Music…it is so amazing. It can bring us on such a journey through our emotions into the past, and even into the future. It can hit the nail on the head in a way that few things can. If you listen to it, it can release you and create exuberance and joy and tears. If you play it, it can let you communicate your truest inner thoughts and express your unconscious where words and actions will always fail. And when combined with images in film and television it can be more perfect than a friendship ring from your soul mate. I’m exaggerating, but you get the point.
Today, I’m buzzing on music for a couple reasons (not the least of which being…). To begin with, I finally saw Cameron Crowe’s somewhat biographical tale ALMOST FAMOUS from 2000. This film made some of the best use of music I’ve ever seen. Transitions, emotional crescendos and gentle comedowns were all gently (and not so gently) accompanied by famous (and not so famous – Blodwyn Pig?) songs that didn’t feel manipulative, or obtrusive, but just fit in perfectly with how you are already feeling. You can usually tell when the soundtrack doesn’t work. It is not always so obvious when it does. I thought the soundtrack to ALMOST FAMOUS was right up there with my favorites of all time with RUSHMORE, THE BIG CHILL, and SPINAL TAP. But hey, that’s me. Anyone else have some favorite soundtracks? Email me with them, we’ll do an informal poll.
I was reading this morning an article about Ethan Nadelmann. Do you know about him? He has been working with the Drug Policy Alliance Network for many years to promote policy change within the government. He has many things to say and they are not all funny. But in this article, he says the time is right to legalize marijuana, and he thinks there are four major signs that clearly show the progress society is making in this movement. According to the article:
In the 25 years since Nancy Reagan advocated just saying no, Mr. Nadelmann has seen a progression through four public stages out of the five he believes are needed to achieve legalization.
Stage 1. Bill Clinton: I smoked but I did not inhale."
Stage 2. Al Gore: I smoked, it was wrong, I regret it, shame on me.
Stage 3. Michael Bloomberg (asked if he’d tried pot): “You bet I did and I enjoyed it.”
Stage 4. Barack Obama: “I inhaled frequently — that was the point!”
Stage 5. Public Figure to Come: Yes, I smoke the occasional joint.
After reading this, I decided I would help affect change in my neighborhood by stating unequivocally that YES! I smoke the occasional joint. There, Stage 5 is complete. Let’s make this change as quickly and painlessly as possible.
In light of all this talk about marijuana, I thought I would list five great pot-smoking films:
1) Cheech & Chong's Up in Smoke (Hey man, he said his name was Raaalph)
2) Dazed and Confused
3) Super High Me
5) Fast Times at Ridgemont High
I almost put TRUE ROMANCE on this list, even though it really isn’t a stoner movie, but because of that awesome scene when the mob shows up to the house where Brad Pitt lives and he has a bong-laced confrontation with the bad bad men. Very funny.
Alrighty, that’s all folks, hope to see you at the store.
Love and Kisses,
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Links we are super hip on this week:
7X7 Photo and/or Essay SF Love story contest - For the 7X7 Neighborhood Issue.
Pal’s Takeaway – Yummy yummy.
Bernal Heights Outdoor Cinema festival.
Videofest 2009 at the Mission Cultural Center for Latino Arts.
Do you have a link Four Star Customers should check out??? Email it to me.
Directed by Andrzej Munk.
* Another of those strange mad-cap Polish comedies, this one concerns a man who experience change in Poland from the 1930’s to the 1950’s with the inability to make sense of it and the poor fortune to be on the wrong side of every confusing situation.
CHEKHOV AND MARIA.
Ron Bottitta/Gillian Brashear.
Directed by Eric Till.
* A fictobiopic imaging Anton Chekhov sick and living with his sister Maria who is helping him write and work on his plays. Unfortunately, she doesn’t approve of his love life and tries to sabotage his efforts to be with the one he loves leading up to painful family turmoil.
Directed by Frank Vestiel.
