Tuesday, December 24, 2002
Today I have cooked and cleaned and watched small humans. It has not felt very Christmas-like as of yet. Speaking of which, I felt much more in the spirit of the holiday season right after Thanksgiving than I do now. And I don't really know why that is, other than that we obviously need to move Christmas up to about December 5th so I wouldn't have to wait so long.
It's really cold in Kansas. I know I've whined for a long time about the flipping weather in California, but it's really cold. And we don't even have any snow. I can abide cold weather much better when I can sled and cavort, but there is no cavorting to be had.
We went and saw The Two Towers again Sunday. I enjoyed it much more this time, and I think it's because rather than watching it as a separate movie in and of itself, I watched it like the second act of a much larger film, and thematically and dramatically things made much more sense to me. I still would have liked to see more development in Frodo's character; he didn't change at all in this film. The ring became harder to carry, and he was a teensy bit more conflicted, but in the end he still made the decision to go to Mordor.
I miss television. Nothing new is on. It saddens me.
Saturday, December 21, 2002
When Ted got up during the Survivor tribal council and asked Clay what racist remarks he'd made on the island, I turned to my sister and said the above. Seriously, though. What the hell? Clay was a strange, gnome-like guy, who openly ogled the women, made odd, unintelligible remarks, and was unrepentently Southern, but I never got the impression that he was all racist-like towards Ted. And I'm sure he wasn't, because Burnell would have made sure to show us. This annoyed me a great deal. Ted? Why did you need to go there? I just don't understand. It's like Sean last season; why do people bring up race when it's never been brought up before? There are so many things that go on while everyone's on the island, and I have yet to see race be an issue except by those that make it an issue.
What was even worse to me that when Clay told Ted he had made no such remarks, Ted went ahead and voted against Clay for that very reason, which was heresay in the first place! (I think I spelled "heresay" wrong. Ah well.)
Although I did enjoy both Penny and Helen's questions. As far as I'm concerned, it was a perfectly valid way for Penny to decide who should win. I doubt that she was really only thinking whoever knew more about her deserved the money, because even though I never really liked Penny, she never came off to me as that self-involved. I just felt, and I'm sure this was what Penny was thinking, that knowing about her was indicitive of much more for each contestant. Sure, Brian played a good game, and he made it to the final two on nothing more than sheer will power and the hold he held over his fellow contestants (why didn't Ted and Helen and Jan form an alliance?). But he wasn't personable beyond what he needed to be for the game. If I were on the jury, that wouldn't bother me; I've always held that morals and ethics beyond not tripping people in challenges are frivolous on this game. But I can definitely see how that would be important to others.
I respected Helen in that she did have a beef with Brian (legitimate, as well; how was what he was doing any different from her "alliance" with Ted?), but she was able to say that he still played the better game. Sure, she talks funny (Julius Caesar play? How 'bout just saying, Julius Caesar), but she got her point across.
Now that I've talked about Survivor a bit, I would just like to tell Maya, since she's not on the skank while I'm typing this, that I won't get your present(s) in the mail in time for it to be there before Christmas. I'm sorry. i suk alot. But I will mail it Monday. Promis.
Thursday, December 19, 2002
Anyways, I'm home! Yay for home! I already feel like I've been back for weeks, even though it's just been two full days at this point. I've been baking cookies for my mom, skirting around the sick people, and watching LotR DVD stuff to prepare for the awesomeness that was The Two Towers earlier this evening. I'm gonig to post some thoughts; I'll try to keep away from major plot spoilers as much as possible, but if you want to watch completely unaware of what will happen you might want to skip the next couple of paragraphs.
I'll have to see the film again before I can say how I feel it stands compared to FotR, but my first impressions were that not much happened. Sure, there were plenty of battles, but we ended the film for the most part where we began it: Sam and Frodo on their way to Mordor, Pippin and Merry alone together (heh, that's an odd oxymoron), and Aragorn, Legolas, and Gimli still men-at-arms. The battle of Helms Deep was impressive, but doesn't seem to change much in the grand scheme of things as far as the fight against Sauron goes. It was neat to see the ents go up against Isengard, but I don't know how much good they did. Gandalf the White is cool, but I wanted to see more than just bright lights around him.
One thing that really struck me here was Gollum. He is just a fascinating character, and Andy Serkis deserves a nomination. I know that technically the Gollum we see on screen is digitally created, but the nuances and subtlety there are all due to Serkis. He does a remarkable transition just in his voice between Gollum, who wants his precious back, and timid Smeigol, who just wants to be wanted, I think. Truly a tour-de-force performance.
I'll have more thoughts after I see the film again, and after more people have seen it a first time, so I can be more spoilery.
End of TT Thoughts
Thoughts on TAR: I hate Flo. She does not deserve any money. She wanted to quit, several times, and Zach was patient enough with her incessant whining and spoiled princess-ness that they managed to stick in it. I'm just disgusted with her behavior on this race, and I sincerely hope that she watched it on TV and learned something about how she treats other people, because otherwise the money will be wasted. I've been pretty up-front with my Ian and Teri hate this season, so it should say something about how much I've come to hate Flo that I was pulling for Ian over her. Still, poor KennyG. They should have won. Stupid taxi cab.
Brief Spike thought: I'm so proud of him. First Evil? Did you really think knocking him around a bit would make him switch sides? He got tortured by a GOD and didn't give up. You lost him, deal with it. (Even all beat up, he's still very pretty. Sigh.)
Monday, December 16, 2002
I'm happy with how the film turned out. Of course, there are things I would definitely go back and change, but that's true of any project. It's kind of funny, though, to watch the film in less than six minutes and realize that almost eight weeks of production and post-production, not to mention all the pre-production that took place this summer and during the first half of this semester, went into making such a short film. Of course, we wouldn't have to spend so much time if we didn't have to work only on the weekends and didn't have other classes to contend with, but still. It's tough.
I was thinking the other day how odd our society has become that we now value so much people who don't really make any actual contribution to how the society works. Teachers and doctors and blue-collar workers that keep the machine running don't get any credit other than the "well, of course teachers are amazing and deserve more money" lip service. Yet, we idolize and almost deify actors and musicians and directors and artists. Sure, culture is great and all, and is without a doubt a lasting comment on what our moment in time was like, but is it that important? I don't know, every now and then I just sit back and wonder about the love we give to what are essentially bread and circuses.
Not that I'm complaining, you know. I'm a circus. Love me.
Friday, December 13, 2002
It's been an interesting couple of days. I've been working on sound, which I haven't minded. It's been a lot of time and effort, but I'm okay with expending that much energy on a single project. It's when I have to do five or six things simultaneously that I start getting frazzled. I finished editing it this morning, and we mix it tomorrow morning. We only get two hours for our mix, and I have quite a few effects like reverb and futzing (to make something sound like it's coming from a radio or through a phone), so hopefully I'll get everything done in time.
