Wednesday, June 23, 2004

Better, Even

You can do it alone, in private, with media, or with imagination.

Doing it in public places is also fine. People will envy you and want to join in.

You can do it with a dog, if you have a dog. Or with a borrowed dog, or one just passing.

It's perfectly acceptable to do it at the dining room table.

You can do it with your spouse, someone of the same gender, or several people at once.

It's all right to do with someone else's spouse, too.

There are some who are paid to do it with large groups of people.

It can be done several times in the space of a minute, for hours on end.

You can do it with your grandmother, your father, your sister, even your cousins. All of them. All at once.

Done with strangers whom you expect to never see again, there is a dimension of extra surprise.

When it's done with children, there is much joy and no censure.

If you can manage to do it with an enemy, everything changes. Everything.

It brings joy to you and everyone in earshot. It feeds upon itself and grows bigger and brighter as long as it continues.

Do it many times a day, share it often. Do it until tears run down your face, catch your breath, wipe your eyes, and begin again. Do it until your whole body aches with it and your face feels as though it will split. Do it to the point of delicious exhaustion, and lean weakly against the friend or stranger close to you. Do it everywhere, with everyone, let your voice ring with it in every moment.

Laughter. It is better than sex.

It IS.

Thursday, June 10, 2004

To Do List

To Do List (in progress)

Ride in a Helicopter
Dance naked in the rain
Learn a martial art
Accept a Book deal
Grow my hair until it stops
Ride in the cockpit
Eat more mangos
Accept a Pulitzer
Ride in a Limosine
Make a speech at the Tony awards
Sleep until noon
Drive it like I stole it
Live at the Beach
Rough it in New Zeland
Be part of an Alqonquin Round Table in Baltimore
Run a bookstore
Attend the opening of my play on Broadway
Dive from a cliff
Run with the fast crowd
Learn to play pool
Drink Champagne while wearing an evening gown
Set a trend
Swim with dolphins
Go Vegas
Refer someone to my agent
Have a drink named for me
Get an allover tan
Visit bridges
Go on a Book tour
Drink Champagne while wearing nothing
Call my lawyer
Write all the things inside my head
Appear at an event in borrowed jewelry
Wear Vera Wang
Leave nothing behind

Wednesday, June 02, 2004

Film Review

Movies I love a lot, listed in the order in which I think of them.

1. Bagdhad Cafe
A very weird film, but full of fabulous images and ideas.

2. The Princess Bride
An incredibly quotable movie, at least among mine. Cary Elwes manages to avoid the sterotypic heroic insipidness usually required of the romantic lead. Mandy Patenkin is gorgeous. Miss you, Andre. Wallace Shawn is, I hear, a big tipper, so treat him well, wait staff.

3. Mary Poppins
Just _so_ much fun.

4. Memento
Saw it four? five? times in the theatre. Can't stop watching the DVD. And the casting? Perfect.

5. To Wong Fu... Love Julie Newmarr
You can be anyone you choose to be, but if you've got an adams apple, you're a man.

6. The King of Hearts
See it in French. It's wonderful.

7. The Red Balloon
See it in French. It's better.

8. The Matrix- I
Wonderful premise, great visuals, and the idea of the fact that they were much cooler in the Matrix than in "reality." Like, they were totally all weird and geeky.

9. Star Trek IV: The Voyage Home
Incredibly funny, great cast chemistry. Why doesn't Leonard Nimoy direct more often?

10. The Prince of Egypt
Gave me prickles the first time, and every time. Tears, too.

11. The Black Stallion
Scorcese, a desert island, a gorgeous horse. Divinity? Yes.

12. The Philedelphia Story (Kate Hepburn and Jimmy Stewart)
I love watching dead superstars. The live ones don't even begin to measure up.

13. Yankee Doodle Dandy
What fun. James Cagney as we never saw him before or since.

14. ET
Box of tissues. Every time. I'm not kidding. "I'll be right here."

15. Willow
Only saw it once, need to see it again. If I remember correctly, there were some clumsy special effects, but the Disappearing Pig Trick more than made up for them.

