Sing into my mouth.

In the course of my travels through the landscape of the internet the other day I came across this:

The only lovers left alive.

At first I was actually stunned by how pretty and serene the moving image was. I thought to myself, “That is really quite pretty,” which is somewhat uncharacteristic of me.

Later, I looked at it again and it terrified me somewhat. It look on an ethereal quality, something more haunting. It was no longer just two people, frozen in a moment of happy contentment. Suddenly it looked almost… ghostly, you know? It got me thinking about the web of time, the way memories are sliced separate from reality. Some moments are really quite lovely, if only they could be frozen in place,  allowed to continue on forever, unaware of the progress or decline that comes as the world continues spinning past them. How wonderful it would be if you could preserve them like this, but wouldn’t that deprive them of their meaning, leaving them stripped of their context and ultimately hollow?

Oh well. Just thinking. Every love story eventually becomes a ghost story, and every happy home eventually becomes a haunted house.


13 bak’tun.

Tomorrow is the first day of the end of your life.

from here.

Tomorrow is the end of the world as we know it.

Only, you know, it’s not.

I have somewhat of a New Age streak to me, but a lot of this 13 bak’tun, Nibiru, and “galactic synchronization beam” shit, the works of Terrence McKenna, and any of the panicked reports on the Long Calendar you hear about on the internet is just silly. Interesting, but silly. It’s fun, when it’s tongue in cheek, but still silly. It’s your average modern confusion. It’s fun to joke about, to make funny macros of, but it’s as important to our lives as cat memes.

Cat memes like Colonel Meow:

I want Colonel Meow to replace Xenu in the hierarchy of cosmic nogoodniks.

Today a girl I know came into my job. I like her because she’s a bit silly and we can talk about goofy science things sometimes, but I’ve been growing increasingly worried because she’s deadly serious about being terrified about 12/21. She’s been telling me for weeks how she’s been meditating continuously, trying to affect global consciousness shifts for the better. She’s memorizing maps of ley lines and trying to save up good karma to release into the atmosphere. She told me that she’s bought plenty of cat food and is taking tomorrow off of work and that she plans to spend the whole day meditating.

I hear meditation and I keep thinking masturbation.

Could I meditate for a whole day? Well, the manly bragging side of me says sure, that I could certainly give it a try, but honestly, I think I’d run out of material after a while. After a while it’d be just vapors…


Its all about me-ow.

I like the think of the world in terms of chess, or more appropriately, abstract chess metaphors. It’s all about analysis, experience, knowledge, imagination, and movement. Progressions. There is a board, a set pattern, but also, there’s a field that stretches out. The moves we make exist before we make them and they continue to exist after they have occurred. The game has ended before it’s even started, and by the time you’ve played it out and finished the game, another one has already started.

The wave harmonics of history, fuck yeah!

That sounds like a endorsement of reincarnation of some kind of psuedo-Buddhist notions. I have none such. To me, metaphysics and God are exactly the same: I am curious about them, but I do not believe in them. Except for the “mysterious ways” in which they work that can all be boiled down to simply physics and scientific understandings of the world.

I’m obsessed with time. Just the same as you, just the same as anyone. People still wear watches. The time readout is a huge part of most cell phone dashboards. We look at calendars, we read our morning horoscopes in the newspapers, and we make plans (and we make God laugh). We can both travel in time and change the past when we use our memories.

The end is the beginning, and vice versa.

To borrow from The Invisibles: Time is the soil in which we grow.

Get comfortable in your Fiction suits.

I believe that everything is possible. Or, everything is permitted (and nothing is possible), as Hassan-i Sabbah said, but all is determined under one strict criteria: Perspective.

Creation is the same as destruction, and one follows the other, and always has, at least if you look at it in the right light. Anything can happen (and similarly, can not happen), but it all depends on your scope. The sky is the limit, but only if you let it be.

The end of the world makes for good TV. It makes a bad joke a more often told joke. It probably translates into pageviews right before Christmastime. It turns small minds into bemused minds into fearful minds, and stupidity abounds.

Sing it, Randy.

Prophecies are a cool idea, the same as foreshadowing in stories, but they only come true when they’re made to come true. There is no difference between fate and free will. I’ve said it before and I’ll say it again, whether we’re talking about the end of the world, the perception of the web of time around us, or even the end of this very blog: Mektoub.

It’s fascinating to look back at ancient cultures and see how they perceived time, how they built up Gods and Demons and explained the world to themselves in stories. I find all of that history of yesteryear interesting, but I’m not afraid of it. I’m more terrified of where the cultures of today go next. Times are hard, paychecks don’t last as long, and we really need to start worrying about where our next LOL will come from.

We should look forward to the moments in which we outgrow our fairy tales, but never forget how important they were to us, especially since they lead us to this…

Probably not.

Whatever this is.

Oh well. Tomorrow is another day.

I’m quite curious about the end of the world, and how things get dismantled over time. I think about that kind of thing especially as this blog draws to a close, as the song slowly fades to its inevitable conclusion, and we put the chairs up and flip off the lights before we go. Let’s leave it with the sage wisdom of the distant past: Every new beginning comes from some other beginning’s end…

Robin Masters.

