Friday, September 28, 2007

Family Reunion

Members of the Academy recently attended a family reunion and took some pictures. Set to music here...

(props to for this movie)

Sunday, September 16, 2007

Do you know me?

The Headmistress is in Germany this week, no doubt brushing up on her interrogation techniques ("Ve haf vays to make you talk"). I only have four days left to get all my stories straight.

The basement dwellers left for the weekend, upstairs occupant had plans, and the boys spent the night at a friend's house. Hm... a night all to myself... HOLY CRAP MAN! Do you realize how much trouble I could have gotten into?! I must be getting really old, 'cuz I just settled in with some warm milk and graham crackers to watch a movie - Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. What a treat! A full feature movie intended for an adult audience, with cuss words and everything! Played at high volume!

I know I've posted this video link before, but I just have to post it again, because it is so cool. First, of course, I love Portishead. But the video features scenes from Eternal Sunshine, and the song is so perfect for it.

Anyway, I must say that for a chick flick, this movie ROCKS! Simply put, its brilliant. I'm a big fan of screenwriter Charlie Kaufman's mind-@#$% style, but this movie rivals his best. Lets review:

Adaptation - in 1998, Susan Orlean wrote a book (The Orchid Thief) about orchid collectors. A true story, her book centered around the life of John Laroche, who'd been convicted of stealing wild orchids from a protected reserve. In the movie Adaptation, Charlie Kaufman (played by Nicolas Cage) tries to adapt the book for the screen, and has problems. Eventually, he turns to his less talented, but far more intrepid twin brother Donald (also played by Cage) for help with the plot. So actually, you're watching a movie about a screenwriter struggling with the script to the movie you're watching. hm... The film wasn't bad, but in the end he painted the plot into such a corner that only a growling, man-eating Florida 'gator could save it.

Being John Malkovich - comic perfection, all rolled up into one crazy, messy package. The movie centers around a secret portal, discovered in a secret "half-floor" sandwiched between two floors of an office building. Craig, a puppeteer, akes a filing job in this low-ceilinged office, and discovers the portal. This attracts the interest of a very sexy colleague. They discover that the portal leads to John Malkovich's head (the actor) - for fifteen minutes, you see, hear, and feel whatever Malkovich is doing. Then, you're ejected out onto the New Jersey Turnpike. Craig's sexy colleague (Katherine Keener) takes the portal commercial, selling trips for $200, but secretly she's more interested in Craig's wife Lotte (Cameron Diaz), but only when Lotte is inside Malkovich. Then, things get wierd. What a GREAT movie.

Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind - My personal favorite, mostly because I think director Michael Gondry does a better job with the Kaufman script. In terms of script, pacing and delivery, this plays out like a foreign film without subtitles. The slow pace is helped along by the crude hand-held filming, which adds visual energy. Joel (Jim Carrey) is losing his girlfriend Clementine (Kate Winslet), and discovers she's had an "operation" to have him erased from her memory. Since he can't face life without her, he hires her "doctor" to perform the same operation on him. Most of the movie centers on his operation - drugged and unconscious for the procedure, he has a change of heart and tries desperately to hang on to the memories that are slipping away. In the end, their memories gone, they find each other again. Mark Ruffalo masterfully leads a subplot - the doctor and his employees are using the knowledge they've gained from erasing these memories to seduce the patients.

Anyway, watching this movie, I had this sudden realization that there are people out there who know way too much about me. Let start with the recycling guys. They stand at my curb each Monday for a moment of silence. They gaze up at me over the mountain of discarded alcholic beverage containers, and I can't tell if the open jaws indicate awe or pity. At any rate, I'm sure they can't hear me shouting at them through the window: "HEY! There are TWENTY people living here!!"

So then last week the septic guy comes to pump out my overflowing tank; recently, my neighbors have been getting to know me a little better than they'd like. I wasn't here for the procedure, but the guy left me a note on the front door: "Your tank pumped as good as it could". Man, you think these guys are all beef and brawn, and then they go and leave you a sweet message like that. I felt like going out back and patting my septic tank on its little head.

He called me on the phone to report on the health of my tank, and to offer some tips for improvement. While I valued his advice, he seemed to know too much about what was going on at the Academy. I mean, he actually asked for Diane's Lentil Cake recipe.

So, lesson learned. Consumption is a way of life, and we litter our path with tea leaves for those who care to stop and read them.