16. Labyrinth
David Bowie is a Sex God. Love the soundtrack as much as the film. Jennifer Connelly is luminous. I can't find a single flaw in this movie.

17. Being John Malkeovich
The all-Malkeovich scene is mind-numbingly surreal. The end is appropriately disturbing.

18. Bringing Out The Dead
Nicholas Cage. Martin Scorcese. Ambulance. Sleep dep hallucinations. Or maybe visions. My kinda film.

19. The Sixth Sense
A mind expander, despite Bruce Willis. The secret was kept from me for over a year. I saw it on network TV. "It's a good movie. It's got Bruce Willis in it." Does no one understand that these are contradictory statements?

20. Monty Python's Life of Brian
Maybe Jesus' life was really like this.

21. Gladiator (2000)
The gratuitous scenery shots made this film.

22. Disney's Tarzan
Well researched, great soundtrack even though Phil Collins is not usually my favorite. The idea of family being the ones who love you just knocks me out.

23. Spaceballs
Never cared for this when it was fresh. Every time I see it, it's better. Consensus is, it's not one of Brooks' best. Still, bad Mel Brooks is often better than good anybody else. I met him at a book signing. Well, "met" may be too strong a word....

27. Men In Tights
Carey Elwes is still Orlando Bloom to me. Best line: "this is like Seder with Vincent Price." We saw this film in a theater full of black patrons, who did not get the Jewish humor. We rolled, they tittered nervously. That was almost as entertaining as the movie, and makes a better story.

28. Young Frankenstein
Spooky mansion, all star cast, and a happy ending.

29. Superman (Christopher Reeves)
Okay, so it's predictable. It's also classic, and the story about Reeves building his own muscles rather than having Costumes sew them into the suit is fantastic. The double take on the too-small phonebooth. Yeah. And since his accident, he's more Superman to me than ever. What a heartbreaker, geezus.

30. Hard Day's Night
The film that invented the music video.

31. Yellow Submarine
Brilliant. Brilliant. Brilliant. And that's just the artwork.

32. A Day At The Races
If I have to choose just one....

33. Pirates of the Carribean
Depp is poetry in motion, Orlando Bloom appropriately earnest. Great action, special effects, sets, lighting. Not since Princess Bride.

34. Nightmare Before Christmas
Because when you're from Halloweentown, a shrunken head IS a good gift. Juxtaposition. 'Nuff said.

35. Bugsy Malone
Whole cast under 14 years of age. Gangsters with cream pies. Can anyone tell me why this fabulous film isn't out on DVD? I've got an ancient VHS tape that I picked up used from a vidstore, and as much as we all love it, it won't last.

36. Willie Wonka and the Chocolate Factory
Gene Wilder at his most beautiful. Being remade, with Johnny Depp in the lead. If anyone can assume the mantle, it's Depp.

39. The Adventures of Baron Munchausen
Lush. Lush. More lush. Lines difficult to hear because of an overly lush soundtrack.

40. Close Encounters of the Third Kind
Did you ever share dreams with complete strangers, and follow an urge you couldn't explain?

41. What Dreams May Come
Oh. My. Gods. This is one gorgeous, heartwrenching movie. I'd like to see it again, but I can't, I just can't.

42. The Tall Guy
Jeff Goldblum. Emma Thompson. And a supporting appearance by Elephant! a musical about the life of the Elephant Man. Best number: He's Packing His Trunk. Guess why I like this.

43. Encino Man
Not my usual thing, but it makes me laugh.

44. Serial Mom
Mmmm, John Waters plus Kathleen Turner, yummy.

45. Death Race 2000
Ironic. Incredible. Hilarious in its blackness.

46. Rainman
Counting cards with Charlie...Hoffman's good, but it's Cruise's work that made me believe he could, in fact, act.

47. Mission: Impossible -2
And this confirmed that thought. Extended shot of the chick with the eyes and the scarf blowing behind her, niiiiiiice. And the shot in the doorway with the doves, oh!

