, to his son’s playroom, work his way to lay on the floor beside him, just to get on his level to look in the small face and give it a kiss.  Watch him give piggyback rides, like every dad does…share inside jokes and bitter fights with his wife, tell epic stories in inappropriate moments to his employees…sport a funny high-reed of a voice, that rasps after often great lengths in oratory…and see how he seems to have one speed at which he walks, talks, thinks and decides things…which is conservatively specific and frustratingly, painstakingly, slow.

…Think of him not in the “Sit Room,” discussing War and political strategy, but in the cellar of his kitchen — sinks full of dirty dishes and counters full of used wine glasses and platters–trying to coerce an ali, while a gala party goes on without him upstairs.  Think of him not addressing crowd after crowd giving any number of the speeches we all know by heart, but keeping company with a few soldiers on a battle field, or on a front porch with his general and friend, Ulysses S. Grant, puffing on a cigar beside him. Think of the privacy of a Parent’s grief at the loss of their son and how they share in deaths of everyone else’s son’s by extension.

…Think of him, just as a man.

Because: he was.

Albeit a remarkable one…but we already know that.

I think the point of this “study” on film, is not so much to look at the legend he was to become because of who he was…but to see that BEING who he was, MADE him into this remarkable legend.

And it wasn’t easy. It wasn’t obvious choices and fire-fueled debates and banners of glory, backed by a thankful Nation. He was actively hated by half the country, blamed for the War that slaughtered millions, turning brother against brother…had a split House, was trying to pass a radical new Amendment into law, just prior to beginning his second term in office, while dealing with an emotionally unstable wife, a son wanting to enlist, his Party threatening to turn their backs on him, his own Cabinet split in their support of his next plans of attack, a Southern delegation for peace on it way, which could entirely screw up his Emancipation Proclamation, and the knowledge that timing is everything…and what must be done, must be done NOW or NEVER.

…So, no pressure or anything.

What I loved about this whole approach was the constant, specific, reminder that our greatest moments in History are not the sure-fire wins we know in retrospect, them to be. What makes perfect sense and could never possibly happen in any other way (in hind sight), absolutely could have been crushed coming ’round any of the 45 corners along the epically painful obstacle course set out in real-time when History was busy being “current” and in-the-actual-making.

…They had no real way of knowing “how” or “when” or “why” or “if.” They had no idea the repercussions or what would branch and build out from them. They were our “Forefathers,” sure…but they were just men. Sometimes one or two, sometimes by the room full. We know their names from class text books and for what they’ve put their names to. We know them by their resumes. But this film was a chance to get a peek at this entirely different aspect of their lives and battles and weaknesses and private strengths.

…Then to sit there time after time and be gobsmacked by the turning of Party lines as a House of Republicans fight to put equality to law, Democrats fighting tooth and nail to oppose them, directly after an election 147 years later, where the same damn fight just took place in my own state backed by opposite parties, in a freak 180 degree turn of total irony.

It’s sorta mind-blowing in a million quiet, specific, painful ways.

…Ultimately, of course, the guy was eloquent, and brave, and hopeful, and trusting, and wholly without thoughts of spite or revenge: our “Mr. President.” Perhaps more than we deserved, but sometimes faith in people sorta forces them to rise to the occasion. Or, better put, a good example put before us, inspires us to greatness, respect and humaneness.

M’favorite part of the entire film, in fact, was one quiet moment in an empty telegraph room, save for a young engineer, the telegraph boy, and the President.

…He has to send a cable in response to Grant’s notification. There are Confederate delegates ready to meet in a peace talk that could now end the war. Meanwhile, up on the hill, lobbyists are fighting tooth and nail to secure the votes he needs to pass the 13th Amendment into law. If he ends the War before the vote: he could lose them altogether, and thus this certain perfect window of time to abolish slavery. If he doesn’t end the War, he might lose the vote anyway, and have the blood of how many more sons and brothers and fathers, killed in that time, on his hands? He has a choice to make, and has given it, but hesitates when the telegraph boy asks him if he authorises transmit.

