Wednesday, February 16, 2011


This post is my thoughts on the movie Cyrus starring Johan Hill, Morisa Tomei and John C Reilly (elsa's choice). Why is John C Reilly known as John "C" Reilly? Is there really any chance of us mistaking him for another John Reilly? I guess John C Reilly does have a nice ring to it...

This is movie was charmingly amatuerish. It is more of a fable than a film. It is very short and feels very short and the plot does not twist. It barely manages to wiggle. The movie is kind of like if Punch Drunk Love was cut in half and rated PG. I am kind of disturbed that a pair of brothers directed it for some reason. One thing Cyrus is not is the roaring comedy that the previews promise. The comedy is very understated, though it is funny. The characters are well developed, well rounded and well acted. Not much to say about this movie. I guess there just isn't much to the movie. It is a pleasant little modern fable.

Thursday, February 10, 2011

Aguirre: The Wrath of God

Note: I will now be trying to use this space to log my thoughts about movies I receive via me and my lovely girlfriend's (elsa fellows) netflix account. I have not been very good at keeping up with this blog in the past so maybe this new, simple format will get me active on here again. My goal for writing is to keep my brain moving and the ideas flowing. Therefore do not expect perfection. I am totally uninterested in giving anyone an overview of the plot either. This is boring and you can find this info out easily enough.

Aguirre: The Wrath of God (my choice) is directed by Werner Herzog. This is a great film. Like most of his films I have seen it is very physical, a characteristic I love in film. What I mean by this is that it is shot in a way where you can feel the characters pain. This is often because the actors were themselves forced into grueling manual labor very similar to that of their characters. Aguirre: The Wrath of God is shot in the Amazon Rain Forest with a cast consisting of many natives to the area. Herzog puts a very long shot of the roaring amazon river near the beginning of the movie which wordlessly and perfectly illustrates the power of nature and the futility of man's attempts to tame it. I wept when I saw this scene. Michael Bay's best disaster scenes will never stand up to this film's terror and beauty because Michael Bay clearly does not have the fear and reverence for nature that Herzog has.

A small aspect of the movie that I am personally a huge fan of is use of live animals. The affect of actually seeing chickens in wire cages being carried through the endless jungle is surprisingly powerful. In one scene Klaus Kinski as Aguirre is holding a newborn sloth (the specific animal is a guess is it so small) and says with genuine wonderment "Here is an animal that sleeps its whole life away." This scene is amazing using a real newborn mammal, though I suspect using it in the film seriously jeopardized its life. It would be totally pointless to attempt with CGI. In another great scene Aguirre, viciously chases down and proceeds to snatch a live, small, orange monkey in an act of insane improvisation. He than shouts the movies signature line "If I, Aguirre, want the birds to drop dead from the trees... then the birds will drop dead from the trees. I am the wrath of god." After this line he proceeds to hurl the monkey into the river.

This movie is visually stunning and intellectually exhausting. I don't end up getting too emotionally attached to any of the individual human characters themselves because to me it is established early on that the film has greater stories to tell. One of the most telling lines is said by a native to the Amazon who has been abused the whole movie says that even after all he has suffered he feels bad for Aguirre because he knows, after all, there is no escape from this jungle. There is no escape from the human condition either.

Wednesday, April 14, 2010

The Journey

They say life is a journey, not a destination. I think this saying has taken on some meaning for me. It seems that I learn the same life lessons over and over again. I am human and (for various reasons) have a limited capacity for knowledge. It is the journey of life, the day to day experiances that teach us all these timeless life lessons, that give life... color and personality. The lessons don't change much over time but life constantly teaches us these lessons in new ways. If one is aware enough to analize life in this way, you can learn a lot about life and yourself. I have learned much about my weaknessess by examining the various ways I have have been shown various truthes, over and over.

Monday, April 12, 2010

ice cube tray

I love ice cube trays. It provides a daily neccesity (ice) in such a beautiful way. If only we could perfect more means of acheiving our goals that are as successful as ice cube trays. Its so energy efficient, so organic. Ironically enough most new fridges have "ice makers" which is much less efficient and much less organic. Just another way for our consumer culture to complicate a simple need that can be met simply. The problem with the ice cube tray is that it provides very little room for innovation (it is already perfect) and very little room for profit.

