Monday, September 07, 2009

I finally saw Inglorious Basterds over the weekend, and a couple of people asked me what I thought of it, so… Spoilers/plot discussion follow!

It dragged a bit, mostly at the beginning. The opening sequence with Nazi officer Hans Landa and the French farmer, for example, could have been tightened up considerably. Still, there was always a payoff at the end of the scene. Was I the only person who watched Landa drink that glass of milk, and remembered Samuel Jackson drinking the Sprite of the boy he’s about to murder in Pulp Fiction? In Tarantino movies, people who come into your house and suck down your beverages are most likely about to kill someone.

The actor, Christopher Waltz, has won awards for the role, but I actually found Landa a little too cheerfully, charmingly evil. He needed a touch more menace for my taste – a little more Christopher Walken, or perhaps John Malkovich.

Loose end: Later, in the strudel scene, did Landa realize that Emmanuelle Mimieux was actually Shoshanna Drefuss? I was unable to tell. I thought he did, when he drank another glass of milk, but it was never made clear.

Emmanuelle Mimieux was, of course, a tragic heroine. And beautiful - Tarantino made Melanie Laurent look like a gorgeous young Ingrid Bergman in the shots of her preparing for the premiere. But will those girls ever learn: once you've plugged the villain and he's down, go shoot him again in the back of the head! As soon as I saw the oh-so-smug Frederick Zoller fall, I thought “He’s going to sit up in a minute, all bloody, and shoot her.” Which was sort of academic, since (I think) she and her lover were planning on dying in the fire anyway. But still – if you’re going to kill the bad guy, kill him very, very thoroughly.

Brad Pitt and his Basterds, on the other hand, were nothing if not thorough. I wish they’d gotten more screen time. I am lost in awe at how well Pitt did with his part. “Aldo The Apache” was such a cartoon-character of a role, with the accent and the scar and the hillbilly imperturbability, it would have been easy to push it into sheer burlesque.

But Pitt was able to make Aldo work, somehow. I’m amazed at how Pitt was able to contort and hold his face in that odd, bulldoggish expression. Did he have prosthetics on his chin and forehead to give him that look?

(The character of the English officer, Lt. Hicox, was actually much more of a cartoonish, stiff-upper-lipped Brit, although I had a sense that Tarantino did that on purpose. And I did not even recognize Mike Myers in his little bit as an English officer.)

Quibble: The scene where Landa slips the shoe, Cinderella-style, onto Bridget von Hammersmark’s foot and thus identifies her as a traitor was good – but I would have liked it better if the shoe had not fit. Remember: there was another woman in the tavern, the young barmaid. It could have been hers. There could have been a big build-up of tension and then – the shoe obviously isn’t her size. Hammersmark would have breathed a sigh of relief, thinking herself safe, and then Landa would have killed her anyway. That’s how I would have done that scene.

Can I just admit how much I loved that Tarantino used the “Cat People” theme song in his movie? That’s such a great, cheesy, slick eighties-pop-ballad. Was it anachronistic? Maybe, but the whole damn movie is alternate history anyway, so why get hung up on little details like that? I remarked to Monk, “That song was on a lot of my early ‘sex mix’ tapes.” He replied, “Honey, that was on everyone’s ‘sex mix’ tapes.”

So I don’t think it’s my favorite movie in the world, but I enjoyed it well enough, and I think, basically, it’s Quentin Tarantino. If you like Quentin, and you’re all right with brutal, violent imagery, and you’re in the mood for a movie that has nothing at all to do with actual history of the Nazis and World War II, then you’ll probably like the film. The man has a definite style, and I have to admire him for doing what he wants, exactly the way he wants.

Friday, September 04, 2009

You know, every now and then I have to post pictures of something scary just so ya'll don't forget I am, actually, very mean.
Don't misunderstand me: I'm sweet. I am undoubtedly the nicest, sweetest sadist you'll ever meet. But just because I'm sweet doesn't mean I don't also really enjoy putting needles in people's nipples. Because I do.

Thursday, September 03, 2009

Notes About My Schedule

For my friends who like to plan ahead: I’m out of town Sept 26th to the 29th – I’ll be at Folsom Street Fair. (And that looks like it’s going to be a very, very interesting trip indeed.)

I’m back for a week, and then I’m in Vegas from Oct 5th through the 9th.

It’s looking like I might be going to Atlanta for the last week of October, or the first week of November, but I’ll post dates for that when it gets firmed up.

So now you know. And knowing is half the battle. (The other half? Stapling someone's balls to a chair. Heh.)

Wednesday, September 02, 2009

I love fashion. Especially when it looks like this.

Photo on the left? Eh. I don't do belts, generally, and those boots are odd. But: nice gymnastics, guys.

Photo on the right? Yum. Love the jacket (even with the belt), love that skirt! Love the shoes, and love the boy - although he doesn't look appropriately frightened. Hate the hair, but who cares about that. Nice set, too.

Full spread, for W magazine, with more pretty pictures.

Tuesday, September 01, 2009

I was reading a message board lately and saw someone talking about “open poly versus closed poly.” And I thought: what is the point of that term? It really baffles me.

“Closed polyamory,” as I understand it, is: more than two people in a sexual/romantic relationship who do not have sex or become romantically involved with anyone else outside their group.

If that’s how the people involved want to do their poly, that’s completely and utterly fine with me. But - why is it necessary to stick the word closed on the front of it? I do not see that system of poly as being somehow so different than other systems that it needs a discrete category. It just sounds like the speaker is trying to minimize the situation. “Okay, so we’re not monogamous. But we’re like monogamy + one. We opened up our relationship and let just this one other person in (or just these two other people, or however many). And then we closed the door again, boom! So we’re not like those other poly people, all open and stuff.”

Well, the people in the original dyad had to be open at least long enough to find another person, didn’t they? And let’s be realistic, most relationships – both mono and poly - end. So what happens when one of them does? Do the people remaining in a relationship switch over to being open again until they meet someone else, and then go back to being closed? If the relationship can be opened, then what is the advantage of designating it as closed in the first place? It’s not like people are taxis, and have to turn the light on the roof off and on.

I have no quarrel with words like triad, quad, or group marriage. I think those are clear, useful terms. And I'm mostly okay with the term polyfidelity, although it always reminds me of the movie High Fidelity with John Cusack.

As I said, people get to do poly however they want. If you want to have a designated group of people who have sex only amongst themselves, more power to you. But when phrases seem designed to minimize something, or distance the reality of a situation, then those phrases bother me. They remind me of chicks who have girlfriends but say, “Oh, I’m not really a lesbian, I just love her.” I have never met any homophobes who gave out The First Pussy Is Free! exemptions, so why bother with the limp denials? Likewise, I have never met an anti-poly person who would say, "Well, if you're just non-monogamous with these few people, that's all right."

I could channel John Cleese in the Bring Out Your Dead scene from Monty Python and The Holy Grail. “You’re not fooling anyone, you know.” In my opinion, you got the name, you might as well play the game.