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.

A nice murder.

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 Naked City.

Mad linkage:

Somewhere a dog barks.

Andrew Garfield is the new Spider-man in the Marc Webb reboot.

Is King Tut’s penis missing?

How food gets gendered.

from here.

Stop screaming during sex or you’re going to jail.

So, what do you think of the new Jim Lee-designed Wonder Woman costume?

The 20 best Superman panels.

Side by side comparison of the new trailer for Let Me In, the remake of Let The Right One In.

The male gaze: Objectification, Fetishisation and Violation.

Alison Brie and Mary McDonnell are joining Scream 4.

Tyler Perry vs. Aaron McGruder.

The downside to the recovery of the ozone layer.

The pictures in today’s post by Weegee, otherwise known as Arthur Fellig, an Austrian-born photographer/photojournalist from the mid-1900s, best known for documenting the grim beauty that was the seedy life on the streets of New York City. His nickname came from a phonetic tendering of the word “ouija,” which he got because of his eerily prescient ability to appear at the scene of a crime or a fire or emergency of another kind moments after it happened or was reported to the authorities.

To me, his pictures walk a very fine, very fascinating line between going too far and perfectly capturing the beauty of the worse sides of life, the raw and wounded aspects. Looking back at his pictures now, there’s just something unmistakably real and authentic about them, something that maybe you wouldn’t see as much now?

Fellig was married to Margaret Atwood from 1947 to 1950 before he went to Hollywood and began working in film. He became friends with Stanley Kubrick  (the two of them are pictured together above) and did the still photography for Dr. Strangelove, and it was his accent that Peter Sellers copied for the title character of the film.

You can find more of his pictures here, here, here, and here.

25 anti-music journalist songs.

Including: Guns N’Roses’ “Get In The Ring

Harlan Ellison is having a major book sale.

Mel Gibson may be crazy and kinda racist. Shocking.

10 movies that hipsters need to get over.

The new book by the author of Ghostwritten and Cloud Atlas (which is possibly going to be adapted to film by Tom Tykwer and the Wachowskis?).

Lady business: cleavage in the workplace.

The language of a marriage.

“The easiest kind of a job to cover was a murder. The stiff would be laying on the ground. He couldn’t get up and walk away or get temperamental.”

-Arthur Fellig

They call it a medium because it’s neither rare nor well done.

Season finale week continues!

Last week along, if you don’t watch TV or work n Monday nights like myself (or just plain don’t give a shit), you missed the season finales of shows like The Big Bang Theory, Little People, Big World, House, and Castle. But, to be honest, those shows kind of put me in the Who gives a shit? category.

House can be fun at times, but it’s not a show I’d recommend watching week after week for a lot of reasons. Just enjoy it on rainy day reruns. I’ve never seen Castle, which looks cartoonishly ridiculous, but I do fully support Nathan Fillion being allowed to do what he does for a payceck regularly.

As for the midgets… Yeah, I’ve watched the show, but again, not regularly. That’s a late night oddity, something you check out for the bizarreness of it all, and something I’d watch time and again before I would ever get into something like Jon and Kate Plus 8. Unless the show becomes all about their affairs. Then I’m cool with it.

Here’s a schedule of this month’s season finales.

And some previews for this week’s finales.

Speaking of previews for this week’s finales, here’s a list of things that people from Entertainment Weekly want to see happen in upcoming finales, and in particular, Lost‘s finale tomorrow night.

And speaking of season finales and cliffhangers and shock endings, this week’s Lost finale seemingy has not one but two shock endings. Nice.

“One of television’s great contributions is that it brought murder back into the home, where it belongs.”

-Alfred Hitchcock