Friday, July 30, 2010

The Goy's Teeth

I was really entranced by A Serious Man when I first watched it earlier this year. I have been meaning to do a whole post on it and talk about how it tied in with Karen Armstrong's "The Case For God", which I happened to be reading at the time I saw the film, but that little essay will have to wait.

In the meantime, let me share the centerpiece of the film: The "Goy's Teeth" scene. It's as good as any scene the Coen brothers have ever done, and perhaps their finest. The choice of Hendrix as the background music, the writing and the performances of the actors are all spot on. Props especially go to character actor George Wyner, who has been doing supporting roles in Film and Television for forever, and when given such a prime role in a Coen Brothers movie just completely nails it.

(Only one YouTube user has posted the scene, but they have disabled embedding for whatever reason. Here's the link to it)

The proof, here, is in the last line. When I did the "100 Movies" clipshow, some of the best compliments I got were those that recognized and appreciated how I left the full pause in before the "These go to eleven" line in Spinal Tap. The pause is crucial in making the line work, and it's inclusion in the clipshow wouldn't have been nearly as effective if I just cut straight to the line. Similarly, the pause Wyner takes between the first two words and the last two in that last line, combined with the subtlest of facial expressions, should have netted the man some sort of award.

I laugh out loud every time I watch it, and my hat is off to Mr. Wyner for his stellar work.

Thursday, July 29, 2010

Lois Scott would have told you what to do with your Tea Party.

Politicians do not need to be pop culture savvy. It helps, of course, if they can occasionally quip to let people know that kick back and watch some TV and a movie now and then, but it's not a requirement.

When pop culture merges with important moments in history, however, and that history pertains to your home state, then the expectations rise significantly. So when Rand Paul, who is the Republican Senate candidate for Kentucky, is asked what Harlan County is famous for, this is far from the best possible response:
"I don't know," he says in an elusive accent that's not quite southern and not quite not-southern. The town of Hazard is nearby, he notes: "It's famous for, like, The Dukes of Hazzard."
The Dukes of Hazzard?!?!

Rand (I can call you Rand, right?), I'm not from Kentucky and even I know what Harlan County is famous for. I would expect that any self-respecting politician from that area who aspires to represent that state in the Senate would know about the history of Harlan County, and it has zip to do with Bo or Luke Duke.

Of course, Rand has previously indicated he doesn't give two shits about Unions, so maybe it's a case of willful ignorance.

Fake bullets and stuff (part deux)

That's how Butch and Sundance should have gone out: In a blaze of rose petals (via Neatorama):

Wednesday, July 28, 2010

"Coca-Cola: In Bottles"

Metafilter pointed me to this, which is a collection of color photographs dating from 1939 to 1943 that feature rural America. The set is stunning, and I urge everyone to click the second link and have a gander. As it is, I had a difficult time picking one to showcase here. I ended up choosing one of a Washington D.C. street corner that doesn't even exist anymore. History, ladies and gentlemen. History.

Monday, July 26, 2010

Just keep smiling

Stressful day. Need Trololo.

Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Monday, July 19, 2010

Our House is a very, very very fine house.

The Mosley household made a decision last year to finally sell our tiny (yet beloved) home. We rented a house not too far away in December and moved all our stuff into it. We began renovations right after New Years and had it ready to put on the market by mid February. It sat on the market for about two months before we got a bite, and on June 2nd, it was sold.

The reason we moved out and into a rental was two fold: First, we knew that if the house was empty and immaculate, it would sell a lot easier. Second, and more importantly, living in a rental meant that once the house sold, we could take our sweet time finding a new one. So, as I said, we sold the house on June 2nd. We put an offer on a new one... five days later.

And this is it. That's little C.C. sitting in front. We signed the papers this afternoon and it is now ours. Obviously, we're going to have our hands full for the next month or so as we do some work on the house and then actually move in to the place. More pictures will follow, so stay tuned.

Sunday, July 18, 2010

Back to Boston

Follow-ups to great successes are soooo tricky for actors. In terms of The Town, which is Ben Affleck's directorial follow-up to the great Gone Baby Gone, we have two additional follow-ups: John Hamm's first major feature after the success of Mad Men and Jeremy Renner's first film after his starring role in Best Picture Oscar winner The Hurt Locker.

That's quite a pedigree. And thought it may not reach the success of those projects, it sure looks like a hell of a ride.

Sunday, July 11, 2010

"Calling Antarctica traffic control. Do you read me? Over."

I tend to buy novelty T-Shirts about once every decade, and here is my latest one:

This is my kind of shirt: Geeky, but not overtly so. The people who don't get it will not give it much thought, and the people who do get it really will get it.

You'll have noticed that posting has been sparse and it will continue to be so. By July 19th, I'll have some big news to convey. Until then, go about your business.

Thursday, July 08, 2010

Fake bullets and stuff

In Cardboard...

...And in LEGO.

Wednesday, July 07, 2010

One year ago today...

... we welcomed little C.C. into the world.

Happy Birthday, little girl.

Thursday, July 01, 2010

Samuel L. Jackson Quote of the Month: July 2010

Jackie Brown remains my favorite Quentin Tarantino film, and I know I'm not alone in this opinion. It is a wonderful story that is wonderfully told. Furthermore, I think there's a lot in common between this film and the Coen Brother's No Country For Old Men. Both were made by very unique filmmakers who were, for the first time, adapting someone else's work. Obviously, they had the ability to make changes to the story and characters, but overall they had to work within the confines of the original work, and I think both they and their films benefited from that.

At any rate, this remains possibly the best adaptation of an Elmore Leonard novel to film. The dialogue is both poetic and natural (yes, even with all the uses of the N word by Sam's character, Ordell Robbie). The first four lines of the following exchange was used widely in the trailer, but I like the remaining part. It is the classic technique of one character explaining a situation to another who, in essence, is standing in for the audience, yet it doesn't feel nearly as awkward as similar scenes in other films:

Louis: "Who's that?"

Ordell Robbie: "That's Beaumont."

Louis: "Who's Beaumont?"

Ordell Robbie: "An employee I had to let go."

Louis: "What'd he do?"

Ordell Robbie: "He put himself in a position where he was going to have to do ten years in prison, that's what he did. And if you know Beaumont, you know ain't no god damn way he can do ten years. And if you know that, then you know Beaumont's gonna do anything Beaumont can to keep from doing them ten years, including telling the federal government any and every motherfucking thing about my black ass. Now that my friend is a clear cut case of him or me. And you best believe it ain't gonna be me."