Virgin Snow.

As a last word on Alfred Hitchcock, I just wanted to share two quotes I saw just recently, the first being from Hitchcock himself…

“Blondes make the best victims. They’re like virgin snow that shows up the bloody footprints.”

…which is from an interview he did on TV in 1977.

And then I saw a quote from Ingrid Bergman…

“I’d like to know more about his relationships with women. No, on second thought, I wouldn’t.”

Fitting.

And then I saw this, which I love, and is wonderfully seasonal:

Good Evening!

by Grant Snider, from here.

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A boy’s best friend is his mother.

Good evening.

I saw Hitchcock today. Just a few quick thoughts…

1. The nicest thing you can say about this movie was that it was witty and clever, but it’s ultimately very light fare. So much of this movie is fantasy – and not just the fantasy and daydream sequences – but it’s trivial aspects, imagined insights into the life of the filmmaker and his wife. A documentary about the making of Psycho and this era of Hitchcock’s career, with speculation from more informed opinions would’ve probably proved to be more interesting.

2. This movie has gotten mild Oscar buzz, and I guess it’s there, but primarily for the production design. The story is pretty formulaic, not giving the actors much to do other than say their lines competently.

3. Speaking of which, James Darcy does a fairly accurate seeming impression of Anthony Perkins. It’s funny to me that they make Perkins’ homosexuality not so much an unofficial secret throughout Hollywood, but something that a careful observer can pick up from a distance.

Just imagine the meeting of ScarJo and Bernard Herrmann.

4. This is second movie that I can think of that introduced a character played by ScarJo by doing a close up of her ass.

5. That said, it’s a film, it’s fantasy. The people are better looking. Helen Mirren is obviously much more attractive than the real life Alma Reville, and Anthony Hopkins, even under all the make up, probably still has a much more expressive face than the real Alfred Hitchcock. Also, Danny Huston is a villain in everything, right? That’s good casting.

6. Watching the film, of course, lead me to thinking about Psycho again. And that lead me to thinking about Delillo’s last novel, Point Omega, which has a prologue and epilogue set at the 24 Hour Psycho art installation by Douglas Gordon, which was at the Museum Of Modern Art in 2006. The installation took Hitchcock’s 109 minute movie and stretches it and slows it down so that it plays out over the course of 24 hours. The shower scene, for example, which lasts 45 seconds, takes a whole hour to play out.

In the novel, the 24 Hour Psycho stuff is a fascinating sequence that really informs the rest of the novel and how it deals with the perceptions missed perceptions of time passing. This little section always stuck out with me:

“The less there was to see, the harder he looked, the more he saw. This was the point. To see what’s here, finally to look and to know you’re looking, to feel time passing, to be alive to what is happening in the smallest registers of motion.”

If you’d like to check out an interesting book that takes a nice look back at Psycho, I would highly recommend A Long Hard Look At Psycho by Raymond Durgnat. It would make a nice companion piece to a film like Hitchock, really digging deeper than the fluff.

7. Something the film touches on, but only ever so briefly, is that great art can come from disturbed minds and from desires and fantasies that can’t be beaten and broken down into a box labeled “normal.” Obviously Alfred Hitchcock had some curious interests and obsessions and some continuing issues with women. The same could be said for Woody Allen. And Roman Polanski. There could be a lot of accurately negative things said for them as human beings, as well as a lot of accurately positive things said about their art. You need to pick your medium of release, because dark fantasies don’t have to spill over into reality. Sometimes creativity is born in the shit, and art has to be separated from the artist. Like I’ve repeated in one of my favorite quotes, there’s a difference between make believe and real life.

The difference between make believe and real life.

8. Now, I kind of want to watch that recent  HBO movie with Toby Jones as Hitchcock and Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren. Since it covers the making of The Birds and Marnie, it’ll be a kind of unofficial sequel to this movie. And it’ll get into some of the trivial parts of history that really interest us (and that Hitchcock only touches on sparingly): Hitch’s obsession and control over his leading ladies.

