26 September 2007

god help bobby and helen

so it's been a little while since the calitexican has found the time to sit and blog. she has to say that she misses it quite a bit. so since she's been gone, she has seen two movies worth blogging about. heat (1995, mann) and panic in needle park (1971, schatzberg). it has been a few days, but she will attempt her best to get on with the post.

so heat is a part of her on going "gangster" movie marathon. this time, de niro and pacino are in the same movie. wow. but with only something like 5 minutes shared airtime. she thought heat was strangely told in the beginning, the viewer is placed right into the thick of things, which leads to some feeling of being lost while the story is whirring past you. if you don't pay attention, you will be left behind. she does think this story telling style is on purpose for this movie, whereas others, such as the bourne movies, also use this technique, but since their story is inherently less interesting and complex, it just seems contrived.

she's not going to go into the plot, not that she ever does, but she will mention two things. one, it is definitely worth seeing for the themes, actors (shout out to president david palmer!!) and writing. two, the directing is pretty incredible. there's one scene in particular where pacino's character, vincent, is looking for de niro's gang. the camera is focused on vincent, his forehead itself seems to take up 2/3rds of the height of the screen. the shot is wide and split screen, shout out to old school cop movies she thinks. behind him is police headquarters from where he is making the phone call. the headquarters are bright and tan w/ blues and are crystal clear, showing an interesting perspective due to the rails on the ceiling leading the eye into the background. vincent is making several phone calls to track down the gang, and being the "best" detective there is, he believes he knows where they are. but this gang is not going to be taken down by anyone, not even vincent. so one by one, the gang takes care of itself, protecting their own, and each time the camera goes back to that wide shot of pacino, he is the only thing that stays clear. the background starts to get fuzzy with the first phone call, and proceeds to become just an abstract mixture of tans and blues as he hangs up the last call. ironic thing is, of course, he did know where they were, he just underestimated them just slipping through his fingers.

so the CTs faithful readers know that she loves mean streets. (by the way, de niro is just as hot as he was in mean streets, albeit much older and sophisticated...) and in looking for pictures for her post today she got out-geeked. turns out, this very week, mean streets premiered 34 years ago. wow. wow.

so she took about an hour break after watching heat and then moved on to panic in needle park. faithful readers also know she loves the young pacino in kind of an obsessive way. well, this movie solidified something she has been suspecting for a long time. pacino was a much better actor in the 1970s (and maybe early 80s) than he is currently. he's not as hungry anymore and now just seems to be "PACINO" in every role. this will include yelling and generally raising his voice or slamming his fist to get attention. yes, she thinks so even in carlito's way, however, perhaps he was trying to return to his pre-"PACINO" roots in donnie brasco by being a pathetic old mobster with a gambling problem.

back to panic in needle park. she contends this movie is a political one in how it immediately starts off with details of an abortion and then maybe 10 minutes later goes into the depths of heroin addiction, prostitution, racism, sexism and small time petty junkie thefts. pacino shows quite a range, thanks to the screenwriters didion and dunne. they wrote without pity or judgment, something the calitexican regards as the ultimate goal in story telling, well, with a story as dark as this one at least.

again, wont really go into the plot here except for one brief mention one of her favorite scenes. the junkie that used to be helen is expecting a visit from mom and mom's friends. pacino's bobby convinces her to go to get "bread" (meaning money, although they probably could have used actual bread since the CT suspects they don't really eat that much food). junkie helen is resistant, but loves bobby so much that she can't separate her mind from his. so in order to get ready for her midwestern visitors she puts in a ridiculous white ribbon in her hair. it's totally what a junkie thinks that "good" girls look like, but of course, the junkie gets it COMPLETELY wrong, ultimately proving what a true junkie she really is.

also, how wrong is it for junkies in love to have a puppy?

this movie also had, in the CT's humble and extremely modest opinion, one of the BEST endings in movie history. watch it. you will not be disappointed.

and, for those of you trivia buffs, you may know that this is one of pacino's first movies. this was the movie coppola used to convince the paramount execs that pacino should be michael corleone. and in fact, the CT remarked that she could see bits of the "that's-my-family-not-me-kay" michael in this movie. this was the movie that marty bergman saw and was convinced that pacino was serpico. that is a bit of a stretch for the CT to believe, but hey, to each their own. (bergman was also the dude that made pacino tony montana too...)

oh, one last thing. the CT loves wes anderson and rushmore. she recognized some things in heat that rushmore blatently stole. as she's mentioned before, the CT is becoming quite the film geek.

until next time... she's off to the right coast and plans on making some movies while she's out there...

