16 August 2009

Rural's (Not Entirely) FABULOUS Night

Now, before you start reading this, you should know that this isn't nor is it intended to be an exploration of the greatest GLBT films out there. This is really just me searching through Netflix and watching any gay themed film that can stream and doesn't look like a home video I made with my cousins when I was 11.

I should just say right off the bat that this was a strange project for me, unexplainable except for a strange mood combined with a fit of insomnia. I usually (for better or worse) don't bother with a lot of queer cinema. A lot of it is mopey, cliched, silly, and gratuitous, and there's only so many times you can watch a scene of a gay teen coming out to parents or clashing over religion before the movies just blend together. Nevertheless, here we go.

Were the World Mine (2008): Date rape. I'm pretty sure that's what this movie about. I know it's pitched as a sort of magical realism infused fable about high school, but I dunno. The main character mixes up an elixir and uses it to essentially have his way with the school jock. That's sweet . . . I guess. Honestly, this movie doesn't make a lick of sense, and even within the bizarre universe of this movie there are plot holes and unexplained questions that boggle the mind. Does the elixir make everyone gay or just make them fall in love with the first person they see? I really couldn't tell you. This, I think, is a CONCEPT that got out of control, burying the story under piles of glitter and sub par, Julie Taymor-lite musical interludes. That's a shame, really, because lost among all the frenzy is a pretty decent story, anchored by a solid performance by Judy McLane as the main character's single mother. The relationship between her and her son is rather honest and sweet. She's conflicted about his sexuality, sure, but her love is ferocious. It's not gone into much, but it's implied that she's in the process of getting her life back on track, getting a job as a saleswoman for a Mary Kay-like company. How she landed what is described as a pretty sweet gig isn't really explained, but that's pretty far down on the totem pole of this film's impenetrable enigmas. Zelda Williams (daughter of Robin) might be the most polished of the cast even if she's essentially playing Janis Ian.

Dorian Blues (2004): Well, this was a nice surprise. I understand that the writer/director is straight, and he doesn't approach this so much as a coming out story but more as a growing up story. Not coincidentally, this is the best of the three movies I viewed last night by a fairly large margin. Michael McMillian, who you may or may not know as the fire and brimstone reverend on "True Blood," stars as an awkward teenager coming to terms not so much with his sexuality (though there's plenty of that) but with his life in general. His father is domineering and angry, his mother is barely present, and his younger brother is the star of the family. This is a movie full of the melancholy of its lead character, but it makes room for plenty of humor alongside the pathos (for example, when Dorian's plan to have sex with a prostitute/stripper to turn him straight turns into a swing dance lesson). This is a movie that doesn't take itself too seriously, but, unlike the next movie, doesn't undermine its efforts at making a point with too much whiz bang posturing. McMillian certainly isn't the twinky stereotype usually found in these kinds of films, and casting him was a wise move that enables the film to feel more at home in the real world, the world where people look like everyone else. He has a great flair for dry comedy and dramatic introsection that serve the character well. It's certainly not a perfect movie, but it's always nice to be genuinely surprised by just how much a film can deliver above expectations.

Prom Queen: The Marc Hall Story (2004): Well . . . this was definitely made in Canada. Aaron Ashmore (who I honestly just assumed was Shawn Ashmore working on a very busy schedule until now) gives what I thought was a very good performance as Marc Hall, a Canadian teenager who sued his high school when they wouldn't allow his 21-year old boyfriend to come with him to prom. With blue hair and slightly eccentric clothing, Ashmore does a good job of *ahem* playing gay without turning it into a queeny stereotype, if you know what I mean. This isn't true of all gay men, but some do carry themselves a little bit differently. Whereas, say, Heath Ledger is playing it pretty straight in Brokeback Mountain, Ashmore puts a little more zing in his step, and I appreciated that he was able to walk that fine line without ever once falling into caricature. As for the rest of the movie? Eh . . . there's just a lot going on here. I did appreciate that the coming out scene was rather low key and didn't fall into the trap of becoming a cliche. His parents already know, his mother says. After all, his hair is blue and he has a poster of Celine Dion in his bedroom. But, wow . . . there are some strange things going on in this movie. I knew what I was in for when, in the first scene, the film gives us a tongue in cheek Christ metaphor followed by WACKY sound effects. Directors, don't put wacky sound effects in your movie. There was also some bizarre, Canadian version of one of those direct to DVD American Pie sequels going on involving tech geeks, three inexplicable teenage girl characters, and a lot of talk about renting hotel rooms for prom and getting laid, etc . . . I guess I'm glad this movie didn't take itself too seriously, but there's a line and I'm pretty sure you cross it when you have two older women in lawn chairs doing double takes at drag queens. You could find worse ways to spend 90 minutes, and Aaron Ashmore sure is cute, but be prepared to turn off your brain and let the bright colors and loud noises take over.

17 July 2009

My Top 10 of 2008

It occurs to me that I never posted my top to 0f 2008. Well, here it is, mainly for keeping track for myself.

1. 2. 3. 4. 5. 6. 7. 8. 9. 10.

Catch a Rising Star

In a previous post, I heralded the career of Mia Wasikowska, an Australian actress who is the now the new Alice for Tim Burton's Alice in Wonderland. I also mentioned that she starred in a great little Australian flick called September that I saw when I was in Australia for four months a few years ago. Well, the September train keeps on plugging along.

Entertainment Weekly announced today that Australian actor Xavier Samuel has been cast in the third Twilight film. Though I'm not particularly interested in the movie (haven't seen the first, won't see the second, have never read the books, etc . . . ), I am interested in the casting. Samuel made quite a good impression on me in that film and, though it might be a bit premature to herald him as the next big thing, it's nice to see him getting so high profile roles alongside Wasikowska.

According to Entertainment Weekly, he's playing someone named 'Riley'. I haven't the faintest idea who that is being completely ignorant of most 'Twilight' information, but I might have to seek out this movie if it means catching up with a promising actor. And I need to see September again.

