Saturday, July 30, 2005

Lost in the Movies

Ben and I watched Lost in La Mancha last night, a documentary about the attempt and failure of Terry Gilliam to bring an adaptation of Don Quixote to the screen. It was worth seeing, in that excrutiatingly uncomfortable After Hours/(Jack Lemmon/Sandy Dennis version) Out of Towners kind of way where you just desperately want them to get where they're going, in this case to beat the odds and make the damn movie, and you need to take a Tums after a while of people coming down with diseases, force majeure, and general lack of direction. It looks like it could have been a really great movie and that Gilliam is still trying, but it doesn't look likely.

Friday, July 29, 2005

So Close

I am mere degrees from Owen Wilson. Does he not read his own press? Probably not.

Thursday, July 28, 2005

Finally

I wrote an essay a while back for Todd Dills’ 2ndhand Reader: All Hands On , about one of the guys from the original Average Joe, which I think I’m going to have to revise. Watched the finale of the latest Average Joe and was shocked and pleased to see that the girl actually picked the Joe, Nathan, this time. Nathan’s chances seemed bleak – to begin with, she’d rejected him a few episodes earlier, and he was one of a few of the Joes who’d gotten makeovers who came back for a second chance. I figured he didn’t have much chance if she’d already rejected him, plus she obviously liked making out with the Rocky, aspiring model/actor way better, but Rocky was weak on conversation at best. They showed a lot of his long pauses to illustrate this and I have to admit I had some acid flashbacks (ok, I never did acid, I was just being dramatic) to excruciating dates of years past where the conversation did not flow. Anyhoo, so she picked the Average Joe but I was forced to imagine the discussion between her and the producers, because it really seemed like she was going to pick Rocky. “I’m really attracted to you,” she said breathily, with her “but” not really explaining anything much, leading me to fill in “but none of the other women have picked a Joe yet, and the producers really need a Joe to win this time.” And her speech to Nathan wasn’t much better. “I choose you to stay in Tahiti with me,” she said breathily again, “but I’m not making any promises. I just want to get to know you better and see what happens. The producers have promised me that I can still call Rocky if I change my mind. Just letting you know.”

I’m a romantic, I swear, but the odds of anyone meeting their soul mate on reality TV seem slim. Oh, except for Brigitte Nielsen and the guy with the clock, of course.

Wednesday, July 27, 2005

Dang!

I have to direct you over to Tod's blog right now because he has discovered my freaky likeness to a certain rock star.

I'm cuter of course, but whatever. I have to concede the resemblance.

This is my own fault

I canceled my longstanding subscription to TV Guide a few months ago because, well, I have a magazine problem and I needed to cut back. It's been a difficult time. I miss shows regularly. I have to rely on my... memory. Which was never good, not even for celebrity trivia, in spite of what it may seem. A year from now, I will say, Lindsay Who?

As a result, TV Guide is reformatting, going from digest size to regular size, and featuring listings only for the east and west coasts (proving once and for all that people in entertainment believe nothing exists inbetween), with more focus on I don't know what really. They are saying it's supposedly because TV Guide is obsolete with all the cable channels that have listings and such. Note to TV Guide: we don't all have cable. But whatever, I lost my chance to complain. I hoped to resubscribe at some point. My father will be inconsolable, I'm sure.

Anyway, I know the real reason. It's because of me.

Tuesday, July 26, 2005

I Love My Face

There’s a big article in the Science section of today’s Times about the possibility of face transplants at some point in the future for burn victims, severely disfigured people, people with birth defects, etc. My first thought was, Oh, noooo, because of course Hollywood came to mind, and the possibility of people changing faces the same way they add boobs or subtract whatever they don’t like. Reading the article, that seems extremely unlikely for a number of reasons (skin transplants are among the most likely to be rejected, for one), so once I was relieved of that horrible Face/Off imagery, I started to think that if it could be perfected, there would probably be a lot of people who would be really grateful for this sort of thing. The article raises the issue of whether or not the victim would come to resemble the donor at all, which was something I wondered about, but it seems unlikely unless the musculature of the donor were included. It would certainly seem like a LOT of counseling would be required, regardless. But I’m sure you’d need a lot of counseling if you suffered severe burns as well. Needless to say, this led me to immense gratitude for my forty-four year-old face, which continues to function quite well, and to continue to wonder why anyone would mess with a fully-functioning face. I’m as vain as the next guy, but not vain enough yet to get poked and cut unless it is absolutely necessary to my, you know, seeing and eating and breathing.

