lowercase movie journal – american graffiti (1973)

(journal meets writing meets movie review)

 

9/22

 

american graffiti – 1973 – george lucas

 

lots of painful scenes

girls rejecting the guys, the guys pressing on regardless

 

were the 60s like that, george?

 

it’s in the 90s, temperature-wise here.

i feel cooped up in my small apartment.

 

i get it. the fondness of reminiscing on adolescence

and figuring women out.

 

but it’s a sinking gross kind of feeling, too.

 

you stare at your own picture enough

and you become a monster.

 

/

 

the ending with the epitaphs was weird.

women treated as objects throughout the whole thing

side characters who don’t warrant any sort of mention along

with the dudes.

 

lots of uncomfortable cat calling scenes

i disliked this movie much more this time around.

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Bojack Horseman Season 1, Episodes 1&2

Review: Worth your time if you like cartoons, Will Arnett, Paul F. Tompkins, and Alison Brie.

My friend and fellow roller derby skater, Live Bait (not his actual name), raves about Bojack Horseman all of the time.

Bojack Horseman is the horse version of a Full House actor – washed up and was on a shitty sitcom back in the 90s. It takes place in a universe where animal / human hybrids are the norm. Bojack, in these first two episodes, is something I’ve seen before- a drinking, copulating, cursing cartoon character that pushes the boundaries of decency. Alison Brie plays his ghost writer helping him write his biography that his agent / girlfriend who he treats pretty awfully set him up with. Mr. Peanutbutter, a labrador/ man, played by Paul F. Tompkins, is his rival who was also in a crappy sitcom in the 90s, but seems happy while Bojack is miserable. Bojack makes the observation that Mr. Peanutbutter doesn’t even know enough to know that he should be miserable. I have a feeling that as the series goes on, Bojack will make more and more of these pronouncements. I’m told the series starts off as Family Guy and turns into more existential type of comedy.

Tangent: I find myself listening to these recap podcasts. Game of Thrones. The Americans. I tried listening to a Twin Peaks version of it, but I found the personalities on the show to be grating. There’s something about the enjoyment of a thing and talking about it with other people. Hearing people talk about the thing you just watched.

Pop Culture Happy Hour does that with movies, but I haven’t been out to the movies in a while. I’d rather be at home with my dog, and my back gets irritated at me if I sit for too long.

So- perhaps Live Bait and I will talk about Bojack Horseman at some point. So far, the first two episodes don’t give me too much to chomp into.

I totally agree with Bojack, in the second episode – some of the troops are heroes. Some are just regular people. Some are super shitty individuals who have fucked up motivations. Just like any job. Choosing a profession doesn’t automatically turn you into a saint or a hero. But it’s the agreement that keeps society functioning- one of the enticing things about being a cop or in the army or a firefighter is that you get the societal accolades of doing something altruistic. They’re kind of shitty jobs so you have to have uniforms and status.

Aaron Paul is an executive producer on the show and I believe plays a voice on it. He’s surprisingly good. Alison Brie is great in everything. I’m a fan of some of what Will Arnett does, but not everything. Patton Oswalt and Paul F. Tompkins are two of my favorite comedians, so I’m happy to listen to them do pretty much anything.

Review: Worth your time. Especially if this is just setting the scene in a larger context for more meaty existential jokes to come.

Bad Man’s River (1973)

Review: Not worth yours, or anyone’s time. Not even a little bit.

A terrible misogynistic movie made in 1973 starring Lee Van Cleef. Why it’s bad:

  • Plot that makes no sense.
  • Over-dubbed dialog and sound effects, even though it was already shot in English.
  • Jaunty (terrible) music.
  • Bad acting.
  • Bad set design.

This seems like it was basically Lee trying to cash in on his popularity with other westerns. The movie seemed like it was cobbled together B-roll.

It’s on youtube if you want to watch it. But trust me. It’s not worth even a little of your time.

Preacher – S2 Ep 13 (Finale) The End of The Road

Review: Mostly worth your time.

The series really felt like it was trying to push the narrative along, but got stalled out in Louisiana. Jesse teams up with Starr. Eugene teams up with Hitler and inadvertently sets him loose upon the world. Cassidy and Tulip begin the process of leaving New Orleans. Denis’s evil ways get to Cassidy. Denis doesn’t eat or kill the dog, but he makes creepy intimations to Cassidy about doing something with Tulip. Maybe the best scene of the episode came when Cassidy pushes Denis out the window only to burn to death. That was Cassidy’s attempt at not becoming an evil vampire as opposed to the good vampire he is right now.

Tulip gets shot as she’s saying goodbye to the Grail lady whose name I never bothered to remember because her character is pretty bland. Jesse rushes back after we see him unable to use the Word on a bunch of fake terrorists. Cassidy offers to save Tulip by turning her into a vampire, and Jesse says they should just let her die.

The final scene shows them headed to the ranch / plantation that Jesse lived in with his grandmother (probably?), with a dead Tulip in tow. They’re referencing the first scene of the episode where his grandmother apparently revived a chicken after Jesse killed it in a fit of Rage.

This episode, like others, is doing a lot of setting up to get from one point to another. Again, I keep thinking about that first Preacher episode from season 1. The violence was stylized and brutal. The characters were sympathetic and complex. This season just doesn’t seem the same. The fight scenes are kind of what you’d expect, and we don’t really have any sympathetic “regular mortal” characters this season at all.

I hope next season gets off to a better start.

Preacher – S2 Ep 12 – On Your Knees

Review: This was a “getting from point A to point B” episode. Only worth your time if you’re a completist.