21 June 2009

The Return of 'Kings'

One of the most interesting show's to come out of NBC in a long time returned last week, and if you haven't watched yet, now is the time to start. Though the episode it returned on last week was a tad overblown, Saturday's episode (now viewable on Hulu) might just be the best yet. The episode explains a few of the secrets that have been simmering underneath the show's surface as well as further explaining the motivations of Ian McShane's King Silas. There's also a nice little tid bit for the 'Kings' fanatic involving the playing of a piano that seems to connect several plot lines together quite wonderfully.

Plus. Prince Jack. Gay stuff.

13 June 2009

Well, well, well . . .

I don't know why I've become so musical crazy since the Tony Awards aired. Regardless, I just bought the new 'West Side Story' cast album, and it is quite good. Now, all I need is 'Hair.' Gavin Creel is god.

07 June 2009

Breakin' Down the Tony Awards

That about sums it up, I think. Clearly, the best moment of the night other than Brett Michaels' attack by a descending Broadway wall. Death by jazz hands.

Other than that . . . I thought it went pretty well. Neil Patrick Harris was decent, if upstaged by his SHINY SHINY suit (I especially loved the bitchy, Jeremy Piven-sushi bit), and Jane Fonda was there and looking FAB-U-LOUS, which makes me a happy camper.


Samantha Mathis could cure cancer, and I would still remember her as Amy in Little Women.

Let's see . . . What else? There was an uncomfortable amount of men who thanked their wives, but Liza Minelli was there so it was all still pretty gay.

Yeah. Still crazy. But she's so much fun to watch, especially when that guy with a mullet from Rock of Ages was talking dirty to her.

And I AM SORRY, but did the music start to cut off Liza at one point? Do not make her come down off that stage. She will turn this car around.

There was a lot of hotness there, too, especially from those Hair boys in their tight jeans and hippie shirts. I wish I was Geoffrey Rush, for the first time ever.

But we also got Aaron Tveit from Next to Normal who I JUST realized was Nate's stuck up cousin on "Gossip Girl," on that episode where Vanessa whined and sulked in the corner for an hour (or is that every episode?) Anyway, yes please.

I was also rather fond of the actor playing Tony, i.e. his arms and the way his jeans fit.

I am not EXACTLY sure, however, why a gangster is dressed like he just stepped out of an Old Navy catalog or why he chose to wear that ensemble to a dance. A dance in a gym featuring the gayest looking basketball hoop ever realized.

Also, Karen Olivo is gorgeous.

And this makes no sense to me:

How . . . ?

I would also like to say that if I never hear the song 'Dancing Queen' again, it will be too soon. That song is TIRED. Why was Mamma Mia even there? At least sing a more interesting number. Christ!

In that same vein, note to awards' show producers. You tried it at the Oscars. You tried it here. Having two different sets of people performing two completely different songs at the same time does not work. It just becomes a jumbled mess of Puerto Rican ladies and Depression era gangsters wandering around the stage.

These kids will make three lucky girls very happy someday . . .

So, in short, the Tony Awards were shamelessly gay, shiny, geeky, and over-the-top. What else did you expect?

All the big names were there: Jane Fonda, Liza Minelli, Elton John, Dolly Parton, Harvey Fierstein and the small community of Keebler Elves that live in his throat, and John Stamos. Really, the only way it would have been better is if someone thought to invite Kristen Stewart.


She probably would have fit right in!

create animated gif

05 June 2009

Come back. Come back to me.

Picture from Empire On Line's Birthday Portfolio, celebrating actors' most iconic roles. God, I love these two.

And when did Emma Watson become so chic and amazing?


19 May 2009

Rural's Lazy American Idol Snark-cap

Top 2 Perform

Sorry about the absence. I was busy moving back from school . . . bla bla bla. Anyway, KRIS MADE IT! WEEEE! That's about all I would have had to say, anyway.

So, about tonight. Hmmm. Not terribly inspiring. Kris and Adam both chose to re-sing what I would consider their best performances this season. Good job. It's certainly less, I dunno, affecting to see them sung for the second time, though. I honestly have no idea what the songs Simon Fuller chose for them are, and I don't really give a shit whether Kris' song 'speaks to the nature of our times' or whatever. As for that piece of shit Kara wrote for them . . . well, at least this year's final song doesn't talk about magical rainbows.

So, who will win? I'm ever so tempted to say Kris might pull an upset, but I'm still going with the safe bet of Adam. Who should win? Honestly, I would be happy with either even if Adam was getting on my nerves tonight. Have fun watching a TWO HOUR RESULTS SHOW, because I definitely won't be. That's insane.

15 May 2009

Hahahaha . . . no

Fool me once, shame on you, Mr. Howard. You're not gonna fool me again.

06 May 2009

Rural's (SUPER) Lazy American Idol Snark-cap

Top 4 Perform

Honestly, I have nothing to say about tonight. Seriously . . . How incredibly uninspiring was that? I can barely remember what anyone sang because I was so bored. When you manage to get the walking cluster fuck that is Slash to appear on your reality show, and you still produce an uninteresting hour of crap, the problem begins and ends with you.

The performances? Ummm . . . Let's see. Adam went first for what I think is the first time ever. He wore sparkly green eyeliner and sang in falsetto. Shocker. Allison's hair has purple in it now, and she sang a Janis Joplin song that her voice wasn't gravely enough to pull off. Kris and Danny sang a duet in character as two estranged, drunk brothers singing karaoke at a family reunion. Kris shook his cute little ass around in some tight-ish jeans on stage and sang The Beatles. So pretty. Pity he'll probably leave tomorrow. Danny sang an Aerosmith song and delivered, probably, the worst sung note of the entire season. Adam and Allison did something that had lots of light effects. Kara had bad hair.

I'm all out.

Completely Subjective Favorites Ranking

1. Kris Allen's ass
Kris Allen's skin
3. Kris Allen's lips
4. Adam and Allison's hair

5. Something about singing or whatever

Hi. I'm Kris Allen's ass. Don't you wanna rock the vote (wink wink)?

28 April 2009

Rural's (REALLY Lazy) American Idol Snark-cap

Top 5 Perform 

Ok, so . . . This is gonna be pretty short tonight. I'm exhausted, and tonight's show didn't exactly inject a lot of inspiration.

Music of the Rat Pack. Jamie Foxx. God, whatever.