16 September 2007


there are no words. how did this crime scene happen?!

in the jukebox of her memory

the list of names flips by and stops
she closes her eyes
and smiles as the record drops
--jukebox, ani difranco

there are pictures, some are pretty, some are pink, some are fuzzy. she looked at them, and realized pictures of the park help her flip through the jukebox of her memory and stop to think of being in all those parks in the years past.


her heart lies heavy as she picks one 45, it drops, the needle makes the requisite connection and the music pop, pop, pops to life. she's in a park and staring into the huge brown watery eyes of her beloved. beer bottles laid scattered about, and largely ignored, off to the side. she was thinking, thinking, thinking that she could lay in that park, without a blanket, on the dewy crisp grass, with the cold starting to envelope them as the sun set somewhere off the pacific, staring into those emotive eyes forever. they say nothing to each other, but just stare at each others' face, busily drinking in the features, the lines of their lips, the laugh lines, the frown lines, the hairlines. tons of lines. there is a lot of blinking and a lot of shy smiling. their blinking at each other would be the only tangible communication between them, if an outsider were to observe, as their fledgling love grew exponentially that day through their eyes.


the song abruptly stops, the needle lifts, and she is rapidly whisked back to the present, and then she pushes "send."

14 September 2007

no one is entirely evil

so last night the ct packed up some cups, a bottle opener and her green mexican blanket and went to movie night in the park with a friend. he contributed conversation, 2 bottles of wine, spicy hummus, pita, and yummy chocolate chip cookies.

oh, and the movie was delicatessen, Jean-Pierre Jeunet, 1991. she had seen this movie about 8 years ago while she was the newyorktexican. (ugh, she still needs a good nickname for this!!) she remembered really liking it, so why not see it in the park?

Jeunet was also the guy that brought us that sickeningly sweet amelie, which the CT grudgingly admits that she likes very much, despite its heavy emphasis on romance. she also likes the music so much she would study while listening to it.

back to delicatessen. so, it was interesting to watch as she realized there was not much dialogue in the movie. Jeunet really knows how to tell a quirky story through bizzare actions/characters, syncopated rhythms, and artsy camera angles. perhaps this is the reason his movies are pretty successful in the United States. when an engaging story transcends language as the main story telling device, it is nearly inevitable that it should get noticed outside its native tongue.

now she wants to see city of lost children because she never did. and she's seen amelie enough that she doesn't necessarily have to see it again, but why not?

09 September 2007

when you love someone

you've got to trust them, there's no other way. you've got to give them the key to everything that's yours. otherwise what's the point? and for awhile that's the love i thought i had."

so the calitexican just saw casino, scorsese, 1995. she was talking to stiffy about seeing this movie. stiffy asked, "have you seen raging bull yet?" the ct answered, "yes."" stiffy continued, "raging bull is like a blueprint for casino." since the CT had just seen about 20 minutes of casino, she thought she also saw mean streets as a big influence on (at least those 20 minutes of ) casino.

as has been mentioned before, the ct hatehatehates knowing anything about a movie before seeing it, so she wasn't entirely thrilled at the conversation above, but she did kind of just put the thought away. then when the relationship developed between sharon stone's character (who, by the way, was really great in this movie) and robert de niro's, she understood what stiffy was talking about. these are not movies about casinos or boxing, they are about male catholic guilt trying to make sense of the world in which they inhabit. and ... mean streets was exactly the same. it all comes back to mean streets for the calitexican. (and yes, she knows that de niro's character in casino is jewish, but the screenwriters are not...)

and thus, she really liked casino, but did think it was a frankenstein of scorsese's prior successes, with admittedly a few little new elements here and there. she also was reminded of someone who would say casino was his favorite movie. the CT now understands that this person actually uses some of the dialogue in his everyday speech. that's some dedication there.

08 September 2007

oops, i did it again.

casino up next. sorry jason. he was strongly advocating for heat.

07 September 2007

two little girls, right out of their training bras

yeah, that's kinda what watching superbad is like. watching two boys act like little girls right out of their training bras. needless to say, the calitexican had a lot of fun. and she again proved that she is not supposed to go with people to the theater who are easily embarrassed. sorry friend (however, this friend has been put fully on notice due to a personal prior experience with the CT and spiderman 3). the calitexican really likes to get her money's worth out of the movie going experience. so she laughs, jumps, talks, pretty much annoying anyone within earshot. hee hee...and to think she used to work at a movie theater as a wee texican...

she loves that one of her favorite characters from arrested development, her favorite tv show of all time, was in the movie. george michael did a great job as playing, well, exactly the same character. but this character is so amazing that he should be spread amongst various genres and media.

and mclovin? well, he was mclovin. go see the damn movie already.

