Tuesday, May 31, 2005

box office derby results

i'm retarded. the two openers did well and star wars topped the weekend again, but overall the box office was down for the, what, 15th week in a row compared to last year? it's not gonna stop either as next week cinderella man ain't coming near the 90 million that harry potter opened with last year. anyway, i overshot even if we were looking at the 4 day weekend, which we're not. just friday-sunday.

1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 55.2 -49%
2. The Longest Yard 47.6 NEW
3. Madagascar 47.2 NEW
4. Monster-in-Law 10.2 -29%
5. Kicking & Screaming 5.1 -52%
6. Crash 4.7 -16%
7. The Interpreter 2.1 -29%
8. Unleashed 1.9 -54%
9. Kingdom of Heaven 1.7 -52%
10. House of Wax 1.3 -60%
11. The Hitchhiker's Guide to the Galaxy 0.7 -65%
12. Sahara 0.4 -44%

the longest yard is a promising start to hollywood's "nothing but remakes" strategy this summer. next week we'll see if the streak continues with "lords of dogtown"

and this weeks winner is marc

aaron is convinced he's never gonna win again and with this weeks performance, he's convinced me too. but man oh man, am i retarded.


1. Marc 34.2
2. Brendan 39.7
3. Aaron 47.1
4. Chad 54.1

this was my second worst weekend ever and for those wondering, marc still holds the record for worst single week with 67.4 million off. all of a sudden my score looks a lot better.


1. Marc 14
2. Chad 9
3. Aaron 8
4. Brendan 8

marc cleaning up in wins, and will surely regain the lead in the averages now.


1. Marc 25.0
2. Chad 25.4
3. Aaron 27.6
4. Brendan 27.8


so next week we got this


Cinderella Man 2,800
The Sisterhood of the Travelling Pants 2,529
Lords of Dogtown 1,800

album review - coldplay "x&y"

after 33 months of waiting for a new coldplay album, my ears can finally relax. i am hesitant to write album reviews because my opinions about songs and albums are constantly changing. whatever i say here may be the exact opposite of how i feel in a few weeks or months, but with this album i thought i should at least write some initial reactions.

first of all, if you want in on the action you can go to this mtv asia site and stream the whole album yourself. so, just a little background first. i have been obsessed with coldplay since seeing them perform at the 9:30 club in washington d.c. on august 8, 2002. it was three weeks before "a rush of blood to the head" came out and hearing those songs for the first time in that environment turned me from a normal fan into a lunatic. here i was expecting a chill concert of ballads like "sparks" and "trouble" and the first few chords of "politik" knocked my socks off within 5 seconds.

this album comes with enormous expectations and is already being criticised for not "progressing" their sound from the last album. having "speed of sound" for the first single made it tough to retort to those remarks. it's opening bars are remarkably similar to "clocks" and the sound isn't anything new. but hearing the whole album makes me think that they have progressed and here's how. i feel like their songwriting has adapted to their success in the sense that each progressive album seems to be catering to where they will be showcased. "parachutes" is a very intimate album with lots of introspective, small songs that seem best suited for a small club like the 9:30. at that time, i don't think they even thought that many people would hear them. "yellow" and "shiver" being the exceptions.

then "a rush of blood to the head" came and was much bigger. "daylight", "a whisper", "politik", and "clocks" all sound like a band writing in anticipation of playing some auditoriums, like the grady cole center in charlotte where i saw them again. "amsterdam" and "a rush of blood to the head" tied the two albums together just as "speed of sound" and "square one" tie the new one to the old. and now with "x&y" coldplay are writing like a band playing in stadiums. even the ballads like "fix you" and "what if" sound larger than "we never change" from the first album.

after one listen, the true standout is "white shadows" but there is nary a miss in sight. granted, this was the review everyone expected from me, but the album is just fucking good. from "fix you" to "talk" to "the hardest part" to the johnny cash inspired bonus track "till kingdom come" there is something new and exciting to each track.

i will say this. i doubt there is much here to turn detractors into fans and vice versa, but i don't think that indicates a lack of experimentation. it's just that coldplay can seemingly try anything without losing the charm and style that brought them their fans in the first place. but if you didn't like "the scientist", you ain't gonna like "swallowed in the sea".

bottom line i guess is, predictably i love the new cd and am gonna listen to it a fuck of a lot. but i don't think it's because i'm willing to cut them slack on anything. i truly think it's the third of many albums from a band that is gonna be around for a very long time.

overall grade - A-

Sunday, May 29, 2005

the greatest films of all time part 3 - 1940's

i know i am gonna get some flak for this list, but hey the best are the best. i love the 40's by the way. my favorite era is american cinema from the 40's and 50's so this list and the next are going to be dominated by the usa. that being said it's odd to start with. . .

