December 20th, 2008

Blow My Mind

How do I remember this stuff? And why?

I remember nothing of this years-old TV commercial except for this one moment at the start: Camera is on a baby, young enough to be in a high chair. Baby's father brings over a plate of (of all things) lettuce. The dad says, "It's your favorite, honey: roughage!"

How it ended, what the commercial was for, none of that stayed in my mind. But THAT ONE LINE stuck. Ask me not why.


Like many parts of the U.S., Portland is having a "weather event." As in, it'll likely be heavier weather than normal. (It's weatherrific!) Snow is small-flaked but consistent, and we're below freezing, and more moisture and likely a lot more snow is forecast. We may have several inches today before it's done.

But buses and my feet have served me well. This midday I got up to the Hawthorne Fred Meyer for grocery shopping (including milk; I'm plenty well stocked with bread and toilet paper, though, so no chanting of "Bread, milk, toilet paper! Bread, milk, toilet paper!"). I walked up to Powell Blvd. and waited for the #9 bus eastbound, then soon after got the #75 northbound up 39th Ave. I first tried the Belmont branch of the county library, but a sign said all Multnomah County library branches are closed today. My bank was open, however, so another errand (turning a $20 bill into quarters for laundry) got done. Shopping, then, plus an accident where my backpack's zipper broke, and that was awkward. The store was crowded, but manageably so; it wasn't yet nuts. I bought what I could carry home, got out for the #14 Hawthorne bus, got halfway home that way, and walked the rest of the way back. Stepping carefully, so as not to fall, let alone pratfall. (I've done a good vaudeville-style pratfall in the snow before. I'd prefer NOT to do that again.)

My car still runs, by the way. I turned on the engine for a few minutes before my snow trek. When I can drive it again, I want the car to be ready, too!

Now I'm home. There. Update complete. You know more now.

Because I need to know more about Will Eisner and The Spirit...

...I'll read, plus share, David "Bad Azz Mofo" Walker's MSN piece about Eisner and his signature creation The Spirit. The Spirit was one of the more offbeat, well-written superhero creations of the early days of comics, created by someone who became one of the most influential comic artists of the 20th century. As I said to my friend/former girlfriend Alicia when I tried to explain Eisner to her, "without Eisner and The Spirit, we probably wouldn't have Watchmen."

The article ties in to the upcoming film adaptation of The Spirit that Eisner's friend Frank Miller directed. I'm, um, not hopeful that the film is anywhere near good (Fatboy Roberts eviscerated, I mean reviewed it over at Geek in the City), so I'm focusing on the original work. As should anyone interested in comics.
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Me and movies: Twenty film-related ponderables

Several friends of mine answered these questions (I recall seeing responses from blubeagle, octoberland, and kradical), and I felt like answering them, too:

1. Name a movie that you have seen more than 10 times: The Adventures of Baron Munchausen, directed and co-written by Terry Gilliam. Gilliam fans represennnnnt!

2. Name a movie that you've seen multiple times in a theater: The Lord of the Rings trilogy: multiple screenings of the original theatrical cuts plus seeing the extended cuts of The Fellowship of the Ring and The Two Towers in the weeks before The Return of the King came out.

3. Name an actor that would make you more inclined to see a movie: That’s actually kind of a tough decision (especially if I avoid going the gonad-influenced route and just say some actress I find hot). How ’bout Gary Oldman? Or Cate Blanchett? (But trust me, I find her hot…)

4. Name an actor that would make you less likely to see a movie: Rob Schneider.

5. Name a movie that you can quote from: The Abyss. “So raise your hand if you think that was a Russian water tentacle.”

6. Name a movie musical that you know all the lyrics to all the songs: South Park: Bigger, Longer, and Uncut. “Off to the movies we shall go, where we learn everything that we know…”

7. Name a movie that you have been known to sing along with: Because I’m a film score fan, I’ve hummed along to scores plenty of times. As a second-grader (!), I’d sometimes recite the entire opening credits sequence of The Final Countdown, including John Scott’s score.

8. Name a movie that you would recommend everyone see: The Iron Giant. As Rick Emerson once said, “I feel like sending a copy of The Iron Giant to every home in America.”

9. Name an unusual movie that you own: I’ll name a handful: Richard Elfman’s Forbidden Zone, Lloyd Kaufman’s Terror Firmer (which I won at a Troma Film fest’s trivia contest) and Cannibal! The Musical (which Lloyd Kaufman himself gave to me because I could recite…no, not the entire opening credits sequence of The Final Countdown, which would’ve been appropriate (it was Kaufman’s last Hollywood production), but the trailer for Troma’s War).

10. Name an actor that launched his/her entertainment career in another medium but who has surprised you with his/her acting chops: Will Smith. His performance in Men In Black II is a lot better than the film deserves.

11. Have you ever seen a movie in a drive-in? A bunch, including a double feature of The Fifth Element and the first Austin Powers back in summer 1997.

12. Ever made out in a movie? No. I’ve been close to Alicia during a movie, enjoying how she looked and how she smelled…ah, new relationship energy…but no, no making out.

13. Name a movie that you keep meaning to see but just haven't gotten around to it: Jerry Maguire. And I know I’d probably like it, my not-usually-liking-Reneé Zellweger thing notwithstanding.

14. Ever walked out of a movie? I try not to walk out; for one thing, I don’t like giving up on a film. In my first viewing of The Silence of the Lambs, a film I love by the way, I left when I felt very uncomfortable during a Jame Gumb scene late in the film. I went back in and tried to watch for a few more minutes, but didn’t feel up for it, so I missed the climax. I finally watched the whole film a few months later. I still have trouble watching that one scene. Later I had a similar reaction to a scene in Interview With the Vampire, but was able to get settled and back into the film.

15. Name a movie that made you cry: The Truman Show.

16. Popcorn? Yep. I’m very basic in my popcorn tastes: I don’t even like kettle corn. (I do add pepper to my home popcorn; that’s about as offbeat as I get with popcorn. Not very, I know.)

17. How often do you go to the movies? Not as often as I used to, and not as often as I’d like. At least once a month, though, thanks to Cort and Fatboy’s Late Night Movies.

18. What's the last movie you saw in the theater? Cort and Fatboy’s screening of Willy Wonka and the Chocolate Factory.

19. What is your favorite/preferred genre of movie? Probably fantasy/science fiction, partly because the big screen can be so good at rendering giant fantastical realms. I’m not that big on mysteries or thrillers, which is true of my novel reading, too. I’m also not that big on horror, but The Silence of the Lambs is still one of my favorite films. (See, octoberland? I don’t call it a “suspense thriller”!)

20. What was the first movie you remember seeing in the theater? I’m not sure. I think the first handful included Mary Poppins (re-release, of course) and the original Star Wars; that would’ve been in 1978 when the film was still traveling around, and I was 4.