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A Love Song For Bobby Long (2004), Shainee Gabel, D-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Monday, November 29th, 2004

On the cusp of being insufferable. Somehow I stayed just slightly interested, but was it because I truly wanted to know what the “secret” was (which, I should say, is pretty damned obvious) or because I hoped Scarlett Johansson would put on a more sexy outfit? This movie is poor and what’s more it’s a disgrace to all the lonely, alcoholic Southern literature professors out there. Travolta wants his Oscar so bad he is willing to cry drunkenly in the bathroom after urinating blood. Sorry, pal. . .you were more believable is “Staying Alive.” Not everyone can pull a Peter Fonda in “Ulee’s Gold.” If you want the against-type brave anti- hero Oscar you have to, um, actually act. . .not just pout on screen. Stop this director before he/she (name is vague on gender) directs again!

You Got Chicken On My Waffles!

Jordan | Out & About | Sunday, November 28th, 2004

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If the actual menu of the Harlem soul food restaurant has photos of Sharpton, Floyd Flake, Ashford & Simpson, Farrakhan and Bill and Hillary, then you know it is the real deal. Amy Ruth’s on West 116th is a friendly, unpretentious exploration into the hardcore delicacies of southern-style cuisine. Perhaps the best collared greens or candied yams I’ve ever had. So close to the 2 and 3 train. Lemme know if you wanna go up there some time. (Note: the menu has Kool-Aid of the Day!)

The Emporer Waltz (1948), Billy Wilder, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, November 28th, 2004

Bing Crosby, Joan Fontaine and their two dogs fall in love in pre-WWI Austria. This movie starts out strong, but becomes boilerplate about 30 minutes in. You get the feeling Wilder and Brackett were phoning their script in; there’s little of their trademark wit. If it weren’t for Bing (and the occasional song, though this is hardly a “musical”) this would totally blow.

A Connecticut Yankee in King Arthur’s Court (1949), Tay Garnett, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, November 28th, 2004

Now *that’s* the way you make a family picture. A fun premise, a coupla songs, some goofy jokes, a chase scene here and there, a beautiful dame in a long dress, a fat guy sidekick who falls down. Anyone who doesn’t get a kick out of Bing Crosby “buh-buh-bumming” through medival history has some real problems.

Sofa Sogood

Jordan | E-motions | Saturday, November 27th, 2004

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Ann & I received our sofa today. We’ve only lived here for 7 weeks. Hey. . .the good things are worth waiting for. We already watched a movie on it and took naps. Now I’ll be singing two Frank Zappa songs. First this:

I am the heaven
I am the water
Ich bin der Dreck unter deinen Walzen
(Oh no, whip it on me, honey!)
Ich bin dein geheimer Schmutz
Und verlorenes Metallgeld
(Metallgeld)
Ich bin deine Ritze
Ich bin deine Ritze und Schlitze

I am the clouds
I am embroidered
Ich bin der Autor aller Felgen
Und Damast Paspeln
Ich bin der Chrome Dinette
Ich bin der Chrome Dinette
Ich bin Eier aller Arten

Ich bin alle Tage und Nachte
Ich bin alle Tage und Nachte

Ich bin hier (AIEE-AH!)
Und du bist mein Sofa
Ich bin hier (AIEE-AH!)
Und du bist mein Sofa
Ich bin hier (AIEE-AH!)
Und du bist mein Sofa

Yeah-ha-ha-ay
Yah-ha
Yeah, my Sofa
Yeah-ha-hey

Then this:


Joe:
Fick mich, du
Miserabler hurensohn
Du miserabler hurensohn
Fick mich, du
Miserabler hurensohn
Streck ihn aus
Streck aus deinen
Heissen gelockten
Streck ihn aus
Streck aus deinen
Heissen gelockten
Streck ihn aus
Streck aus deinen
Heissen gelockten
Schwanz
Ah-ee-ahee-ahhhhh!
Mach es sehr schnell
Rein und raus
Magisches schwein
Mach es sehr schnell
Rein und raus
Magisches schwein
Bis es spritzt, spritzt,
Spritzt, spritzt
Feuer!
Bis es spritzt, spritzt,
Spritzt, spritzt
Feuer!
Aber beklecker nicht
Das sofa, sofa!
Aber beklecker nicht
Das sofa, sofa!
Aber beklecker nicht
Das sofa, sofa!
Aber beklecker nicht
Das sofa, sofa!