10. The Bicycle Thief (1948)

directed by vittorio de sica
in between the time i saw this for the first time and the second time, i witnessed my own father being viciously humiliated and the impact it had on me seeped through every frame of this film on second viewing.

9. Rebecca (1940)

directed by alfred hitchcock
hitchcock's only film to win best picture at the oscars, it's also one of his most complex character studies. with some thrills of course.

8. Shadow of a Doubt (1943)

directed by alfred hitchcock
another underrated hitchcock, although it's still highly rated. joseph cotten is perfect as the creepy uncle that comes to visit theresa wright. if you haven't seen it, you're stupid.

7. To Be or Not to Be (1942)

directed by ernst lubitsch
a comedy about a drama troupe that has to pass itself off as nazi generals in order to survive in occupied poland. a slapstick comedy about hitler and the nazis. made before the war was even over. seems unbelievable that they would do that, but they did and man is it hilarious. just came out on dvd finally so check it out.

6. Red River (1948)

directed by howard hawks
one of my favorite westerns ever. in general, i kind of hate westerns, but something about this one bucks the trend. maybe it's montgomery clift, who i love being thrown in with the duke. it certainly can't be the cattle drive storyline or walter brennan acting crankety because that's in a hundred other westerns.

5. The Lost Weekend (1945)

directed by billy wilder
billy wilder. easily one of the top 3 filmmakers of all time. so many good movies it's ridiculous and you'll be seeing a couple more before these lists are through. why more people don't know ray milland i'll never know but watch this movie and you'll never forget him.

4. Sullivan's Travels (1941)

directed by preston sturges
when veronica lake dresses up as a boy, it's ridiculously sexy. does that make me gay?

3. The Best Years of Our Lives (1946)

directed by william wyler
you may recall me touting mr. wyler as the best director of all time on "ultimate film fanatic", and here is exhibit a. his finest movie, a 3 hour epic about people coming back from the war and having to fit back into society.

2. Casablanca (1942)

directed by michael curtiz
yeah, yeah i know it's a boring choice, but wait till you see number 1. it's amazing though and there's a reason why it's a boring choice, because you can't argue with it.

1. Citizen Kane (1941)

shocker right? well fuck you it's brilliant.

movie review - mysterious skin

sean, brendan, matt and myself all went down to the sunset 5 yesterday for the 4:45 mysterious skin show. it was pretty packed and an audience that skewed surprisingly older. anyway, first the trailers

the beat that my heart skipped - a french film that carried the critic's blurb "if (insert stars name here) was any hotter he would burn the very celluloid the film was printed on". despite that terrible hyperbole and the terrible title, the film actually looks pretty good. B+

my summer of love - supposedly acclaimed british love triangle thriller, but the trailer came off as dullsville to me. i like paddy considine though. C

chrystal - terrible trailer. file it under "forgotten forever the day after it opens". D+

sons of provo - click the link. you gotta see it for yourself. F

funny ha ha - considering that my roommate already has this on dvd and my former roommates have proclaimed it the best movie in years, i was curious to finally see something about it. and after seeing the trailer, i'm mostly unimpressed. although i have a raging crush on kate dollenmayer already. B-

wild side - i kind of already forget what this trailer was like. what i do remember ain't so hot. D+

so, mysterious skin. i've never seen a gregg araki film before but everybody i trust has told me that he is terrible. the main reason i was seeing the film was because two summers ago i visited the set and wound up acting in a little horror short called "blood prom" that was supposed to be used in the movie as a movie the characters go to see. i was curious to see if i wound up on the cutting room floor. i was surprised to find that i kinda liked the movie.