A few things:

1. Today at work I endured a conversation with a random stranger about the seminal television program MacGyver. I love MacGyver, but I wouldn’t go back and watch it now if I could. In my memories it’s still great, and I don’t want those memories to be ruined, shattered, broken, rendered meaningless.

This random stranger really enjoyed MacGyver too, but not as much as I do, or did. Her devotion is not as strong as mine, nor her love as pure. Also, she kept saying “Magnum” when she meant “MacGyver.”

2. After she left, my co-worker and I made fun of her in a very subtle way. We started talking about Magnum, P. I. but we kept saying “Matlock.”

3. RIP Andy Griffith.

4. Remember the episode of Magnum, P.I. where he had to tread water in the ocean for, like, forever? Or, at least for near 45 minutes.

Yeah, it was good. At least… that’s how I remember it.

5. Remember the one where he died and was in a coma, more accurately, and was all astral and ghost-like and was floating around and hanging out people and solving a mystery but no one could see him or hear him?

You think I’m joking but that was totally real.

6. Unrelated… This is a picture of a dog and a bunch of tacos:

7. I can’t testify to full and clear total recall of the episodes, but I am positive that I have seen 100% of MacGyver the TV show (and TV movies after the show ended) in my life. I would wager that I have watched 87% of Murder, She Wrote the TV show (and TV movies after the show ended) in my life (some of it, or rather, a lot of it in the past year alone). I have probably watched something like 69% of Magnum, P.I. in my life, including the one where that show and Murder, She Wrote crossed over with each other, which I remember happening but don’t fully remember the details of, much to my chagrin.We’re not even going to waste our time talking about the time that Magnum, P.I. crossed over with Simon & Simon. We’re just not.

If I’m being honest with myself, I’ve probably only seen like 34% of Matlock the TV show in my life.

8. Did you ever watch The Rockford Files? It was good. I like James Garner. He’s one of the older actors that I tend to just like in whatever he’s doing.

He played Phillip Marlowe once. You should watch it. It was a silly movie, but highly underrated. Also, it had a really goofy but not terrible Bruce Lee bit part (and a famous scene) in it.

9. I don’t think that Tom Selleck would’ve made that great of an Indiana Jones.

Or, at least, you can only imagine his Indiana Jones as something so incredibly different from the one we all know and love that it is almost incomprehensible.

10. When I was a kid, my father had a great big mustache and wore a lot of Hawaiian shirts and baseball caps and short shorts.

He made faces like these a lot:

So, clearly, the fictional character of Thomas Magnum was my father’s style icon, right?

That seems weird now but maybe it wasn’t so weird back then. How the fuck should I know.

11. No joke: The Magnum, P.I. theme song has been my ringtone for over a year now. It’s the ringtone for calls from numbers that aren’t already in my address book. It was weird to me, considering that, when I spontaneously found myself in this conversation today at work.

12. Maybe it’s not all that weird.

13. Maybe it was fate?

14. Probably not.

15. T.C. was cool but Rick just seemed like an asshole to me.

16. A few nights ago Benjamin Light and I were talking about the future of our podcast and the caterpillar-like life of our blog and how it’ll soon turn into a beautiful and bewildering butterfly – watch for future announcements – and we were also mutually browsing around the internet, just talking and shitting the breeze and I remember reading somewhere that in other countries there confusions and mistranslations and people assumed that the title of the show was Magnum PI

Get it?

17. Anyway.

What a strange coincidence… The ringtone and the random factoid read about the internet and then the strange occurrence of the spontaneous conversation with a stranger about MacGyver but calling it Magnum and I’m trying to fix the broken web of time and it all leads to a journey down the clips show metaphor that is memory lane for me…

18. Maybe it’s not a coincidence. Maybe it’s just a thing, a thing that happens, and it has no meaning other than that which I assign to it?

19. Perhaps it’s no more important than anything, and not even real. Maybe I’m not real. Maybe I’m me, the me that I think I am and only sometimes comfortable with me. Maybe I’m really Zhuangzi, and I’m dreaming that I’m a butterfly.

20. It’s a bit of a stretch, I know, but my mind is still trudging through similar ditches as we slowly make our way towards the end of this blog. Perhaps I’m dancing around things, then taking a few steps backward before marching forward. The past can be a special place, and an odd place where things have different values and meanings assigned to him. Analyze what you can and appreciate the bizarreness of other things and leave them as they are, unmolested, uncontested. Making peace or at least coming to an understanding with your memories is a kind of time travel, and it’s how some of the best mysteries are solved, but don’t forget: The past can be a grotesque animal and you should always be mindful of how you’ll escape it.

21. Like I said… That’s a bit of a stretch, sure.


“Father figures” by Kevin Wada. I love it. Except for the KISS parts. Oh well.

22. After this… 82 posts to go.

Can you guess how it’ll end? I have an idea…

23. Maybe like this:

And so it begins.

If you’re reading this, then I have sad/happy news for you. And perhaps not the most surprising of news…

This is post #900 on ye olde Counterforce. We haven’t been as prolific as we used to be, and we haven’t been as loud and verbal, and maybe we haven’t been as excited as we should. We’ve enjoyed a moment together and we’re going to enjoy many, many more as well, but I don’t think this next part will shock you: Counterforce is going to end with post #1000.

