A boy’s best friend is his mother.

Good evening.

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.

Just imagine the meeting of ScarJo and Bernard Herrmann.

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.

The 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.

The suburb of the soul.

Mad linkage:

Who is Arcade Fire?!

It seems like the theme of Sunday’s Grammys were “I don’t know who this person is.”

The most British movie ever.

The oral history of Party Down.

The Machinist‘s Brad Anderson to adapt J.G. Ballard’s Concrete Island, starring Christian Bale.

Robots to get their own internet.

You can buy the new Radiohead album this Saturday!

PLAY The Great Gatsby for NES.

Sex, drugs, and cannibalism: the Chilean miners’ story.

Fuck Yeah Lady Writers.

Hello! And RIP Uncle Leo.

House group proposes shifting Earth science funds to manned spaceflight.

This guy will buy you breakfast if you can explain Lost to him.

The science of heartlessness.

Michel Gondry is adapting Philip K. Dick’s Ubik.

from here.

Michael Moorcock on J. G. Ballard.

Sarah Jessica Parker wants to do a Sex And The City 3 and she wants to do it just for Benjamin Light.

What makes black holes so black?

Crystal Renn addresses her weight loss and maintaining plus-size model status.

The Criterion Collection is on Hulu Plus (and so is your mom).

Americans know so little about the bible.

James Van Der Beek to play himself on an ABC sitcom. Seriously.

Also: Aaron Sorkin to guest as himself on 30 Rock.

“We live in a world ruled by fictions of every kind — mass merchandising, advertising, politics conducted as a branch of advertising, the instant translation of science and technology into popular imagery, the increasing blurring and intermingling of identities within the realm of consumer goods, the preempting of any free or original imaginative response to experience by the television screen. We live inside an enormous novel. For the writer in particular it is less and less necessary for him to invent the fictional content of his novel. The fiction is already there. The writer’s task is to invent the reality.”

-J. G. Ballard

The sun unleashed a huge solar flare towards the Earth.

CBS News’ Lara Logan hospitalized after sexual assault in Egypt.

Living towers made of humans.

Hans Zimmer promises that the score for The Dark Knight Rises will be both “epic” and “iconic.”

Also, 1 in 5 films coming out in 2011 will be sequels.

Click here to see the beginning of something wonderful.

Natalie Portman cries a lot.

Who makes shittier movies, Guy Ritchie or Zack Snyder?

by Jason Brockert, from here.

Pakistan issues arrest warrent for Pervez Musharraf.

Whatcha thinkin’ about?

There’s a DuckTales comic coming out. How awesome is that?

Twitter, translations, and the new geopolitics.

The Onion’s AV Club interviews PJ Harvey.

Look at the trailer for this Dead Island game. I know nothing about this game, but based on this trailer, I want to play the fuck out of it.

Why the Oscars snubbed Christopher Nolan.

You rock, rock.

from here.

Why I want to fuck J. G. Ballard.

Maria Bello a reasonable replacement for Helen Mirren in the unnecessary remake of Prime Suspect?

An underground village in France where people lived for hundreds of years.

Jeff Mangum is touring.

Billy Ray Cyrus blames the Devil and David Lynch for his problems.

Facebook’s growing web of frenemies.

Justina Bieber doesn’t believe in abortions, even in the case of rape. Man… whatever.

from here.

Michael Emerson to star in Person Of Interest, the CBS pilot from J.J. Abrams and Jonah Nolan about predicting/fighting future crime.

Pitchfork gave the new Mogwai album a 6.6.

Top 10 famous people who didn’t actually exist.

Donnie Darko‘s Richard Kelly to do a normal, traditional thriller next.

What would Hüsker Dü?

There’s a campaign to replace the N-word in Huckleberry Finn with “robot.”

“I would sum up my fear about the future in one word: boring. And that’s my one fear: that everything has happened; nothing exciting or new or interesting is ever going to happen again … the future is just going to be a vast, conforming suburb of the soul.”

-J. G. Ballard

I like and respect Jill Thompson’s visual take on Wonder Woman.

