Thursday, November 7, 2013

patriotism is the last refuge of morons...

here's a mind-bogglingly dopey argument i got into over at a site called "d-listed" in response to some news about rapper kanye west and the confederate flag. i gotta admit something here: after a few years mostly posting on the avclub (which i don't do anymore and one of these days will explain why), i'd kinda forgotten how much fun it is to scrap with mental midgets like this.

KIZZY: Um, KANYE, I hate to break it to you, but a lot of people died defending that flag. Just a lil' FYI.

teadoust: lots of people died defending the nazi flag, doesn't mean we should pretend that they weren't assholes for doing so.

KIZZY: But they were cocksuckers, so he should drape his sorry cocksucking gayfish hole in that. Aaaaaand as is known by anyone who has any experience with the internet knows, when you yank out the Nazi shit to bolster your argument, you've already lost. as a personal aside from me to you: I'd say 'fuck you' but you're pretty fucked up by yourself already. I'll just close with SUCK IT BITCH.

teadoust: what are you? a teenager? do your folks know that you're on the internet using this kind of salty language? simmer down, junior.

KIZZY: I'm 41, douchebag, and a loooong time poster, so again, SUCK IT BITCH.

teadoust: 41? i'd be embarrassed to admit that if my communication skills were stuck at such juvenile levels.

what a sad excuse for human being you are. defending the confederate flag and getting angry when someone actually has the temerity to take issue with you. but i'm sure that mouthing off anonymously on the internet makes up for how incredibly depressing your life must be. and let's not forget how annoying it is to not be able to say obnoxious crap like this at work, what with workplace rules, etc.

don't forget to come back with an uprovable response in which you inform me that you have a great job where you can say whatever you want (better yet: you own an immensely profitable company and answer to NO ONE BITCH!).

KIZZY: Ignoramus, I was not defending the Confederate flag as something appropriate for him or anyone else to wear. This schtick of trying to "take back" racist symbols "make it their own" is utterly ridiculous. My statement that a lot of people died because of that flag, meant ALL Americans who fought because of that flag, Union and Confederate. Kanye using it for shock value, and as a way of trying to "take it back" is stupid. Draping yourself in any kind of flag is disrespectful, period. That was my point. Sorry you failed to get it. CHOKE ON A DICK FUCKTARD. I choose to write how I wish to. It has nothing to do with my education level or my intelligence. This is a blog. I ain't gotz tuh spake teh propper anglesh if'n I don wanna.

teadoust: calling someone an ignoramus while insisting on a supposed right to express yourself as crudely as possible is funny in a way you probably couldn't even imagine.

btw, i have this image of you sputtering and red-faced, typing furiously while cursing at your computer as you sit before it marinating in a pool of your own waste products. how good a guess is that? yikes. you are (i know i've said this already but it bears repeating) sad. good luck in the future with this whole "getting pointlessly annoyed by what black folks do" routine. those people! GGGRRRRRR!!! hey, that is fun!

KIZZY: I'm not annoyed by what black folks do, I'm annoyed by kanye, period. You reading more into that is all on you, TROLL. Now I'm done with you.

teadoust: "This schtick of trying to "take back" racist symbols "make it their own" is utterly ridiculous."

so in that sentence "their" is supposed to mean "Kanye"? because it sounds like a generalized complaint about all blacks to me.

it's amazing that after all the unwarranted invective you've hurled in my direction (which i want you to know hasn't been especially offensive, any more than a monkey throwing shit would be, as monkeys [and really stupid people] don't know any better) I'M SOMEHOW THE TROLL in this discussion! i hope that you don't mean it when you say you're done with me, as you are the funniest (albeit unintentionally so) person i have met on the interwebs so far.


KIZZY: "Their" as in Kanye, and his crew that were standing with him in his fuckery. You have jumped to EVERY insane conclusion, and can't handle it when you're wrong for making those flights of fancy. Stop putting your bullshit, and your own generalizations on me, and read what the fuck I've said. I'm against ALL RACISM, in ALL FORMS, whether it comes from a black man or not. SUCK MY CLIT AND RUN ME MY MONEY BITCH.

teadoust: thank god you have not forsaken me, my love!

would you be able to point me in the direction of posts you've done condemning racism when it comes from whites? because i totally want to be your biggest fan, but i get the creepy feeling that you're one of those people who spend a lot of time complaining about racist blacks while generally ignoring racism from whites.

also, nice work on insisting that i'm the out of control and angry one here. is that mere deliberate obfuscation or are you genuinely delusional and projecting your own traits onto me?

