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december 31, 2002

I am frequently asked why I never cook at home. The answer is a simple one: do I look like the sort of person who wears a plastic apron decorated with badly drawn images of popular cheeses while sweating and puffing over a rusty stove, up to my arms in chopped onions and sliced carrots, blinded by steam and scattering nutmeg to the four corners of the Earth, then jamming my head into the oven every twenty seconds to see if the chicken is burnt yet? Do I? Well Do I? No. No I dont.
I look like the sort of big game hunter who can fell a bison from two hundred yards with a single blast of his handmade shotgun, then hands the shotgun to his valet, has the bison head mounted on his living room wall, gives the body to his galley slave to cook in the Special Cauldron We Reserve For These Occasions, and then sits at the head of his eighteen foot table to be served roast bison culet with fine red wines. Perhaps an after dinner mint or two afterwards. That is the kind of person I look like! At least, that is the kind of person I will be looking like very soon, because that is my New Years' Resolution. Happy New Year, then, to all and sundry.
stephenb 12:31 - [Link] - Comments ()
december 30, 2002
With a lack of anything else to do, I went to see the film called Far From Heaven featuring popular nudist Julianne Moore. As I have noted previously, Julianne is fond of hawking her wares when she's on screen, however, in this role, playing a housewife in 1950's Connecticut, she keeps all her clothes on for the entire picture and is actually rather good. Unfortunately the same cannot be said for the rest of the film, half of which looks like it's had a glass of orange juice spilt over it. The actor playing "The Negro" strolls around as if he's expecting to be beatified by the Pope at any second, and the husband character, a repressed invert, seems to have been borrowed from a laxative commercial.
Critics have said Far From Heaven is meant to be some sort of homage to those old Douglas Sirk movies such as All That Heaven Allows, but, except for the title obviously, I don't see that at all.
Douglas Sirk movies are admired because they are supposedly ironic Marxist commentaries on American life of the period, which is utter nonsense. They are ridiculously plotted, outrageously over-acted, shrieking violin orchestrated, highly strung melodramas, and are hugely enjoyable viewing because of it. Far From Heaven doesn't have any of that. In fact it's rather boring, which is what happens when you intellectualize things too much.
stephenb 10:23 - [Link] - Comments ()
december 19, 2002
No need to make anything up today just to fill some space since I took the same train this morning as a Superstar.
The Superstar was sitting with his girlfriend several seats behind me, and complaining that her actions continually embarrassed him in public: and so he began, in a loud voice, listing the reasons why. This litany of publicly embarrassing offences included "dressing up as a Sponge Bob at Halloween". Also "Partying like crazy on that business trip" then showing everyone the pictures when she got back. And the final nail in the coffin, leaving her "vibrator under the bed where people might see it". These were the reasons he informed her, as a trainful of strangers couldn't help overhearing, why she embarrassed him in public.
Genius! What a star!
stephenb 10:18 - [Link] - Comments ()
december 18, 2002
What on Earth has happened to Monte Carlo? Once the exclusive domain of Erich von Stroheim wearing jodphurs and women with Art Deco waistlines watching silvery yachts bobbing to and fro on the deep blue ocean while twin-seater bi-planes looped the loop overhead in an azure sky, now any flabby noveau-riche poppinjay can anchor his noisy fibreglass powerboat within spitting distance of the casino!
And what if you get murdered? There is no lustrously moustachioed Hercule Poirot to sort it all out, just some lumbering oaf from Interpol in a polyester shirt and grubby sneakers who will make a hash of it.
There's still the champagne-fuelled Formula One Grand Prix, of course. But even they no longer wear those stylish tweed jackets and pig-skin helmets like they did in the good old days.
On the whole you might just as well travel to the English Costa Del Sol instead. Have a weekend in Cleethorpes, or Skegness, even Grimbsy. What is the world coming to? I ask you!
stephenb 10:07 - [Link] - Comments ()
december 02, 2002
This weekend I watched the thought-provoking film So and So present a So and So production of So and So's film of So and So's novel The End OF The Affair, starring Ralph Fiennes and Julianne Moore.
It was thought provoking for a number of reasons, but mainly because the viewer is left wondering how Julianne Moore, playing the upper middle-class, God-fearing Catholic wife of a British civil servant during the Second World War, manages to spend more time stark-tit naked in the film than she does in Boogie Nights where she plays a pornstar. This was undoubtedly one of the central conflicts of the film, but, for me, remained unresolved at it's conclusion.
Since I saw it on DVD I thought I'd listen to director Neil Jordan's comments to see if he could enlighten me. And Neil said, "Now that's a terrible difficult question so it is that ye be asking me, and me just a poor little director from the Bog with only me major studio backing and all the fancy big name actors at me beck and call to be sure, and yer man Graham Greene wrestled to God's bosom this forty year or more so it is."
Thanks Neil. Great philm, as you would say.

stephenb 16:53 - [Link] - Comments ()