the movie is uncompromising in its portrayal of pedophelia, male prostitution, rape, and kids wearing really nerdy glasses. some scenes were pretty hard to watch, but by the end, i was filled with a feeling i can only imagine was araki's goal to get me to feel. i enjoyed the main performances with the exception of jeff licon, who stunk up the joint with his terrible portrayal of eric, the gothy kid. in particular, chase ellison who plays young neil was exceptional. for being only 9 years old at the time, the performacne is pretty spectacular. how they managed to make these kids do the things they do without having them know what they were actually doing is beyond me, but apparently all efforts were made to keep the kids in the dark.

some of araki's directing choices fall flat and a lot of his editing was choppy (let someone else edit you d-bag), but sometimes he hits. the music in particular was a great success. the score by howard budd and robin guthrie worked wonders in creating the proper mood and i recommend checking out some samples at the itunes store.

i don't want to drag this out. basically, the movie is really not for people that are bothered by the confession scene in "happiness" because it's a whole movie of that. for those that aren't squemish, it may be worth a look just because it has some interesting things in it that make it overall slightly above average.

as for "blood prom" it's there in all it's glory. well, not all it's glory. i didn't make it in, but my costar trieste did with a wonderful closeup. and we all got our name in the credits, which i was really excited about.

overall - C+

Saturday, May 28, 2005

ireland day 5

aaron and i woke up in our hostel in dublin and checked out before 9. we decided that instead of spending the day in dublin like we had planned, we would drive around to some other places. we asked the chick at the hostel where some cool beaches were and she said she didn't know much but heard people say that this small fishing town named howth had some pretty cool beaches. it was only 20 minutes away so it sounded good to us. we took the train back to our car and got back on the road. we wound up driving through dublin a bit getting lost and some of the suburban areas on the edge of the city were gorgeous. based on ambience, i would live there in a second.

we got to howth and it looked pretty cool. we ate at a fish and chips shop where the fish was so good that i convinced katz to fall off the vegetarian wagon and try some (he wasn't impressed). but then we walked up the coast and found a hiking trail that led through some small cliffs so we hiked it.

as you can see, we stopped to take photos of each other looking pensively into the ocean. but, howth had little to offer besides cool hikes, gorgeous vistas and fantastic fish and chips, so we left. the drive back to limerick was a lot like the drive to dublin, minus the flat tire. we were actually a little disappointed in how bland the drive was. we were hoping to go through some real farm land and stuff, but it was basically just highway.

we got back in time for my aunt's dinner (again, amazing) and that night we went to shane's bar with ryan and his girlfriend again. rebekha had promised that she would bring some of her friends this time, but they all had finals that week and apparently take them a little more seriously than i took my foundations of western thought at school. it was relatively quiet at the bar and we just hung out the four of us and drank a little, saving the real money and energy for the next night. our last in ireland.

job wars

for those wondering who got the job between brendan, some mystery girl and myself, the answer is brendan. the initial plan was to have all three of us come in for a day or two and then let the director decide, but brendan went first and got the job without us other two getting a chance. this is either because brendan was so impressive there was no need or they were too lazy to do the job right, depending on whether you're asking brendan or me.

Friday, May 27, 2005

schapelle corby

zoe turned me onto this story that is getting very little press in the states, but is dominating the news in australia.

basically, last year schapelle corby, a 27 year old australian student was flying into bali for a vacation. upon arrival, police found 9 pounds of marijuana in her boogie board bag. she was immediately arrested for smuggling drugs into indonesia and has been kept there on trial since. she has maintained her innocence from the beginning saying that she has no idea how the marijuana got in her bag and her defense insists she is the victim of an existing drug ring in the area.

the trial is being handled by the indonesian courts and from what i gather, australian government hasn't been able to intervene. anyway, the verdict was reached a few days ago and she was sentenced to an unbelievable 20 years in bali's kerobokan jail. regardless of how you feel about her supposed innocence or drug use in general, this is a nightmare scenario and completely undeserved.

i encourage you to get familiar with this story by looking it up on the news. it's harrowing stuff. here are some articles to get started with

new zealand herald

the weekend australian

about the appeal

box office derby

fresh off the success of star wars last week, we have two huge openings, a holiday weekend, and the official start of summer. predictions this week are all over the place so we are going to see some very unhappy people on monday.

