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There’s a nice quiet room at work where I can go get some relatively undisturbed work done. A “nice quiet room” with video games in it, mind you, because this is still The Nerdery after all.

There’s a nice quiet room at work where I can go get some relatively undisturbed work done. A “nice quiet room” with video games in it, mind you, because this is still The Nerdery after all.

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This is what I look like lately did you know that

This is what I look like lately did you know that

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Springtime in St Paul

Springtime in St Paul

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Just got this message on OKCupid. Jackpot!

Just got this message on OKCupid. Jackpot!

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Kubrick Project: Eyes Wide Shut

(Going through each Kubrick movie, chronologically-like)

3-29

Eyes Wide Shut

  • Here we are, at Kubrick’s final film. He died four months before it came out. It was a little scary because there was an unresolved issue with the MPAA that could have prevented it from being released in the US. They used some CGI to cover up some humping for the US version, but this Blu-ray I’m watching is the version without that crap.
  • When this movie came out, I was actually managing a movie theater that played it. A bunch of friends and I had our own midnight release party.
  • This party in the beginning is lit so beautifully. The room is lit with little strings of Christmas lights and they’re grainy and out of focus and the whole thing looks so warm and yellow. Like pee, only nothing at all like pee.
  • Gorgeous Alice just loves giving that older Hungarian dude an unrequited boner.
  • Bill don’t mind, he’s making her jealous by flirting with two skinny models. This is what their marriage is about, and it totally sets up where this movie goes.
  • Even his patients are hot women with perfect bodies. WHAT IS KUBRICK TRYING TO SAY???? (I think he’s trying to say “I like hot women with perfect bodies.”) (Okay, fine, maybe he’s painting a picture of these people’s world being full of unnaturally beautiful people, like they are themselves.)
  • The two of them are stoned in this long scene, and it’s long because they speak very very slowly. And because it’s just long. And I’m okay with all of that, except that the slow acting seems kind of forced and unnatural. It looks like they’ve been told by a director to act more slowly than they want.
  • This scene where the woman who’s father has just died, and she tries to hook up with Bill and says “I love you I love you I love you” but Bill is like “we barely know each other”. It’s kind of intriguing and kind of just odd and pointless.
  • Then the street bullies that pick on him, what’s that about?
  • Then the prostitute that’s way more beautiful than any prostitute would ever really be. And the tacit understanding that she’s a prostitute and he’s a john. I would be so clueless in that situation.
  • More great production design, all these “Manhattan streets” that are really just a British soundstage.
  • So many Christmas lights. Pretty sure the story doesn’t reference it being Christmastime; I think it’s just because they lend so much to the look.
  • Here we go. The part of the plot that is awesome. The first information about The Party.
  • "And never with SUCH WOMEN." That gets the audience’s attention all right.
  • The scene with the costume rental guy. There’s some good Kubrick-y communication there. And there’s also a bizarre incident with a little girl having a sex party with two Asian men. Again it might seem pointless, but Kubrick is absolutely deliberate in making us see this wide world of human horniness.
  • It’s The Party. He’s at The Party now. My god this Party. This crazy motherfucking Party.
  • The head movements between him and those dudes that first spot him from up above. Those little head movements. They’d never see each other the way it’s set up, but still I love those little subtle head movements with them in the masks and goddamn this party is nuts.
  • You know shit is getting real fucked up when the super-minimalist piano music gets going.
  • SNAP-ZOOM! On the mystery woman! And some amusing DRAMATIC MURMURING. But more importantly, snap zoom.
  • That party is over, but it haunts the whole rest of the movie.
  • Oh wait, no they totally reference the fact that it’s Christmastime, I was wrong before. But still, it’s just an excuse to use all those Christmas lights. Why am I complaining, it’s gorgeous and it’s not a problem in the slightest.
  • All characters in this movie want to fuck Doctor Harford. All of them. Every single one.
  • Why does he try to call the “I love you I love you” woman?
  • Then he goes back to the prostitute’s apartment. But it’s her roommate. Who of course thinks it sounds awesome to boink him. For money? Whatev’, they’re all just great-looking sex people who are always cool with boob-fondling between fellow great-looking sex people.
  • Scene in the billiard room. Very explain-y.
  • And then GAHHHH THE MASK IS ON HIS PILLOW SO WATCH OUT DOC WE’LL GETCHA
  • Mask on pillow. Two-note piano music. Such a minimalist approach to creeping us out. But it works.