Why end it there? Why not just end it here, or tomorrow, or four months ago? Because it’s going to end with #1000, that’s fucking why. Because the time is now and because I think this particular iteration of what you know as Counterforce is ending – if I can be as heavy handed as possible – and it has to end before the next aeon can be born. But it needs to go in its own way, in its own style, and with a little celebration. And a little dark forecasting of what lays beyond.

We’re not planning to bury it. At least, that’s not my intention. It’s coming to the end and I hope to leave its exquisite corpse just laying around for people to enjoy. But this isn’t a funeral. This is going to be a fucking dance party with eulogies and crazy LOLcat GIFs. There’s plenty more YouTube embeds and shit talking and Jackface pictures and theorizing about the fate of Don Draper to come before we sign off at this particular URL. We’re still going to talk about the things we like and love and hate and detest while also being super mega self-referential and taking this thing so far down the rabbit hole and up our own asses that the sunrise/set will seem like a perpetual strobe effect.

In short, we’re going out with banging and whimpering, and hopefully both in rhythmic and wonderful succession.

I remember that when the 80s ended, as U2 had their final concert of the decade, they went out on this intensely ominous note, telling their audience that they had to go away for a while and dream it all up again. Most people walked out of that decade thinking their favorite band was over, gone forever, but that wasn’t the case.

Again, that’s a bit heavy handed, but I’m this close to embedding Semisonic videos and telling you that every new beginning starts from some other beginning’s end. Perhaps instead I’ll just tell you that you don’t have to go home, but you just can’t stay here.

Not forever, anyway.

Anyway. Count your fucking blessings. You were lucky enough to know us and enjoy this time and this place and moment. We were lucky enough to know you and fap fap fap fap fap about things we liked or thought were important. And we’re doing to keep doing that here for another 100 posts, and we’ll keep doing it elsewhere. There is, for example, the podcast to brighten and enrich your days now. That’ll be an ever evolving thing. Put it in your ears and your mind. And keep your eyes coming back here for the next 100 posts. The final 100 posts.

And then when you close your eyes, all will go dark. But when you open them again, perhaps there’ll be something new there, just waiting for you to see it.

I hope everyone will come back. Everyone who has ever done anything with this site, or wanted to, and everyone who has ever read it. I want to bathe in all the old jokes and callbacks and motifs and references and the things we loved. I want the old shit to make friends with the new shit and then take the new shit behind the middle school and get it pregnant. And, with any luck, Counterforce will end this year. It’s kind of exciting to think that our last dance would take us right up to the stroke of midnight at the end of the world, right?

You Were My 90s!

That’s right kids, it’s time for another round of CounterForce at the Movies. The Scream 4 edition!

Benjamin Light: A mild anecdote. On the first day of my film directing class in college, we all had to go around the room and say what movie made us want to go to film school. This was an upper-division course, so mostly juniors and seniors were present. By which I mean that a large part of the students’ capacity to enjoy film had already been destroyed by academia. Most people had some fairly pretentious answers designed to make themselves look deep and intellectual. The Graduate, The Godfather, Hedwig and the Angry Inch, Breathless, or a Gus Van Sant film or some foreign bullshit, etc. I said Scream, because it was a clever, entertaining movie, and I wanted to make clever, entertaining movies. It was like the whole class hated me after that.

Marco Sparks: A beautiful story. So, yeah, we’re going to try and discuss Scream 4 here, which is just another entry in some bullshit horror movie series, and yet… It should be so much more. As you said, the original was an important movie. It was smart and clever and entertaining, and it was something else, something that we didn’t realize til later, but it was so fucking 90s. 90s in a good way. Not like, you know, Reality Bites (Editor’s note: fuck that movie). The original Scream was born in an era where you could do something and also comment on it at the same time. You could do something and reference other things at the same time. And you could do it all cohesively and creatively and it could actually work. Of course now, things are a little too post-post-post modern for the old ways to still work, right?

And the thing that Scream did and commented and referenced and reinvented back then was the horror movie genre, which, like metal, was completely dead by that point in the 90s, and desperate for a rebirth of some kind. Especially the “slasher” subgenre. Funny now, somewhere more than ten and less twenty years later, and I’m thinking about Scream‘s lessons and comments on horror movie series and how bad their sequels typically were. And ironically – fill out your 90s buzzword bingo card starting here – we’re using Scream 4 as the catalyst for this conversation.

Benjamin Light: One more note for context: the modern “teen” movie was partially created by Scream. There was a good long time where they just didn’t make movies for teens. “Clueless” was the prototype of the genre, and then Scream took it to the next level.

To make this even more surreal, I saw Scream 4 with an old friend from high school that I hadn’t seen in years. In Hot Tub Time Machine, Darryl from The Office has that line about Rob Cordry’s character “he’s our asshole.” This friend I saw Scream 4 with was Our Asshole, back in the day. Marco’s and mine. The kind of guy who drove a shitty chevy nova way too fast, fingerbanged your ex-girlfriend’s little sister and wore t-shirts that said Nine Inch Dick in the style of a NIN logo. Now, he’s a fucking housecat, totally neutered and body-snatched. I wondered, walking to the theater, if this was a harbinger of things to come.