Kris Allen:
 This was kind of aimless, but it still sounded pretty good. Who are we kidding, though: he was wearing a tie, and he still hasn't shaved. Yes, please. 

Allison Iraheta: She looked GORGEOUS. I loved that this was different from her usual performance but still managed to fit her style. Go Allison!

Matt Giraud: What a mess. Stop dicking around with your voice and just sing. Also, please continue to wear tight pants. XOXO

Danny Gokey:
 Ok, ok. Not terrible. Maybe the best he's been. Still don't like him. No one is going to buy this album. It will be in the discount bin at Target faster than you can blink.

Adam Lambert: Let's just end it already and start running back-to-back episodes of that obnoxious show Fringe. Unless hell freezes over,  Adam is going to win. Based off of tonight, he deserves it. And I think Paula had an orgasm.

Judges' Notes

Simon: You're an idiot. You were wrong about everyone but Adam. Just go ahead and quit if you're so bored. And how exactly does a contestant answer, "do you think you can still win?"

: (Pulls string) A Randy says, "Here's the thing, dawg."

Paula: Your dress was out of control. 

Completely Subjective Favorites Ranking

1. Adam
2. Allison
4. Danny

5. Matt

21 April 2009

Rural's (Lazy) American Idol Snark-cap

Top 7 Perform (Again)

Before I say anything, I should just say that the Idolatry interviews always make me feel guilty for all the nasty things I say on here. Scott MacIntyre won me over in 10 minutes during his chat with Michael Slezak on EW.com. Maybe I should just throw in the towel.


Wow. Disco night wasn't actually a huge train wreck. Who would've thunk it, eh? I certainly thought I was in for an hour of soul crushing horror. It's always nice to be surprised.

So, can I start off by asking if anyone else couldn't stop looking at that blond girl behind Simon that the camera showed every time he started talking? Girl was having a great old time, and you could tell that she KNEW she was on camera. She was milking that 30 seconds of screen time every time it came around. She kept laughing and trying to talk to the person next to her . . . even though I'm not entirely sure the person next to her had any idea who she was. Pretty sure she was just pretending to be there with someone. Making an ex-boyfriend jealous, maybe? Give this girl an iPod or something.

Also, I'm pretty sure Kristin Bell was there. She did some sort of sexy eyebrow thing into the camera when Ryan walked by. She was sitting next to that puffy, old rocker (?) whose name I still can't remember and his . . . female companion (?).

Lil Rounds:
Hmmmm. Well, I mean . . . I dunno. Actually, you know what, this wasn't thoroughly unenjoyable. She still can't hit most of those notes to save her life, but at least she looked like she was enjoying herself for the first time EVER. She was wearing a jumpsuit, though, so I have to deduct a couple of points automatically. Not bad. Still not close to great.

Kris Allen: Loved it. Great vocals and arrangement. Kris Allen is a sex/music god. Kris Allen's arm muscles are the 8th Wonder of the World. Vote Kris Allen in 2012. All I want for Christmas is a naked Kris Allen under the Christmas tree, tied up nice and tight in red ribbon with a bow on top. Et cetera. God bless you, Paula Abdul. I'd go underwear shopping with Kris anytime. Maybe tomorrow he can show us his underwear and prove that he doesn't actually shop at Victoria's Secret. Fan me! Kris Allen for President.

Danny Gokey
: GO AWAY! Just do it! Maybe then you can shave. Just a bit of advice to any and all men: stubble doesn't look good on everyone. Some people look like they just woke up from a three month long drug bender, especially when they kind of amble around the stage, swinging their arms randomly, like a confused Alzheimer's patient. The first half of that song was talking to a backing track. Boring vocals. Even more boring stage presence. Why. does. he. keep. getting. praised?

Allison Iraheta:
First of all, loved the entrance. That was pimp staging on the part of the producers if I've ever seen it, and I am buying what they're selling. The song? Hmmm . . . Girl can SING, no matter what, but this song is a little stupid. I mean, "HOT, HOT, HOT, HOT STUUUUFFFF?" A song like that isn't going to exactly set the world on fire these days, but she sang it pretty damn well. This girl is ridiculously talented and has the killer voice and stage presence of a veteran rocker. Go Allison!

Adam Lambert: Thanking the musician who helped you arrange the song. Once again, VERY SLY, Mr. Lambert. You're either a genuinely nice person or a very crafty individual. I prefer to say both. I'm just glad he hasn't started sitting on the stage and reading from the phonebook, since he would probably still win the whole thing. We all knew we were getting slow Adam since he was wearing a suit, albeit with a Bond villain-like snake ring on his pinky. I am completely fine with the fact that he is winning, even if I'm still on the Kris Allen train (it's a very sexy train, btw . . . lots of crushed velvet). He has a CRAZY GOOD voice. I think Paula thinks he was singing that straight to her. Paula is going to have sex with him whether he wants to or not. She will not be satisfied until he's backstage with a bag over his head, a sock in his mouth, and his pants around his ankles, with the sounds of frantic clapping and Vicodin-induced babbling the only things clueing him into her identity.

Matt Giraud: Let's play a little game. I say 'disco,' and what is this FIRST thing you think of? 'Staying Alive,' I presume? Much, much too obvious a choice. You just got saved from elimination, dude. Maybe it's time to start thinking outside of the box. He's still got an interesting voice and a certain pop star swagger that I think works on him, but he's just not making himself memorable. He sang the most obvious disco song there is, and I still have a hard time remembering much about it.

Anoop Desai: Pimp slot? Whatever for? Ok . . . I'll give him that one note. Awesome. You held that for a looooooong time. Still, this is the exact same thing he did last week. It was a little better, but it was still the same thing. I am also still bored by it. He has a good voice, certainly, but not an interesting one. And what is with the David Cook syndrome this season? I think they outlawed razors in the Idol Mansion. Also, he really is a frat boy. That outfit was right out of a meeting of the Harvard Greek Council over cigars and brandy. Nerd.

Judges' Notes

Simon: 'Beat It.' Anoop's worst performance was 'Beat It.' You probably blocked it from your memory. Wish I could.

: When, exactly, did I start hating you? Because I really REALLY think you're pretty fucking useless.

