Friday, April 30, 2010

20 things more worth your time than "Avatar".

1. Serving the homeless.
2. Working in your yard.
3. Working in your neighbor's yard. 
4. Working in the yard of someone you've never met who lives across town and doesn't like you. 
5. Contemplating your own mortality.
6. Baking scones. 
7. Visiting the World's Biggest Ball of Twine. 
8. Visiting the World's Biggest Peanut.
9. Flipping your mattress.
10. Paying your library fines.
11. Boycotting puppies. 
12. Reading US magazine. 
13. Campaigning for Ralph Nader.
14. Learning to hold your breath for a long time. 
15. Breeding alpacas. 
16. Collecting stamps. 
17. Putting your head in the freezer to see what being cryogenically frozen feels like. 
18. Writing a pen pal in prison.
19. Learning to play the spoons.
20. Flossing (courtesy of Eric Gerhardt, who I am sure flosses daily).

Tuesday, April 20, 2010

Today ONLY! Watch THIS movie instead.

I saw "Lord, Save Us From Your Followers" when I was in seminary because Dr. Paul Metzger, one of my professors, was in it.

I'll tell you the truth, for the first twenty minutes or more, I thought it was pretty hokey. And then all of the sudden, it got fascinating.

Honestly, whether you consider yourself a Christian or not, watch this movie. It's free online, and I would love to hear what you think

Saturday, April 17, 2010

See this movie.

The truth is, most of you won't. That's fine--in fact, it's probably good. 

A friend once said, "Heather's favorite movies are movies where nothing happens." It's not completely true, but it is close. I love movies where lots of internal stuff happens, while not much else does. Hence, "My Effortless Brilliance". 

I got this movie from Netflix, and the best synopsis and probably most common review came from another Netflix user (MC51658, in case you want to get legal about it):

 This movie is about a self-absorbed writer who's only friend has confronted him with the fact that he's a total jerk. This happens in the first 5 minutes and then the remainder of the film involves his attempts to prove he can indeed be a friend. He could have just apologized it would have been a 6 minute short... instead there is another hour of frolicking in the woods and meaningless dialog.

That's actually exactly what happens in the movie, and my only sticking points are that a) The dialog isn't pointless and b) it could have indeed been a short, but that would have been pointless.

There's a grand total of four people in the movie, and the dialog is entirely improvised. Those two points alone are enough to make me fall in love with the movie, but here's the really great things about it.

  • The dialog, being improvised, is so banal it sounds like everyone I know. And at times, it made me really frustrated. In a scene where the writer is being interviewed, the interviewer says the word "Yay" something like eight times ("Oh, you will? Ok, yay. Yeah, good. Yay."). This made me want to pull my own hair out, but I also know for a fact that I and many of my friends overuse the word. Do we think we're ten?

  • The writer (Sean Nelson) has hair inspired by "Eraserhead". See? 

(For the record, I have never seen "Eraserhead". The only David Lynch movie I have ever seen is "The Straight Story", because it was the only David Lynch movie I was sure wouldn't terrify me.)

  • The writer's friend is played by a guy named Basil Harris, who apparently hasn't made any other movies I've ever heard of. This is really too bad, because not only is he really good, he's also ADORABLE. The other sad thing about him not being in anything of note (IMDB,com tells me he's been in nine movies or tv shows, but...) is that it's nearly impossible to find a picture of him. And he's cute. In the movie, he lives way out in the middle of the woods in eastern Washington, and wears plaid, and has a beard, and chops wood, and it's almost exactly like my dream vacation with Brian Williams.
Here's the thing about guys with beards. If I meet someone who's cleanshaven, and he wants to grow a beard, great. Go do it. But if my first encounter with someone includes their facial hair, and then when I see them next the beard is gone, I feel like I'm seeing them naked. I want to hand them a tiny shirt to cover their chin and tell them to have some self respect. 

