Thursday, October 30, 2014

Wanna see something really scary? Look at the calendar.

Halloween tomorrow, huh? I'll tell you what's scary.

I'm irritated by the speed of Hollywood "reboots." You know, Bryan Singer's Superman Returns (2006)1 didn't exactly set the box office in fire, so we have to start the saga all over again with Zack Snyders' Man of Steel2 last year. Or the Spider-man trilogy begun by Zack Raimi only wrapped up in 20073, but a mere five years later we're heading back to the trough with the new Amazing Spider-Man series.4 Short-attention-span movie-making.5 (Ah well, at least it gives employment to all those British actors playing American icons.)

So I'm sharing my frustration with Primus on the way to school, this time in the context of this year's Godzilla,7 which in my opinion seems to have appeared before the ink was fully dry on the well-deserved death notices for the previous version starring Matthew Broderick.8

"Too soon?" echoes Primus. "Dad, that version came out before I was born."

Shit, he's right. What the hell happened? But on the other hand, sixteen years still isn't long enough to shake off the vision of a nest of dinosaur eggs in the middle of Madison Square Garden.

1Didn't see it.
2Didn't see it.
3Saw all three.
4Didn't see it.
5Okay, I know, I know, it's not without precedent: Bogart's 1941 The Maltese Falcon came only ten years after the first, overshadowed version of Hammett's novel, starring Ricardo Cortez as Sam Spade. Still, a good movie and worth a look. Dwight Frye of both Dracula and Frankenstein6 plays the gunsel Wilmer, portrayed by Elisha Cooke, Jr. in the later movie.
6See how I brought this Halloween-inspired rant about aging back to classic horror?
7Didn't see it.
8Saw it. Almost, but not entirely, a waste of time. But try to see the superb original 1954 Japanese film9, not the Americanized version which has a lot of Raymond Burr staring upwards.
9Did it again. You're welcome.

Tuesday, October 28, 2014

Big Brother is bothering me.

Phone rings. Long Island number. I pick up and mutter a "hello." Long pause and fuzzy background. Then a distant, accented voice says its "hello," as if it hadn't heard me.

"Yes?" I snap, now completely convinced that this is an illicit marketing call -- I am firmly on the Do Not Call register and these scofflaws piss me off.

"This is Winston Smith, may I speak to the homeowner?"

Aha, rookie mistake, Mr. Telemarketer, giving me the chance to say "no." So I say no and hang up. Ha! I could, of course, vent or string him along, but really, it's not his fault that his employer breaks the law and pushes him into firing line. If that's the only job he could find, he's already having a bad enough day. But my point is that these calls --

Hang on.

"Winston Smith"?

Winston Smith?

Makes me wonder now what he was trying to sell me. Surveillance cameras? Rodent spray? I mean, I know these guys use assumed names, but am I now going to be interrupted on a daily basis by a stream of characters from 20th century British fiction? Mrs. Dalloway doing kids' birthday parties? Leopold Bloom offering package tours to Dublin? Constance Chatterley plugging her live webcam?

If the next one claims to be Bertie Wooster, I'm staying on the line. I could use Jeeves's hangover cure.