…He sits there for a long while, just thinking…running everything through his mind. Eventually he turns to the young Engineer and begins to relate to him, “Euclid’s Theory.”

…No clip on YouTube or snippit of script I could find, leaves his spur of the moment History lesson on mathematics in tact as the movie has done. So go: pay the bucks…sit in the seat…watch the work of this man, and get to that scene….where I think Tony Kushner (Pulitzer winning author of “Angels in America”) has his finest, quiet moment in the script.

Just a man and two boys, (and whole Nation) waiting for an answer to one simple question. And keeping to character, the man (as we now know him), chooses that moment to launch on into a (seemingly) totally inappropriately timed story.

…It comes, partway in, at:

“…Euclid’s first common notion is this: Things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other. That’s a rule of mathematical reasoning and its true because it works – has done and always will do. In his book Euclid says this is self evident. You see, there it is, even in that 2000 year old book of mechanical law it is the self evident truth that things which are equal to the same things are equal to each other…”

Almost 150 years later, and we’re sadly still trying to get that through our damn heads.

…”Math doesn’t lie, so fuckin’ DEAL with it!”
~ Another inaccurate but closely (at least) related quote on the internet, attributed to Abraham Lincoln.

~D

Miserable Joy

21 Sep

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By now, prob’ly EVERYONE has seen this sneak-peek trailer of Les Mis…but in case you’re the one guy who hasn’t: here it is.

Now lets talk for a second about the main reason this brings me so much joy. (And beware…cuz I’m gonna get super passionate about it.)

…It isn’t so much the cast (though I am so happy right now about the choices made, that I could throw a party and pop champagne corks all over the place.)

…It isn’t the fact they have a 70 piece orchestra that will totally go to town until my ears bleed (though you’d think it would be.)

…It isn’t even the intense attention to details in costume and general hardship-grime-ickiness (though, it is a major contender.)

Why it wins the Miserable Joy Award today, is because Cameron Mackintosh (unarguably, this generation’s King of West End Musical Theatre Production), has reconfirmed my total trust: that informed acting SHOULD be the key to musical presentation, REGARDLESS of how pretty (or not) it may sound. Acting FIRST, and the rest that follows will be an honest interpretation. As. It. Should. Be.

…If Cameron Mackintosh, is willing to back that and put it on celluloid for all of time, to the extent of allowing his actors to do their work LIVE and in the moment…if HE is willing to say, “pretty ain’t the purpose, people…what you FEEL is”…then I gotta greet that man with a whole slew of virtual high fives and “fuck yeahs!”

Ripping an audience out of an emotional moment in order to deliver note-for-note perfection, should not be how we do things in theatre performance, people. Lets leave “pre-recording” in the studio, where it belongs. Lets leave that to the Opera, where the entire PERFORMANCE is based around the music itself.

…”Musical Theatre” is another animal entirely…and it should be…that’s why it has a different name.

…The importance should be on the characters and their journeys. Sometimes, yes, it is just based on a strawberry-shortcake kind of plot with hearts and roses and not much else. So sure, that’s not gonna be the greatest acting challenge…and the musical intent will pretty much follow suit and take the lead.

…But when you have a guts and glory kind of musical…where people are in WARS, they are HOMELESS, they are STARVING, they’ve been BEATEN, and TERRORIZED…they live in a form of HELL and are AT THE END OF THEIR ROPE…PLEASE don’t stop everything and sing your soliloquy like your million dollar musical training coach has reamed into you, with note-by-note perfection. I wanna FEEL what you are FEELING right now…I don’t give a SHIT if your voice rasps with anger, or cracks from emotion…I don’t CARE if you run out of air and can’t hold the note for the full extended 26 measures. If your sobs make you drool, if you can’t even barely squeak out in SPOKEN WORD, what we already know are specific notes, painstakingly composed by one musical genius or another.

