Stillness

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I haven’t been working on fiction as much as I’d like (daily would be ideal). My issue isn’t so much writer’s block or procrastination but rather an overwhelming attachment to the story that makes stopping difficult. I start working on a new chapter or section and find it hard to walk away. Working at night’s especially problematic because my mind keys in to the story and falling asleep becomes a chore. It’s less taxing to wander through moments half-engaged whereas the novel requires the total bond between myself and the page. It’s the difference between jacking off and making love.

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Empty Calories

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A coveted attibute for budding politicians involves a convincing delivery of supposed straight-talk designed to dress up the usual platitudes. Mitt Romney’s 2012 downfall didn’t exactly arise from his platforms. Instead, it was the former governor’s inability to articulate his platforms in terms palatable to large voting bodies. Even as the dreaded “flip-flopper” moniker receded a bit from his doomed 2008 run, Romney’s 2012 campaign failed to generate enthusiasm due to his stilted speeches and inability to connect with any element of the public. Even old, rich white men constantly sought an alternative to Romney during the buildup to the Republican National Convention. Their favorite choice? Chris Christie. Continue reading

American Hustle: Fire Joe Morgan Edition

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In the style of the departed but never forgotten firejoemorgan.com, I decided to take down Kevin Fallon’s misguided American Hustle mewlings originally posted over at the Daily Beast. The bold text is Fallon’s while plain text is mine. Continue reading

Under the Influence

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From Aguirre: The Wrath of God

I’ve worked as a script reader at various points over the last four years. It’s an inherently pleasant gig hampered by production companies’ tendency to find readers undeserving of actual payment. Working for free increases the tedium found in 117-page Alien ripoffs. The biggest issue with most reasonably intelligent screenwriters lies in a lack of voice. When we begin to write, we’re often inspired by someone else’s composition. My earliest short stories were Cheever knock-offs because I’d read his short stories and lacked anything of substance to say on my own. My first screenplay ventured into the same grimy, mafioso realms as GoodFellas & Mean Streets, two of my favorite films. As a 17-year-old from Los Angeles whose entire understanding of crime was derived from movies, I had no business writing about hitmen and shady uncles. And so I moved on, attempting throughout college to tell stories that flirted with the outer bounds of originality. Continue reading

Tips

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I initially tweeted this theory a few months back but while Twitter is fleeting, a blog post lasts forever.

We’re coming up on the 20th anniversary of Pulp Fiction’s 1994 Cannes premier and on that thin thread of contemporary relevance, here’s a theory I have regarding its connection to Reservoir Dogs.

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Rats & Wolves

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Another thought on The Wolf of Wall Street…You can find my full review here.

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When I was a kid, my father built a fishpond inside one of his small backyard planters. It was pretty to look at, a bitch to keep clean and turnover amongst the fish ranks was high. We made semi-frequent trips to the Petco on Ventura Boulevard to buy food, filters, and new fish to replace floaters felled by the ravages of time and unbalanced pH levels in the water. I’d wander around the large store, checking out the little cages holding geckos, guinea pigs, and other consolation prizes for kids too allergic or irresponsible to handle real pets.  Continue reading

What the Duck Dynasty

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I started this site as a pop culture discussion board and have since focused almost entirely on film. So, in the coming year, I’ll try to venture into different realms when sufficiently moved….

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“Duck Dynasty’s” Phil Robertson’s taken the bored American media by storm with his homophobic, racist, misogynistic, and borderline-pedopheliac comments in recent weeks. But do his words of wisdom really surprise anyone? Robertson’s a self-described redneck, loud, proud and spectacularly bearded. You don’t often hear rednecks make salient points on issues extending beyond barbecue. This widespread super-coverage of Robertson should only have occurred were he to say something like “I may be a good ol’ hick from the sticks but I want to take a moment to discuss the United Kingdom’s monetary policy and how it relates the to European Union’s economy as a whole.” A jackass who wears his hayseed trappings like a Medal of Freedom said something moronic? What a shocker. Continue reading

Review: The Wolf of Wall Street

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In 2008, America stood transfixed as numbers on a ticker told us our savings were gone. As real estate speculation told us our mortgage was underwater. As efficiency consultants told us our time with the company was over. We weren’t looking at the evaporation of tangible resources and material goods and manufactured products and bottom lines and profit margins that we could understand. Instead, the ruin that gripped the end of the millennia’s 1st decade emerged through disastrous speculation forced upon the gullible by hucksters in $3000 suits. The Americans watching their mortgage interest rates hit double digits may as well have lost their life savings tossing rings at the county fair. Continue reading

Review: Her

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Spike Jonze’s Her, his 4th narrative feature, takes a gentle approach to technological innovation. He sets his film in a near-future Los Angeles, using the grand Shanghai skyline as a supplement. His Southland showcases efficient public transportation and overcast skies that suggest a small victory over global warming. The pastel-colored visual palette marks a change from the dystopian blues and greys to which we’re accustomed and interiors both residential and commercial look clean, spacious, prosperous…Jonze envisions a world in which our continued devotion to innovation allows for small, positive changes on a grand scale while furthering divides within personal interaction. Continue reading

Review: American Hustle

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David O. Russell’s newest release, the ABSCAM-inspired American Hustle, continues his recent penchant for developing unruly stories about outsized personalities. Starting with 2010′s The Fighter, he’s given us the crackheaded, the institutionalized, the gambling addicted, the rogue, the depressed, and the crazed chorus of Lowell’s strangest collection of sisters. Russell’s talents as a director include creating intimate, improbably relatable scenes with these oddballs while finding the film industry’s most gifted performers to take on these imposing characters. He puts manic figures and situations on screen while balancing the madness with the precision needed to allow such absurdities to strike audiences with humor and tenderness. Continue reading

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