Friday, July 30, 2004

Not gonna get my checking account to-day. I'm gonna wait until Monday or Tuesday. I'm gonna wait until I feel good about depositing ten dollars. What's all this for anyway, you may wonder? Why, for my new web site!

Yes, it's truly pathetic but I've gone all this time in cyberspace without having any means for paying for things online. And, yes, it's really pathetic but, at twenty five years old, I have never had a checking account in my life. I've never written a single check. I've always cashed paychecks and have spent cash . . . Well, I guess all that's finally gonna change.

Wednesday, July 28, 2004

I heard a great story at Fashion Valley to-day.

Fashion Valley is a slightly concentrated example of San Diego's strange fushion of snobbish decadence, beauty, and truly pathetic creatures. As malls go, it's really very nice looking, with earth-tones and green trellises on the upstairs and . . . Well, a thousand times easier on the eyes than nearby Mission Valley Centre with its bold, mismatched Crayola paint job.

I was at Fashion Valley with my family this morning--they'd invited me yesterday to go with them and eat at a restaurant called The Cheescake Factory. Yes, they make great cheesecake, but all I had were avacado egg rolls and a portabelo mushroom burger. The avacado egg rolls were definitely the best part.

Anyway, another feast for the eyes at Fashion Valley lately is the legion of terrifically tiny skirts being worn by seventy-five percent of the girls. It's amazing what goes for respectable wear these days.

In Charlotte Russe with my sister, watching her buy one of the denim variants of these, I remarked that I'd seen more of these skirts to-day than I'd seen in any one place in my life.

"What?" she said, looking up at me uncomprehendingly.

"Yeah, NASA," I said.

"Oh . . ." she replied and went on with what she was doing. I suppose it's uncharitable of me to share that anecdote, as my sister is pretty smart. Really, I think it was more an issue of her knowing I was being weird and not caring.

Yes, perfection, or a conception of it, is visible everywhere at Fashion Valley. These skirts make you think about how nice it would be for these girls to sit on your lap but they're in terrible colours. And yes, there's probably an annoyingly unconscious sluttiness that goes along with them.

I saw a dress I sort of liked at Charlotte Russe, on a rack. It was black and its hem looked sort of like it was shredded. I pointed it out to my sister and all she had to say about it was, "Ew!"

Three inch skirt--good. Big black dress--just poor taste.

So on the way out, near Cheescake Factory again, we ran into my parents' friend Denise and her daughter, my sister's friend, Rachel.

Plain, pleasant conversation insued between them all as I stood silently among them, slowly feeling heat from the cloudless sky cement all my insides into a single melted organ mass.

Then Rachel told a great story. It seems that for one reason or another, a few days ago, she needed to have a urine sample for something at school. So she got the sample ready and put it in her backpack. Upside down. With the lid on not so tight.

When she stood up to leave class, there was an embarrassing mess.

Now, the best thing about this story was hearing it being told by one of the pretty-perfect denizens of Fashion Valley, giggling about it as a quaint little misadventure.

Monday, July 26, 2004

Rage! Anger stuff! Growl, spit, etcetera!

I was trying to open a checking account . . . But it turns out I need two forms of ID. Arrrrrrrrgh! This upsets me more than I would have thought. Mainly because it means I have to put an indefinite hold on a project I've been working on for a while . . . Damnit. I have a driver's liscence. There has to be something else I've got that says I'm me . . . The lady at the bank ran through ideas. Passport? No. Military ID? No. School ID? Yes, but it's incredibly old, which caused me to wonder why I haven't been getting new school IDs. If I have to wait 'til fall, when I start classes, in order to open a checking account . . . Well. I'll be annoyed.

