Better Mockery With Science

June 6th, 2005  |  Published in old and busted

Breakthrough discovery of the day: The “fix tempo” quantizing button in GarageBand. Perfect cowbell timing with minimal effort!

Piqued

I’ll admit it. I’m more than a little curious about the “Apple-on-Intel” stuff. Ed has his say, zeroing in on the DRM angle that Leander Kahney at Wired mentioned.

I don’t have a strong opinion either way, mostly because I’m convinced that it won’t herald in the era of “OS X on whatever clone you can slap together for super-cheap.” Apple people will probably still be buying Apple hardware, to the bemusement of people habituated to crappy driver support and patchwork systems.

Virgin Suicides

Al and I sat down to “The Virgin Suicides” this evening after:

  • Netflix messed up the episodes of “Six Feet Under” it’s telling people are part of season three.

  • Netflix sent us a broken (literally cracked) “City of God”

  • and Netflix sent us a scratched-beyond-playable “Ice Storm.”

Pattern? The only thing Netflix seems to want us to watch is “The Virgin Suicides,” “The Howling,” and “The Fog.”

Briefly on “The Howling” and “The Fog”:

Jeebus. I didn’t expect that much, and pretty much didn’t get it anyhow with “The Howling.” I was expecting something a little better. It had a few tense moments, but that late-’70s fixation with psychiatry and the obligatory “psychiatric expert holds forth in the t.v. studio” scene pretty much lost me out of the gate. The lingering closeup on the hamburger at the end, though? I dug that. And the sex scene that ended with some crappy pseudo-rotoscoped wolves, too.

“The Fog” was a major disappointment. John Carpenter made it hot off of 1978’s “Halloween,” which I still think of as pretty scary. Unfortunately “The Fog” lacked a few things, including the necessary cues for who’s supposed to get killed and who isn’t. People laugh about the “fuck and die” morality of slasher movies, but they’re missing that it’s a vital component: It provides tension because we know the “sinners” are supposed to get it, and we’re waiting for the axe to fall (and maybe hoping they’ll get away somehow).

“The Fog” just turned its ghost-lepers loose on drunk fishermen and little old ladies, then let the one person who might be even a little culpable off the hook, then whacked the one person who tried to do the right thing. Contrary to popular belief, random killings do not make the movie scarier. And the tacked on “shock” ending? Whatever.

One minor “heh” point for being a movie with Hal Holbrooke in it mere days after the identity of Deep Throat was revealed to the world.

“The Virgin Suicides” was enjoyable. We saw it when it first came out in the theaters, and I’ve always wanted to go back to it to see how it struck me a second time.

I’ve noticed that I’ve felt a lot pickier about how smoothly things develop in the past few years. When I watched “The Road to Perdition,” I was put off by an emotional jump that play quite right. In “The Virgin Suicides,” I felt the same sense of unevenness. Not enough to make me say I don’t like it, or even turn my back on it as a neutral offering. I think it’s a good movie. I just don’t think it’s quite as good as I remembered it the first time around because I don’t think it hangs together as well as it could.

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