I’ve never thought much of the Academy Awards. They miss the better movies and give the gold to tripe and cheap artifice. Most notable in that category this year was that any award would go to “There Will Be Blood.” I’ve seen some pieces of shit in my time which lack any redeeming merit whatsoever but it’s been a very long time since I have seen such a floater come down the river of dreck and then get gaffed in the abdomen to release such a wave of toxic fumes such as would make the most seasoned pathologist retch as if death sat on his shoulders with Tom Green’s skin on his back.
If you like seeing someone do Al Pacino on the third night of a non-sleeping Coke jag then you’ll like Day’s work. If your idea of fun is moving old upright pianos up and down spiral staircases then you’ll like Day’s work even more and you’ll love the plot. The pointless scene at the end makes the thought of climbing up a dead winos ass to take a nap sound like a good idea as long as you can miss this scene. That’s Hollywood.
Juno was run of the mill but probably make it’s point with all the proper modern day Donna Reed families who have no clue about the real world and like it when people talk as if they got their start on some version of The Real World.
No Country for Old Men was a good thriller but it’s nowhere near as good as Fargo was. Bardem was good at what he did but it was not a Lecter moment.
Eastern Promises was a better movie than any of these and Viggo Mortensen was the best actor. I didn’t see La Vie En Rose but I would have given the award to Cate Blanchett regardless. I don’t care about the rest of whatever awards there were and under no circumstances am I ever going to watch a movie about a singing barber that cuts people’s throats.
Here are some movies that were as good as the few good ones that I didn’t mention and far better than the rest. They are from different years and they didn’t win much of anything and they’re just some movies I saw recently and if you like enjoyable films you will like these. They are in no particular order of greatness.
“The Station Agent”- a jewel of a film... just beautiful, mostly because of Peter Dinklage but everyone shined in this effort. Also “Death at a Funeral” also because of Peter Dinklage but also a fantastic cast of fine British actors. It’s a funny film.
“Spiral”- is a mesmerizing indie film that will genuinely make you jump. This is one fine and tense piece of film-making. I don’t review films. I recommend them or ...otherwise. But if I did review films I could spend a lot of time on this one. See it.
“Lars and the Real Girl”- You’ve NEVER seen anything like this. Maybe it was too sweet a la the world we wished we knew but you won’t forget it.
“Hot Rod” is one of the best stupid movies I have ever seen. If it doesn’t make you laugh then you’re too uptight and probably think you belong at a better table than the one they made you sit at and they probably made you sit there for just that reason.
“Sleuth” with Michael Caine and Jude Law. The usual people didn’t like this remake and that’s probably why I did. It’s not that it was any kind of masterpiece. It was just a lot of fun to watch these two work together; forget about any of the other features you might find important. In a way it was like “White Sands” which I also watched again recently. Who cares what the movie was about or whether there might have been a retarded script girl on the set when you can watch all of these great actors do their thing?
“Croupier”- Clive Owen at his best. This was not a bad way to spend a couple of hours.
“Across the Universe”- I loved it. I know the critics didn’t but they can’t enjoy movies unless they’ve got some old guy driving a tractor by the side of the road for what feels like about three weeks in a two hour movie or they’re watching “There will be Blood.”
“The Thirteenth Floor” was one of the best movies I’ve ever seen. If you like strange sci-fi, altered reality a la Philip K. Dick this DOES NOT disappointment. A great movie.
“The Air I Breathe”- it didn’t accomplish what I thought they were trying to do but it’s worth it just to see Brendan Fraser in this role along with a lot of other fine actors.
“Into the Wild”- very well done.
Well, that’s a few movies for you that are all better than what the Academy puked all over. I couldn’t help myself, I went over to FoxNews and read about the after parties and who was where and doing what to who and if I ever wind up some place like that behaving like these people and being written about in such a combination senile/juvenile manner, I would like to ask any decent person to please kill me. Don’t stop with me though.
I’ll close with some quotes that my friend Don sent me from his hideaway in France. I’ll be going down to visit him in May and let him regale me with tales about the good old days of rock and roll. Enjoy...
"Music is my mistress, and she plays second fiddle to no one."