Next spring most production majors go on to take a class called 480. It's a more advanced film class, with an entire crew working on a single film over the course of the semester. I had decided a few weeks ago that I wasn't going to take it next semester. I was tired from 310 this semester, but more importantly, I didn't want to go through the politicking involved in getting on a crew. You have to read all the scripts and call the potential directors and hope the one that you talked to and liked gets selected as a final director. It's just something I wasn't interested in doing around Thanksgiving break, and I decided that I would take a semester off from production classes and do it in the fall.
Last night I got a call from a graduate student who wants me to do sound on her documentary in the spring. The class is 546, and it's the graduate equivalent of 480. So, I will get the same credit for it, but I'll be on a more experienced crew in smaller classes. And I didn't have to finagle a slot. Someone called me. Last night was a happy night in my world.
I can't believe Jan has made it this long on Survivor. I never would have expected her to make it to the final four. Caroline and I are pulling for her, in that she's so strange with the dead-animal-bits burying and crying and "Beeeer!"ing and overalls and everything, that we just can't help but want her to win. She's the oddest contestant ever. Although the strangely gnome-like Clay is close. He continues to amuse me, with his odd facial expressions and utter incomprehensibility. Good times.
Thursday, December 12, 2002
We're supposed to return all our film equipment tomorrow. I called Ashley tonight to confirm when we'd get together. She told me she already made plans and doesn't want to drive to campus, and wants us to return the equipment on Monday. I informed her I'm flying out on Monday. She's going to try to finagle a different day for us to turn it in. I swear to God, if she isn't at my apartment at 1:30 tomorrow ready to load up the equipment, I am going to flip out. I haven't seen her in almost an entire week and she still manages to make me so mad my head throbs in less than thirty seconds. I watched "The Birds" today to study for my Hitchcock final; would it be wrong of me to hope she gets her eyes pecked out by an evil seagull?
Four more days till I go home! Whee! I just have to finish editing sound, return equipment, mix sound, edit a short film for one of my actors, do my production notebook, pack, and go to the screening in the meantime. [sarcasm] That's not too bad. [/sarcasm]
Tuesday, December 10, 2002
Thursday, December 5, 2002
Well, the past few weeks have been hellish. Of course, that could be just me looking back on it through the fog of one who until recently was on death's door. The door of death! Yeah, I had the flu. And it's funny, because Monday afternoon, Caroline and Maya and I were discussing vomit anecdotes. (Because of Caroline's vomiting issues last weekend.) I distinctly remember typing something along the lines of: "I haven't thrown up in years. It's been awhile since I've been sick."
It's all fun and games until someone gets hurt! Sarah and I caught it the same time this weekend, because we got sick within six hours of each other Monday night. There was the violent rejection of food from my body. There was the lying in bed, wishing for a quick death. There was the lethargy and all-around zombieness of all day Tuesday. There was the mad dash to finish assignments I'd had for weeks on Wednesday. And then there was today, wherein my body finally said "Feed me!" in a "Little Shop of Horrors" since I hadn't eaten anything of substance in three days.
At least I didn't have meningitus. Or the Black Death.
The film is shot and edited. I just have sound to do. I'm so glad to be done, this semester has just been unbelievably difficult. Bah.
24 is cool. I really wish I had watched it last season, although I'm going to try and rent the DVDs over the break. I'm already missing Angel though, and it won't be back for almost another month still. Stupid hiatus.
You'd think I'd have more to type about since I haven't updated in ages, but I can't think of anything interesting in the slightest. My life is boring. And I just whine about it all the time. Sorry about that, y'all.
Sunday, November 17, 2002
I have all this other stuff to talk about, but since it's just 99 percent whining, I'll just say that this semester is very, very hard. I have a lot of stuff to do, and it's not easy stuff like worksheets and vocabulary. High school was good times, sniff.
It was 85 degrees outside today! That is far too hot for November! The fact that just being a wee bit closer to the sun makes that big a difference in temperature makes me shudder with fear. Gah.
Monday, November 11, 2002
Bryan Cranston! He came in at the same time we happened to be there to loop a few lines. We all fawned over him for a few seconds, then they moved us into the back recording room. We watched him watch the tape one time, read his line aloud once. Then he started looping it. It was uncanny how in-sync he was. He only had to do four takes, and then he turned around to us at the window and gave a huge, theatrical bow. We applauded. Then we left while he prepped his second line. He was really nice, and very professional. Apparently, most actors hate doing ADR, and sometimes even blow it off, but he came in just to loop two or three lines, and was very obliging of the gaggle of students watching him.
Afterwards, we went to the WB museum they have on the lot, which is only open to personnel and guests to the lot. They had some seriously cool stuff there, including the dress Audrey Hepburn wore in My Fair Lady when she sings "The Rain in Spain," the bloodied prison uniform Harrison Ford wears when he escapes the train crash at the beginning of The Fugitive, and several telegrams from Bette Davis to Jack Warner complaining about a lot of really petty stuff. Coolest, however, were the address book of Jack Warner on display (on one page, I saw the personal phone numbers of Cecil B. DeMille, Olivia De Havilland, Walt Disney, Bette Davis, and Salvador Dali intermingled with notations like: Dance Teacher, Barbara's), and the Harry Potter display set up. They had costumes, props, set pieces. I got to have the hat that decides what school you go to put on top of my head. Pretty neat.
I strained a muscle in my back. Badly. I'm on anti-inflammatories and I have to do this thing with heating pads and ice packs. It's nice to know what's the what, at least. Stupid back.
Friday, November 8, 2002
Last night was a night of good television. Aside from Survivor, that is, which has become increasingly boring. I don't really like any of the people left all that much, and there is a far too high ratio of Southern people to non-Southern people. Clay in particular has become unintelligible. But on the whole, Thursday night TV kicked it. Friends was quite funny, and I hate to admit it, but I really liked Freddie Pajamas as the nanny. I think that high-profile guest stars on Friends break down into two categories: those who act the same way they do in film and come across as wooden and unfunny, and those who know that sitcom acting is bigger and flashier and come across as dynamic and funny. The Pajamas was the latter; especially, I think, in his interactions with Joey. Caroline and I were talking that as far as the rest of the episode went, the characters were pretty much dead on. Monica wasn't as shrill, Phoebe had a purpose, Joey was amusingly dense, Ross was neurotic about something, Rachel was, well, Rachel, not freaking out about the baby like always. And Chandler was actually funny, something that's been missing.
Will and Grace was cute too, but Gene Wilder stole the show. He was absolutely hysterical. There was a scene where Will is trying to talk to him, and Gene goes into his office and only talks to him through the window. Will puts his hand up to the window, and after a beat, Gene slides his hand down to rest where Will's is. It killed me. The whole episode was just filled with things like that. I'm glad I taped it, I'm definitely going to go back and watch those bits again.
Maya sent me a package. Books and a tape and a CD! I am filled with such love. Danke a lot, m'dear.