…That is okay by me.

In fact, I PREFER it.

BRING ME WITH YOU ON YOUR JOURNEY. The whole messy, painful, heartsick part of it. And leave those “musical perfections” for another day.

…What Annie Hathaway said in that interview is IT, entirely. As a performer, you should have a responsibility to service the role as it was written…and it is meant to be played. It is a disservice to throw that all out the window for vanity’s sake because it might not be the most beautiful thing to witness…and might not be the best version that you are musically capable of truly achieving. As an actor, you should be willing to make this sacrifice, equal to smearing dirt on your face, shearing your hair off, and losing 20 pounds, in order to achieve it. Or get the hell off the stage.

…If you can’t deal with these necessary details of live performance, get yourself a recording contract, and become the next concert-touring super star. Own it! I will prob’ly even buy your record and love the HELL out of it! Seriously. Because that is art TOO, and I envy and appreciate the HELL out of it. Within it’s own world of existence.

…But if you are in this thing called “theatre”…with all your GUTS, then BE IN IT. Please. Please. Please.

And, “Thank you.”

…Because, believe it or not…there are a LOT of performers out there who actually do this, and do it astonishingly well.

As for the rest, I can only hope they will become utterly infected by this film, and bring a renewed energy into the entire genre of performance, making it a new universal “norm.”

…God, I am just so exited about it all, I could just sob with relief. Really.

Thank you, Mr. Mackintosh.

Again.

…For like the forty-billionth time this decade.

~D

Conversations In A Day

11 Sep

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The Cuz has arrived, and thus begins Vacation Part Two:

(First crack of morning.)

Puff: (On the phone.) Where you at?
Me: (In bed.) Huh?
Puff: I’m here!
Me: Wuh?
Puff: I’ve landed.
Me: (Bolting upright.) OH HOLY SHIT-FUCK!  It was 9:45 A.M.?!?!
Puff: Uh. Yeah.
Me: I AM THE WORST!  I thought it was 9:45 P.M..
Puff: Nope.
Me: I will TOTALLY be there in 20 minutes…I SWEAR!

***

Me: (With a toothbrush in mouth while making bed) Oh God! I screwed it all up!
Ma: (On phone, possibly still sleeping.) Hello?
Me: He’s HERE! He’s here already!
Ma: Who is this…?
Me: —I’m twelve hours behind, and I haven’t even gotten up yet hardly.
Ma: What’s happening?
Me: –I even asked him like yesterday to confirm. 9:45 he said. 9:45. Cuz like an idiot I kept thinking it was night and all.
Ma: Is this a wrong number?
Me: MOM! IT’S ME! PUFF IS HERE! I NEED YOU TO FOCUS FOR A SECOND!
(A gaging, choking sound.)
Me: I almost died just then. Fucking toothbrush…
Ma: Puff is HERE, did you say?
Me: YES! YES!
Ma: Well, GO GET HIM! What are you talking to me for?!
Me: I just freaked out, is all. I’m going! I have to–I’m going…!

***

(In car.)

Me: (via text.) OMG, I am the worst ever!! Let the ridiculous “me” stories begin. I am totally on the road right now, yelling at this old lady driving a boat, going negative ten miles an hour in front of me. My road rage is unparalleled with moroseness for not only making a 12 hour difference fuck up, but also being mean to a woman who already lived through eight wars and is prob’ly using a booster seat just to see over the steering wheel…
Puff: …No stress, I’m having some breakfast.
Me: …So you have stories to share already. Awesome. This will never be boring, Puff.
(Picture of breakfast arrives with a ding.)
Me: Hella. P.S. I need coffee like woa. And I look like I just rolled outta bed. Cuz I totally did. If you wanna pretend you don’t know me, I can hire a hot dude to meet you at the terminal and bring you to me. It won’t hurt my feelings.
Puff: … I’m at the Alaska arrivals area. Sitting on a bench.
Me: Grabbing parking now.
Puff: Where do I need to be?
Me: Wait. What airline?
Puff: A-las-ka. I’m right outside on the lower level…

***

(Still in car, calling on the phone.)