Paula: Where you there in person? All I remember is a giant shimmer with your voice emanating from it like some sort of ethereal being. Lay off the glittery jewelry.

Completely Subjective Favorites Ranking

1. Blond Girl behind Simon
2. Adam
5. Anoop
6. Matt
7. Lil
8. Danny

So . . . Kris/Adam finale, ya?

14 April 2009

Rural's (Lazy) American Idol Snark-cap

Top 7 Perform

This isn't exactly the kind of episode that inspires a lot of interesting things to say, and this week is already exhausting me. Anyway . . .

Can I just say this? There have been A LOT of songs written for the movies. A LOT. Was this really the best they could come up with? Two gooey, cheddar cheese filled Bryan Adams ballads and Lionel Ritchie? Is this '80s night again?

Also, this new format of only letting two judges speak is fucking stupid . . . AND THEY STILL MANAGED TO GO OVER TIME? What is this? Maybe we should cut out the little chit chat with Ryan Seacrest and Danny Gokey about how cool it is to sing with a fucking harp. No? How about the 5 minutes we spent promoting Inglorious Basterds?

Allison Iraheta:
No no no. Do not pick a song from a movie about a massive, worldwide catastrophe. The jokes become too obvious. I still love her voice, but I don't think that there's any way to make this song sound cool, unless I'm mistaken and it's still 1998. She gave it her best though, and I still say she's got stage presence oozing out of her fiery red mane. And, you know what, let's stop dissing her clothes. I know I was guilty of it too. You know who else dresses like a deranged freak? Katy Perry, Pink, Gwen Stefani, and Lady Gaga, to name a few (and that's just the girls).

Anoop Desai: I. Just. Rewatched. Last. Week's. Performance. YAAAAAWN. Boring boring boring. What was he trying to do, up his cool factor by singing a cheesetastic, ironically popular song from a 1980s Kevin Costner vehicle? Hope that goes well for you. He has a good voice, but I seriously just can't be bothered anymore.

Adam Lambert: The bitch is back, ladies and gentlemen (not that he ever left). No, he's been delivering pretty great performances since this season started, but tonight saw the return of Mr. Nail Polish and Eye Liner himself. He jumped all over the stage like a chimp on crack. He sang notes that most dogs probably can't even hear. This is what he does. You either like it or you don't. I am firmly in the 'like it' camp if only because, let's be honest, this show would be a lot less interesting without this lovable theater queen around. I still think he's the safest bet for the finale.

Matt Giraud:
Here comes tonight's SECOND Bryan Adams ballad. Honestly, why would you sing this song? Again, this just oozes cheese. What sets him apart from Anoop is that he at least has an interesting voice that makes you pay attention, whether or not you dig his style. Speaking of style . . . those jeans fit that boy like a glove. OOOOF! Please stick around if only for some more ogling.

Danny Gokey: "And they whirled and they twirled and they tangoed/Singin' and jinglin' the jango/Floatin' like the heavens above/It looks like muskrat love" . . . 'Nuff said. Without his glasses, he even squints like a muskrat. What is this movie, anyway? A Brooke Shields vehicle? Time is not always kind, is it folks?

Kris Allen: I now present a dramatic reenactment of my friend and I's reaction the SECOND Kris started singing this song in the clip with Quentin Tarantino: EEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEEH! I saw Swell Season in concert a year ago, and "Falling Slowly" is just a beautiful song. I'm happy to say Kris did not disappoint. Thank god we got him out of that black hole of talent they call a small disk-sized performance space from last week. Stella's got her groove back, and it's just as sexy and soulful as ever.

Lil Rounds: What the hell was this? Seriously . . . Can anyone tell me? This girl cannot pick a song to save her life (or sing it ). If she was trying to distance herself from the drag queen image after last week's Tina Turner fiasco, I don't think Bette FUCKING Midler was the way to go. Stop wearing skin tight outfits.

Judges' Notes

Quentin Tarantino: You have the hair of a fucking SS Guard right now. Is this purely for publicity for the movie or what?

: Fuck off. If Kris Allen was pitchy THE ENTIRE TIME, then I'd hate to hear what you think of Lil's pitch as it continually plummets of Mount Everest and hits a swamp full of malaria ridden mosquitoes.

Kara: I don't know if an Academy Award winning song can necessarily be called obscure but . . . the American public is often quite ridiculous, so I'll give you a pass on this one.

Paula: You're going to get a lot of shit for basically reading a fortune cookie instead of critiquing Lil, but, you know what, she obviously isn't going to listen anyway. Throw crayons at her next time and tell her the world is filling her life with rainbows for all I care.

AND MOST IMPORTANTLY CAN WE GET A DIRECTOR ON THIS SHOW WHO KNOWS WHAT HE'S DOING? I've got a great idea! Let's cut out judge critiques, leave in a bunch of filler, and still manage to rush through the last two singers and somehow go over an hour time limit.

Completely Subjective Favorites Ranking

1. Kris
4. Matt
5. Anoop
6. Danny
7. Lil

Anyone else looking forward to the judges and producers pretending that they still liked Jennifer Hudson when she was voted off when she comes back to perform on the results show as an Oscar and Grammy winner? I sure am.

10 April 2009

Things I'm Loving This Week

"Angel of Death," the completely over-the-top pseudo comic book, 10-part action web series starring stunt woman turned Tarantino icon, Zoe Bell. I mean, how can you not love a series in which a female assassin gets stabbed in the head and survives, Lucy Lawless plays a southern belle and ex-prostitute with a fondness for the five finger discount, and young upstart in the world of organized crime kills people with an old-fashioned razor? Episode 1 is embedded above.

Kris Allen, Allison Iraheta, and Adam Lambert. Make this the final 3, America . . . PLEASE!

Hanna Schygulla in The Marriage of Maria Braun. No one oozes sex appeal and carefully constructed pluck quite like she does in Fassbinder's classic look at German history in the years after World War 2. Her performance, like the movie as a whole (which I saw for the first time this week), is funny, sexy, courageous, captivating, and even (at times) unsettling. Compare this to her heartbreaking and withdrawn performance in last year's The Edge of Heaven to see what a talent she is and has always been.