Monday, November 4, 2002
My Spike action figure won't stand up straight. He came with a little cemetery base, and it's just not working. Half the time he's leaning over at this impossible angle that makes him look incredibly drunk, and other times he's leaning so far forward that he looks as though he's brooding, and that's just not right. Stupid action figure base.
Why do the writers on Angel persist on making dumb character decisions? They have this incredibly interesting story going on with Lilah and Wesley. Is it love? Is it lust? Is she just using him? Is he just using her? And the actors have great chemistry, and it's a complex story, and this week we have to watch Wesley make moon eyes at Fred again. Why? I just don't understand. It makes no sense to me, at all.
Yeah. Stupid things, not being cool.
Wednesday, October 30, 2002
Yeah, I had to take the bus to Hollywood Blvd today to turn in my application for a permit to film this weekend, and man alive. The bus is the locus for those that swim in the cesspool of humanity, myself and the cute guy in front of me with headphones on excluded, of course. People need to just stay home, and be all creepy and smelly by themselves, and not right next to me. I like personal bubbles. I think they represent a lot of what is good and true about our country. I know they please me, at least.
Had a script conference today, will have to tweak a few things that will end up making my shoot a lot easier, so that's a good thing, even though I had planned a really cool montage with a really elaborate soundtrack, but alas, it just doesn't fit the story. I'm meeting with my actors on Friday, along with my two (2) production assistants. Whee! I have assistants! Assisting me in the production of my film! I feel so empowered now.
Tuesday, October 29, 2002
Monday, October 28, 2002
Lookit! A poll! Aaahhh....
In other news, we did a film test today, and I had to remind Ashley how to turn the camera on.
It's always a bit difficult, though, when an actor auditions and they just start crying. One of the roles, I knew the actors would cry, because it's in the script. But with another role, there's nothing textual that says I was looking for crying. In fact, it was written quite low-key and understated. And my actors start bawling. Eee. It's good to know they can do it, but I felt very voyeur-y. There is so a better way to phrase that sentence. Anyways, the best was auditioning the murder victim, because I got to make the people lay on the ground and pretend to be a corpse, and then scream bloody murder several times in a row. Good times.
Angel was good tonight, but I am saddened for my poor, dear Wesley. He actually thought Lilah was falling for him, and wanted to be in a relationship with him despite their differences. Lilah likes the roll in the hay and the chance to play him, if it comes by. Sniff. No one wants Wesley for him. They want him for information, or as a chess piece, or whatever, but not just him. He must feel as though he's done something wrong some point in his life, that he has no friends or loved ones. I cannot imagine how low his self-esteem is right now, and it just makes me inordinately concerned for a fictional television character. I want to give both him and Spike great big hugs, and make them cookies.
Halloween! I love Halloween. It's, like, the coolest, most bestest holiday after Christmas and Thanksgiving ever in the whole world. I really miss trick-or-treating, though. It wasn't even the candy, per se (although candy is the proverbial stuff), it was about the whole ritual of coming home from a school party, and putting on the costume, and taking pictures, and showing it off to the neighbors, and tromping around at night, and coming home and sorting through the loot, and going to bed exhausted from the aforementioned tromping, and dude. It was just cool.
Well, my back problems came to a head on Friday when I woke up feeling like an arthritic old woman. (I probably wouldn't have had this problem had I owned A PLANT. PLANTS make all the heartaches and turmoil just melt away in the blinding glare of their RIGHTEOUS PLANTNESS. Yes, I'm still bitter, why do you ask?) I went to the student health center, and they gave me muscle relaxants and prescription pain medication. Yeah, baby. Then, I came home and hung up blankets around my bed off the top bunk, so I have this cave-tent thing going on, and I am sleeping like a great big sleeping thing. Muscle relaxant + dark + codeine = sleep good.
I have so much to do in this upcoming week I am sickened by it. Sickened! Scool suk! Bah!
Thursday, October 24, 2002
*looks at the current world's population* You must have a lot of frustration then.
What pisses you off?
Created by ptocheia
Speaking of which, we were supposed to do Foley at 10:30 this morning, and Ashley still wasn't ready to do anything by 12:30, so I told her I had things to do (which I did), and left. So I have no idea if the sound turned out okay, or what. I also found out that this whole time she's been blaming the computer for screwing up some sound files, when in fact it's her own fault for saving things wrong. How hard it is to make sure you save something in the right folder? I mean, come on. She's just...really stupid. Thus, she pisses me off.
Auditions this weekend! I feel so powerful, all these actors calling me, clamoring to be in my film. Last semester I was begging people, and half of them shirked out of it. And now, I'm going to have to pick and choose. Life can be sweet, yo.
Tuesday, October 22, 2002
What Monty Python Holy Grail Quest Character are You?
brought to you by Quizilla
I asked her today if she wanted me to help her finish editing sound, since she hadn't mentioned it to me at all last week. She said no. I asked her if she wanted me to just do the cue sheets for the mixer (cue sheets tell the guy who's mixing (finessing) our soundtrack where to fade, cut, dissolve, put in echoes and reverbs, etc.). She said no. I asked her what she wanted me to do. She said to let her do the soundtrack by herself.
Frelling movie. Although it hasn't happened every night, for many nights the past week or so, just as I've been drifting off, I have a thought. The girl from The Ring is standing in the center of the room. Her face is tipped forward, so her hair obscures her face. There's a puddle of well water collecting around her feet. I will open my eyes, and see her, and then she'll blipvert towards me and I'll die. That usually wakes me up. The other thought I have is worse. I'm curled up comfortably on my side, facing the wall, when it hits me: the dead girl with the twisted face is leaning over my bed right now. She's going to sit on the edge, and I'll feel the bed move and her weight right next to me. And when I open my eyes, she'll be right there, face inches from mine. Dead.
Frelling movie! I'm almost asleep, and then I have to roll over onto my back and pull the covers up to my chin and glare disapprovingly at my bedroom. The nice thing about my bedroom at home is that it's really, really dark, so I can't see anything. Here, it's just light enough that I can see the outlines of things, and shadows, and it's just way to creepy for my own good. I keep telling myself, "Self, you are 20 years old. The movie is all made up. You are studying movies. You know how they did everything in that movie. You know that a man named Rick Baker made that dead girl look that way with prosthetics and make up, and she's not really dead, she's an actress. There is nothing in your bedroom. Go to sleep." Alas, I do not listen to myself, and end up lying there, looking at my room.
I want to go see The Truth About Charlie just because Thandie Newton has the coolest accent in the world.
Sunday, October 20, 2002
The beautiful Mark Lutz, also known as The Groosalug.
The twins, and then a single representative of the twins. Pretty. And Groo-esque.
