Thursday, December 31, 2009

Happy New Year, Y'alls.

Happy new year!
Happy 1000 blog views (or whatever)!
Happy 20 minutes of Return To Danger Mountain finished!
Happy every Creative Writing Club video that I'll ever write written!

To the upcoming decade: Chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug chug like a chu-chu train.

"I'm not going to step on your head just to make you feel better!"
-Carol from Where The Wild Things Are

Saturday, December 19, 2009

The Incoherency Series

I was thinking about Avatar.

What we have here is a film which attempts to blend a world made with crazy crazy visual technology with storytelling. I haven't seen it yet, but this insane attempt has got me wondering.

Every time a film like this rolls around, the director totes that he has created "a world." Whether literal or not, almost all films frame a story in a "world." For James Cameron, he's taking it rather literally. Most other filmmakers create a world in the perspective of a distinct character which is a part of our world that we don't think about so often. So if every story exists in a realm of a distinctive "world," then it relies on the filmmaker to craft the world in a way that seamlessly intertwines the story with their vision. Wes Anderson does this rather beautifully. Even though The Royal Tenenbaums mostly took place in one house, the house became an integral part of the story. Everything was so rich and detailed that it was overwhelming. Not that Avatar won't be, but I can't help but feel that the world on the screen is nothing like the world James Cameron imagined. Avatar is, in all likelihood, the manifestation of hundreds of artists and designers who all read the script and came to a consensus with Cameron. This may not put the film at fault. The script might just be crafted so that it doesn't really matter how it looks, but just that it looks amazing.

Hopefully the script isn't that awful.

Then again, not everything has to be personal. Gus Van Sant filmed a movie about a school shooting without any apparent emotional attachment to the subject matter (he even kinda seemed like an asshole in interviews). Paul Thomas Anderson crafted a beautiful rise to fall story in the frame of the 70s porn industry. Whatever works.

But I'm finding that I take much more to images carefully thought out, and even help me comprehend the intent. Where The Wild Things Are certainly was close, but I feel that Fantastic Mr. Fox totally took the cake for this year, and I think I understand why.

Wes Anderson incorporates a style in every image and line he creates. There aren't really any ugly shots. The visual department of Fantastic Mr. Fox incorporated his style. What resulted was basically a Wes Anderson movie made by people who watch Wes Anderson movies. If Wes Anderson movies are a homage to Fran├žois Truffaut, then Fantastic Mr. Fox is a homage to Wes Anderson. This works a lot more than it sounds. Many of the shots in the film replicate shots from his other films- exactly.

With the exclusion of Up In The Air, Up, An Education, The Lovely Bones, Cold Souls, Jennifer's Body (shut up), Terminator Salvation, The Road, A Serious Man, Avatar (all of which I still want to see), here are my favorite films of this year.

1. Fantastic Mr. Fox
2. Star Trek
3. Where The Wild Things Are
4. District 9
5. Black Dynamite
6. Harry Potter and The Half-Blood Nigga
7. Moon
8. The Hurt Locker
9. The Hangover
10. 500 Days of Summer

Films I didn't really like:

Inglourious Basterds - It's true that I don't like Quentin Tarantino. He's got a style, but I feel his movies spend a lot of time to accomplish nothing and are liked chiefly by assholes because they think they're smart. That's just from my experience. As far as this one goes, I could write a paper on why I didn't like it. However, I feel that The New Yorker voices my feelings best. I enjoyed watching it. It's certainly not "bad." Hell, I thought I was going to like it after the opening scene. As it progressed to the basterds' (pointless) excursions, I saw that the film brings out the assholes in people in a grossly inappropriate setting.

Synecdoche, New York - I just really have a hard time saying that I liked it. Am I supposed to like it? I'm so confuuuuuuused! Well, I also watched it after surgery and half morphine'd up. I'll give it another watch, certainly.

Gran Torino - I watched this in a theater. The experience went like this: Clint Eastwood says something racist; the audience laughs like crazy; we're supposed to think he overcomes his racism; he makes another racist joke; the racist audience laughs. The dialogue is so wonk, even worse than Revenge of The Sith's wonk.

Watchmen - I read Watchmen the night before I saw it and loved it. I read the whole thing in one night, but it was the film that overwhelmed me. I thought it would be much more succinct, not to mention the style seemed a little off. Perhaps a little too clean. I'm not gonna be one who says it couldn't have been made into a movie, but it really could have been done better.

The Ugly Truth
- It's so good. It's so good.

Paul Blart: Mall Cop - Yeah, I saw it.

- Adamantium bullets.

Oh yeah, and I'm filming four videos on Wednesday, hopefully. One of them is part one of what I call "The Incoherency Series." That's why this blog is titled that.

