I saw Hitchcock today. Just a few quick thoughts…
1. The nicest thing you can say about this movie was that it was witty and clever, but it’s ultimately very light fare. So much of this movie is fantasy – and not just the fantasy and daydream sequences – but it’s trivial aspects, imagined insights into the life of the filmmaker and his wife. A documentary about the making of Psycho and this era of Hitchcock’s career, with speculation from more informed opinions would’ve probably proved to be more interesting.
2. This movie has gotten mild Oscar buzz, and I guess it’s there, but primarily for the production design. The story is pretty formulaic, not giving the actors much to do other than say their lines competently.
3. Speaking of which, James Darcy does a fairly accurate seeming impression of Anthony Perkins. It’s funny to me that they make Perkins’ homosexuality not so much an unofficial secret throughout Hollywood, but something that a careful observer can pick up from a distance.
4. This is second movie that I can think of that introduced a character played by ScarJo by doing a close up of her ass.
5. That said, it’s a film, it’s fantasy. The people are better looking. Helen Mirren is obviously much more attractive than the real life Alma Reville, and Anthony Hopkins, even under all the make up, probably still has a much more expressive face than the real Alfred Hitchcock. Also, Danny Huston is a villain in everything, right? That’s good casting.
6. Watching the film, of course, lead me to thinking about Psycho again. And that lead me to thinking about Delillo’s last novel, Point Omega, which has a prologue and epilogue set at the 24 Hour Psycho art installation by Douglas Gordon, which was at the Museum Of Modern Art in 2006. The installation took Hitchcock’s 109 minute movie and stretches it and slows it down so that it plays out over the course of 24 hours. The shower scene, for example, which lasts 45 seconds, takes a whole hour to play out.
In the novel, the 24 Hour Psycho stuff is a fascinating sequence that really informs the rest of the novel and how it deals with the perceptions missed perceptions of time passing. This little section always stuck out with me:
“The less there was to see, the harder he looked, the more he saw. This was the point. To see what’s here, finally to look and to know you’re looking, to feel time passing, to be alive to what is happening in the smallest registers of motion.”
If you’d like to check out an interesting book that takes a nice look back at Psycho, I would highly recommend A Long Hard Look At Psycho by Raymond Durgnat. It would make a nice companion piece to a film like Hitchock, really digging deeper than the fluff.
7. Something the film touches on, but only ever so briefly, is that great art can come from disturbed minds and from desires and fantasies that can’t be beaten and broken down into a box labeled “normal.” Obviously Alfred Hitchcock had some curious interests and obsessions and some continuing issues with women. The same could be said for Woody Allen. And Roman Polanski. There could be a lot of accurately negative things said for them as human beings, as well as a lot of accurately positive things said about their art. You need to pick your medium of release, because dark fantasies don’t have to spill over into reality. Sometimes creativity is born in the shit, and art has to be separated from the artist. Like I’ve repeated in one of my favorite quotes, there’s a difference between make believe and real life.
8. Now, I kind of want to watch that recent HBO movie with Toby Jones as Hitchcock and Sienna Miller as Tippi Hedren. Since it covers the making of The Birds and Marnie, it’ll be a kind of unofficial sequel to this movie. And it’ll get into some of the trivial parts of history that really interest us (and that Hitchcock only touches on sparingly): Hitch’s obsession and control over his leading ladies.
9. I’m not sure if this makes me really want to go see Bates Motel.
10. When you watch movies in December, and especially the second half of December, you kind of have to keep the idea of the Oscars always present in the back of your mind, right? I haven’t seen Zero Dark Thirty yet but I suspect that the big Oscar buzz will be between that and probably The Life Of Pi. On the Time Travel Murder Mystery podcast Benjie and I talk about the padding you have to do to come up with 10 films to nominate, because at least four and sometimes five of those films have no chance whatsoever. I suspect that Hitchcock is one of those films. It’s a cute movie about a great director and his under appreciated wife and a mid-life crisis (well, slightly later than “mid-life”) and some marital scrapes. And through that time there came about a truly great piece of cinema. Psycho, that is, not Hitchcock.