PS: i gotta admit that the explanation of your quote doesn't make all that much sense to me, but then i'm operating from the point of view of someone who speaks and writes in (reasonably) clear english. i'll also admit that i have no idea how a mind like yours works. what's between your ears anyway? some cobwebs and a half-eaten ham sandwich, i'd guess.

KIZZY: There are a plethora of posts that I have written that show that I am against any sort of racism. I do not ignore racism from whites, nor any other race. I said I was against racism in ALL FORMS. You look it up, ignorant ass. You're the one making false allegations against ME. YOU BACK IT UP, OR STFU. You're boring, and I'm done with you.

teadoust: i went through quite a few of your posts (what can i say, it's a slow day at work) and couldn't find anything in regard to race except for one that was written in some half-assed approximation of ebonics, which is dopey and politically incorrect, but hardly a smoking gun.

you sure are a huffy little person though. always with the insults and cussing. ever wonder if the good folk who created the internet knew that it'd be used for this type of nonsense? it's such a wasted opportunity, don't you think? the internet bridges the greatest gulfs imaginable, enables people from the farthest corners of the globe to share ideas and thoughts, and we end up using it to snipe at each other over nothing.

[pause]

but you're still a retard!

KIZZY: and you're still WRONG, BITCH. Keep looking, and hey, ask someone else. I am a HUGE defender of equal rights for everyone, and as for when I choose to write properly vs. when I choose to write funny, it's usually for a joke, lolcat speak, or to illustrate a point. You failed. Show me one post I've written NOT sarcastically, that says something racist. Oh, you had to drop that bullshit, didn't you? Once you found out you've been barking up the wrong tree. Sorry I'm not as narrow-minded as you are. NOT!! Now step the fuck off, bitch. I'd rather be called a retard by a fucktard than actually be the fucktard who is totally wrong.

teadoust: sorry about the late reply. for a while there, i was trembling so hard i couldn't type. you are one bad-ass mofo, aren't you?

now, back to reality.

i think you're the kind of person who spends a lot of time getting angry about what black people do and very little time getting mad in regard to obnoxious crap that whites may do or say. you could point me in the direction of at least one post which would disprove my point, but you refuse to do so, and you insist that i should find the evidence myself. considering that you keep taking the time to respond (sorta. insults and non-sequiturs don't really constitute valid responses, IMO) to my posts, i don't understand why you can't also give me an example of a post you've done in the past which would shut me the fuck up (as i guess you'd oh so charmingly express it). unless of course, there are no such posts. which i think we both know is the truth here.

as for getting verification about what a stand-up individual you are from other posters, i'd guess that anyone who defends you would be just as aggressively demented and confrontational as you've proven yourself to be over the last couple of days. though i should also mention that me and my co-workers have gotten some pretty huge laughs from this correspondence.

in my next response i'll try to operate at your level and include goofy terms like "fail" "lolcat" & "fucktard" which are totally acceptable for a 41 year old person to be using. it's good to know that you trailer-dwellers are getting the internet now.

KIZZY: My name for one, the fact that it comes from Alex Hailey's novel "Roots" should tip you off. As far as looking up posts, etc. you've got me there, I don't know how, I've never been one to go back and look up people's posts. I'm sure you've noticed I'm not one who adds gif.s either, as I don't know how. I don't hate Kanye because he's black, I hate him because he's a douchebag. I hate Justin Bieber for the same reason, he's a douchebag. Yes, I'm VERY prejudiced against douchebags, regardless of color, gender, religious or political affiliation. Sorry that doesn't fit the tiny box you'd like to pigeonhole me into, but you're dead wrong. Flat wrong. Totally wrong. SInce you have looked up posts, why do you not have one that supports your already-made-up mind?? Because you won't find any, because no such post exists. I am not racist, and have gone against openly racist posters on here. ASK. I will not be responding to you any more. I am done with you. You have gone beyond ridiculous. You are a troll.

teadoust: personally, i don't understand anyone who claims to hate (generally) harmless celebrities. i completely get hating someone like mel gibson, because aside from being a lunatic anti-semite, gibson is also alleged to have knocked a couple of teeth out of the mouth of his russian girlfriend. that's deplorable. justin bieber and kanye west? they're guilty of nothing other than being assholes. let's face it: if that was a punishable offense, you'd be posting during the brief amount of computer access time prisoners are allowed at the county jail.

