rfbooth.com :: blog archives

Moments in time, preserved to embarrass me later.

24-3-2004 (archived)

This week's film review is “Grand Theft Parsons”, a comic take on the already-amusing story of the cremation of Gram Parsons by his road manager.

Johnny Knoxville, as said manager, is really not bad at all. Christina Applegate reprises the pretty-but-amazingly-annoying role that is, as far as I remember, the only one I've ever seen her play. Michael Shannon is an absolute delight as a perma-stoned, irritated, floral-hearse-driving hippie. There a couple of great lines, and some visual moments that will stay with me for a long time; one scene (steering lock) made me laugh myself faint. This isn't great art, or any other sort, but it is very very funny.

27-3-2004 (archived)

We were back at the Nag's in Macclesfield last night, with the astounding Carlo Bowry (of the Muffin Men) filling in on bass. After we'd gotten variously lost and delayed, it was a tremendously enjoyable night in a really good rock pub. (There never tends to be much applause, but that seems to be because it's hard to find anywhere to put your drink and free your hands up.)

There was much entertainment from the audience also, especially in the form (mmm) of various dancing girls. Special mentions must go to lidbert and magentajade, for being delicious and entertaining beyond the call of duty :).

I even managed to not get lost on the way home.

29-3-2004 (archived)

This week's first film review is “Starsky & Hutch”, a subversion of the medium of cinema through knowing, meta-referential art. Or, more probably, the silliest film since Charlie's Angels: Full Throttle. Sometimes it's hard to tell.

It's nothing like as bad as that, though. Owen Wilson is really pretty good, and Snoop Dogg is an inspired piece of casting. There are some very very funny moments. Stiller, sadly, is his usual self, wound up just a notch or two too tight to be really funny, but he doesn't do the film as much damage as he might. All the references and cameos are a little wasted on me, I'm a half-generation too young to have really followed the series, but this is still perfectly adequate brain-disengaged entertainment.

1-4-2004 (archived)

I wish this were an April Fool, but no...

An amendment adopted without objection added "piercing" to the list of things that may not be done to female genitals. Even adult women would not be allowed to get the procedure. The bill eventually passed 160-0, with no debate.

Amendment sponsor Rep. Bill Heath, R-Bremen, was slack-jawed when told after the vote that some adults seek the piercings.

Good grief. I'm not the world's biggest body modification enthusiast myself, but how sheltered a life must these people be leading?

3-4-2004 (archived)

I was reading an article about (amongst others) weebl, and it led me indirectly to a piece of utter genius: guitar. Enjoy.

5-4-2004 (archived)

This week's first film review is “The Station Agent”, one of those American arthouse films in which nothing ever really happens. Fortunately, it doesn't happen in a beautifully acted, charming and unsentimental setting which is a delight to watch. All of the principals play their roles utterly flawlessly, understated and perfectly placed. Peter Dinklage, new to me as the dwarf leading man, is a remarkable find. with a real presence and enough charisma to make attracting the delicious Dawson's Creek refugee Michelle Williams entirely believable, despite playing a monosyllabic railway nerd.

It's telling that the film was (apparently) written before Dinklage was cast, and that the leading character only became a dwarf once he'd been recruited. It's not a movie about physical difference so much as just difference, about people with their own problems growing together. This is one of those rare films that will probably work every bit as well on television, but whatever medium you see it in, I recommend it unreservedly.

8-4-2004 (archived)

This week's first film review is “Gothika”, a horror thriller. It's been roundly panned in the reviews, possibly because it doesn't actually make a great deal of sense. On the other hand, the half-dozen or so Real People I've spoken to all recommended it. There seems to be a certain amount of disappointment over how unexploitative the film is of its actresses; after all, if I tell you there's a shower scene with Halle Berry and Penelope Cruz, touching each other, you'd probably expect something more... arousing.

