100 Movies

I was going to write a post entitled "The 100 Greatest Movies Evar" but then I figured I wasn't really egotistical enough to declare, by myself, the greatest movies ever. (Truthfully, I do think that highly of myself, but it seemed like a lot of pressure.) I revised it into a list of "My 100 Favorite Films". This would seem to suffice for most people, for me it quickly devolved into a series of sub-lists of particular directors and genres, so as to not skew the main list one way or another. Having 6 or 8 Hitchcock films on the list might start to do just that thing, but I couldn't very well just write 'Hitchcock Films' as an entry. First of all I haven't seen all of them, secondly some of his movies just wouldn't make my top 100 list. Ok, so we can all tell that the 100 faves list would probably turn into an essay on classification systems and the applications thereof.

I decided to free myself and create a list that I am calling "100 Movies That I Love But Which Are Not Necessarily My Favorite Films, Nor Would They Be My Votes For The Greatest Movies Of All Time, Although Some Of Them Certainly Could Be." Or "100 Movies" if you're into the whole brevity thing.

My wife mocked me for not only feeling the need to make such a list, but that I would need to both quantify and qualify the list itself. Then she mocked me for being able to make several lists that would all contain 100 movies and would have so little overlap that I would need to define them as discrete items. I realize that to most people this stuff is trivia but it's what I dig on.

Enough hullabaloo, on with the 100 Movies.
(Oh, and just because this is a numbered list, that does not in and of itself denote any sort of ranking system, these are just some movies I love, off the top of my head.)

1. Leon: The Professional
2. The Maltese Falcon
3. True Romance
4. In America
6. Raging Bull
7. When Harry Met Sally
8. Vertigo
9. To Kill A Mockingbird
10. Spirited Away
11. Jaws
12. 12 Monkeys
13. Dog Day Afternoon
14. Interiors
15. The Evil Dead
16. A Very Long Engagement
17. Glengarry Glen Ross
18. 28 Days Later
19. Bullitt
20. Oldboy
21. Armageddon
22. Usual Suspects
23. Sin City
24. Empire Records
25. The Big Lebowski
26. Clue
27. Carlito's Way
28. The Thin Man
29. L'Avventura
30. Night of the Living Dead
31. THX 1138
32. Cabin Fever
33. The Royal Tenenbaums
34. Punch Drunk Love
35. Charade
36. The Tingler
37. Lethal Weapon
38. Rosemary's Baby
39. A Slipping Down Life
40. Children Of Men
41. The Limey
42. Taxi Driver
43. The Color Of Money
44. Cool Hand Luke
45. The Exorcist
46. Do The Right Thing
47. Tideland
48. Psycho
49. Zodiac
50. American Grafitti
51. Romeo+Juliet
52. Nightmare On Elm Street
53. Brick
54. Blood Simple
55. The Village
56. Sunset Boulevard
57. El Mariachi
58. Clerks 2
59. The Goonies
60. Breakfast At Tiffany's
61. Annie Hall
62. A History Of Violence
63. La Femme Nikita
64. Pan's Labyrinth
65. Primer
66. The Departed
67. The Shining
68. Tombstone
69. King Kong
70. L.A. Confidential
71. Pet Sematary
72. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
73. The Jerk
74. Heat
75. Pi
76. The Commitments
77. The Lady Vanishes
78. True Grit
79. Nashville
80. Barton Fink
81. Dr. Strangelove
82. Children of the Corn
83. Halloween
84. Spartacus
85. Intacto
86. The World According to Garp
87. Ghostbusters
88. The City of Lost Children
89. The Terminator
90. Alien (s) (3) (Resurrection)
91. The Verdict
92. The Abyss
93. Butch Cassidy and the Sundance Kid
94. Rashomon
95. Run Lola Run
96. Stalag 17
97. Rififi
98. The Talented Mr. Ripley
99. The Fly (Cronenberg)
100. Ginger Snaps


YouTube Finally Achieves Relevance

(via The House Next Door)

I Guess I'm Not the Only One

Thank you, Gawker contributer for your quick posts that court both sides of how I feel about this movement. In theory I like it, in practice, not so much.