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My favorite movies… by first letter

In response to my Facebook meme response where I was given the letter K and instructed to list my ten favorite movies that start with that letter (The vast majority of which started with some version of “Kill” or “King” or “Kiss”), Kai asked me to list my favorite movie starting with each letter. So here’s that!

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Kubrick Project: Full Metal Jacket

(Going through each Kubrick movie, chronologically-like)

3-28
Full Metal Jacket

  • Two more Kubrick movies to go, and it’s the two that I actually saw in the theater upon their original releases. In the same theater, come to think of it, twelve years apart. Anyway, I do know this movie quite well. But what will I observe this time?
  • Opening the movie with a sequence of the recruits getting their heads shaved, with that ironic song about the war, suggests that this movie will be tongue-in-cheek. Is it?
  • It is funny. But also not. The combination helps make this whole first half fascinating. This drill sergeant is hilarious and terrifying. How did R. Lee Ermey not get an Oscar nomination?
  • Hey, narration is back. Doesn’t do much for me.
  • There are the bits that just seem so ridiculous, like when they are marching around the barracks singing “This is my rifle, this is my gun”, it’s like, did the Sergeant really go to the trouble of instructing them that stupid song to sing over and over again while they march in circles with him??
  • I guess it’s not pointless to the story, since this whole first half of the movie is dedicated to depicting the extreme conditions of USMC basic training.
  • Private Snowball is the best yeller.
  • Oh Private Pyle, you are truly way too big a loser to be a Marine during wartime. They really do have to do something drastic about you. And oh how terribly that will end.
  • “You will become Dead Marine. And then you will be in a world of shit because Marines are not allowed to die.” That guy’s dialogue just rocks.
  • This scene where they beat up Private Pyle. So disturbing. His crying. Ugh.
  • Oh, and now they fucked up his brain. Look at him getting sinister ideas. Good film acting, Vincent D’Onofrio!
  • “God has a hard-on for the Marines because we kill everything we see.” This line. All day every day.
  • Now Private Pyle is crazytalking to his rifle and it’s like holy shit that is very bad news.
  • How come a barracks bathroom is called a head?
  • Private Pyle is SO NUTS LOOK AT THAT FACE GAHHHHHH!
  • If anyone ever said “I AM IN A WORLD OF SHIT!” that way to me, it would be my least favorite thing that ever happened to me.
  • The looks on his face. The goddamn facial expressions. Holy shit.
  • And with that the really awesome half of the movie ends. The second half is just not as suspenseful. The idea is that you need the first half to set up the second half, but I’m sorry I just don’t usually get into the second half as much. Not that it sucks or anything. In fact, I’ve never sat down to just watch the first half. Let’s see how this viewing goes.
  • Even if it weren’t immortalized by 2 Live Crew, that “me so horny” chick is memorably funny.
  • Hey, a fadeout during the last line of dialogue, the scene where they’re in the newspaper office place discussing stories. It’s totally a Kubrick thing. And I’m not really sold on it. But whatever.
  • Have we seen Kubrick’s attention to exposition? Actually we kind of did just now when that same guy was talking about how no one is going to fight during Tet. 
  • I don’t think about it as much, but this movie is an awesome example of the detailed production design. It really looks authentic, even though all of this was filmed in England. (Starting with Lolita all of Kubrick’s films were shot in the UK except for parts of Barry Lyndon which were shot in Ireland.)
  • Stupid exchange between Matthew Modine and Adam Baldwin with the other soldiers all responding as if they’re saying such amazing things. I don’t like it.
  • The scene where the news cameraman tracks to the left showing soldiers crouching, and at the end they take turns saying things to the camera, I like the shot, but I don’t like the stuff the soldiers say. Seems rehearsed. 
  • “Do you want number one fucky?” Love how that guy says it.
  • Also it reminds me of a sign I saw in the Red Light District in Amsterdam: “LIVE SEX REAL FUCKY FUCKY”
  • I like how when everyone is shooting at buildings where snipers are hiding, shots land all over the building as if these guys don’t care what they hit as long as they can shoot. Bolstering that is how Eight Ball keeps getting shot, and the guys just keep responding by firing back even though the guy is like CEASE FIRE! They just can’t not shoot.
  • Man I hope I never have to go fight in the Vietnam War.
  • The buildup to the sniper is plenty suspenseful. Did you know that.
  • Then it winds up being a cute little girl. Cute, that is, except for that pissed-off snarl and that off-putting “shoot me” rhetoric.
  • If the main theme of this movie is supposed to be “in the beginning Joker just wants to be a killer, but when he finally has the chance he looks like he’s not so into it”, then, well, mission accomplished I guess. That doesn’t actually have that much impact though.