* A naked man wakes up in a cave having no idea how he got there and must somehow get to the surface. Seriously, if you like sci-fi, please rent this movie so I have SOME reason why I bought it.
Sam Huntington/Jay Baruchel/Chris Marquette/Seth Rogen.
Directed by Kyle Newman.
* Uber-Star Wars geeks attempt to break into Skywalker Ranch to steal a copy of the newest Star Wars movie that is coming out, THE PHANTOM MENACE. They are so excited to see it! Did I ever tell you about my idea for WOOKY NOOKY? Now that is movie that should get made…
THE FRIENDS OF EDDIE COYLE.
Robert Mitchum/Peter Boyle/Richard Jordan.
Directed by Peter Yates.
* This is directly from a VSL (VERY SHORT LIST) email: “The Friends of Eddie Coyle (1973) may just be the great lost Robert Mitchum movie — and the last great seventies flick to make it to DVD. It’s finally available, from the Criterion Collection, on May 19. Based on a novel by George V. Higgins and directed by Peter Yates (who is best known for the 1968 Steve McQueen vehicle Bullitt), the film traces a small-time hood’s fall from grace. Mitchum’s character (the eponymous Eddie Coyle) is broke, weary, and facing a prison sentence. Forced to choose between his friends and his freedom, Coyle turns informer. But he does it too late, and the mob sends Coyle’s best friend (an excellent Peter Boyle) to rub him out. Yates’s eye for location — Boston at its grimiest — gives The Friends of Eddie Coyle a texture we don’t really see anymore. But Mitchum’s performance gives the film its heart; it’s a sly and subtle wonder.“
NOTE: VSL is an awesome daily email that just sends out a short interesting thing of note each day. Often related to cinema, but also hitting on music, art, literature and more.
MY BLOODY VALENTINE: 3D.
Jaime King/Jensen Ackles.
Directed by Patrick Lussier.
* The Miner is back, this time in 3-D and he won’t rest until he’s tested out his axe on just about everybody.
NO MERCY, NO FUTURE.
Directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms.
* From the same director as UNDER THE PAVEMENT (scroll down) this film is about a mentally unhinged young woman, walking the streets of Berlin and taken advantage of by everyone she meets.
Jim Caviezel/Sophia Myles/John Hurt/Ron Perlman.
Directed by Howard McCain.
* A haiku synopsis:
Vikings, Far off worlds!
Yikes - alien predators!
Is this your movie?
Andre Heller/Harry Baer/Heinz Schubert.
Directed by Hans-Jurgen Syberberg.
* Two-part eight hour surrealistic study into one of the worst and most destructive leaders of modern history.
PAUL BLART: MALL*COP.****ALSO IN BLU-RAY****
Kevin James/Jayma Mays.
Directed by Steve Carr.
* Like so many security guards, Paul Blart wishes he was a cop. Unfortunately, his weight issues made that goal unattainable (really?). However, when the mall is put under siege by some crooks, Paul Blart: Mall Cop will stand up for all that’s right and will NOT abandon his post until wrongs are righted, bad guys captured, and probably some other clichés, too.
PIGS PIMPS AND PROSTITUES.
Hiroyuki Nagato/Jitsuko Yoshimura.
Directed by Shohei Imamura.
* PIGS AND BATTLESHIPS, THE INSECT WOMAN and INTENTIONS OF MURDER are the three films in this collection. Released between 1961 and 1964, the films are gritty and intense and feature strong leading women dealing with harsh realities. As with all Criterion releases, there are wonderful extras and all the films feature new high-definition transfers.
RUSSELL BRAND: LIVE IN NEW YORK.
* Russell Brand is the very funny actor who played the English Rock Star Aldous Snow in FORGETTING SARAH MARSHALL. His life has been one of huge ups and downs and he chronicles his challenging relationship with comedy and drugs in this amazing Fresh Air interview with Terry Gross that I have linked here and is fascinating! I imagine his stand up is rather brilliant.
UNDER THE PAVEMENT LIES THE STRAND.