We liked it. A lot. There's very little blood or gore, and the whodunnit is laughably obvious to anyone paying attention, but it still works; it has its fair share of squibs, it reeks of visual style, Downey, Berry and Cruz are all excellent. I think it's one of the better entertainment-horror movies I've seen in a cinema, frankly, and if you like non-slasher but still silly horror flicks you should like this very much.

10-4-2004 (archived)

A few years ago I wrote a piece about Asda and Easter closing which gives me a lot of search engine traffic at this time of year. In fact, my local Asda are closed again tommorrow (and at least this time the fact is clearly signposted, which is mostly what I was complaining about). However, I now have a new competitor for my shopping affections: the local 24-hour garage, purveyor of midnight chocolate and cigarettes, has closed and been replaced by a Tesco Express.

Now, there's a lot to be said pro and con about the mini-supermarkets, and in some places I've lived I would have been sorry to see them arrive; but here, where my corner shop is not one from which I'd want to buy anything perishable, they're a welcome appearance. They have a bakery section which is doing its bit to make me fat; they're less than half a mile away, so I walk there, which is not doing enough to counteract the bakery; and, crucially, they're open from stupidly early until 11pm every day. Even Sundays. Even tomorrow. A blow for rationality.

12-4-2004 (archived)

This week's first film reviews are “Dawn of the Dead”, a zombie picture with gore and machismo, and “Shaun of the Dead”, a zombie picture with comedy and romance.

Both are somewhat loosely based on Romero's over-long, puzzlingly revered '79 “Dawn of the Dead”. The '04 Dawn is a straight, if loose, remake: zombies out of nowhere, a bunch of Americans head for the local mall and hole up, eventually breaking out rather than staying there to die. It also doesn't finish until the very end of the credits, so don't leave early. Shaun is a comic take on the idea: British underachieving flatmates wake up to find zombies everywhere, hole up in the pub. If you've seen the Zombies scene in genius sitcom Spaced, then you already have some idea of what you're going to be seeing here: the film is written by one of the Spaced writers and its director, and almost all of the cast (as well as a near-complete showing of British comedy talent) and the director transfer to this movie, along with some injokes and references (“fried gold” shows up at least twice).

The scores are as follows:

And the verdict: neither of these is a masterpiece, but both coming from new directors, they're good efforts. Shaun is an encouraging sign of what might come from the younger, less conventional side of UK comedy, and Dawn is slick, fast, professional and effective; they're both pacey, short, and leave you happy. See them both, back to back.

14-4-2004 (archived)

This is, amazing as it seems to me, the 300th post here, which is of course the cue for more contemplation of the navel. I was wondering how many words I'd written in the course of those posts: running a basic wordcount over the logentry files shows somewhat over 72,000, but some of that is markup (not too much, since most of the html is generated further down the line). Still, it's probably safe to say I've turned out 60,000 words on this, which is a trim and tidy novel. Sadly my prose is not so trim as all that.

It's still fun, and I'm still keeping to my “at least three posts per week” rule; the actual days sometimes slip a little, and the posts are often a touch after midnight, but these are mere trifles in the larger scheme of things. I'm afraid to let the schedule slip, lest I end up posting only rarely. There's a lot less of the linkage these days, partly because I'm not reading so many linklogs and blogs, and partly there just seem to be fewer interesting links floating around. The film reviews now seem to be the majority of the posts, and in all honesty that's not likely to change any time soon.

Every so often something odd happens in the webstats and I waste an hour or two trying to figure out what. The 11th, this month, set a new daily page read record for me, and it took trolling through the logs to realise that that was Sunday and discover that a few hundred people had come here looking for information on supermarkets and their Easter hours. I was a little more disturbed to discover that 56 people had come here searching simply for “Jane Goldman”; I'm not in the first ten pages of results for that, so they must have been looking for something both very specific and beyond their abilities to describe.

I shall end with the same thing that I said in the 100th and 200th posts: I'm having too much fun with this to stop any time soon. I'm glad you're reading, welcome email, and if you see any weirdness later in the week that's just the domain moving to a new home, so don't readjust your sets or your feeds.