Tags: kubrick
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Kubrick Project: The Shining

(Going through each Kubrick movie, chronologically-like)

3-27
The Shining

My notes on this one got quite extensive! I’m hiding them behind a link if you’re scrolling through your Tumblr Dashboard. 

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Kinda crazy how huge the snowflakes are that are falling by my house right now.

Kinda crazy how huge the snowflakes are that are falling by my house right now.

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Kubrick Project: Barry Lyndon

(Going through each Kubrick movie, chronologically-like)

3-26

Barry Lyndon

  • I have to watch this one because I said I’d watch each Kubrick movie. Sadly, that means I must now spend the next three hours watching the most boring of all Stanley Kubrick movies. It’s just so slow.
  • In its defense, it’s a beautifully shot movie, famous for largely using natural lighting for all the cinematography. So that will keep me reasonably occupied.
  • Narration again.
  • Hardcore flirtation from his busty cousin to open the movie. It’s like Kubrick is saying, “this movie won’t be boring!”
  • But it will be. Oh how it will be.
  • Ten minutes in and we have our second slow zoom-out. Oh, and another one while I was typing that. Not sayin’, just sayin’.
  • I feel like the character of Barry is kind of shitty for the purposes of carrying a long-ass movie like this. And Ryan O’Neal’s acting seems really inauthentic.
  • Ah, but we get duels! The duels are the most interesting part of the plot of this movie.
  • Even though there is thorough narration, this movie seems to lack the generous expository dialogue that we’ve seen in most of the others. The audience is deprived of a complete understanding of the family politics, and the rules of dueling, that are fully driving the story so far. Therefore it is MORE BORING.
  • Oh, also Ryan O’Neal’s accent. Seems inauthentic.
  • The exchange with the bandits is a lot more like it w/r/t characters being super-explain-y.
  • These indoor scenes lit by candles certainly look unique. Sometimes though it’s like CANDLES MUCH????
  • Maybe it’s because I kind of know it as a fact, but the candlelit indoor scenes require the actors to be totally immobile. And I’m noticing that they are unnaturally still.
  • Everyone is so stuffy. SO STUFFY. Barry would be such a drag at parties.
  • Ever notice how sometimes it takes like forever to watch the movie Barry Lyndon?
  • Jeez, sometimes there are super long takes of characters wearing I’m-stifling-emotions faces.
  • His relationship with the countess is based entirely on silent frowning.
  • Hooray, an intermission! I can do so much stuff during an intermission that isn’t watching Barry Lyndon.
  • Kubrick’s male leads are often lecherous horndogs.
  • Any hope of liking Barry at all goes far, far away when he seduces and marries the Countess without once not being a douche.
  • FULL DISCLOSURE: In almost every Kubrick movie I have suppressed the urge to put notes like “o she’s hott”. For there often are women who are attractive. And this one is definitely no exception. It takes a really boring movie to be this boring to me despite the presence of hot women.
  • Here’s something else - since he left Ireland near the beginning, I’ve struggled to understand just where he is geographically. And bear in mind, I am deeply interested in geography.
  • My friend Marshall really likes this movie. The lesson there is that Marshall is a profoundly positive and accepting human being.
  • The climactic duel at the end was pretty suspenseful I guess. Wait, I guess it wasn’t that climactic. But hey, duel! You should like totally see Barry Lyndon. No wait don’t.
  • I’ll say this: at least Barry Lyndon doesn’t pretend to be about more than what you see, unlike the unbearably esoteric final act of 2001. But holy shit this is one boring-ass movie.
  • Typically unhappy Kubrick ending, though.
  • Yay it’s over