Notre Musique (2004), Jean-Luc Godard, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, November 27th, 2004

Howard Hawks’ famous recipe for a good picture: three great scenes, no bad scenes. JLG acheives this with “Notre Musique” but does it on his own terms — we have three great themes, three moments, three concepts, three philosophical aha!s that float by in this river of many aha!s, none of them “bad.” There’s the exchange between the altruistic Israeli journalist and Palestinian intellectual who informs her (and us) that the only reason the world has any interest in the plight of the Palestinians is because their enemy is Israel. There’s the revelation there will only be equality in life when there is no more death. . .an afterworld perhaps, but if there is nothing to achieve, why will anyone want to live? And there is the notion that perhaps death need not only be the currency of war — and perhaps death can be an expression of peace. . .a concept floated a little bit in “Sophie’s Choice,” or maybe it was General Westmoreland destroying a village so he could save it? Obviously this is a heavy movie. But there are a couple of laughs if you can pick out the jokes. (The militant Native Americans wandering around the ruins of Sarajevo is comedy — not mocking comedy, but, inexplicably, comedy.) I liked this movie a great deal, but that’s just me. Sometimes the best art can’t be explained (’cause, like, what actually happens in this movie?) and sometimes the best art feels like maybe, just maybe, the artist slapped some shit together and is calling it art. But if it washes over you and it feels right and you leave with your head buzzing then you know you’ve seen the real thing. Oh, and speaking of Howard Hawks, he kinda gets dissed a little bit here. . .a first in French cinema, but, if you recall, JLG is actually Swiss, so all bets are off.

Gigantic – A Tale of Two Johns (2002), AJ Shnack, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, November 27th, 2004

I judge musician-profile docs thusly: would this interest someone who has never heard of this band before? The answer here – sure. It’s not quite “Buena Vista Social Club,” “Genghis Blues,” or “The Last Waltz,” but it gets the point across pretty darned well. I only wished for some archival live footage, instead of just that one concert (taped at Warsaw!) I still consider TMBG as one of my favorite groups of all time, so I knew all the facts presented here. Some of the talking head interviews were cool (their early collaboraters, esp.) but some made me want to shoot myself — especially Ira Glass and Sarah Vowell. I really don’t know which of those two I’d like to kill first. I’ll probably have to go with Glass, since Glass discovered Vowell. . .and I did once have a phone conversation with Vowell (long story) and she was very polite. Oddly, Robert Krulwich, who certainly comes from the same school, doesn’t annoy me. There’s one unexpected, haunting moment. There is a live “in store” appearance taped at the Village Tower Records — at 12 AM on Sept 11, 2001. A few hours away, and a few blocks away, from the terrorist attacks. The song, of course, the one that goes “Everyone’s your friend in New York City. . . .”

Supporting the Dominant Paradigm

Jordan | E-motions | Saturday, November 27th, 2004

I will officially suck until Jan 2, 2005. I will officially be part of the problem, not an innocent observer, let alone part of the solution. More on this later. For now, I am too disgusted with myself to even speak about it.

The Enforcer (1976), James Fargo, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Thursday, November 25th, 2004

Whereas with the first two Dirty Harry pictures one could argue that there are important political subtexts bandied about, this one is just pure Hollywood trash. But very enjoyable Hollywood trash, especially the Tyne Daley as Harry’s partner subplot. (A woman partner? Whaaaaaaaat?) I only ended the film an hour ago and I’ve already forgotten what the bad guys were doing (some kinda Symbionese parody) but I cannot deny that the 98 or so minutes spent watching this was very entertaining.

Magnum Force (1973), Ted Post, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

This movie is only interesting when contrasted with “Dirty Harry,” a film I saw last week, gave a “B” to, and now realize is absolutely brilliant. What makes “Dirty Harry” so fascinating is its unique political position, especially for 1971. It is, on its surface, in celebration of reactionary forces. Kill those fucking hippies. But the other villans, equally disdainful, is The Man. Authority and its rules: fuck ‘em. Kill The Man, too. So what is Dirty Harry? Is he a force summoned up by the will of the “Silent Majority” or is he a Rebel With A Cause? A little of both. And the hippie in “Dirty Harry” is just note-perfect, violent yet weak. Anyway, what about “Magnum Force?” Here, Harry has to fight elements within his own group of police who take Dirty Harry-ing to excess. They are vigilantes, but they aren’t gray about it like Harry is, but they have to go. When it is discovered that The Man is actually behind it all (no duh!) that just makes the reversal of “Magnum Force’s” political point-of-view even more refracted. Screenplay by a young John Milius and a young Michael Cimino. Anyway, behind all this, a descent cop movie — and Harry’s Asian girlfriend is very sexy.