I repeat this a lot, but this is one of my favorite quotes, and it comes from Klaus Kinski’s autobiography, Kinksi Uncut:
“I once asked a Gypsy girlfriend whether she ever went to the theater or the movies, and she replied: ‘When I was fourteen, two men fought with knives over me. One stabbed the other to death. I touched the dead man; he was really dead. The other was really alive.’
Thats the difference between make-believe life and real life. Mine is real.”
Kinski was very intense, but silly. But ever since I read his book in my early teens that quote has stuck with me.
File this one under: Supplemental, and Ancient Hollywood Weirdness.
Found this online today:
God bless the internet.
If you’ve been listening to Greedo Shot First or Time Travel Murder Mystery then you know that I’m definite supporters of Idris Elba as Han Solo (in a remake) or to be involved in some kind of capacity in the new Star Wars.
In the last episode of Greedo Shot First we discussed the latest rumors about the next episode of Star Wars and then revisited The Phantom Menace, and in the latest episode of TTMM, we talked about the latest episode of Homeland and the end of Veronica Mars‘ second season and after that, Benjie took his pants down and squatted down and took a ripe hot shit on Peter Jackson and The Return Of The King, all in eager anticipation of The Hobbit. You can check out both shows in iTunes, of course.
So I’ve done a lot of posts here hyping our podcast – Time Travel Murder Mystery – and this post won’t be any different, except I want to talk about how Benjie and I have another podcast that we’re doing, Greedo Shot First.
This is us getting out all of our hardcore old school Star Wars nerdery and kind of bullshitting around with it and looking at the hype and speculation and strangely shaped observances that come with the upcoming Episode VII. I can’t promise that this podcast is any less dorky than other Star Wars podcasts, but I can tell you that ours is far more mean spirited and foul mouthed.
Anyway, I’m especially excited to share with you some art we have for the podcast…
…provided for us by our good friend, Michael Manuel, whom you may or may not have heard of us talk about on the podcast sometimes, usually referred to as “Erotikus.” Mike has sometimes referred to our podcast as being “A Star Wars podcast for people who hate Star Wars fans,” and I think you could say that’s about half right. Anyway. Say hey to Mike and give him money to do art and check out our podcast in iTunes or keep track of it either here, or at the Time Travel Murder Mystery site. May the Force be with you.
Nothing really important to say here, just that I’m mildly fascinated by the latest interest in things Hitchcockian… There was that HBO movie with Toby Jones and Sienna Miller, and there’s the new one with Anthony Hopkins, Helen Mirren, and ScarJo, which will probably get some mild Oscar buzz. And then there’s also a new TV show, a prequel to Psycho, starring Freddie Highmore and Vera Farmiga as Mama Bates. It has Carlton Cuse, from Lost, as its showrunner.
I remember when Brian DePalma did his best films in the 80s, which were all nu-Hitchcockian fare, and even Curtis Hanson did a decent riff on Hitchcock, The Bedroom Window, which starred Steve Gutenberg (LOL), Elizabeth McGovern, and Isabelle Huppert. Anyway, doing stuff in the style of Hitchcock is one thing, but all these movies about him… Just seems interesting to see competing projects of this nature.
The end looms large, but it still a ways away and down the road a bit. But I kind of wanted to look back a little, month by month, at this blog. Maybe not every single month, but most, if I can. I guess I’m getting reacquainted with what I’m saying goodbye to? Or maybe in the back of my mind I’m always remembering that you have to put the chairs up before you turn the lights off and go home…
10/02/10: “And Then…” by one Marco Sparks: Pictures and Borges and links to previous Counterforce posts… Sigh. The more things change, the more they don’t seem to matter, right?
10/04/10: “Tongues Of Flame“ by yours truly: Pictures of girls in some sort of relationship with the water, and the horizon, and the poetry of T. S. Eliot. Well… Who knows what I was thinking or where I was coming from back then. I mean, I could tell you, but who cares?
It seems like the hipsters are all shit talking Eliot now, but I don’t care. I still like him. Whenever I’m at my most lost, there’s usually a few lines from Eliot that can perfectly describe where I am, what I’m feeling, and sometimes that’s enough. Also, this poem was quoted in The Magus, which was a notoriously bad movie.
