Scottish Manes.

On our Star Wars podcast a few weeks ago, I was threatening that I was going to write a monograph about Ewan McGregor’s hair in films, and I’m sure Benjamin Light thought I was just joking. He probably – rightfully? – hoped that I was.

Scottish manes.I wasn’t. Thought Catalog was nice enough to publish a piece by me the other day: A Selection Of Films Rated On The Quality Of Ewan McGregor’s Hair In Them.”

Here’s the sad thing: I could have gone on and on, and in quite a big of greater detail than I did. Their might be a strange little e-book on this topic in the future so, you know, beware.

* * *

At some point, I feel like I could write another piece (though a much shorter one) on the hair of prominent comic book writers, especially those in the Marvel bullpen. In short: They’re all bald! Sometimes they have the wall of hair on the side, a power move that I’m sure is called “The Captain Picard” in barber college. Sometimes they just go for the shave and shine, electing to try to convince us that they chose to shave their head, not that they were losing a war with genetics. (“Make it SO!”)

I can see you!

Oh well. These are the people who decide who of our favorite four color heroes will die (like Peter Parker recently) or get raped and stuffed in a refrigerator.

FYI: TV Tropes informs me that it is actually referred to as “Bald Of Awesome.”

* * *

Benjamin Light informed me tonight that Ewan McGregor was rated as #5 on GQ‘s list of Most Stylish Men. I could tell you who was rated higher than him, but it’s bullshit. At least it wasn’t Michael Fassbender or Channing Tatum.

Men in suits.

Fucking Channing Tatum.

* * *

The blog is just days away from ending!

And, as always, I’m going to ask and suggest that you check out our podcasts…

Podcasts!

Time Travel Murder Mystery is on a very short hiatus currently, but I imagine that you can expect new episodes again in early January. Meanwhile, Greedo Shot First, our Star Wars podcast for people who hate Star Wars fans, is still going strong. I believe that the subject of our next episode will be a rewatching of The Empire Strikes Back. The haircuts in that movie were really just so so.

Huntress.

Is Snow White And The Huntsman out on DVD yet?

I don’t really want to buy or rent the DVD or anything, and part of me doesn’t really want to watch the movie again, because it was terrible. But it was also fascinating.

This has been said before by me, and I’ll say it again here… I love the ending of the movie, the very ending: The Evil Sexy Witch Queen is dead, the troubles have ceased, and now K-Stew is being crowned Queen by the poor people of the fantasy kingdom she inhabts. As she stands there, newly royal, and praised by all her subjects, she takes a look at her primary suitors, the other ends of the love triangle she’s been shackled to the whole movie. There’s the Prince, who could not be sadder, lamer, or fall more short. And then there’s the titular Huntsman, who just looks dirty and wishing he had better dialogue and a more compelling reason to push on. Kristen Stewart’s eyes move from one of these guys, then to the other. A choice must be made. And then she looks away, and sighs. Perhaps she touches her hair. The music rises, the film ends. Presented with these choices, she has freed herself from choice. Maybe she chooses herself. Maybe she chooses just to touch her hair…

I don’t know, but it’s such an inept moment in classic cinematic storytelling, but I love it.

* * *

I believe it was Godard that said that every film was a documentary about its actors, and for the leading women in Snow White And The Huntsman, I think that’s accurate. For a bad movie, it’s a great example of why we love Kristen Stewart and Charlize Theron. These are actors who refuse to be confined to the typical traps of pretty girls in the movies with swords and monsters and creepy dudes with pageboy haircuts.

Charlize is more seasoned in all of this though. I don’t think people nearly appreciate enough off how effortlessly sexy and gorgeously venomous she can be. This is beyond her incredible physical beauty, which you could say has always been a hurdle she’s had to jump over. I find her compelling and in dire need of more worthy vehicles.

And K-Stew, ah, K-Stew… Sadly, this blog will wrap up (probably) sometime later this year after a 1000 volumes, and I suspect that I would need a whole other thousand volumes to even begin to approach the majesty of K-Stew. For starters, I’ll just say that she looks even more bored when she’s trying to be typically movie sexy, and that makes me love her even more.

I know that Godard also said: “Art attracts us only by what it reveals of our most secret self.” I think about that a lot, or try to, whenever I open my mouth about something I saw in a movie and try to describe what it made me think and feel.

* * *

Read some article on either Gawker or Jezebel, somewhere cheap, fast, and sensationalistic, and they said that in the film’s commentary the director heaps nothing but outrageous praise on Kristen Stewart, and ohhhh, isn’t that so extra scandalous now after what we know? Wink wink, nudge nudge.

