…reminded me of the opening shot of “touch of evil“– this ain’t a rant– no point being made here– just a gratuitous link to probably the best and most influential opening shot ever.  along with “citizen kane” and “F for Fake”, proving what a cinematic genius welles was…

finally watched banksy’sexit through the gift shop”  last night.  won’t say much about it– would be preaching to the choir–hence yet another circle jerk.  all needs to be said is it is great.  a keen observation of the modern art world/ market.  where anything and everything will sell to a wall street knucklehead provided it comes with the right story and inflated praise…

it is one big con, really.  which brought me back to orson welles and i just had to re-watch “F for Fake” with the beautiful oja kodar.   “gift show” and “F” are really the same film.  at least they have the same message– the art market is nothing but a big con, a giant hoax.  especially when it comes to “modern art”.

of course when it comes to production value, originality and artistic merit, there really is no competition here: “F for Fake” was eons ahead of the “gift shop”– “gift shop” was a great story adequately executed.  kudos to banksy for a strong first film.  but, “F” is by the guy whose first film happens to be “citizen kane”…  “F” is a masterpiece of editing.  sorry for preaching to the choir here but it really is– its rapid pace and intercuts, seen in film for the first time in “F” in 1974, is what we know as TV reporting/ MTV style editing today.  what we take for granted today, and what feeds our short attention spans, was created by welles, all the way back in 1974, in “F for Fake”.  if you haven’t seen it, run to the video store…

here is a link to the first 10 minutes or so:

and here is another to the original trailer– the trailer’s quality is not even close to the film but gives a great glimpse into the film and welles’ genius:

…have always been an excellent accelerant to get my pissed offness on…  if you lift your head up a little while riding the 2, 3, N, D, whatever, you’re sure to see something stupid or revolting almost all the time.  it is as if ad agencies pool their resources together to come up with the stupidest ads and slogans they can come up with for us, the commuting drones…  i always wanted to steal tons of those ads and use them as wallpaper in a room– imagine a wall chuck full of subway ads– from impotence cures to “se hable inglez?” ads featuring assorted smug jackasses with shit-eating grins, giving a confident thumbs-up to us riders (will shoot and post that one soon).

well, MTA recently started their ad campaign and i thought it is best to start with their own jewels.  here is my favorite:

“if it is broke, fix it”…  genius, eh?  it took them decades to realize it but so what?  at least they did.  did they really believe in the maxim “if it is broke, don’t fix it” in the past?  yes they did, yes they did.  they waited for everything to be broken, and then they disrupted service at a line or a station for several years to fix it.  and now they’re plastering this ad all over the subway system like they’re proud of their past stupidity?  really, who is running the MTA?  “yeah, let’s put an ad that implies we were stupid and not fixing things when they needed fixing, but only getting off our asses to do something when all went to hell, disrupting the entire system in the meantime but now we know that we need to fix things when they break, instead of waiting for everything else to break with it”…  atta boys!

then they follow up with this jewel:

“well, we have no business writing apps so we go to whiz kids”…  well, that is good.  here is a suggestion mr. bloomberg: why don’t you get your MTA whiz kid certified too?  ask a couple of your industry whiz kid buddies to run the MTA.  give them 3 months to diagnose the bottlenecks and a 6 month carte blanche to fire and hire indiscriminately afterwards.  i’ll eat my hat if that doesn’t make this the best public transportation system of the US in two years…

what is wrong with december?  it’s like life is closing up the fiscal year by taking last minute lives to meet its quota. yesterday it was blake edwards and today i lost a personal hero of mine– don van vliet, aka captain beefheart.

mr. edwards, though your career actually died with peter sellers, and though i find it hard to excuse you for “blind date” and “son of the pink panther“, and though i find you fully responsible for unleashing dudley moore on us, with gross disregard to human dignity and pride, i still loved you for everything you did with peter sellers, breakfast at tiffany’s, and, as a former teenager, for all the bo derek scenes in “10”, rest in peace…

captain, you’re another story:  you were peter sellers, you were charlie chaplin.  everything you did was genius.  john peel once said “if there has ever been such a thing as a genius in the history of popular music, it’s beefheart… i heard echoes of his music in some of the records i listened to last week and i’ll hear more echoes in records that i listen to this week”.    if you don’t know him, start with reading his wikipedia entry and “safe as milk“…  i think he was one of the most influential musicians of the last 50 years, bar none.  up there with the best– from hendrix, dylan, and lennon to miles, coltrane and monk.

