Saturday, August 13, 2005

Lasers Blazed Here

I've been hitting up my slightly used borrowed Laserdisc player all week. It's been great to see some classic films that aren't yet available on DVD. Why aren't they on DVD? An excellent question, one I'm not really sure I can answer. For some odd reason, the cost of putting out a new DVD version of some of these movies must outweigh the expected profits.

I know this is true for some films in which music rights are an issue. If a 60's film has a lot of classic rock songs in it, for example, the original contracts probably didn't allow for those song rights to be extended to a DVD release. So a separate contract would be required for every musical act appearing in the film, which gets really expensive. And if the film you want to release isn't going to be a huge seller, it might even prove more expensive than the total profits would would make in the first place.

But that's not really an issue with the movies I'm going to review, which don't have a lot of pop music or imagery they'd have to pay extra for. I suppose it's possible the studios or whatever simply don't think there's a large enough audience out there for older films on DVD...

Anyway, here's three not-on-DVD yet interesting movies I watched this week, in order from best to worst.

Fistful of Dynamite (Duck You Sucker)

Of all his great, sweeping epic films, this is probably Sergio Leone's least well-known work. It's also his most politically aware, funny and idiosyncratic. The year is 1913: Rod Steiger plays a Mexican bandito (yeah!) with a large family, who heists the railway cars of wealthy aristocrats and dreams of robbing the Mesa Verde Bank. James Coburn plays an Irish terrorist and explosives expert on the run from the British government, hiding out in Mexico and hoping to join the revolution. Together, they join forces and plot against the oppressive Mexican government.

This movie absolutely rocks. It's got tons of exceptionally well-staged action and effects, terrific chemistry between the lead actors, it's funny and it has real heart. This isn't just some grandly designed piece of gimmicry, with Leone showing off the skills he had by this filmmaking point (1968) honed considerably. It's a really genuine human story filled with historical insight and a wry sense of humor.

Rolling Thunder

Paul Schrader was kind of a creepy guy back in the 70's. He pretty consistantly wrote terrific, intsense dramatic thrillers, but a whole lot were about some disaffected guy going on a killing spree. There was Taxi Driver, obviously, which found crazed ex-Vet Travis Bickle plotting to assassinate a politician and save a young prostitute. Then there's Hardcore with George C. Scott hunting down his lost daughter in LA's porn underworld.

But perhaps the most kill-crazy of all the Schrader killing sprees is this nasty piece of work from 1977, the year before I was born. William Devane plays Maj. Raines, a Vet who, as of 1973, has just returned from a several-year stint in a hellish Vietnam POW camp. He's not home for a full 24 hours when his wife announces she wants to leave him. The next day, he's the victim of a home invasion robbery in which thugs kill his wife and only son, and churn up his hand in a garbage disposal.

So, then he and his new hook-hand and his POW cellmate Tommy Lee Jones go on a murderous rampage. I mean, wouldn't you? The movie is mean, short and bracingly violent. It's a movie that seems decidedly angry both about the Vietnam War and about the anti-war movement at home. Plus, it just has a lot of interesting, small observations about the nature of homicide.

When Jones and Devane sneak into a brothel armed to the teeth, one of the whores asks them what they're doing..."We're gonna kill a whole bunch of people," Jones replies in the nonchalant voice you'd use to order a tuna sandwich.

The Keep

This 1983 Michael Mann-directed schlockfest is so bad, it goes right past good and back to bad again.

Really. At about 45 minutes in, I actually thought the film was The Shit Cinema Classic, the ultimate awful 1980's monster film. It's not really that bad, though, nowhere near the depths plumbed by films like The Apple and Can't Stop the Music. It's certailny notable as a blight on Michael Mann's filmography, a massive genre misstep from an established and (deservedly) beloved director.

See if you can believe the guy who directed Heat and The Insider made the following film:

The year is 1943. Nazis control musch of Eastern Europe. In Romania, an ancient castle is to serve as a barracks/stronghold for a legion of Nazi troops, under the cruel command of Major Kaempffer (Gabriel Byrne!). When Kaempffer's men start dying under mysterious circumstances within the castle, he brings in a Jewish doctor, fresh from a death camp, to solve the crime (Ian McKellan!). Eventually, the doctor discovers that the castle was designed to house a Golem, a monster spoken of in Jewish mysticism who smotes the enemies of the Jews, and he ends up encouraging the Golem to go and kill as many Nazis as possible.

And this is when the movie starts to get weird.

See, the natural enemy of Golems in the movie turns out to be this weird alien-looking guy from Greece (Scott Glenn!) with no name. He travels to Romania, has graphic on-screen sex with McKellan's daughter and then attacks the creature with atrocious early 80's laser effects.

Seriously, the effects in this movie are among the worst I have ever seen. This makes Turkish Star Wars seem like...well, seem like Star Wars. I've seen more realistic images in an amateur Photoshop contest.

Durpa Durpa Tweedlie Durpa Durp

Here's why I love Roger Ebert as a critic. Not because his opinions are always valid (they aren't) or because he has such penetrating insights into film (he mostly doesn't), but because every once in a while, he's willing to just put a hurting on some deserving filmmaker. When he really doesn't like a movie, he'll attack it as few other critics are willing. He even published a book, called "I Hated Hated Hated This Movie," compiling all of his cruellest reviews.

Today, he really goes for Rob Schneider's jugular in his Deuce Bigalow 2 review.

Just to give you a bit of background, in February of this year, Pat Goldstein, a movie columnist for the LA Times, commented that the 2004 Oscar-nominated films had a hard time finding financial backing at first, whereas studios were only too happy to greenlight movies like Deuce Bigalow 2.

Now, granted, Goldstein went for a cheap joke at Schneider's expense in the original column, and Goldstein himself ain't much for deep insights into the cinema. (His column tends to treat tired old trends from several months ago as fresh, penetrating discoveries. Like "Studios can't get enough comic book movies!" or "Remakes are all the craze!" or "Lots of guys seem to like looking at Jessica Simpson's massive breasts!")

But still, if you're Robert Schneider, you've got to get used to such comments. I mean, you make your living churning out some of the worst drivel imaginable - it's only natural you'll be savaged by film critics. Just get over it.

Bobby, instead, decided to take out a full-page ad in Variety blasting Goldstein. Not very classy.

Here's what Ebert had to say:

Schneider retaliated by attacking Goldstein in full-page ads in Daily Variety and the Hollywood Reporter. In an open letter to Goldstein, Schneider wrote: "Well, Mr. Goldstein, I decided to do some research to find out what awards you have won. I went online and found that you have won nothing. Absolutely nothing. No journalistic awards of any kind ... Maybe you didn't win a Pulitzer Prize because they haven't invented a category for Best Third-Rate, Unfunny Pompous Reporter Who's Never Been Acknowledged by His Peers."