Just as quickly as she was announced to be the current top paid female actor in the world, going On The Road and giving two guys hand jobs at the same time in a movie for the sake of art, and now the masses and the headlines and the crying goblins on YouTube are determined to erase from the picture.

Speaking of which, excuse me while I go do a painting of K-Stew being crucified. Clothed or not clothed, it doesn’t matter, but she’ll look as bored as humanly possible up there on the cross.

Just imagine how awkward and wonderful the press junket for Breaking Dawn, Part 17 is going to be.

Poor K-Stew. As I said, we still love you. And we know as well as anyone else: Wild hearts can’t be tamed.

* * *

I was just reminded in something I was reading online that Milan Kundera has a book called Life Is Elesewhere, and it’s another European novel about a man who devotes his life to poetry, you know, as a man is wont to do. When a man has time to do so, of course.

But that phrase will be stuck in my head today. “Life is elsewhere.” Cinema is everywhere? I want to take the words there and play around with them endlessly, swapping and switching. This is how I cope with the unbearable lightness, or the enduring heaviness, I guess.

Snow White And The Huntsman was an ehhhh movie, at best. I guess it was the winner in the Summer Of Two Snow White movies. Charlize Theron vs. Julia Roberts? Come on, that wasn’t even a contest. Anyway. K-Stew was never meant to come back for a sequel to the Huntsman movie, but now people would like to report headlines that she’s been “fired” from the sequel. We ought to be more surprised that there is a sequel.

* * *

How did this come about, you ask? Or perhaps you don’t.

from here.

We recorded our latest podcast last night, and posted it last night. The mirror in the bathroom at my job as a little crack, starting at the top, right in the middle, and it’s slowly working it’s way down the center, breaking in two under the stress of… what? Apple’s doing a thing today (which you may have heard about). I saw a picture of K-Stew somewhere on the internet just a moment ago, and that article about the director’s commentary for the movie on Gawker or Jezebel or somewhere similar a few days ago. Cabin In The Woods is one of the movies on my phone. I just discovered the other day that there’s an old copy of The Unbearable Lightness Of Being on a shelf in my home. I remember buying it one day in a book store, thinking that I would get around to reading it eventually. The spine of the book has seen some adventures, and it looks like it’s been read, but not by me.

Some how all of this combined in my head just now to this, this thing that you’re reading.

Snow White And The Huntsman is not a great movie. I’m thinking about it, and talking about it, but it’s not a movie I’m going to go actively seek out to rewatch. It has some interesting visuals for the eyes, but no real meat for the brain. But it’s a treat for the comment. That’s not to say that there’s a rich subtext there, but something else, something more open for you to step into and fill with your own perceptions and ideas. Something something something about the eye of the beholder.

Cinema is everywhere. Life is elsewhere. You’re either now here or you’re soon to be nowhere.

The summer so far.

Mad linkage:

This is going to be awkward.

Jon Hamm will direct Mad Men‘s season 5 premiere (in 2012).

Terrorist “pre-crime” detector field tested.

The wisdom of crowds is a dangerous, stupid thing.

Of course Annie Hardy has a tumblr.

Important news: Ciara likes being naked.

Michael Jackson’s daughter is going to be a star some day.

Idris Elba is so hot right now.

Pictures from here, here, here, here, here, and here.

Food prices will double by 2030.

Here’s that Jonathan Franzen link that every other fucker has posted somewhere on your facebook, tumblr, twitter, or whatever.

Copanhagen suborbitals upcoming launch attempt in June.

Kevin Fanning on the daily commute.

Read more about that terrible sounding Wonder Woman pilot.

To the blogger who thinks saying “fuck” means I’m dumb.

An excerpt from Mindy Kaling’s new book.

The Hangover Part II has to be the laziest fucking movie ever.

The gospel according to Bill Clinton.

In September, DC Comics will relaunch all their superhero titles with new #1s, other changes.

Here’s a wild new drug that you should surely know about: Oxi.

Michael Kupperman doing Mark Twain’s Autobiography.

Is Donald Sutherland the last person to join the cast of The Hunger Games or could there possibly be more?

Hip-hop loved Gil Scott-Heron.

A drug that could erase your memories of being afraid.

PBS website hacked with a story about Tupac still being alive.

Think in images.

Three quotes from Vladimir Nabokov and a couple of pictures from the internet…

1. This:

from here.

“I know more than I can express in words, and the little I can express would not have been expressed, had I not known more.”

2. This:

by Matt Bors, from here.

“I don’t think in any languages. I think in images.”

