Jeremy's Ramblings, Babblings, and Other Pretentious Bullshit.
Wednesday, July 27, 2005
OBSERVATIONS ABOUT SUMMER MOVIES:
"Batman Begins" - I wonder if during "Batman & Robin", Bruce Wayne remembered this important phase of his life and thought to himself, "When did my life turn into such a cartoon...and where's that cute brunette that talks out of the side of her mouth?"
"Star Wars - Episode III: Revenge of the Sith" - Did anyone in this galaxy know how to tell a freaking joke before Han Solo came along?
"Howl's Moving Castle" - I think anime voiceover is the truest test for an actor. No matter how good of an actor you are, there are just some lines you can't make sound good. Not even Christian Bale can say "Your hair is silver! I love it!" without getting laughs from the audience.
"War of the Worlds" - Huge alien ships rise from the ground after having been buried for presumably thousands of years. During that time, no archaeologist ever came across one of them, and there's no amount of rust or corrosion to the vehicles. The aliens obviously don't buy American.
"Kingdom of Heaven" - I can't think of a better film to kick off the summer season. After all, what better genre to reel in the core summer demographic than a really long R-rated film about the Crusades?
"Fantastic Four" - If I had the power to stretch like rubber, fly, light on fire or turn invisible, I doubt that I would treat it as simply a minor annoyance. But then again, I'm not a scientist. Oh, and I also blame Hollywood for giving me the belief that all female scientists are sexy.
"Bewitched" - You know you've stepped wrong when not even Will Ferrell and Steve Carrell can save your project.
"Mr. and Mrs. Smith" - I swear, if they make a sequel where they have a baby, I'm going to punch all of Hollywood in the stomach.
"Charlie and the Chocolate Factory" - Deep Roy is my hero. And there has never been a more perfect cast of children in any movie I've seen.
Tuesday, July 19, 2005
I have become a zombie. No one bit me, nor is there a rage-filled virus that's going around (other than the Atkins Diet). Perhaps it's in celebration of "Land of the Dead", a movie that I still haven't seen (though I did make time for "Fantastic Four", starring Jessica Alba's cleavage and an insane amount of setup. The plot finally arrived about 90 minutes late saying "Sorry, guys, traffic was horrible!"). It is simply through a lack of sleep that I've entered this vegatative state.
In fact, here's proof. I don't even want to write about being tired anymore. THAT'S how tired I am. So since I can't seem to keep my head on one topic, here comes my thought process, unfiltered and unstructured. Enjoy!:
Show me an actress hotter than Jessica Alba, and I'll show you a blind man. Deep Roy as the Oompa-Loompa (complete with Bollywood-like musical numbers) was the high point of "Charlie and the Chocolate Factory". I wish I were copying scripts right now. I've been doing it for the reading series, and I find it to be a very relaxing exercise, but only if the copier is slow. I need to get the copy of "Occupational Hazard" back from Shannon so that I can start copying it. Jason Lindner is a master of the English language. So is Will Eno. So is Kit Steinkellner. So is anyone who can write a good one-man show that contains only one character. I want to write a one-man show. Would that be self-indulgent, since I would play the role, too? Eric Bogosian did it all the time in the '80's. Of course, people listened to Wham! in the '80's. I need to copy "Thom Pain (based no nothing)" for Darin, but I have to be careful which copier I use. I hope my production isn't too low at work. I hope they don't mind that I sleep in my car during breaks. I hope that I can pay for everything that I need to pay for. Do I really need to get my Disneyland passport renewed before it expires on Saturday? Can't I just wait until I get paid on the 29th? I need to pee. I'm gonna do that...