And last night I watched Oklahoma!. The songs were good, some of the performances were decent, and I was oddly turned on by the ladies doing ballet in their knickers. But even though a number of the reviews I read praised the film for its bold, rich colours, the colours were actually a weak point, in my opinion. I didn't catch it in the credits, but I'm betting it was probably Eastman or something, and not Technicolor. Either that or it was a bad copy of the movie or it was done intentionally and it's just my wonky taste at fault. In any case, everything look faded and yellow, like it'd been soaked in butter. It made me uncomfortable to watch, and oddly reminded me of being left out in the hot sun for a very long period.

Following the studios' tendency in the fifties of placing a slightly irrelevant dance sequence into the centre of all their musicals, Oklahoma! had an almost good dream sequence detour that temporarily substituted the lead actors with actors who could dance. Which I don't think ever quite wins over the viewer--at least, it certainly didn't work on me. There's also a substitution of mood and style in this sequence, making it feel like a scene from an almost completely different movie. Which would have been okay if it had been extremely good. But it wasn't good at all. It was almost good.

Sunday, July 25, 2004

Good, hot, fresh drip coffee often reminds me of penguin beaks. That's what I'm drinking right now--coffee.

Er, I didn't go to the Comic-Con yesterday. In one way, I'm glad because I only have five dollars left to-day. On the other hand, I'm angry for missing out on Claudia Black, Ben Browder, David Kemper, and a number of other things . . .

So how did I get from forty to five since yesterday? Let's see . . . Well, fifteen dollars was spent on gas. Three dollars was spent on a venti Americano with an extra shot. I think I spent three dollars earlier on Saturday on a latte . . . In the evening I spent seven dollars on burritos for Trisa and I after a confusing coffee attempt in Hillcrest. On the way home, realising I had no cold drinks with which to wash down the burrito, I spent two dollars on a bottle of Arizona's green tea with honey. Then there're the coffee, scone, and ginger ale I got this morning.

So. I've spent thirty-four dollars out of forty . . . and to-day, I have five dollars . . . Damnit, I ought to have six, grr . . . I'll never be a responsible adult.

Did you know I'm perhaps a Nebari? I'm perhaps named Leh'agvoi. To perhaps prove this, Mella drew this picture of me (which is certainly very flattering);

Friday, July 23, 2004

So. The second day of the Comic-Con--or, as it's familiarly known, the San Diego International Comic-Con--is over. Actually, for me, it's day one, as I opted not to go on Thursday.

There's something unnerving about a place where people who write or draw really cool, widely loved things are just milling randomly about in a crowd of several thousand cosplayers and variously odoured boys and girls. This struck me as I turned a corner on the main floor and found myself a few steps from Neil Gaiman, who immediately begun speaking to a little girl he called Zoey.

I hung around a little with some vague idea of telling him he kicks ass, but, as he continued talking to Zoey, I walked away as I had begun to feel like a filthy stalker. I went upstairs thinking about how such an encounter first stuns, then depresses me with its fleeting, insubstantial quality. That's really why, I think, I don't have very much interest in waiting in line for autographs.

So I was thinking this, walking along in corridors between the rooms upstairs, when I turned another corner to find four or five people having a conversation with Stan Lee. Or someone I was dead sure was Stan Lee, though I couldn't find his name in the programme. In any case, it was enough to make me start feeling a little faint, so I took myself to the deadest hallway I could find and just stood around for a while.

One of the most extraordinary and wonderful things about the Comic-Con is that, even though there're thousands of people there, there're still plenty of cool, air-conditioned quiet spots. And none of the security people seem to mind if you just set yourself down on the floor, anywhere.

I suppose air-conditioning is important when you insist on wearing as much black leather as some of the people (including Neil Gaiman) insist on wearing. I saw voluminous and heavy leather being put to use in a large assortment of nice costumes; a very perfect Jack Sparrow costume that I saw posing in front of a life size X-Wing with Boba Fett, a very decent Vampire Hunter D costume worn by a young woman, and of course any other shape or configuration of leather you could imagine (okay, maybe not every). There were also a large number of people dressed as members of the Crazy 88s, two Links from Legend of Zelda, and a female Sephiroth.