Spoilers ahoy:

This episode was basically a return of the plot device that could control Jesse – the Saint of Killers. I’m pretty un-enamored with this episode as a whole. Again, the most interesting part was watching Eugene in Hell try to escape from his own Hell and stand up to the girl who killed herself and blamed Eugene for it.

The Saint of Killers made an agreement with the Grail dude from Better Off Ted, and got himself out of the lake. Jesse and Tulip almost get killed by the Saint of Killers but that lady from Hell who’s like the jailer saves them both by telling the Saint of Killers that she’ll put his wife and kid in there now that God’s gone. As a Deus ex Machina moment, it’s pretty good in that it serves to combine the two storylines together.

The fight scenes in this episode weren’t as cool or painful as in the first episode of the entire series. Remember that fight on the plane with Cassidy? Or the fight with Tulip in the corn field fighting off 3 guys? The series just lacks the punch (pun) of the first season.

At the end of the episode, Jesse talks about taking the place of the Messiah on Earth and Tulip and Cassidy are not on board with it. The Saint is back in Hell.

Watch this episode only if you’re super into seeing things through to completion.

Preacher Season 2 Episode 11 – Backdoors

Review: Worth your time more so than previous episodes, if you like moral puzzles and butt jokes.

Spoilers as usual.

Tulip and Cassidy react to Jesse lying to them about the Saint of Killers being in hell. We learn more about Jesse’s backstory. Starr tries to recruit Jesse. At the end of the episode, it appears the Saint of Killers is back. Meanwhile, in Hell, Arseface is conspiring with Hitler to get free. We learn some of Hitler’s back story.

For me, the most interesting part of this episode was watching Eugene in Hell with Hitler. They do a very good job of making (I can’t believe I’m going to write this) Hitler a sympathetic character. The Preacher version of Hitler turns out to be a struggling artist, that we see in a flashback, who was fearful and bullied and his girlfriend left him for another man and he didn’t get the last piece of plum cake. Somehow that amounts to Hitler being sympathetic in the moment. When Eugene asks Hitler why that was his worst moment in life, Hitler responds with: “That was the last time I was good.” (Or words to that effect.) The asshole bully in hell seems to me to be the Internet incarnate. And in Hitler vs Internet comments, well, I don’t want to choose sides on which I like better. Definitely not the historical Hitler, that’s for sure.

Jesse, Tulip, and Cassidy get mad at each other and Jesse runs out to find God who he’s pretty sure actually IS the pervert in the dog costume. In the process, Jesse makes his way back to Starr, and we hear his prayers. That’s where another piece of the Jesse Custer history is revealed: either before or after his death, someone who identified herself as his grandmother makes Jesse renounce his name and thank god for killing his father. Starr thinks this will break Jesse, but it just serves to piss Jesse off and the “Starr taking things up his butt” jokes continue.

I like that both characters – Hitler and Jesse – are looking for redemption (or at least that’s what they’d like us to believe in this episode). I imagine the writers are leading us down the path to sympathy for Adolph, and then they’ll reveal that he’s the evil sonofabitch that we know he is. There was already a glimmer of this in Hell when he switches from the meek to Hitler the orator and rouses his fellow Hell-mates into creating a diversion.

But the other theme that this show brings us is being absorbed and haunted by our past. I suppose that’s what redemption is all about- feeling guilty for moments of weakness, or evilness, or failure, and then wanting to make amends. And making amends or redemption – it all amounts to time travel in one sense or another. Doing something now to somehow rectify your past actions. The more I think about guilt and feeling sorry for your actions, the more I think it’s not that great of a motivation to live by. (TV- and plot-wise seeking redemption and feeling guilty are great character motivations.) Creativity and moving forward seem to produce better results than wallowing in mistakes and looking for a DeLorean to go into the past and change things for the better.

Anyway- this episode was much stronger. Definitely worth watching. The weakest part of the episode, in my opinion, is the Tulip-what’shername storyline. Tulip’s smarter than that and I don’t buy the whole thing.

 

TV stuff: Marc Maron – Too Real (Netflix)

Rating: Worth your time. Watch it or listen to it while you’re doing something else and you’ll still get a lot out of it.

I think I liked this special more than any of Marc’s other specials. It felt, as the title suggests, pretty real. I’m sure he wrote this whole hour plus up and performed it based on what he wrote, but it felt like him just getting up there and saying things off the cuff, but in a good way.

He recorded this special right here at the Pantages in Minneapolis, but I didn’t get a chance to go see it. He kind of nailed the reason why I didn’t go- he joked about it in the midst of his set. I’m in my late 30s. I hate dealing with parking, and I figured I’d get as much or more enjoyment watching it at home on Netflix than paying $35 and sitting WAYYYY up in the rafters of the Pantages. (That’s what I did when I saw him the first time, here in Minneapolis.)

Was his shirt weird? I kept getting distracted by his shirt.

The bit about the Stones was pretty great. And I totally agree with his assessment of Dave Matthews fans. You’ve got an uphill battle on your hands, friends. (I also made a Dave Matthews joke later in the day. Sorry man, didn’t mean to steal your joke when I was at Midtown Global Market getting burritos.)

Talking about a standup special is more difficult than talking about a piece of scripted TV, I think.

Marc’s one of my favorite comedians and personalities. I listen to his podcast a bit, so I feel like I’ve heard some of these jokes in different forms as he tries them out on his show, it seems.

Anyway. Great special. Go watch it. It’s worth your time.