The Auteur Theory, part four: Film lovers are sick people.

“Film lovers are sick people.”

-Francois Truffaut.

Here we are again with part four of our films that we love, and perhaps even adore, that we feel should make the jump over to the Criterion Collection, if, for no other reason, just to make ourselves a little happier. Or maybe we just want to talk about them because we like them.  Or because we’re sick, sick people…

August Bravo: Taxi Driver, 1976, directed by Martin Scorsese.

Travis Bickle is probably one of the most astonishing film characters in the history of movies. Martin Scorsese directed this palme d’Or winning masterpiece. The first time I watched it, I really didn’t care too much for it. It wasn’t until I felt lonely and full of despair that it made a lot of sense. What drives a man to do what he does? One of the most deperessing movie’s I’ve ever seen, maybe. How can a man just slip through the cracks so easily? And how could Scorsese potray it so damn well? Travis seemed like a simple guy, but he’s just disgusted. Disgusted with all the scum and trash that fill the city. With himself as well, maybe? A man so devoid of attention he resorts to talking to himself in the mirror in probably one of the most memorable scenes in film history.

What spirals this movie into a need for Criterion fame is his desolation. I think that’s what really drives him mad, and what drives him do after going mad. It’s a haunting image to see Robert DeNiro sitting there towards the end after his attempt to rescue child prostitute Jodie Foster, blood everywhere, holding a makeshift gun to his head just wanting to pull the trigger. By far the best line from the movie: “Loneliness has followed me my whole life. Everywhere. In bars, in cars, sidewalks, stores, everywhere. There’s no escape. I’m God’s lonely man…”

Marco Sparks: I’m ecstatic that you picked this movie, which as distasteful as it can be, is a true American classic, and not something like… I don’t know… Henry: Portrait Of A Serial Killer, which people are always trying to tell me is a “classic.” Scorcese has a winning formula here and I feel like he basically remade it in 1983 with The King Of Comedy, a film that I like a hell of a lot more.

For my pick today I am going to happily suggest: Chinatown, 1974, directed by Roman Polanski.

This is another movie that I’m almost afraid to start talking about for fear of talking way too much about it. If you haven’t seen this film yet, then I have to assume that you’re still a toddler. But unless you’re a blind toddler, or in a coma, then you need to be seeing it. If you’re an adult or near the age of making adult mistakes and you haven’t seen this yet, then… put simply, you don’t deserve cinema.

“My sister! My daughter! My sister! My daughter! My sister! My daughter!”

Polanski, despite what anyone may think of him personally, is a master filmmaker, and he’s particularly good with one single element of life: That sense that something is off and just not quite right. Sometimes it’s paranoia, and suspicion of one’s surroundings, but that’s if you’re lucky to nail the feelings his films inhabit so perfectly down into words. Repulsion had it, as did Knife In The Water. The Tenant had it, and of course Rosemary’s Baby had it, as did Death And The Maiden to a fair degree. Hell, his pure amazing shlock demonic thriller The Ninth Gate had it in perfect, crazy overabundance. It worked perfectly in all those films and especially here in this neo-noir masterpiece.

The film, with it’s brilliant script by the always excellent Robert Towne, was based on the real life water wars in California, but is so twisted and wonderful and captures that perfect essence of feeling like it could be a true story word for word.

And do I even need to go into how perfect Jack Nicholson and Faye Dunaway are in this film? Not to mention John Huston. This film, which was to be originally titled “Water World” is a rare, amazing example in Hollywood of everything going perfectly right and the end result is scary brilliant. The sequel, The Two Jakes, directed by Jack Nicholson himself, isn’t too shabby either, but it’s a sequel to one of the best films ever produced in this country, so there’s no way it could’ve gotten close to the original.

If you truly have never seen this, then part of me wants to show up at your house with this and maybe a bottle of wine. In fact, let’s do that. I’ll be over next week sometime. Which goes better with popcorn, white wine or red?

Personally, I love that August picked a movie about how fucked up New York is and that I followed up with a film that says essentially a lot of the same things about Los Angeles. I’d love to counter that with something sweet and sentimental about either town or tell you that no matter where you live, home is where the heart is, but let’s face it, you’re just going to get your heart broken no matter where you go. So instead I’ll just say… We’ll see you next time.