05 September 2007

time goes by....so slowly

the calitexican is in dire need of some good live music in her life. she's going to see a band tonight that she greatly admires. she is going to bring in her geeky glasses and see if someone is taping the show or videotaping it. if so, she's going to ask questions about the techniques these people use, with the permission of the artist. otherwise, then she would not to consent to such things.

the calitexican gave up the art of show photography long ago when she was a east coast texican (i still can't think of a name for this place in her life...). she does have some good clear pics she took of a band that is, sadly, no longer with us. she feels fortunate to have seen this band quite a few times and the memories of each show will definitely stay with her.

the calitexican will not claim to know anything about recording music on to a high-quality portable digital source. sometimes it appears to be very complicated. but once she starts asking questions, she is pretty sure she can figure it out.

04 September 2007

up up up up up up

but we can learn like the trees
how to bend
how to sway and say
i think i understand
-angry anymore, ani difranco, 1999

now i rarely talk about events in the calitexican's day to day life, but i had to just show what a calitexican she really is. she was driving around in a zipcar, and listening to ani difranco on her way to whole foods (started in austin, texas) to shop for vegetarian food while carrying a "insert east coast liberal arts college here" tote bag. and yes, she did bring bags to put her groceries in thank you very much. and she gave her 5 cent credit to some extremely well deserving non-profit organization too. too bad the whole foods corporation is kind of out of control.

wow. just one of them days.

she had another one of those days about 3 years ago when she was in berkeley (of all places) riding her bike to a yoga class. she was riding with her own yoga mat, whose mesh bag is made of recycled plastic soda bottles.

sometimes she thinks she might have to check the "ican" part of her calitexican-ness. being that she pretty much eats breakfast tacos nearly every morning makes her think she's ok on that end too. yum, i think i'll have to ask her for a recipe soon.

02 September 2007

your approach is rather intense

someone recommended to the calitexican that she watch broken english (2007, zoe cassavetes). she immediately responded (because she knows this person's tastes very well) that she doesn't like romantic comedies. the person replied back with, "this isn't a comedy, and it has parker posey in it." the calitexican's ears perked up and she reluctantly admitted she was intrigued. so she sat on her couch and watched it.

the special features show an interview with zoe cassavetes where she says something along the lines of "this isn't a romantic movie, it's a self introspective movie with some romantic elements." and this movie certainly is just that, and just what the calitexican agrees is what is lacking from most formulaic romantic comedies. the calitexican has heard over and over from the texican one line that was in the movie: you have to be happy with and love yourself before you can find love. hearing this line made the calitexican wonder if the texican and cassavetes wrote the script together, or maybe that the texican and gena rowland are friends and discuss the lives of their children in these terms.

without really giving anything away, parker posey and drea de matteo are best friends. posey is 39, gorgeous, and single. drea is married and unhappy. the film concentrates mainly on posey's character, but does tend to interweave the stories together as if to say, "don't settle," or "don't fall into a relationship just because you feel alone," or even "if you are in a relationship with someone you love, it is not always good times." or even...ok, that's enough.

and in that spirit, the movie ended at just the right time. ok, you found each other, then what? and that's exactly a point in the calitexican's life with which she is very familiar.

and scene.

01 September 2007

i'm going to do my best swandive in shark infested waters

the calitexican is finally being creative in practice. stay tuned.

sweet emotion

the calitexican missed her opportunity to blog yesterday, not because she was not by a computer, but because she hadn't seen a movie! she didn't think this blog would just be about her talking about movies, but she did have a bit of the writers block...or blogger's block as the case may be.

yesterday the calitexican called it an early night and decided to snuggle on the couch with an old friend of hers...dazed and confused (1993, linklater). she knows probably every line to this movie, so watching the movie with her may be annoying if she is around other people. like she's referenced and acknowledged before, she loves to talk during movies (about the movie, not about random things). she knows this is a weakness of hers and she does apologize to all those she annoys or offends upon doing so.

she likes this movie because it is a snapshot of what her life was like in 1992. she was a wee semi-little texican, and she knows a lot of the extras in the film. also, the calitexican and her mom, the texican, were driving home at the end of the day. they noticed that something weird was going on in their quiet neighborhood. someone had painted a fire hydrant to look like abraham lincoln. and then they realized that only two blocks away from where they lived this masterpiece of a movie was shot. well, not all of it of course, but just a few scenes. in particular the car chase of the high school boys and the middle school boys. right before ben affleck gets a shotgun pulled on him by carl's mom.

also, the CT mentioned once or twice in this blog that she likes, no, that she loves parks. the park she first encountered when she was a wee little texican was the park where the jr. high boys play and where mitch gets his ass beat.

anyway, she enjoyed her break from the gangster movies, but she thinks it is high time to return. and she thinks the next one is heat (1995, michael mann). this was a recommendation from a person she recently met who is a big fan of these gangster flicks.