A List of Somewhat Random Facts About Me

1.I have a son, born 3/12/03. (Connor Night)
2.I have a daughter, born 9/18/05. (Keira Bryce)
3. I married an amazing woman on 07/01/00 (Mari Gayle)
4.We got married less than 5 months after meeting.
5. We have 2 dogs (Scully and Charlie)
6. We have 2 cats (Orson and Wanda)
7. We also have a hermit crab (Coochie-coochie)
8. I am a geek (as evidence, dig the fact that both children and all but one pet were named after pop culture refrences.)
9. I am a stay at home dad.
10. I am a writer/director.
11. I wrapped production on my first short earlier this year.
12. Being a stay at home dad is the hardest job I've ever had.
13. Trying to be creative and find time to write while being a stay at home dad is the second.
14. And I used to be a brick layer.
15. Also, a cab driver, computer tech, cook, welder, shoe salesmen, set builder, and on, and on and on.
16. I never proposed to my wife, I just assumed she'd want me.
17. I was right.
18. I love coffee.
19. The first clear memory I have was watching television with my dad, the show was "The Twilight Zone" the episode was called "Passage on the Lady Anne."
20. The second thing I remember watching on TV was the making of the "Thriller" music video.
21. For better or worse these two experiences shaped much of what I am today.
22. Perhaps unsurprisingly I love "The X-Files"
23. Perhaps surprisingly I also love "The Gilmore Girls"
24. I think that "Good Eats" is one of the best shows on television.
25. Growing up I had a compulsion to mentally spell all the words I was speaking out loud.
26. I once worked with a man who believed that Count Chocula was an embodiment of the Devil, and therefore would not take his children down the cereal isle at the grocery store. He also believed that the bible stated that other races (non-white) should be looked down on.
28. I once broke his nose with a can of 7-Up.
29. The one thing I hate is intolerance.
30. I often get distracted in the middle of the sock and shoe taking off process. It's not uncommon to see me wandering around my house in one stocking foot and one shoe.
31. Or two stocking feet but one sock half off.
32. Converse Chuck Taylors are my all time favorite shoes.
33. Cap'n Crunch is my all time favorite cereal.
34. Raisin Bran is a close second.
35. I have broken all my toes, some more than once.
36. I broke my leg as a toddler, my parents didn't take me to the hospital for 3 days because there was no bruising or swelling. My dad broke down crying in the parking lot of his work when we went to pick him up and he saw the cast on my leg.
37. I competed in the Jr. Olympics for Tae Kwon Do.
38. I got my first guitar for christmas when I was 10 years old.
39. I originally went to college to study classical guitar.
40. I am currently taking jazz guitar lessons.
41. I also played the trumpet, trombone, tuba, violin, and various percussion instruments in high school and college.
42. I took piano lessons in grade school.
43. I've never learned to read music, I either played by ear or rote memorization.
44. As a child I wanted to be a writer when I grew up.
45. In third grade my favorite authors were Edgar Allen Poe, Sir Aurthur Conan Doyle, and Judy Blume.
46. By fifth grade Stephen King bumped Judy Blume off the list.
47. In middle school a friends older brother introduced me to The Pixies, Soundgarden, Monty Python, Doom, The Sandman comics, and speculative fiction literature in general. He also tried to get me to watch Star Trek, but I had to draw the line somewhere.
48. I still haven't seen a whole episode of any iteration of Star Trek.
49. Despite the fact that Wil Wheaton is one of my favorite bloggers.
50. I have a tattoo based on artwork from an issue of The Sandman.
51. Neil Gaiman is now one of my favorite authors.
52. I want to get another tattoo based on my love of film.
53. My mom introduced me to horror movies at a young age.
54. Probably too young.
55. I'm glad she did.
56. I've never smoked a cigarette.
57. Or anything else.
58. Or done any illicit drugs.
59. Or played a drinking game.
60. I did however start going to bars when I was 19.
61. I rarely drank though, mostly I played pool with friends from work.
62. I never got carded until the day of my 21st birthday.
63. In second grade I fell off the neighbors porch and landed on a rock, on my forehead.
64. I have a scar nearly in the middle of my forehead from it.
65. It is vaguely shaped like a lightning bolt.
66. I think that's awesome.
67. I dislike getting hair cuts, I think they never turn out right.
68. My wife thinks I look cute in baseball hats.
69. I am getting tired of writing about myself.
70. I like to cook.
71. I am actually pretty good at it.
72. I also know how to knit.
73. Not well, but I did make a camera holder for my wife.
74. Plums are probably my favorite fruit.
75. Unless blue raspberry flavoring is considered a fruit.
76. I've had my tongue pierced 3 times.
77. I often have dreams in which my tongue is pierced.
78. I also often have dreams where I can fly but only by concentrating very hard, I generally wake up tired and sore after these dreams.
79. I'm done.