Speaking of which, Adrianne Palicki is the new Wonder Woman (in that David E. Kelley TV pilot).

…and here is the audition tape for Tanit Phoenix, who didn’t get the role, that shows how obsessed the pilot script seems to be with breasts.

Iain Sinclair on J.G. Ballard’s favorite artwork.

The underage cast of MTV’s Skins pose in their skimpies in Elle. Now go crazy, people.

The age of consent around the world.

The businessmen drink my blood just like the kids in art school said they would…”

The guy who was raised by cats.

All of these worlds are yours.

Meanwhile on the internet:

Ricky Gervais: Why I’m An Atheist.

The objectification of writers.

Alf drops the n-word.

Escape From Spiderhead” by George Saunders.

Quite frankly, Argentina has better dance reality shows.

Ten of the most intriguing movies of 2011.

Sarah Palin’s gloomy new poll numbers.

What has always been missing from your life and will now make it more complete: A mash-up between Fiddler On The Roof and You Got Served.

Eisenstein, Mickey Mouse, and the synthesis of ecstasy.

WikiLeaks and Nerd Supremacy.

15 things that Kurt Vonnegut said better than anyone.

The scientist who lit up the Dark Ages.

These screencaps, of course, are from Peter Hyam’s 1984 adaptation of 2010: The Year We Make Contact.

One of the absolute best comics of the year: Phonogram: The Singles Club.

One of the absolute worst comics of the year: When Kevin Smith took a big, smelly shit on Batman.

Does our universe show “bruises” from where it collided with other universes?

Angry people in local newspapers.

“Look at your God. Now look at me.” Cthulhu and Old Spice!

Three days.

Three days. That’s how many are left in 2010.

That is so wild, right? The end of the science fiction year that wasn’t too science fiction-y, sadly. Or maybe it was and I just wasn’t paying nearly enough attention. Or maybe I’ve just gotten so accustomed to the very pedestrian and incredibly mundane and boringly sexy science fiction-y aspects of my normal life?

from here.

I’m sure it’s something like that. Absolutely. Definitely. Whatever.

Also, this:

from here.

In this year, in this world of internetting and bloggery and social media, I had five very simple goals that I laid out at the start of 2010 and wanted to complete by year’s end. In order of my own personal interest and their importance, they were:

1. Not going to tell you (you’re not ready for this one yet, folks)(and neither am I).

2. Not going to tell you (forthcoming).

3. Not going to tell you (total abysmal failure).

4. Not going to tell you (worked, but was embarrassing and not worth mentioning again).

5. Getting 2,010 tweets in 2010!

The fifth one is the one that I’m going to definitely accomplish. Unless I lose both hands sometime in the next three days. Or lose my phone or computer or both. Or unless an EMP just wipes out all technology in the country/world.

But, well, I just don’t twitter much. And getting 2,010 tweets in 2010 was a silly, frivolous goal that I jokingly threw out on my twitter sometime back in… I don’t know what month, but sometimes those things you only jokingly declare are the ones that stick with you. It was somewhere around the start of the year, I believe, and I think I had less than a thousand tweets then and was probably tweeting an average of four to five tweets a month, roughly.

And eventually I just thought, yeah, I can do this shit, why not? Because it’s stupid? Stupidity has not stopped me from doing anything ever in my life.

Also, this is the 825th post on your friend neighborhood Counterforce. That’s wild. We didn’t make it to 1000 posts this year, but that’s perhaps for the best.  Personally, I’m just shocked that I managed to ramble on for nearly 2,010 tweets. I mean, what a silly declaration. Thinking back upon it, at first I was like this:

And then I was like this:

You understand.

Oh man, how creepy is this photo below?

Right?

Also, New Year’s Eve is almost upon us. Time to celebrate!

Also, this is fog porn:

from here.

And this is the first x-ray picture of a lightning strike:

from here.

Speaking of “science fiction,” the recent Doctor Who Christmas special was fucking wonderful.

So fun and smart and a nice little twist on Dickens’ A Christmas Carol cause, hey, why can’t the ghosts of Christmas’ past, present, and future be time travelers and holograms?