My interest in Scream 4 was mainly in how a thoroughly 90s movie franchise was going to come off in this late era of irony without wit. Would it still be 90s to the core, or would it “update” itself to this new, lame decade of pop culture? Afterwards, I think Marco and I both agree that the answer to this was, sadly, “both.”
Marco Sparks: It’s funny that you mention that guy, “Our Asshole,” because the movie (and the series) and him have some frighteningly strong similarities. They’re both works of fiction and at one time they became so real, so amazing. They were strong, clever, passionate, funny, wild, rude, crude, full of attitude, and dripping with verve. Something your parents were uncomfortable to be around but something exciting, something you clung to and enjoyed strongly.It’s about 15 years and three movies later and… My God. Benjie told me the story of our friend, “Our Asshole,” and I felt like crying hearing it. It’s hard to explain just what happened to our friend. He’s married to a “nice” girl – “nice” being in quotations because it needs to be, rather than me saying anything frighteningly honest about her – and has gone fully domestic. But this girl, it’s not like she married our friend and he mellowed over the years. It’s like she’s married to a neutered housecat. Our friend, the Stepford Husband. The guy who used to think that Nic Cage and Bruce Campbell belonged in every movie and who now doesn’t understand what’s funny or interesting about Nic Cage’s recent adventures in New Orleans. I could go on about our friend a little too much here, I think. But like Scream 4, there seems to be no purpose to him anymore. Someone took up the brand and watered it down, then threw the water out. There’s no joy, no passion, no reason for existence.
That might be a little too harsh of a criticism of the movie, but not our friend, because if I was a movie studio executive and you presented this movie to me in script form, I would’ve said, “Hey, this is a great first draft, guys. Can’t wait to see what future drafts bring out of it!”
Benjamin Light: At this point, I think it needs be mentioned that Ehren Kruger can go fuck himself. For the record, Marco and I are of the stance that Scream 1 was better, but Scream 2 was more fun, and we’ve tried to block the Ehren Kruger-written Scream 3 from our memories. What an abortion.
Supposedly Ehren Kruger took a pass at this script, so I’m willing to throw a little benefit of the doubt Kevin Williamson’s way for this. The triple opening — Stab within a Stab within a Scream movie — was a good idea, and almost executed well enough. But it just wasn’t quite there, not quite clever enough. And as a result, I spent most of the rest of the movie wondering in the back of my mind what the Stab 5 with time travel movie would be like.
This didn’t occur to me until later, but I think the main problem here is the movie is trying to be all things to all audiences. People who liked the original Scream would have been fine with a Grosse Point Blank-style look at our characters 10 years later to see how they, and in turn, we have changed. Instead, we get the barest cursory glance at Sidney “reinventing herself as someone other than a victim” and Dewey and Gail having meta marital problems. there’s no time to go deeper, because we have to get introduced to a shitload more characters in the target teen demograph. None of whom really registered at all.
Hayden Panawhatever felt like she was acting in a different movie, Emma Roberts was just there, the geeks were, emphatically, NO RANDY, and the rest were forgettable fodder. There’s no Stu here. No Tatum.
Marco Sparks: Courtney Cox was amazing being herself in this movie (or what I want her to be like in real life, as far as my Courtney Cox fan fiction is concerned, I guess), and interestingly enough, the only character who really felt like themselves, unchanged, stuck in that time capsule of cinema, was Dewey. Wonderfully, I should add.
But you have to wonder: Did David Arquette and Courtney Cox’s marriage implode behind the scenes of this film just to make this shit all that much more META and SELF REFERENTIAL? Cause that would be serious devotion to the craft.
I thought that something interesting might be afoot with the multiple openings to the film, but it just didn’t feel thought out enough. It didn’t feel effortlessly fun enough. Scream was never just mindless fun. There was always something somewhat cerebral about the scary movie games played within it. And Benjie’s right: Scream was good, and Scream 2 was a hell of a lot more fucking fun. But something those movies displayed that’s been lacking in the second two movies in the series were smart set pieces. There’s a kind of seduction game being played with the audience when you’re presented with that set up… a character with a phone alone in a house and you just know that there’s a killer (or two) surrounding them, ready to strike. That dance wasn’t present here.
That said, Scream 4 was a hell of a lot better than Scream 3. Wes Craven seemed to be more with it and there were one or two interesting ideas in Scream 3 (and double that in Scream 4) that just never panned out or just weren’t dealt with at all beyond their introduction. Scream 3 became just another shitty horror movie, the kind that the first two movies would have gladly skewered. Scream 4 at least realized that there was atonement that needed to be made, even if it was shrugging, not sure how to achieve it, as if it’s mere presence alone would trigger the light of 90s nostalgia within us and all would be forgiven.
Benjamin Light: I read or heard somewhere that good writers should avoid using adverbs. To get annoyingly specific on Scream 4: We’ve seen the “scary phone calls in a house” scene done better before. You might remember the film, it’s called Scream. Also, we’ve seen the “stuck in a car that won’t start with the killer hiding outside” scene done better too. See also: Scream (1996, Dimension Films.) The fun thing about these scenes is that it puts you, the viewer, into the mindset of the victim. We know the rules of this game and we must think, ok, what would I do in this situation? And we scream at the screen “no, don’t open the door!” and “ooh, that’s really smart–wait, fuck!” And it’s all very fun and satisfying to watch a film that screams back at you; that plays with your own expectations.
Scream 4 briefly has a little fun in the opening, and when establishing soooo many characters who could be suspects, who could have motives, that you can almost hear Kevin Williamson laughing at you and daring you to guess who the killer is. But, like meeting someone you used to know several years later, the magic just isn’t there. Emma Roberts beating herself up to look like she’s been attacked might be more visually bracing, but nothing will top Billy and Stu stabbing each other in Scream 1. You had just never seen anything like that in a movie before. And like everything else in Scream 4, Emma fucking her shit up is just a lot of More, Now, Again. It’s an old idea, newly executed with more gore, or more twists, or more often. There weren’t that many killings in Scream 1, but all of them were very clever. Here, not so much.
Williamson must know this, as he meta-references reboots and remakes incessantly. And there is definitely some finger-wagging at the end about celeb-reality culture, but it ends up feeling more whiny than anything else, even though I basically agree with him. You can complain all you want about not getting work unless it’s a sequel to your old hit, Kevin, but you still had a chance to take us somewhere new in the genre and you honked it.
Marco Sparks: I feel like if the series had wanted to do something shocking, to have really kicked us off right for a new film, a new decade, a new trilogy, then they probably would’ve killed Neve Campbelle’s Sidney Prescott either right away in this movie or at the end. They probably would’ve let Emma Robert’s niece of the Sidney character indeed get away with the murders at the end. That’s something you would’ve never seen before. And what a message so fitting to this era: Ha ha! Fuck you! In this day and age, the bad guy/girl wins!