AotO #2: Movies!

This one has been bothering me for a while, and it's kind of a two parter.

Mutual Appreciation in specific and the Mumblecore movement in general.

The thing is, the makers of these films are so open and amicable about their processes that it makes it hard to judge them at all. I follow their production blogs and root for them when (inevitable) troubles set in. I admire them as filmmakers who have a vision and stick to it. I just can't get into most of the movies at all. I find it hard to get into a movie with a lack of drama, action or plot. I understand they are going for a 'realistic' dynamic, however just because it's like real life doesn't mean it's interesting.

A friend recommended that I re-watch Mutual Appreciation with an eye towards the underlying meaning of what the people are saying (or more accurately, are stuttering, slurring and, yes, even mumbling). I just couldn't do it though. For me to even begin to care about what may or may not be laying below the surface I have to be interested at least somewhat in the surface. Car chases and boobs are a good start, but really, I would settle for a character that I wouldn't walk away from during a conversation.

I realize that it's probably silly to spend so much time thinking about a rather obscure (to the mainstream, at least) cinematic genre, but hey, someone has to.

Academy of the Overrated #1: Music!

Everybody is entitled to their own opinion, mine is no more valid than yours. There are no absolutes in the arts. The common definitions of what is 'good' or 'bad' have no place when it comes to personal taste, either something speaks to you or it doesn't.
That being said, here are is a list of musical artists who receive way more credit than they deserve.

The Greatful Dead
The Velvet Underground
Guns 'n' Roses
Black Sabbath
Elvis Presley

I would like to write a scathing diatribe condemning these artists, but I can't even get that passionate about them. They all just leave me cold. Cold and scratching my head in wonderment. I plan to write the first Academy of the Underrated post soon, seeing as how those are artists that I really dig, I'm sure it will be far too long and rambley, which should, in theory make up for the shortness of this post. Feel free to yell at me because of my choices or add your own!

Lust Made Mechanical




I've been sick. I am a miserable bastard when I'm sick. Truthfully I'm a pretty miserable bastard when I'm in the best of health, but when I'm sick it's like the miserable bastardyness pours out of me in concentrated form. Generally speaking I am content to sit back and quietly disapprove of ignorance and stupidity from afar, however, when ill I can get downright stabby. This feeling of wanting to put a screwdriver through someones kneecap is thankfully mitigated by the fact that I am also a whiny little bitch when I'm sick. And that of course is why I am writing this, to be able to whine to you, Dear Reader, about my latest illness.

After about a day of sniffles and a slightly scratchy throat it hit me. The headache. A real stomach-churner too. The kind that sends you straight to bed with words like encephalitis and inoperable mass flitting through your brain. So to bed I went, with clogged sinuses and a sandpaper throat.