This time out, the only person who came with me to the Con is my friend Tim. When I met up with him after my persistent, accidental celebrity encounters, we made our way to one of the anime screening rooms and watched a decent episode of Ranma 1/2 from its seventh season (a better episode than many of the ones I remember from the fourth season), and a classic episode of Urusei Yatsura. And then from there we went to the Neil Gaiman/Dave McKean panel devoted to discussion of Mirrormask. Clips were shown and it looks like an incredibly beautiful movie. And Gaiman revealed that the Death and the High Cost of Living movie is now under the jurisdiction of New Line, which provoked an awful lot of applause. And I felt almost inexplicably happy about it, too.

And now I'm debating whether or not it's a good idea to go back to-morrow, with only around forty dollars left . . .

Wednesday, July 21, 2004

Last night I dreamt something about purchasable personal wings or something . . .

I watched The Magnificent Ambersons, an Orson Welles film that is also, as just about every write up about it I've found on the internet has said, a terrible tragedy. I knew from the beginning of the movie that, after Citizen Kane, Welles was never again granted full control over any of his movies. I knew there would be wonky edits and maybe even blunderingly inserted scenes. Oh, and it was so . . .

Partial scenes of vicious cinematic genius are followed by standard, plain-Jane 1940s swill. The ending, in particular, feels horribly wrong, and even worse after having read about the original ending. The excised scenes were apparently destroyed by fire, which some claim was without malice towards Welles and simply a matter of spring-cleaning RKO Studio's storage. Others say differently.

Somewhere in this footage is a frightening, big, alien story about the world changing into something where wires and noisy, steaming machines are commonplace, slowly, innocently propagating over old, beautiful homes and families. There're terrifyingly ingenious shots of an early automoble trundling over a snow coverd hill under an enormous, skeletal tree . . . Agnes Moorehead in a black dress screaming as she fumbles through shadowy halls . . . An old, dying man with oddly poetical, senseless words . . .

Monday, July 19, 2004

Looks like I'll be spending lots of time at Starbucks to-day. I have to drive my aunt (who works there) to and from.
The Comic-Con looms closer. I wish I had a boatload of money.
Discovered my copy of Nosferatu is missing the last four minutes . . . I need more tapes . . .
Time to go . . .

Sunday, July 18, 2004

I had a dream involving clones, television, people with wings, and sky cities. There was some kind of double cross going on, and some of the clones had no brains and consequently wanted to eat brains they found. But otherwise, these clones seemed pretty nice.
Well, my sister read Chuck Palahniuk's "Guts" and said "it wasn't that gross." Which I suppose was inevitable. Teenagers . . .
I had bitter suspicans confirmed a few days ago when I finally found time to watch the subtitled version of Spirited Away and found that the screenwriter(s) for the dubbed script indeed took some incredibally stupid liberties. In a couple places, they even put in lines where there were none before.
The first time I noticed this, was when Chihiro first sees the bath house. In the English dubbed version, when the camera's not on her face, Chihiro exclaims, "A bath house!" When I saw the movie dubbed, I immediately suspected this line hadn't been there originally. And, indeed, it was not. The reason for its inclusion was obvious; the screenwriter felt us Americans would become confused and therefore angry and growly because we were looking at a building whose function we could not instantly ascertain.
Perhaps there're even reasonable people who agree with this argument. As for me, I say poppycock. Later dialogue does, after all, reveal it to be a bath house. And anyway, in America, the very concept of a bath house is foreign to your average youngster, so the line very likely would become the cause of confusion, rather than a deflection of it. After all, by this point, the kids have already been forced to just be cool with a lot of foreign things and imagery. The line would probably make them feel like they're supposed to know with the place is right now.
A worse instance came later when Sen and Haku part at the bridge after having visited Sen's parents. After crossing the bridge, Sen turns back and sees a distant white snaky shape in the sky. In the dubbed version, when the camera's off Sen's face, we hear her say, "Haku?" In the original language version, she says nothing.
Okay, now this is one hell of a liberty. At this point in the film, we're clearly not meant to be certain that the thing is Haku. It certainly seems to come as a revelation to Sen when she discovers it again later. And anyway, it seems ludicrous for someone, when seeing a dragon in the sky, to instantly assume it's another manifestation of the guy she was just talking to.
Oy . . . Well, I'm glad I have the subtitled version. The actors are all much better, too, and Yubaba looks like she's actually saying her lines.

