Lars and the Real Girl -- Finally an Idiot Man-Child Film I Wasn't Crazy About

Posted by Eric Brightwell, October 22, 2007 01:02pm | Post a Comment
                 Lars... whoops- David Arquette                                                               The real Lars

In Lars and the Real Girl, Ryan Gosling plays a shy loner who is henpecked by nagging family and friends determined to engage him. He reacts to their attempts to set him up on dates and hang out in familiar and realistic shy guy fashion. Then he buys a sex doll which he falls in love with and all at once we're transported to a world I could only recognize as the familiarly formulaic "quirky indie film." Of course it's in the Middle West (Ontario in real life), the last bastion of quirky, lovable, soft-headed townsfolk with hearts of gold and fresh-baked good intentions.

What I had hoped was going to be a semi-comic observation along the lines of Punch Drunk Love or Chuck & Buck in one contrived bit plunged straight into the territory of an SNL sketch-cum-movie or an Improv skit that goes on for way too long (i.e. over 3 seconds). OK, it's not as bad as those examples, mostly because of the casting and because you don't have Horatio Sanz cracking up at the hilarity of it all. Ryan Gosling goes a long way in making Lars a character we care about even while the script or direction provide almost no insight into what's going on in his head aside from contrived instances with a psychiatrist. We never know if he really thinks the doll is real; does he ever have moments of clarity? What made him change from a believable loner into a delusional cinematic joke? We never know much of anything that goes on inside. You won't laugh, you won't cry, even though it's calculated to make you do just that. Ultimately Lars is just an icon with funny hair, funny clothes, a funny name and a funny relationship with others a la Napoleon Dynamite. Here's hoping he doesn't similarly inspire a legion of "hipster" imitators or else I'm going to have to make a lot more calls to the Redneck Squad.

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Posted by Billyjam, October 22, 2007 01:00pm | Post a Comment
juice tupac
The image to the left is the album cover art from the soundtrack to the film Juice that starred Tupac Shakur as the crazy & wild, revolver-carrying character Bishop (one of a group of Harlem teenagers). At the time of its release in 1992, the film stirred up quite a bit of controversy over said gun in the artwork that was also used in the movie's advertising campaign. I remember back then, as you probably do too, seeing the ad in magazines, on big billboards and also on AC Transit buses driving by. The image was identical to the one at the left with a gun-toting Pac. But soon after, a heated controversy arose over the inclusion of the gun in the movie poster and the artwork was altered, with the gun being airbrushed out of the image altogether.

The whole controversy over the Juice advertising campaign was instigated by reporter Anita Busch at the Hollywood Reporter when she wrote a critical article about Paramount Pictures' advertising campaign for the movie. She wrote that some people feared the ad dipiction would lead to violence around the movie theaters. The article triggered a landslide of bad publicity, which in turn triggered fear, which ultimately led the studios/producers of the juice tupac film to alter the artwork and remove the gun (a revolver) from all movie related materials -- as in the DVD cover art, on the right.  

Among shocked rap fans at the time (myself included), the feeling was that it was a bullshit censorship move, with the real irony being that Hollywood was not airbrushing out guns from other (non rap related) movies. Clearly it came off at the time as a double-standard targeted at black youth and at a genre of music that was prone to controversy. (This was around the time of Ice T's "Cop Killer" and other hot-button controversies.) In fact, just a year earlier Vice President Dan Quayle used his high-profile position to slam Tupac's first album, 2Pacalypse Now: "There is absolutely no reason for a record like this to be published … It has no place in our society," was what Quayle said at the time of the rap album by the former Digital Underground member.

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October Favorites Pt. 1

Posted by Mr. Chadwick, October 22, 2007 12:26pm | Post a Comment
The month of October begins the massive turn inward that results in the great isolation of the later winter months. We in SoCal tend to be spared the brunt of all the snow and ice that is the harsh reality of winter for much of the rest of the country.  Even so, the general isolation that comes with winter certainly occurs here- try getting people out to a performance during even a light Feb. rainstorm and you'll know a true feeling of loneliness deep in your heart.  I thought that I'd put together a three parter featuring some of my favorite recordings for your post Mabon listening pleasure...those lonely nights in your SRO curled up next to your illegal space heater, anticipating the Samhain spirit night quickly approaching...