Thinking about the twins from The Amazing Race made me think of Phil, the host. Every week he appears on my TV screen, and says words I do not understand or comprehend, because I am dazzled by his beauty. Phil makes my Wednesdays a better day just by being there for me, explaining what a roadblock is again, standing next to the elaborately dressed local man at the pitstop, trying to smile when the Philiminated team prattles on about "it's just a game" and "we learned so much just being here." Phil is good. I like Phil.
Phil, being pretty. In a blue shirt. Mmmm....Phil.
Hee! Phil joyously holding an umbrella in Scotland. Could there be more love?
Saturday, October 19, 2002
But, my film is appearing over the horizon. I got headshots today, which was unbearably cool. Actual acting type people want to be in my movie. They wrote me little notes. They said, "please consider me." I have all the power, and it's intoxicating. In a related, funny, story, this one guy has on his resume a listing of special skills that includes "makes cotton candy." Which is something that amuses me to no end. So, I'll probably be casting next weekend, and it should be neat. Eee!
In TV thoughts, I'm pretty disappointed so far in the contestants on Survivor this year. Aside from Brian, who's just okay, Shii Ann, who's not evil, and Kevin, who's quiet and doesn't do much and thus does not attract my attention in any degree, I don't like anyone. They're all meh-inducing. Robbbb is a blot upon my sight that needs to be removed. He is getting close to being more annoying than Sean from the last Survivor, which is a feat I didn't think was possible. On the other hand, The Amazing Race finally delivered on Wednesday. Scotland rulz! I so want to go to Scotland. It's very prettyful. I love the twins right now. For some odd, inexplicable reason, the annoying boy/girl teams are gunning for them, and rather than freak out about it, or get distracted over it, they just take it as healthy competition. And take first place home. I think they've gotten the hang of this game, and if they do as well next week, I'd bet that the other teams are going to have to hope for a huge mistake to beat them. I also am rather fond of Gerard and...his brother whose name I can never remember. Ken? They're fun. Physical comedy (falling out of the boat, like, seven times), snarking, and playing the game well, they're just the epitome of a good team. I'm not minding John Vito (hee) and Jill, either. They're like the Blake and Paige from last year. Competent, not annoying or abrasive, just enjoyable.
I'm rapidly hating the boy/girl teams. They suk. I want Teri and Ian gone next. He's a belligerent, abusive, unfunny man, and she's not much better. Everytime they're on the screen, they're just sniping at one another. Next, Aaron and Arianne. They think they're sooooo cool, and they're not. I want the twins to blind them with the brilliance of their glory.
That's all. I'm going to go watch "The Nightmare Before Christmas," now.
Wednesday, October 16, 2002
He's just ridiculously, ridiculously good looking. Yowza.
I love James Stewart. He's so sweet, and cute, and he's got a great voice. His character in "The Philadelphia Story" is one of my favorite film characters of all time.
I remember watching "A Clockwork Orange" thinking, "Wow. That guy's really pretty." And he is.
I love Dustin Hoffman. He's just so cool. And, although rather short, very cute.
Yes! I admit it! I love William Shatner! I love him all young and pretty and thin, and I love him now!
Tuesday, October 15, 2002
What Is Your True Aura Colour?
brought to you by Quizilla
Who's your male Buffy soul mate?
brought to you by Quizilla
(Gee, do you think I rigged that one?)
Which Random Object Are You?
I don't want to write a paper. Paper's suk.
I'm in piano class today, being all bored, and the teacher tells us to turn to page 81. So I flip the page, and some random piece of music looks back at me. My book goes from 80 to 113. Then pages 113 to 128. Then pages 96 on. So I have pages 113 to 128 twice, and am completely missing 81-95. You would think the amount of money I spend on these flipping books, they could at least have all the pages in them. So I got to sit around the whole last ten minutes of class, swinging my feet and hanging out. It was cool, yo.
I've been listening to the "OM,WF" soundtrack the past couple of days. I want Anthony Stewart Head to sing me to sleep every night. Well, him and Thom Yorke can switch off. That sounds like a good compromise.
Monday, October 14, 2002
Except for the fact that we locked picture on Friday at nine am, and she's still asking me why I made the decisions I did. Well, first of all, picture is locked. Nothing can be changed. So what's the point of bringing it up? Secondly, I edited by myself. If you didn't want my editorial decisions to be the last word, then you could have come down any time that day and edited with me. And by you, I mean Ashley. Sorry about that. Pesky second person pronouns. Anyways, she really needs to shut up about the two stupid shots I cut, or the "too long" fade to black that she flipping asked for so she could do sound design over it, or the last shot which is all of a half a stop underexposed. Shut up! I didn't aks you!
My back still hurts. I bought some Advil, because ibuprofin is supposed to relax muscle tension, but it hasn't kicked in yet. I roped Carissa (from my film class) into giving me a wee shoulder rub today in class, though, and that helped considerably. Stupid back. It's not like I do a lot of heavy lifting. It's not like I participated in a World's Strongest Man competition recently. It's not like I spent last week hunched over a table cutting film toge...well, there you go.
The weather is lovely out. It's all overcast and crisp and cool. I could eat this weather. Mmm....autumn. Also, I had to edit this post three times, because I'm cute. Not too bright, though.
Sunday, October 13, 2002
I have to go do Foley today. I was excited about it earlier this week, but I'm just really tired right now, and my shoulder muscles hurt, and I just want to stay home and watch Angel and make some tea or something. And I know that Ashley is going to freak me out. She'll forget a prop, or suck like a big sucking thing, or order the three of us around for four hours, or just generally be incompetent. Sigh.
I got Ben Folds Live yesterday when we were at the mall, and it is most grand. I especially liked the cover of "Tiny Dancer," and I thought the "acoustic" all-piano version of "Narcolepsy" was just as good as the original. But, my heart belongs to the minor key version of "Song for the Dumped," which unfortunately isn't on the CD proper but is instead on the extra 7-song DVD. I wish I had ripping software so I could get an mp3 of that song, although I guess I could just wait a bit and see if it surfaces anytime soon on Bearshare. Anyways, though, BF = goodness.
Saturday, October 12, 2002
Also, when Caroline and I went to the mall to see it, we went to make dinner reservations, and we saw Ray Romano. He looked nice, very normal in normal clothes, just talking to some people. Then he walked by us while we stood mute with awe and wonder. Caroline was adament about saying something, but we froze up like big scared frozen things.
Aaaaaah! I was just remembering the dead girl's misshapen, scary face!
I really need to go see a happy movie. One Hour Photo, Red Dragon, and now The Ring. I need a Muppets movie or something. Something sweet, where no one dies horrible, water-logged deaths. Or chokes up old mental institution electrode cords. You know. Something family.
Friday, October 11, 2002
This morning we show the cut to the professor. And it was slammed! We were in the zone! Hitting suck inside the paint, outside the paint! So Ashley and I walk back to the post-production building, and I start talking about what we needed to get done today. See, we have to turn in our final cut of the picture tomorrow morning at nine am, so that it can become...a telecine. The wonderous VHS rendition of our film, so we can do sound with it. When you hold the precious telecine in your hands, you know the end is in sight. So anyways, the following conversation commenced:
Me: So, I'll start editing at one, probably will go to eight or so, since if we both work together it won't take as long.
