Tag Archives: cult films

A Journey to Endor

All my life I’ve been waiting to see the Redwoods, and finally yesterday I got the chance.  Photos can never do these trees justice; you must experience their surreal majesty in person.  I visited one of the most well-known areas for viewing the giants, Jedediah Smith Redwood State Park near Crescent City, California.  In another unintended turn down film history lane, this park is coincidentally home to Endor, the planet of the Ewoks from Return of the Jedi.Do you know that over 90% of the original redwoods have been logged by greedy-ass humans?  Gross, right?These behemoths can grow over 370 feet tall and over 20 feet in diameter.  They are some of the oldest living beings on this planet.  It is truly depressing to walk among these ancient groves knowing that dumbass humans cut down the biggest, tallest, strongest, and oldest specimens in the early 1900′s.  The hubris of a man taking a saw to a 1,000 year old tree is truly disgusting.   Walking through this forest, knowing it is now only a shadow of what it used to be because of human interference, makes me hate people more than I already do.  I didn’t actually think that was possible. Take the time to visit this place and remind yourself how insignificant we are compared to the resources we destroy.  Sitting humbly at the base of one of these granddaddy trees does wonders for recalibrating one’s perspective.  Enough preaching, if you could give a fuck about preserving the Earth, well then maybe you care about visiting Endor.  Whatever gets you there, it’s worth a trip to backwoods California to gaze at the big tall trees.  Psychedelics are optional, but you have a much greater chance of glimpsing an Ewok if you bring some along.

 

GOONIES NEVER SAY DIE!

Today was spent in humble reverence to one of the most formative films of my childhood: The Goonies.  I got to see Mikey’s house in the flesh ya’ll!  More than 20 years later, the path up to the home is well-tread.  The friendly owners let you walk directly up to the hallmark of 80′s nostalgia and take photos.  No Truffle Shuffle required for entry.  Also located in Astoria, check out the Clatsop County Jail which Goonies fans may remember from the opening scene of the 1985 classic.  The former jail now serves as the Oregon Film Museum. Even if these other two locales have been buried deep under years of accumulated subconscious pop culture history, surely you remember Goonies’ big finish filmed at Haystack Rock?  This iconic monument lives right off the coast of lovely Cannon Beach.  Visit gorgeous Ecola State Park for access to sweeping views of Haystock Rock and all its rock formation friends + orange and purple starfish and turquoise sea anemone too.

Goonies Never Say Die!

Sunday with John Waters

Demeter Clarc Manners Moment: shoot the messenger

There is a scene in Unzipped where one of Mizrahi’s minions tentatively approaches him with the latest issue of WWD featuring Gaultier’s collection based on a similar Nanook of the North theme.  Isaac reacts to the catastrophe by venting his frustration on the meek messenger.  “Don’t show these things to me I’ve not been looking at it.  Just don’t show it to me.  You showed it to me.  It’s like you took some evil pleasure in it.”

Mizrahi articulated with flare what most of us scream inside when someone takes the liberty of farting on our day by passing along a hateful criticism traded behind our back.  Best to never repeat something that will hurt someone’s feelings.  The person on the receiving end won’t forget the sting of the news or where it originated.  As a general rule, don’t ever start a sentence with, “Girl you know what she said about you?”On the flipside, don’t talk shit unless you are prepared to say it to the person’s face because TRUST no one will listen to the advice above.  At the first opportunity, the tattler will tattle with delight.

 

BLACK SWAN

The exclusive use of black, white, gray, pink, and green create the film’s visual mood.  Those familiar with a leotard recognize these colors, jaundiced by florescent lights, as the uniform and backdrop of hours spent at the barre.  The soundtrack – crack, crack, crack – crack of the toes, crack of the neck – this girl’s cracking up.  Aronofsky precisely uses both color and sound to create the ballerina version of Fight Club.  He perfectly cast Mila Kunis as the Black Swan’s Tyler Durden. Winona Ryder reminds us why she’s a STAR.  She brings a stomach-flipping unpredictability to Beth, The Dying SwanBarbara Hershey serves up the bitterness of broken dreams as Nina’s overprotective, infantilizing stage mom.Props to Portman, who truly transformed her body into that of a ballerina.  When it comes to the actual dancing however, her fingertips lack the infinite extension of an authentic dancer.  Natalie set vanity aside to play Nina, and for the most part rises to the occasion.Consistent with Aronofsky, Black Swan explores self-mutilation, this time in the name of ballet.  The film pirouettes with feminine images of perfectionism, aging, horror, eroticism and discipline.  Many will find it confrontational and unsettling, and that is a good thing.

CROPSEY

You guys seen this weird little documentary Cropsey?  Billed as an investigation into a child-napping urban legend, it serves as a good reminder of the myriad of reasons we should steer clear of Staten Island. This movie is a bit all over the place in both its message and focus (satanic cults, obsessed murder-victim fans, hapless defense attorneys).  The best part of the film is the inclusion of an exposé Geraldo Rivera did in 1972 on the Willowbrook mental institution located on Staten Island that serves as the geographical black heart of the child-killing legends.  Rivera’s clips are the most disturbing and compelling part of the film because it is actual footage of severely disabled kids writhing naked in their own excrement, dumped on Staten Island like Manhattan’s trash.  The film doesn’t make any decisions for you, and by the end you may or may not have a theory about Cropsey.  Regardless, the images of these children will haunt you for days.

UNZIPPED

Today begins Mercedes-Benz Fashion Week where designers will present their spring 2011 collections.  Get in the mood by viewing arguably the best fashion movie ever made: Unzipped. This movie is old; it documents Isaac Mizrahi’s 1994 fall ready-to-wear collection.  Doesn’t matter, it holds up.  Filmed during the apex of the supermodel era, Unzipped is jam packed with cameos: Sandra Bernard, Cindy Crawford, Kate Moss, Carla Bruni, Naomi Campbell, Helena Christensen, Shalom Harlow, Amber Valletta, Eartha Kitt, and a tantrum-throwing Linda Evangelista (among many others). Mizrahi charms as his chubby nervous-nelly self, and his team of sycophants carve their own unique roles in this (pre-reality TV boom) documentary.  Endlessly quotable, this is an unmissable fashion cult classic.

Better than Salt

Truthfully, since Angelina and Brad have gotten together neither of them have made movies worth seeing.  Brad’s on his anti-sex-symbol-legitimate-actor trajectory, and Angie keeps churning out the same mindless action movies.  Instead of plunking down dough for Angelina’s latest recapitulated offering, why not revisit some of her more worthwhile work?   Like Gia, Jolie’s award-winning, seminal portrayal of a rebellious, drug-addicted supermodel.  It is easy to resent Angelina’s recent, lazy, phoned-in, performances when compared to her authentic embodiment of the complex and unpredictable Gia Carangi.

ADVENTURELAND

Summertime brings on an itch for the amusement park, rather than actually interact with children, visit Adventureland.  No movie better encapsulates the airbrushed corn dog nostalgia of the local crappy fun park of your childhood.Obviously, I’m obsessed with Martin Starr, so as a selling point let’s start with him.   He somehow manages to slip a Gogol reference into every role he plays.  Where Martin Starr goes, I follow.  Unlike those God-awful Twilight movies, Stewart doesn’t make me want to gouge my eyes out in her performance as EmIn addition to the stellar cast, this movie has an excellent soundtrack including The Cure, Crowded House, and The Velvet Underground.