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.

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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.

Assembling.

ATTN: Counterforce has turned nerdy as shit.

Two thoughts about this new trailer for The Avengers

Thought #1: I feel like if I wasn’t such a Joss Whedon fan, and also if this wasn’t the realization of so many of dorky dreams as a kid standing there in front of the spinner rack when I was so little, that I would hate what I see in this trailer and find it so cheesy. But I don’t. I find it, in a word, AWESOME. My whole being is HULK SMASHING/devolving  its way into a full FAN BOY FRENZY.

Thought #1.5: It looks like so many scenes of this movie will involve the team working together to fight off alien baddies in the crumbling ruins of Cleveland standing in for NYC, and it reminds me a lot of Warren Ellis’ classic The Authority, which was a wonderful analogue for DC Comics’ big hitters, The Justice League Of America.

If there’s any out there, anyone in the world, who doesn’t get who the Justice League Of America are (who, I’d wager, are probably more popular in the everyman and woman than The Avengers, just because the JLA is made up o’ the Big Guns, and not just the Big Guns + characters like Hawkeye), then my simple analogy would be this: The JLA are DC Comics’ jerking it to the right while The Avengers are Marvel’s jerking it to the left.

Also, that’s just a penis and masturbation metaphor folks, not a political analogy. Or is it? Hmmm…

Anyway, long story short, this film looks like it’s finally the movies living up the early 00’s dip into WIDESCREEN COMICS, which were the dream of comics emulating the movies, and it looks GLORIOUS. ALL CAPS NERDERY.

Pre-Thought #2: This is the new poster for the movie:

This is a fine example of a bad poster.

Also, sorry, that’s the UK version of the poster, because in the UK the movie will be called Avengers Assemble. I don’t know this for sure, but I’d guess it has something to do with the TV show? ScarJo’s Black Widow looks kind of like Uma Thurman’s Miss Peel, right? Ugh. Right? (Or was it Mrs. Peel?)(I think it might’ve been Mrs. Peel) But neither Robert Downey Jr. nor Jeremy Renner is a Ralph Fiennes, nor a Patrick Macnee.

Thought #2: Ever since the moment it was rumored and then announced that Joss Whedon would be writing and directing The Avengers (and probably script doctoring the Captain America movie as well), Benjamin Light and I had had this running joke: Well, since Marvel likes to fuck things up, and fire people, there’s still p l e n t y of time to fire Joss Whedon…

And then when the Internet informed us that the first day of filming on The Avengers had commenced, we thought, “Well, there’s still plenty of time to fire him.”

And as new set reports came in, and rumors about various scenes, and mini trailers attached to the end of the Captain America movie, and the announcement of the end of principal photography, and then Super Bowl trailers being show during the Super Bowl, we kept saying, “There’s still plenty of time to fire him, and Marvel’s probably just waiting for the right moment.”

Anyway, May is so close! There’s still plenty of time for Marvel Films to scooch on in here and fuck this up by firing Joss Whedon. Hope not, but just saying. And I’m sure that however too much screen time they’ve already signed over to Robert Downey Jr. they can probably squeeze in another half an hour or forty minutes for him.

Tuesday, without a cluesday.

Well, first, there’s this:

from here and here.

Wow. That’s just a terrible picture. But it’s an instant classic example of FAIL, right? I’ve really grown tired of FAIL and the people who say FAIL ad nauseam, but this time, it’s justified. FAIL. An equal amount of fail to me, actually, is this picture:

ScarJo and Sandra Bullock sharing a calculated kiss at an MTV something or other? Fuck, could there be anything more boring?

Of course, it’s hard to get too excited about an awards show that’s seemingly calculated and concocted just to test the waters for a spin off movie starring a character that was a silly throwaway cameo in a previous comedy film and was assayed by an actor who had had some problems in recent years. Well, I guess the experiment worked.

I miss the classic train wreck celebs. Otherwise known as the genuine people tossed into the world of the glitz and glamor and stumbling magnificently in front of all of us. Too often celebs are no different from whatever brand of jeans or laundry detergent you’re buying. They’re just another product. Their lives are delicately planned and coordinated PR campaigns, as thoroughly put together as your average storyline in professional wrestling. And who’s the more remembered wrestlers usually?

The villains.

Who gives a shit about the heroes?

I’m tired and it’s hot and it’s 2010 and right now, I just don’t give a shit about all the goodness and sunshine in the world. Maybe I will later when it cools down and the stars come out and I’ve had a cocktail or three or four, but right now all I want to see are the naughty bits.

Or the crazy fun bits, I don’t know, maybe.

Or maybe I’m only happy when it rains?

I don’t want to see the super heroes today. I want to see the super villains, the ones who crawl their way out of their comic book storylines and snort a few lines between the panels of art and story.

from here.

The Sandra Bullock/Jesse James story… I have nothing to add to this. America’s Sweetheart and the motorcycle guy with tattoos and he cheats on her with a girl with neck tattoo and Nazi-esque leanings. It’s fascinating on the surface and the more you dig, it’s sad. And weird. Like a perfect soap opera storyline that’s mutated and crawled it’s way into real life.

And granted, these are people’s names being dragged through the mud and vilified and hearts are being broken and it’s making somebody somewhere money. A lot of money.