Odd, that Schneider's response isn't at all witty despite his stated career of "comedian."

Reading this, I was about to observe that Schneider can dish it out but he can't take it. Then I found he's not so good at dishing it out, either. I went online and found that Patrick Goldstein has won a National Headliner Award, a Los Angeles Press Club Award, a award, and the Publicists' Guild award for lifetime achievement.

Schneider was nominated for a 2000 Razzie Award for Worst Supporting Actor, but lost to Jar-Jar Binks.

Ouch. Remember, kids, don't get on Roger Ebert's bad side. That guy can be grouchy. But it gets even worse.

But Schneider is correct, and Patrick Goldstein has not yet won a Pulitzer Prize. Therefore, Goldstein is not qualified to complain that Columbia financed "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" while passing on the opportunity to participate in "Million Dollar Baby," "Ray," "The Aviator," "Sideways" and "Finding Neverland." As chance would have it, I have won the Pulitzer Prize, and so I am qualified. Speaking in my official capacity as a Pulitzer Prize winner, Mr. Schneider, your movie sucks.

Ba-zing. I hope Rob Schneider has read this, and taken a few moments to consider the possibility, just the possibility, that every movie critic and sensible film viewer in the world is right, and he totally sucks. It won't be an easy thing to face up to, but I'd say it's about time.

Friday, August 12, 2005

Guest Blogger: Jimmy Olsen

Hey, gang. Superman's pal Jimmy Olsen here to give you the lowdown on Metropolis, straight from the Daily Planet newsroom.

Yeah, I had my own comic book for a while. Not any more, though. They're too busy running 100 different variations on Batman. Seriously, it's really lame. I mean, I'm pretty much Superman's best friend. Cause he doesn't really hang out with too many other guys, from what I can tell.

I mean, I don't know if he's even ever met my colleague Clark. But that guy's so mild-mannered, even people who've met him sometimes don't remember him. Maybe it's those big glasses.

Anyway, Superman's been off fighting al-Qaida and looking for Osama bin Laden, so he hasn't really been kicking it in The Met lately. It's weird, cause you'd think there'd be a huge crime wave, what with Superman not around to protect us, but I think the villains have all gotten used to fighting him at this point. It's like, what's the point of throwing a gas truck at a crowd of people if Superman's not gonna fly out from behind a building and lift it away to safety?

So things have been pretty quiet around here. Mostly, people have been talking about how Bryan Singer's filming the new Superman movie here in town. Seriously, though, movies set in Metropolis are always so gay. They only shoot the most recognizable stuff, like the Statue of Freedom on the Empirical State Edifice. They always miss the cool, kind of seedy underbelly that gives The Met its charm.

And don't even get me started on the fruit who's playing me in the new film. Have you seen this guy? Check out his IMDB page...

He was in BOTH Detroit Rock City and Jungle 2 Jungle, man. And now he's gonna play ME, The Olsen? I mean, say what you will about Marc McClure in the original flicks, but at least that guy's been in some other films. Not like this jackass. Plus, he just looks like a pansy. My defining feature is my rugged good looks.

How is that guy gonna look standing next to freakin' Superman. How am I supposed to get any ass once this movie comes out? That's what you get for befriending someone in the public eye, I guess.

Oh, one Superman story before I go...So, Superman and I are eating at the Soup Plantation, like we always do on Wednesdays, and unbeknownst to us, Parasite has snuck in the kitchen and replaced Supes' baked potato with a huge nugget of freaking kryptonite.

But here's the weird part. Supes was, like, 3/4 of the way done it before he even realized what he was eating. But after he knew, he got, like, totally sick everywhere. He even threw up on this one old Asian lady. Gross!

Anyway, I guess that means he's not really allergic to that stuff, and it's all in his head, which is kind of weird seeing as how Luthor was always able to use it against him (and that guy who was made of Kryptonite or something...or maybe it was just his heart...this stuff gets confusing!) We totally laughed about it later, after he regained consciousness.

Wot's...Uh the Deal?

Digby asks a very good question on his blog. One that everyone thinks they know the answer to, but no one can actually answer...

Why did we really invade Iraq?

Basically, no matter what argument you make, there are always good points about why it can't be the actual reason.

Those that adhere to the "CIA fucked up" rationale can't explain Downing Street. Those who think you had to back the government in a time of war, are visibly discomfitted by the fact that we never found any WMD.

I asked "why did we invade Iraq" and commenters had dozens of possible reasons. Everybody "knows" why Bush did it -- oil, revenge, imperial ambition, because he could etc, etc etc. There are many possible reasons and perhaps the truth is that there wasn't one reason. But we really don't know.

He's not really even picking on the right or the left specifically with this one. No one's arguments honestly make sense. I'll admit, I'm often on the side of lefty conspiracy theorists, people who see that the planning of this Iraq misadventure had been in the works for decades but who can't quite figure out what the eventual purpose of all this destruction could be.

The kid who watched All the President's Men in me wants to follow the money, so I'm always tempted to say that the opportunity for massive wartime profits to companies like, yes, Halliburton is too good for greedy sack-of-shit callous Republicans to pass up.

But is Halliburton really funding Bush well enough for him to stake his entire presidency, and the future of his party and nation, on getting them some juicy infrastructure contracts? I don't know...maybe...But it's not what I would call a really solid, believable explanation. The guy is already stupid-rich and egregiously powerful.

But the Right-leaning pro-war explanation ain't much better. I don't really think Bush & Co. really believed all that reverse Domino Theory claptrap either, about a free Iraq beginning a windfall that would render the entire Middle East open, democratic and utopian. Rumsfeld was telling us that, by early 2004, they'd be ready to open a Disneyland Tehran, but you know he couldn't really have believed it himself.

So are they just totally insane with power? It happens all the time in Shakespeare. Who knows? Maybe that shit is for real. Some guys can actually get so powerful that they totally lose their shit and just start attacking everyone, like Billy Zane at the end of Titanic.

[Actually, I had a whole post a while back ready to go about how Titanic could be a useful metaphor for our present government, but it sounded kind of shrill and then a week later Cory at Random Acts of Violence posted a much more hilarious send-up of Titanic, so I never ran it. But the point remains worthwhile].

I don't know...Maybe there really is some master plan that will be unveiled to us in the coming decade or something. It'll be like that oil-bumblebee running plot on "X-Files." You know it's going somewhere sinister, but it never seems to get there, and you just wind up wondering what the fuck the black ooze stuff was even getting at in the first place, and why the aliens even bothered with such a complex yet pointless plan.

