Month: January 2005

Get Me 20 CCs of Meow Mix — Stat!!

Here you see hi-tech imaging of Goober the Cat. He took an unhappy trip to the vet today, and it was nothing but bad news. In this photo (and do click to see the larger version — it is wild) you see Goober in the top left, looking like the spawn of Satan when the light hits his rods & cones. On the top right you see into his right ear, which is, indeed, infected. Not a major deal — 7 days of ear drops and liquid medicine (more on this in a bit.) Bottom left, an eye, both of which are in good shape. Bottom right, his teeth, which do have plaque buildup and, alas, one cavity. The cost to fix this? A little over $300. That plus the $175 we already paid for the checkup and the ear medicine. We’re thinking of holding like a benefit concert or something to raise the cash. It was quite an experience getting him there — Goober does not like to get put in his cage. The images below don’t fully express the struggle, nor do they do justice in respect to Goober’s ability to turn himself into both a block of cement that won’t budge and the stretchy dude from the fantastic 4 who can extend his arms really far. Despite all his rage, he is still just a cat...

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The Last CD

I don’t think I knew it at the time, but this was the last CD I ever shopped for. Not the last CD I ever bought, or will buy — when some of my hardcore favorite artists like Steely Dan or Dylan or someone puts out a new CD I’ll still go into a store and buy it — but this is the last one I ever said “I want this” and wandered around the East Village looking for it in used sections at shops. (I did well — $5.99!) That was about 2 and a half years ago. Now it is all about the Internet and, more specifically, MP3 downloads onto the Pod. Such is life. Anyway, played this one about 4 times yesterday and Ann & I were domestic and cooked dinner, read the paper, played with the cat, wasted time. It’s fantastic and it truly is a duet — it isn’t Haden backing up Metheny. Both Metheny and Haden have a huge discography and a lot of it sounds like junk to my ears, but they really are both on the money with this disc and hit it out of the park. The photographs inside the disc are nice, too. You don’t get that with...

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Scanners (1981), David Cronenberg, A-

A classic of the genre — whatever that genre is. This is at times a late 60s psychedelic mind trip movie, a mid 70s anti-authoritarian paranoia flick, and early 80s gross-out horror film chock full of new computers and video arcade set design. I dunno. . . somehow it speaks to me. Undeniable serious flaw: God awful lead performance by Stephen Lack. The Lack is for lack-of-talent. It is well documented that Cronenberg’s early films were made very quickly with Canadian tax shelter money that had to be spent in a small window of time. My guess is that he simply didn’t have the resources to cast anyone else. But, seriously, my cat is more menacing that this supposed super telekenetic “street person.” I’ve seen the film before and only this time did I ever really pick up that he was supposed to be a homeless crazy at the beginning. The dude looks like Tim Allen! Still, Michael Ironside is terrific as the baddie — dude is one of the greatest actors alive because he can sell ANY line and make it seem plausible. He can say something ridiculous like “now I’m gonna suck your brain dry” and somehow you don’t laugh in his face. The man is a genius. Anyway, rent “Scanners.” It is a hoot — and features some wonderfully ugly...

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Pompeii: The Last Day (2005), Some Discovery Channel Hack, F

How do you make a documentary, or even one of these recreation hybrid pseudo documentaries, about Pompeii dull? Leave it to the clowns at Discovery Channel to find a way. They follow the old drill: tell ’em what your gonna tell ’em, tell it to ’em, tell ’em what you told ’em. Discovery adds a twist: tell ’em like they’re 10 years old. Anyway, for some reason Ann really wanted to watch this, and I kinda did, too — she fell asleep and I wound up yelling “shut up!!!” at the TV. Another pleasant night at our house. I should have watched Pink Floyd Live At...

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Putney Swope (1969), Robert Downey, B

They invented the phrase “it has an indescribable quality” for films just like this. Certainly a relic from the times, it has the frenetic style of a late 60s counter-culture film that was actually made by the counter-culture. While not at a level of Brian De Palma’s twin masterpieces “Greetings” and “Hi, Mom!” (the only two films of the era, in my opinion, that showed an earnestness but were still in on the joke) this is zippy and stoned and in-your-face but also has the occasional lyric moment. My favorite bit is at the end when the film is literally sidetracked by poet Donald Lev who pontificates for a moment or two before the film can continue. One must wonder how the African-American community felt about this film at the time. It is neither a positive or negative treatment (although Whitey is portrayed about the same) but it sure is funny. Recommended for those who have an interest in the subject matter, not for people who like “story” with their...

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Jordan Hoffman is a New York-based writer and film critic working for The Guardian, Vanity Fair, Thrillist, Times of Israel, NY Daily News and elsewhere.

He is the host of ENGAGE: The Official Star Trek Podcast, a member of the New York Film Critics Circle and challenges you to a game of backgammon.

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