Me: So…I’m in the garage now.
Puff: Do I need to be in the garage?
Me: No, I’ll come to you. Only I’m…I’m looping here…
Puff: Huh?
Me: Looping. I’m looping to get out. Then I need to circle around.
Puff: What are you driving?
Me: A PT Cruiser.
(I take the totally wrong lane and end up in “departures.”)
Me: (Totally lying.) Um. I’m in a holding pattern. Almost there.
Puff: Heheh. “Pattern is full, Ghost Rider…”

***

(After another go-round on the terminal attack, and seeing him on the curb.)

Me: Dude. I’m an asshole, and I’m totally sorry.
Puff: It’s all good, cuz.
Me: Also, you know all those things that you wait to do until the day people come, when you are on vacation and just let shit go?
Puff: (silence.)
Me: …Like cleaning your car, doing dishes, dying your hair, sweeping the house, spraying toxic chemicals all over the bathroom and giving your fish a bath? Yeah. None of that was done. So I guess it’s good you’re family.
Puff: Yeah.
Me: I mean, I still need to get my nails “did” for shits sake.
Puff: I’ll go too! I need a pedi anyway.
Me: See. This is why I love you.

***

(On a short walk to coffee shop.)

Me:…And this is our park. And this is our gas station. And that is where The BFF lives. And this is our homeless man. And that is our Yuppie market…
Puff: –When do I get to meet her?
Me: Who?
Puff: The BFF.
Me: She gets off at five-ish, so maybe Tuesday? I dunno. But it’s happening for sure. You’ll love her. She’s like me. Only not at all. And way more fierce.
Puff: I know. I read your blogs.

***

(In Tacoma Boys.)

Puff: Psst…
Me: (In another world smelling a grape.)
Puff: Psssst. Pssst.
Me: (Wondering which onion is the “good” one.)
Puff: Hey!
Me: Huh?
Puff: (Whispering.) The “ginger.” Two o’clock.
(I look. I wrinkle my nose and shake my head.)
Puff: Not for YOU, for ME. (Idiot.)
Me: Ohhh. Really?
Puff: And he’s here with his gramma. Bonus points.
Me: “The good grandson.”
Puff: ‘Xactly.
Me: A “ginger.”
Puff: Definitely.
Me: Huh.

***

(Gigantic crash at base of stairs.)

Me: Sunofabiscutcruncher!!!!
Puff: (From the kitchen.) Are you dead?
Me: The damn paper bag broke. I just shattered an entire bottle of red.
Puff: (Now from landing.) Where?
(I move aside and show the kinda blood spill that only makes it on C.S.I.)
Puff: Oops. Want help?
Me: No. I’ll just lick it up. Its fine.
(Beat.)
Puff: You’re kidding. Right?
(Beat.)
Me: Sure. Okay. I’ll go get some paper towels. Be right back.

***

Puff: (From sink.) Um…
Me: Are you washing the bananas?
Puff: Wine spill. And you might wanna watch for glass splinters. I got one.
(He shows his finger, which is leaking the identical color of red as the wine bottle did.)
Me: That is exactly the same color as the wine.
Puff: Yeah.
Me: …Maybe we should toss the bananas.

***

The BFF: (On phone.) You called?
Me: Yeah. Come meet Puff and help cook Fajitas.
The BFF: I’m…(I accidentally blank out and have no idea what she says right here. I think I was putting junk away in the crisper.) …and then I will, at around 9:30. Okay?
Me: That’s P.M., right?
The BFF: Yes.
Me: …Just making sure.
The BFF: I’ll buzz you.

***

(While watching “Snow White and the Huntsman,” both basically ignoring it as we are on our computers separately…he to FB, me to blog.)

Puff: She. Never. Closes. Her. Mouth.
Me: My god. It’s all I’ve been thinking

~D

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