"It is the soldier, not the reporter, Who has given us freedom of the press. It is the soldier, not the poet, Who has given us freedom of speech. It is the soldier, not the campus organizer, Who has given us the freedom to demonstrate. It is the soldier, Who salutes the flag, Who serves beneath the flag, and whose coffin is draped by the flag, who allows the protestor to burn the flag."
Father Denis Edward O’Brien/USMC
My cut of a foreign sale that just happened. Keep this in mind next time you illegally download a film. You’re taking money out of someone’s pocket. Not some wealthy Spielberg type, but a working stiff like me.
Easily the best film I’ve seen this year. I love a good gangster film, and this is a great one. It opens with a truly intense scene in Algeria and just accelerates from there, hopping continents to follow this international criminal. Intensely raw and violent, this film does not shy away from the gritty parts of the lifestyle.
That makes the lead performance all the more impressive. No easy feat to have the audience buy into a protagonist who is a stone sociopath. Vincent Cassel absolutely inhabits the role. My God is he good in this part. Truly perfect casting. The rest of the actors are quite good as well, and all are favored by some deft direction.
The wifey generally doesn’t care for subtitled films. I gave her the “just the tip” challenge on this one and she took it, agreeing to give it a few minutes and see if she liked it. Two hours later we were both sitting there, jaws agape, completely owned by this film. This was only part one and I cannot wait to see the rest.
“As I stated earlier, you represent everything that is wrong with humanity. You are the living embodiment of ignorance. You represent the rejection of intellect and the embrace of the tyranny of the majority. You are the Idiocracy. You burnt witches and named names in front of Congress. You are William Jennings Bryant. You are awful.”—Me
The monkeys are running the asylum - Because, what, bears would be a more OPTIMAL choice? Inmates running the asylum makes sense, Monkeys running the zoo would maybe make sense… I’m going to start subbing cheetahs or wildebeests for monkeys because it’s just as GD logical.
Jordan wrote something about an encounter with a homeless woman. Well, there but for the grace of God…
When I moved to NYC in the 80’s, I hooked up with another guy from Cleveland named Steve. Our fathers had worked together a little back home, and he had lived here a few years already when I arrived. We knocked around for a while, pulled some gigs together. He even banged one of my on-again, off-again gals for a while. We had good times. He was a little flaky, but nothing too bothersome. Eventually we drifted apart, as can happen.
Maybe four or five years later I was out in Brooklyn scouting boxing gyms for a film. In Brownsville, to be specific, which was a very rough neighborhood at the time. It’s where Mike Tyson grew up. I had shot the gym and was stopped at a red light a few blocks away when something caught my eye. A white homeless guy was crossing in front of me, pushing his cart full of garbage/possessions. It struck me as an odd sight in what was an exclusively black neighborhood. I’m sure I had some snarky assholish thought like “wow, this guy must really be down on his luck”.
I think you know where this is going. As the guy passed directly in front of me he looked in my direction and sure enough, it was Steve. Absolutely no doubt about it. My old running buddy was dressed in rags and pushing a cart full of crap through the streets of Brooklyn. We locked eyes for what seemed like an eternity before he turned and kept going on his way. It was like he had looked right through me. The light turned and I drove on, stunned, shocked even.
Later I thought about it and the reality of it all hit me, hard. We came from the same place. Both of us started out struggling in the same industry, drank the same beer, even shared a woman. There had been plenty of times where I was busted-ass broke and barely scraping by, but homelessness had never occurred to me as a possible outcome. What is the difference between being a young guy couch surfing while you look for a place of your own and being considered full-on homeless? Given a bad break or two, it could just as easily been me dragging my ass around Brooklyn.
When you walk down Third Street between First Ave. and Avenue A you pass by this guys crib. He’s on the first floor and always has the windows open, sweet soul music blasting and a bar set up on the coffee table. I knew I was in the presence of greatness but had no idea he was…The Chillmaster!
Without going into too much detail, I wound up as a member of the wedding party when Bob’s daughter got married. It was an intimate and rather lovely affair held at one of his son’s houses in the Hollywood hills. I was briefly introduced to the man at the rehearsal dinner, and had hoped to have a chance to bend his ear a bit. No surprise that I didn’t get the chance. He gave the briefest, limpest handshake before mumbling something and immediately retreating. The rest of the evening was spent with him huddled close to his mother, who functioned as his gatekeeper. I completely understand how someone that famous would be weary of being approached and respectfully gave him his distance.
What I soon learned, however, was that he kept his family at arm’s length as well. This became an issue when the toast was being discussed. While tradition holds that the best man gives the toast, special circumstances were clearly at play here. The Groom’s older brother was standing up as best man, and even though he spent a great deal of time and effort preparing his speech he agreed to step aside should the bride’s father opt to speak. The thing is, no one would approach Bob to ask for his thoughts on the matter. He had them all trained well. So we went into the evening not knowing how things would play out.
The reception was going on for a while, and a toast was overdue. The poor best man had clearly been anxiously awaiting a resolve, as he fidgeted non-stop through the event. At one point I leaned over the table and quietly urged him to go for it, but he simply nodded and kept silent. Time was dragging on, and it was beginning to get uncomfortable. I understand his dilemma. While the salutation was his to give, we were in the presence of a great poet, the voice of his generation. What to do?
I watched as it happened, like a flip switching in his head. Something came over the best man’s face and he stood up rather suddenly and raised his glass. He had made up his mind, it was time. The room went silent and turned it’s attention to him.
“On this glorious occasion…”
It was Bob, loudly clearing his throat from the main table. The best man turned, lowered his glass and sat down. Bob rose. Here it was, the moment we had all hoped for. We were going to listen to the great man speak on the occasion of his daughter’s wedding. What a magic moment. He raised his glass.
“When I first met J-, I said to myself, that is a tall man. Mazel Tov.”
And that was it. After a prolonged silence we all realized nothing more was forthcoming and drank to the couple.
I found last night’s Digital Short decently funny, but I was confused. Lady Gaga says she is all about gays, gay rights, gay acceptance - but there she was in a skit that could be read as gay stuff is gross unless a woman is also involved, or gay stuff is pretty cool, but you have to hide it with a beard to make a threesome.
I dunno, maybe it’s just me.
I’m a lot confused by all the love Andy Samberg gets. I find his stuff mildly amusing at best. Him and his two pals remind me of the nerds from the theater club who have their own in-jokes that they are constantly cracking up at. I always hear people say how funny they are but I don’t really hear people laughing at them.
Turns out that one of the women I photographed at the Dance Parade was actually an old acquaintance of mine. Not sure how to feel about the fact that someone I hung out with is now a professional rollerblading belly dancer.