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Tags: kubrick
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Kubrick Project: A Clockwork Orange

(Going through each Kubrick movie, chronologically-like)

3-25
A Clockwork Orange

  • I love and know this movie well. But what will I observe upon this viewing?
  • The synth score probably sounded a lot more futuristic in 1971.
  • That first closeup of Alex, that’s some Kubrick. But that second one, when he says “what’s so stinking about it?” That’s WAY Kubrick.
  • So they have clearly set it up that these dudes are violent hooligans. It already felt a little gratuitous, and that’s before the chilling home invasion scene.
  • It’s well-established that Kubrick sets up situations very thoroughly. With his previous movie he proved that he could do it without dialogue. And here, he’s doing it with this made-up futurey Shakespeare dialect. He’s making sure that we get the gist even if we don’t understand the words they’re saying. 
  • The scene with the probation officer or whatever is much more straightforward exposition. But then there’s the groin punch that always haunted me as a child. Then the screwball “oops I drank toothwater” gag. Odd combination for this scene.
  • I saw this movie when I was about ten the first time; never mind whatever psychological dysfunction this may have caused, I remember how impressed I was with how artfully put together this slow motion scene is when Alex beats up his droogs.
  • I also remember as a kid finding the scene, indeed the exact moment, when Alex kills the red-haired lady, to be really gruesome. It’s not so bad, it turns out, although it is an effective editing choice that punctuates the violence.
  • Did I mention that narration is back?
  • You know, once he goes to prison, there ceases to be visual flourish. It helps keep the focus on what everyone is saying, and also makes it like the freedom and frivolity have gone away.
  • Actually, knowing what’s coming at the medical institute, I suspect the “treatment” will feel more shocking.
  • (confirmed)
  • The acting is so loud and theatrical in the scene where he comes back to his parents’ place. “Say Dad! There’s a strange fella…” etc.
  • Something about these “comeuppance” scenes, where Alex is getting beaten, is similar to the bit of violent film that he was forced to watch at the institute. Maybe just the handheld camera.
  • Wheelchair man’s acting just got a lot more theatrical as well. Not complaining, I rather like it. Especially his OH MY GOD!!!!!! Face.
  • "FOOD ALL RIGHT????? TRY THE WINE!!!!!!!!!!"
  • That wine looks like Kool-aid by the way.
  • There have been a few effective slow zoom-outs, most notably the first shot of the movie. Had we seen that before? I know we see it in his next two movies at least.
  • Then there’s this scene near the end where Alex is super friendly and childlike. With the psychiatrist, who is also friendly and childlike.
  • This is easily the most epic acting performance so far in a Kubrick film. Malcolm McDowell carries this movie from beginning to end. He’s in every scene and is the narrator. And this character! What an amazing character to have made real.
  • "When I wake up in the middle of the night with my pain!" "I’ve suffered the tortures of the damned sir! Tortures of the damned!" Almost sitcommy.
  • And just like that it ends with the kind of thought-provoking chill we normally expect from Stanley. But I think that long ago when I first familiarized myself with this movie, I didn’t recognize the music in the last scene as part of Beethoven’s 9th, and I wondered if it were a different piece of music. That changes it drastically. Knowing that it’s the 9th, and seeing him be okay and then apparently daydreaming about sex again, is key to the impact of the final scene.
  • My favorite scene has to be the one with the orange that’s all clockwork-like. Just kidding, I have no idea why it’s called that.