Monday, July 25, 2005

I Love My Job

Because I get to rent movies like “Say Anything” and “Some Kind of Wonderful” and call it research.

All Kinds of Wrong

I’m all about whatever floats your boat romantically, unless it’s a man over twice your age. That chick from Charmed who used to go out with Marilyn Manson? The one who once wore that dress that wasn’t much of a dress that was made out of beads or something that showed her whole butt and everything else? She’s dating Al Pacino.

Friday, July 22, 2005

Dear Kelly Preston

Um, actually, Mrs. Travolta, there are tests for mental illness, and I’m pretty sure the American Psychiatric Association will back me up on this. Can you pass the word on to Kirstie Alley and Dharma and that lady from JAG?

That 70s Blonde

I once loved That 70s Show. Goofy as it is, that was my era and they have it down. I swear to god I have seen both Donna and Jackie in outfits that could only have come from my closet, and frankly it disturbs me that the costumers had access to these items without my knowledge. But ever since Donna became a blonde, I have not been able to watch. I’m not sure I have any kind of reasonable explanation except for it hits me in the gut as being so wrong as to be unwatchable.

Note to People Married to Foxy Movie Stars:

Don’t hire a cute nanny.

Thursday, July 21, 2005

My Dog is Tom Cruise

If you don't get the New Yorker, this week's issue is worth the price for one piece alone called "My Dog is Tom Cruise."

Wednesday, July 20, 2005

Yes, why?

Oh my god, you have to check this out for this morning’s fun and then come back and read my results (which won't make much sense if you don't check the site out first) and share your own!


"Why"

Vitamins, Scientologists, Katie Holmeses
Why God, Why?
Scientologists, psychiatrists, Tom Cruise
Why God, Why?

What have I done to deserve this midnight blue horror?
Surrounded on all sides with the Hell of Tom Cruise
Like a e.e. cummings character, I'm wordy and alone
Why God, Why?

Aliens, vitamins, risky businesses
Why God, Why?
Tom Cruise, risky businesses, Katie Holmeses
Why God, Why?

What have I done to deserve this midnight blue disaster that is my life?
Surrounded on all sides with the Hell of Tom Cruise
Like an e.e. cummings character, I'm wordy and alone
Why God, Why?

What have I done to deserve this midnight blue misery?
Surrounded on all sides with the Hell of Tom Cruise
Like an e.e. cummings character, I'm wordy and alone
Why God, Why?

Why God, Why?
Why God, Why?
Why God, Why?
Why God, Why?

Tuesday, July 19, 2005

This is a little creepy, right?

There’s an article on the front page of today’s Times about how stickers on fruit are going the way of rotary phones and in their stead the fruit will be “tattooed” with a laser that only burns the outer layer of the skin of the fruit and is scannable just like the sticker. It’s true, those stickers are often the bane of my existence. I know we live in an increasingly big-brotherlike world these days. But if that’s going to be the case, I’d still like to be able to pretend I have some modicum of privacy, and tattooed fruit seems a step away from tattooed me. Oh wait, I’m already tattooed. But I don’t have a bar code yet, and I’d like to keep it that way.

Monday, July 18, 2005

The Yes Men

The Yes Men

We also watched this wild documentary this weekend called The Yes Men, about these guys who basically impersonate members of the WTO at big conferences and make these outrageous proposals and statements, which for the most part, no one seems to notice. One involved one of them wearing a breakaway business suit, underneath which was a “leisure suit” made of gold spandex with a giant inflatable phallus in front with a TV screen to monitor employees. And they use made up names like Hank Hardy Unruh and Granwyth Hulatberi and Kinnithrung Sprat, and still no one seems to think anything of it.