Crushed by Inertia's Search of the Day

I'm thinking about making this a regular feature...The best search someone performed that led them to the blog here. Today's is an easy one...

Someone did the following search on Google:

"ugly fox anchor Greta Van Susteren bitch aruba"

The fourth link to come up was my blog!

Now, granted, I didn't call Fox's own Greta Van Susteren an ugly bitch. The page in question included an article I wrote about Ms. Susteren defending his coverage of missing Aruba white girls, and also my list of Top 70 Profane movie quotes. One of which was Patrick Bateman from American Psycho calling a girl an "ugly bitch."

But still, what a great search! It's our very first CBI Search of the Day!


Regular reader and highly entertaining blogger Horsey made an eye-opening comment on this post earlier today. I had mentioned something in the post about writing screenplays, and he remarked that he hadn't previously known I write screenplays, despite reading my blog nearly every day (so far as I can tell).

It made me realize that, though I yammer on at my readers all the time about any number of topics, I don't often talk about the actual details of my life, the reality of my day-to-day existance as it were. Outside of being a guy who likes a lot of movies and dislikes a lot of world religions, I suppose my blog-self remains kind of enigmatic. It's unintenional.

I live in Palms, California, a small corner of West Los Angeles famed for its proximity to interesting and/or notable places (such as Venice Beach, Santa Monica and Brentwood) despite being itself neither interesting or notable. Palms is a thin stretch of concrete separating the parking lot that is Culver City, California from the congested suburban enclave of Rancho Park. It has no outside identity of its own, and has more 7-11's per quarter mile than any other neighborhood I have visited in my life, ever.

Why do I live in a place for which I obviously have so much contempt? Because it's cheap. My roommate Nathan has been living in this apartment for 4 years, an eternity in Los Angeles flophouse time, so our rent is considerably low for a three-bedroom. Plus, I'm totally lazy, I went to college here, and I aspire to one day work as a screenwriter, so the location is right.

Okay, let's move on to the roommates. Nathan plays poker online for a living. He hasn't had a real job in quite some time. He also hasn't had a working car in a while, so he spends a good deal of time apartment-bound. In the screenplay I've recently written based on our living situation, he inspired an agoraphobic character.

I don't want to harp on the guy, but one more factoid I'll mention that influences my life a surprisingly good deal. Nathan loves games - poker, obviously, but also chess, Trivial Pursuit, pool, darts, televised sports, you name it...even game shows. So whenever I have recorded something on our DVR in our living room, to get to it I have to sift through dozens of hours of game shows.

At this point, by his own admission, he has seen every episode of "Who Wants to be a Millionaire" ever filmed. Folks, sometimes he'll watch an episode over again that he's already seen.

My other roommate, Chris, used to work at a hotel, until he quit the job guessed poker online for a living. He and Nathan have this whole system set up, a system I'm constantly on the cusp of understanding but that I never have fully understood, wherein poker websites provide them with cash bonuses that they proceed to "work off" and then collect after a set time to buy rent and food and whatnot.

It's all very complicated. Far more complicated than working at a video store, but then again, it doesn't require putting on socks or driving up the street or having a boss or shaving. Plus, they both always seem to have more money than I do.

That's another thing I should mention. Working at a video store has its perks. For example, after I'm done typing this, I can watch Sin City on DVD, even though it totally doesn't come out in stores until your face...But it also has its downside, such as the fact that I could earn more money panhandling outside of the store than working within.

My woeful finances are one of the many reasons I don't actually get out much. Or ever. Unless you could going to the art house movie theater as "getting out," which no one does. One of the reasons is that I hate going out, because it's expensive and stupid and loud. So very very loud. Why are all the popular bars and clubs so dark and loud? Why is it that more dark and more loud equals cooler.

I once went to a bar in Manhattan that had a reputation for being hip, and the place was so dark and so loud that I thought I was getting the Ludovico Treatment. It was like trying to enjoy a conversation and a cocktail in a powerless bunker beneath Fallujah.

I'm also not much of a bar guy. I mean, there are some bars I like, such as Culver City's own Cozy Inn and Jumbo's Clown Room. But I find it hard to meet people in bars, so I usually wind up hanging out with friends and drinking heavily, and sometimes playing darts. I suck horribly at darts, as I do at all activities that require hand-eye coordination.

It's hard for me to imagine that some people are actually good at things like darts. I could no more master darts just by hanging out in bars than I could master brain surgery by chugging beers in the St. Joseph's ER. I'm also terrible at the following activities:

-team sports
-video games
-heavy lifting
-miniature golf
-table tennis
-using fax machines
-changing printer cartridges
-packing boxes
-lighter tricks
-jumping rope
-running without looking like a fag

Not to mention, most of my really good friends don't live in Los Angeles any more. Oh, sure, Nathan and Chris are here, and some of my college friends and my brother Jonathan and my childhood friend Cory. And I've worked with some great people at this job and my last one, with whom I still watch movies or see the occasional indie rock show.

So it's not like I'm really lonely. But my social network has spread out across the nation. You've got Dave and Half in Santa Cruz, Chuck and Gohlke holding it down in the Bay Area, Brooke attempting not to mess too hard with Texas, Matt and Tim in Chi-town, another Matt and Aaron in The Apple...Sigh...

So, yeah, I hang out and watch movies a lot. Hence the massive list of reviews on the side of the page. In fact, I'm about to log off and watch something right now. Maybe one of the old "Muppet Show" episodes on the Season 1 DVD I just bought. Or William Devane in Rolling Thunder (only available on laserdiscs, suckers!) The possibilities are endless.

Thursday, August 11, 2005

Miss Me?

I haven't been blogging so much this week. I've been spending my spare time trying to finish my latest screenplay/opus Donkey Style. I'm right at the end, which is usually the most difficult part to write, but since this is a twisty crime thriller thing, I kind of had to figure the ending out first. So it's going a little easier than it might have otherwise.

The weird thing is, I've never written a script with a deadline in mind before. It has always been a leisurely activity. Like old-timey baseball. A gentleman's game where the time limits don't matter. If a script takes me two years to finish, well, that was two years well spent.

But now, there's this actual person waiting in an actual office building not far from here to read my script. Seriously. She even sent me an e-mail yesterday asking for it as soon as it was done. This is great, but also kind of difficult to mentally deal with. I'm now writing...for an audience. This stuff isn't just going to sit on my hard drive, snuggled tightly between the bit torrent South Park episodes and the Ashlee Simpson mp3's until years from now when I'm feeling nostalgic and want to read something old of mine.