Counterforce on Vacation: Tina Fey’s Hot Fashion

You all thought I was kidding about gaying and girling it up in this blue little house, did you now? If this were my real house, I’d have thrown up some tasteful lighting, a few vintage trunks, hung some pearls off my 40s mirror and thrown a little lacey things on top of the armchair and have a bottle of Beringer White Zin chilling in the fridge (only the best in the Gomez house). But it’s not a real house so instead let’s talk dresses!

I still can’t stop thinking about Tina Fey’s beautiful dress from the Oscars on Sunday. Tina is a normal girl, an every day woman, and her signature look of jeans and a fitted blazer is clearly what she’s most comfortable in. So, when she has to go to an awards show and get dolled up, she always looks very uncomfortable. What a surprise to see her in a dress that actually fit the beautiful woman she is, she usually doesn’t hit the mark. For example, her Golden Globes dress was just not doing it for me. A low neckline should enhance your boobs, not flatten them like it did here:

But her gorgeous Zac Posen Oscar gown, with a similar neckline was so flattering in both color and fit. Examine the difference:

Tina Fey in Zac Posen

She looks fantastic, like a very hilarious brilliant mermaid.  The shinyness of the gown is so old school Hollywood glamour without the pill addiction. Everything about the look is simple and perfect, from the minimal jewlery to that little clutch.

I think my second favorite of Tina’s red carpet looks is her Emmys 2008 gown, when she went home with a shitload of awards (what I call “ladiez is pimps, too”). She talks disparagingly of her “Greek butt” in her recent Vanity Fair profile,  but really, who can hate this wonderfulness:

Yes, plain black dresses are overdone, but when it’s custom made to your measurements: baby, you’re a star! Her hair which she rarely wears down for awards, was so sultry and sexy. Her expression in this photo makes one want to ask her if she can teach us how to whistle.

Tina is just now realizing she’s hot and can pull off the glam starlet look, her previous dresses were indicative of someone who did not think they could pull of the va-va-va voom Hollywood red carpet. For example, check out her 2007 Golden Globes dress, which was just awful (although I’m sure it looked good on the rack).  She was going for the A-line skirt to emphasize her cute little waist and Tina knows the value of well placed cleavage, but this dress makes her look like a reverse pyramid and does her absolutely no favors. The top print is also dowdy. And the hair?  Let’s not even go there.

Her 2006 Golden Globes dress was even worse. Again, Tina knows her assets are her waist and boobs, so she plays that up, but it’s so plain. That shade of green is so cheesy and reminsicent of a Ren Faire.

But really, do we love Tina because she’s beautiful? That’s only part of it. We love Tina because she’s brilliant, hilarious and cunning. In Liz Lemon has created a character that is infinitely relatable despite a glamorous job:  She doesn’t make her character better, we see her on her first date in months getting caught on the toilet by her date. She took our anxieties about a nobody named Sarah Palin just a few steps away from the most powerful seat in the house and gave them a name; made them tangible and said it better than any of us could. She did the impossible on SNL and made them realize that there were women on the show and you know, they were kind of funny, too. Hell, she even made Jimmy Fallon tolerable for a few seasons. So, to Tina, with or withour your glasses, we salute you. Now stick with the Zac Posens and step away from anything green.

“Hustlers, get your guns/This shadow weighs a ton…”

It’s going to be a busy next few weeks for the ladies and gentlemen of Counterforce as most of us go on a vacation of some sort or another. We’re going to try to keep coming at you with regular updates but just understand that if we don’t post as much as we normally do… well, it’s because we’re off having loads of fun away from the internet. Sorry. We’d love to take you with us but there’s really just not enough room.

from here.

But for now we invite you to take a trip down memory lane and remember why you love as much as you do and get caught up on some of our old posts…

Occam Razor loves America and is going to tell you how to survive in a post peak oil world. Also, there’s pictures of Esther Baxter.

Lollipop Gomez is remarkably like David Frost, Barbara Walters, and a sexier Geraldo Rivera all wrapped into a tiny glasses wearing package. Take a gander at her hard hitting interview series where she puts only the best and the brightest in the hot seat and asks them probing questions about food, card rooms, and wacky religious cults.

Benjamin Light talked about the Oscars earlier and really disgusting “film reviewer” types a while back, but catch up on some of our earlier film reviews:

X-Files 2: I Want To Believe.