Wednesday, April 7, 2010

Teen Angst

I tend to move about once a year. My year lease at whatever dingy house or apartment I had been renting comes up and I am filled with a great feeling. The feeling of promise. The feeling of hope for the future. This yearly migration is a time of purging. I sift through all my belongings, solemnly musing over the artifacts. Most books, clothes, music and movies are donated. Tossing a dozen or so needles into the haystack of the Omaha thrift store circuit. My yearly move usually leads to the rediscovery of my adolescent journals. Reading through these lead me to think about teen angst.

My teenage writing, like most, is littered with the idea that true beauty and happiness can only be obtained through some pure, virginal form of youth. Inevitably, all our morals are mangled and our emotions are buried. Compromise equals death; hypocrisy the greatest sin. Authority figures mindlessly enforce rules passed down just as mindlessly over the generations. Miraculously every generation of adults forget all the wisdom of youth, only leaving it to be freshly uncovered by their offspring. Nobody understood me,etc.

Youth tends to believe in its ideals absolutely and I was no exception. In the years since these journals were written I have aged, and arguably matured. It has been my experience that the longer you live life, the less sense it makes. As time marches on I have accumulated people and things I care about. This adds layers of responsibility and with responsibility comes hard choices. These hard choices devour the pure ideals of youth. These choices exposed me as a fraud. What can the crusading absolutist of my youth do with the ambigiuty of reality?

To me the key is to incorporate these principles into the life I lead. To use the integrity of my youth as a moral compass. Surround yourself with people who are not afraid of thier emotions. Find ways to remind yourself of your priorities as a way of fighting off the onslaught of marketing. It is easy to give up and become the enemy of your teenage journals, but it is not inevitable.

Wow this turned into a weird graduation speech type thing...

Wow this turned into a graduation speech of sorts...

Thursday, April 2, 2009


*from achewood online comic strip

Sunday, March 22, 2009

Dance Dance Dance by Haruki Murakami: Thoughts part 1

In this book he explores alot of hotel imagery. Hotels are places full of mystery and tales. Hundreds of closed doors. Empty hallways. Murakami describes hotel patrons as "shadows creeping along the walls of the corridors". The old Dolphin Hotel was a doomed place described as "A freak accident of nature that stranded some organism up the wrong path without a way back. No one to blame, no one to save it."

The mystery is the best part of this book. Like H.P. Lovecraft, the less that is revealed the deeper the fear and deeper the intrigue. A great momentum is kept up for awhile, where the more clues are the revealed the less you know but you still care and want to find out more. Like when X-Files was good, or the first 2 seasons of Lost.

"I am left wondering how the ancient Egyptians filled their days, what little pleasures they enjoyed as they whiled their weary way to death. Learning to swim, wrapping mummies. And the sum accomplishment of that you call a civilization" For some reason I think this except is especially thought provoking when considering he wrote this from a Japanese perspective. The title character later speculates if there were trendy Egyptians.

I can really relate to this thought "I don't know what i want. And, if thats the case, as my ex-wife said, I'd only hurt people." An ex of mine told me something really similar and it really got my thinking for a long time about my actions.

Murakami writes himself into the book as the 13 year old girl's father. Its a strange and daring choice, and I'm unsure how I feel about it. He writes himself in a really self-depricating way and i don't think thats a very interesting point to make. Though I am always trying to be self-depricating as humor as well as a way to reveal in an acceptable way characteristics I don't like abot myself.

The storyline that sticks the most for me is the main characters (a 40 or older Male) friendship with a 13 year-old girl. Its really strange how the author creates an almost sexual tension between them. Thier relationship reminds me of alot of my past romantic relationships. I was always the more uptight, "sensible" one. I refer to it as more "white". I definately admire a more laid-back attitude. I admire those who can enjoy themselves and at least hide their self-consiousness more than me. Be able to stroll and be carefree. I guess I can do that half the time. The other half I'm a spazz. Like the main character. I suppose most people can relate to feeling emotionally trapped in a bottle and being help down by the rules of society. Thats probably why that person is usually the eyes the stories are told through in modern society.