But no such luck. Like Benjie said, the introduction to our old favorites and to the new kids is so shallow, so devoid of meat, that you can’t tell for half the movie who the potential killer could be because you just don’t give a fuck. And that annoys me because, honestly, one of the reasons I like slasher films is because they add in that whodunnit quality. It lets the audience interact with the film more and feel like the detective and keep their mind working, constantly turning over clues in their head. But in so many films, Scream 4 included, I’m afraid, the real killer was ultimately bad writing.
It’s funny that Commander Light and I had a lot of the same thoughts on who the killer could be through the film. First choice: Marley Shelton’s (who seems like she hasn’t had an acting job since the 90s, minus an appearance in Quentin Tarantino and Robert Rodriguez’s Grindhouse) deputy who went to high school with the gang back in the day and cooks lemon squares for her boss. That is until that weird scene on the stairwell in Sidney’s aunt’s house. That red herring was a little too red. And then fifteen minutes later we both just knew it would be Emma Roberts’ character, probably for a variety of reasons. The biggest for me? That skinny awkward little girl just kept disappearing for no reason at all. Like a killer would. And, as I believe Benjamin Light pointed out to me earlier: The killer always has something to do with Sidney’s family.
If Neve Campbell comes back for a Scream 5 – and I see no reason why she wouldn’t at this point – I really hope that they just do something so ridiculously cartoonish with her character. I can’t see her being tied down to reality anymore, not after having gone through this scenario four times now. It was interesting when she gained a sense of strength and confidence in her safety in the world at the end of Scream 3, so much so that she didn’t have to worry about living behind fake names and locked doors (in fact, she felt comfortable to leave doors open to things like potential sequels), and somewhat interesting about her wanting to rewrite her role in this film, but honestly, where could one go with this character next? Seven people have gone to elaborate means of trying to kill her across four movies now. Unless they have her in a mental hospital in the opening of the next film then I really hope they give her a jet pack and a laser gun. Or let her do some time traveling, like they did in Stab 5.
Back to the killers in this film momentarily: I didn’t see the reveal of Rory Culkin coming just because his character was so badly concocted and so badly delivered in the acting that I just didn’t care, even though I was curious the whole time if they’d resurrect the possible multiple killers angle.
Benjamin Light: They tipped their hand on the two killers a little early. In the scene where Sidney’s aunt President Roslin dies, you see that there must be more than one.
Allison Brie, Anna Paquin and Kristen Bell are all fine actresses who for some reason get short shrifted for boring Emma Roberts and Hayden Panattieerreereeerie (who seems to think she’s in a 40s noir movie). I’m not even going to mention Rory Culkin or the other gay geek, because, as I said before, they are NO RANDY. I felt like I knew Sidney less after this movie than I did after Scream 2. But like Marco said, David Arquette was perfect as Dewey. Would it have been so bad to target your fanbase instead of a demograph and actually make the film about the franchise characters we all know and love?
from here.
Are we taking this too seriously? Probably. Maybe. But like one teen starlet says to another in Scream 4, “You were my 90s!” And it’s true. Marco and I were the perfect teen age for Scream when it dropped. We would probably not be as good of friends as we are if Scream never existed. Our first screenplay was our own attempt to make a Scream-style movie that played with the audience. Imagine my disappointment when I went off to film school to discover that college is not like Randy’s film class in Scream 2 at all. Ah well.
I suppose we wanted Scream 4 to mean something the way Scream 1 did, and it just didn’t get there. But hey, I’ll say this for it, I felt more happy nostalgia to see Dewey than I did seeing our old friend, our old asshole, that new stranger. Seriously. We missed you, Dewey.
Marco Sparks: Yeah, exactly. Dewey was a welcome sight, the one part of this movie that didn’t let you down, even if he spent the whole movie just getting calls that something was going down somewhere else and then driving there off screen. Like Commander Light said, we may be taking this too seriously, partially because the movie takes itself a bit seriously, and partially because I guess we foolishly did want this to mean something to us, to possibly make a comment that would be interesting and important to our lives now as it did back then. Somewhere in those intentions, we became just another part of the body count.
Alison Brie was so great in her role, really lighting up the screen with her presence. Her death scene was the exact opposite of compelling but it was certainly nice to see her character there for the brief time that she was on screen.
Man, you had to feel bad for Anthony Anderson and Adam Brody in this movie. TV stars always get it the worst.
I was reading something a moment ago from Wes Craven talking about after Kevin Williamson left the production of Scream 4 (to go back to The Vampire Diaries) and Ehren Kruger came on, the screenplay, and thus the film, was no longer in Craven’s control. So much became dictated by the studio, which is always good, targeting those demographics rather than worry about story. And yet, you wonder how much of the clutter in the story here could be blamed on Kruger/the Weinsteins and Williamson himself.
Remember how much sense Randy’s rules made in the first Scream and Scream 2. No such luck here. Maybe it’s partly the fault of this current climate we live in, but the new “rules” given here made no sense beyond bullshit plot contrivances. The whole film was like that, like watching the last remaining members of the 90s realizing there decade was over and firing a time capsule into the future, only it landed five years ago and we’re only just seeing it now. The killers are going to videotape themselves committing the crimes? Didn’t we already see that in a movie starring Harrison Ford and Josh Hartnett?
At least the film acknowledged the new technologies not present during the 90s. Characters text here. They have flip cameras. You can get an app on your cell phone that does the Ghostface voice! That’s awesome. But somewhere in all of this, as the film “crawls further up its own asshole,” as The Onion’s AV Club actually very accurately put it, you really get the sense that Kevin Williamson/The Voice Of the 90s really hates this twitter age we live in.
Benjamin Light: Williamson may be on to something. Too bad he missed the mark. But seriously Kevin, all will be forgiven if Scream 5 has time travel. Especially if you can time travel back to Scream 2 and bring back Timothy Olyphant.
Marco Sparks: You’ll notice that we’re certainly avoiding a lot of the deeper things that come along with the horror genre. The psychosexual imagery, the phallic weapon, the twisted male gaze and perception of the Final Girl… Instead we’re talking about the 90s and bitching about things like the lack of Nick Cave’s “Red Right Hand” being used in this film.
I guess that to a certain extent we are, like most children of the 1990s, still stuck there. I don’t know what percentage of us that is, that we left behind there in those halcyon days of acid washed jeans and Color Me Badd and things that were about “nothing” and still contained so much meaning for us, but we’re there, and we’re looking forward at this future and kind of left curious and wondering and fascinated by this strange new world we’re wandering about. That’s not to say that we don’t look back with equal curiosity on the goofy weirdness of the 90s, especially the fashion choices, but perhaps that’s why Scream 4 was such a big deal to us.
It was the return of old friends and beyond that… maybe we were hoping to find a bridge of some sort between back then and now, if you will?
But it’s just a movie and not much of a bridge. As a film on its own, Scream 4 is fine, not great, and not terrible, and very much the fourth entry in a slasher film series that will be twenty years old before you know it. And though it’s hard not to, you can’t go backwards, can’t ever go home again. You can only deal with know and try your best to prepare yourself for the future. Sometimes that just means dreaming of sequels that feature time travel.

