Great movies: The Assassination of Jesse James, No Country for Old Men, You Kill Me, Zodiac, and Rescue Dawn
Implausible, ultimately stupid thriller that I nonetheless found immensely entertaining (w/ a fun script!): Shooter (1)
Great TV: Louis C.K. “Shameless,” 2007 seasons of “Curb Your Enthusiasm” and “Entourage,” plus the mildly promising, totally doomed, and entertaining-to-me-and-me-alone “The Kill Point.” This can be attributed to the mini-series’ employment of no less than four players from The Wire.
Great Books: David Michaelis’ Schulz and Peanuts, Best American Crime Reporting 2007, Denis Johnson’s Tree of Smoke, Patrick Anderson’s Triumph of the Thriller(1), Jon Savage’s Teenage, The Best American Mystery Stories 2007 (especially stories by James Lee Burke, who I’ve never been into until now, and David Means, who gives me that feeling that Pete Dexter did), Joe Carducci’s Enter Naomi: SST, L.A., and All That, and Johan Kugelburg’s Born in the Bronx: A Visual Record of the Early Days of Hip Hop (a wonderful X-mas gift from my girlfriend)….
Major Disappointments/Irritants/Evidence of Widespread Creative Bankruptcy: Mumblecore, Jonathan Lethem’s You Don’t Love Me Yet, a year without “The Wire,” The Arcade Fire, the Knocked Up/Superbad/Rogen/Apatow institution (loved “Freaks and Geeks,” but one “Porky’s-with-heart” is about all I have the patience for), 2007’s crop of shamesploitation/let’s-derive-entertainment-from-other-people’s-failure reality TV (ex: “Dice Undisputed”), “Flight of the Conchords”….
Miscellaneous: Andrew Earles and Jeffrey Jensen signing to Matador Records for the 2/19/08 release of (2CD + 65 page booklet) Earles and Jensen Present…Just Farr A Laugh (The Greatest Prank Phone Calls Ever) Vol. 1 & 2, and another birthday for my amazing 12-year-old cat Marcel (who I raised from a palm-sized kitten)…
Great Music and Comedy Albums: Jesu Conqueror, Flying Nun Boxed Set, Coliseum No Salvation, Rhino’s The Brit Box, Mouthus Saw A Halo, The Huguenots reissue, Ponys’ Turn The Lights Out, Scharpling and Wurster The Art of the Slap, Paul F. Tompkins Impersonal, Ross Johnson’s Make It Stop, and Jay Reatard “I Know A Place” / “Don’t Let Him Come Back” seven inch…..(savor this music portion of the year-end list, as the biz will not exist in twelve months)…The following movies are not necessarily bad or good, but notable because they raise the question, “How in the hell did this movie get made?” That, and they are all movies that I On-Demanded in 2007. All are good for laughs or confusion.
1408, Harsh Times, Disurbia, Civic Duty, and The Reaping.
1. I try not to support the notion of “guilty pleasures.” You will never witness me using the term in earnest. I like what I like, and I try to do so unapologetically.
2. Patrick Anderson is an obnoxious, unjustifiably self-serving hack that reviews crime fiction for The Washington Post. That this book was published by Random House should distress all struggling writers worth their salt, namely those peddling great book proposals against resounding rejection. The Triumph of the Thriller is full of typos, lots of $70 adjectives, criminal misuse of the superlative degree of comparison, and most importantly, Anderson’s horrible taste in crime fiction. Anderson tries to do two things with this book: 1. Explain how mass market crime fiction/thrillers came to dominate bestseller lists, and 2. Showcase his favorite writers. With the latter, he deserves quiet kudos dedicating full chapters to George Pelecanos and Dennis Lehane (though anyone with barely decent taste in crime fiction already knows the quality at hand with these two writers), yet deserves to be laughed out of the room for reserving a paltry paragraph or two for Charles Willeford while clumsily going bonkers over Thomas Harris, Scott Turow, Michael Connelly, Sue Grafton, and an alarming number of other meat-grinders/overrated wordbags. So, why is this book listed as a 2007 fave? I will absorb any book about books, and will pathologically enjoy one about crime fiction, no matter how questionable. Woody Haut’s Neon Noir is the successful version of this book.
Is something I will do when it pops up on IFC, like it did tonight. Some time ago, I tagged Assassination Tango as the “Road House of mafia movies,” and this remains the case. A consistent mess. Instead of another review, I’ve listed a few of the film’s funniest lines.
“The plane ticket is in my pocket.”
“If you want it done right, Frankie, do it right!!”
“This is my ass we’re talking about here, not Frankie’s.”
“One other thing, uh, can I something more powerful than a single-shot .22?”
“Interesting. Boxing one floor, Tango the next.”
“I like to work from rooftops, that’s my style.”
“I didn’t come ten thousand miles for you to lie to me.”
“How do I learn this ‘tango?'”
Re: “The Earles and McNeil Variety/DJ Show” at the Hi-Tone Cafe last night.
We had approx 100% more people than I’d predicted would show up!! This is good, as I played almost the exact set as last time….when no one showed up. Thanks for coming out!! I had a great time. Trivia question prizes included a circa-1994 Jägermeister logo Soul Asylum t-shirt (that someone is seemingly unhappy with), a Firehouse t-shirt with the ‘u’ crossed out to make it only slightly better (not sure if Mike Watt’s work ethic rubbed off on the homeless man that got this shirt), er, what else? Oh yeah, thanks to the guy that got the Sammy Hagar/Montrose trivia question right, thus winning this month’s issue of Tactical Combat magazine, and a special thanks to the guy (Shawn?) that nailed the Descendents’ “Clean Sheets” via karaoke (at least, I think he nailed it, the real vocals were still up). I love some crappy late-period pop metal crossover Descendents. All : Bad band, not that bad of a record. To the Rhodes math professor that was having a good time: I do feel sort of bad about playing a Phobia song and repeatedly pointing and screaming (through the mic) “DANCE!!!” at you. Don’t let that deter you from coming out next time. Sincerely. This took me three hours to write.
Happy Holidays to all and stay tuned for my year-end list of greats, irritants, things that confused me, and general examples of widespread creative bankruptcy (all in my humble opinion).