Days Of Being Wild (1991), Wong Kar-Wai, C

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Wednesday, November 24th, 2004

Lacking the verve and gusto of his other films. Worthwhile seeing if you are a fan, as you can kinda see l’essence du Wong in its embryonic form. (This is the first film Wong shot with DP Christopher Doyle.) Oddly, the movie’s last half-hour is the best. Not because it builds, but because it kinda goes on an unexpected tangent. It’s a smart move, as people leave in a good frame of mind, perhaps ready to write-off some of the spark-free dull parts. . .the ending kinda kicks some ass (and not just because there is some stylish violence, although this helps.) I can’t say I want to watch this again, even when flipping around cable, but I’ll neither say I demand my time and money back.

What’s That I Hear Now, Ringing In My Ear? I’ve Heard That Sound Before.

Jordan | E-motions | Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

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Despite stopping up the gap in the window caused by the air conditioner (with weather stripping AND a little tin foil, just so the aliens can keep from reading our thoughts, too!) there were mosquitoes again last night.

He was in the living room, buzzing around, after Ann went to bed and I was up sorta-watching “Grand Prix,” which is best described as a NASCAR race shot by the lens of the original “Thomas Crowne Affair.”

Then he was in the bedroom. I heard him buzzing. Then I felt itchy bumps on my elbow and (the worst) my fingers! I later went into the bathroom. He was in the toilet!!! AGAGAGGGGGGHHHHH!!!!!! Not only is there a mosquito flying around but a DIRTY TOILET MOSQUITO!!!!

My only hope is that the alien barricade is keeping new ones out and that the old one will die soon. How long do mosquitoes live? Don’t they die after a couple of days?

I suggested spraying Deep Woods OFF in the bedroom, but Ann looked at me like I was crazy.

Ministry of Fear (1944), Fritz Lang, C-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, November 23rd, 2004

Even Fritz Lang lays an egg once in a while. The first half hour is great, the rest is jumbled hackwork. Lang later disowned the film and, apparantly, it bears little resmeblance to the original Graham Green novel. Still, anything with Ray Milland in a fedora isn’t completely terrible.

How To Comment

Jordan | No News Is Good News | Monday, November 22nd, 2004

Hi folks. Here’s the new way to comment. When you click on comment it will ask you to sign in with TypePad. It is painless to sign in, painless (and free) and quick to register. Just click your way through.

Once you’ve done this the computer will recognize you and you can leave a comment. Oddly, though, it will not automatically leave your name. What you should do it like this:

“Blah blah blah. Jordan is great. Blah Blah
– Bill Clinton”

You should def leave your name or handle there if you want people to know who you are. It took me a good long while to figure out who left one of the comments on the post right beneath this. (Hi KJG-M! It’s been a long while!!!!!)

That is all.

Like Africa or Barton Fink

Jordan | E-motions | Monday, November 22nd, 2004

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There is a mosquito in our bedroom. The last few nights have been horrible. I am covered in red, itchy spots. I never heard of a City mosquito, but Ann thinks it is coming in through the tiny gap in the window caused by the air conditioner. All I know is that it is a disaster.

Paris Qui Dort (1925), René Clair, B

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, November 21st, 2004

Nicholson Baker’s “The Fermata” without the sex. Set in 20s Paris. Lots of it shot atop the Eiffel Tower (and dangerously so) the city of Paris is “frozen” except for a small band of characters who go on a 4 day bender. Innovative and fun. And silent! Every now and then it is important to watch a good silent film to remind you what cinema is all about.

Sous Les Toits de Paris (1930), René Clair, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, November 21st, 2004

An odd little picture, not quite silent, not quite sound. Parisian gangsters, rude neighbors and a courageous song plugger (!) vie for the love a beautiful woman. Lots of scenes at taverns, dance halls, and rainswept stone streets. Ah, L’amour! A number of clever, purely visual bits, though not quite as funny or engaging as Clair’s later “A Nous La Liberte.”

Gentleman’s Agreement (1947), Elia Kazan, D

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, November 21st, 2004

You’d think an expose on social issued directed by Kazan with a Moss Hart screenplay would be good, wouldn’t'cha, especially if it won the Academy Award. Well. . . unless you are like me and you feel that you one day have to check all the “classics” off the list, I strongly urge you to give this movie a miss. Not only is it a bore, it is inadvertantly insulting to Jews, to New Yorkers and to journalists. Other than a well written speech given by Dorothy McGuire defending her refusal to confront her family’s racism (which would be just fine in essay form) there’s nothing of contemporary merit here, save for perhaps the young Dean Stockwell. And the picture is too long and dull to entertain as time capsule. Celeste Holm won the Oscar, too, for a fairly lame Myrna Loy impersonation.

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