10/04/10: “The End Of The Story Is Unwritten“ by myself: I really like Harlan Ellison, though it is sometimes to do so. I think at this point, when I was writing this post, I had yet to see the documentary about him, Dreams With Sharp Teeth, which is a fine film.
I’ll always be a science fiction nut – maybe you’ve noticed? – but once or twice or thrice a year I really get back into it, and Ellison is one of those writers I go back to. To me, he’s the ur-Neil Gaiman, but less magical and twee. I respect that Ellison doesn’t suffer fools well, that he’s serious about his craft and those who practice it. In many ways, it would appear that he is not a human at all, but a new creature, one best described in works of his favorite genre: all sharp edges and protected, wounded heart and acid and witty talent.
10/06/10: “Powers And Responsibilities/Up, Up, And Away We Go“ by myself: Spider-Man and Superman! Perhaps some day I’ll write a book about super heroes, and how they’re trapped in our world and in desperate need of being given life beyond it, and just get it all out of my fucking system, you know?
Also, it’s not like I need a reason to do a post with copious amounts of Emma Stone pictures. Seriously. And: Jon Hamm really should be playing Superman/Clark Kent.
10/06/10: “Crucifixes“ by myself: I like Richard Pryor and I don’t like religion. In fact, if I remember correctly, I shit talk about it a little on the latest episode of our podcast. But that’s a whole other story, and one for another time.
If I were to get into the nuts and bolts, a post like this comes about like so many others that exist out there in the internet: I saw it somewhere and I liked it. Someone shared it with the world and I was one of those folks in the world who saw it and wanted to pass it along to the rest of my own little corner of the internetting world. I came, I saw, I reblogged.
10/08/10: “Animals are equal but some animals are more equal than others,” by myself: Pictures by Dave Eggers, quotes by George Orwell and Voltaire, links from the internet. What a bizarre mixture.
10/09/10: “Nobody told me there’d be days like these,” by myself: People who have problems with authority always gravitate towards John, don’t they? Lennon is the favorite Beatle of the perpetually disenfranchised and the smart, smug assholes. I look back at some of these posts and want to delve into a little of the making of them, but… I don’t know. Sometimes it’s all right there in the post, you know? I wanted to do a post about my favorite Beatle, and maybe I was itching for a little Instant Karma.
10/09/10: “Vendettas“ by myself: Tom Gauld!
10/12/10: “Running“ by myself: This is just another thing I saw online and thought was funny. Also, it’s October, the month of Halloween, the time for goblins and things that are a bit ghoulish and macabre, right?
10/12/10: “Who Is Natalie Portman Fucking These Days?” by myself: One of my favorite posts on this site, actually. If we talked about solely about celebs, then… Well, I imagine it’ll be something like that. Of course now this post is severely dated… Black Swan has come and gone and we all know who Natalie Portman is fucking these days, and thankfully it’s not John Mayer.
10/14/10: “Video Killed The Internet Star,” by myself: Videos and links about movies and shit I found on the internet. You know… whatever. And a picture of Eric Stoltz as Marty McFly.
10/14/10: “Meditations“ by myself: “Music is the mediator between the spiritual and the sensual life.” That sounds about right.
Some of the things you notice already about this month: Too many posts by me, which is boring. Lots of doubling up on days, with two posts a day for some reason. Lots of just little things from around the internet. The blog was the pin board for things I found interesting from around the web. Well, I guess in a lot of ways that’s what it always was.
10/16/10: “Chaos Reigns“ by myself: Ahhhh, YouTube comments. They are frequently a treat. I don’t even understand why people bother to engage in “intelligent” discourse there.
In fact… most conversation on the internet is flawed. Severely. Nobody wins an internet argument. Like the famous webcomic says, you can spend your whole life standing vigilant, the sentinel against the raping of the truth, strong against the fact that Someone On The Internet Is Wrong, but there are no winners. You’ll never best someone with your logic. Your insults and your put downs will never be properly scored. All people will see is that you were in an Internet Argument and everyone will be pronounced “Loser.” State your case, and move on. Also, fix your typos.