and i do have a post that supports my theory about you. the one we're debating. after going through several pages of your other posts, i see absolutely nothing to support your claim of being some anti-racist crusader. there's nothing there. i'm sure you can remember threads where you've posted some of this defiantly anti-racist content, can't you? just name one. i'm waiting. [dozes off...]

who exactly am i supposed to ask when it comes to these "poster in good standing" bona fides? and how exactly does a white person appropriating the name of a famous black character equate in your mind with being opposed to racism? why are you (who is obviously NOT a black person) allowed to appropriate that name while kanye is somehow a douche for appropriating the confederate flag? is it just because people died defending the CF? i guess nobody died during the making of "roots" so it's ok for you to do whatever you damn well please, right? dimwit.

look back at the beginning of our, uh, discussion. see how you responded to something which would not have angered you so wildly if you were sane and sensible. troll? me? you have got to be kidding. one thing's for sure: you're not bullshitting when you refer to yourself as "that crazy cat lady" in your profile. holy fuck. you are utterly bonkers.

Monday, October 7, 2013

Monday, May 13, 2013

my pop-culture (sorta) weekend, or: fuck you, av club!

i finished jennifer egan's "the keep" on thursday. it's probably the most purely enjoyable of her books that i've read so far, though -SPOILERS, SORTA- the big twist is problematic. not that i mind having the rug pulled out from under me, but in spite of there being hints along the way (ray and mick sharing an affinity for counting things is a big one), the book stops making sense once we find out who the narrator is. besides that big issue, if ray/mick doesn't feel especially guilty about killing danny for no good reason, then he's such a sociopath that nothing he says/writes can be taken at face value anyway. while howard's rant about the unreliability of all mediated forms of communication suggest that that may be the point of the book (which makes holly's fixation on ray even sadder than it already is), it's not much to leave a reader with. despite all these complaints, i did enjoy "the keep" (it probably helps that the perspective shifts to holly a few pages after the big reveal). but it is rather odd to read 4 books by the same author and still have no sense whatsoever of who that person is.

friday at work was jazz day for me. lots of sonny rollins, mostly from that amazing '54-'59 period when it seemed like the man's every visit to a recording studio resulted in a great album.

i run out for a quick break on friday afternoon and over in city hall park is a jazz trio employing one of my favorite line-ups: tenor sax, bass and drums. these guys play here frequently and i almost always stop and listen to a song or two. today i decide to buy a cd. the saxophonist is named igor lumpert and his album ("mineral mind") turns out to be pretty enjoyable. whenever i hear his trio in the park they're doing old jazz standards, but "mineral mind" is all original material. i'm initially disappointed when i listen and there's a pianist on the album (as i'd hoped it would be in the trio format) but the piano player turns out to be terrific. lumpert's pretty good himself, as both a player and composer of accessible modern post-bop.

i've been avoiding baby mama (what guy hasn't spoken those words at least once in his life? amirite fellas? hi-yo!) even though i like tina fey, mostly because i don't find amy poehler very funny. unsurprisingly for me, poehler was indeed the worst thing in the movie, but it turned out to be fairly pleasant otherwise with good/funny supporting performances from romany malco, greg kinnear, sigourney weaver, dax sheperd and steve martin. i listened to a bit of the commentary track after watching the film and discovered this fun fact: they originally wanted richard gere to play fey's strange boss. while i think martin did a great job, i gotta say it would have been interesting to see gere in the role.

the omnibus film paris je t'aime is mostly middling except for "place de fetes", the segment directed by oliver schmitz. for those five minutes it's a great movie.

and i started reading "rip it up and start again", simon reynolds history of the post-punk era. it's not especially well-written, but the stories regarding how the bands were formed and what drove them to make music are interesting enough to make the book readable in spite of the author's lack of talent.

i also saw robert bresson's pickpocket and masaki kobayashi's samurai rebellion, but i don't really have anything to say about either of 'em, other than that they were both swell.

Monday, April 8, 2013

i love music

i love music. unlike many other people who feel that way, i made a choice to actually take up an instrument in the hope of making a living as a musician. that didn't happen for me, but i still love playing music (ie: physically picking up and playing an instrument, as opposed to simply putting a cd on, dummy!).

it began in my last year of high school. i didn't receive much in the way of an allowance and had to get a part-time job in order to buy a bass. i started somewhat later on guitar. i was about 20 when i finally purchased a six-string.