aaron katz

1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 64.8
2. Madagascar 61.3
3. The Longest Yard 28.2
4. Monster-in-Law 8.4
5. Kicking & Screaming 6.1
6. Crash 4.5
7. Unleashed 2.1
8. Kingdom of Heaven 1.8
9. The Interpreter 1.8
10. House of Wax 1.7

brendan mfadden

1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 65.2
2. Madagascar 39.5
3. The Longest Yard 29.7
4. Monster-in-Law 8.6
5. Kicking & Screaming 5.9
6. Crash 4.3
7. Unleashed 2.3
8. House of Wax 1.9
9. The Interpreter 1.8
10. Kingdom of Heaven 1.7

chad hartigan

1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 74.8
2. Madagascar 68.0
3. The Longest Yard 36.3
4. Monster-in-Law 10.0
5. Kicking & Screaming 6.6
6. Crash 4.6
7. The Interpreter 1.9
8. Unleashed 1.9
9. House of Wax 1.6
10. Kingdom of Heaven 1.6

marc ripper

1. Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith 69.4
2. Madagascar 55.5
3. The Longest Yard 42.1
4. Monster-in-Law 10.2
5. Kicking & Screaming 7.9
6. Crash 5.0
7. Unleashed 3.2
8. Kingdom of Heaven 2.7
9. House of Wax 2.1
10. The Interpreter 2.1

i may have gone a little high. we'll see.


star wars episode III: revenge of the sith passed $200,000,000 in a record tying 8 days.

theater review - stuff happens

"Stuff Happens" is a brand new play about the series of events that led to the conflict in Iraq and the parts played by world political leaders, in particular President George W. Bush and his inner circle of foreign policy advisors. From the early search for weapons of mass destruction and the long shadow cast by 9/11, to the drive to remove the tyrannical Saddam Hussein from power, to the thousands of questions relating to oil, terror, Al Qaeda and more, "Stuff Happens" explores through public record and through David Hare's meticulous research what most likely happened behind the closed doors of power.

that is the official description on the mark taper forum website for their newest production. "stuff happens" runs until july 17 and is the newest play by celebrated author david hare, who has won nearly every playwriting award there is and even been nominated for an oscar for his script of "the hours". it has a an ensemble cast of 21 somewhat famous faces and a running time of a little over three hours and unlike the last two productions i saw at the taper, it is pretty bad.

the play was apparently a big hit in england and is making its american debut here. the fundamental problem with the whole project is that it is written as a sort of docu-play. half of it is verbatim public dialogue by the bush administration and the other half is hare's speculation of what took place behind closed doors based on his research. the big problem with the first half is, we've seen it all before. if you are halfway informed or seen the news, then these things are not new. the big problem with the second half is that it is obvious what the author thinks of these people and the made up scenes are so over the top that it takes away any credibility. i mean, even i don't george bush is as stupid as he was portrayed here. half of that is the terrible performance given by keith carradine. i don't require that the actors look or sound exactly like the characters they portray and carradine certainly didn't. but it bothered me because it was clear he was trying to sound like somebody. he was doing some accent, it just wasn't anything close to george bush's.

lorraine troussant and tyrees allen get the overacting awards for their portrayals of condoleeza rice and colin powell. allen especially seemed to think that shouting meant serious acting. stephen spinella's rendition of the french foreign minister is at best, unfunny and at worst, offensive. julian sands (who was great in "arachnophobia") is a wooden tony blair. the only two performances that come off alright are john michael higgins (who played david letterman in that mid-90's tv movie) as donald rumsfeld and dakin matthews as dick cheney. the real highlight was seeing brian george in a small role. brian is most famous for his role as babu in "the cafe" episode of seinfeld.

the staging of the play was not creative enough to justify the 3 hour run time and as i said before, it felt like watching old news you've already seen mixed with commentary you can't quite trust. everything was heavy handed and so dry i'm boring myself writing about it. i was extremely disappointed with the whole thing and don't recommend shelling out the $40 for a ticket.

overall grade - C-

Thursday, May 26, 2005

the greatest films of all time part 2 - 1930's

the 1930's signaled the death of the silent film for the most part and the introductions of humphrey bogart, james stewart, cary grant, katharine hepburn and just about every major start of the "golden era". musicals and screwball comedies were the dominant product and even won best picture oscars at the time. the biopic was invented and directors made two or three movies a year (including victor fleming's amazing one-two punch of "the wizard of oz" and "gone with the wind" in 1939). oh yeah, 1939 is considered by many to be the greatest single year for american movies, rivaled only recently by 1999.