3. This:

and this:

and this:

and also this:

Cats quoting Charlie Sheen! from here.

“Play! Invent the world! Invent reality!”

“With your feet in the air and your head on the ground.”

From the internet:

Schizophrenia: the insanity virus.

The return of literary magazines?

Bill Clinton to be in The Hangover 2.

How the CIA used modern art as a weapon.

Darren Aronofsky’s Wolverine sequel to be called simply The Wolverine.

Carey Mulligan considered the front runner for Daisy in the Baz Luhrmann/Leonardo Dicaprio adaptation of The Great Gatsby.

The reign of right-wing primetime.

J. J. Abrams’ Undercovers canceled.

Thankfully: Satoshi Kon’s last movie to be completed by Madhouse.

The future of reviews.

Previously on Counterforce: Gravity Girls.

Pictures in this post by Stephen Morris, from here.

Six x-rated comics you can read without shame.

Six steps to being the coolest person at media/tech parties.

My crush is engaged! :(

Facebook’s “gmail killer” coming on Monday?

Aaron Sorkin’s four big problems with the WGA.

Natalie Portman wasn’t the “Deep Throat” for The Social Network.

…but she has written a new “raunchy comedy.”

Kanye West’s “media trainer” reportedly quit within a week.

According to John Lennon: Yoko does not sweat.

The words “Thom Yorke” and “photobomb” are always funny in the same sentence.

“Try this trick and spin it, yeah.”

After the tragic death of Party Down, Rob Thomas (no, not that cunt) has a new FOX sitcom.

When Tyler Coates met Modern Family‘s Jesse Tyler Ferguson.

Iain M. Banks on uploading oneself and living forever.

Jonathan Lethem on They Live.

Caveman science fiction.

Embarrassing Moments” by Megan Boyle.

We wouldn’t have this pithy little thing you call “civilization” if it weren’t for beer.

Psychic wars.

A comprehensive glossary of GIFs.

Can we see into the future?

You were an island and I passed you by.

Okay, for today, let’s start at something we know and go somewhere we don’t and end up… who knows?

1. This man:

Sawyer from Lost. Remember him?

2. This is a picture of Sawyer reading a book:

That’s in “Eggtown.” How odd was it that Sawyer was the most prolific reader on the show? And Ben came in second place. We saw lots of glimpses of Ben’s and Jack’s bookshelves but Sawyer was the one we always saw actually reading (and Ben just occasionally). I wonder if Sawyer and Juliet (re)started a book club somewhere in their three years in the 1970s DHARMA Initiative… Hmm.

2 1/2. I’m all about Sawyer and Juliet reading Erica Jong‘s Fear Of Flying, I gotta say.

Go ahead, say it with me now: “Zipless fuck.” That felt good, didn’t it?

2 3/4. Like I said…

Ben actually read sometimes. In his mind, it goes like this: James Joyce > Stephen King. And I’d have to agree with him.

Sorry, Juliet.

3. Anyway, that book that Sawyer happens to be reading there is this:

The Invention Of Morel by Adolfo Bioy Casares, written in 1940. It’s about a fugitive who ends up on a mysterious island where strange things are happening…

4. That particular cover above is based on the fact that the lead female role of the book, a character called Faustine, is based on silent film star Louise Brooks, whom is on the cover. This is another picture of her:

It’s also been said that the book was written, in part, as a reaction to the decline of her career at the time.

5. The plot, rather roughly, is: a man hiding from the authorities ends up on a mysterious island. Eventually a group of people come and the fugitive falls in love with one of the women with them. He keeps a diary, in which he talks about observing these people and their actions all the while trying to not be discovered by them, and how they seem to repeat some of the same conversations over and over, and then disappear. The fugitive tries to confront the woman, Faustine, and tell her how he feels about her but, as Wikipedia puts it, “an anomalous phenomenon keeps them apart.”

6. This is the original first edition cover of the book:

And another:

…which were designed by Norah Borges, the sister of Jorge Luis Borges, one of the author’s closest friends and a serious advocate of this novel. Borges even wrote a prologue for the book in which he said: “To classify it [the novel] as perfect is neither an imprecision nor a hyperbole.”

7. Supposedly the novel was inspired in part by earlier novels, such as 1934’s XYZ, by Clemente Palma, which I don’t know much about, but also the much more popular novel, The Island Of Dr. Moreau by H. G. Wells.

8. This is an image from the 1996 film version of the movie:

9. And below is a joke that was inspired by that little detail:

Yeah, that’s right.

