Apr 8, 2011

There is a lot I would like

To talk about today but I also do not want to bury the lede.  So, here goes:

Black Swan stinks.  Black Swan is one of the worst films I have seen in ages.  Renee made me sit down and watch it with her and I found it mostly laughable, obvious in its' influences but nowhere near reaching those predecessors' dizzy heights.  I do not care about the awards and the nominations.  The Academy recognizes crappy films all the time.  Big deal.  But I would like to say that Ms Portman's performance was nothing special to this writer.  And it certainly comes nowhere near to Catherine Deneuve's performance in Repulsion, that is for sure.  In fact, I did not really like any performance in this film.  And, good grief, Ms Ryder's performance was particularly awful, not hysterical in a good way, just hysterical and phony.

Mr Aronofsky's influences for Black Swan were laid plain for all to see.  The biggest debt is owed to Polanski's twisted Swinging London psycho-horror masterpiece, Repulsion.  The female protagonists for both films are arrested-development, practically infantile, sexual repressives.  Ms Deneuve in Repulsion, I suspect, has Daddy issues and she responds by killing men.  Ms Portman oh-so-obviously has Mommy issues and she resolves them by destroying herself by suicide.  Both are repulsed by men and sex in general.  One (Ms Portman) "dabbles" with gay sex in a completely gratuitous, insulting "madness/fantasy of the id" scene.  Because we all know that hot, straight-identified ballerinas would rather fuck each other.

The other two influences are Kubrick and Nic Roeg, both of whom have made horror masterpieces, themselves.  The Shining and Don't Look Now, respectively.  Kubrick's stock, to me, has fallen probably just as much as Roeg's has risen, lately.  Having said that, let us not kid ourselves, even Roeg's best work (and much of Kubrick's, too) is manifestly uneven; even in the same picture much less his entire career.  But even in a flawed Roeg or Kubrick film you will still be left with moments in their films that will stay with you forever.  There are no such moments in Black Swan.

I liked exactly two sequences in Black Swan.  The first is the subway scene in which Ms Portman is wearing a stunning pinkish pea-coat.  The first shot of this sequence appears to reveal Ms Portman sitting on a subway train by herself seen as through a bevelled mirror.  The next shot is of an older gentleman making kissy-faces at her, lewdly, whereupon he begins to "masturbate", much to Ms Portman's obvious disgust.  The other sequence I liked was the very short sequence after Ms Portman has taken ecstasy.  I thought Mr Aronofsky did a very fine job of depicting what it feels like right when that drug hits you for the first time.  (I also liked Ms Portman trying feebly to get her "date" and his buddy excited about ballet, "I can comp you for the show!")

Unfortunately for me the credits ran after the film concluded.  Unfortunate because my Mum and I have come up with a near foolproof rule for determining whether a film is going to be a stinker before the film even starts.  The rule is thus:  if there are more than two credited screenwriters for the film it is most likely going to be a dud.  There are three screenwriters for Black Swan and one of those writers also gets another credit for "story".

Finally, here are three questions/issues I have for Black Swan:

  • What top-notch NYC ballet company would rehearse in a subterranean concrete jungle like that?
  • We see exactly one ballerina smoke a cigarette, Ms Portman, and she is "stressed."  Ballerinas are notorious chain-smokers.
  • Why do we not see one single gay man in this film?
Okay, I am half-joking with the last one.

Black Swan is a stinker.  See Repulsion instead.  And Polanski did Repulsion with probably a hundredth of the amount money spent on producing Black Swan.


Last night when Chris Day was driving me home after inventory (on my birthday! yuk!) we saw a baby coyote ever so politely cross the street before we turned.

Since I have moved here last year I have seen deer, dead and alive but mostly dead; lizards; possums; ducks; and turkeys.  The turkeys crossed  Ygnacio, as well, during daylight hours, three of them, with the light, and they all stayed in the crosswalk the entire time.


Here is a quote from some joker on the best Texas Rangers website/blog, BBTiA:

Okay, here is the deal. I know it is early, yada yada yada, BUT, even if the Rangers do not make it to the postseason this year, i.e. injuries, rotation meltdown, JD making a colossal boneaded move at the deadline, etc, ... Doesn't it seem like this organization has turned the corner? Ever since the sweep at home of the damn Yankees in September? The Rangers are winning games now (like they did today, in the late innings right before your closer would stroll out of the bullpen and EVERYONE would know the game was over) like I used to see tons of teams since I have been a Ranger fan BEAT the Rangers. Like the Royals used to, or the Twins used to, or the A's used to, or the Angels used to. Since Nolan and Wash (and Maddux) have come aboard things are DIFFERENT in Arlington.

Like I said, even if the Rangers melt down this year they'll be a force to be reckoned w/ for years to come in the AL West and the AL, in general.

It is so great now. I love that I've stuck it out since 1976. The Rangers have effing arrived, at last.

I am loving this version of the Rangers.  Despite carrying thirteen pitchers until May and having the shortest bench in MLB they are proving to be the deepest lineup in baseball.  Only one player, Adrian Beltre, has played every game at one position, third base.  "Face" has played first, second, and DH.  Moreland has played first and right.  Hamilton has played left and center.  Kinsler has played second and DH.  Cruz, right and DH.  Napoli has caught, played first and DH.  It is like Wash is managing a National League team, except with a DH. Brill.
Gosh, I have really been getting in to The Feelies these days.  I just bought their new record today.  The Feelies have been around since 1976.  This is their fifth album.  Awesome.  I love how they have two drummers; one of the guitarists is named Bill Million; they cover bands they sound nothing like; their influences are blatantly obvious but they carve out their own turf, they're from New Jersey, etc, ... 
So great.

Mwah, ... 
Love you all, 
xxxx oooo

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