rest in peace captain, you deserved it…

what is up with the le samouraï madness raging on?  granted, it is one of my (and most everyone’s) favorite films.  i can easily rank it among my top 30 or so.  and many, many paid homage to it, from jarmusch to john woo.  but the last couple of years the melville dose has been increasing.  i can understand the appeal– the romantic notion of the lonesome soldier of fortune.  the hero who feels but can’t express.  loyalty sans any misgivings.  sacrifice without hesitation.  the character is as old as dirt but still appeals to the romantic hero in us.

this week, accidentally, i watched two films, almost back to back, with le samouraï influences.  first sólo quiero caminar, a noble spanish/ mexican attempt, and the the american, a clooney vehicle at first blush, but actually a fairly good film.

solo had good intentions but was executed poorly.  could have been a good film.  le samouraï homage was shameless– in one scene, behind the hero, there was a theater marquee with “le samouraï” on it.  in another there was a le samouraï poster.  and the hero was your quintessential brutal sentimental killer.   naturally he died in the end.   there was also a decent shout-out to the michael mann/ james caan jewel thief.  it was a decent film but not all it could be.

the american was better.  clooney actually did a very, very good job as the long-vacated shell of a mercenary.  after watching it, i read some of the reviews.  many didn’t like it.  i say they didn’t get it.  “the american to clooney was what legends of the fall was to pitt” i heard one say.  bullshit.  yes, the film was picture perfect.  yes, the pace was slow.  yes, some scenes looked like 70s soft-porn.  but it was all deliberate.

corbjin, a photographer foremost, of course had to make it picture perfect.  take a look at his joy division biopic control, probably one of the best rock biopics i’ve ever seen– despite all its grit and torment it was beautifully shot.

yes, the shots were not consistent in the american— it went from cold and distant, with some interesting tele and wide lens applications, to soft and touchy.  especially the shots with the beautiful italian prostitute clara naked: when she is frolicking naked in the chilly italian creek, bathing in the softest of the lights, it feels like an early 70s soft-porn or a retro nekkid photo spread like the hippie goddess with au naturel hippie chicks (i swear, i could smell the patchouli in that scene).  it created a great contradiction with clooney’s desolate soul and the pure and simple life he could have had if he just took that one step.  i thought those scenes fit the film perfectly and were great narrative tools.  overall, well done anton…

or simply “micmacs”… chaplin resurrected and cast in a modern day “yojimbo” with a max steiner score and borderline steampunk sensibility.. what is not to like? go watch and discuss it among yourselves…

okay, with the new blog, i should drop a note about the categories– they’re: pisses, pleases, tickles and preaching to the choir…

“pisses”, the namesake of the blog, is obviously the big one: i’m one of those dudes who sit around silently, smiling and relaxed, but boiling over with anger, to the background of an internal tirade, about something stupid i’ve seen, heard or read.  if you’re reading this, you’re probably one of them dudes or dudedesses as well..  this blog will predominantly be a megaphone for me to shout out those tirades and fuck with everything that grabs my attention and gets the cauldron boiling…

of course i am not all vinegar.  maybe i’ll end up like those old farts sitting in their balcony on the muppet show, but, at least as of now, there are still things that please me.  hence, “pleases”…

and i occasionally laugh.  out loud is rare but chuckles are still frequent.  that’s where the “tickles” get in.

final category is “preaching to the choir”– that is what most blogs do: they offer only what their readers will greet with a “hallelujah”, making them giggle like schoolgirls with self-affirmation.  a one giant circle-jerk, that is what it is.  like reading hitch’sgod is not great“– only atheists and agnostics read it, sighing with joy and creaming their pants in affirmation.  that is the fallacy of the intelligentsia and new left or liberal writing: preaching to the choir.  or, like i said, one big circle-jerk…

of course there is no harm in that.  but there is no utility either.  the other side does not read what they write.  or they only read to find gaps or mishaps to abuse.  but the intelligentsia ain’t blind– they devour what the rest puts out.  and gets pissed off and writes and preaches about their stupidity or ignorance.  but, again, to each other, in that big ole circle-jerk.  catch my drift?

that’s why i am not too keen on preaching to the choir– running the same tired polemics about the right, evangelicals, neo-cons, etc.  really, what is the fun and utility of climbing on your soapbox and going off about the tea party or palin?  that, my friends, is like shooting fish in a barrel.  it won’t achieve anything other than senseless self gratification…

the right knows how to communicate eons better than the liberals: they know how to dumb things down and get their message across to the masses.  that is where intelligentsia fails: they only know how to communicate with each other.

at the end of the day, i know i’ll need to resort to preaching– it is unavoidable.  but i’ll try to do it as little as i can.  and, when i do, as a warning to those of you who wouldn’t want to join the circle-jerk, i’ll use the category “preaching to the choir”.

and that is that…

another blog….  here we go again…

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