Michael Gambon was brilliant, but ruthlessly mean and joyously funny in places. And while the show did play around with some of it’s own rules towards time travel (and that’s why we have rules about time travel, folks: so they can be broken!), I found the idea of one watching their own past and memories change before their very eyes to be fascinating. Plus, the interesting but slight references to “the silence.” And I had to love the nice little nods to the recent JJ Abrams Star Trek movie with the copious lens flares on display of the crashing starship’s bridge.

Honestly, it was just nice to have Doctor Who back. The trailer for the upcoming season at the end of the special was a nice little tease as far as potential goes. Can it be April already?

Also, I’m worried that this (below) is what women must think of me whenever they see me…

from here.

Sigh. And I’m just trying to be normal and cool and down to earth and approachable. We can’t all be perfect, can we?

from here.

Oh well. Remember this always:

from here.

This is a picture from Tron Legacy

…which I hear was pretty terrible, but that Olivia Wilde was the best part of. Is it me, or is Olivia Wilde totally the new Angelina Jolie?

I mean that based on a lot of things, like her acting ability, her potential, the type of roles she’s taken in the past, but also based on her seemingly having that same ability that Angelina Jolie has to turn straight girls a little curious.

You know?

This is an abandoned theater in Detroit:

from here.

This is a monolith:

This is some good solid crazy fun rough housing:

And this is some old school adorable chillaxing right here:

The last six months or so on this blog and in my life have been… weird, to say the least. I’d go into more details here, but quite frankly, I don’t want to. I’ll just say that due to illness in my family, my life got a bit… derailed and I’m astonished that I’m seeing the end of this year without having gone totally insane. Or maybe I have already gone totally, stupendously insane and it’s just helping me see the end of this year more clearly? Like 3D glasses? That’s a comforting thought, right?

Anyway, at some point this will all be over and I’ll get back to some kind of semblance of “normal,” whatever that is. Are we still doing that? “Normal?”

Hopefully, if we’re lucky, we’ll be right back to asking “Who’s your daddy?” in no time flat.

This is what religion looks like:

from here.

And this is my basic worldview in a nutshell:

This is an example of the happy medium between sanity and fear:

This is an example of how Batman is both a master of surprise and also quite probably a huge pervert:

And sadly, no matter what we say or do, Lost is still over and done with:

Oh well. Three days to go. And then…

Fingers crossed about something exciting happening in those next three days (after all, a good deal of people on this planet thought that their magic wizard man came back from the dead in that same amount of time) but not holding my breath. Exciting, but not too exciting. Wow me, thrill me, blow my mind, fuck me over and fuck me up (but in a good way, please), but remember that when the sun comes up, I’ve still got bills to pay and TV shows to catch up with. Three days to go, promises to keep and miles to go before we sleep, and a long journey sprawling ahead of us through mountains upon mountains. This is both the place we made together and the journey we started together and I’m gonna be there with you. And wherever we end up, whatever new definition of home or normal we excavate, when we do we’ll turn to each other and say, “This must be the place!”

Bend sinister.

Mad linkage:

They made a movie starring Ben Stiller and Robert Deniro’s boner. Also, it’s a threequel.

The human genome was decoded. Then what happened?

The Office‘s Ellie Kemper and her sister to publish novel.

Release dates for new albums by Interpol and Blonde Redhead, with a new Radiohead album to come this year?

“I think like a genius, I write like a distinguished author, I speak like a child.”

-Vladimir Nabokov, from Strong Opinions.

How Rolling Stone was able to bring down a general.

Trailers for The Social Network (remember the poster?), the new Todd Solondz, and Red, based on the Warren Ellis/Cully Hammer miniseries/graphic novel (and retaining the general plot, but seemingly having dropped everything else).

Daniel Day-Lewis as Professor Moriarty?

The Onion AV Club interviews Dogtooth director Giorgos Lanthimos and Janeane Garofalo.

Pictures from this post on redesigning Nabokov covers, and how certain limitations could be an artist’s saving grace. In this case, the recurring theme tied back to the author’s love of lepidoptery.

