F&N Podcast Episode 007 – Blayne Alexander Jul08

F&N Podcast Episode 007 – Blayne Alexander

Sir Thomas of Stillwagon and I switched vacation weeks so this episode is regretfully Tom-less. Please send hate mail c/o The US Postal Service. Fellow cinephile and lead singer of the industrial rock band Idiot Stare Blayne Alexander was gracious enough to sit down and go through our “Best Of” and “Worst Of” the year so far. Neither he nor I could muster enough self-loathing to sit through The Lone Ranger but feel free to assume its place on one of our lists – your call which. Along with dissecting 2013’s film offerings, I grill him on his time in the music business, what’s different since he started, what’s the same, where does one start in today’s landscape, etc. Blayne also regaled me with the story of how he almost wrote the fourth Alien movie until a villain known only as The Whedon swooped in at the last minute to crush his dreams. Damn you Joss! Damn you!!!!!! Listen Here: Your browser does not support the audio element. Podcast Powered By Podbean Or download here Pub Trivia 10 Score –...

How to Write a Summer Movie Preview Without Even Trying [California Seething]

Look, if you’re a fairly intelligent person, it’s not that impressive to be an A student. I mean, big deal, all you’ve got to do is study all the time and work really, really hard. Easy. I’ve never been all that impressed by A students. In fact, there’s a name for those poor saps who studied all the time in college while I was out having the time of my life. It starts with SUC and I bet you can guess what the rest is. That’s right – SUCcessful doctors and lawyers. CRAP! I ruined my life. Alright, so, aside from the substantially improved likelihood of wealth, success, prestige, respectability and the sort of job where, when you wear a suit everyone doesn’t just automatically assume you’re interviewing for another job or fighting a DUI conviction, working hard all the time to be an A student is just not that impressive. It’s way more impressive be a B+ student and do absolutely no work at all – like me! I mean, sure, I could have stayed up all night for three days in a row writing an exhaustively researched 30 page term paper on Media Strategies in the 1988 Presidential Election filled with well thought out opinions substantiated by hard facts and data. If I was LAME. No, I chose to take the “road more awesome” (to quote Robert Frost) and throw down ten pages of triple spaced 13 point Arial yumminess chock full of wild speculation about Kitty Dukakis’ hairspray addiction based on an article in Newsweek, a couple of book jackets and half a Larry King Live with Olympia Dukakis (I fell asleep). BOOM. Plug in the Nintendo, fire up the bong and drop the mic. Peace Out.  I mean, there’s an important life lesson here. It’s not What You Know or Who You Know that counts in life, it’s How Well You Can Bullshit and How Little Effort You Can Get Away With Putting In that matters and the sooner you learn that, the more frustration you’ll save yourself in the working world when you work your ass off in anonymity and still get laid off while some lazy idiot rich kid with cooler hair and a higher Klout score than you could ever dream of gets promoted to VP of Marketing cause he can use the word “viral” in a sentence correctly when not referring to the spread of disease. The key to successful bullshit is confidence. Remember, what you lack in “information” you can make up for with “volume”. Just use the Fox News Ignorance to Assertiveness Ratio to figure out how loud you need to be (there’s an app on their website). Plus, by not living up to my potential, I cultivated this great aura of mystery. Everybody always wondered just what I could accomplish if I ever truly applied myself but, HA! The joke’s on them, cause I never truly applied myself and I accomplished nothing! So…ha ha? CRAP! I wasted my life. And, not for nothing, but it was a lot harder for me to squander my academic potential than it is for kids today. We live in a golden age for lazy students. Just think about how much incorrect information they have at their fingertips. Why come up with your own poorly researched wild speculation when you can just steal someone else’s? It’s my 19-year-old self’s dream come true! Hell, I could write a whole term paper just from Facebook memes. As Martin Luther King said: “Have you noticed that you can put any random series of words next to my face in a jpg and post it on Facebook and everyone will think it’s like a real quote and they should take it seriously? Just try it! Put “purple grapefruit frog tomato” next to that black and white picture of me looking all visionary and shit and everyone’ll start...

Modern “Manhattan”

As a conflicted admirer of Woody Allen’s Manhattan, I feel compelled to begin this review admitting the obvious influence. Not because I delight in making the reference, but because I think director/writer Noah Baumbach and writer/star Greta Gerwig intend to remind us of it. How can they not? It’s shot in black and white, follows the lives of intellectuals (or a close proximity thereof) in New York and mirrors Allen’s classic so closely it’s as if they intended it as fan fiction. Frances Ha is certainly Manhattan‘s inferior when it comes to the visual palate, not that it’s trying to match it per se. Manhattan is a love letter to New York, but Frances Ha bests Allen’s classic, in my opinion, on the character and story level. Not just because I get skeezed out when seeing Allen and Hemmingway together, but because the relationships are more sympthathetic, focused and redeemable. Baumbach’s direction is strong, but the strength of Frances Ha is Gerwig’s performance. She’s proud but embarrassed, hopeful but afraid, charismatic enough to be one of your close friends but troubled enough to lovingly worry about her. She embodies the wayward post-grad, Millennial modern woman so effortlessly it’s weird to see her credited under a different name. I wouldn’t be surprised to see her rightfully nominated for an Academy Award for Best Actress. She’s that good. Though it is much more, Frances Ha is a tale about friendship and the stunted growth of one partner who bases too much of her adult life on a college relationship with her friend. How refreshing it is to see women at the center of this story, as opposed to men hopelessly sleeping around from one girl to the next, moping about meaning. Frances and Sophie are best friends, they share an apartment, platonically sleep together and spend the majority of their lives amongst each other’s company. When Sophie decides to move in with someone else because the place is closer to what she’s always wanted, Frances is forced to separate from her and discover who she is on her own. New York is both a foreboding and hopeful character here. The tiny bars and expensive apartments are a frightening necessity for Frances. Her friends may be able to afford lavish (to a point) living spaces but as a struggling dancer, she can barely make the rent. At the same time, the “if I can make it here, I can make it anywhere” refrain of Sinatra’s ode to the Big Apple resonates in the distance. If she can accept herself as an entity separate from her best friend, Frances has the potential to succeed – but can she? That’s the question here and I won’t spoil the answer, but suffice it to say, if you’re familiar with Baumbach’s other work, the resolution isn’t that simple. However, for the first time I can remember, it’s well defined. Frances Ha is one of the best movies of the...

WTF Podcast With Noah Baumbach May14

WTF Podcast With Noah Baumbach

Writer/Director Noah Baumbach sat down with Marc Maron to discuss his new film Frances Ha, as well as forgotten gem Kicking and Screaming and minor masterpiece The Squid and the Whale. For fans of Baumbach’s “adults dealing with prolonged adolescence” like myself, it’s worth a listen. I’m stuck seeing Star Trek Into Darkness Thursday, which I’m sure will be fine, but my heart will be with *Greta: *Artistic heart. My romantic heart belongs to my wife and my actual heart belongs to...