"One of the perks of being an unemployed musician is that you get to play much less bad music."
"After silence, that which comes nearest to expressing the inexpressible is music."
"Music is, by its very nature, essentially powerless to express anything at all. Music expresses itself."
George Bernard Shaw:
"Hell is full of musical amateurs."
"The drummer drives. Everybody else rides!"
Dizzy Gillespie: (on playing the trumpet)
"Some days you get up and put the horn to your chops and it sounds pretty good and you win. Some days you try and nothing works and the horn wins. This goes on and on and then you die and the horn wins."
"Jazz is the only music in which the same note can be played night after night but differently each time."
Shelly Manne: (on defining jazz musicians)
"We never play anything the same way once."
Al Cohn: (his definition of a gentleman)
"Someone who knows how to play the bagpipes, and doesn't."
"Music is a very hard instrument."
Zoot Sims: (talking about the Don Ellis band)
"The only tune they play in 4/4 is 'Take Five!'"
"If I could play like Wynton (Marsalis), I wouldn't play like Wynton."
"I'm too old to pimp, and too young to die, so I'm just gon' keep playin'."
"A great teacher is one who realizes that he himself is also a student and whose goal is not dictate the answers, but to stimulate his students' creativity enough so that they go out and find the answers themselves."
"To be a musician is a curse. To NOT be one is even worse."
Gustav Mahler: (to Bruno Walter who had stopped to admire mountain scenery in Austria)
"Don't bother to look, I've composed all this already."
"I would rather play Chiquita Banana and have my swimming pool than play Bach and starve."
Jean Sibelius: (explaining why he rarely invited musicians to his home)
"[Musicians] talk of nothing but money and jobs. Give me businessmen every time. They really are interested in music and art."
Kirke Mecham: (on his life as a composer)
"Only become a musician if there is absolutely no other way you can make a living."
"I am not handsome, but when women hear me play, they come crawling to my feet."
"What is the voice of song, when the world lacks the ear of taste?"
Victor Borge: (playing to a half-filled house in Flint, Michigan)
"Flint must be an extremely wealthy town: I see that each of you bought two or three seats."
"If one hears bad music it is one's duty to drown it by one's conversation."
"Critics can't even make music by rubbing their back legs together."
William F. Buckley, Jr.:
"Life can't be all bad when for ten dollars you can buy all the Beethoven sonatas and listen to them for ten years."
Oscar Levant: (explaining his way out of a speeding ticket)
"You can't possibly hear the last movement of Beethoven's Seventh and go slow."
"Wagner's music is better than it sounds."
James Gibbons Hunekar:
"Berlioz says nothing in his music, but he says it magnificently."
Walter Damrosch: (on Aaron Copland)
"If a young man at the age of twenty-three can write a symphony like that, in five years he will be ready to commit murder."
"There are still so many beautiful things to be said in C major."
"I never use a score when conducting my orchestra. Does a lion tamer enter a cage with a book on how to tame a lion?"
Arturo Toscanini: (to a trumpet player)
"God tells me how the music should sound, but you stand in the way."
Bruno Walter: (at his first rehearsal with an American orchestra, on seeing the players reaching for their instruments)
"Already too loud!"
"I really don't know whether any place contains more pianists than Paris, or whether you can find more asses and virtuosos anywhere."
Bob Hope: (on comedienne Phyllis Diller)
"When she started to play, Steinway himself came down personally and rubbed his name off the piano."
"Never look at the trombones, it only encourages them."
"In opera, there is always too much singing."
"Oh how wonderful, really wonderful opera would be if there were no singers!"
"I think popular music in this country is one of the few things in the twentieth century that has made giant strides in reverse."
Frank Zappa: (on his rock symphony debuted by the Los Angeles Philharmonic)
"A ponderous orchestral absurdity."
"The bottom line of any country is, what did we contribute to the world? We contributed Louis Armstrong."
"Opera is, when someone gets stabbed, instead of bleeding, they sing."
Frank Zappa: (when asked by Zubin Mehta if he enjoyed the LA Philharmonic concert)
"Do you realize you put two synthesizer players out of work?"
'You Take My Breath Away' is track no. 12 of 12 on Visible's 2007 album 'Color Ball'