Welcome to The Halloween Weekend Read.
My body chemistry confuses me. Despite my height and weight, I am affected deeply by over-the-counter medications to an unpleasant degree. For example, when I fly, I get crazy ear-pressure headaches, and the only way I can can stop them from happening is to take two Benadryl before the plane takes off. Those two Benadryl normally knock me out like a tranqued rhino for about five or six hours. With NyQuil, it's even worse. One shot of NyQuil makes me feel like a balloon-headed acid freak for a full day or longer, and last night, I had an awful runny nose and couldn't stop sneezing, so I bought some NyQuil for the first time in a while.
On the first night, after a ten-and-a-half hour blackout, I woke up still super groggy and barely able to focus. The second night, I dealt with a long and frustrating night of tech issues, followed by last-minute emergency Halloween costume crises for Toshi, and by the time I got to bed and got up for an early-Friday screening across town, I was a wreck. Both eyes feel like I've been thumb-punched by Moe Howard, I'm hearing like I'm underwater, and as soon as the cold medicine wears off, I start up a hurricane of sneezing.
And that's with AFI Fest starting today and Halloween with the family and friends on Saturday. Good lord. It's gonna be some kinda weekend, eh?
When they ask in the future why print went down in flames... and they will, no matter how hard the newspapers squawk and squeal as it happens... the English, at least, will have concrete examples they can point to of near-daily failures by their press to tell anything resembling the truth. I tend to ignore any and all Hollywood casting stories that are sourced back to UK tabloids, but I made the mistake this week of trusting a paper that is considered more reputable. According to Joe Wright, he's absolutely not making the new film version of "My Fair Lady." The Playlist caught him on a red carpet where he said, "It's all a lie." Ouch.
Devin Faraci over at CHUD sure does seem to be a lightning rod of fanboy controversy. And I know he loves it. He stirs the pot expertly, calling fanboys out on their cycles. His latest piece on the five stages of the geek movie experience is pretty dead-on, and the backlash phase in particular is one that make me itch all over, but that is undeniably real.
Over at Movieline, Stu Von Airsdale believes it is time to get rid of the traditional notion of "the bad guy" in movies. Aside from the gaffe of calling "Payback" a Warner Bros. movie in his opening paragraph (it was released by Paramount, Stu), it's a provocative premise, and an interesting cultural comment. Do you agree with his points?
You want to know why so many of us film fanatics have such shameless man crushes on Tim League, owner and founder of the Alamo Drafthouse? This is just one more reason among many, and damn persuasive. If you find yourself siding with the angry guy in Tim's story at all, you are not a person I ever care to share a movie theater with. And even better, the story made the local news.
Matt Zoller Seitz, former editor of The House Next Door, just cut a great video that serves as a primer called "Zombie 101." Check it out:
Even if you're a big fan of the genre and all the films featured are already familiar to you, that's really smart and well-cut, and a great bit of fun for the Halloween weekend.
The thing about a lot of what gets published around Halloween is that there's a familiarity to it. It's hard to highlight scary movies that haven't already been written about and written about. I stumbled and eventually failed in my own HorrorFest coverage this year, and it marks the first year in a while where I've really dropped the ball in making October a mostly-horror zone. There are a lot more people doing it now than when I started many years ago, and it almost feels like my October tradition has become redundant. Now that so many people try to do 31 days of horror, my voice is just one of many out there, and it feels like I see the same titles showing up everywhere. Even Martin Scorsese, when pressed to write a list, comes up with a lot of familiar titles.
I was already planning to pick up a copy of Robert Altman: The Oral Biography. I don't love every Altman movie, but that's part of his charm as a filmmaker, the way he could make a shaggy mess or a sublime pleasure, and the matter of degrees between them. His collaborators tended to love working with him, and I'm curious to read a good book that looks back at his storied career. But now that Richard Schickel has decided to use the publication of the book as a reason to revise history and turn Altman into a punching bag, I'm doubly interested. I grew up reading Schickel's work, and I'm a little shocked to read the vitriol with which he describes this undeniably important voice in American cinema. It's fine if Schickel's decided that he just doesn't care for Altman's work, but to try to sell the idea that his work won't last or that it's got no relevance these days? Madness. I love that Alan Rudolph, a longtime friend and collaborator to Altman, leapt to his defense, but come on... Altman needs no defense. "The Long Goodbye"? "Nashville"? "The Player"? "Short Cuts"? "McCabe & Mrs. Miller"? "California Split"? These films defend themselves, and they'll go on doing so as long as people take cinema seriously.
Boy, I love it when Jon Stewart gets mad:
Yes. Yes times two.
Kim Voynar's recent medical problems and personal issues sidelined her a bit at Toronto this year, but it's inspired some of the best writing she's ever done, hard and direct and unflinching. I wish Kim nothing but the best as 2009 gives way to 2010, and if anyone deserves to bounce back from difficult circumstances, it's her.
This just plain makes me laugh. Well-played, Governator.
If this news does not excite you, then I am afraid you and I have different priorities in film fandom.
Anyone else think this "Bioshock 2" trailer looks sort of awesome?
Yeah, I thought so.
This is so cruel. And so very, very funny.
Jim Carrey, oddly enough, has not had an official website until just now. And once you start poking around, I think you'll agree with me that the inside of Jim Carrey's head appears to be a very, very odd place.
And finally today, I'll leave you with a terrifying short film from last year's Fantastic Fest. It's an award-winner, and once you've seen it, your nightmares may never be the same:
Happy Halloween, and I'll see you guys back here on Monday.
The Morning Read appears here every day, Monday through Friday. Except when it doesn't.
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