Ashley: Oh, I won't be here today.
Me: Can I take a moment of stunned silence? Okay. You do realize we have picture lock tomorrow morning, right?
Me: So why won't you be here?
Ashley: I have a midterm to study for.
Me: Dude, this is your priority.
Ashley: Yes, of course it is my priority. This film means so much to me that I treat you like crap all the time. So, you'll get the cut all done today, right?
Ashley: So, just give me a call when you're getting close to being done, so I can drive back to campus and look at your cut and tell you what you did wrong. Then I'll drive back home and you can make changes.
Me: Well, being as how I'll be really busy cutting the damn film by myself, I won't have time to make progress report calls. You're more than welcome to come anytime today and take a look at the cut, and any changes you want made? Post is open until 2:30 in the morning.
All day today I've been thinking up ways to kill her. I'm not trying to think of things that will escape detection; the fun of doing it in a gruesome way far outweighs me going to jail or something. I was the only editor today working alone. Every other director was there, editing themselves or working with the editor. Because it's deity damned picture lock, and if you're the director, you're there.
So, I get a phone call from Ashley tonight, after I'm done. She's managed to make it to campus and has looked at my cut. She says, "Shannon! You have made changes! Why did you cut out this shot? And this one? And this one?"
Because they SUCKED. Half of them were things that our professor told us this morning to get rid of. And we were over time, so some stuff had to go. I don't get how she can decide she just doesn't want to be there the last day of editing, and then ask me to account for every cut I made. She's just...unbelievable. And I know it'll get worse, when it's my film, and she somehow finds a way to give less of a damn.
This is the nice thing about blogs. They're very big with the letting it all out. There were some cool things that happened the past few days. Jason Schwartzman and Selma Blair were at my Hitchcock class last night. There they were, sitting a few rows ahead of us, just hanging out. They were very low key, and I probably would never have noticed them if Jenni "the" Lewis hadn't pointed them out. They just sat and listened to the lecture, and watched the first film. But then when they realized that my professor is insane, and has us watch two movies in a row, they left. Again, to no fanfare. It was most strange.
Also? Ghandia got voted out! Yay! I could not stand seeing her face on my television anymore. What a horrible person. Meh.
Tuesday, October 8, 2002
I don't know. Random thoughts I have at one in the morning.
Sunday, October 6, 2002
Dear God in Heaven. That man is hot. I'm getting that feeling, the feeling I had with James two years ago...a crush is beginning. Soon there will be collages made. Then, merchandise. Next thing you know, I'll be buying magazines for a two inch by two inch picture, and getting on message boards to hear what shirt he's wearing today, and purchasing ridiculously expensive audio books...Sigh. So. Unbelievably. Pretty.
Wow. That was quite possibly the best season premiere of any show ever. Seriously. I can't praise what I just watched on television enough. First of all, Wesley. Have I mentioned before how much I love Wesley? Because I do. Tonight, he was perfection. He was naked! He had Justine in a cage! He's making Lilah, cold, evil Lilah, completely in love with him. (The goodbye kiss? That's what clinched it for me. That was not a "you're just really hot and that's why I'm doing you" kiss, that was a sweet kiss. Crap, I'm becoming a Lilah/Wesley shipper. No! Choose Wesdelia!) He has a blow-torch! He cuts his own arm and lets Angel suck his blood! If they had a Spike and Wesley show, I think I would die. Just absolutely die. God, and Alexis Denisof was just amazing tonight. Yay! for his credits promotion. He totally deserves it. Sigh.
Other good stuff: Angel throwing Connor out, which rang very true to me. I love the Angel and Connor relationship. I like how they've drawn Connor's character thus far; it makes a lot of sense to me and it's not the easy way out. It's such an interesting dynamic. Caroline mentioned Arthur and Mordred tonight, and that's really the archetype that fits the best, I think. I can't wait to see where they're going with this. Best line of the night? My sister and I are in agreement: "He needs blood, and I'm fresh out." Yeah, baby.
Stuff that's not so good: Fred. And Gunn. Eh. They're so fluffy, and hypocritical, and boring. I don't even care. Just, go away and die. Give Wesley more screen time.
The point? If you're not watching Angel, well, you should be.
Saturday, October 5, 2002
Speaking of which, I want to take a moment to talk about how fantastic Ralph Finnes was. He had an unenviable task as an actor: to portray a character so repulsive, so horrific in his actions, and yet sympathetic. There were many scenes where I was torn; he deserved whatever karmic retribution he got, and yet...I wanted to see him escape from himself. I wanted him to be able to get out of that house, and away from that painting, and get the girl. As sick as that may sound, considering the murders he committed, I wanted him to get away with it and away from it all. And I think it's really the same reason that the character of Spike resonates so deeply with me. In real life, if someone were to kill another in cold blood, I would be without mercy. Lock 'em up and throw away the key. Yet, in fiction, I just can't want this. A Francis Dolarhyde or a Spike or even, to some extent, a Hannibal Lector, is a fascinating archetype to me: the struggling anti-hero. Really, really anti. In film or television, I'm just not terribly interested in a story about someone being righteously brought to justice. What is far more interesting to me is to take that character and use him or her to illuminate simple truths about the human condition. I think we all hope, deep inside, that if we were to commit a horrific and seemingly unforgiveable act, we would be able to find some way to continue on. To redeem ourselves and become better people as a result of it. That's what I wanted in Red Dragon, and what I want for Spike, and it's tough in that I think that because it's such a messy, complicated, and ultimately difficult story to try and tell, it just won't get told. Anyway, kudos to Finnes for making me care about his character so much, I don't know if it would have happened in the hands of a lesser actor. (It certainly didn't in the original Manhunter. That guy was creepy.)
We are completely done with shooting. Whee! And, as just one more bright spot this weekend, I purchased a Zippo. It is beautiful, and from now on, I shall carry it with me always. You can never have too many cool things on your person. And, with the acquisition of the Zippo, I now have 1 (one) cool thing. Go me!
Thursday, October 3, 2002
Wednesday, October 2, 2002
Saturday, September 28, 2002
Next up was Joss Whedon. I told him that I tried to think of something witty to say to him, but I had nothing. Michelle overheard and piped in that she's had the same problem for three years. Then Joss wanted to know why we didn't compliment his hair; he shampooed that morning and everything. We assured him that his hair was lovely. Caroline told him he needed to put on OM,WF as a stage musical, but he said that people would be all, "Who? What? The hell?"