10/16/10: “The Patient Labyrinth,” by myself: Again, I was mesmerized by Borges and the ideas of puzzles and mazes of our own design during October of 2010. That was the theme running around somewhere in my head back then, I guess, and it was weakly explored, for sure.
(Also, you’ll notice another picture of a young woman who has a curious relationship or proximity to the ocean…)
Again, I apologize that all these posts are just me. The difference between myself and my co-authors, I believe, was that they wrote when they had something to say and the energy to say it. I always had something to say on this blog, and usually pursued that impulse even when I didn’t have the energy to do it right, or as coherently as it should’ve been. I think it’s fair to say that I deserve the lion’s share of credit for any failings of this blog. A lot of my favorite posts on Counterforce were those written by the others.
10/18/10: “Red Dawn“ by myself: Ahhh, Laura Leighton. Proto-Emma Stone, perhaps? Perhaps not.
10/18/10: “Bad Things“ by myself: True Blood! Looking at this, I’m just reminded of how weird the finale of the latest season of the show was.
10/19/10: “I Got You Babe“ by August Bravo and myself: This is us talking about Mad Men‘s fourth season finale, “Tomorrowland.” Just so weird to see us looking over the episode and being curious and confused and pondering where the show would go next.
10/20/10: “The Fate Of The Blogger“ by myself. I’ll be brief on this one: I like Eddie Campbell. Also, it’s two years later and I’m still pondering the fate of the blogger.
10/21/10: “What a man is is an arrow into the future and what a woman is is the place the arrow shoots off from,” by myself: Ha ha. A mash up between Sylvia Plath and Saved By The Bell.
10/22/10: “I Walked With A Zombie,” by myself: Links and funny pictures, but there’s something else here too… Something that I sense and feel now, but perhaps didn’t notice at the time, a kind of darkness. Beyond the seasonal darkness, I mean. I guess that would make sense. The second half of The Year We
Make Made Contact was especially hard on me.
10/23/10: “The Boob Tube“ by myself: This is me ranting about what’s wrong with popular TV and how it could be fixed/saved. And now Benjamin Light and I do a podcast about this. We’re on a mission to civilize! But, anyway, a lot of these notes still make sense and feel relevant, and desperately need to be read and followed by the people running some of these shows. Now more than ever, perhaps. The thoughts about The Office and Community, especially. But thankfully The Office is (finally) ending after this season, and Community is most likely ending this year (if they ever decide to air the new season at all). Why? Because NBC is dumb as shit and they’re not afraid to show it.
10/23/10: “The Year Of The Depend Adult Undergarment“ by myself: David Foster Wallace!
10/24/10: “Nintendo Power“ yours truly: The idea of the “friend zone” is total bullshit but I just thought this image was funny and wanted to share it. Thanks, Mario, but…
10/25/10: “All Things Truly Wicked“ by myself: Ernest Hemingway! Paper Hemingway was a mean, messed up old bastard, but I still like him, despite all his flaws. And I feel that every time I start to accumulate those flaws, just the obvious ones, and add them up… Well, then I’ll see one of his quotes out of the blue and it’ll just fit into something missing puzzle piece in my brain at that moment and I’m flashing back to what a great writer he was. Also, it’s funny, but we still get a decent number of hits to this particular post from an old BuzzFeed post from a year ago that’s nothing but pictures of Ernest Hemingway partying like a maniac.
10/25/10: “This Is Still True“ by myself: Again, more authors and pictures and quotes. This time, it’s Vonnegut. I hope the kids these days are still reading Vonnegut. His was such a delicate balance of moral righteousness and self loathing, but married together so charmingly.
10/27/10: “Which Came First“ by myself: I don’t know what to say about this post, though it’s weird to look at these almost a full two years later.
10/27/10: “Ma-Sheen Man” by myself: From pictures of and quotes by famous authors to… this. I regret blogging about Charlie Sheen. About Charlie Sheen and so many other things.