will it be just like i’m dreaming?

greetings y’all. i’d like to treat this as any other post, but i’m not a frequent poster. can’t just be easy going, “hey, what’s the hapz, guyz?” kinda deal. but rest assured, this peanut cares.

me, caring.

what do significant occasions mean to you? to each person, they carry their own weight. birthdays always mean a lot to me. surviving in our world isn’t as easy. ask anyone to make it to make it past 80s movies.

exhibit A

exhibit B

these guys care a lot about their movies. you know why? their whole career rests on it. they have something to say for themselves. whether that news says they’ve made a career out of being the nerd that fails with gingers, or they fail at being charlie sheen’s less coked up brother. either way, that’s great! i regret to say that i have not achieved such a status. do i regret it?


so i guess i’ll break the bad news. i put it off long enough, right? i turned 30. joined the leagues of benjie and marco will be following us this year. it just doesn’t seem like it’s my time. why now, is 30 a death sentence?

i'm the baddest b.

maybe.  i used to be cuter. i think? say some? maybe a lot of some. but i’ve gotten smarter since then, my 20s were not my brightest. since then, i’ve at minimum had a flashlight to guide me from my stupid mistakes. we’ve all had to guide our own light to show us the way for self respect. its not easy to find it, but i praise the lord *St Cosmo* i found mine!

tanning is awesome.

i dyed, wrote, clicked, drank, talked, listened, typed, through a thousand different scenarios. all of which were fantastic and actually blog worthy. i loved it and hated it all. it was a fantastic time i could only tell you about if i had a phenom publishing deal.

thought you knew?but sadly i’m just a sociology major thats waiting for a bit of input on her own life. or some unwelcome outside input that will just fuck it all up, but set the wheels into motion at least. do you know how hard it is do that for yourself? do you? i do. i know it well and considered it all. and here i am. what will you do?

i’m proud of where i’ve landed. i know i’ve chosen for myself rather than let a man choose for me. life is not complete, but it’s not been unlived either.