The other thing I've been grappling with after winning this screenplay contest is what to do with my old, more amateurish scripts. It has taken me a little under a decade to get decent at this screenwriting thing, so there are lots of "missing link" style scripts, ideas with promise that just don't add up to anything. This potential manager lady has asked me for other writing samples, and I may send her a few things, but they don't exactly show off my abilities at their best.

Some of them are basically great high-concept premises that I totally fumble in execution. Like this one, BOOM!, that I'd have to rewrite for a number of reasons. Mainly because, in the time since I wrote BOOM!, Ben Stiller played the exact same character I had written for the villain in Dodgeball. Seriously, it's eerie. Before Dodgeball even existed, I had written a script about a group of guys that want to bring down an obnoxious, sneering, pompous fitness celebrity who opened a huge gym in their hometown.

So, yeah, I'd have to rethink that one from basically the beginning, and I couldn't send it around town, really, because everyone would think I'm some lame-ass trying to rip off Dodgeball. Actually, now that I think about it, Dodgeball was a huge hit. I could probably get some meetings in this town just by telling everyone I INTENTIONALLY WANT to rip off Dodgeball. Or, failing that, Diary of a Mad Black Woman.

Wednesday, August 10, 2005

Dragon's Claws

Here is the complete English text on the back of a martial arts DVD here at the store, titled "Dragon's Claws." This is verbatim:

"Lung Tzu, the only son of Yu Ying-nien, chief of the Dragon boxing Clan, is a dauntless martial artist but has a mental fear of toads. When Ying-nien afflicted with a strange disease is having a relapse, the sixth in 18 years, a mysterious man named White Bachelor comes to challenge him for the title. Fighting in sickness, Yu Ying-tien is beaten by White Bachelor."


Memories of Murder

Some have called Memories of Murder Korea's answer to LA Confidential. There is some common ground between the films - they look at a time in their nation's history through the eyes of local cops, trying to solve a violent, troubling case with widespread ramifications. Rather than showing the police as a consolidated crime-fighting force, as the perfect all-knowing figures of authority which permeate shows like "CSI," both of these films give a more nuanced, shaded view of law enforcement.

This is a job taken on by ordinary guys, a force made up of a lot of individuals who have all the imperfections and quirks of regular old human beings. That the job occasionally calls on these men and women to rise above the ordinary to perform acts of extraordinary bravery or cruelty is what makes the best cop movies so damn compelling.

And both Memories of Murder and LA Confidential are among the best contemporary cop movies, films that use crime to explore something desperate and terrifying within humanity, rather than shock value (as in most serial killer movies) or cheap thrills (as in most action movies).

Oh, and both movies are also based on actual events.

Memories of Murder opens in 1986 South Korea, when the nation is operating under a military dictatorship. Outside a small village, in a rice paddy by a highway, the body of a woman is found. She had been raped, strangled with her own pantyhose and dragged for nearly a mile, before being left for dead with her panties over her head. It's not a pretty picture.

Two local cops, with no experience in violent homicides, are assigned to the case, joined by an Inspector sent down specifically from Seoul. Much of the conflict of the film is driven by the clash between these local cops, who rely on gossip and folk wisdom for information, and the cutting edge big-city detective, who prefers computer data and the brand-new science of DNA testing. (The DNA test they will eventually employ can only be done at the time in America, so they must wait weeks to get back accurate results).

As the investigation wears on, it becomes clear that neither old-fashioned techniques or high-tech wizardry will be able to solve this crime. The body count continues to rise, various police commanders are fired and the country moves from a state of panic to one of vague anger to one of lethargic disconcern. And we start to realize that the conflict is less about city vs. country life as about the pernicious influence of modernity, which in Korea also seems to mean Westernization.

In this film, as in much recent Eastern and Western cultural philosophy, the serial killer is really the definitive modern criminal. For our modern world, driven by capitalist consumption, to kill for no reason, with no profit and no motive, represents the ultimate taboo. The police cannot find the serial killer because in the film because they fundamentally can't understand him. They constantly try to come up with suspects who represent reasonable killers - a retarded boy who might not know any better, a pervert who masturbates in the woods, a cold-eyed drifter. But none of these suspects pan out (although they attempt to beat each one into confessing). It's almost as if those solutions would make too much sense. The whole point of the killing is to be senseless.

This is a pretty amazing film. Stylistically, it borrows greatly from notable American serial killer movies, particularly David Fincher's Seven. At one point, director Joon-ho Bong directly quotes Seven, positioning his characters just like a memorable frame with Morgan Freeman and Brad Pitt, and aping some dialogue. ("Have you ever seen anything like this before?" "No.")

I'm not sure if this is intentional, that the film's thematic ideas about the Westernizing and economic revolution of Korea during the 1980's are reflected in the movie's visual "quoting" of other serial killer movies, but it does give the film a feeling of familiarity. This is certainly not a bad thing, and the movie is so fresh with ideas and vitality that it's hard to knock it's considerable style and grace. Memories of Murder is a fine example of a fading genre, a police procedural that doesn't feel rote or silly, and that doesn't rely on a twist ending or a slick gimmick to entertain.

Another first-rate film from our friends on the Korean peninsula.

Monday, August 08, 2005

Top 70 Profane, Rude or Inappropriate Movie Quotes

Why 70? Because I couldn't get to 100. Well, okay, I got really close to 100. But that was by cheating, using IMDB a bunch to recall quotes I didn't know too well. In most cases, if I figured I could get close, I just guessed.

Also, to get all the way to 100, I needed to include quotes that weren't quite profane enough for the list. I really wanted quotes with bad words in them, but some of the ones that made the final cut simply refer to something disturbing going on in the film (like #40, from Deliverance) or include mild profanity like "ass" or "butthead." (Can you guess which film that's's at #63).

Also, I counted racial slurs, because there are so many good quotes with them. (One of my all-time favorite movie quotes is #68, from The Untouchables).

The whole idea, initially, was to mock that stupid AFI Best Movie Quotes list, which for some ridiculous reason didn't include any quotes with profanity. Discounting any quote that referred to sex or included a cuss word eliminates a whole lot of great movie quotes. At least from films made after the early 1960's.

But that list came out forever ago, and because it took me so long to compile this list, it's not really very timely any more. But I still want to publish it because it's so fucking cool.

Okay, with any list, you need ground rules.

(1) They must be from American films, like the AFI list.

(2) I will not rank the quotes, because that's stupid anyway. I mean, how can you say which quote from two equally good movies is somehow "better"?

(3) Only one quote per movie. Some movies, like Goodfellas, have tons of great profane quotes, but if I allowed mutliple quotes from the same movies, the entire list would be Martin Scorsese and Brian Da Palma movies.