Waking up it felt like someone had placed an old car jack sideways in my mouth, right between the hinges of my jaw, and pumped that thing until the handle broke off. My teeth were like badly insulated wires buzzing in their sockets, bright sparks of pain arcing from one to the next. In my joints the sinew and membranes that normally reside there had been replaced with poorly constructed iron scaffolding, blazing hot and brittle.

Dehydration caused my eyelids to scrape across my eyes with every blink. I could hear mutinous mutterings from my kidneys regarding what they were viewing as poor treatment, I tried to explain to them that I had no control, once the water was down my throat it was up to stomach and intestines to sort out what went where. I shouldn't be held accountable for the fact that my stomach decided to reject all offered substances without even checking with the other organs.

Don't even get me started on the fact that my testicles felt as if they had been assaulted by a drunken bare knuckle boxer with a grudge against any unborn children I might be brewing.

Just then, as it seemingly cannot get worse, I hear my mother-in-law pull into the driveway. I guess spending two or three days in the fetal position isn't really such a bad way to pass the time.


The Other Half Of My Half Year In Print

After I finished the last post I honestly thought there were 3 or possibly 4 books I hadn't written about yet, as it turns out I was wrong by about half, after gathering the books from beside my bed and between the chairs in the library I came up with a grand total of 8 that I had finished. Add to that the 2 short story collections that I am working my way through (Ray Bradbury and Issac Asimov if you'd like to know) and I figure I am way ahead of my goal. OK enough gloating, on with the reviews!

13. As I Lay Dying by William Faulkner
Classics really should be read by more than high school students and Oprah fans. How one would manage to tell a cohesive story using 15 different narrators is beyond me. Each voice is distinct and believable. Yet another author I am looking forward to revisiting.

14. The Creative License by Danny Gregory
Last year I read a book about journaling as a sort of creative manifesto, Amazon thought that I would like this too. Turns out, Amazon is pretty smart. Check out Danny's site for a taste of whats in the book.

15. Watching Baseball Smarter by Zach Hample
As a kid I got in a lot of fights, I was smart enough to be different, but too dumb to keep my mouth shut about it. It always seemed to be jocks that I was getting into tussles with. With that in mind I decided to shun all things sports related. I now realize that mindset is sort of like blaming christianity every time a youth pastor gropes one of his (or her, not trying to be sexist here) young wards. Sports in and of themselves aren't evil, and some can even be fun. Believe it or not this was a revelation to me. Seeing as how I spent the period of my childhood in which most guys learn how all these games work, with my nose buried in a book instead, I am way behind the curve. Being the geek that I am, I of course turn to books to help remedy the situation. I still have no interest in football though. Or basketball.

16. Shopgirl by Steve Martin
Lovely and sweet, Steve displays an understanding for human frailties and the city of Los Angeles that you wouldn't believe if you only know him from movies. Especially his more recent ones.

17. Dancing Barefoot18. Just a Geek by Wil Wheaton
Don't be put off by the whole "Star Trek" thing or the whole "child actor" thing. Wil's writing is smart, funny and endearing. If you read blogs at all, you really should read his, he has a great grasp on the personal narrative structure.

19. On Writing by Stephen King
Have I mentioned that he's one of my favorite scribblers? Part memoir, part writing guide, so if you dig either writing or massively tall novelists this book is for you.

20. Neuromancer by William Gibson
"Hey! You got philosophy in my sci-fi!"
"Hey! You got sci-fi in my philosophy!"
Also, as far as I can tell, this is the birthplace of The Matrix. That, coupled with the fact that Gibson turned in one of my favorite X-Files episodes (Kill Switch) means that I probably should have started reading his works years ago. Oh well, I'll work on that.