10. Swing Time (1936)

directed by george stevens
the unquestionable best of ginger rogers and fred astaire's pairings. as to be expected the movie features amazing dancework, the classic songs "the way you look tonight" and "a fine romance", and fred astaire in blackface. yeah that's right. blackface singing a song called "bojangles of harlem". it's obviously extremely offensive today, and maybe the only major film to feature a major star doing it that i can think of, but it gets away with it.

9. A Night at the Opera (1935)

directed by sam wood
look at that picture and tell me you don't want to see it.
Groucho: You didn't happen to see my suit in there, did you?
Chico: Yeah, it was taking up too much room, so we sold it.
Groucho: Did you get anything for it?
Chico: Uh... dollar forty.
Groucho: That's my suit all right.

8. Mutiny on the Bounty (1935)

directed by frank lloyd
a fantastic screen version of the classic story. far better than the 50's marlon brando and 80's mel gibson versions. charles laughton is one of the most brilliant bastards in movies.

7. City Lights (1931)

directed by charlie chaplin
chaplin hated the idea of talking pictures and continued to make silents all the way up until 1940. this one is my favorite. probably because it's his most buster keaton-esque, featuring a touching romance with a blind girl and the hilarious boxing scene.

6. M (1931)

directed by fritz lang
one of the earliest movies to deal with a serial killer and amazingly, paints him sympathetically. decades ahead of it's time and the role peter lorre was born to play.

5. Grand Illusion (1937)

directed by jean renoir
the first foreign film to be nominated for best picture, this is one of the best war films ever made. erich von stroheim proves himself not just a brilliant director with his performance here.

4. Duck Soup (1933)

directed by leo mccarey
Groucho: Married. I can see you right now in the kitchen, bending over a hot stove. But I can't see the stove.

3. The Life of Emile Zola (1937)

directed by william dieterle
little seen best picture winning biopic by the fathers of the genre, william dieterle and paul muni. great movie just out on dvd.

2. Trouble in Paradise (1932)

directed by ernst lubitsch
not to be confused with the nicolas cage, dana carvey and jon lovitz movie of the same name. this is quite possibly the most charming movie of all time. out on criterion.

1. Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

directed by frank capra
terribly patriotic i know, but it's amazingly well done and james stewart gives his best performance here.


the following albums passed sales milestones this week.

the game passed the 2,000,000 sales mark. i hate that album cover.

keith urban's album "be here" passed the 1,000,000 sales mark. who the fuck is keith urban?

now that's what somebody calls music 18 also passed the 1,000,000 sales mark. sigh. i guess that means 19 is inevitable. well, at least this one has "drop it like it's hot".


movie review - mindhunters (by guest blogumnist sean mcelwee)

Directed by Renny Harlin
Starring LL Cool Jay and Kathryn Morris
Rated R 106 mins.

Renny Harlin puts a new spin on an Agatha Christie classic. And this makeover is simply to DIE FOR!

Agatha Christie must be rolling over in her grave right now. . .out of excitement! Mindhunters is an updated version of Christie's classic thriller And Then There Were None (also known as Ten Little Indians or "wetbacks" ). For those of you unfamiliar with the immensely popular novel, And Then There Were None tells the story of ten guests invited to a dinner party in England, only to be murdered one by one. However, this time, in a BRILLIANT writing choice, the "dinner party" in England has now become a "secret military base" off the coast of North Carolina. That's a great state. Already, it's got my attention.

In Renny Harlin's newest gore-fest-slash-masterpiece, Kathryn Morris (from the TV show Cold Case) plays Sarah Moore, an FBI agent with enough skeletons in her closet to make Anthony Perkins stand up and scream. Sarah, along with five of her Academy classmates and a black man (LL Cool J), is sent to the aforementioned island to partake in one final assessment of her serial killer profiling skills before becoming an official profiler. This seemingly "innocent" test suddenly becomes very real. . .when people actually start dying. It slowly becomes clear to these students that one of them must be the killer.