1. "Yippie-ki-yay, motherfucker." - Die Hard

2. "You ready to be fucked, man? I see you roll your way into the semis. Dios mio, man. Liam and me, we're gonna fuck you up." - The Big Lebowski

3. "Fuck you, fuckball." - Get Shorty

4. "Turn on the light , you fucking dyke." - Bound

5. "Now go get your fucking shine box." - Goodfellas

6. "Her pussy gets so wet." - Election

7. "She says, 'What's wrong with you...You're fucking just like a Chinaman!'" - Chinatown

8. "Get your ass to Mars." - Total Recall

9. "I'll put your wife out on the street to get fucked in the ass by niggers and Puerto Ricans." - Thief

10. "I think in all fairness, I should explain to you exactly what it is that I do. For instance tomorrow morning, Ill get up nice and early, take a walk down over to the bank and... walk in and see. If you don't have my money for me, I'll crack your fuckin' head wide-open in front of everybody in the bank. And just about the time that I'm comin' out of jail, hopefully, you'll be coming out of your coma. And guess what? I'll split your fuckin' head open again. 'Cause I'm fuckin' stupid. I don't give a fuck about jail. That's my business. That's what I do." - Casino

11. "If Butch goes to Indo-China, I want a nigga waiting in a bowl of rice to bust a cap in his ass." - Pulp Fiction

12. "Not your type? Man, I'm Big Dick Blaque. I've worked with all the great ones...Johnny Wad, John Holmes. Not your type?" - Hardcore

13. "Is this an ultimatum? Answer me, you ball-busting, castrating son of a cunt bitch! Is this an ultimatum or not?" - Carnal Knowledge

14. "Do they pay you to screw that bear?" - Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas

15. "I'm Tony Montana! You fuck with me, you fucking with the best!" - Scarface

16. "We act like we don't need the shit, they give us the shit for free." - Swingers

17. "BOBBY: Yeah, now all you have to do is hold the chicken, bring me the toast, give me a check for the chicken salad sandwich, and you haven't broken any rules.

WAITRESS: You want me to hold the chicken, huh?

BOBBY: I want you to hold it between your knees." - Five Easy Pieces

18. "Give me the keys, you fucking cocksucker." - The Usual Suspects

19. "BART: What do you like to do?

WACO KID: Play chess. Screw.

BART: Let's play chess." - Blazing Saddles

20. "INGA: He would have an enormous vanschtooker.

FREDERICK: Goes without saying." - Young Frankenstein

21. "I hate to be the kind of nigga that does a nigga a favor and then immediately asks for a favor in return, but what can I say, I got to be that nigga." - Jackie Brown

22. "DORIS: With you, it's all nihilism, cynicism, sarcasm and orgasm.

HARRY: In France, I could run for office with that slogan and win." - Deconstructing Harry

23. "I was going to write an article entitled 'Michael Jackson Is Sitting On Top of the World,' but now I think I will call it, 'Michael Jackson May Be Sitting On Top of the World, But He's Not Sitting the Beverly Palm Hotel 'Cause They Ain't Got No Niggas There.'" - Beverly Hills Cop

24. "Were you in the shit?" - Rushmore

25. "37...My girlfriend sucked 37 dicks." - Clerks

26. "Your mother sucks cocks in Hell." - The Exorcist

27. "This watch costs more than you car. I made $970,000 last year. How much you make? You see pal, that's who I am, and you're nothing. Nice guy, I don't give a shit. Good father, fuck you. Go home and play with your kids. You wanna work here, close. You think this is abuse? You think this is abuse, you cocksucker? You can't take this, how can you take the abuse you get on a sit?" - Glengarry Glen Ross

28. "Texas? Holy shit, son, only steers and queers come from Texas, and you don't much look like cattle to me so that kind of narrows it down. Do you suck dicks?" - Full Metal Jacket

29. "Shut that cunt's mouth or I'll come over there and fuckstart her head!" - The Way of the Gun

30. "My name's Buck, and I'm here to fuck." - Kill Bill Vol. 1

31. "When they find you, they'll go to work on you with a pair of pliers and a blowtorch." - Charley Varrick

32. "I'm gonna kill her with that gun. Did you ever see what a .44 Magnum pistol can do to a woman's face? I mean it will fuckin' destroy it. Just blow her right apart. That's what it will do to her face. Now, did you ever see what it can do to a woman's pussy? That you should see. That you should see; what a .44 Magnum's gonna do to a woman's pussy you should see. I know, I know you must think that I'm, you know, you must think I'm pretty sick or somethin', you know, you must think I'm pretty sick. Right? You must think I'm pretty sick? I'll betcha you really think I'm sick. You think I'm sick? You think I'm sick? You don't have to answer that. I'm payin' for the ride. You don't have to answer that." - Taxi Driver

33. "Forty-two percent of all liberals are queer. That's a fact. The Wallace people did a poll." - Joe

34. "He said, 'I can smell your cunt.'" - Silence of the Lambs

35. "This is a fuck!" - Office Space

36. "Shut your fucking face, Unclefucker." - South Park: Bigger, Longer, Uncut

37. "Here's one, and this is just a two word review. 'Shit Sandwich.'" - This is Spinal Tap

38. "How exactly does one suck a fuck?" - Donnie Darko

39. "Pardon my French, Rooney, but you're an asshole!" - Ferris Bueller's Day Off

40. "Squeal like a pig!" - Deliverance

41. "Respect the cock." - Magnolia

42. "Who the fuck are you? I should remember you? What, you think you like me? You ain't like me motherfucker, you a punk. I've been with made people, connected people. Who've you been with? Chain snatching, jive-ass, maricon motherfuckers. Why don't you get out of here and go snatch a purse." - Carlito's Way

43. "Shit, this is too fuckin' big for you. Who did the president, who killed Kennedy? Fuck, man! It's a mystery! It's a mystery wrapped in a riddle inside an enigma!" - JFK

44. "Don't knock masturbation. It's sex with someone I love." - Annie Hall

45. "Dominant male monkey motherfucker!" - Dazed and Confused

46. "That's the spirit. Thank you. Thank you for your honesty. Now fuck off and die, you fucked up slag." - Closer

47. "Well that's great, that's just fuckin' great, man. Now what the fuck are we supposed to do? We're in some real pretty shit now man. That's it man, game over man, game over! What the fuck are we gonna do now? What are we gonna do?" - Aliens

48. "Listen to daddy. I want you to take the gun, and I want you to put it in your mouth, and I want you to turn around and blow your brains out. Blow your brains out!" - The Last House on the Left