10/27/10: “You were an island and I passed you by,” by yours truly: Not the greatest post, but one of my favorites by myself here on the site. Roger Ebert has a great quote in his recent Cloud Atlas review: “Any explanation of a work of art must be found in it, not taken to it.” I agree with that wholeheartedly, but I keep thinking about the questions and the digressions of thought that come out of the works of art. I keep thinking about the way works of art can act as explanations for ourselves, for our lives, for the way we live and exist and make our way through the complicated cosmic murals we’re all sloshing around in.
Anyway. If you know me or not, illustrated in this post about Lost is basically a diagram for how my own personal thought processes tend to work, bouncing from thing to thing, riding along the little connections, going from medium to medium and then essentially looking back at where I started from. As you’ve seen, it’s a convoluted process, and one that doesn’t always yield the most fruitful results, but hopefully it’s been fun at times for you. It certainly has for me.
10/29/10: “Vampire Sluts“ by myself: Kate Beaton! I really like Hark! A Vagrant. I like it a lot.
10/29/10: “The risk of going too far” by myself: Pictures and links and words by T. S. Eliot. Too far is never far enough, right? Or something.
10/31/10: “Samhain“ by myself: I like how this post starts “Another year, another Halloween.” It’s said with such weariness, or, at least, that’s how I perceive it now. That’s how I feel now, anyway. Another year, another Halloween, and a little more of the magic is gone. The masks are getting heavy, folks. Also interesting that the second line is about how once Halloween arrives you have to accept the inevitable: the year is fading away. The same can be said for now, just as it was back in the year we made contact, only when this year fades away, so does this blog.
Edited to add: I meant to post this at the tail end of October and obviously that did not happen. Sorry. Real life shit got in the way.
10/31/10: “Las Ruinas Circulares“ by myself: This is one of my favorite stories by Borges. Fitting for the time of the year, perhaps. I’ve always felt that there’s a tenuous connection between dreams and the dreamer of those dreamers, something akin to the chicken and the egg. That may be a little too heavy.
10/31/10: “Season Of The Witch“ by myself: Ha ha. Christine O’Donnell. Ha ha.
The odyssey of the Republican party in the last ten years or so has only gotten more sad and tragic, and Christine O’Donnell is just another one of their sad war stories, I think. Ignoring her for the most part, or this Gawker story about some guy’s claims of having had a one night stand with her, what I really was interested in was the comments section on that post. Internet comments are, of course, terrible. Trolls begetting trolls, all hiding under their bridges and flinging out their shit and hate upon the world with no consequences. And I guess that’s what fascinated me: the way people weigh in on things when there’s no rules, no consequences.
10/31/10: “Paradise Circus“ by myself: I first heard this song in an episode of True Blood‘s third season and it just floored me. A few years ago, during a particularly hard time I was going through, this song was my summer jam, which kind of tells you what that summer was like for me, I think.
It was during that summer that I first started watching the cop show, Luther, a British show starring Idris Elba as the titular detective, and “Paradise Circus” was the theme song for the show, which instantly tells you that it’s going to be unlike any other kind of cop show that you can imagine. Luther is a fun show, a bit silly at times, but darkly interesting and all the actors on the show do very interesting work, Idris Elba especially. I’m glad that he backed out of playing Alex Cross to keep doing (other) movies and eventually a third series of Luther.
And Ruth Wilson, who is exceptional on the show as his sociopathic ally of sorts, is rumored to be in the next Avengers movie. I kind of doubt that will happen, but I’d really like to see it.
But anyway, that’s another thing for another time. Again, in a less interesting way, this post was similar to the one about Lost from a few days earlier… Just a glimpse into the way a thing will pop up into your life and spawn legs and connect to other things. And those things, be it songs or TV shows or whatever, will just find you. Claim you, when you think you’re claiming them. It couldn’t been tackled in a much more interesting or succinct way, definitely, but that stuff still fascinates me.
And that’s how the month of October, 2010 ends. Maybe we didn’t create the blog. Maybe it created us?
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I enjoyed doing this, so I think I’m going to do a few more retrospectives of other months in the history of this blog before it becomes permanently just that: History. Again, I don’t think I have the time, space, nor total desire to do every single month, but at least a few more, if I can help, and quite a few more, if the universe is kind. Any suggestions for which month to look back on next?