The Dark Knight.

Nick & Norah’s Infinite Playlist.

Jack Nicholson and The Witches Of Eastwick.

And Hellboy 2 and the death of the modern action flick.

Quantum Of Solace.

The Candidate.

Let The Right One In.

And why Point Break is one of the great films of this time or any other.

And film remakes to be terrified of.

And don’t forget that August Bravo and myself get a bit pretentious (well, a little) about films that we’d consider super duper classics, which you find here and here and here (and parts four and five coming very soon).

Plus, Benjamin Light does a nice counterpoint to that with films that he considers to be hidden indicators of bad taste.

Oh, and politics! Back during the campaign season, this site used to be just filthy with political trash talk. Now, it’s just filthy.

And Lost. Yeah, I guess you could say that we have Lost mania. Or something.

And that’s not to say that we don’t talk about literature and music and art as well, cause believe me, we do. In fact, we talk our asses off about it. About all of it and more.

And don’t forget we have Peanut St. Cosmo too.

So, just remember, we’re not going anywhere. We’re still here and we still love you. Sort of. We’re just going to go on a little vacation and we invite you to join us.

While You Were Sleeping

This blog starts a little hiatus tomorrow, and the only staffer around to keep it clean around will be me. Which means, starting tomorrow get ready for a whole new blog. I’d like to give you a sneak peek of what I like to call Counterforce Vacation Style:


Coming soon: a Gilmore Girls retrospective, an in depth analysis of the lip gloss vs lip stick debate, Pictures of hot shirtless dudes and my favorite mojito recipes.


And I thought my jokes were bad

I feel like I should say something about the Oscars. I didn’t even watch them this year. I was almost surprised that Heath won. The Academy are just the kind of assholes who would piss all over a no-brainer like that. I didn’t see Slumdog, but I still think Wall-E was the best movie of the year.

The Peanut St. Cosmo of tomorrow

The Peanut St. Cosmo of tomorrow

This year, Mickey Rourke got nominated for playing a washed-up, has-been, hard-living tool and co-star Marisa Tomei joined him with a nod for playing an aging hottie who only gets paid when she takes her clothes off. Acting?

Seth Rogen, posing with an unidentified escort

Seth Rogen, posing with an unidentified paid escort

PS. Watchmen looks like hot sweaty ass. Like watching someone film their own taint. Dear Zach Snyder: you know how you use that camera move where it’s all slo-motion and then it speeds up for a second and then it’s all slo-mo again? That was worn out by the first Matrix sequel you fucking hack, go back to directing commercials. Still, I think all the blame for the Crisis of Bad Directing in Modern Cinema can be traced back to Peter Jackson. Once upon a time, gratuitous slo-mo and goofy theatrical over-acting were recognized as such. Then this kiwi sheep fucker comes along and people confuse good source material for a good movie.

How can anyone take the Academy seriously when this bloated piece of shit won an Oscar for Editing?

How can anyone take the Academy seriously when this bloated piece of shit won an Oscar for Editing?

Oh, and Quentin? What if, instead of making exacting pastiches of bad movies, you picked your balls up off the floor and dared to try to make a good movie next time?

In other news, I came across this on Fucking right-wingers. I really don’t know how american society is expected to function when a good 25% of the country is fucking crazy. Oh noes! A black guy won an election (in a fucking landslide)! Let’s start “war-gaming” for the coming Civil War!

I think we can take them

I think we can take them

Stupid Republican fucks think they’re being “disenfranchised” because they got their asses kicked in an election. Never mind their 8 years in power when they totally fucked up the country. It’s too bad the Senate GOP didn’t follow through on their “Nuclear” option a few years back. ‘Bama could be ramming every bill he wants through congress and telling the GOP to go fuck themselves. People didn’t vote for Obama because they thought Republicans should be listened to.


Anyway, read that article. Sometimes Glenn Greenwald is annoying, but he does a great job there pointing out how ideologically bankrupt the GOP is. Buncha stupid tribal motherfuckers.

Meh. the downside of Democracy.

The rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used.