Saturday, July 17, 2004

Not much to say. Been drawing things. Drew better yesterday than I drew to-day. But I drew more to-day, perhaps unfortunately. Maybe it'll look better once it's inked . . .
Yesterday I had an iced venti vallencia Americano. It was pretty good, and pretty cheap. I think I have enough for another to-day, although maybe I'll get it without the vallencia . . .

Friday, July 16, 2004

Trisa and I went to Borders yesterday, where we and about three hundred other people listened to Chuck Palahniuk read "Guts".
If you've ever read "Guts," then right now you're likely raising your eyebrow at the idea of this piece being read aloud in a public bookstore where there were in fact five year old children wandering around. Yes, it was glorious.
This story, which made even Poppy Z. Brite uncomfortable, has, according to Mr. Palahniuk, made more than twenty people black out, six of which occured last night at the selfsame Borders' reading. One elderly man, in another city, was even found in a pool of blood after having passed out, hitting his head against a shelf. I assume he didn't die, but Palahniuk didn't say.
It even made me uncomfortable, and has had some lingering effects as occasionally I catch myself to-day wondering about things that might be shoved up my ass for various effects.
The story has to do with guys experimenting with different ways of masturbating. Palahniuk's stated intention with this story, as well as with a number of others that shall be included with it in a forthcoming collection, was to attempt something like what Edgar Allen Poe was most famously concerned with in his tales--to make us uncomfortable by using subject matter that we all deal with in some way or another in our lives but never, ever talk about. Honestly, when Palahniuk said this, I don't think it was seriously possible for him to carry it off. But, well. He did.
If you want to read it, it's online in a number of places, including here. I don't know if it's with proper permissions anything but, then, I don't know if it isn't . . .

Thursday, July 15, 2004

Yesterday I saw Night Nurse and Spider-Man 2. They were both good.
Funny--the theme in Spider-Man 2 of "with great power comes great responsibility" reminded me of Mary of Scotland. Peter Parker felt he had to give up a bit on his personal desires in order to serve his city, somewhat in the same way Queen Elizabeth felt she had to give up her womanhood in order to serve England.

Wednesday, July 14, 2004

Too bloody hot around here . . .

Watched John Ford's Mary of Scotland. It starred Katharine Hepburn in the title role and she was very good. The costumes and sets were gorgeous and Ford's use of shadows and silhouettes is brilliant.

There must've been a big pressure in those days to have movies end on an upbeat because this one's ending is a curious moment where Mary's lover is dead, her kingdom and child under the control of her enemies, and she herself is walking up to the scaffold. And even so, she gets a hopeful smile on her face as the music swells.

Just a few minutes earlier, Queen Elizabeth visited Mary in her cell to gloat. Even though the actress playing Elizabeth was clearly instructed to portray her as a villainess, it's hard to ignore the nobility and wisdom in her words to Mary as she makes the case that because Mary wouldn't sacrifice her lovelife for the greater good of her country, she's lost everything. Elizabeth talks about how she sacrificed everything else about herself for the good of England.

It's downright funny that the movie wants us to think something great is happening when Mary realises aloud that she wins because Elizabeth, with no heirs, will be succeeded by Mary's son, James. Yeah, congratulations, Mary. There may be mayhem and murder as a result but . . . well, at least you've won. Er, sort of.