Las ruinas circulares.

And today, as the month comes to a close on All Hallow’s Eve, let’s enjoy a short story by everyone’s favorite Argentinian short story writer, Jorge Luis Borges. This, from his collection entitled Ficciones, is “The Circular Ruins,” and…

No one saw him disembark in the unanimous night, no one saw the bamboo canoe sink into the sacred mud, but in a few days there was no one who did not know that the taciturn man came from the South and that his home had been one of those numberless villages upstream in the deeply cleft side of the mountain, where the Zend language has not been contaminated by Greek and where leprosy is infrequent. What is certain is that the grey man kissed the mud, climbed up the bank with pushing aside (probably, without feeling) the blades which were lacerating his flesh, and crawled, nauseated and bloodstained, up to the circular enclosure crowned with a stone tiger or horse, which sometimes was the color of flame and now was that of ashes. This circle was a temple which had been devoured by ancient fires, profaned by the miasmal jungle, and whose god no longer received the homage of men. The stranger stretched himself out beneath the pedestal. He was awakened by the sun high overhead. He was not astonished to find that his wounds had healed; he closed his pallid eyes and slept, not through weakness of flesh but through determination of will. He knew that this temple was the place required for his invincible intent; he knew that the incessant trees had not succeeded in strangling the ruins of another propitious temple downstream which had once belonged to gods now burned and dead; he knew that his immediate obligation was to dream. Toward midnight he was awakened by the inconsolable shriek of a bird. Tracks of bare feet, some figs and a jug warned him that the men of the region had been spying respectfully on his sleep, soliciting his protection or afraid of his magic. He felt a chill of fear, and sought out a sepulchral niche in the dilapidated wall where he concealed himself among unfamiliar leaves.

The purpose which guided him was not impossible, though supernatural. He wanted to dream a man; he wanted to dream him in minute entirety and impose him on reality. This magic project had exhausted the entire expanse of his mind; if someone had asked him his name or to relate some event of his former life, he would not have been able to give an answer. This uninhabited, ruined temple suited him, for it is contained a minimum of visible world; the proximity of the workmen also suited him, for they took it upon themselves to provide for his frugal needs. The rice and fruit they brought him were nourishment enough for his body, which was consecrated to the sole task of sleeping and dreaming.

At first, his dreams were chaotic; then in a short while they became dialectic in nature. The stranger dreamed that he was in the center of a circular amphitheater which was more or less the burnt temple; clouds of taciturn students filled the tiers of seats; the faces of the farthest ones hung at a distance of many centuries and as high as the stars, but their features were completely precise. The man lectured his pupils on anatomy, cosmography, and magic: the faces listened anxiously and tried to answer understandingly, as if they guessed the importance of that examination which would redeem one of them from his condition of empty illusion and interpolate him into the real world. Asleep or awake, the man thought over the answers of his phantoms, did not allow himself to be deceived by imposters, and in certain perplexities he sensed a growing intelligence. He was seeking a soul worthy of participating in the universe.

from here.

After nine or ten nights he understood with a certain bitterness that he could expect nothing from those pupils who accepted his doctrine passively, but that he could expect something from those who occasionally dared to oppose him. The former group, although worthy of love and affection, could not ascend to the level of individuals; the latter pre-existed to a slightly greater degree. One afternoon (now afternoons were also given over to sleep, now he was only awake for a couple hours at daybreak) he dismissed the vast illusory student body for good and kept only one pupil. He was a taciturn, sallow boy, at times intractable, and whose sharp features resembled of those of his dreamer. The brusque elimination of his fellow students did not disconcert him for long; after a few private lessons, his progress was enough to astound the teacher. Nevertheless, a catastrophe took place. One day, the man emerged from his sleep as if from a viscous desert, looked at the useless afternoon light which he immediately confused with the dawn, and understood that he had not dreamed. All that night and all day long, the intolerable lucidity of insomnia fell upon him. He tried exploring the forest, to lose his strength; among the hemlock he barely succeeded in experiencing several short snatchs of sleep, veined with fleeting, rudimentary visions that were useless. He tried to assemble the student body but scarcely had he articulated a few brief words of exhortation when it became deformed and was then erased. In his almost perpetual vigil, tears of anger burned his old eyes.

He understood that modeling the incoherent and vertiginous matter of which dreams are composed was the most difficult task that a man could undertake, even though he should penetrate all the enigmas of a superior and inferior order; much more difficult than weaving a rope out of sand or coining the faceless wind. He swore he would forget the enormous hallucination which had thrown him off at first, and he sought another method of work. Before putting it into execution, he spent a month recovering his strength, which had been squandered by his delirium. He abandoned all premeditation of dreaming and almost immediately succeeded in sleeping a reasonable part of each day. The few times that he had dreams during this period, he paid no attention to them. Before resuming his task, he waited until the moon’s disk was perfect. Then, in the afternoon, he purified himself in the waters of the river, worshiped the planetary gods, pronounced the prescribed syllables of a mighty name, and went to sleep. He dreamed almost immediately, with his heart throbbing.

