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No Direction Home: Bob Dylan (2005), Martin Scorsese, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Friday, September 30th, 2005

I have nothing, really, to say about this movie other than I quite enjoyed it because I am a big fan of Bob Dylan. Who knows what someone who never heard of Dylan would make of it?

Kerry Douglas Dye’s Surprise Party

Jordan | Out & About | Thursday, September 29th, 2005

I’ll admit — the photos below are pretty crappy. I didn’t even get photos of about one third of the party-goers. That’s because the margaritas were so good!!!

Here’s Kerry the moment we all shouted HAPPY BIRTHDAY!! The photo doesn’t show just how miserable he was.

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Eventually — as margarita saturation started reaching its maximum capacity — a giant sombrero appeared on Kerry’s head.

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Marcy goes wild with delight at seeing Mr. Dye collapsed on 8th Avenue.

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Frankly, who isn’t wild at delight at seeing Mr. Dye collapsed on 8th Avenue?

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Why don’t we look at that in close up, eh?

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Bill rightly decides it is time to head home.

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102 Minutes

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Thursday, September 29th, 2005

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This is one of the most difficult books I’ve ever read. While reading I’d alter between feeling nausea, headache or an odd disassociative feeling where, I suppose, I was able to convince myself I was reading fiction. It isn’t fiction, but a documentary-like play by play of what it was like at the World Trade Center from the moment of the first impact until the destruction of the second tower. The now legendary communications foul-ups on behalf of the well meaning rescue teams are made very specific — we know now which lives went unsaved and why. Perhaps most upsetting are the accounts of people who would have gotten out — or would have been killed — if they just did one mundane thing a little differently. A photographer leaving Windows on the World is leaving on an elevator and hears a soft “Can ya hold that?” He sticks his hand out and two women get on the elevator. If he thought to himself “no biggie, they’ll catch the next one” those two women would be dead. The book has a million moments like that. Things I didn’t know: a few people (18) from the south tower impact zone actually did survive. I thought that if you were at or above the flames you were gone — but since the plane in tower two came it an angle, it did allow for a difficult escape route. Again, the communications foul-ups prevented lives being saved. There were others who didn’t know about the escape route, and if the 911 operators knew about it, the message could have been passed on. Somewhat uplifting are the stories of the civilians who acted as first responders to the crises. Everyday people inside the building, it is argued, did perhaps as much as the police and firemen who raced to the scene, but couldn’t climb up in time. Anyway, if, by the end, you read this book and haven’t converted your whole personal philosophy to pacifism I just don’t understand where you are coming from. The violence depicted in this book is so horrible that one could never wish for any scenario that could put any civilian through a similar experience. I finished this book convinced more than ever that violence only leads to violence and, most importantly, violence is something human beings don’t need to put themselves through. We are not animals, we are humans — and violence in unnatural. Everyone who is born will die, but to die violently is unacceptable. (yeah, heavy. . .this book will do that to ya.)

Twenty-Two Voices of Reason

Jordan | No News Is Good News | Thursday, September 29th, 2005

Only twenty-two members of the Senate are invited to my house:

Boxer, Feinstein, Biden, Akaka, Inouye, Durbin, Obama, Bayh, Harkin, Mikulski, Sarbanes, Kennedy, Kerry, Stabenow, Dayton, Reid, Corzine, Lautenberg, Clinton, Schumer, Reed, Cantwell.

The other 78 who voted to confirm John Roberts, have just earned themselves an extension to their purgatorial sentences.

Alan Ayckbourn’s Absurd Person Singular

Jordan | Out & About | Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

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Kerry Douglas Dye and I greatly enjoyed Alan Ayckbourn’s dopey farce “Absurd Person Singular” at the Manhattan Theater Club last night. Lots of dumb jokes, physical comedy, funny voices and running gags. Old frickin school. It is the 12th of Ayckbourn’s 69 produced plays. Yow. If you can get your hands on cheap tix like we did, go.

Tom DeLouse

Jordan | No News Is Good News | Wednesday, September 28th, 2005

Tom DeLay: You Are Toast. Finally, FINALLY, something stuck.

Junebug (2005), Phil Morrison, B+

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Tuesday, September 27th, 2005

I can’t figure out if “Junebug” is absolutely brilliant or just plain good. I think. . .I think I have to say just plain good because, despite the many, many piercing moments, there are too many inconsistencies to let slide. I’m all for a character arc. . .cause, it’s, like, you know, pretty essential. . .but to have an important character just suddenly act different in the last 20 minutes of the film because it is what’s expected in a movie — it just strikes me as weak. (I’m speaking about Ashley, who is an annoying ditzy blabbermouth throughout the whole film, but, at the end, seen tragically, she suddenly is lovable. It works; she is lovable — that’s because the woman playing her is a great actress, but also because, suddenly, she stops spewing irritating dialogue. But there is nothing to suggest that the character has grown in any way to motivate this change. Dig?) Anyway, the movie does intentionally leave many loose ends untied and I respect that. One could even argue about the characters and really get heavy with some of the psychology — and when was the last time a movie made you do that? Worth seeing.

Sea of Glory: America’s Voyage of Discovery, the U.S. Exploring Expedition, 1838-1842

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, September 25th, 2005

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You gotta respect a book with that many subheadings in its title. You also have to respect a book with shipwrecks, icebergs, Martin Van Buren, volcanoes, cannibals, imperialism, taxonomists, cats-o-nine-tail, loose Hawaiian natives and inspirational fodder for both Herman Melville and Charles Darwin. I recommend this book for the “yaaaargh!” within each of us.