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Tags: kubrick
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My friend Dani just published a book about eating bugs!

(FULL DISCLOSURE: I just met her this last weekend, but she’s friends with one of my best friends.)

(FULL DISCLOSURE PART DEUX: It’s a book about EATING BUGS.)

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Kubrick Project - 2001: A Space Odyssey

(Going through each Kubrick movie, chronologically-like)

3-24
2001: A Space Odyssey

Due to the fact that this particular Kubrick movie is particularly hard to sit through, there are a lot of notes. What the hell else was I supposed to do while watching this behemoth? Anyway, if you’re viewing this on your tumblr dashboard I’ll place my notes behind a link…

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Kubrick Project: Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

(Going through each Kubrick movie, chronologically-like)

3-23
Dr. Strangelove, or How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb

  • Yay! Love this movie!
  • Ooh, what an awesome Blu-ray menu
  • Sober disclaimer in the beginning.
  • And then… a narrator intro!
  • I’ve seen this one a lot more than the other ones I’ve watched so far, so it might be hard to know what notes to take.
  • Holy damn I love Sterling Hayden in this flick.
  • Those snap-zooms in the first scene in the plane, is that the first time we’ve seen that Kubrick-ism?
  • The three main characters who have spoken so far have very strong and distinct-from-each-other accents, and it seems to add to the humor.
  • The secretary in the bikini who regurgitates Buck’s instructions in a more diplomatic way, it’s just, I don’t know, it’s funny ya know?
  • Accents! Wildly diverse accents, that’s what I’m noticing! It’s making it funnier.
  • "…to sap and impurify all of our precious bodily fluids." I just giggle and giggle in anticipation of that line every time.
  • This movie came out in the beginning of 1964, at the height of the cold war and therefore this movie’s relevance. At the time, were these caricatures of anti-communist loonies as obvious as caricatures?
  • We’ve already seen Kubrick’s carefully composed dialogue exchanges that take the audience very clearly into the thick of grim situations, and this movie is perfect for that technique.
  • "…you can’t fight in here, this is the War Room!" The most famous line but there are others I enjoy so much more. Like this whole phone conversation between the President and the apparently drunk Soviet Premier.
  • "Of course I like to speak to you! Of course I like to say hello!" Heee!!!!!!
  • The battle scenes with exterior shots of the base, why are they in bright daylight? Isn’t it still the middle of the night? Also, they are shot with the kind of shuddery handheld photography that would be more at home in a modern action movie.
  • Having Peter Sellers play three roles does more than just impress us with the comedy stylings of The Robin Williams of the Sixties; it helps us feel a little less like we’re jumping around between different characters we don’t identify with. Maybe. Or maybe not, I don’t know, I was just noticing what a diverse ensemble of characters this has with no one character carrying the audience through the story. Not that that’s so unusual. I don’t know, forget it, leave me alone, leave me alone I tell you!
  • Slim Pickens yee-haw-ing on the falling missile, is that the most famous of all Kubrick images? It sure does evoke emotion.
  • And in between that and the final chilling sequence, there’s the crazy slapstick satire of Dr. Strangelove and his right arm that has a mind of its own, and it’s the mind of a Nazi. So strange. Also strange is how well-received it’s always been. A couple of friends of mine were laughing about that at a party I was at just last evening. It’s so odd. And like most of Kubricks’ movies, it helps this one end on a really provocative moment that you think about for a long time afterward.
  • And sure enough, here I am having just finished it, thinking about how brilliant it is, and how it might be the greatest comedy of all time (oh who am I kidding, we all know that the greatest comedy of all time is Team America: World Police)

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Tags: kubrick