10. I only saw that 1996 version of The Island Of Dr. Moreau once, which was directed by John Frakenheimer, and it was incredibly long ago, probably not long after it came out, but I love hearing accounts of the considerably rocky production, which suffered all kinds of shake ups, script rewrites almost daily, the original director being fired just three days into shooting on location in the tropical wilderness of North Queesland, Australia and, of course, the perfect storm that is Val Kilmer and Marlon Brando.

Anyway, so just a day or two after they got to their tropical location shoot, Kilmer decided that he wanted his role (as the lead character who happens upon the unethical villainy of the mad Dr. Moreau) cut by 40%. Some of this was because, yes, Val Kilmer is insane, but it was also right around the time he was going through a painful divorce. And after quite a bit of examination, it was discovered that there was no way to cut down the role Kilmer had been hired for, so he’d have to trade roles with David Thewlis, who had been cast as one of Moreau’s creepy flunkies.

11. Only slightly related: “I’m Val Kilmer. Take me to the strip club!”

12. Val Kilmer, even at your greatest heights, you’re still no Charlie Sheen. That’s a fact to both be ashamed of and to take pride in.

13. Speaking of weird actor bullshit on the set of a movie, if you ever get a chance, and are bored enough, you should go read up on the crazy demands that Marlon Brando came up with on the set of 2001’s The Score starring Rober De Niro, Edward Norton, and Angela Bassett. It’s some great stuff like not wanting to wear pants (so therefore a majority of his scenes are shot from the waist up) or refusing to take direction from director Frank Oz, whom he would only refer to as “Miss Piggy,” which lead to Oz having to sit in a van outside the set with a monitor and relaying direction via walkie talkie to De Niro to give to Brando.

Honestly, it’s enough to make you want to get really huge (mostly in a fame and talent sort of way, but possibly also in physical size) and just go really splendidly crazy, you know?

14. Getting somewhat back to our original topic… The Invention Of Morel. Interestingly enough, it was adapted into film in 1974 and starred the lovely Anna Karina, famous from so many Jean-Luc Godard films, and who was also in the film adaptation of The Magus. But that shouldn’t be held against her, should it?

15. But more interesting than that is the theory that the novel was a serious influence on the classic and notorious Alain Resnais film Last Year At Marienbad.

Many a person hate the film, which has inspired so much satire and so very many attempts at deciphering it, at finding meaning in it’s voluptuous qualities, but that’s an almost impossible task to do definitively.

16. If you’ve never seen it, shame on you. But if that’s true, I’ll try to sum the film up succinctly as best I can:

At a European château, a man approaches a woman. He claims to know her, but she doesn’t seem to know him. He tells her that they had met last year at Marienbad and that she had told him that she’d be waiting here for him now. He’s positive of this but again, she doesn’t remember. Her husband shows up. There’s a question of dominance at play, a power struggle, and the continuing effort to try and convince the woman of what the first man says is the truth. The characters have no names, but in the screenplay, the first man is X, the woman is A, and her husband’s name is M. Conversations happen again and again throughout the château, and reality seems to be a changing whim and there are many a haunting, cryptic voiceover hanging over lush, ambiguous tracking shots.

This is a very necessary film if you have any plans of calling yourself a pretentious film buff or a lover of the French New Wave.

17. The film is a thrill for guessing at, for surrendering yourself over to it’s masterful pace and tone, and then for pondering over with enlightened friends after a viewing.

18. Trust me, the film becomes a lot more fun and the guess work far more potent if you take on the assumption that it’s a science fiction story. Or a ghost story. Wander through that same mesmerizing landscape as the characters in the story and you’ll have a fun time.

19. Of course this all kind of ties into Lost, with certain echos of similar scenarios throughout the show and it’s mysterious island setting.

One example of that would be: Horace appearing to John and talking about Jacob’s cabin while chopping wood in a continuous loop. Of course, this was in a dream, but it’s an interesting visual representation of stone tape theory.

Remember back in the early, glory days of Lost theories, there was always stuff like “The Monster is nanotechnology,” which took a long time to fade after repeated denials from the producers, but that I always liked was holograms. Like “Jack’s dad is a hologram” or “Eko’s brother is a hologram,” meaning that they weren’t ghosts in the classic supernatural sense.

20. Last Year At Marienbad inspired the video for “To The End,” a 1994 single by Blur from their album Parklife

Jesus, remember Blur? Fuck, I miss Britpop. Damon Albarn has held on pretty strongly musical, both with Gorillaz and more recently complaining somewhat unnecessarily about Glee. Anyway, in the lovely video, that’s Albarn as “X” and Graham Coxon as “M.”