Ratcatcher (1999), Lynne Ramsay, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, September 25th, 2005

It’d be hard to give even a brief synopsis — there isn’t so much of a traditional plot in this film. But what’s interesting is that this movie is a blend of old school “neo-realism” with a dreamy, lyrical, finely-observed cinematic style. There isn’t a boring moment in the movie, even if it isn’t really “about” anything other than lofty themes like lost innocence, redemption, cruelty, etc. Between this and Morvern Callar I’d say Lynne Ramsay is two for two. (Her early, perhaps a bit too poigniant short films are on the Criterion DVD.)

Love Liza (2002), Todd Louiso, A-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, September 25th, 2005

I think it is fairly axiomatic that anything with Philip Seymour Hoffman in it can’t be bad. And if he’s the star and he’s sniffing a lot of model airplane gasoline, well, then, you’ve got a movie on your hands. Pretty much a sex-free version of “Last Tango in Paris” set in suburbia, “Love Liza” has a bare plot and gives PSH an opportunity to show unique stages of grief onscreen. Great cinematography. Also, funny. For a movie about suicide.

Black Peter (1964), Milos Forman, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, September 25th, 2005

A little on the dull side, but good in that you can see the Milos Forman style in its nascent form — the observational humor, the buffoon authority figures, the deadpan-absurdist set pieces. This film is almost like a warm up for his second, and far superior, “Loves Of A Blonde.” The DVD transfer from Facets really stinks — many of the subtitles are on a delay and it makes for many confusing moments.

Punk: Attitude (2005), Don Letts, C-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Sunday, September 25th, 2005

Another documentary about punk rock. Turns out it’s about rebellion. Some cool footage if you are into this sort of thing.

To the extent that I wear skirts/and cheap nylon slips/I’ve gone native

Jordan | Cram it in Your Ear | Sunday, September 25th, 2005

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. . .stumbling home past 3 am I realize that this is the first time I’ve done this in a long long time where there’s no one home waiting for me. Ann is away and the house is so. . .empty. Slipping back to old habits, the first album I turn to may be a bit cliche for late New York City nights with friends when your eyes are bleary, your head kinda hurts and you aren’t looking forward to how you’ll feel tomorrow — but it still sounds like a strange kinda perfection.

Launch Party for Marcy Dermansky’s “Twins: A Novel”

Jordan | Out & About | Saturday, September 24th, 2005

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Novelist, Film Critic, Astorian and all around sweetheart Marcy Dermansky officially launched the ship that is her first (and very well-reviewed) novel “Twins” at Bluestockings Radical-Feminist-Up-Against-The-Wall-Muthafucka-Bookshop.

The novel “Twins” is about two identical twin sisters living in suburbia and descending into a kind of competitive madness. The story is told from alternating points of view and everyone I know whose read it, including yours truly, devoured it in under two days.

We were told that if we dressed as twins for the party, we might win something. The only ones who did so where Marcy’s brother Michael (back to us, and not a twin) and his similarly checker-shirted friend.

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Ann, despite not being dressed as a twin, won some fake tattoos. Tatoos figure heavily in the book.

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Denise won a DVD copy of The Dreamers.

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This photo is blurry because I didn’t want to use a flash while Marcy was reading.

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Many friends were there:

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It was also Melissa & Jason’s anniversary! Huzzah!

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Dr. Fauth’s shirt looked like a screensaver!

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I don’t mind saying it, ’cause I’ve known her for 100 years, but Beth Cooper can look pretty frickin’ adorable some times.

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The best photo of the night, conceived by Bryan Riss, taken by Jurgen Fauth.

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Bad Taste (1987), Peter Jackson, B-

Jordan | Jordan Hoffman's Movie Journal | Saturday, September 24th, 2005

Not nearly as full of a meal as Jackson’s later “Dead Alive,” this no-budget shot-on-weekends first film is giddily gross and (for the most part) filled with clever little moments. Too bad the DVD didn’t come with subtitles — it’s impossible to understand what those Kiwis are saying. Brains, barf and burly men with beards abound! (And if you miss a chunk in the middle due to a phone call or something, don’t worry.)

Belmar, New Jersey, Sept ’05

Jordan | Out & About | Friday, September 23rd, 2005

In July and August, Belmar represents what to many is everything to fear in New Jersey. Loud men, women with long nails and lots o’ SUVs with FDNY stickers on the back. Well all that disappears in late September, and all that’s left is a warm ocean and sand.

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Howell, New Jersey, Sept ’05

Jordan | Out & About | Friday, September 23rd, 2005

One of my favorite restaurants as a kid was The Cabin on Rte 33. They sometimes have bands that play jukebox favorites. The french onion soup is an orgasm of cheese and grease and the sandwiches are absurdly overstuffed. There’s taxidermized animals on the walls and lots of different beers on tap. It’s also in a kinda-sorta faux rural area, so you don’t feel like a complete tool.

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Sandy Hook, New Jersey, Sept ’05

Jordan | Out & About | Friday, September 23rd, 2005

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All my photos of Sandy Hook got bleached for some reason. Feh!

The lighthouse there is the oldest in North America in continual use.

On a clear day you can see to Coney Island, to the Rockaways, all the way to lower Manhattan.

In late September there is no problem finding parking.

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