Since I haven't written much in the past few weeks, I instead present a little compendium of some writings on or in regards to film that have been holding my interest of late. This may be a recurring thing, maybe not. I decided to give it a name, anyway.

Woody Allen's Spanish Diaries

This is hilarious. Truly, hilarious. I remember a good friend in high school loaned me a book of all three of Woody's early humor collections (Without Feathers, Getting Even, Side Effects.) This was my first taste of the man, and had me aching from laughter during study hall on many a school day. That friend is a bartender now or something now. Haven't seen him in years. God bless him, anyway.

Manny Farber: In memory

Who is Manny Farber??? Until he died, I had no idea. So it goes. A universe of people and things to know, and we all cling on piece by piece as they fly by, or we don't.

Games Cinephile's Play

A fabulous essay, and another newish name that I will have to investigate. I have observed this back and forth behavior many times, and I completely disdain and reject it. Can't people talk seriously and naturally about serious matters without having to engage in some kind of petty duel for intellectual superiority? It's so counterproductive.

By George, Give Up!

A lengthy (lengthy) and academic discourse on why George Lucas sucks. I have not seen Kingdom of the Crystal Spider, but if it's anywhere near as ridiculous as the title (and everyone who saw it) suggests, then this needed to be written.

Herzog and the forms of madness

Yes, yet ANOTHER writing on Herzog by Ebert, cinema's foremost artist/critic butt-buddy duo. But scroll down to to the comments section to find a reply by.. Werner Herzog. Seriously. He has the internet, apparently. Lively discussion commences.

Anyone who doubts the viability of blogs as legitimate and important carriers of language and ideas can now shut the fuck up. They're not just for weirdos, folks.

Not much else to report. Will see Vicky Cristina Barcelona very soon. I'll be taking notes. Have decided to wait for a second viewing to write up Redbelt, Encounters at the End of the World, and WALL-E (but they're all great, by the way.) -GH


THE DVD: Dazed and Confused (Criterion)

(NEW FEATURE: DVD reviews. This is an old one, from Idiot Ego issue one. Reprinted, again, without permission.)

By now, it's practically a cliché to fawn all over DVDs by the Criterion Collection. But it's a necessary evil for any serious film fan, or DVD fan for that matter. If you wanna see some of the greatest movies ever made (8 1/2, Tokyo Story, Rashomon) you're going to have to watch them on a Criterion DVD. Criterion also has the ability to take even the weakest and most shameful pieces of cinematic tripe (Armageddon, The Blob,) somehow elevate them into art, and make you proud to have them on your shelf.. which I do. Here then comes a long-rumored edition of what by general consensus the best movie yet made about kids in the seventies: Dazed and Confused. Director Richard Linklater's best work (Waking Life, Slacker, Before Sunrise/Sunset) is responsible for more than his share of "This will change your life" moments that I have yet experienced in film. And I'm sure I don't have to sell you on this one. You've seen it. Loved it. You listened to the soundtrack on the every morning sophomore year on the bus home (your brother thought one of his friends stole it.) That disc probably doesn't even play anymore.

The film was only Linklater's second full-length feature, after the talky vignettes of Slacker (also available via the Criterion Collection, and perhaps even more highly recommended.) Produced by a major studio, Linklater curtails his wordiness somewhat in Dazed, but it's still driven by dialogue, and it comes equipped with a stash of one-liners and truisms that actually ring true. But, the DVD is the thing. The paper slipcase packaging feels like an LP, and the Zeppelin III-style artwork (with cutouts, ala Physical Graffiti) is well designed, and a nice fat booklet of essays and a foldout of the original poster (!) help it earn it's $30 asking price. And, as ever, the supplements are everything you want and nothing you don't. A 50 minute "making of," an excellent commentary by the always chatty Linklater, and plenty of deleted scenes and extra footage to keep you busy a couple of extra hours.

In the end, what's it about? The days when you had everything you needed: Your friends, a car, some beer, some drugs and of whole lot of time. Don't smoke dope, readers. But you might want to buy this for someone who does.


NJAFBIT: Pineapple Express


The stoner movie has been a genre for a long time, at least since the days of Cheech and Chong, but the majority just don't give stoners very much credit. I'm not much of a pothead myself (years of menial occupations have kept me wary of possible drug tests,) but I've seen enough to know that not all fans of the sweet leaf are slobbering, lowlife video game heads. This trailer definitely makes getting high look fun again.

Judd Apatow has sadly devolved from an earnest, take-it-or-leave-it everyman writer into a bonafide brand name, but this seems to have all flavor without the issues. Seth Rogen was basically the only funny part of Superbad, and James Franco (who was already a part of the Apatow clan from Freaks and Geeks) just looks perfect.

David Gordon Green now has five feature length films under his belt, and the three I have seen (George Washington, All the Real Girls, Undertow) are wonderful. Born in 1975, he is surely the youngest director I can think of that I am comfortable calling "great." Already the best of his generation, if Pineapple Express is as good as it looks, he may be one of the best around.

Plus, this is without a doubt the best trailer I have seen for any movie in a hell of a long time. I can no longer disassociate the MIA song from the movie.

Also- title song by fucking Huey Lewis!

PREDICTIONS: Fun, Hilarious.