Friday, August 18, 2006


Been laid up the last few days, so media consumption is a little overwhelmed and blurry. But still must note:

* Fairly fascinatin documentary on VH1 about drug use in America ("The Drug Years"). That sentence (the VH1 part) means I am officially an Old Person, I guess, but it was still interesting to watch even a somewhat reductive take on drug *history*, how its meaning, use, availability and quality has changed, and the interviews (Lou Reed, Fred Smith) were really interesting too, as well as ideas about how exactly it relates to rock culture (perceived, actual). It is a topic where a straightforward, vaguely even-handed, more than 2-minute documentary take on the issue at hand is such an enormous relief...I get so tired of people's opinions about it all and of tiny news features that try to digest the thing in a few minutes. Julia Phillips should have been around to be interviewed for that one. Note: losing patience for drugs.

* In the middle of the documentary they played a song that has been on my mind tonight--I can't help watching Goodfellas, whenever it's on, especially, as a treat, the coked-up, tires-screeching, Day That Henry Gets Arrested sequence. It is the ONLY piece of filmmaking where Hollywood's cardinal sin--overscoring--seems merited, and in fact, the use of music there isn't really classic overscoring anyhow. I love the mashing of all the songs together, all cut off and half-finished, which sounds like a jittery coked-up person playing with a car radio (perfect for all the Cadillac sequences, including the one where he almost gets in an accident, which is completely terrifying). The song that sounds the best, though, the one that makes me want to jump out of my skin, is "Monkey Man" by the Stones. It's of those songs that makes you think this is the best band in the world. It's completely primeval, an ancient howl. It really works in that sequence. - I just love that 10 minutes of film for some reason. Love it. Brings everything to a head. Maybe it's because there's no violence to deal with, but more likely the wild combination of the domestic (up early to start braising veal shanks) with the criminal and the this-can't-go-on tension. Or the fact that it's so thorough (the sequence)--he may be a gangster, but he still has to pick up his brother at the hospital, and the impatient way he pushes him down the hallway in his wheelchair says it all.

* Also saw: fascinatin documentary about Lana Turner, basically a slightly niced-up version of her daughter Cheryl Crane's Detour (no talk of 12-inch penises). I've always really disliked LT as an actress--I know her mostly from her brow-furrowed, fake-worried, completely unconvincing Peyton Place/Imitation of Life/Madame X years, when she replaced acting with looking upset. Unconvincingly. Looking upset about things that you got the feeling she didn't care about in real life. She reminded me of suburban mommies I have known. But I hadn't ever really seen any of her early sweater girl movies, and she was so *different*. Not necessarily a good actress, but just this sweet pretty girl kind of out of her league. She aged really tough, that woman. I always wanted her shiny gold/silver hair, though. I still have a newspaper clipping I treasure: it came from Ann Gerber's gossip column in Skyline (Gerber's a lot like/from the same era as Kup--fabulous Klassic Hollywood Tawk, which is what the real Chicago old main-liners read--none of this CS stuff) and contains the exact formula of hair dyes Lana combined to make her hair that color. Never had the nerve to try it, but it feels like a precious clue to Great American Femininity. Someday I will combine it with the recipe for Hedwig's lips (which I also have) and kill the world with Shiny.

* Finally watched Sideways. It's good, but sad and grim, if you ask me--if I had seen it in a theater I know I would have laughed much more, had a good buoyancy under the whole thing to fill in the cracks and make it feel less sad. It's sadness is arguably part of its strength, but it left a slightly metallic taste in my mouth.

* I am convinced that skin care products are a joke. All you do is ride out the nasty vagaries of acne into your 20s, 30s, during which you're too scared to really moisturize cause your skin's so touchy, then once that calms down desperately try to stop the aging, when anything smooth and creamy seems like it's helping. The other 98% is genetics and whether or not you smoke. I *think*.

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