That's what trying to find a picture of Basil Harris was like. He needs the beard. Otherwise, he's this kind of gawky-looking redhead. The best I can do for you all is the movie poster:

The rest you'll have to imagine. But the image above does capture the movie well--it's two friends trying, to little success, to reclaim the friendship they had, and I think it's excellent. If the movie were about two women, chances are both would cry, and hug, and confess that each of them had been awful and that they loved each other so much, once they had confessed that each thought the other was a bitch. But, thankfully, men don't tend to work that way. 

See this movie, please. It's slow, it's quiet, and the characters will almost certainly annoy you at some point. But you might love it. 

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

"It's a soap opera and MacGyver and The Twilight Zone."

So, five years behind everyone else, I am catching up on LOST. I got pulled in and stayed pulled in precisely because I realized that the people behind the show, somewhere around the end of season two, just decided that, since they had a hit show on their hands, they'd see just how crazy they could make everything. And when the primary goal of a show is to be as whacked out as possible, a viewer can either get mad and find something more constructive to do with his time, or she can embrace the crazy, laugh her head off, and say, "Wha...???" at least twice an episode. 

I have chosen the latter. 

Now, to be fair, I have only watched the first three episodes of the current season. And you can't catch up because and, the legal sites where you can stream episodes, have decided to make only the last five available at a time, which puts me in a "Grumble grumble don't make me responsible to the constraints of time structure grumble grumble" space. 

But, the reason I still watch the show can be best expressed in how I explained it to a friend the other day (it has been mildly enhanced). Starting at the end of season six, episode 3 (and yes, there are huge gaps. I'm not an encyclopedia. Deal.)

If you haven't watched Season 6, episode 3, don't get mad at me if you keep reading. 

"So, they discovered Claire, who's gone all mountain-woman crazy, and they thought maybe she was gone for good because she abandoned Aaron, her baby, and went off with Jack's dad, who was dead when they got to the island but his body fell out of the coffin in the plane crash and then he just started appearing places, and it turns out that Claire and Jack, who is a surgeon and an alcoholic, are half-brother and -sister, but I don't think Claire knows that yet, but anyway, she's hanging out with her dead dad and making weird faces, which is how you know she's crazy, and the dad is probably evil because it turns out there's this smoke monster on the island that is this big storm of black smoke and lightning and it kills people, but it also can, like, inhabit dead bodies, because John Locke also died, and he was one of the original people on the plane, and before the crash he was paralyzed because he had this crazy dad who stole one of his kidneys and then shoved him out of an eighth-story window, but when he got to the island he could walk again because the island is MAGIC but then a bunch of stuff happened and then he learned that he had to die as a sacrifice for the other island people, because some got off the island but a whole bunch didn't, and so HE returned to the island in a coffin just like Jack's dad but then the second plane crashed too and all of the sudden there's a dead John on the beach and a live John looking crazy-eyed and going into this place called the temple, and whenever he disappears the smoke monster shows up, SO, LOGICALLY, the smoke monster inhabits newly dead bodies and makes them evil."

All of this, for those of you not watching, followed a hydrogen bomb explosion which was purposefully set off in the hopes of blowing everyone on the island back in time, so that they would never get on the original plane in the first place. 

Admit it, you kind of want to watch the show now, right? It's ok. Your secret's safe with me. 

Monday, April 5, 2010

Mustaches for (almost) everyone!

This is Band of Horses. Apparently the guy on our far left didn't get the memo.


(This photo is courtesy, which you've hopefully heard of. If you haven't, you should. Not only do they offer tribute albums for "Automatic for the People", "Post" and "OK Computer", they also have a hilarious ongoing "Hunt for the Worst Movie of All Time".)

(I really like Band of Horses, even though both of their previous albums took quite a while to grow on me, and for a while they were one of those bands I couldn't listen to without getting weepy and dark, due to a connection with a certain someone. All this to say I will give the new stuff time to grow on me as well.) 

(A blog post of substance will be here soon. Currently brewing, Good Friday and Luke 7, and a defense of David Bazan. Soon. Promise. Don't sit on your hands, friends.)