Actually, it’s probably making everyone in this situation a lot of money, in different ways. And it’s just one of billions of celebrity headlines that I feel like I’m bombarded with on a weekly basis and it only leaves me hollow. And more and more, I feel like it’s just people playing a role, filling a requirement that’s out there.

In an easy “no duh” statement, are celebrities are doing the work of our pornographers, but we look down on one (aspect of ourselves) and seem to praise and adore another.

This has nothing to do with anything, I just thought it was funny.

I’m not really going to dissect it because I really have nothing to add to it. Complaints, maybe, but it feels pointless to complain about it, like maybe I should be saving my breath for something else, something important. Between Sandy and Jesse and Heidi and Spencer and Tom and Katie (and Suri/L. Ron, Jr.) all the other potential Bennifers and Brangelinas out there, the last one that really made feel anything (and it was laughter) was some headline about how the thing that attracted Brad to Angelina and broke up his marriage to Jennifer was that she (Angelina) gave really great rimjobs and apparently that’s what Brad is into it. I mean, that’s so surreal and absurd and I absolutely hope it’s true because, as ridiculous as it could potentially be, it at least feels human to me. And I miss that, and I really wish that I could turn on the TV and see a bunch of humans doing something…

I mean, look at this: The Queen of England knighting Patrick Stewart. That’s just great. And yet, I look at it and all I see is an old robot being plugged and marching out of her crate to do some ceremonial animatronics on the king of Shakespearean Sci Fi.

The other night I was talking to Maria and I threatened to do a blog post of nothing but pictures of celebrities drunk because I was feeling low and that would give me a temporary laugh.

And Maria, the classic enabler that she wonderfully is, merely said, “DO IT!”

Some day I’m worried that I might. Out of desperation, fatigue, or boredom, I don’t know. Reiterating from yesterday’s post

…but either way: Internet, give me something new. Please, I beg you. Show me something with flash or sparkle, something that’ll make me laugh or widen my eyes, and I’ll potentially follow you anywhere.

He’ll flip you. Flip you for real!

I’m sitting here reading an interview with Benicio Del Toro in Rolling Stone about the Che movies and the upcoming Wolf Man film, and I’m focusing on the reported rumors about the man. The supposed sex in an elevator with Scarlett Johansson after an awards show, or the long ago knife fight with Steve Buscemi. Or the juvenile crime spreed he apparently went on as a boarding school student in Mercersburg, Pennsylvania. Or even the time he apparently put Hunter S. Thompson up against a wall for critiscizing his casting as Dr. Gonzo in Fear And Loathing In Las Vegas.

I’d like to do a piece about the rumors swirling around Del Toro (the youngest ever Bond villain), especially since he’s been called “the new Brando” for some time, and how the rumors are just another brick in this very calculated sense of myth building.  Even with the squint, the slouch, the paunch, the mumbling, etc. it still feels very calculated. For example, this passage from the interview:

“What do I see when I look in the mirror?” he asks. “Most of the time when I look in the mirror it’s to see which way my hair is going, because it doesn anything it wants.” He takes off his cap. His hair is a startling, gruesome highway wreck, crumpbled and twisted.

He returns the cap to his head.

“After that I make eye contact with me,” he goes on, “just to make sure it’s me in the mirror. Yeah. Just to make sure it’s me.”

That said, I wouldn’t dismiss the talk of him being “the next Brando” outright. He’s certainly doing better with that title than the last “the next Brando,” Mickey Rourke, despite Rourke’s success with The Wrestler and having been supposedly cast in the Iron Man sequel (Can’t we get a little more love for Angel Heart here, people?). But like I said, I’d like to list a few more of those wild and fun rumors, but the internet seems oddly cleansed of their reporting, which is a shame. Well, no, it’s not, because they’re trash journalism, but it never hurts to dip into the trash a little every now and then, right?

Kanye would like to pose nude for you (after he’s had a few months to work out) and then have less fans. I think those two go hand in hand.

Young lovers caught in action in a obersvation wheel, make it into the Saturday paper.

Sex offender wins half a million in the Alaskan lottery.

Tips on improving your cognitive performance from a savant.

Two men stoned to death in Iran, but a third man escapes. The top 11 compounds in the US’ drinking water. 17 sensational and free graphic novels to download.

If you get a chance, I highly recommend Rolling Stone‘s faux exit interview with GWB. “The farwell interview we wish he’d give,” they say. here’s an excerpt.

“Hell, my dad barely went through two sticks of deodorant his entire presidency. He and Mommy spent all of 1989 in a cribbage game. I remember walking in the Residence once and being like, “Communism just collapsed.” And they’re like, “Just a minute, son.”

Special thanks must go to out to Fuck Yeah Pandas and Bebe Le Strange for pointing us in the right direction on some of these lovely pictures. And the Centennial Society, of course.

Invisibility becomes more than just a fantasy.

The inauguration is coming up, so don’t forget The Audacity Of Hops!

Stuff journalists like.

The trailer for the remake of Gore Vidal’s Caligula. How can you not want to watch this? Starring Courtney Love, Karen Black, Milla Jovovich, Gerard Butler, Helen Mirren, Gore Vidal as himself, and Justine Bateman. Oh, and Benicio Del Toro as well.