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:

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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.

xoxo!

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 Salon.com. 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.

hacked3

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.’