49. "Bob had bitch tits." - Fight Club

50. "Saigon. Shit." - Apocalypse Now

51. "You're a woman of many parts, Pussy." - Goldfinger

52. "Did you fuck my wife?" - Raging Bull

53. [Okay, I had to copy this off of IMDB...It's too long and I don't have a copy of the movie on hand to consult.] "So you see, way back then, uh, Sicilians were like, uh, wops from Northern Italy. Ah, they all had blonde hair and blue eyes, but, uh, well, then the Moors moved in there, and uh, well, they changed the whole country. They did so much fuckin' with Sicilian women, huh? That they changed the whole bloodline forever. That's why blonde hair and blue eyes became black hair and dark skin. You know, it's absolutely amazing to me to think that to this day, hundreds of years later, that, uh, that Sicilians still carry that nigger gene." - True Romance

54. "I want a place where I can get a shot and a beer. A steak. Not more fucking pancakes." - Fargo

55. "I like simple pleasures, like butter in my ass and lollipops in my mouth. That's just me. That's just something that I enjoy." - Boogie Nights

56. "All we got on this team are a buncha Jews, spics, niggers, pansies, and a booger-eatin' moron!" - The Bad News Bears

57. "She was beautiful; she was young; she was innocent. She was the greatest piece of ass I've ever had, and I've had 'em all over the world. And then Johnny Fontane comes along with his olive oil voice and guinea charm, and she runs off. She threw it all away just to make me look ridiculous! And a man in my position can't afford to be made to look ridiculous!" - The Godfather

58. "Your women. I want to buy your women. The little girl, your daughters. Sell me your children." - The Blues Brothers

59. "Heineken? Fuck that shit! Pabst Blue Ribbon!" - Blue Velvet

60. "Look at them. Ordinary fucking people. I hate them." - Repo Man

61. "I know why. Because this guy is one macho motherfucker." - Rolling Thunder

62. "Cause she's got a great ass... and you got your head all the way up it!" - Heat

63. "What are you lookin' at, butthead?" - Back to the Future

64. "You're a fucking ugly bitch. I want to stab you to death, and then play around with your blood." - American Psycho

65. "You know why they call you Goon? Because you're retarded. And you're ugly. You're an ugly retard. And they call you Goon because you're ugly and retarded." - Buffalo 66

66. "HARRY CALLAHAN: Well, when an adult male is chasing a female with intent to commit rape, I shoot the bastard. That's my policy.

MAYOR: Intent? How did you establish that?

HARRY CALLAHAN: When a naked man is chasing a woman through an alley with a butcher's knife and a hard-on, I figure he isn't out collecting for the Red Cross." - Dirty Harry

67. "I told you 158 times I can't stand little notes on my pillow. 'We're all out of cornflakes. F.U.' It took me three hours to figure out F.U. meant Felix Unger." - The Odd Couple

68. "Isn't that just like a wop? Brings a knife to a gun fight." - The Untouchables

69. "Tell your girlfriend to point her titties north and step on the gas!" - Hard Target

70. "The Church is a fucking racket. I know how they operate. I've been part of the racket since the first time some faggot priest spilt water on my head." - Bad Lieutenant

[Welcome to fans of one of my favorite sites, Gorilla Mask. You've already made this my biggest day of traffic EVAR!]

Get Back in the Closet!

Perhaps you've seen one of R. Kelly's "Trapped in the Closet" videos on MTV. I had not, but that's because I turn off MTV whenever there's even a remote chance R. Kelly will be on.

But I have to say, this "Trapped in the Closet" thing is kind of intriguing. It's a five song cycle (the music is the same in all five songs; only the lyrics change) that tells a patently absurd story. Each song has a music video to go along with it, in which R. and actors recreate the exact action he describes in the song.

Go watch the whole thing for free on R. Kelly's website. (Click on "Video" to get to the page).

Yeah, it's really weird. But what's even weirder is the story.

The narrator named "Sylvester" in the press materials, which also happens to be R. Kelly's real last name - Robert Sylvester. He's a married guy, but one night whilst up in the club with his boys, he meets a sexy girl and goes home with her. When we meet up with him, he's waking up in her bed. It's 7 a.m. and he's rushing out the door to get home to the wife when the woman's husband comes home.

So Sylvester hops into the closet, where he espies his female companion and her husband going at it. Unfortunately, that's when Sylvester's cell phone goes off, alerting the jealous husband to his presence in the room. And then he pulls out a Baretta.

And that's the first goddamn song. There are five of these. Eventually, by the end, there will be a variety of angry, adulterous characters screwing one another behind one another's backs. By the end, the various illicit affairs will even include a policeman! Four more horny professionals and Robert will have his own Village People.

So, is it good? No, it's horrible. First of all, the beat is okay, but it's not what I'd call infectious. And it would kind of have to be at least catchy for you to want to hear it spread out over five five minute songs. That's 25 minutes of listening to the same beat if you hear the entire cycle in a row.

It's really really stupid for R. to write five songs that are identical in the first place. Why not write five different songs and just weave the story through all of them? Did they all have to be the same? Isn't it kind of boring?

And as for the story, it was compelling enough to keep me entertained for the near-half hour I spent watching it, but it's very very strange. I like how the narrator isn't a particularly reasonable or nice guy. At first, you think he's sort of a regular guy, our window into the story, an unfortunate soul who is paying for a poor decision with a really frenzied chaotic situation.

But eventually, once he blows his top a few times and starts waving a gun around indiscriminately (even firing into the ceiling at one point), we realize this dude is just as wacky as everyone else in this ludicrous story. And I for one kind of respect that.

Wow, though...It's clear from these videos that Robert's got some woman issues. As if that wasn't already clear enough from that video he made with him urinating on the underage girl. Or the fact that he named an entire album of work "Chocolate Factory" and another album "Twelve Play," because it's three times better than foreplay.

Sunday, August 07, 2005

I Read the News Today...Oh Shit...

I like going to the main page of Yahoo! news, where they display all the biggest headlines of the day, organized by section. It's a good way to get an idea of what's happening all over the Web without having to actually read anything. And I find that it's a good way to gauge what's being read and discussed, more than just jumping around between blogs and news sites at random.

Today, there are a number of articles on there that warrant discussion, so I figured I'd just link to the whole page.

Peter Jennings is Dead

The first sentence of the Associated Press' Peter Jennings obit refers to him as "suave." I don't know if he was suave exactly. I'd have probably gone with "avuncular." Suave, I don't anchors aren't really suave. They speak with authority, they're proper, and they're well-groomed and soft-spoken, but none of them, Jennings included, struck me as particularly suave characters. If Cary Grant and Peter Jennings were both coming on to some woman at a bar, she probably wouldn't end up going home with Peter Jennings.