The covers are: Despair by Jason Fulford and Tamara Shopsin. The Enchanter by Megan Wilson and Duncan Hannah. Speak, Memory by Michael Bierut. King, Queen, Knave by Peter Mendelsund. And The Defense by Paul Sahre.

Your fears, your dreams, and your imagination can run away from you… to the internet.

(Old) mad linkage:

A tale of two volcanoes.

Petraeus eyeing a presidential run in 2012?

The 50 best book people to follow on twitter.

Chloe Moretz and McLovin in a really weird music video.

Getting off on facebook.

Matt Fraction’s brilliant Casanova moving to Marvel’s Icon imprint, recolored and remixed.

This Stephen Baldwin/Martyr bullshit is real? Seriously?

Iceland volcano spews consonants and vowels.

Horosu” by Mayumi Haryoto.

Hulu to start charging for content as early as May.

Jon Stewart, South Park, Comedy Central, censorship, and fear of Muslim Extremists.

The final cast photo for Lost: “Final Flight.”

Embracing the digital book.

The search for J. Lo’s lost booty.

Fuck yeah, I have a crush on your girlfriend.

Can technology cool the planet?

Helen Mirren/Russell Brand in a remake of Arthur and Mickey Rourke is Genghis Khan.

The land of flying stones.

Odyssey Two.

Last night I came home after a particularly hard night at work, a late night too, and all I want to do is lay in bed and do some reading. Somewhere I’ve got Arthur C. Clarke’s Rendezvous With Rama that I picked up a few days ago. But, because I wanted to read that, of course I couldn’t find it. Days that go bad usually tend to stay bad, right? I mean, isn’t that how it always goes?

So, instead, I just laid in bed and watched 2010: The Year We Make Contact via youtube on my phone. It’s not something I’d necessarily classify under our glorious “sci fi tomorrow,” but it’s some shit I couldn’t have done as a kid, right?

The Year We Make Contact.

It’s finally here, people. 2010. Pronounced “Twenty Ten.”

I remember first watching the movie version of 2010, the sequel to Arthur C. Clarke/Stanley Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey, when I was a kid and thinking about how far off that was, how ridiculously deep into the future that was. Oh, science fiction. How you captured and enraptured my stupid little brain even back then. How you can give me such enticing glimpses of a far off tomorrow (not that 2010, the movie, was all that enticing), and through it all, I don’t stop to actually notice how similar tomorrow is to today.

It really hits me now, especially, since tomorrow is now today.

This is our science fictional future? I want more. And who knows, maybe more is right around the corner. This is “the year we make contact,” after all. Right? And if it’s not, then why can’t it be? Why can’t it be the year that we make contact?

And I think we will somewhere in the vicinity of the next 365 days. We’ve been hovering around a vein, I think, us humans, us earthlings, and I think we’ll tap into it in some way. Maybe not with aliens, but with something. With science. With space. Maybe, and this is more importantly, maybe with something within ourselves, something beautiful and precious. Or maybe something deep and dark.

from here.

Sitting here and reading this right now, you, maybe you’ll be the one who makes contact with something. The next act of your journey. Maybe one of our readers will win the lottery or finish their novel or self portrait or get their blog-to-book deal that they’ve desperately longed for. Maybe we will, but who knows, it might be you. Maybe this is the year you find inspiration, or inspire someone else to greatness. Maybe we’ll meet the love of our life. Or, more importantly, the love of our life will meet us.

from here.

But “The Year We Make Contact” shouldn’t be about “maybe this” or “maybe that.” It’s not just about new understandings and expanding. It’s about conquering. When you’re done reading this blog, quietly minimize the internet, and go do. Go be. Become something.

Two things, and stay with me just another few paragraphs even though I know you’re hungover, but two more things and then I’ll finish my say and let you have yours. One is slightly raunchy: I have this aunt, old as shit and half crazy, I’m pretty sure, but she’s always had this ridiculous saying. She’d always say, “At some point you have to stop jacking off and start coming.” A dirty little bit of wisdom, that.

And secondly, and lastly, like the song says, this will be our year. And it took a long time to come. Make it worth it. Earn it. Go make contact.