Next up was Amber. I totally understand why people come back from meeting her with stars in their eyes. She was just adorable. I
wanted to give her a hug, but the thug-like Tower guy kept telling us to hurry up. She told me she liked my hair, and asked how I curled it. Then she complained about her straight hair. Then we talked about hair for a while, and how everyone wants everyone else's hair. So instead of asking about when her independent movie "Chance" (with a co-starring role played by my boyfriend, James Marsters) was going to be screened in LA, and what future projects she was looking at, instead, I talked about hair. But she was a doll. I asked to take her picture, and Joss turned around, and they stuck their heads together and smiled. Then, we had to go.
I was really struck by how personable and just plain nice all three of them were. I didn't get the feeling that this was a chore for
them, or that they'd rather be someplace else. Freaking expensive cab ride was totally worth it, for this was a great and most
Friday, September 27, 2002
Wesley is pretty.
That is all.
Tuesday, September 24, 2002
And, I know you guessed it, Spike. Oh, he just broke my heart tonight. "I tried to cut it out." He's been so obviously traumatized by getting his soul back, and the fact that he's all alone in a deserted school basement, with no one to talk to, no support system at all, trying to deal with whatever's going on between his demon, the soul, and his memories...I hate when I feel like this for a fictional character. I just have this huge need to give him a hug, and make him some cocoa, and brush his hair, and tell him everything will be all right. This is just made worse by the fact that I know that they probably won't deal with Spike's storyline all that much until sweeps in November, so he's going to spend a month all alone. Buffy'll come by, ask him to help her fight stuff, and never sit down with him and talk with him and just generally be there for him like he was for her last year. And that makes me so sad for him.
Editing again today. The machine I signed up for last week was completely disassembled, so I had to work on a different editing system. It sucked. I had to cut all my takes instead of getting to leave everything on one spool, and it took forever, and I didn't get near as much done as I would have liked. Again, my partner forgot to turn in paperwork today, which I know reflects badly on me, and Gof All Mighty, I am so sick of working with people that are irresponsible and make me feel like I have to carry their half of the work. And they make me write long run-on sentences! Ashley, dude, if by some weird twist of fate you end up reading this, you really need to get things turned in when they're due. Listen when I talk to you. I told you this weekend, Phillippe needs the camera reports on Tuesday. Make sure you bring them. You want me to bring them? No, you'll do it? Okay. Just make sure you bring them. Make sure you bring them. But you didn't. You didn't bring them, Ashley. Or the storyboards, or the call sheet, or the shot list. And it makes me look like a slacker, too. And you need to bring them! Bill gave you a calendar! Come on!
I was going to write up a big long blog about the Emmys Sunday night, but I'm going to distill it into six words: Conan and Garry on a horse. Oh, I laughed so hard, there isn't adequate hyperbole to describe it. I missed half of the sketch because of all the tears blurring my vision. The beach. The white shirts. The way Garry laid his head down on Conan's shoulder and smiled. I will remember that for the rest of my days. Now if I can only find a screencap.
Saturday, September 21, 2002
We shot yesterday for ten and a half hours straight. We finally had to call it a night because we were worried that since we were so tired, we'd start getting sloppy. I can't imagine how professionals work 14 and 16 hour days. I literally can't imagine it. I rescind every comment I've ever made about the pansies in show business that complain about their hours; it's a legitimate complaint. It was grueling, y'all. My teeth were tired when we got done.
I dreamt last night that I went to the doctor, and we found out that I was pregnant. Had I slept with anyone, or did I have a boyfriend? Not in the dream, and apparently not relevent since it was never brought up. They had this new ultrasound technology where they could look at a picture of your baby and print it out clothed and with some type of digital background so you could see what your child would look like in the real world. I was so excited, because my kid looked like Sarah. I was showing pictures to everyone, telling them how excited my sister would be that she'd have a niece that looked just like her. Then I woke up, and was very sad. Damn my subconcious for screwing with me like that. That's so mean.
I was putting on my facial masque (I love pretentious beauty product spellings) this morning, and wondered whether anthropologists had gotten it all wrong, and tribal war paints were really primitive forms of exfoliation and moisturization.
Tuesday, September 17, 2002
1. James Marsters
Quelle suprise, no? Let's face it, James is my boy right now. He's just plain beautiful. Sigh.
2. Mel Gibson
I've loved Mel since I was a freshman in high school. He's the consummate performer, an amazingly intelligent and articulate guy, a great director, and he's really pretty.
3. Hugh Jackman
When I first heard Hugh was going to be Wolverine, I was terribly upset. Then I saw Hugh in the movie. Then I fell in love with Hugh. The guy can act, sing, is unbearably charming, and is a Greek god. I love him.
4. Johnny Depp
I first fell in love with Johnny in Edward Scissorhands, my second favorite movie of all time. Then, I saw him in Benny and Joon. The thing about both these roles is how completely Johnny sublimates himself to become the character, and there's something just mesmerizing about that.
5. Alexis Denisof
Besides being ridiculously, ridiculously good looking, Alexis is a fantastic actor. Wesley is my favorite character on Angel, and it's solely due to Alexis's nuanced, heartfelt performance. He's just wonderful. I want to give him a hug.
Sunday, September 15, 2002
I just got done watching XF blooper reels. Sigh. It made me all nostalgic. The funniest thing I have ever seen is Luke Wilson not breaking character and riding Duchovny as DD absolutely cracks up. I was crying. Sitting at my compuer with actual tears rolling down my cheeks. I think I pulled a muscle or something.
Went to go see One Hour Photo this weekend. It was a very dark, depressing movie, but it was very well made. Fantastic music that to me at least was very evocative of Carter Burwell. Robin Williams is just amazing in it, I can definitely see him getting a best actor nomination, although I don't know he'd have a shot of winning because I don't think the film itself will get the same acclaim. I would recommend this movie only if you're in a good place in your life at the time. Still, very good.
Caroline and I went to Universal Studios Citywalk on Friday, and I bought much James merchandise. A magnet, an 8x10 that has a really pretty picture, and a postcard. Mmm mmm mmm. The guy at the cash register was all, "Heh, do you like Spike or something?" No, dimwit. Goodness, you work in a kitschy sci-fi store, don't make fun of the customers. Loser.
Friday, September 13, 2002
I was watching Big Brother last night, and Marcellas had the opportunity to take himself off the nomination block, and he didn't, and he ended up getting voted off. Which is stupid. And it's made me think more about my hypothesis that when people become contestants on reality game shows, they can't concentrate on doing whatever it takes to win the game. How many times have we heard people say something along the lines of "So and So is my friend, and it's more important that I not betray him/her than win the million bucks." Zuh? They've known this person for maybe a month, and that's more important than all that money? I just don't get it. Maybe I'm a cold and heartless bitca, but it's a game show. If I were playing with actual friends of mine, people I'd known for years, I would still lie and cheat and sell them out to win. Because it's not real life. This has become a bit of a cliché, but it is a game. Are any of these people really friends after the show is over? Come on.
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
Tuesday, September 10, 2002
Shut up, Caroline. u suk.
