Lance Carmichael, CC2K Staff Writer
Lance currently works as Viggo Mortensen's personal horse whisperer.
The Dubious Legacy of the First Die Hard
Fashionable movies often suffer the same fate as fashionable clothes. If one forges something of a new and fresh style, it's all the rage when it comes out. People can't get enough of that fresh new funkiness, and its popularity inevitably spawns a tide of imitators looking to recycle the formula for success. Then times passes, styles change, and when you look back at the originator, it's surrounded by so much excess and so many inferior carbon copies, it's impossible to see how innovative that first style-setter was.
In this classic review, Lance Carmichael examines all of the good goodness that's packed into the good movie Sideways.
Sorkin's new script is dense and brainy, but will Mark Zuckerberg allow it to get made?
Learning that someone is making a movie based on "Facebook" sounds weird enough. But hearing that it's being written by Aaron Sorkin is just plain bizarre. Almost as bad, say, as hearing that Ridley Scott is attached to direct an adaptation of the board game Monopoly. Sorkin--who created the West Wing and wrote, among other things, A Few Good Men--is about as A-list as a writer gets, and presumably gets his pick of projects (assuming a sort of collective amnesia regarding the entire existence of Studio 60 on the Sunset Strip) (Hey, remember when people used to debate whether 30 Rock had a chance against Studio 60?) . Whither this seemingly unwanted, paper-thin cultural ephemera?
Remember when Christian Bale assaulted his sister or mom or something like that, and we all wish we could have been little flies on the wall to see just went down? Well, we're still shut out of that melt-down, but thankfully, we have another one!
Just breaking news...author John Updike died at age 76 of lung cancer. Sympathies to his friends and family.
A couple thoughts about his legacy:
• The term "literary lion" comes to mind here. Updike was basically the face of the literary establishment. Whether that's a good thing or a bad thing, I leave up to you to decide, dear readers. This guy published about a novel a year for the last 100 years, reviews and poetry seemingly every week in the New Yorker, New York Times Book Review, and New York Review of Books..anything with the word "New York" in it, apparently.
CC2K's Lance Carmichael recognizes the best, the worst and everything else of 2008.
The bad thing about having a magnificent year for film is that the next year is bound to be a letdown. 2007 was easily the best movie year of the decade, with a slew of masterpieces released at year’s end (The Assassination of Jesse James by the Coward Robert Ford, There Will Be Blood, No Country for Old Men) and secret masterpieces sprinkled in earlier in the year (Zodiac). So it’s no surprise that 2008 suffers in comparison. What IS surprising is how much it suffers—this was just not a good year for movies. Only one movie on my list from 2008 would have a chance of cracking the top 6 from 2007, and everything else might not have even made the top 10.
But let’s not dwell on the past. There was still some good stuff this year. Below are my top 10 favorite films of 2007, followed by some awards that need to be given out.
Most Americans know Korean writer/director Chan Wook Park—if they know him at all—from Oldboy. Of the five feature films he’s written and directed, for some reason, this was the only one that crossed the ocean and became a fairly well-known arthouse hit. If you’re a reasonably plugged-in movie fan, chances are you’ve either seen Oldboy or you’ve been meaning to for a while now. If you’re in either category, I have one small request I’d like to make, if it’s not too much trouble:
Don’t stop there.
Infinite Jest – This is the doozy. 1,079 pages, including 96 pages of dense footnotes. His magnum opus, and considered by some (myself included) but not all (obviously this is a ridiculously grandiose statement) to be the best novel ever written. Certainly not for the faint of heart, though. Wallace stacks the deck against the aforementioned faint-hearters early by opening with a series of seemingly unrelated, stylistically diverse chapters out of chronological order. Sack up, and plow through it, but not too fast—the opening hundred contain some of his best writing, including a chapter about a guy sitting in his apartment waiting around for an acquaintance to deliver $1,250 worth of pot that completely knocked me flat. I never knew literature could do what that chapter does.
We lost one of the great ones this weekend. David Foster Wallace was found dead by hanging at the age of 46.
Widely considered by the literate press to be one of the great writers of his generation, grieving for David Foster Wallace brings up a lot of slightly uncomfortable questions for me personally. Not particularly because grieving for a man I’ve never met is weird—if you can’t empathize with somebody who’s mental weather was so tumultuous he put his head in a noose to end it, you have some severe personality issues—but because what he meant for me when he was alive. More than any other person I actually don’t know, David Foster Wallace changed my life.
The script for Roland Emmerich's upcoming disaster movie saps the will to live.
SPOILERS AHEAD, if you give a damn. I don't.
When Hollywood gets on a cold streak—as it oft does—and releases a string of big-budget stinkers, there’s a lot of head-scratching and chin-stroking about just why hundreds of millions of dollars are routinely thrown at crap. A lot of old warhorse answers are trotted out—most movie audience members are moronic teenagers, movies are test-marketed to death, movies are too tied in to franchises, big movies are developed by committees, not artists, etc. And they’re all part of the truth. But sometimes, contrarian sophisticates try to be apologists for Hollywood. Basically, they argue that all movies begin under the auspices of good intentions—it’s just that it’s so hard to make a good movie that somewhere along the way the wheels fell off.