08 April 2009

Billy Bob Thornton is a Jackass

Skip to the about 6 minute mark.

07 April 2009

Rural's (Lazy) American Idol Snark-cap

Top 8 Perform

Hot damn! Welcome to the Thunder Dome, people. This competition just heated up . . .

Hahaha. I am, of course, only kidding. This week's episode was as boring as last week's was completely derailed. At least last week we had more than one performance to really be excited about. Seriously, though, I don't have a lot to say about tonight. I was not really feeling it. I think there's a reason that 90% of '80s music exists only to be lampooned by Vh1.

And . . . OH MY FUCKING GAWD? WHO THE FUCK IS THAT BALD GUY? Is that the gypsy Gokey promised his soul in exchange for an unfathomably long run on this show?

Danny Gokey: Why am I trapped on this elevator, and why is it ALWAYS playing 'Muskrat Love?' Seriously, this shit isn't even good cheese. It comes in a resealable bag, and they sell it in bulk at the Thrift-O-Mart.

Kris Allen: Well, fuck. I don't . . . I don't really know . . . It was . . . Actually, I kind of liked it, but I think that has more to do with the fact that I really just like the sound of his voice. That song was just, sigh . . . I would not have sung that, let's just say. That's a Gokey song if I've ever heard one. This was just forgettable, honestly. I think those heinous hipster girls in that mosh pit suck the mojo out of these singers. First Matt, now Kris. I am TERRIFIED that he is going home . . . before Danny, Lil, Anoop, and Scott. That is awful. I blame that bald gypsy. Damn you, Gokey!

Lil Rounds: Welcome to the Hilton Ballroom, ladies and gentlemen. Performing tonight is the fourth best Tina Turner impersonator in the Midwestern United States. Enjoy your shrimp cocktails and don't forget to tip your cocktail waitresses. She'll do something different next week? My ass, she will. She cried. She's safe. Whatever. At least her FUCKING KIDS weren't there again. Oh . . . and I don't think I need to make any terribly un-PC comments about the fact that her mother named her 'Lil,' do I?

Anoop Desai: Well, well, well. SOMEBODY understands the concept of Internet backlash, I see. Guess you decided it might be time to not come off like a complete dick, huh? Mission accomplished, I suppose. Pretty good vocals this week, actually. That sweater was louder than Lil Rounds, but he actually managed to pull together a solid night. Nice to see you stopped trying to be an R & B sex god, nerd.

Scott MacIntyre: "Let's take a glimpse into Scott's childhood." -Ryan Seacrest. HAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHAHA. I'm sorry. I know I'm going to hell. You guys, this was just heinous. It's like I said, his songs get better the worse his hair gets. Unfortunately for him, his hair was kind of under control this week, and this was possibly his most ludicrous yet. His eye makeup was clumping, for goddsake! What was he playing, like, 2 chords on that electric guitar? There was absolutely no way he wasn't going to be the new VTFW pick.

Allison Iraheta: I have absolutely no idea what this song was. I know . . . I'm a child. Whatever. Never heard it in my life. But I liked Allison's take on it. I kind of wish she'd go back to up tempo Allison sometime in the near future, but I'm still kind of digging this low key style, too. Girl has stage presence for DAYS! Go Allison!

Matt Giraud:
Take off that hat, please. Eaaaaasily one of the best . . . Not that that's saying a whole lot considering tonight's frost-bitten harvest of beige. I still find him kind of uninteresting, but his clip package was amusing, I suppose. Good to see the vocals are back now that he's out of that pit of voice sucking fanwhores in that black hole of talent they call a mosh pit.

Adam Lambert: Let's just stop bull shitting, you guys. Adam Lambert is going to win this season. Like, it's really not up for debate. As far as I can tell, he has never NOT been one of the last people to perform in a given night, and this was his second time in the pimp slot. Like, it's pretty clear they want him to win, which I am FINE with if it means we can stop hearing about Danny Gokey. Plus, you can't say he didn't have a great night. Yes, that was Tears for Fears by way of Gary Jules, but it's certainly not his furthest departure from a song this season. It would have been fantastic if he didn't insist on screaming that one note in the middle, but, sigh . . . Whatever. He's going to do that every week, regardless. Pretty excellent performance, though, I've got to say.

Judges' Notes

Randy: You were totally late for Adam, weren't you? Or did you just feel like running head first into Ryan for shits and giggles.

All Four of You
: I know this isn't completely your fault, but JESUS H. CHRIST! Why can we not get the timing on this show down? Did you really just give Adam Lambert a 3 second critique?

Completely Subjective Favorites Ranking

1. Adam
And, ummm . . .
4. Kris (Sigh . . . What can I do?)
5. Anoop
Sure. Why the hell not?
6. Danny
7. Lil
8. Scott

Save the Kris. Save the world!

04 April 2009

Cock Tease: The Movie (2009)

Hi. I'm Paul Walker's abs. You might remember me from a movie that delivered on its promises.

It's really very simple, makers of Fast and Furious.

You take Paul Walker, he of the piercing blue eyes and mouth watering body. You add Vin Diesel, he whose imposing largeness and gravely voice makes you want him to like you just so he won't kill you dead. You have fast cars that, ya know, go fast and run into things. I wouldn't have thought it was brain surgery BUT . . .

Here's a side-by-side comparison of what I want from a movie called Fast and Furious and what the makers of THIS movie think I want.

Me: Loud, stupid car chases down a strip of road in Korea-town or something, briefly punctuated by character moments that give all the crashing, speeding sexiness some kind of a point.
Them: Boring, stupid scenes full of characters talking about FBI protocol and being introspective, briefly punctuated by car chases in underground tunnels so that they can put cars on the poster.

Me: Paul Walker naked or half-naked. Frequently.
Them: Paul Walker in baggy T-shirts. Exclusively.

Me: Over-the-top camp. Winking at the audience because, yes, we know this is a movie about car chases and Paul Walker's ability to take his shirt off.

Me: Sex scenes. Gratuitous swearing. Tank tops, low rise jeans, and booty shorts. Various, R rated hijinks.
Them: Bland, Pg-13 rated cock teasing. No sex. Paul Walker feeling up Jordana Brewster while she's sitting on a kitchen counter in A FUCKING CARDIGAN!