I've been sitting here, looking at the monitor, trying to think of something else to write. Apparently when you have writer's block working on an actual assignment, it extends to the blog that you're trying to distract yourself with. Ah well.
Sunday, September 8, 2002
The thing about doing homework is that it makes it less fun to write essays about tv shows. No XF tonight. Reading about Hitchcock. Sound things. Movie synopsis. Gahhhhhh.....
New picture of James on the very bottom. Caroline informed me that the previous picture was "weird." I thought it was pretty, but then again I always think he's pretty. Season 7 promo pictures really need to come out some time soon, I'm getting anxious. Gah.
Saturday, September 7, 2002
One of the highlights of the evening, however, was finding this website. This is the most magnificent site I have ever seen. It is the alpha and omega of websites; the beginning and end of all that is entertaining and good on the internet. It's about "Who's the Boss?" I remember being eight years old, watching "Who's the Boss?" and wishing that Tony and Angela would get together. But then they did, and it was kind of lame. But, still one of my first major 'ships (after Link and Zelda on the Legend of Zelda cartoon Friday afternoons on the "Super Mario Brothers Show," and Max and Agent 99 on "Get Smart.") Be sure to check out the poetry. It's cool, yo. The site design is swell, and I'm totally going to use one of the wallpapers for at least a brief period of time before James wins out again.
The new vanilla frappacino at Starbucks is pretty good. Kinda like a milkshake, a little more...vanilly. Vannila-y? Something. You know. In conclusion, hopefully I'll get around tonight to putting up number 18 on the XF list; if not, it goes up tomorrow. Whee!
Thursday, September 5, 2002
There's this girl in my screenwriting class that has the audacity to also be named Shannon. What's up with that? So, yesterday, I pitch my idea, which is basically about a small scientific outpost on Pluto about 150 years from now, and alien machines, and all kinds of cool stuff. She turns to me and asks, "I don't know if it's logical for your film to be set on Pluto. Why would we go clear out to the farthest planet? She asked this in the same tone of voice as if I'd set my film in a giant bowl of vanilla pudding. Her pitch? A romantic comedy where the lead character gets tired of always sticking her foot in her mouth, so one day just decides to stop talking. Right. And my pitch was the far-out one. She's one of those glib, talky people that just make my teeth hurt. Because I'm grinding them to keep from throwing things at her. My professor was talking about pitches, and just randomly said something about working on a project with Alicia Silverstone, and this girl starts going on and on about how Alicia Silverstone gained ten pounds when "heroin chic" was in, and how ten pounds really isn't that much, blah blah blah, and we're all just sitting there, looking at her. Is it obvious how much I'm not a fan?
Top Twenty Episode of The X-Files
19. Die Hand Die Verletzt
This is one creepy episode. Mulder and Scully investigate a body found with the eyes and heart removed. They at first think that one kid accidentally summoned the devil with an incantation meant to impress his girlfriend, but soon a conspiracy involving the entire community comes into focus. The PTA are worshippers of black magic, one of the teachers is actually a giant man-eating python, and children were forced to participate in dark rituals involving rape and the murder of resulting offspring. It's dark. Somehow even a shower of frogs from the sky, something that in most other XF episode would seem quirky and absurd, here seems ominous and disturbing.
This is just a competently done, average MOTW. There's nothing truly amazing in this episode. But it remains one of the few episodes of the show that really bothered me, even after I turned off the television that night. There was something grossly unnerving in the idea of teachers and the PTA, the ones we trust most in our community to safeguard children and stand for integrity, not only being practitioners of the dark arts, but performing ritualistic sacrifices and abusing children the way they did. And then comes the worst violation of all: they used hypnosis to make the kids repress the memories, and eventually forget all of what happened. It's bad enough when someone's body is abused, but wounds heal. Abusing someone's mind, their memories, their very identity...that's worse than anything I can imagine. All of this together made for one very dark, twisted episode, one that still manages to make the hairs on the back of my neck stand up.
Quick update tonight, because I had class until 10:30 for the love of God pm. I have to miss my piano class again tomorrow because we have to pick up lighting equipment. I'm so sick of the production department. They just schedule things, all willy-nilly, and we're supposed to always give up everything else for them. I am not your whore, production department! So now I have to go in and talk to my piano teacher, and get documentation that yes, I did have to go pick up lighting, so that it's an excused absence. Kripes.
They came by and fixed our air conditioning, although it still doesn't cool the bedroom. We're going to have to get one of those stand up fans. Feh. Although, more white noise. Always good. When I grow up, I want one of those wind tunnel rooms you see in movies, where the fan gets accidentally turned on and then the person has to hang onto a grate and then they get blown off their feet and then they lose their grip and then they fall into the fan and die. I want that room next to my bedroom, because I bet that would make some truly triumphant white noise.
Wednesday, September 4, 2002
20. How the Ghosts Stole Christmas
Ah, I remember Christmas when I was little. Spiced cider, caroling, opening presents under the tree, and ghosts messing with my mind, making me (fake) shoot people and bleed out (in holiday crimson, no less) all over the warm pine hardwood floor. Good times.
How the Ghosts Stole Christmas is a great episode, more so for the sum of its parts than any one thing. First, it has great guest stars put to good use, something XF has struggled with. Lili Taylor and Bruce Campbell, I’m looking at you. Lily Tomlin and Ed Asner play the ghosts, two crochety old spirits destined to relive their morbid murder-suicide pact every joyous holiday season, hopefully through two other poor souls. This year, it was Mulder and Scully. In one of the tried and true methods of getting the agents to the scene of something peculiar (others being a call from a local law enforcement agent and Scully being all psychic and crap), Mulder calls Scully to a haunted house on Christmas Eve to hang out. Once they go inside…
First, this was a great set. XF is usually on location when we’re not in the basement, Skinner’s office, or the apartments, and I love it when we see a gorgeously constructed set just for the episode. The odd ladder staircase, the aforementioned hardwood, the oppressive and dark study, it’s all good. Adding to the atmosphere are Mark Snow’s always fantastic score and some great cinematography. Although the writing is a bit clunky at times (Carter! Quit writing fart jokes!), the psychology of two ghosts stuck together in this house for decades and trying to get couples to turn on one another is fascinatingly well done, as odd as it is. Asner and Tomlin play it light, creating this macabre dichotomy between what they’re doing and how they’re acting. Asner’s goading of Mulder (“paramastabatory?”) is a particularly well-done bit.
The climax was a bit underwhelming, unfortunately. Mulder and Scully are crawling along with gut wounds, bleeding all over the place. And then they stand up and leave. There’s more to it, but it was a bit of a let down. But, it leads into a great coda: the present exchange. I’m actually really glad we didn’t see what presents they got each other, because it’s much better to leave something like that to the imagination. But the little-kid-like joy the two have in exchanging gifts is just a precious moment, one of those snapshots that I have of their relationship. There was so much angst, so much heartache in their lives. It was nice to see the two of them happy, and it’s one of the reasons I enjoy this episode so much.