Needless to say, Granwyth Hulatberi and Hank Hardy Unruh have been in my head ever since. (See June archives: Dob Snib.)

Sunday, July 17, 2005

WOTW

Yes, we went to see War of the Worlds last night, in spite of my rantings about a certain vitamin-eating asshat who stars in it. And it was nine bucks well spent. The special effects were incredible. At one point, a little too much time in a dark basement with a freaky Tim Robbins, and a bit too much alien in the second part of the movie where I'd personally rather have had more suspense and things busting up.

Tom, this is where you belong. You are the king of playing callous, good-looking men ripe for redemption at the hands of aliens that bust out of the earth. Rock that as many times as you want and leave the issue of drugs to the people with the medical degrees.

Friday, July 15, 2005

Single Wife - The Movie

Dear The Guy Who's Writing The Screenplay of My Best Friend Nina's book,

Please note that the character of Chloe should be extraordinarily beautiful, very tall and thin, and that my casting suggestions include Charlize Theron, Cameron Diaz, Catherine Zeta Jones, and that girl who goes out with Jude Law.

Yours truly,
Elizabeth Crane

PS I would be happy to act as a special consultant should you need help with the finer details and nuances of this character.

Tuesday, July 12, 2005

Then I Saw Her Face

There’s a great article by Rick Moody in the current Believer about The Danielson Famile, a band Ben is particularly fond of and who we’ve seen rock out live.

It would probably save everyone a bunch of time if I just wrote, "What Rick Moody said," but because it got me so worked up in the good kind of way I'll yak on anyway.
If it weren't for Ben, I might still be listening to Rick James and Shalimar. I wasn't quite sure what to make of the Danielsons at first. They are very passionately Christian and they sing about it, although it’s not the first thing you notice. (And I’d be hard pressed to judge them on this front as I’m married to one – I don’t want to get into a discussion of politics here, but it’s my feeling that there’s a segment of Christians out there who give the impression that they alone define what Christianity is, and it is my opinion that if Ben is not that, and leans pointedly to the left, there are probably a couple others too.) Much like Moody, I could listen to just about anything lyrically if the music itself moves me, but in this case it took a few listenings for me to get down with both the music and the lyrics, and Moody's discussion of their appeal was precise and perfect. They really do put on an awesome show - I especially enjoyed the choreography, which for stretches was simply just the girls turning their heads from left to right over and over again.

What’s most interesting about the article is how he uses it to segue into discussing the issue of having a spiritual life and making real art at the same time. (The Danielsons are no Creed.) I give a lot of credit to Moody for discussing his faith publicly in this way. I would describe my own in a similarly across-the-board kind of way as Moody’s, and I too, have what I think is perhaps not doubt so much as uncertainty about the specifics, an uncertainty I have grown comfortable with as I've come to decide, for myself only, that I believe in something greater than myself and that my little mind might not figure out the exact details in this lifetime. Many of the characters in my fiction have some sort of spiritual life, whether they're struggling or they're certain, and it's been interesting to me that critics have occasionally praised me for my satire. It's not that I don't intend a certain amount of the humor on this front or any other, but no matter how many times I look up satire in the dictionary I still fail to see how it applies. It's as baffling to me as it must be to them to consider that a "literary" writer might actually be earnest about such a thing. So I hereby out myself. I believe. Whatever.
Rock on with your bad blessed self, R.M.

Monday, July 11, 2005

I don't know what this means

We had out-of-town guests this weekend so my tv-watching was zero until last night when I saw a bit of America's Most Talented Kids. That it's on PAX and hosted by Dave Coulier should tell you something if the title doesn't. People with children, heed my advice; even if they really are the most talented in America (and I'm sure they are), please do not allow them to go on this show. I hesitate to slander the judges, who are also kids, but if you watch it yourself for even ten minutes, you will writhe with discomfort about ever having been American, Talented, a Kid, or the Most anything.

You know how they have titles underneath people on TV, describing their job, or something about them, when they're on the news, or a talk show or reality show or whatever?