Needless to say, I did not have nearly enough mind numbing fun in this movie, because this movie didn't want me too. This movie wanted me to feel for these characters and their emotions and their self-doubt. For every scene of Vin Diesel driving underneath a flaming oil tanker flipping in the air or blowing up his car with a cigarette lighter, there were endless scenes of Vin Diesel brooding and Paul Walker starring in a play school dress up episode of Law and Order.

Well, I've got news for you. The dialog in this script was written by a group of first year screenwriting students who haven't talked to a real human being in quite some time. I cannot emotionally connect to characters who barely manage to stutter words with two syllables.

I don't really have anything to say about the plot except to wonder when Vin Diesel's character began having psychic visions. Maybe I missed something, but he pegged the guy who he was looking to lay the smack down on because . . . he looked like the shadowy figure he envisioned at the scene of the crime?

I have exactly the same problem with this movie as I did with Quantum of Solace. This movie was too embarrassed to just be what it is: a big, dumb movie full of explosions. Just do that. It's what you're there to do.

So, makers of this movie, when you make a sequel (and they will, if the number of people who came to the showing I went to tonight are any indication) just have fun with it. You don't need to try to win people over. We're there because we know what we're getting. Your movie is called Fast and Furious. Just get Jordana Brewster and Paul Walker naked, put them in a car, and let them drive down a steep road at 120 miles per hour.

31 March 2009

Rural's (Lazy) American Idol Snark-cap

Top 9 Perform

I called it. I just knew most of them would sing songs they loved rather than songs they could actually, ya know, SING. Trainwreck.

Anoop Desai: Wait . . . What did he sing? I honestly can't remember. Welcome to Sarver country. Population: Anoop. Stop making painful sex faces, nerd. Stop getting snippy with the judges. Moving on . . .

Megan Joy: Megan, I still like you. But . . . gah. Pull it together, woman. Amy Winehouse, Duffy, Adele, Regina Spektor . . . Ever heard of them? The season's most current voice and she chooses Bob Marley. Good going.

Danny Gokey: At least he didn't mention his dead grandfather. Wasn't horrible . . . I might actually admit it was kind of good if I was acknowledging his existence. Pass. Whatever.

Allison Iraheta: Holy Hobknobs and Hairclips Batman! Who the hell was dressing this girl? Ah . . . but now I'm being as bad as the judges and not mentioning that the first, more low-key half of the song was quite good if significantly better than the second. Still . . . Go Allison!

Scott MacIntyre: Fine. He was decent. It seems like his voice gets better the worse his hair gets. Maybe they should pin that deranged cockatoo sitting on Allison's head on him next week. He'd probably end up the best of the night. Still bored.

Matt Giraud: Oh dear . . . Remember what I was saying about contestants singing songs they liked rather than ones they can actually sing? The prosecution rests.

Lil Rounds: Pro: Not 'My Heart Will Go On." Con: Celine Dion. Pro: She can still belt. Con: I think I just watched a rerun of last week's performance. Pro: Her children want to punch Randy in the face. Con: Her children pussy out on threats . . . She cried. She's safe. Girl's got an ASS on her, too. That dress was painted on.

Adam Lambert: Isn't it funny how sometimes the judges say a contestant really could just sing the phone book? I think Paula or Kara said that about Allison last week. Well, ladies and gentlemen, I think we just saw it in action. 'Play that Funky Music White Boy?' Is it more disturbing that this song is on the top of the charts for downloads off of iTunes or that this performance actually kind of worked? I'm gonna go with option C: He actually fucking twirled in the middle of the song. Giving props to the band . . . VERY SLY, Mr. Lambert. The hair, though. That mullet was having a party in the front and the back.

Kris Allen: OH. MY. GAWD. YOU. GUYS. Like, I don't even really know what to say. I kept waiting for him to mess up because I really didn't think it was possible that he could keep that up the whole time but DAMN! I need that to be on iTunes an hour ago.

Fuck it. I'm embedding this.

Judges' Notes

Paula: Never stop dancing. If you and Megan had a dance-off, the world might explode.
Kara: You are not Simon. Do not fight a large auditorium full of people. You will probably lose. But good job on the counting.

Completely Subjective Favorites Ranking

1. Kris
2. Adam
3. Allison

Aaaaand then it kind of becomes a cluster fuck of mediocrity with Lil and Megan at the top, I guess, and Matt 'proving himself' near the bottom. The rest are just kind of circling around in the middle blackhole of forgetableness. And I seemed to have missplaced Anoop somewhere. Possibly on an oil rig.

30 March 2009

Things I'm Loving This Week

Mishavonna Henson's version of 'Drops of Jupiter.' How this girl didn't even make Wild Card night on American Idol is something I'll never understand.

NBC's shamefully low rated, addictive melodrama, Kings. This show is the quintessential guilty pleasure. It's a little bit like the similarly addictive The Tudors, except with better lighting and more religious allegory. If I tried to explain the pseudo-science fiction meets Old Testament plot, I wouldn't do justice to just how watchable this show is. The entire cast is just right, but I got to give credit to Susanna Thompson who plays Queen Bitch like nobody else and Ian McShane who anchors this show with a lot of gusto. Special shout out to Prince Jack (played by Sebastian Stan). Good to have a gay character on TV whose entire storyline isn't about his sexuality. Watching this on Hulu is the highlight of my Mondays.

Dean Stockwell in A Long Day's Journey Into Night. Yum Yum delicious. I spent my entire first class today just GAPING at him.

26 March 2009

Rural's (Lazy) American Idol Snark-cap

Top 10 Perform

Can we get the pacing down, producers? You've only had 8 seasons to figure it out, so why are they always rushing through the last 3 performers?

Matt Giraud: He's getting better, actually. He didn't try to fiddle around with the melody too much this time, thank god. His voice is still a little whiny to me, though.

Kris Allen: Sex. Big brown eyes. Skinny tie. The voice. Lots of sex.

Scott MacIntyre: Yawn. So over it. Ugh . . . don't even feel like wasting time on him. Sitting at the piano. Great. Original. What was he wearing, anyway? Put sunglasses on him, please.

