Monday, November 28, 2005
Five Things I Totally Heart This Week
In which the popular quasi-weekly feature attempts to make a comeback.

You know, it's weird but the more work I have to do, the more I find I have time to post to this blog. Life is crazy that way. Moving on...

1. Walk The Line
I saw this film with my mom over the weekend. It was awesome. Joaquin Phoenix has Mr. Cash's mannerisms and personality totally nailed. And Reese Witherspoon is quite unexpectedly great as June Carter. She seemed talented enough that my mom didn't want to believe she was Reese Witherspoon. Girl can sing, too. They both can. Oscar-worthy performances aside, this was a very good, compelling story.

I guess it would help if you're a fan of Johnny Cash before you see this film. When I was younger, I have to admit I was guilty of writing him off as just another country singer. But now that I'm older and my horizons are less limited, I can see that Johnny Cash was a genuine musical pioneer whose contribution ranged far, far beyond the boundaries of just "country" or "western" or "gospel". He was one of the few artists who don't merely sing songs, they tell stories with music. In this way I think he influenced a lot of greats like Tom Waits, Nick Cave, Leonard Cohen. It's music with substance. Music born out of the passion of creativity, and not of the desire to make a quick buck.

You can probably tell from my endless rhapsodizing that I admire the guy's art. Which was certainly a huge contributing factor in my enjoyment of the film. I still think everyone should see this, if you're not already a fan maybe it will make one out of you.

2. My electric kettle
Go ahead, laugh at me. I heart my electric kettle. I got used to having one of these when I stayed with M in England. Pretty much everyone in England has an electric kettle, and pretty much nobody in America does. To be honest, I didn't even know they existed until I went to visit M. And I mean, okay, yeah, there's the stereotype of the English being obsessive with their tea-love. But hey, I'm a Southern girl and we obsessively love our tea, too (albeit iced).

So I decided, maybe if I get myself an electric kettle (under $20 at WalMart, boo-yah!) maybe, just maybe I could persuade myself to drink more herbal tea and less Coke. And it worked, I am drinking loads and loads of swanky herbal tea now. I highly recommend the White Tangerine Tea and also the Royal Plum Decaf from Revolution Tea. Yum!

Oh, and it's good for doing cup noodle, too.

3. The Killers
Of course I still totally heart The Killers. What kind of totally heart list would it be without them on it? Also, I kind of need something to type about while I'm thinking up two more things.

4. Masters of Horror
Masters of Horror is a new-ish anthology series on Showtime. The premise is, they've got all these acclaimed horror directors to do hour-long films, and they show one each week. They have a pretty impressive range of talent, pretty much a Who's Who of cult horror fandom.

They've done five of these so far, and while they've all been highly enjoyable, I've singled out three which I think have made the best impact.

Stuart Gordon, the guy who does all those HP Lovecraft films, did an HP Lovecraft story (natch) called "Dreams in the Witch House". It was damn weird. Things which would be pretty easy to screw up and make the film seem stupid were handled quite well, most notably a mouse with a human face. See, normally I'd expect this to be done with cheap CGI or a shoddy puppet, and presented in a camp way. But somehow it turned out to be pretty freaky. Stuart Gordon must be the world's biggest Lovecraft fan, because he really seems to put his heart and soul into making kickass films of his work.

Tobe Hooper did a story called "Dance of the Dead" wherein society is trying to hold it together after a devastating round of chemical warfare and bioterrorism. For entertainment, they parade reanimated corpses around on stage and poke them with cattle prods. This is every bit as gruesome as it sounds. One of the characters has done something incredibly vile to someone else, and when the secret comes out, it leads to some honestly disturbing moments.

Last but not least, I think my favorite so far was Dario Argento's "Jenifer". If you don't know who Dario Argento is, you should be ashamed of yourself and go rent Suspiria right now. Jenifer is a girl with a knockout body and hideously deformed face. She has some kind of seductive thrall over the men who come to her rescue. She also eats entrails (human AND animal), licks peoples' open wounds whilst making whimpering sounds, and has lots of dirty sex with the men whose lives she ruins. It was completely grotesque. In fact, I don't think I ever really fully grasped the actual meaning of "grotesque" until I saw this story.

5. U2's Best Of, 1980 - 1990
I've been listening to this CD all day while working. These guys were my top favorite band back when I was twelve, and they're still most certainly in my top four or five. Going back to what I was saying about Johnny Cash, having real actual passion for what you're singing about is what sets the real greats apart from the dime-a-dozen pop singers out there. These songs are timeless... it's impossible to get sick of pre-Zooropa U2. Some people would maybe draw the line at Achtung Baby, but I totally hearted that CD. The albums they've put out since Achtung have all had a couple of good songs on them, but IMO they haven't been as consistently awesome.

But I ramble. And this has been a long Five Things. I have bored you long enough. Go do something fun, maybe provoke your Robot Monkey Head into a rage.

A freaky side note: Blogger spell check understands the word "boo-yah" but not the word "blog". How can Blogger spell check not recognize "blog"? Oh, FFS.