YES BECAUSE HE NEVER DID A THING LIKE THAT BEFORE AS ASK TO get his breakfast in bed with a couple of eggs since the City arms hotel when he used to be pretending to be laid up with a sick voice doing his highness to make himself interesting to that old faggot Mrs Riordan that he thought he had a great leg of and she never left us a farthing all for masses for herself and her soul greatest miser ever was actually afraid to lay out 4d for her methylated spirit telling me all her ailments she had too much old chat in her about politics and earthquakes and the end of the world let us have a bit of fun first God help the world if all the women were her sort down on bathing-suits and lownecks of course nobody wanted her to wear…

Ulysses’ Homecoming by Honore Daumier, 1842.

Above is a scene from the 2004 film adaptation of Ulysses entitled  Bloom. It’s part one of Molly Bloom’s Soliloquy, wonderfully delivered by actress Angeline Ball.

You can find part two here.

And don’t forget Kate Bush’s “The Sensual World,” which is lyrically inspired by Molly Bloom (Bush wanted to use the soliloquy itself but was refused permission by the Joyce estate, so she altered it).

And the full text of Chapter 18 of Ulysses, “Penelope,” can be found here.

“I wish, for my own sake, that I had not read it… Joyce has single-handedly killed the 19th century.”

-T.S. Eliot, on reading Ulysses.

The sun shines for you he said the day we were lying among the rhododendrons on Howth head in the grey tweed suit and his straw hat the day I got him to propose to me yes first I gave him the bit of seedcake out of my mouth and it was leapyear like now yes 16 years ago my God after that long kiss I near lost my breath yes he said I was a flower of the mountain yes so we are flowers all a womans body yes that was one true thing he said in his life and the sun shines for you today yes that was why I liked him because I saw he understood or felt what a woman is and I knew I could always get round him and I gave him all the pleasure I could leading him on till he asked me to say yes and I wouldnt answer first only looked out over the sea and the sky I was thinking of so many things he didnt know…

“I was on the platform, my heart going like the locomotive, as the train from Dijon came slowly to a standstill and I saw the conductor getting off, holding a parcel and looking around for someone — me. In a few minutes, I was ringing the doorbell at the Joyces’ and handing them Copy No. 1 of Ulysses. It was February 2, 1922.”

-Sylvia Beach, pictured up above with Joyce, standing in the doorway of her bookstore, Shakespeare and Company, in Paris. She was the publisher of Ulysses. (taken from this amazing site.)

That is Nora Barnacle up above, who was, and I love the way that Wikipedia words this, “the lover, companion, inspiration – and eventually – wife of author James Joyce.” An episode from her real life would inspire the epiphanic moment from “The Dead” and the date of her first romantic liason with Joyce – June 16, 1904 – would be forever immortalized in Ulysses as Bloomsday.

I was a Flower of the mountain yes when I put the rose in my hair like the Andalusian girls used or shall I wear a red yes and how he kissed me under the Moorish wall and I thought well as well him as another and then I asked him with my eyes to ask again yes and then he asked me would I yes to say yes my mountain flower and first I put my arms around him yes and drew him down to me so he could feel my breasts all perfume yes and his heart was going like mad and yes I said yes I will Yes.

from here.

Also from Wikipedia: “Joyce noted in a 1921 letter to Frank Budgen that ‘[t]he last word (human, all too human) is left to Penelope.’ The episode both begins and ends with ‘yes,’ a word that Joyce described as ‘the female word’ and that he said indicated ‘acquiescence and the end of all resistance.’

7 Questions Is Done With You Professionally.

Because of my own incompetence, I was not able to get the questions to the subject of my choice this week and the subject I want for next week is part of a theme and can only be posted then. Instead, I made two videos for you.

A few notes:
1. I am not wearing pants.
2. I said I wasn’t going to edit the videos but I can’t help spending some time with iMovie.
3. I was lazy editing the videos so there are a few snafus.
4. I prefer Vimeo to YouTube to host videos but I couldn’t get the embed codes to work so they are stuck on YouTube. Blergh.
5. My gin martini is with white vermouth and Bombay Sapphire. And ice. And love.