It's interesting to compare this movie with the newer Elizabeth starring Cate Blanchet. Many of exactly the same events occur, but there's a better truth in the actors' motivations.

But, again, Mary of Scotland was good. Costumes, castles, John Ford . . . You know, I have to wonder if Ford new exactly what he was doing. If he wanted us to see the foolishness through the movie glamour . . . Really, it's not very unlike John Wayne's character in Ford's The Searchers. Wayne's character was a psyhcotic racist, but he's played like the hero half the time. What an interesting period for moral ambiguity in Hollywood history . . .

Tuesday, July 13, 2004

A friend told me a tale of an Australian who went to Thailand and discovered a strange and insanely potent energy drink. Seeing the opportunity for this thing overseas, the Australian carbonated and diluted it, and sold it in America under its original name, which is Red Bull. The American Red Bull is about a third the potency of the original.

Recently, my friend put in an order to Thailand for thirty two pounds of the original concoction. It arrived days ago and, being my friend, he offered me a bottle of the curious liquid.

I took it from my refrigerator this morning. The small glass bottle was of a shaded amber hue, like the ware of an evil apothocary. Eating first two oatmeal granola bars, I drank the stuff.

Like the American version, I find this stronger Red Bull tastes not unlike melted Fruit Stripe Gum or what I imagine praying mantiss blood would taste like. Sadly, it seems to have had no effect on my wakefulness . . .

Monday, July 12, 2004

Yesterday, I watched Dragon Seed, starring Katharine Hepburn and Walter Huston with their eyes taped back so that they could play Chinese farmers. Wrong? Er . . . Well, yes.

Robert Osborne, in the host segment, explained that in those days, part of the reason movies were made at major studios was so that they could promote their stars. The fact that they had no Asian stars meant that the cast had to be entirely Caucasion. And that's . . . what's with the eye taping . . .

Oddly enough, what the strange makeup succeeded in doing, more than making the actors look Chinese, was to make them look Romulan. And, not for the first time, it occurs to me that the alien species on Star Trek were based to a significant extent on the portrayal of foreigners in old Hollywood.

I know I'm not the first person to suggest that. I can't be. But, boy, is it ever apparent in Dragon Seed. Even the dialogue has the peculiar, almost lyrical formality of Star Trek aliens.

But if one somehow manages to set aside feelings about the inaccuracies of a movie made entirely by people foreign to its setting and culture, there are some really good qualities. The art direction and costumes were quite beautiful and even seemed authentic. Scenes of dialogue between Hepburn and Huston were very effective. Sure, they were wearing silly makeup, but they were also both incredible actors. They created something with shear, brute, actor force.

Made in 1944, the movie was meant to show American audiences how horrifically the Chinese were being treated by their Japanese captors. But some of the best scenes are good for avoiding any attempts at harsh realism, as when we get to watch Hepburn stealing into a Japanese occupied mansion to put poison in their feast ducks.


Last night, I dreamt I was watching a trailor for a movie starring Johnny Depp. It took place in the early 1930s and Depp was taken to prison for several years. He emerged with an insane grin, telling people he'd met an angel and he was going to create a comic serial about him. That angel's name? Superman!

Sunday, July 11, 2004

The headache still hasn't gone away but, you know, I refuse, just refuse to take headache medicine. Because . . . because . . . uh, I don't want to.

Watched Rear Window to-day, which was more fun than I'd expected. It had an incredible set, more impressive even than The Terminal's set.

Don't feel up to much to-day accept watching things. I've already been adventuring throughout town with Trisa, since 6am. And I am sleepy.

Started reading Peter Straub's Shadowland this morning. It started off with a very cool story about the King of Cats.

Saturday, July 10, 2004

I'm not sure if my head hurts because I haven't had enough caffeine or if it's because I've had too much. I'll drink more and see what happens.

Been listening to the new Cure album. The more I listen to it, the more I like it.