Megan Joy: I agree that her vocals tend to be all over the place, but let's be honest. Her sound is pretty current (Adele, Amy Winehouse, Duffy), and she'd probably be the only winner whose album I'd consider buying. So, Megan's growing on me. I don't think this was nearly as bad as the judges made it out to be.

Anoop Desai: Simon said, "I think you looked like you were half asleep throughout the song . . ." That makes two of us. Zzzzzzzzzzzzzz. You're very close to Sarver-ing yourself out my consciousness. Speaking of . . .

Michael Sarver: What's a Michael Sarver? (Note: I wrote this before I even heard him perform, and I saw no reason to change it afterward).

Lil Rounds: I love this girl's personality, but come on. Just STFU. "I was so affected by how far you guys had come . . . " Whatever. Oh, the performance? She didn't sing it. She SANG it. Is that good or bad? I dunno. That's really a matter of taste. At least they figured out how to dress her this week so her hips didn't look 12-feet wide. She's definitely got the pipes.

Adam Lambert: Fat Elvis crossed with Chris Isaak and tons of hair gel. Pretty good vocals, though. Much better than Johnny Cash by way of John Wayne Gacy.

Danny Gokey: I'm sure if I cared I might say it was corny as hell but a little bit fun, too. No thanks.

Allison Iraheta: If you don't have something mean to say, don't say anything at all. Go Allison!

Judges' Notes

Randy: Just say no to horizontal stripes, dawg.
Kara: One-of-the-best-performances-of-the-night. Not 6 words.

Oh, and a note to Ryan and the judges, all of this banter is UNBEARABLE. Not funny. Why are we talking about coloring books and drawing mustaches. Please stop.

Completely Subjective Favorites Ranking

1. Kris
2. Allison
3. Megan
4. Adam
5. Matt
6. Lil
7. Anoop
8. Scott
9. Danny

(Hmmm . . . I don't think I'm forgetting anyone )

10 March 2009

Rural's Week of the Dead

I was sick last week and, in between episodes of Degrassi and American Idol, I got the zombie bug and ended up watching a string of zombie films for no real reason other than I started and couldn't stop. All of these were first viewings.

There's spoilers. Duh.

Dawn of the Dead (1978): Is Zack Snyder's remake maybe just a teensy bit more fun to watch? Sure. I watched the extended version so perhaps that played a part, but it seemed like this one took a little long to really get going. But Snyder's version is not nearly as smart. It's refreshing to see a horror movie with a cast of human beings. Like, the people at the center of this movie just feel real, and I liked them for it. I didn't feel like there were any characters I was actively being forced to root against. I felt a little bad for them when they got into trouble. I know Romero gets some grief nowadays for making the ending less nihilistic, but I kind of like the idea that our central characters are flying off in a helicopter headed for god knows where. It adds a little hope, yes, but how much when you really think about it?

Day of the Dead (1985): So, I understand this had collected a bit of a cult following over the years, and I can understand why. This is certainly a much more cerebral film than the first two entries in the series which, unfortunately, makes it a lot less entertaining at times. It's quite dour and claustrophobic which works toward the mind set of the characters, of course. It just makes it a little hard to get through. You can see in the military characters too that Romero was starting to devolve into good vs. bad guys plot lines (see Land of the Dead further down). And I think I understand that this is the chronological last film in his series, coming even before Land of the Dead. That's crazy because we really don't get a lot of closure about what happens to the world. The characters end up on a tropical island somewhere, literally counting their days, but I guess we're just supposed to assume that the world is pretty much over? Whoa.

Day of the Dead (2008): First of all, this has absolutely nothing to do with the original other than the fact that the army is involved. These aren't even technically zombies, if you want to be technical, since they're actually infected like the creatures in 28 Days Later, not to start that debate up or anything. This isn't a horrible movie, actually, if you remove it from the original, certainly compared to a lot of straight to DVD horror. It's just kind of silly. And all I can say is thank god they killed of Nick Cannon badly playing Samuel L. Jackson, though I think a much longer death would've been in order. And, really, when did it become commonplace to fill horror movies with so many unpleasant people that bicker the whole time and have poorly timed personal conversations? Also, it's time to retire the last second jump-cum-promise of a sequel from the zombie movie.

Land of the Dead (2005): Ok . . . so the credits SAY this was directed by George A. Romero, but I'm pretty sure Steven Spielberg did it. Like, what was with the E.T.-ification of the zombies? I'm sorry. I don't feel sorry for them. They want to eat me. Maybe you should kill the lead zombie who's teaching them to use guns instead of playing inspirational music and letting them go ahead on their journey bla bla bla. Also, really? A 9/11 metaphor? Really, George? Again . . . ZOMBIES EAT PEOPLE! What's with all of this Guantanamo-zombie posturing? Asia Argento is in this movie, though, so I cannot hate this movie. It's true that her character had tenuous ties at best to the plot, but you get Asia in there however you can.

Dance of the Dead (2008): Future horror filmmakers, please hear this. NEVER work overtime to make a character or characters obnoxious and then expect me to enjoy the fact that they have lived in the final reel. If you're going to set up characters as unlikeable, at least have the decency to off them as they gain redemption yada yada etc . . . The two nerdy characters really grated on my nerves. I'm sorry. I know I'm supposed to find them endearing, but no. Otherwise, though, this is a pretty fun little movie. Funny in all the right places and featuring a pretty creative use of dead frogs. BUT . . . if you're going to sell your movie as a prom/zombie movie, you might want to actually show us the prom, ya know. Why segregate your main characters when you have a whole gym full of horny teens ready to get bitten? Or at least that's what Stacie Ponder thinks. All in all, the movie IS a lot of fun, despite its faults, and surprisingly well-acted.

Dead and Breakfast (2004): So here's what I think happened. Someone with a lot of marginally famous celebrity friends (i.e. Portia de Rossi, David Carradine, Erik Palladino, Jeffrey Dean Morgan, Jeremy Sisto, Diedrich Bader) had some money lying around and thought it would be fun to make a supernatural voodoo zombie movie. My prime suspect's Miranda Bailey since she happens to star and executive produce. I mean . . . I dunno, I suppose it's funny and gory enough, but it was all just a little bit confusing. There's a lot of bells and whistles with the country singer/narrator and the Buddhist monk, etc . . . Some of the gory scenes work well, though. It's watchable even if you get the sense it kind of wasn't meant for anything else than a home movie between friends who got bored and decided to pass the time.