She'd probably end up dazed the next morning in the alley behind the bar with missing panties and an autographed Grant 8x10. Now that's suave!

(By the way, no offense to Peter Jennings, who was probably a good guy.)

Bros Before Hos

According to London's Daily Mail, the male brain has a much easier time understanding male voices than female voices. Seriously.

Men deciphered female voices using the auditory part of the brain that processes music, while male voices engaged a simpler mechanism, it said.

The Mail quoted researcher Michael Hunter as saying, "The female voice is actually more complex than the male voice, due to differences in the size and shape of the vocal cords and larynx between men and women, and also due to women having greater natural 'melody' in their voices.

From an evolutionary standpoint, this is kind of interesting. If the men who are alive right now have brains that don't easily hear women's voices, and natural selection chooses the most fit men for survival, then it almost seems like Nature doesn't want men to listen to women.

Now, when it comes to female stand-up comedians, I'd say yes, it seems ideal to not be able to understand what's being said. But to not understand women at all? That makes it easier to mate and pass on your genes for another generation? Interesting...

An Army of One...Hundred Thousand

Lots of lots of angry Muslims living all around the world are forming their own "local" branches of al-Qaida. Neat! It's like a reverse Neighborhood Watch; instead of old ladies spying on the Arabs who live a few doors down, it's the young Arabs who live a few doors down actually planning to blow up the old lady!

I say, good for them. It's important to get involved in local government.

With its founding fathers in hiding, and dozens of key operatives under watch, al-Qaida has changed. No longer considered capable of large transnational attacks, it is taking advantage of people who don't have to cross borders, receive cash from abroad or engage in other international transactions that might alert authorities, said Brian Jenkins, a senior adviser to the president of the Rand Corp.

"We are now dealing with many little al-Qaidas with the potential of neighborhood al-Qaidas," Jenkins said. "They may not be able to carry out specialized operations ... but they can still operate at a lethal level."

I remember, as a child, hanging out at the neighborhood al-Qaida. You know, those were the good old days, when people still did things together, dammit. We didn't just sit around watching the dang TV all night like a bunch of zombies. We made our own fun, like flying a kite or writing scary stories or planning nuclear attacks inside major Western cities.

Bush Administration Introduces New Line of Comforting Bullshit

Here's Cunnilingus Rice:

"It's a lot easier to see the violence and suicide bombing than to see the rather quiet political progress that's going on in parallel," Rice said.

"If you think about how to defeat an insurgency, you defeat it not just militarily but politically," she said, adding that she believes the insurgents are "losing steam" politically.

Wait, wait, wait...They're getting the order wrong. The insurgency is supposed to start losing steam before we turn the corner, not after, and then we should have hit the home stretch. See, Dick Cheney said that we've turned the corner months ago, and Condoleeza Rice says that the insurgency has just now started to lose steam politically.

Now I'm all confused. It's almost like they're just making arbitrary, optimistic progress reports from time to time that aren't based on any real information whatsoever.

Give Nigerians Your Bank Account Number! Right Now!

A fascinating story on why Nigeria has become the Internet scam capital of the world.

English is the nation's official language, it is Africa's most populated nation and 1/4 of all college graduates in the country are unemployed. So you get guys who can communicate with dumb Americans, who know a little something about the Internet, who are pretty smart and who can't find any actual job.

And that's why every day I get lucrative offers from Nigerian "bankers" in my Inbox. Thanks, American and European trade policies which cause crippling Third World unemployment rates!

Where the White Women At?

Greta van Susteren has the audacity to defend her non-stop "Missing Aruba White Girl" coverage.

Common sense is all, "Hey, one missing white girl in Aruba is not news, even if she is kind of hot."

And Greta's all, "Hey, I just report on what the people want to hear, and I even beat Bill O'Reilly this week!"

And common sense is all, "But Greta, the news isn't just about finding some inane story that inspired morbid curiosity in a lot of Americans. It's about disseminating important information to the public that would be otherwise unavailable."

And Greta's all, "Information doesn't play well to my demographic. Cute teens named Natalee do."

Top One List of the Stupidest Polls of All Time

#1. Uncut Magazine's 100 movies, songs, TV shows and books that Changed the World.

What? So 100 things that changed the world, ever. Wow. Hard list. I mean, books that changed the world! So many choices! Shakespeare's Folio, The Bible, "Origin of Species," "Wealth of Nations," "The Feminine Mystique," "The Autobiography of Malcolm X."

And movies! I Am a Fugitive From a Chain Gang helped to end the use of chain gangs in the South. Guess Who's Coming to Dinner tried to teach an entire generation about tolerance. The Blackboard Jungle depicted harsh life at an inner-city school for the first time on screen and was the first movie to feature a rock song on the soundtrack ("Rock Around the Clock").

I mean, it's hard to even compare products from all of these forms together in one list, but whatever, you could still come up with some interesting choices.

So what's #1? Of all time, the 1 song, book, movie or show that changed the world?

Bob Dylan's "Like a Rolling Stone."

Okay, I love Bob Dylan, it's a great timeless iconic song, and I'm sure it's here to represent Dylan's combination of traditional folk music with rock and roll.

But, come the fuck on, people. It changed the world more than any book ever written? Are you mental?

I mean, even if you confine the list to the 20th Century, which isn't specified but would really help narrow things down, I can think of 10 more important books. It wouldn't even be hard.

At least Dylan's song "Hurricane" actually helped a guy get released from jail! That's more significant in terms of "changing the world" than bridging the gulf between two musical genres, right?

So #2, #2 has to be "Interpretation of Dreams," right? Or Citizen Kane, right?

Nope. #2 is Elvis Presley's "Heartbreak Hotel."

Are you fucking shitting me? This is ridiculous.

Ex-Beatle McCartney picked "Heartbreak Hotel" as his number one choice.

"It's the way (Presley) sings it as if he is singing from the depths of hell," McCartney said. "His phrasing, use of echo, it's all so beautiful. Musically, it's perfect."

I...I mean...I'm dumbfounded. Were these people even told the concept of the list? It's not "Favorite Song" or "Song With the Coolest Echo Effect." It's Thing That Changed the Goddamn World.

"Heartbreak Hotel" did not change the world. It helped introduce the world to a cute Southern guy who liked to gyrate his hips, eat fried peanut butter and banana sandwiches and shoot at TV's.

"Beyond Good and Evil," that shit changed the world. Fucking Uncut Magazine. Morons.

Woman Insists on Hating the Player

A 22 year old woman is player hating on a 55 year old business executive who sexually molested her on an airplane.