I was in Mission Valley a short while ago and watched a flock of emergency vehicles going down Friars Road like a calamity had occured. Parts of the road were blocked off where it looked like a bad idea to block off a road, where a few minutes'd probably meant cars were backed up through three stoplights. So I had a burrito.

To-day, I've argued why Threshold's better than Donnie Darko.

Friday, July 09, 2004

Watched and was, perhaps inevitably, disappointed by Badder Santa yesterday. It was basically funny and all. It was basically good. But when you put the word out that your movie is gonna be super-supremo naughty, and even naughter in a special DVD unrated version . . . Well, you better damn well be naughty. But what was the "worst" this movie was able to do? Was it Santa pissing himself on his mall throne? Was it the topless girl in the background of the stripper bar? Damn it, I don't know. I don't what they meant for me to recoil from but, gods, if this is the sort of thing we're reduced to in naughtiness . . . Well, someone's gotta go to Hollywood and knock some heads.

I wanted to see Lauren Graham naked! How do you even do one of those "she just happened to decide to wear her bra the whole time she was having sex" scenes in a movie like this one was supposed to be? I mean, damnit!

Hmm. Trisa and I had really bad omlettes yesterday, but a really nice waitress. No, we didn't have the waitress that way. You see? The casually perverted faculty of the brain has advanced too far.

Where is my naked Lorelei Gilmore?


Stolen from Mella:

You Are A Fooking No-Rules REBEL!
You are a No-Rules Rebel!

In A Post-Apocalyptic World, Who Would You Be?
brought to you by Quizilla

Wednesday, July 07, 2004

My arm hurts, I'm hungry and . . . hmm . . .

Went to guitar lessons with my sister yesterday. Kept screwing up in ways I wouldn't have if I couldn't practiced this shit on my own. Oh, but no, class, we gots to do this all together . . . I hate classes that aren't all lecture. I hate being forced to work with people I don't care about.

What to do to-day . . . I have something like no money. I have two hundred fifty dollars and a car registration that's asking me to pay it two hundred fifty dollars.

On the other hand . . .

If I wait 'til Monday, I'll have another hundred. And the late payment fee thing shall be ten dollars. So two hundred sixty dollars.

These are dangerous thoughts.

Oh, I want a mocha . . .

What a bad time to redevelop a taste for the mocha. Guah . . .

Tuesday, July 06, 2004

Awoke at 9:30pm last night and went back to sleep at 4:30. In between, I watched a hezmanna of a lot of Farscape with Trisa, who's at last taken an interest in the show. We reached the end of the first season last night, and I'm excited about how much I know the show improves in the second season.

Afterwords, I went home and, before going to bed, watched an episode of Case Closed, an anime series being shown on Adult Swim that I'd caught part of an episode of a week or so ago, and thought had seemed very good. It's got a good, casually strange concept; a detective gets turned into a child, who seems to be really good at football/soccer. Now he secretly solves crimes, not letting anyone know that he's got the brain of an adult detective.

The show has a couple of nods to Sherlock Holmes, which I liked. I watched a full episode last and, once again, I was made to appreciate how brilliant Arthur Conan Doyle was. Case Closed was good, but it wasn't very difficult to figure things out before the kid did. That never happened to me with Sherlock Holmes. I guess I've been spoiled . . .

Notice anything odd about this "metal" bikini? (from Leia's Metal Bikini ).
Awoke at 9:30pm last night and went back to sleep at 4:30. In between, I watched a hezmanna of a lot of Farscape with Trisa, who's at last taken an interest in the show. We reached the end of the first season last night, and I'm excited about how much I know the show improves in the second season.

Afterwords, I went home and, before going to bed, watched an episode of Case Closed, an anime series being shown on Adult Swim that I'd caught part of an episode of a week or so ago, and thought had seemed very good. It's got a good, casually strange concept; a detective gets turned into a child, who seems to be really good at football/soccer. Now he secretly solves crimes, not letting anyone know that he's got the brain of an adult detective.