48. Star Wars (Un-enhanced)
George Lucas was so much better without an unlimited budget. Really, I think everyone is.

49. Men In Black -I
Danny Elfman plus Tommy Lee Jones plus Will Smith plus Vincent D'Onofrio equals killer movie.

50. Tommy
Still crazy. Okay, Rodger Daltry isn't much of an actor, but the stars around him compensate.

51. Bowfinger
Love Steve Martin, usually lukewarm on Eddie Murphy. Not this time. Frank Oz does such a plush job detailing his sets.

52. Popeye (Robin Williams, Shelly Duvall)
Brilliant casting. Great script. Fun musical numbers. Is this out on DVD?

53. Jurassic Park -I
The closing shot was about thirty seconds too long, but the sick stegosaurus BREATHING knocked me out. Bill Paxton didn't measure up to Laura Dern. Spielberg's kids were better than Crichton's. Lots of book detail left out, but M.C. writes very densly.

54. Mystery Men
premise! casting! execution! silly!

55. Ghostbusters -I
Still a classic, and a great part for Rick Moranis.

56. Little Shop of Horrors (Frank Oz)
Delightful. Moranis is wonderful again.

57. James and the Giant Peach
Stylistically dense and detailed. Same actor with magical moment as in Willie Wonka

58. Rollerball (James Caan)
Disturbing, ugly.

59. Terminator -II
Made me cry. Schwartzenneger should not have that effect on me, but I've had a soft spot for him since 1971's Pumping Iron.

60. The Shining
Even the trailer scared the shit out of me.

61. North by Northwest
The Master of Suspense does wonderful work.

62. Dune
Every time I see it, I catch more of it. Where the hell is Mclaughlin nowadays?

63. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon
Don't know why I love Chinese philosophy and culture. This was gorgeous.

64. Who Framed Roger Rabbit?
Bob Hoskins is a terrifically convincing American. "A toon killed his brother. Dropped a piano on him." Jessica Rabbit is the sexiest woman I've ever seen.

65. Shrek
The prince is the villain, the ogre's the hero and the princess kicks arse. Argue with me.

66. Fantasia 2000
Pines of Rome makes me cry, Rhapsody in Blue makes me think, Carnivale des Animaux makes me laugh, and Firebird Suite makes me cry again. Ignore the segment with those stupid self absorbed hacks Penn and Teller.

67. Indiana Jones -3
Harrison Ford plus Sean Connery? Whew, overload.

68. The Producers
Springtime For Hitler. Gene Wilder rocks.

69. South Park, The Movie
My reactions: This is stupid. This is stupid. That's kinda funny. That's so stupid it's funny. No, goddamn, that's just funny. Saddam Hussein and the Devil? Killing me. Blame Canada, indeed.

(And here I stop. A hundred is too many, fifty too few, but sixty-nine seems just fine.)

If there's a pattern, I can't tell what it is. Unless it's that I have NO Kevin Bacon movies listed. Correct me if I'm wrong.

And there's another movie, one that haunts me. It's about a little boy who meets a little girl on a beach somewhere in New England, I think, and they become friends. They find a turtle and mark their initials on its carapace. Flash forward twenty years. Something is terrifying the ocean village, some monster. A sea hunt is on. The man (our boy) engages in the hunt in some capacity. People die. There's a big storm scene. A mermaid woman (our girl) comes out of the sea and calls off the creature. Long (manufactured) shot of the monster (a giant turtle) swimming away, towing the body of one of the hunters attached to a flipper by a spear. We see initials etched on the carapace.

Does this sound familiar to anybody? ANYBODY? What IS the title of this film?

For the extra-curious, here are a few movies I have NOT seen:

Ben Hur
Buckaroo Banzai in the 25th Century
This Is Spinal Tap
Raising Arizona
Eating Raoul
Like Water For Chocolate
The Blue Lagoon
The Graduate
History of the World