The Films of Kubrick

If you’ve missed the post about this on kottke.org and haven’t seen this yet, hey!  Thanks for slumming.  

This is a brilliantly edited, well-paced tribute to the films of Stanley Kubrick posted by barringer82 on YouTube.  It’s amazing to watch Kubrick’s entire oeuvre  (that word always makes me laugh) arranged in such a compelling manner; you really get a sense of Kubrick’s genius, how his films hone the absurdity, violence, madness, joy, and majesty of the human condition into a razor-sharp edge.

During my second year in college, as an escape from the drudgery of my biochemistry courses, I took a class titled, “The Films of Stanley Kubrick.”  We watched every Kubrick film in the Palm Theater, the local independent movie house, and discussed each film in class.  Our professor viewed Kubrick’s genius on par with the likes of John Milton and James Joyce.  I’m inclined to agree.

A Letter to Woody Allen from Henry Rollins

Henry Rollins is not a Quiet American.  He’s loud.  He’s opinionated.  He’s a little scary.  And he’s always interesting.  I don’t always agree with his opinion, but his facial expressions are entertaining in their own right.

My favorite part of “The Henry Rollin’s Show” on IFC are his “Letters From Henry” segments, in which he usually lambastes some public figure (see his Letter to Ann Coulter for the best example).  In this letter to Woody Allen, Rollins shares his opinion on the current state of Hollywood studio films and the multiplex.  After my recent visit to the movies this weekend, I wholeheartedly agree.  Thank god for independent theaters (and Netflix).

Norman Mailer on Fresh Air

I ran across this 1991 interview of Norman Mailer on Fresh Air. Very quickly into the interview, Mailer touches briefly upon the phenomenon of the unliterate when he imagines the future of the novel in America. In 50 years, he figures, people may read one book a year and regard it as a “special and peculiar” activity. Seventeen years later, we might not be too far away from Mailer’s vision.

Terry Gross then throws Mailer an alley-oop by asking where he thinks he stands among the great American writers of his time. Mailer answers matter-of-factly, “I’m not going to name anyone but there are maybe 3-4 of us who may last and I’m probably one of them.” Ha. Classic Mailer bravado. Yet, again, he may be right.

Returning to the idea of the unliterate, I’ve been struggling to solidify a clear purpose for this blog, which may be a good thing. Given that this endeavor is still in its infancy, I would hope that I’d feel the urge to revise the “About” page continually with each new post.

Here’s a notion. If people really did only read one book a year, shouldn’t that book, at the very least, provide a “special and peculiar” experience, and not just something that everyone else reading?

(picture from AFP/Getty Images)

They’ve Broken Our Code

I ran across a comment in this very old post on Gawker that exposes all of us unliterate-types.

“A helpful tip to get through life is that anyone who quotes Hunter S. Thompson, or claims him as their ‘favourite’ author is full of bullshit. It’s code for unliterate people who have intense pretentions to the literary arts.” – Alfonso X. Alfonse

I’m not one to defend the dregs of reality TV, per se, but here’s my helpful tip to get through life: anyone who proudly uses his first name twice or feels compelled to post faux-intellectual comments in a pompous attempt to serve his own ego (on Gawker of all places!), or use the term “literary arts” obviously has intense pretensions to being an insufferable douche.

Whatever. The interview above and following quote is for said douche:

Fuck England,” I said. “This is Middle America. These people regard what you’re doing to them as a brutal, bilious insult” – The Kentucky Derby is Decadent and Depraved

“The Catch”

I remember listing to this game on the radio on the way back from my grandparents house. I was a die-hard Cowboys fan (I was nine. I didn’t know any better). I remember lying on the floor in the back of our van, paralyzed with anguish, as Joe Montana coolly ripped out my heart.

I just discovered today that Vin Scully did the play-by-play for “The Catch.” The play begins at the 6:00 mark. Scully knows how to call a big moment. Once the catch is secure in Dwight Clark’s hands, Scully remains silent and lets the moment speak for itself. He’s silent for roughly 30 seconds. Even Hank Stramm, the color commentator, keeps his mouth shut. Refreshing when compared to today’s current flock of yammering magpies.

P.S. Check out the guy in the white suit and fedora (6:39). It think that might be Al Green. Priceless.

Philip Roth on NPR’s Fresh Air

I generally do not like interviews. I’ll confess. I usually turn off the TV and go to bed right after the second segment of the Daily Show, before the interview because it is so excruciating to watch.

I love Terry Gross. She is a naturally gifted interviewer. Fresh Air is often playing in the background while I work.

Here is a link to one of my favorite Fresh Air interview subjects: Philip Roth. It is a special show commemorating Roth’s 75th birthday, featuring highlights from previous interviews with Roth, where he shares insights on many of his major literary themes, such as sexuality, the Jewish-American experience, and aging.

From NPR.org:

Commemorating Philip Roth’s 75th Birthday.

Jack Kerouac Explains the Beat

One of my favorite Kerouac passages and the best way to experience it.