Tuesday, September 3, 2002
Our air conditioner quit working. It puts out air, but on high it barely cools the area in a foot radius around it, so our apartment is just sweltering. Couple that with the heat wave in Los Angeles right now, and it's been a sticky few days. Hopefully they'll fix it soon, if not, I'll have to resign myself to getting four hours a sleep a night. I lay there, thinking about how hot I am. Temperature hot. Maya, you know the context. Shoosh. Then I wake up later, and lay some more thinking about how hot I am. It's not much fun.
I have to pitch story ideas for screenwriting tomorrow. I have one (1) idea thus far. Anyone with movie ideas?
Monday, September 2, 2002
and you know, she is so right. But there's another reason why Angel and Cordy should never, ever get together, and the reason's name starts with "w."
Besides being by far my favorite character on Angel (the show, not to be confused with Angel, the large Neanderthal vampire), because of his depth and strength of character and almost noble bearing, Wesley is also the perfect guy for Cordelia. Now, I didn't start watching Buffy until the fifth season, way after Cordelia and Wesley's odd, and played for laughs, UST in the third season. For a lot of people, their awkward kiss while getting ready to battle the Mayor ruined any idea of the two of them as a couple. Luckily for me, I didn't see this until way after I had decided I wanted to see the Wesley and Cordelia ship set sail.
Cordelia is a fun, biting, deeply sarcastic character with an overabundance of joie de vivre. (Well, until recently, when she became Saint Cordelia the Glowy and Blonde, but that's a whole 'nother blog.) Wesley is rather staid, dignified, and quiet. (Well, until recently, when he became Wesley of the Beard Growth and Lilah Shagging, although I rather like that Wesley too.) They balance each other out, both in personality and in strengths and weaknesses. More importantly, though, at least as far as I'm concerned, they're friends. In almost every television romance on pretty much any show, it seems that the becoming friends part is skipped. People meet and instantly fall in love, and it never rings true to me. Sometimes a relationship isn't angsty and romantic and searing passion. Sometimes it's two people who have known each other through the good and the bad, who are friends that care about each other, and just fall into it. That's what I want for Wes and Cordy.
'Cept, it ain't gonna happen. They'll pair her with Angel because his name is the title of the show. Gah.
So much anger! I really need some chocolate.
Sunday, September 1, 2002
Mel Gibson's character, Graham Hess, was a reverend, but packed away the cloth when his wife was hit by a truck while walking and died. Six months later, a casual observer might think that he was handling things quite well. His younger brother, Merrill, has moved in with him to help with his two children, and they seem to have set up a nice family unit. But you can see the weight in Graham's face, in his eyes. He's tired, and he's lost, and I got the very real sense that he's not sure anymore how to fulfill the obligation he has to take care of and comfort his children and, to some extent, his brother. See, Graham hasn't lost his faith. He still believes in God, he just hates Him. His entire life had been built around his loyalty to God and to his family, and he feels betrayed. So when a crop circle appears in his backyard, when lights appear in the sky, and when an alien appears in a neighbor's pantry, it isn't a miracle or a revelation or a sign to Graham, not like it is for everyone else.
The alien invasion is only a device, albeit a creepy, well-done device, to isolate Graham and his family. The idea is to strip everything away; he's already lost his wife and his trust in God, and now he loses everything else besides his children and brother, all waiting for Graham to tell them words that will make their fear go away. But Graham doesn't have any comforting platitudes. When talking to Merrill on the couch the night the alien ships first showed up, he tells Merrill that there is no one watching out for us, and that there is no meaning to any of this. His wife's dying words were drivel, and she ended up bleeding out between a truck and a tree, and the lights in the sky aren't a miracle or a harbinger of doom, they just are.
Things get worse for Graham. On the final night of the invasion, the Hesses board up their home. In the middle of this, Graham decides that rather than grabbing a quick bite to eat, they should all have whatever they want, no matter how extravagent or time consuming to prepare. He decides this in the manner of a man on death row deciding to really enjoy his final meal. Graham doesn't think they're going to survive, so why not have French toast? Everyone else eventually realizes this, and they sit solemn at the table, not willing to dig in. Graham becomes manic, refusing to pray, to pray to a God that would abandon him with no clue of how to go on. Later, boarding up the last doors, he tells each of his children stories of their births. I haven't completely sussed this out yet, because these are beautiful moments between a father and his child. To tell them how precious they are, how unique, or even as a last ditch attempt at comfort and calming, I don't know what the purpose was, but it's too late. The aliens are in the house, and they finally have to sequester themselves in the basement, in the dark. After a long, tense night and Morgan's terrifying asthma attack, the Hesses come back upstairs, sure that everything is back to normal.
Then a lone alien grabs Morgan, ready to spray poison gas in his face. This is the climax of the film, but more importantly it is the turning point for Graham. He remembers the last thing his wife said to him, "Tell Graham to see." And he does see. He sees that his son's lungs are closed to the gas, he sees the toxic glasses of water his daughter has left on every flat surface, and he sees the bat his brother once used to belt a ball 507 feet. These facts are important to resolve the plot and defeat the alien, but they're not all that Graham sees. Maybe things are meant to be, and maybe they aren't. Maybe there's a reason Merrill couldn't make it to the majors, because otherwise he wouldn't be at home with his bat. Maybe there's a reason Morgan has asthma, because otherwise he would breathe in the gas. Maybe there's a reason Bo can't finish a glass of water and has premonitions in her dreams, because otherwise the alien would be almost unstoppable. Maybe it's fate, or God. But maybe it isn't. Maybe these all are just coincidences.
Graham sees that just because things happen for no apparent reason doesn't mean that he's alone, that he was betrayed. Losing his faith in God made him feel as though there was no one watching out for him, no one there for him. But he sees that he isn't alone; he has two children and a brother that have these amazing things inside of them that in any other situation might be seen as faults or foibles or harmless quirks. But when the world and everything in it fades away, when the television and radios quit working, when alien ships descend from the heavens, Graham sees that he already has everything he could ever want or need, right in front of him.
Throughout the film we see the outline of where a cross used to hang on the wall, and we see the same imprint on Graham. He's thrown away the trappings of his faith, the cross and the collar, but he still carries it with him, in his eyes and in the slump of his shoulders. At the end of the film, however, he's put up pictures of his family on the wall where the cross had hung. Not because his family has managed to restore his faith in God, although that's true in its own right. No, his family hangs because they are what saved him, not just his life but his spirit. He puts the collar back on, ready to face the world again. He knows now that sometimes everything comes together, and sometimes everything falls apart, but he will always see that it's not just random sparks or pointless occurances, but instead the beautiful unpredictability of life in all its twists and glory.
Saturday, August 31, 2002
Although, since my blogs will primarily consist of how I just don't like most people, and ranting about crap I have to do, and perhaps far too much about television shows...