9. I’m not sure if this makes me really want to go see Bates Motel.

10. When you watch movies in December, and especially the second half of December, you kind of have to keep the idea of the Oscars always present in the back of your mind, right? I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty yet but I suspect that the big Oscar buzz will be between that and probably The Life Of Pi. On the Time Travel Murder Mystery podcast Benjie and I talk about the padding you have to do to come up with 10 films to nominate, because at least four and sometimes five of those films have no chance whatsoever. I suspect that Hitchcock is one of those films. It’s a cute movie about a great director and his under appreciated wife and a mid-life crisis (well, slightly later than “mid-life”) and some marital scrapes. And through that time there came about a truly great piece of cinema. Psycho, that is, not Hitchcock.

A nice murder.

Nothing really important to say here, just that I’m mildly fascinated by the latest interest in things Hitchcockian… There was that HBO movie with Toby Jones and Sienna Miller, and there’s the new one with Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, and ScarJo, which will probably get some mild Oscar buzz. And then there’s also a new TV show, a prequel to Psycho, starring Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga as Mama Bates. It has Carlton Cuse, from Lost, as its showrunner.

I remember when Brian DePalma did his best films in the 80s, which were all nu-Hitchcockian fare, and even Curtis Hanson did a decent riff on Hitchcock, The Bedroom Window, which starred Steve Gutenberg (LOL), Elizabeth McGovern, and Isabelle Huppert. Anyway, doing stuff in the style of Hitchcock is one thing, but all these movies about him… Just seems interesting to see competing projects of this nature.

Either/Or.

Mad linkage:

The important new dynamic in modern human communication.

The first image (fucking finally) from Joss Whedon/Drew Goddard’s Cabin In The Woods.

Are wide male faces a predictor for unethical behavior?

James Spader is joining The Office, but not as the boss, not for long.

Zadie Smith turning to speculative fiction and sci fi.

Infidelity might just keep us together.

Spike Lee to direct the American remake of Oldboy?

Above: Katie West summer print sale.

An oral history of Explosions In The Sky.

Antonia Fraser and Harold Pinter.

The paradox that was G. K. Chesteron.

Don’t let them cut off your balls, boys.

At least Glenn Beck is gone from the airwaves.

An oral history of Michael Fucking Bay.

9 steps to foolproof outdoor sex.

“In addition to my other numerous acquaintances, I have one more intimate confidant…. My depression is the most faithful mistress I have known—no wonder, then, that I return the love. ”

-Søren Kierkegaard

Harry Potter’s favorite magic potion is booze.

Speaking of which, some of your favorite fast food chains are now serving alcohol.

Also, the “experts” are now saying that some “light drinking” may be “safe” while you’re pregnant.

And: An oral history of the Harry Potter film series.

The evils of “like” culture.

“All I want is to have incredibly violent sex.”

from here.

Massive amounts of cheating discovered in Atlanta public schools.

Topless sunbathing in the bit city.

How Charlotte’s Web was conceived.

The perfect penis.

Alfred Hitchcock recalls working with Salvador Dali.

“You are a computer salesman – I am fucking JAMES BOND.”

Ours might not be a holographic universe after all 😦

The lady disappears half way through.

It just occurred to me the other day that 1960 was the year in which…

…both L’Avventura and…

…a little film called Psycho both came out. That’s interesting. Perhaps only to me, but I’m okay with that.

Masters and servants.

The girlfriend vs. the Xbox.

Are cosmic rays the reason you keep crashing your car?

The House passes the health care reform bill.

Lindsay Lohan looks like Bob Dylan.

Sam Mendes and Kate Winslet split up for stupid reasons.

“Words are good servants but bad masters.”

-Aldous Huxley

New planet Corot-9b has Earth-like temperatures.

New trailer for Series 5 of Doctor Who.

My thoughts on the finale of the latest series of Skins.

Will reclusive mathematician accept $1 million prize?

Stunning Swiss house is buried under the Earth.

The magickal notebook of William Butler Yeats.

When it comes to the next entry in the X-men film franchise, Bryan Singer doesn’t know what the fuck he’s doing.

Evidence found rotting in closed Illinois police HQ.

First quantum effects seen in visible object.

Science fiction author Peter Watts found guilty.