Grischa Huber/Heinrich Giskes
Directed by Helma Sanders-Brahms.
* Sanders-Brahms 1974 directorial debut is a study about a couple who was very involved in the revolutionary change in the late 1960’s and who now are disillusioned and working as stage actors in Berlin. Won Best Actor and Actress Awards at the German Film Awards for both stars in 1975.
VALKYRIE.****ALSO IN BLU-RAY****
Tom Cruise/Kenneth Branagh/Bill Nighy/Tom Wilkinson/Stephen Fry/Eddie Izzard/Terence Stamp.
Directed by Bryan Singer.
* Tom Cruise is Colonel Claus von Stauffenberg, an insider in Adolf Hitler’s Third Reich who was eventually recruited into the German resistance and almost helped assassinate Adolf in 1944. Although Cruise is the star of this film, the supporting cast is tremendous and makes this conspiracy story high drama and well worth watching. Cruise mostly stays out of his own way and allows the story to be less about the noble von Stauffenberg and more about the Germans who valiantly fought mostly in silence against the tyranny that was deeply rooted in their own system. The true conspiracy that this film is based on was one of FIFTEEN known attempts on Hitler’s life. If only one had succeeded…
Chazz Palminteri/Christine Lahti.
Directed by Robert Celestino.
* Debuting at the Tribeca Film Festival, Palminteri plays Joe, a gambling lifer whose complicated family life includes an adult son with Down’s syndrome.
Directed by John Fiege.
* Shot on Super 8 film which gives the movie a vivid texture and unbalanced color scheme, Fiege examines a community of Latin Americans working in Mississippi’s chicken factories, trying to make a living and being given little support by their employers.
PROFIT MOTIVE AND THE WHISPERING WIND.
Directed by John Gianvito.
* Inspired by Howard Zinn’s “A People's History of the United States”, this film studies the US of A’s history examining cemetery stones, and other historical markers.
Directed by David E. Simpson.
* From the director of MILKING THE RHINO comes this doc about the mothers of autistic children in the 1950’s and 1960’s searching for answers and help from the establishment and receiving blame and stigmatization.
WE FEED THE WORLD.
Directed by Erwin Wagenhofer.
* Hard hitting film about the globalization of our food industries and the dramatic ways that factory farming has changed our food.
FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS: THE THIRD SEASON.
Kyle Chandler/Connie Britton/Zach Gilford.
Created by Peter Berg.
* Season three of the drama about the big dreams for the players and booster involved with the playing of high school football in Texas (and just about everywhere else in the USA).
PEYTON PLACE: PART ONE.
Mia Farrow/Ryan O’Neal/Ed Nelson.
Created by Paul Monash.
* Are we into this 1966 primetime television soap opera? If so, I will continue buying and buying it…
TRUE BLOOD: COMPLETE FIRST SEASON.
Anna Paquin/Rutina Wesley/Jim Parrak.
Created by Alan Ball.
* In his first series since SIX FEET UNDER, Alan Ball has created a cult success about a small town waitress, Sookie Stackhouse, and the vampires she befriends in small town Louisiana. The critical element in this supernatural tale is that the vampires have a synthetic blood they can now drink and are no longer forced to hide and kill humans to sustain their lives. Even so, some good old folks are still a bit weary of kicking it with the undead. Undead. Undead.
24: SEASON 7.
* High-octane. Boom boom, you’re dead.
DR. DOOLITTLE: MILLION DOLLAR MUTTS.
............// NEW ADDITIONS//............
A SHOCK TO THE SYSTEM.
* A bloody comedic revenge tale starring Michael Caine as a man angered by a subordinate’s promotion above him who resolves to get revenge on everybody. This was a customer request.
............// NEW BLU-RAY ADDITIONS//............
A BUGS LIFE.
* The second big Pixar flick (after TOY STORY), directed by the amazing John Lasseter, and I still couldn’t convince my kids to watch it this weekend.
............// REPLACEMENT DISCS//............