The show has a couple of nods to Sherlock Holmes, which I liked. I watched a full episode last and, once again, I was made to appreciate how brilliant Arthur Conan Doyle was. Case Closed was good, but it wasn't very difficult to figure things out before the kid did. That never happened to me with Sherlock Holmes. I guess I've been spoiled . . .

Notice anything odd about this "metal" bikini? (from Leia's Metal Bikini ).

Monday, July 05, 2004

Good mornin' . . .

I woke up at 4am with the sickening realisation that I'd slept nine hours. The realisation that I was not going to be getting any more sleep and that the day, for better or worse, had begun. So here I am, drinking the Komodo Dragon blend Starbucks coffee I found in the refrigerator.

So what've I been up to for these quiet days? Lots of movies of course . . . Cat on a Hot Tin Roof, Coffee and Cigarettes, Fahrenheit 9/11, Boom Town, Strange Cargo, The Terminal, and Manpower. All of them were mostly good, except Strange Cargo was rather disappointing. But even it had its moments.

For fun, I'm gonna try to link all of these movies . . . Cat on a Hot Tin Roof was an interesting little Tennessee Williams drama that wasn't as good as A Streetcar Named Desire. It starred the pretty Elizabeth Taylor and the scorchingly gorgeous Paul Newman, who not only looked better than Taylor, but was a better actor. You've probably heard it here first. In later life, as a cool looking old man, Paul Newman appeared in Road to Perdition, a film directed by the same fellow who directed American Beauty, which featured Thora Birch, who was also in the wonderful Ghost World with Scarlett Johannson, who was brilliantly partnered with Bill Murray in Lost in Translation.

Bill Murray was one of the highlights of Coffee and Cigarette's, a film that was the culmination of twenty years of short films directed by Jim Jarmusch about people doing things whilst enjoying coffee and cigarettes. Over the period of twenty years, see, Jarmusch would occasionally bring aside a couple actors and make a little short film with them on the subject. The first film, starring Roberto Begnini and Steven Wright, won a prize at Cannes, but I only found it mildly interesting. It felt contrived to me, and not nearly as good as some of the later pieces. I enjoyed the dialogue between Tom Waits and Iggy Pop, which was a scene something like watching exotic animals circling each other in fascinating lighting. But my favourite segment was Cate Blanchett in duel roles; as herself, and as her somewhat bitter cousin. Blanchett carried off the performance of two different people talking to each other so well that it was breathtaking. And the subtility of the characters was better than the broader humour seen in some of the film's other segments, like the Tesla coil scene with The White Stripes. Cate portrays with surprising delicacy the star's awkward feelings about being caught in the strange eyes of the common woman.

The scene where Bill Murray converses with GZA and RZA of Wu-Tang clan was strangely darling, right from the moment where Murray drinks straight from the coffee pot. Generally, the movie was good, although I didn't enjoy it as much as Jarmusch's Mystery Train.

Cate Blanchett has been a favourite actress of mine for a while. She appeared in the reasonably good The Talented Mister Ripley with Matt Damon who, most sentients know, is best friends with Ben Affleck. Affleck had something of a cameo appearance at the beginning of Fahrenheit 9/11.

I like Micheal Moore. He twitches oddly when he's trying to sit still. I admire that in a man.

And I admire this film. It didn't tell me much I didn't already know, in terms of raw information. But he brought into it the emotional element that is lacking in simple reports of what a fuckhead George W. Bush is. Yes, I really think a lot of people need to see the Iraqi man holding the mutilated corpse of a baby, asking the camera what the child had done to deserve this. We do need to see the man being taken from his home by U.S. soldiers without being told why. We need to see all of the soldiers coming home to the U.S. with missing limbs. We need to have our eyes and or ears open to what's happening. This film does that.

Unlike some people, I even like Moore's humour. It provides a useful function. Without it, there're a lot of people who would never sit through a movie with images like what this movie has. And that would have meant a lot less people who're informed.