Better. John looked like John Lennon last night. Appropriate, since they're both named John. I'm glad Jessica's excited about "4.48 Psychosis". She's doubting herself, but I'm not even worried about her. I just hope I can do the show justice. I don't want to end Hunger's streak of good shows. What else should I direct? "Art", of course. "The Zoo Story". Something of my own? I need to work on "Orange Alert". Make it better. I'm really glad Terri, Darcy and Mike are doing the reading. The L.A. reading was great. Abigail was an awesome Lindsey. Darcy will be an awesome Lindsey. I wish I could go to vmk.com at work. But then I'd never get any work done. I hope that I can get the rewrites done reasonably soon. I hope I can get that comic book rewritten soon, too. Send it to Anne and see if I can start on a new career as a writer. However, I know nothing about writing comic books. Just like I know nothing about writing for movies or television. Come to think of it, I know nothing about writing plays. I know nothing about writing. I feel dizzy. Don't think about things that give you anxiety. I wish I were in bed. With Brey. Both of us sleeping. We both need sleep. What do I want for lunch?
You know what, I'm going to go to lunch. I'm sorry I haven't been able to form complete thoughts lately. Just slap me in the face the next time you see me.
Wednesday, July 13, 2005
I discovered a cricket in my room. Normally I am freaked out by insects (I don't do well with exoskeletons), but crickets are in that rare group that I'm okay with. When I discovered it, it was hanging out next to my CD collections (probably admiring it, although I'm sure he was wondering why there aren't any Buddy Holly CD's), chirping its mating call, foolishly hoping that a female will be hanging out by the DVD's.
The cricket on your hearth is considered a sign of good luck (since I don't really have a hearth, I'm wondering if the CD collection is a good substitute), and in fact it is considered bad luck to kill one (which I had coincidentally read earlier that day in the play "Bug" by Tracy Letts, which so far is quite, quite good). So rather than disposing of it, Brey gave it the name of Bloody Bugger (B.B. for short), and we're welcoming it for as long as it wants to camp out in my room.
Good luck is needed at the moment, as I am in the beginning process of my first bit of real management. At Hunger Artists, I am heading up the newly-founded reading series that will take place every two weeks.
"But wait," you more astute readers will point out, "didn't you write a post a few months ago talking about how you hated readings and talkbacks? Now you're heading up a reading series?" Well, allow me to explain.
In deciding our 2006 season, we were faced with several prospects. Rather than all of the copying, reading, discussing, etc., it was decided that it would be more exciting to get our enormous group of phenomenal actors together and have them read the material. After all, why read a play when you can have people like Mark Coyan, Jessica Beane, Terri Mowrey and Mark Palkoner read them for you?
This way, we are involving our entire company in the process of choosing our shows. The process will be relaxed (no staging, no special lights or costumes, just actors sitting down, reading from scripts). Rather than sapping the spontaneity of theater through "workshopping", we are helping to create a year of theatre that will truly be collaborative (and with those shows that we don't choose, it will still be fun to see Hunger's best tackle the material). So wish me luck (via Bloody Bugger)!
Tuesday, July 05, 2005
It is fitting that the Fourth of July weekend was filled with much style, very little substance. I spent the entire three days looking for something fulfilling, and was repeatedly disappointed.
It all started with a viewing of Spielberg's remake of "War of the Worlds". Now granted, I think that Spielberg is one of the greatest builders of suspense cinema has ever had. But where "Jaws", "Jurassic Park", "Minority Report" and "Close Encounters" balanced their suspense with true imagination, "War of the Worlds" is simply a series of cliches and recycled images that have their last ounce of suspense expertly juiced from them. It's like a car made up of old parts but with a shiny new cover.
The movie gave me two crucial revelations. The first is that we desperately need to come up with better aliens. The naked, bug-eyed, slimy creature with a huge noggin isn't interesting to anyone anymore. Make him furry, give him a toga, do something different. Wouldn't it be great if civilization was being wiped out by a band of very cute but very deadly aliens? ("Awww, come here, you. You are so adorable. What's your name? Can you say Norman? Norman? What's that you're holding in your haAAAAAAAHHHHH!!!")