Note Spoilers Ahead! Only Read On If You Have Seen The Film Or Don' Care

Personally, I love paying eight dollars for a matinee where I walk out asking myself, "which death scene was the best death scene?" And Mindhunters fails to disappoint. Who is the real killer? Could it be the fearless leader (Christian Slater, in his best performance since Pump Up The Volume), the whiz kid gadget-man (Eion Bailey, who was last scene (ha ha) punching people in Fight Club) or could it be Sarah herself, whose past brings about a tense and sometimes bi-polar attitude towards her work (well, she is a woman, after all).

Solving the mystery for yourself is what makes these types of movies so great. Not since Se7en has a psychological thriller engulfed and intrigued its audience to the point of total hysteria (I must admit I nearly peed my pants a few times during the film and pee actually came out once). But what separates Mindhunters from other thrillers is that we actually grow to love the characters. When Lucas (Jonny Lee Miller) opens up to Sarah about growing up in the deep south (by the way, Miller, a native of England, does the BEST southern accent I have ever heard in my entire life!) you really get a sense of where he's coming from. The deep south. And when we discover that JD (Slater) is "doing it" with Nicole (Patricia Velasquez) I literally saw sparks fly between the two of them as they F'd hard core in the group shower room.

Because we know and love the characters, we really feel for them when they are frozen in Nitro Glycerin and broken into pieces, or beheaded and drained of all blood, or hung from the ceiling with fishing hooks and wire and made to dance like a marionette. Mindhunters is like some brilliant film burrito: a thin exterior of ultra violence and gun pointing, yet there's substance inside, beneath the flour tortilla shell.

Oh yeah. Val Kilmer's in it too.

Mindhunters was put on the shelf by Dimension Films for almost two years and honestly I have no idea why. If I could, I would pay for two tickets to re-live this film experience all over again. One third character drama, one third horror thriller, one third action movie and one third cautionary tale, Mindhunters is eye candy with heart. And I haven't sucked on and tasted anything this sweet in a long long time.

I have never given any movie this grade EVER! But Mindhunters deserves it.


Wednesday, May 25, 2005

feel good time

keegan is right. pink is the new blog is amazing. it's like the blog version of reading US in the grocery store line. and i mean that in the best kind of way.

ireland day 4

early saturday morning katz and i woke up with plans to drive to dublin. we were finally taking the trip into our own hands and the idea of a mini road trip vacation during our vacation was quite exciting. we had a big breakfast and tea before we left and then got down to it. the trip was roughly 130 miles so it was supposed to take a little over 2 hours. we had made a couple of mix cd's the night before for the drive and we got off to a good start. we were seeing some irish countryside, jamming to weezer's "this is such a pity" and then BOOM! i had misjudged the amount of room from the curb on the left side of the car and ran over a median at 60mph.

luckily all that resulted was a flat tire and i got to work putting on the spare. i jacked up the car, took the flat tire off and then realized that i would need to jack it up higher to get the spare on. the problem was that as you can see, we were on grass and every time you spun the jack it dug deeper into the ground rather than propping the car up. so i had to take it out. only it got stuck. and in a moment of brilliant inspiration, i decided to move the car ever so slightly till it came loose. so i did, and the jack came loose, but the bare axel for the wheel dug itself into the ground instead. we tried to jack the car up again but for various reasons it didn't work. so we went door to door for help. this is ireland farm country mind you. after two nobody home attempts we came across a strapping young irish lad that said he could help. we got in his truck and drove back to the car where he pulled out some enormous state of the art jack and had the new tire on in 3 minutes flat. it was very impressive.

back on the road. made it to dublin in a little over 3 hours and parked in a lot and took the train into town. our first stop was the guinness factory. disappointingly, it is not the actual factory anymore, more like a museum (the main factory is now in belfast). aaron and i were expecting huge vats of guinness with a guy stirring it with an enormous spoon. no dice. we did become honororay apprentices to the master brewer and have the id cards to prove it. at the end of the tour you get a complimentary pint of guinness on the top floor with a skybox view of dublin. very nice.

then we walked around dublin trying to get a feel for the city. we were told that temple bar was the place to be so we went there. lot's of bars to be sure. in fact, all ireland is basically is farm land and bars. ask anyone what to do and they will tell you to go to the bar. it was a bit too early to start drinking so we walked around some more. we found a really nice park that must be dublin's equivalent to central park and took some pictures there. mostly we walked around and talked.