Underneath this one girl it said: "Once got a standing ovation from Kirstie Alley."

If you think about this too long, it will become existential.

Friday, July 08, 2005

Stepford Fiancee

I'm beginning to feel grateful that the whole TomKat thing wasn't going on back when Katie was still Joey Potter. This way I have a small chance of retaining my memories of the Dawson's gang as being pure and untainted by them having, you know, actual lives. Or things that pass for such.

Remain Calm, Everyone, Gwyneth and Apple are Fine

Flipping channels last night I came across The Insider, planning to skip it just as quickly as everything else that wasn’t on. The hostess was saying, “But first, today’s terrible terrorism tragedy in London – what celebrities were hurt?” I should have continued flipping immediately, I know, but I held on long enough for her to say, “Many American celebrities have been here doing theatre – Brooke Shields, Doogie Howser, Blah Di Bloo, and many were in attendance at this weekend’s Live 8 – Gwyneth Paltrow and her baby were there in chic casual to see her husband in that band, Brad Pitt was there sporting his new blond do but now he’s off to Africa to pick up “Angelina’s” new baby, Elizabeth Hurley – well, we’re not totally sure about her, but she’s not on the A-list right now, Madonna is still on tour in proper dresses promoting her children’s book and her kids were probably away with that director guy – why can’t I think of his name… thankfully, all remain unharmed. As it turns out, celebrities do not take the subway. It’s a little-known fact that celebrities are immune to most types of disaster, but if we do find a semi-famous model with a sprained wrist, you will be sure to hear about it here. Over and over again until she becomes famous for the being model who sprained her wrist in the terrorist attacks and probably saved some lives while doing it. Back to you, Pat.”

Thursday, July 07, 2005

Is Asshat the New Fucktard?

With all due respect to Tod Goldberg, in the case of Asshat v. Fucktard, it may very well be at least a tie. Please read Megan Stielstra's new story to decide. It involves speed dating, Foo Fighters, and Tone Loc.

P.S. Sue and Liz rule Chicago.

Wednesday, July 06, 2005

War of the Freaky Weird Weirdo From Planet Weird

Courtesy of Anne, you must read this if you are at all interested in starting your day with some Tom-related super fun.

Devil's Playground

Ben and I watched Devil’s Playground the other night, the documentary about Amish kids on Rumspringa. It’s worth seeing, especially if you don’t know anything about the subject – basically, the Amish believe that you have to make the choice to become a Christian on your own, so when their kids turn sixteen they give them the freedom to go out into the “english” world – where most people I know live – and decide for themselves. 90%, apparently, decide to go back to being Amish, so that kind of tells you a lot right there, but I think the film could have gone deeper – basically it just followed the lives of a few kids, but there were still a lot of questions I had.
What was interesting to me was that with only a few exceptions, most of the kids only use it as an opportunity to watch TV, drive, and do a LOT of partying, and the parents seem to be completely aware that after a while of this, most of them will realize it’s kind of just easier to come home. And there are aspects of this that are pretty cool, if you think about it, and the sense of community the Amish have is very strong, but the thing I can’t get down with is the fact that by and large you’re disowned if you decide to go english. That’s kind of a lot of pressure on a so-called “choice”. I think what I’d really like to have seen is much more about either Amish life in general or about the people who do leave; how their spiritual life has changed, what it’s like to be without your family – they touched on it this with one girl who left to go to college, but that was about it – it just seemed way deeper than they showed and that there would have to be some kids who either left or thought about leaving – aspiring artists, or kids with questions about their faith, or with a passion for something besides partying or even wanting to explore things they don’t know about. There was a reality show on a while ago called Amish and the City – and it was only a step up from the Real World in that they mixed the Amish kids in a house with english kids (and waited for hijinks to ensue), but they also introduced the Amish kids to all kinds of new experiences, and although it seemed as though most of them would go back to being Amish, you could see how exciting it was for them to go in the ocean for the first time, or to travel, eat new foods, and in some ways, even though it was like, the WB I think, they showed some things the movie didn’t – that may be because the nature of a reality show starts with a certain contrivance, and that in real reality (oh dear god I hope that’s not what it’s going to be called now) kids don’t go that far from home, and do kind of limit it to partying a lot. But to me, I just thought, well, if that’s the case, I’d rather see an entire movie about one very interesting Amish kid making that decision.