in my early 20s i played bass in a few different bands, none of which got anywhere. by the time i was in my late(ish) 20s, i felt confident enough to try forming a band based around my own singing, songwriting and guitar playing. i was probably over-estimating my talents at the time. i was writing pretty good songs, but my presentation of them was terrible. i sang in the most godawful loud, blustery, faux-soulful voice it might ever be your misfortune to suffer exposure to and accompanied myself on a guitar amplified to the most perversely grating and unpleasant tone imaginable. looking back, it's hard to believe that i actually found people willing to play with me in a band. maybe they figured there was something so strikingly rotten about what i was doing that it was bound to make waves. obviously, they were wrong.

i essentially gave up on playing music with other people when i was in my early 30s. the band i was fronting at the time had completed its third demo, but then dissolved since the three of us could not see eye-to-eye regarding the band and where it should be going. to be honest, over the four-or-so years i'd spent playing my music with other people, i'd had serious problems regarding their creative contributions to my songs which made it fairly easy to close the door on that part of my life. for about seven years i resigned myself to the idea that i would not be playing music in much of any capacity beyond noodling on my guitar in private (and occasionally for friends).

sometime during 1999 i got the itch to do something with music again. something that wouldn't put me in the position of having to include other people. i bought a bass guitar and a drum machine late in the summer of '99, thinking that if i could record satisfactory backing tracks using my stereo cassette deck, i'd then go ahead and buy a tascam 4-track machine. after roughly a month's worth of experiments, i felt confident enough to set up a proper home recording studio. along with the bass, drum machine and tascam recorder, i also purchased a ZOOM effects board.

my lo-fi solo odyssey began in january of 2000. i was briefly encumbered by some (in retrospect) misguided ideas about keeping things as simple as possible (the rule was 4 tracks of instruments/vocals per song, with absolutely NO track bouncing), but by mid-february i had thrown that nonsense out the window and was experimenting with overdubbed vocals and guitars. during 2000 i recorded over 150 songs: some brand new, some written during my seven years of (not exactly but sorta) inactivity and some dating back to the period when i'd led my own band.

in december of 2000 after nearly 12 months of recording whenever the mood hit me, i actually needed to take a break from music again. i decided that after this interregnum (which lasted roughly three months), i would record only when i had enough ideas on hand to make an album's worth of songs.

and so from march 2001 to january of 2004 i kept my home recording activities confined to short bursts which generally lasted 1-2 weeks and which, as a rule, had to yield at least 40 minutes worth of music.

my interest definitively waned after january 2004. i made attempts to record material during the summer of 2004 and spring of 2005, but was unhappy with the results. in the spring of 2008 i wrote a half dozen songs and decided to record them while also finishing up the tracks i had lying around from '04 and '05. the work i did in the spring and summer of 2008 constitute my last completed "album". it's not that i'm lacking for inspiration, mind you. when i pick up a guitar, it's inevitable that i'll create the germ of a song within a few minutes. for some reason though, i never feel like doing anything with the ideas i come up with. it's not writer's block. more like writer's ennui. writer's laziness? old age? i dunno.

in any case i've decided to start posting my "albums", hopefully at the rate of 2 per year. which means that i should be done with this little project in about a decade. the music's offered under a standard creative commons license: free to anyone for personal use, but if it's employed in any context where money is generated, i want my share.

first up: october 2003. along with some notes on the recordings, i'll be including lyrics with the downloads. though i don't think they'll make my songs fully comprehensible, as lyrics are not especially crucial to what i try to accomplish as a songwriter. for me, songs are (more or less) finished once i get the structure and texture down. while the vocal melody is important, it's only one component part of the song. that's why i generally mix my vocals low, so that they're part of the overall texture without dominating the song. at least that's the idea.

enjoy! (now updated with new notes and license agreement)

Monday, April 1, 2013

relating to art, my so-called life...


last week in the av club's relating to art q&a i hastily posted things which, predictably, made a couple of people angry. i want to elaborate on what i wrote and make my point(s) a little clearer. certainly not with any hope of making those i angered any less irate though, because those idiots are a lost cause.