Monday, December 14, 2009

Some things about music in 2009.

I lied. This isn't about movies in 2009. I'm pretty much done with school, but I still have a little more time to procrastinate something.

Albums I thought were great:

Grizzly Bear - Veckatimest
This record is just so warm to me.

Mew - No More Stories Are Told Today...

Animal Collective - Merriweather Post Pavilion
This one had to grow on me - big time. But once I got there, I understood what most of the fuss was about.

Dirty Projectors - Bitte Orca

Phoenix - Wolfgang Amadeus Phoenix

St. Vincent - Actor

Mos Def - The Ecstatic
Because I really enjoy white black music.

Peter, Bjorn and John - Living Thing
I love Writer's Block, and this is nothing like it. Shoot, "The Feeling" isn't on YouTube. Look it up. It's great.

M. Ward - Hold Time

Bon Iver - Blood Bank EP

Delorean - Ayrton Senna EP
So awesome.

Camera Obscura - My Maudlin Career

Dark Was The Night

Passion Pit - Manners
I think I enjoy very different parts of this than most people. For instance, I think "Sleepyhead" is a pretty bad song.

Tanya Morgan - Brooklynati
Again- black music for white people.

Albums I thought were OK

Neko Case - Middle Cyclone

The Antlers - Hospice

Yeah Yeah Yeahs - It's Blitz!
Hysteric is still one of the best songs of the year.

The Fiery Furnaces - I'm Going Away

The Raveonettes - In and Out Of Control
Fuzz fuzz fuzz fuzz.

Sufjan Stevens - The BQE

Wilco - Wilco the Album
The songs just seem pretty empty, but I can listen to it.

Andrew Bird - Noble Beast
Better than OK- but as a whole...

Albums I hate:

Fuck Discovery. They're fucking garbage.

Sun O))) - Monoliths and Dimensions
I have listened to a great deal of metal, but I don't listen to metal. Even so, this disgusts me. I will take an eternity of Megadeath over a year of this.

Jarvis Cocker - Further Complications

Conor Oberst - Outer South
I liked him more when he didn't want to live. I also got a speeding ticket listening to this album.

The Flaming Lips - Embryonic
Never been a fan. :(

Neon Indian - Psychic Chasms

The Mars Volta - Octahedron

Tegan and Sara - Sainthood

Fuck Buttons - Tarot Sport

DM Stith - Heavy Ghost
Creeps me the fuck out. He looks like Peter Petigrew.

Sunset Rubdown - Dragonslayer

...and I really like this.

Saturday, December 12, 2009

This happened.

Wa Pa Pwa. During Mock Congress, with multiple teachers watching, I got an affidavit passed to move my bill to the top of the agenda right before we finished our last day. Here is my speech to ban heterosexual marriage.

I destroyed the ACT today. Somebody's (probably) gonna get some money for IU (probably).

My next post will be my top films from this year with some essays to boot. I'll do it after this week when school is over.

Wednesday, December 2, 2009

Top Videogames of This Decade

People forget things. Rather nice things.

To prep this list, I looked to other lists and my obscure collection. There may be some glaring omissions: stuff I've never liked (GTA, Ninja Gaiden), stuff I've never got into (World of Warcraft, Psychonauts, Katamari), but I feel this is close.

It's hard to tell if I'm rating the experience I've had from these games or just based on their own merit. Either way, I feel like I did both here. I tend to prefer games that I feel a connection to. An investment, you can call it. This is why I've never wanted to get myself hooked to World of Warcraft.

1.Star Wars: Knights of The Old Republic
2.Banjo Kazooie (It's from this decade, to me.)
3.Super Mario 64
6.Jak II
7.Fallout 3
8.Halo 2
9.Rock Band
10.Pokemon Silver
11.Indigo Prophecy
12.Pokemon Snap
13.Mario Tennis
15.Splinter Cell: Chaos Theory
16.Kingdom Hearts
17.Super Mario Galaxy
18.Assassin's Creed
19.Table Tennis
20.Fight Night Round 3
21.The Legend of Zelda - Twilight Princess
22.Wii Sports
23.Call of Duty 2
24.Star Wars Battlefront
25.Prince of Persia: The Sands of Time
26.Mario Golf
27.Conker's Bad Fur Day
28.Top Spin
29.Freedom Fighters
32.Perfect Dark
33. NBA 2K5

Oh, and Paste magazine's top albums of this decade is shockingly similar to my list. I think I'm drifting away from my comfort zone of Pitchfork and Stereogum. Paste may be a good place to settle. Start a nice family. Gated community.

My, there's too much love.