He dreamed that it was warm, secret, about the size of a clenched fist, and of a garnet color within the penumbra of a human body as yet without face or sex; during fourteen lucid nights he dreampt of it with meticulous love. Every night he perceived it more clearly. He did not touch it; he only permitted himself to witness it, to observe it, and occasionally to rectify it with a glance. He perceived it and lived it from all angles and distances. On the fourteenth night he lightly touched the pulmonary artery with his index finger, then the whole heart, outside and inside. He was satisfied with the examination. He deliberately did not dream for a night; he took up the heart again, invoked the name of a planet, and undertook the vision of another of the principle organs. Within a year he had come to the skeleton and the eyelids. The innumerable hair was perhaps the most difficult task. He dreamed an entire man–a young man, but who did not sit up or talk, who was unable to open his eyes. Night after night, the man dreamt him asleep.

In the Gnostic cosmosgonies, demiurges fashion a red Adam who cannot stand; as a clumsy, crude and elemental as this Adam of dust was the Adam of dreams forged by the wizard’s nights. One afternoon, the man almost destroyed his entire work, but then changed his mind. (It would have been better had he destroyed it.) When he had exhausted all supplications to the deities of earth, he threw himself at the feet of the effigy which was perhaps a tiger or perhaps a colt and implored its unknown help. That evening, at twilight, he dreamt of the statue. He dreamt it was alive, tremulous: it was not an atrocious bastard of a tiger and a colt, but at the same time these two firey creatures and also a bull, a rose, and a storm. This multiple god revealed to him that his earthly name was Fire, and that in this circular temple (and in others like it) people had once made sacrifices to him and worshiped him, and that he would magically animate the dreamed phantom, in such a way that all creatures, except Fire itself and the dreamer, would believe to be a man of flesh and blood. He commanded that once this man had been instructed in all the rites, he should be sent to the other ruined temple whose pyramids were still standing downstream, so that some voice would glorify him in that deserted edifice. In the dream of the man that dreamed, the dreamed one awoke.

from here.

The wizard carried out the orders he had been given. He devoted a certain length of time (which finally proved to be two years) to instructing him in the mysteries of the universe and the cult of fire. Secretly, he was pained at the idea of being separated from him. On the pretext of pedagogical necessity, each day he increased the number of hours dedicated to dreaming. He also remade the right shoulder, which was somewhat defective. At times, he was disturbed by the impression that all this had already happened . . . In general, his days were happy; when he closed his eyes, he thought: Now I will be with my son. Or, more rarely: The son I have engendered is waiting for me and will not exist if I do not go to him.

Gradually, he began accustoming him to reality. Once he ordered him to place a flag on a faraway peak. The next day the flag was fluttering on the peak. He tried other analogous experiments, each time more audacious. With a certain bitterness, he understood that his son was ready to be born–and perhaps impatient. That night he kissed him for the first time and sent him off to the other temple whose remains were turning white downstream, across many miles of inextricable jungle and marshes. Before doing this (and so that his son should never know that he was a phantom, so that he should think himself a man like any other) he destroyed in him all memory of his years of apprenticeship.

His victory and peace became blurred with boredom. In the twilight times of dusk and dawn, he would prostrate himself before the stone figure, perhaps imagining his unreal son carrying out identical rites in other circular ruins downstream; at night he no longer dreamed, or dreamed as any man does. His perceptions of the sounds and forms of the universe became somewhat pallid: his absent son was being nourished by these diminution of his soul. The purpose of his life had been fulfilled; the man remained in a kind of ecstasy. After a certain time, which some chronicles prefer to compute in years and others in decades, two oarsmen awoke him at midnight; he could not see their faces, but they spoke to him of a charmed man in a temple of the North, capable of walking on fire without burning himself. The wizard suddenly remembered the words of the god. He remembered that of all the creatures that people the earth, Fire was the only one who knew his son to be a phantom. This memory, which at first calmed him, ended by tormenting him. He feared lest his son should meditate on this abnormal privilege and by some means find out he was a mere simulacrum. Not to be a man, to be a projection of another man’s dreams–what an incomparable humiliation, what madness! Any father is interested in the sons he has procreated (or permitted) out of the mere confusion of happiness; it was natural that the wizard should fear for the future of that son whom he had thought out entrail by entrail, feature by feature, in a thousand and one secret nights.

His misgivings ended abruptly, but not without certain forewarnings. First (after a long drought) a remote cloud, as light as a bird, appeared on a hill; then, toward the South, the sky took on the rose color of leopard’s gums; then came clouds of smoke which rusted the metal of the nights; afterwards came the panic-stricken flight of wild animals. For what had happened many centuries before was repeating itself. The ruins of the sanctuary of the god of Fire was destroyed by fire. In a dawn without birds, the wizard saw the concentric fire licking the walls. For a moment, he thought of taking refuge in the water, but then he understood that death was coming to crown his old age and absolve him from his labors. He walked toward the sheets of flame. They did not bite his flesh, they caressed him and flooded him without heat or combustion. With relief, with humiliation, with terror, he understood that he also was an illusion, that someone else was dreaming him.