1... i never find art relatable. that probably came off as pseudo-nitzschean "i'm better than everyone else" boasting and i (sort of) understand why a blunt statement like that might rub someone the wrong way, so i want to add this: for me, art is generally an escape from the world as i know and experience it (don't misinterpret that as meaning my life is terrible, as i have lived a fairly comfortable existence and things are better than okay lately after a borderline disastrous six months in 2011). books and movies may deal with situations i've been in, but they don't come close to the way it felt when i was in them and i never expect them to. no paragraph in a book/shot in a movie can capture the intensity of what it feels like to have sex with someone you love for the first time or what it's like to be in a fistfight or what it's like to watch someone you care about as they're dying. a writer's approximation of what it is to be in love or afraid or lonely or sad or angry or happy can never be anything more than after-the-fact descriptions of those feelings. that can be beautiful and affecting in its own way, but it's NOT the real thing. i've always been acutely conscious of the difference/distance between art and real life and always will be, i think. attempts to replicate feelings and experiences in art are, for me, too far removed from the immediacy of actual existence to be anything more than a simulacrum, and a faulty one at that. deeply felt emotions are completely outside anything that can really be represented in words. have you ever read a passage in a book that conveyed the exact thing you felt the first time you were with a man or woman you truly loved? i honestly never have. because those words don't exist. and then there's my sense that art always limns human experience with the gift of hindsight. crazy, blundering, thoughtless, headlong rushes into disaster or ecstasy suddenly become explicable thanks to the magic of time, distance and language. again, i acknowledge that that has a value. but it most emphatically has nothing to do with life as i've lived it.

lastly, much of what i've come to love in books and movies comes from exposure to perspectives that i find completely unrelatable. i could never  enjoy movies featuring over-entitled middle class douchebags like the characters that writer-director nicole holofcener (walking and talking, lovely and amazing, friends with money, please give) favors if relatability was as much of a deal-breaker for me as it seems to be for a lot of people at the av club. that's a huge element of what's great about art, IMHO: it's a way of seeing the world through viewpoints that are alien to me. i have never read a book or seen a movie and said afterwards "that was ME on those pages/on that screen", and i don't ever expect to. relatability just isn't what i'm looking for in art.

hopefully these (clumsily expressed, i admit) ideas offer a slightly better explanation of what it is i feel on this particular subject. art definitely has an important function and value in my life, but relatability is not part of the equation for me.

2... i also did some carping about the old tv show my so-called life and i want to add this: i never felt that angela chase's big existential crisis on the show mattered or should even be taken especially seriously. big fucking deal that she felt conflicted about deserting her friends to run with a more popular crowd. a character who makes that particular decision deserves the utmost contempt imaginable no matter how much manufactured regret and/or shame the creators of that character have her experience about making that decision. attempting to legitimize weak (or destructive and bad) thinking by ascribing guilt or regret to the character who engages in it is often nothing more than a lame trick to con an audience into somehow accepting those weak (or destructive and bad) ideas as having (at least some) validity. more often than not, they don't. few people in life transcend the class or social barriers which are generally imposed from birth, but the few who manage to probably spend very little time regretting it when they do. i will admit here that whenever i find myself writing about my so-called life (not all that often, thankfully) i tend to conflate all the characters with angela and talk about wanting to beat them ALL up. honestly, i can't even remember the others now that i think of it (and am pretty sure i only caught a few episodes of the show anyway). one thing i clearly remember though: angela chase and her phony (so-called) dilemma always ticked me the fuck off.

it was probably a mistake for me to post my complaints about my so-called life on a thread started by someone who actually loved the show. if you want to have an ms-cl circle jerk on the av club boards, i promise to stay out of it. although i should add here that i plan to post somewhat less on the av club boards in the future. i'm tired of the sad fuckheads who take things like an evisceration of my so-called life to heart. i don't give a shit how much you liked this or any other tv show, you should not be personally offended if a total stranger posts a negative opinion about it on the internet. this is one of the embarrassing by-products of the "relatability" issue: otherwise intelligent adults who forge such intensely emotional connections with art that they take umbrage when others disparage it. grow up already. jeez.

i reject my so-called life and everything (i think) it represents. if someone wants to point out that my not being able to accept the show's perspective contradicts what i also wrote about how unimportant relatability is to me when it comes to art, then so be it (hey, we all contain multitudes). but there's something wrong if you're the kind of person who can't have this argument without getting angry and upset about it. even if we are on the internet that's no excuse for launching ad-hominem attacks on someone who disagrees with you about a stupid fucking tv show. seriously.

Wednesday, January 16, 2013

don't look down

video


here's a tune i wrote and recorded in october of 2003 which is NOT on my youtube channel.

i wanted to put this up about a month ago, but for some odd reason, it's become impossible to add a video on blogger when you're using the google chrome browser. this morning i suddenly had the bright idea of trying to put the video up using firefox and VOILA! here it is.