Upcoming Books:
From Russia With Love
Lisey's Story
Harry Potter and the Deathly Hallows
Anansi Boys

Given the fact that at this point I've already ready nearly my expected quota for the year I think I'll up my goal to a book a week on average. Here's to hoping!

Seriously, keep coming back, I'm only going to get better.


My Half Year In Print

Right around the first of the year I came upon several people who had decided to read an average of a book a week this year. That sounded a little too strenuous for me, what with all the child raising and what not, so, I decided on the less demanding goal of a book every two weeks. I also chose not to count books that I read to the kids as bedtime stories, even though we are getting into some classics such as The Little Prince and the Ramona series. Seeing as how were about at the halfway mark for 2007 I figured I would check in and make sure I'm on track. So without further ado here is a quick rundown of the books I've read this year so far.

1. Off Season by Jack Ketchum
I think the second sentence of the Wikipedia article sums up this book better than I could "Praised by such literary icons as Stephen King,[1] Ketchum has also been condemned by a Village Voice[2] critic who once dismissed his work as violent pornography." If you know me at all then you shouldn't be surprised to find out that I really loved this book. I cannot however give it a blanket recommendation because I'm pretty sure this kind of thing is not everyones cup of bloody, bloody tea.

2. Paingod and Other Delusions by Harlan Ellison
Ok, I hate to sound like I'm going to heap praise on every book I read but, I did sort of stack the deck by filling the list with books/authors I have been looking forward to visiting for quite a while but hadn't made time for yet. On with the praise heaping- This is brilliant, brilliant stuff. A nice mixture of pulpy sci-fi elements and philosophical ramblings.

3. The Big Sleep by Raymond Chandler
Seriously, just read it, it's fucking gold.

4. Foundation by Issac Asimov
I've been planning on reading the Foundation series since I was in jr. high I actually started way back when but found it a little intimidating, and quickly moved on to Orson Scott Card and Arthur C. Clark. I enjoyed my short stay in Asimov's universe and am looking forward to returning sometime soon. I really feel unqualified to comment on this particular book very much beyond that as it is part of a much larger (15 friggin books!) work.

5. The King's Evil by Will Heinrich
The Clare Boothe Luce quote "No good deed goes unpunished." kept rattling 'round my brain as I was reading this book. (So much so that I had to go look up who the quote was attributed to .)

6. Casino Royale
7. Live and Let Die
8. Moonraker
9. Diamonds are Forever by Ian Fleming
I got myself this cool megaset last x-mas, having never read a James Bond story and only having seen one movie I decided it was time to jump in whole hog (I also picked up the new DVD sets). Turns out my early elitism was unfounded. I like both the movies and the books, although there are a ton of differences both in events and in tone. The books thus far are mostly a meld of noir conventions with political machinations and gobs of globe trotting thrown in. Lots of meditations on manliness and how cold vodka drinks should be served included as well.

10. The Colorado Kid by Stephen King
One of my all-time favorite writers tackling a noir story? Yes please! He managed to play around with some of the conventions of the noir genre and keep some of his trademarks running through it. I've heard that quite a few people had issues with this one, but I thought that it hummed along quite well. At any rate it was a really short read so if you don't like it its over quickly.

11. Me by Garrison Keillor
Yes, I love A Prairie Home Companion. No, I'm not in my mid 60's. I was apparently wired to enjoy folksy down home humor, along with my buckets of blood, and dames to kill for.

12. The Road by Cormac McCarthy
Ok, fine, McCarthy was suggested to me a couple of years ago by an acquaintance, then, yes I also heard that the Coen brothers were adapting one of his books for a movie, and no, I didn't read one of his damn novels until Oprah said it was ok. Call me a pussy if you must but I am really glad I caught up with this. By turns heart wrenching and terrifying, what more could you ask for really? Don't be put off my it's experimental nature, it's worth the (slight) learning curve.

I do have at least a few more books I've finished since the beginning of the year, look for my thoughts on those and my planned reading list for the remainder of 2007 in the next day or so.