And …. a little post script:

like enya and a shit sandwich thrown in a hello kitty! blender. enjoy!

well, this is thursday. it should be cthulhu chursday! but i lack the photos for that. so instead, i give you a dinosaur fucking a robot.

you thought i was joking, didn't you....

you thought i was joking, didn't you....

sadly i’m not stockpiling those kinds of thursday photos. hopefully it will all be ok! this is kind of one of those “wtf?” kind of posts. why? because this is america in 2k9. and things tend to be a little bit ridiculous.

first up in line of my own little circus is ryan adams and mandy moore. yes. i. have. to. go. there. for one thing, it made the gossip page in NY Daily News. they also spelled his name wrong. jesus, don’t they have copy editors??? and second, no one is denying it. third, this is the same girl that was linked to DJ AM a few months ago after “his almost deadly plane crash” and is now back with adams….? and also was engaged to zach braff?

the starter engagement

the starter engagement

to now, when you go to an internet search engine and type in “ryan adams” you get “RYAN ADAMS AND MANDY MOORE!!!!!!!!” i added those exclamation points. but the all caps, that’s real. he will never be his own entity. he will now be mandy moore’s sidekick. ugh.

no one in their right mind wears sunglasses that ugly. unless you're a SoCal hipster.

no one in their right mind wears sunglasses that ugly. unless you're a SoCal hipster.

well, that’s all i have to say about thaaaat.

next up on my chopping block…..the octuplet mom! honestly, i don’t care. not really. the only reason i care is because my internet news page floods me with shit on this. and my hairdresser talks about it. and !!!News talks about it. i am flooded with shit on this crazy lil e-z bake kid oven/baby factory.

aaaaaaaaw yeeeeeeeeaaah.

aaaaaaaaw yeeeeeeeeaaah.

if someone is slightly scrambled eggs in the brain region, they have six kids already, hey….who knows what could happen. throw in their former occupation was a psychiatric technician, some facial…….renovations? and a whole lot of other mess…well, things just get interesting. but i’m not People effin magazine. if you want trash, you know where to find it. hell, even America’s Source for Top News even saw fit to fan the flames. why? not because her living place is a possible health hazard. not because that home might be taken due to foreclosure. not because those babies will be fighting for a chance at the teet. or fighting for the mom’s attention, not just from that litter, but from the other six that came before it, but because of this. thank you, fox news.

next up! the finance manager of japan. i want to apply for this position. some of you readers may ask why? why, peanut st. cosmo? why leave your post at counter-force dot com to take such a low level job? well, for a few reasons.


the honorable president of japan, Hello Kitty.

the honorable president of japan, Hello Kitty.

2. awesome speech writer.

a man of many pieces, Haruki Murakami

a man of many pieces, Haruki Murakami

3. cool office equipment.

needs more bling.....

needs more bling.....

and 4. look at the guy i’m replacing…..? jesus H! seriously. if that’s not a hot mess, i don’t know what is. if that guy can get away with being a booze hound, peanut will be employee of the month!

next up! who the hell leaked out photos of a beat up rihanna? seriously? that’s just messed up. someone’s mom needs to take them over her knee (not that peanut st. cosmo condones spanking, but come on!) and teach them a lesson. what the hell? is nothing private? she’s been off hiding in her hometown since nastiness went down, not out smearing his name. i’m not even linking this shit, i just saw the headline and felt bad. really really bad. what is wrong with us? i don’t actually expect an answer….

and lastly….if you thought to yourself, “there’s not been much interesting music released since this new year came down upon us,” YOU WOULD BE MISTAKEN!!!!!! why? i’ll tell you why….

THE PRODIGY IS BACK! not like” prodigy” a genius or anything. but like that british band that woooooed us all…..

yes, mixed with enya….don’t you feel in the moooood? for some lovin that includes smackin that bitch up that owes you money and is maybe pregnant with your baaaaaby? yeeeeah, me too. so what did they do? they released a new cd! little known story. when peanut was a youngster, she used to play soccer on a recreational league. their little “fire you up” song? the prodigy’s “fire starter.” i shit you not. did it work? fuck no! we were losers! but who is not a loser? the prodigy! because they have a new cd! this kinda just falls under the andrew w.k. file.

i like to party hard. and. drink. fight. juice. YEEEEEAAAAAAHHHH!

i like to party hard. and. drink. fight. juice. YEEEEEAAAAAAHHHH!

do what you will with this new release. if you buy it (rather than download like the lil pirate you are) i recommend maybe using it as a conversation starting coaster! haaaar. nighters!

The Auteur Theory, part three: Old whores know how to give many kinds of pleasure.