Check out this guy. He's smooth. So he waits for the girl he's seated next to to fall asleep, then he puts a blanket over her lap, then he unzips her pants and starts fiddling around with her genitals.


"The woman immediately pulled Jahagirdar's hand from her pants and fled to the rear of the aircraft where she reported the assault to the flight crew," it said.

The crew alerted four U.S. Secret Service Agents who were on board the flight, returning from an assignment in Texas.

As good as that stuff is, the story gets even better.

The plane was met by state police in Boston but Jahagirdar briefly tried to escape by trying to flee in the walkway between the plane and the airport.

Skin cells taken from Jahagirdar, an Arizona man whom authorities said did not know the woman, showed a "significant quantity of the victim's DNA was present on his hands" after the incident, the statement said.

He tried to flee in the walkway between the plane and the airport! Where was he going to go? That's probably the stupidest place to attempt to flee in the world. It's this narrow little hallway, you idiot.

Plus, I love that they had to corroborate her story with DNA evidence. The guy gets totally busted - some girl catches him with his hand inside her pants - and he still denies he was doing anything. They have to go get lab results back.

Blazing Lasers

Can this week get any better? First, American Accolades sends me $2500 for a screenplay I had already written for free, amounting essentially to free money. Then, I found out there's a chance Kaysar can be voted back into the Big Brother house. (VOTE FOR HIM, BITCHES!)

And then today, a guy comes into Laser Blazer and leaves us two free laserdisc players.

Seriously. Just leaves them at the store. Doesn't want money for them or anything. What a guy! So my boss actually let me take one home, strictly as a loaner. But still! I have a laserdisc player in my room right now! I'm about to watch Michael Mann's 1980's horror-fantasy The Keep, starring Scott Glenn and Ian McKellan, thus far unreleased on DVD!

I also rented Leone's classic Fistfull of Dynamite and Patrice Leconte's 80's thriller Monsieur Hire. It makes you realize...even though it seems like most of everything is on DVD at this point, there are still so many unreleased movies to see. It never ends.

So with this, on top of going to the movies, on top of continuing to rent DVD's, and on top of spending some of my screenwriting prize money on an all-region DVD player...well, I have got a lot of films to watch. But that's okay cause, let's face it, I don't have much else to do.


There's something quietly maddening about Wong Kar-Wai's new film 2046. The film is mesmerizing, with its graceful yet stacatto cinematography, peculiar and disorienting visual flourishes and densely-layered, alinear narrative. And yet it's probably the director's coldest and least involving work to date, a thoughtful movie more likely to be appreciated than adored.

This makes sense, in a way, considering that much of the film serves as a consideration of the endless, dark void that lies behind the material world of money, occupations and relationships. After all, if each character struggles fruitlessly against emptiness, and this emptiness creeps around every corner waiting to ensnare them, then naturally a film about those characters will flirt with monotony. Particularly during its interminable final half-hour, 2046 wears out its welcome, which is a shame because, overall, it is a film of considerable significance, daring, wit and depth.

The film is in some ways a follow-up to Kar-Wai's deservedly praised 2001 feature In the Mood for Love. After the end of the love affair at the center of that film, in 1966, freelance writer Chow (Tony Leung) returns to his hometown of Hong Kong and moves into a small hotel. He requests Room 2046, as it was once occupied by an old flame of his who has since been murdered, but winds up settling for Room 2047.

While staying at the hotel, Chow is inspired to write a science-fiction story fittingly titled "2046," and inspired by the women he romances during his stay at the hotel.

From this set-up, the movie could easily be an effervescent romantic comedy. A writer/casanova woos a variety of beautiful and idiosyncratic women, and then adapts their affairs into a strange futuristic novel. But for Wong Kar-Wai, the premise is an excuse to deconstruct Chow's attitudes towards women and relationships, and what these attitudes reflect about his own inner life.

In Chow's story, 2046 is a strange and static futureworld, a place where nothing ever changes, where people from the present can go to revisit old memories. It is possible to reach 2046 by train, but no one ever returns, as the trip is arduous, lonely and possibly fatal.

Clearly, the train ride back from 2046 is his life - a movement from a static and unchanging past to an unknown, hazardous future. This reflects Chow's reality, in which he bounces from woman to woman, always searching for some abstract notion of romantic love without ever appreciating the small pleasures happening right in front of him. His life is a train ride from one destination to another, but he's so focused on where he has been and where he is going next, he doesn't even consider the possibility of finding something worthwhile where he is already.

And though it sounds heady and bleak, the majority of 2046 is engaging and humane. The many actresses Kar-Wai has cast as the women who move through Chow's life are all wonderful, particularly the gorgeous Zhang Ziyi as the fiery Bai Ling, who lives for a short time in the room next to Chow. Her scenes with Leung, in which Chow aggressively courts Bai only to reject her once she has been won over, are among the best in the film.

Both 2046 and 1966 are wonderfully realized by cinematographers Christopher Doyle (who also shot the equally lovely In the Mood for Love), Pung Leung-Kwan and Yiu-Fai Lai, and the production and costume design by William Chang are absolutely spectacular. I have no idea if women in Hong Kong during the 60's really walked around in these sorts of elegant gowns all the time, but it certainly gives the movie a dazzling color palatte and a unique look.

So, I guess what I'm saying is, so what if the last half hour drags on for an eternity? Go see the movie anyway.

I think the major problem is that Kar-Wai starts to wrap things up before he's done telling the story. There is a long segment of the film set on the train returning from 2046, where the events of Chow's life are translated into an absurd drama starring a Japanese man (Takuya Kimura) and a series of androids. It's a brilliant sequence, haunting and other-worldly, and it provides just about a perfect ending point for the film.

But once we returned from 2046 to the 1960's, and I realized there are two entire romantic episodes still to come in the "present day" of the film, I'll confess to losing patience with the film. These final two sequences, particularly a long segment told in flashback in which Chow meets a professional gambler (Li Gong), repeat many of the ideas already introduced earlier in the film, and don't really add enough significance to warrant their late placement. At 2 hours and 10 minutes, the movie feels far too long, draining and, as I said before, frustrating.

Perhaps on a second viewing, having a better idea of the overall pace of the film, I'd be less bothered by these final segments. I recall watching Eyes Wide Shut in a movie theater and enjoying it a great deal, but still feeling it was a touch overlong and precious. It was only on repeat viewings on DVD that I realized the true greatness of the film, and saw my petty criticisms for what they were. I will grant this could happen with 2046, but only time will tell.

For the moment, I will say that this is probably my least favorite of all the Wong Kar-Wai films I have seen. But even the worst Wong Kar-Wai is better than almost any movie you're likely to see for at least a while.