Thursday, January 3, 2013

movies i saw this past (2012) year...


we need to talk about kevin (dir: lynne ramsey)
this drama about an alienated high-schooler who massacres a bunch of fellow students plays like a parody of an intense art film. couldn't wait for it to end. yuck.

haywire (dir: steven soderbergh)
i almost feel bad for not liking this more, since it addressed a complaint i've had for years regarding action films with female protagonists; namely, the fact that most of the women who star in them look like they couldn't punch their way out of a soggy paper bag. angelina jolie beating up five big burly guys? come the fuck on! but haywire star gina carano was an honest-to-god mixed martial arts fighter and looks it. unfortunately, carano found herself stuck in another steven soderbergh lecture masquerading as a movie. i'm guessing here, but i think haywire was intended as an antidote to the jason bourne movies; it has an understandable plot and completely plausible stunts/fights. but soderbergh seems to have forgotten something important: nobody goes to espionage/chase thrillers for prosaic plotting and completely realistic/practical action sequences! it's a weird (though well-made) film which i ultimately found cold and uninvolving, much like every other goddamned thing soderbergh's done in the last few years. though he would end up surprising me before 2012 ended.

miss bala (dir: gerardo naranjo)
based on true events, this story of a mexican beauty pageant contestant who unwittingly becomes involved with drug dealers is one of the most nighmarish films i have ever seen. not a pleasant experience, and some may be put off by the rather detached feel, but this is definitely worth catching.

man on a ledge (dir: asger leth) 
after hurricane sandy laid waste to my nj neighborhood i spent a few days sacking out on the couch of friends in new york, during which time i was subjected to this howling shitstorm of a movie. a new york cop (played by aussie actor sam worthington with the most atrociously unconvincing accent i have ever heard) is framed for a crime, escapes from prison, checks into a hotel and climbs out on the ledge to create a distraction so that his brother can break into a nearby building and secure evidence that will prove his innocence. quite possibly the stupidest movie i have ever seen in my life. after being forced to sit through this steaming turd, i asked my friends if they were trying to get rid of me. they claimed not, but i took the hint and left the next day.

one for the money (dir: julie anne robinson)
wish i could blame seeing this on friends with crappy taste in movies, but i have a thing for katherine heigl. and by "thing" i mean "boner". in all seriousness, i genuinely like katherine heigl. aside from being drop-dead gorgeous, she is a really engaging screen presence. which makes sitting through her horrible movies all the more depressing. one for the money (an adaptation of a book from janet evanovich's popular stephanie plum series) is probably the worst movie she's appeared in yet and i say that as someone who has seen the ugly truth. yes, it's worse than the "vibrating panties" movie.

rampart (dir: oren moverman)
woody harrelson gives a decent performance as a crooked cop in this trying-a-little-too-hard-to-be-gritty-and-shocking film. meh, says i.

wanderlust (dir: david wain)
the previews for this jennifer aniston/paul rudd comedy were pretty funny. but after a fairly amusing first half hour, it turned into something of a dud.

project x (dir: nima nourizadeh)
it's probably not fair to say that i hate found-footage movies, since i really haven't seen that many of them. i decided to check this one out because i figured that a found-footage comedy was more likely to be plausible than those idiotic found-footage horror films i've heard about where characters somehow manage to keep the camera rolling while being decapitated. project x turned out to be inoffensive and (more or less) watchable. not especially funny though. i remain skeptical regarding the validity of the whole found-footage idea.

being flynn (dir: paul weitz)
this got pretty good reviews from folks who seemed glad to see robert deniro tackling a serious role for a change, but did no business whatsover. note to hollywood: don't make movies about homelessness, because regular people get uncomfortable when the subject comes up. this story about a young writer (paul dano) trying to cope with a mentally unbalanced father as well as his own substance abuse problem works pretty well until a slightly rushed ending. deniro indeed gives a fine performance and paul dano matches him nicely.

friends with kids (dir: jennifer westfeldt)
a man and woman who have been platonic pals since college (now in their late 30s) decide to have a baby and share the responsibilities of parenting while maintaining their platonic friendship. guess what happens. just guess! no big twists here, but it manages to be surprisingly funny for the first 2/3s, then it gets a bit labored (not a birth-related joke). must admit that i spent a fair part of the running time wondering whether writer-director-star jennifer westfeldt has had plastic surgery, as there is something vaguely weird looking about her face. luckily for westfeldt, plastic surgery queen megan fox turned up at a certain point to distract me. man, that chick is a subject of unending fascination for us "distractingly artificial face" afficianados.

********************************************************

this is only part one. i'm going to continue through the list of everything released in 2012 that i actually saw and then i'm going to check my netflix rental history for all the non-recent releases that i checked out and i'm going to (try to) write about all of them. stay tuned...