L’Engle’s A Wrinkle In Time to finally get a decent film adaptation?

Shocking news: Sean Hannity is scamming people.

Cancer fighting robots in your blood!

Combat dogs take to the skies for secret missions in Afghanistan.

The museum of bad art.

Screencaps from here.

Zooey Deschanel and Michael Cera: Quirkmuffins.

A brilliant Hitchock mystery made in Korea.

Carmelo Anthony called for traveling back in time.

P.T. Anderson’s amazing sounding Scientology-skewering film, The Master, turned down by Universal.

Sandra Bullock, Jesse James, chick with forehead tattoos, whatever.

“Words ought to be a little wild for they are the assault of thoughts on the unthinking.”

-John Maynard Keynes

Super Secret Smile Saturdays.

Saturday!

Let’s keep this brief. It’s Labor Day weekend. You’re probably out doing some dangerous and weird. Good for you. Right now, I’m doing the exact same thing, just with the internet apparently. and Sapporo. What else is new, right?

A brief confession: This doesn’t interest me at all. I’m trying to think of the last sonic pairing that left me just as flaccid… Oh, yeah, I thought of it. Real talk: She & Him sucked. But it takes someone like Scarlett Johansson doing music to make Zooey Deschanel sound interesting to me. I’m not telling you what you want to hear, I know, I know, but I am telling you what you need to hear.

Videos! Conrad and I are constantly emailing each other links to internet videos, partly because we get bored easily and partly because we’re sick people. For example, here’s one he sent me recently:

I have no idea what the fuck that is. It’s… Well, I just don’t know. So I sent this in response back to him:

The girl in that video, by the way, is Jenny Slate, one of the new cast members announced for the upcoming season of Saturday Night Live. Anyway, in response, I got this:

Let’s just say, it got pretty dirty from there. Including this clip from an old BBC TV movie called Secret Smile, starring David Tennant and Kate Ashfield:

Moving on…

No, really now. Seriously, moving on…

Other music/videos:

1. Someone doing a little thing to Lykke Li‘s “Dance Dance Dance.”

Isn’t that just the most precious, most twee thing you ever saw? It’s wonderful. And fitting of Lykke Li, who I like quite a bit as an artist, but still tend to view her as Bjork’s international and vastly more normal little sister who uses Robyn as a deodorant.

2. And old commercial for Levi Jeans.

This clip, starring Gael Garcia Bernal, was always a really interesting, really effective bit of commercial-ing to me. So much so that I remember it years and years later, partly because of the events, but also the fact that it’s set to Air’s “Playground Love,” which is just awesome. Was recently reminded of it when listening to Phoenix covering Air. I don’t think you have to pay royalties if you’re both French.

3. A music video somebody made for Harvey Danger’s “Carlotta Valdez.”

I don’t expect you to remember this band (at all), but I enjoyed their first album, back in the 90s, and they had two after it, both of slightly diminishing quality, but they still make an interesting 90s curio item of alternarock psuedo-smarmy intellectualism. Also, Vertigo is my favorite movie.

4. The Beatles “Something”

George! A sharp, lovely reminder that “the quiet one” was a strong songwriter in his own right. This song and “You’ve Got To Hide Your Love Away,” one of my favorites by the group, were breezing through my mind the other day when thinking about the break up of the band. Just timeless gorgeous pop music here. It’s especially fun with this video to compare the fresh faced beauty of Patti Boyd, the star of this song and Eric Clapton’s “Layla” with Yoko, who parades around with John in outfits that make them look like Mr. and Mrs. Warlock.

5. Just for Benjamin Light:

Quentin Tarantino talking about the top 20 movies that have come out since 1992. Some of these choices are incredible displays of crap, and some are actually excellent. But excellent in a “No shit!” kind of way, which is usually how QT works.

6. MF Doom “My Favorite Ladies”

I have no real comment here, honestly. After Del Tha Funkee Homosapien, Doom is my favorite rapper. How could he not be? Anyway, I was reminded of this track/discovered the video when I also heard the song mashed up with this next and last group…

7. Flying Lotus “Infinitum”