(Glendale, CA private press)

Always a favorite around the (((6))) compound this time of the year, this LP not  only has some truly great cat screeching and chain rattling, but really spooked out THEREMIN SOLOS.  Originally issued as two separate Halloween themed 7" EP's (one pumpkin cover, one werewolf cover). I have the LP, the cover of which is a picture of a"spooky" Victorian house.  My copy had a former life  as a library LP so the cover has a big rip where the card pocket was ripped off and there's a heat warp warning sticker to the left, which I believe gives my copy creepier feel.

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Goodbye Friend - Lance Hahn 1967-2007

Posted by Gomez Comes Alive!, October 22, 2007 02:05am | Post a Comment

For those who didn’t know, Lance Hahn passed away Friday after slipping in a coma a week earlier. Lance Hahn was a brilliant songwriter and a great musician. His band, J-Church (and before that, Cringer), recorded several albums and many singles. He had friends all over the world, who will be very sad when they get the news.

I met Lance nineteen years ago. He was 21 and I was 19. We worked for nuclear disarmament organization. We would canvas rich liberal neighborhoods trying to sign people up as members, much like Greenpeace does. It was a shitty job to say the least. The best part about it was meeting Lance. Lance was really funny and I loved the way he laughed. It was real. He and his friends moved to L.A. from Hawaii in the late 80’s because they thought the punk scene would be better in L.A. Unfortunately, they came right when the hair-metal thing was huge in L.A. and punk was out of vogue. His band Cringer only played a half a dozen shows in the three years they were in L.A. At the time I was taking a recording class at Harbor College. I told him that I could record Cringer for free. He took me up on the offer and we recorded Cringer’s Zen Flesh, Zen Bones E.P. It was my first time behind the mixing board. It sounded horrible and I knew it, but they released it anyway. I ended up playing a show or two on guitar with them before they moved to San Francisco. They asked me a few days before they left, "Hey, do you want to come with us?" I declined. Once they moved up north they became a part of the Gilman Street community, released some records, did a few tours, broke up and became J-Church. I started playing in bands as well and every time I would come up San Francisco to play he would be at the shows. After the shows, we’d drink 40’s and eat burritos from one of the Mexican places on Valencia in the Mission District, then he'd load me up on punk rock gossip. He was like my punk rock comradre.

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The Search for the Next Elvira

Posted by Brad Schelden, October 21, 2007 11:13pm | Post a Comment

Two of my heroes growing up were Rod Serling and Elvira. I am a bit surprised that I actually turned out sort of well adjusted. I absolutely loved watching The Twilight Zone on television. One of my babysitters let me watch it and I really thought that Rod Serling was the coolest man in the world. His shows were nothing short of brilliant. I still look forward to the yearly marathons even though I have the episodes on DVD now. I also watched a lot of the "Movie Macabre" hosted by Elvira, Mistress of the Dark. The show originally aired in 1981. I also became obsessed with Elvira and watched her late night movie show any time I got the chance. The movies were absolutely horrible, but her hosting and commentary was hilarious. It probably helped develop my love of horror movies and just bad movies in general. But also my love of sarcasm. Elvira got her start in Hollywood with the comedy group the Groundlings. Both the Elvira character and Pee-Wee Herman were created at the Groundlings. I got to meet Elvira at Midnight Mass last year and the lady is still as great and beautiful as ever. I was excited to find out she had a new reality show coming to TV. The show finally started and I just finished watching the second episode. The reality show is on the Fox Reality Network. A channel that I am sure I will probably never watch again after the Elvira show. But the show itself is great. Elvira is basically looking for "the next Elvira." I am sure that she gets tons of appearance requests that she can't always fulfill and needs somebody to basically help run the Elvira business. Imagine how popular she is in the month of October. Maybe she should pick live five new Elviras.

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