so then we checked into our hostel. it was a saturday night so beds were scarce and we finally found a hostel with an opening. it was in a room with 8 other people but we didn't care. in fact, that sounded even better. we immediately met two americans from atlanta. a 22 year old girl named megan and a 19 year old guy named nick. megan was starting a semester in london and was doing a little trip around europe before classes started and nick was her possibly gay friend along for the ride. they asked us if we wanted to go to temple bar with them and we figured why not? we were going there anyway to drink. however, we realized very quickly that nick and megan were pretty lame. in fact, after two drinks katz decided to ditch them. and how's this for a brilliant scheme. first he says he's tired and wants to head back and then when they say they are going to head back to, he switches his story to "we are gonna walk around some more". unless they are idiots, they knew what was what.

we wound up not doing anything special with the rest of the night anyway. we walked around, went to an internet cafe to check box office (which ruined katz's evening) and then went back to the hostel. there were two dudes from the czech republic there already asleep and these guys snored like sons of bitches. the most exaggerated, cartoony snoring you can think of, only louder. and that was day 4.

Tuesday, May 24, 2005

the greatest films of all time part 1 - 1920's

the time article has put me in the mood and now is as good a time as any to bore you with my personal picks for the greatest films of all time. now, i've seen a lot of films, but there is still plenty of shit that i haven't seen. and there is some stuff that i haven't seen in a long time that may actually be much better or worse than i still think it is. regardless, these are my picks and they are all brilliant. my format of choice is always to go by decades so here is part 1 of a 9 part series; the 1920's

10. Wings (1927)
directed by william a. wellman
everybody knows this as the first movie and only silent movie to ever win best picture at the oscars. most of what i read about it was that it actually wasn't that good, but i liked it a lot. it was my first clara bow experience and i found her as enchanting as her reputation suggests. it also features a young gary cooper in one of his first roles and he is quite the stud.

9. Show People (1928)
directed by king vidor
this is a lesser known silent about a girl that comes to hollywood to be an actress and finds fame first as a screwball comedienne and then tries to graduate to dramatic actress. the plot sounds old hat now but it was maybe the first film to feature it. it's got cameos by charlie chaplin, douglas fairbanks, william s. hart and other stars playing themselves. it also serves as a fascinating look at what filmmaking was like back in those days.

8. The Crowd (1928)
directed by king vidor
two king vidor movies from the same year both in the top 10? can they really both be brilliant? indeed. i went on a huge king vidor kick a few years back and it was extremely rewarding. why he isn't a more well known director i'll never know. the crowd is a poignant story about a guy feeling stuck in his life, job, marriage etc. and apparently it was the first american film to show a toilet. so no the crowd, no trainspotting.

7. Metropolis (1927)
directed by fritz lang
it might be stupid to say that the effects in this film are amazing, but they really are. the star wars of the silent era. just do all you can to avoid the 80's re-release with hits from the era used as the soundtrack.

6. Safety Last! (1923)
directed by fred neymeyer, sam taylor
everybody knows this famous scene, but they probably don't know what movie it's from. the only harold lloyd film i've seen is so good it makes me ashamed that it's the only harold lloyd film i've seen.

5. The General (1927)
directed by clyde bruckman, buster keaton
maybe the best silent comedy of all. like all great comedies, it is hilarious but transcends the genre with genuine drama, thrills and engaging characters. buster keaton is way better than charlie chaplin.

4. Greed (1924)
directed by erich von stroheim
von stroheim apparently turned in his cut to mgm and it was 8 hours long. they told him to cut it down and he refused. eventually they took the movie away from him and cut it themselves down to a little over 2 hours. in retaliation, von stroheim took all the money they gave him for his next movie and threw lavish orgy parties with it. as brilliant as that story is, the movie is even better. maybe the best ending of all time.

3. The Passion of Joan of Arc (1928)
directed by carl th. dreyer
if you only see one movie about one person's intense suffering that starts with "the passion of" then this is definitely the one to see.

2. The Big Parade (1925)
directed by king vidor
i'm always amazed when a silent film can move me and i found myself moved on more than one occasion during this war film. this and the number 1 film show that love can be easily expressed on film with no words at all.

1. Sunrise (1927)
directed by f.w. murnau
this is my default answer to the greatest movie of all time because it accomplishes what every other movie i love does, without any words. at one moment it's an engaging thriller, then the most romantic movie i've ever seen, then a spectacular action movie and back again. you have to see it.