The second is how zombie/disaster/alien movies led us to believe that they have a "happy ending". We have spent two hours witnessing death and destruction that is unlike anything we've seen in modern society. And yet because the half-dozen characters who are the focus of the film are alive, we feel happy when the end credits start rolling.
I always feel uneasy by this. What about the billions of people who died? Where's their story? I mean, it's nice that Tom Cruise made it out alive, but what about the mechanic who was one of the first people killed in the movie? Why couldn't we have had a two-hour story of his life followed by a five-minute finale in which aliens rise from the ground and zap him into dust? Must we always follow the character who best fits Syd Field's rules of cinematic story structure? And for that matter, why do the quick deaths always happen to cameos and extras? Why do the supporting and lead players always have the slowest deaths possible? Wouldn't it be more interesting if Tim Robbins is here one second and then *POOF* gone the next?
I also watched "The Rocky Horror Show" (now playing at the Maverick Theater through August 13th...Shameless plug) again before taking over the role of Brad next weekend. While a more original offering than "War of the Worlds", it has the same entertainment-only flavor that is the trademark of the Maverick. I sat in the audience, watching these people I knew and liked performing, and I shouted back the witty comments that have been time-tested through countless midnight showings of the movie ("I don't like men with too many muscles." "Just one big one!"). But I couldn't help but wonder if the show is as entertaining to someone who doesn't know the cast members or the shoutouts. I guess I'll find out this weekend.
On Sunday, I went to see a local theater company take a sophisticated, witty English play and remove any sophistication or wit from it. What they gave us instead was misguided casting, weak accents and an unbelievably loud doorbell. As the very funny dialogue fell flat, the audience was given new reasons to laugh, none of them good. As we left, one of the company members apologized for the show, assuring us that usually their shows are better, and my search for something stimulating and nourishing was still unfulfilled.
As the Fourth of July came upon us (enter your own joke here), I found myself unexpectedly watching the movie "Joe Dirt". I sat there, watching David Spade rely on his mullet and redneck accent to be funny (Comedy Tip: It's not what you look and sound like that make you funny, but what you do with what you look and sound like). Okay, I'll admit it was foolish to wish for anything substantial with "Joe Dirt", but ever since the surprise of "Pleasantville", I've had high hopes for High Concept.
So finally, I gave up. If all I was going to get this weekend was sugar, then I was going to stop looking for steak, so to speak. I decided the way to end this weekend would be to go to Downtown Disney and watch Disneyland's fireworks display. It promised to be the shiny object to end all shiny objects. Brey and I arrived to see what, oddly enough, could have been a scene from "War of the Worlds". People were camped out everywhere, from the parking garage, to the tram kiosk, to every square foot of Downtown Disney, joining me in my quest for meaningless entertainment.
Then, something amazing happened. Just as the fireworks were starting, Brey asked if we could get something to eat. We made our way through the crowds to the restaurant at the Anaheim House of Blues. The entire time, I was only able to hear the fireworks, and its sound resembled that of a small town being obliterated by air-dropped bombs. I imagined that it was a real bombing, and I wondered if I would be the lead of a two-hour story, or if I would simply be a cameo.
We walked into the restaurant which, like most of the things at Downtown Disney, wants to achieve a certain feeling and can't quite get it right. I retreated to the bathroom and suddenly found myself having cologne sprayed on me by the attendant. I was dressed in unwashed clothes and had unwashed hair...but I smelled great. I had suddenly turned into the very thing that I was surrounded by this entire weekend.
When I returned to the table, I looked in Brey's eyes. She'd recently had some life-changing decisions sprung on her, and I could see her going through them in her head. I suddenly thought about what she means to me and what I would do if I ever lost her. The thought terrified me.
I reached over and took her hand, and - despite the deep, meaningful thoughts running through both of our heads - we talked about light, entertaining subjects. And for the first time that entire weekend, I felt truly fulfilled.