Tuesday, July 05, 2005

Independence Day

Sorry for the break, kids – I was out living life! Not to worry, I’m back in front of the computer now. (There’s a cartoon in this week’s New Yorker with a picture of a new couple and the guy is thinking, “I wonder what she’s like online.”) Ben and I spent the holiday weekend at our new country house in Michigan with our friends the Hensleys – of Ruby fame – and it was pretty awesome. Okay, fine, it’s not really ours, but we got the actual owners to agree that it would be fine with us if they continued to rent it out for us, but that from now on we would be considering it our second home.
It’s pretty much the cutest thing you’ve ever seen. It’s like a playhouse, but full height and with two bedrooms, decorated entirely in painfully adorable fifties modern and with a kitchen stocked with gelato, which is the… other owner’s primary business. (It should go without saying that the gelato is unbelievably delicious.) Oh and it’s five minutes from the beach and a gabillion antique stores and there’s also twenty-seven acres and an orchard and pretty much an unlimited supply of mulberries and black raspberries for the picking, out of which Anne made a delicious galatte (sp?). The best bonus, though, in my estimation, was Petey Palazzolo, the four-and-a-half-year-old who lives with his parents in the main house on the property. He and Ruby were of course new best friends, and he is about the cutest kid ever, although bear in mind I do say that a lot. He’s got ginormous blue eyes and wears striped t-shirts and the greatest smile and he starts pretty much every new clause with “…um, and you know what?” He let us bounce on his trampoline which was a total blast but now my entire body aches. If you haven’t ever bounced, it’s a surprisingly good aerobic workout.
I tell you, I don’t know what more anyone would want in life besides what I already have, except for a kid (although about this Ruby says, “Yeah, so you can be annoyed!”), because I feel thoroughly charmed, and so grateful that we can afford to go away for a weekend with good friends to a place as magical as this. The Hensleys are too cool to even get into. The fact that Anne is a fantastic cook is – well it’s almost redundant, if not unnecessary. I would eat olive loaf on Wonder Bread with these people. Anne and I had several great talks (as usual) and when we came back from a berry-picking walk on the property she reported to Chafe that we were two smart bitches who had it all figured out. (Inasmuch as we know we don’t have it all figured out.)

Friday, July 01, 2005

NOOOOOOOoooooooooo!!!!

Yes, I am very interested in the resignation of Justice Sandra Day O'Connor.

But I am interested in hearing about it at eleven am this morning, not right now, instead of TOM CRUISE and Dakota Fanning on The View.

Not that I'm ever interested in hearing it from the particular person who preempted Tom's wacky antics of the day.

Go Brooke, Go Brooke

Brooke Shields has an intelligent, thoughtful, op-ed piece in the NY Times today defending herself and everyone else who's had postpartum against Tom's vitamin theory. She manages some incredible restraint, with only the tiniest bit of sarcasm at the beginning and use of the word "ridiculous" later on.

Brooke says, "I'm going to take a wild guess and say that Mr. Cruise has never suffered from postpartum depression."

This may be the only point I could argue in the whole piece. I think that may be exactly what Tom Cruise is suffering from. Think about it. It's not likely to be diagnosed, in his case, but he's got something.

Commitment

Last night Ben and I took an important step in our relationship, I think.

We merged our laundry.

We've been living together for well over a year, but I've hesitated to get involved with Ben's laundry because
a) he has a lot of it
and
b) a lot of it is very very dirty.

I know the soap and water supposedly washes all the dirt out, but somehow I can't help thinking that his dirt will make a pass-through of my clothes first, and that some of it will stay.

But it got to the point where something had to be done. I was beginning to call our closet "the laundry room" and we don't have a washer dryer.

I'll bet the Federlines don't have this kind of intimacy.