“Cinema is an old whore, like circus and variety, who knows how to give many kinds of pleasure.”

-Federico Fellini.

And here we continue with part three of our films that we love, and perhaps even adore, that we feel should make the jump over to the Criterion Collection, if, for no other reason, just to make ourselves a little happier. But here we stay closer to home with some more of our domestic picks…

August Bravo: Cool Hand Luke, 1967, directed by Stuart Rosenberg.

I don’t really expect much controversy on why I chose this. Rewind back to my teen years: I would wander around Blockbuster ineccessantly looking for movies. Movies I’ve never heard of. I don’t know why I did this, I just don’t anymore. After a while, I could literally do this at work. This movie struck my eye though in my life up until this point the only mention of Paul Newman I’d heard of was the salad dressing.

But after watching this movie the first time I didn’t know what to think. Luke was the first character I’d ever seen written so cool. Not a car in the world. What a way to go to prison to bust the heads off parking meters. I couldn’t think of a better way. Whether it was eating eggs, having a cool hand, or getting your ass beat without giving up, Luke lived the way others did not. In a house of prisoners, he had no regrets. A shame the only Oscar this movie won was for the supporting actor, Dragline. A great performance, yes, but Luke owned this movie. You couldn’t take your eyes off of him. Spawning one of AFI’s most famous quotes, “What we’ve got here is a failure to communicate.” The most notable scenes, or my favorites anyway, were the ones in the prison themselves, with the most banter and best dialogue. The movie was re-released last year, shortly before Newman’s death, but it was in fact not a Criterion. I don’t ever see it becoming one, probably due to it’s popularity and lack of special footage, but that’s fine. The film will still go down as one of Newman’s best performances.

Marco Sparks: Network, 1976, directed by Sidney Lumet.

Do I even need to explain this?

I hate to use the word satire more than once (and I do use it again in this post) but this movie is a perfect example of satire done right, perfecting showing you a world very much like ours, and very much like ours will become. In fact, the only detriment to this entering the Criterion collection to me is that it still feels a little too fresh. Maybe in another ten years it’d be more than perfect.

I’d like to tell you that this is in my top 5 films of all time, but more than that, it’s probably in my top 3. Easily. I could probably go on forever here if prodded.

August: American Psycho, 2000, directed by Mary Harron and based on the novel of the same name by Bret Easton Ellis.

You’re crazy if you didn’t think I was going to go with this one. While some out there think this is my favorite movie, it’s not. It is neither the most quotable. No, this is the movie that makes me feel the best about myself. Why? I can’t tell you that. I’m sure you can probably assume though. I got a certain affirmation for this film after I read the novel.  While the book has it’s moments, the movie is chalk full of them and Christian Bale was perfectly cast as Patrick Bateman. I’m almost curious to see how Leonardo DiCaprio would have fared, having almost nabbed the role himself. It starts the same way it ends, which is something I enjoy in movies. Just because you sit down and watch something for an hour and a half doesn’t mean something should be learned or should change. Change is hard to deal with and hard to accept. While many people refuse to believe that the things happening in this movie are real, I most certainly do. The constant confusion with who’s who leads me to believe that Patrick Bateman isn’t suffering from amnesia or schizophrenia. What he’s doing is actually real. I’m sure Bret Easton Ellis wanted this to be debated, as well as Mary Harron, the director.

That is by far one of the most fascinating things about the film right there, that a woman directed it. Not that a woman can’t direct, but that one made such a foul and emotional film towards women.

Marco: Mary Harron does an amazing job with the direction here, as done the screenwriter, Guinevere Turner (who’s hot, btw)(not that it matters, but still)(and has a cameo in the film), with the translating of the book to the screen. But I think you could make the argument that had this movie been done in the hands of a man, it’d be much more likely seen as celebrating the misogynistic violence that some felt the story was entirely about, but in these two very capable ladies’ hands, it comes out nicely as really adept satire.

August: I find something new and interesting about this film every time I watch it. The supporting actors and actresses are also amazing. It’s hard for me to comprehend how they got such a stellar cast to do this movie. Everything seems like it’s done with such restraint. And restraint, especially in movies, is a difficult thing to achieve. I know this will never make it to Criterion status, but it sure is nice to dream.

Marco: August and I probably have one more of these left in us, so we’ll see you in the next few days. Catch you then.