One of the most important issues with the Bush administration is its connexions with oil dealing and trade. It seems to have pushed these fat-cats into an unimaginably loathsome, cut throat mentality. And it was odd that the next movie I enjoyed was a film called Boom Town.

Made in the early 40s, it took place in the early 1900s and cast Clark Gable and Spencer Tracy as pennyless oil prospectors. They swiped equipment from Frank Morgan (who played the Wizard of Oz and who I'd seen a week earlier in The Mortal Storm, starring Jimmy Stewart and Margaret Sullivan as Jews escaping from Nazi Germany on skis--but that's another kettle of fish) to drill on a spot where Tracy thinks there might be oil.

The film also features Claudette Colbert and Hedy Lemmar, both of whom looked delicious. It also had a court room scene at the end where Spencer Tracy talked about the importance of preserving our land's oil as much as possible, so it wouldn't be so scarce for future generations. Aw, such innocent times.

Clark Gable also starred in the next movie I watched, Strange Cargo which, like I said, was disappointing. It featured two favourite actors of mine; Peter Lorre and Joan Crawford. In fact, it was the first time in years that Gable had worked with Crawford, after the two of them had frequently been paired in dramas of the 30s. The set-up was promising--in some exotic country (which is never clearly identified and could've been either France or India), Gable's a convict and Crawford's possibly a call girl (the Production Code prohibited the film from being too clear about that). Peter Lorre's possibly a pimp.

Unfortunately, somehow it was decided this movie would feature a conterfeit convict who turns out to be an incarnation of Jehovah, in order to push a religious message on the film, and ensure that, as per the rules of the Production Code, Gable turns himself back in at the end after going through a lot of trouble to escape.

Peter Lorre also appeared in John Huston's The Maltese Falcon. John Huston later directed The beautiful 1952 version of Moulin Rouge (as far as I'm concerned, the best movie to bear that title), which featured Peter Cushing in a small role. Cushing appeared in Star Wars, Episode IV: A New Hope, directed by George Lucas, who at about the same time, co-wrote the screenplay for Raiders of the Lost Ark, directed by Steven Spielburg. Spielburg also directed the movie I saw yesterday, which was The Terminal.

The Terminal took place almost entirely on a very impressive set, which looked exactly like an airport terminal. It must've cost a fortune to build.

It was a cute movie. Sometimes too cute. But basically good and effective. I really liked the ending, which didn't make too much with the good-wins-hurrah business.

Okay, here's the long shot; The Terminal had the lovely Catharine Zeta-Jones in it. Zeta-Jones costarred with Rene Zellweger in Chicago. Zellweger'd been in Jerry MacGuire, which had Tom Cruise in the title role. Tom Cruise starred in Ridley Scott's Legend. Scott had made Blade Runner a year earlier; it had starred Harrison Ford. Ford'd had a cameo in Apocalypse Now, as did the great, recently passed Marlon Brando. Marlon Brando had been in Guys and Dolls with Frank Sinatra, Frank Sinatra had been in Some Came Running with Shirley MacLaine. Two years later, MacLaine was in The Apartment, directed by Billy Wilder, who'd directed Witness for the Prosecusion about five years earlier. It'd starred Charles Laughton and Marlene Dietrich. Around fifteen years earlier, Dietrich was in Manpower, the movie I watched last night (whew!).

Manpower was directed by Raoul Walsh whose best films, I suspect, I have yet to see. Manpower also starred Edward G. Robinson and George Raft. It was about guys who fixed powerlines when they broke, usually in dramatic thunderstorms. It was a great movie, though. Part action, part blue-collar comedy, part film noir. It certainly had the film noir quality in that I suspect it was partially inspired by the puritanical nature of the Production Code. It was inspired to show how sometimes life is really not so tidy and sometimes, in the end, there's very little us mortals can do about it.