21. Albarn vs. Coxon? That’s fitting.

22. A year after “To The End” Blur would use another film as fuel for pastiche in a music video with “The Universal” from The Great Escape. Viddy well:

The film this time being Stanley Kubrick’s A Clockwork Orange, interesting enough. And the single’s cover was reminiscent of Kubrick’s 2001: A Space Odyssey.

23. It should be pointed out that these both songs that I like quite a bit, as well as their videos. It was a smart move on Blur’s part, I think in doing these pastiches, not only because it makes them appear more stylistically interesting and intellectual (or as intellectually far as an homage can take one these days), but it really reinforced the strong roots that the 1960s held within the foundations of Britpop.

24. Going back to Last Year At Marienbad, another video:

This short film, called “The Arranged Time,” by a filmmaker named Scott Johnston, clearly owes a debt to the mysterious dream logic of Resnais’ classic, but is also it’s own intriguing thing. It’s well worth the viewing, but if you don’t want to favor the tip of the hat to Last Year At Marienbad, I can always offer you the hipster version of a reference: It’s remarkably David Lynch-ian.

25. I should probably loop this thing back around somewhat, back to where we started…

…but to a slightly different starting point…

…with that guy.

from here.

26. Here’s a nice fun fact for you: Matthew Fox has never seen a single episode of Lost.

Apparently he’s just really uncomfortable with watching himself “act.”

I can just imagine him watching the show and thinking, “Oh man, this Jack guy is just too fucking intense.”

27. This is a great picture I found today…

28. I like Christian Bale as Bruce Wayne, but I also really liked Michael Keaton as Bruce Wayne.

28A. It’s kind of like how I’d rather watch a Tony Stark movie than an Iron Man movie.

29. Staying mostly on target here… Don’t forget: They originally wanted Michael Keaton to be Jack on Lost. Granted, had that happened, they would’ve killed him off in the pilot (to shock you!) and Kate would’ve become the lead of the show, but had they kept him, I feel confident that he would’ve mustered up a decent quota of Jackface on a regular basis.

The problem with casting a seasoned film actor like Michael Keaton in the role of Jack would’ve been that he just wouldn’t have taken the chances that a seasoned and angry television actor like Matthew Fox (who always seemed to have something of a chip on his shoulder, a kind of unresolved anger residing within him after Party Of Five) would have and did end up taking. It’s shocking to think and say this in a way, but I just don’t think that Michael Keaton would’ve matched Matthew Fox’s intensity.

30. I made mention the other day, somewhat jokingly, that I kind of assumed that The Venture Bros. would end with the titular characters’ father, Rusty, putting himself out of his own misery (which is a much larger conversation, of course), but in thinking about that in the days since I typed those words, I couldn’t think of a moment in Lost where we saw Jack actually reading a book. Which makes sense for a lost of reasons, one being that Jack always had shit to do, was always on the move. He wasn’t a lounger like Sawyer or Ben or Locke. But, speaking of Locke, that was the only instance I could think of where Jack had a seat and read something rather significant…

…that item being Locke’s suicide note. That’s heavy, right?

31. This picture is funny:

32. It’s a nice thought, thinking back to the humble, mysterious beginnings of Lost

I’d love to someday see a book from Damon Lindelof and Carlton Cuse talking about all the various things they had wanted to do on the show that didn’t work out. On one hand, obviously, it wouldn’t matter. The show is the final product and that’s all that really matters, but even still, from the perspective of creating and writing and running a big show, one as ambitious as the one they produced, I’d be dying to know tricks they had up their sleeves that didn’t work out (Nikki and Paulo), how things would’ve gone if certain tricks hadn’t worked out so well (the character that became Benjamin Linus was only supposed to be around for three episodes and wasn’t intended to be the leader of the Others but Michael Emerson was just too good), and how they got to where they did.

Just imagine all those creative ghosts that are alive and wandering around the Island of Ideas.

33. All of that said, right now I’d figure this would be the last time that we really talk about Lost on this blog, but I can’t commit to that notion, not fully. To me personally, the show was such a broad, interesting thing that I feel like something can always come along that has relevance with the show. Especially, if you’ve noticed so far, since I have a particular interest in the way things align and connect with each other.

Who knows, maybe we’ll never talk about Lost again here. Or maybe we’ll be talking about it again tomorrow. Memories and locations intertwine differently for all of us and we can only bring our own unique meaning to them. The past has an amazing power over us, a constant hold, but it’s different for everyone. I would love to have a new show come along that inspires and interests us and ignites our imagination just like Lost did, but right now I’m not holding my breath. Maybe we’ll never leave the place we made together.