05 March 2009

I Can't Wait for Shutter Island or Ashcliffe or Whatever They're Calling It

FYC Emily Mortimer. Best Supporting Actress. It's never too early.

08 February 2009

Just when I thought Teri Hatcher was useless to me . . .

She just HAD to go and be awesome in a surprisingly great movie.

UPDATE: Fine, I like you again.

05 February 2009

The Graduate: The Eyes Have It

Wrote this for a class, but I thought be a worthwhile read. Beware. It's long.

Fade in. The camera lingers on Benjamin Braddock’s face. It’s hard to discern what he’s feeling. His expression is a complicated mixture of solemn resignation and complete emotional detachment. The camera pulls back slowly as the presence of other passengers on board a plane is established. Though our protagonist is just one of the travelers in view, the viewer’s eye is still drawn to him as the pilot informs the passengers that he looks forward to seeing them, “in the near future.” He remains in the center of the frame, and the music of Simon and Garfunkel slowly pipes through the soundtrack and into the viewer’s consciousness. Cut to Benjamin walking up to and getting on a moving walkway. The camera follows. His expression hasn’t changed, but there’s an element of anxiety present. He timidly looks up and examines his surroundings. A man passes by, and he looks down, betraying a lack of confidence in his relation to others. The camera stops, but Ben continues on until the frame is filled by just the shadow of his progressing profile.

In this, the first 2 minutes of Mike Nichols’ 1967 The Graduate, and ode to youthful uncertainty and disaffection, the director has already laid the groundwork for the narrative still to unfold. And he’s done it simply, with no dialog, by focusing the camera in on Dustin Hoffman’s face, letting the emotions flitting across it speak volumes about Benjamin’s state of mind. He is, we learn, returning home from college as a star student with big expectations. The question is, what’s the next step? Who is he outside of the academic realm in which he has flourished for the past 4 years? Who will he become? What will come to define his life? Will he, as one of his parent’s friends suggests, find his future in “plastics?” Or is there something else?
It’s an opening Zach Braff would commandeer some 37 years later for his surprisingly successful debut feature, Garden State, though his over reliance on more literal imagery to get the point across would dampen the effect. In the opening of the 2004 film, Andrew Largeman, the film’s protagonist, sits on a turbulent plane, his face devoid of emotional investment even as the other passengers are seen frantic and petrified. Eventually, Braff cuts to Andrew, sprawled in bed like a corpse, draped with a white sheet. It was all a dream.

The basic approach is the same, but whereas Nichols realizes the power inherent in the emotional commitment of an actor’s visage, Braff relies on a clunky, post 9/11 metaphor to get the point across. His mind is troubled with the world and his place in it, as reflected in the rocky and doomed journey of the plane, but he is emotionally incapable or unwilling to come to terms with it. So uncertain is he about the future, if there is a future at all, that he has shut himself off from the very idea of it. He doesn’t understand, as Nichols does, that whether or not an audience is aware, the way a director frames a scene and places actors within it, is a powerful way to convey the aspects and components of a film’s message and effectiveness.

And understand it Nichols certainly does, even in the film’s light hearted moments, crafting the film’s most humorous sequences around a set of camera techniques and reliance on the commitment of his actors to both their characters and the scene. In what is, arguably, one the film’s most effective and certainly its most successfully humorous sequence, Benjamin has driven Anne Bancroft’s now legendary character Mrs. Robinson back to her house from the celebratory graduation party being thrown by his parents, partly to escape the throng of his parent’s well-meaning if pushy friends and partly due to his inability to maneuver out of her clever web of entrapment and insistiveness. He drives her home, but she insists he come inside, as she is afraid to enter a dark house. Once he’s in the house, despite his fumbling insistence to the contrary, she convinces him to stay, belittling him as foolish for refusing to stay with her until her husband returns. It is from this back-and-forth, consisting of the twitchy manifestations of his increasing discomfort and her seeming commitment to both ignoring and mocking them, that Nichols mines the humor of the sequence. Both Bancroft and Hoffman give themselves completely over to the scene- she in a flippant disregard for most anything he has to say in her quest to lure him upstairs and he in his inability to cope with the one situation he hasn’t had much success in previously. Mrs. Robinson recognizes his inexperience, is almost aroused by it, and it is this awareness that constructs the basis of the witty, cat-and-mouse game being played by the characters.

It is also here that Nichols composes the, justifiably, most famous shot in the film and the one that’s significance is undeniable to its next chapter. As Nichols is fond of doing in The Graduate, one character- here, Mrs. Robinson- is in the foreground of a shot while another- Benjamin- is seen in long shot. Mrs. Robinson, seated on a bar stool, props up her leg, and, through the space between her leg and the chair, Benjamin is seen framed when he utters the film’s most infamous line: “Mrs. Robinson, you’re trying to seduce me.” She laughs it off as another of his silly delusions bred out of childish inexperience, belittling him even as she slowly begins to show her true intentions. By framing Benjamin in the shot through Mrs. Robinson’s legs, Nichols is indicating to the viewer that Benjamin’s been caught. Mrs. Robinson’s ensnared him, just as she’s intended, and it is no longer a question of if they will go upstairs, but when. Throughout the film, Nichols uses techniques like this, mining humor from the fact that Benjamin’s caught in a situation he’s not entirely comfortable with but one he’s going to, cautiously and nervously, make the best of. That is, until the arrival of Katharine Ross’ Elaine throws a wrench into the equation, providing the film its final chapter and the one that will, ultimately, prove to be the most significant to the film’s underlying ideas.

At the end of Garden State, Braff again echoes the thematic undertones of Nichols’ film, and, again, he does so in much too literal a scenario. After he has an epiphany and rushes back to reunite with Natalie Portman’s character, he utters the film’s narrative thesis: “So what do we do? What do we do?” Portman shakes her head, at a loss for the answer. They kiss. The music grows. The camera pulls back from them. We see the two reunited lovers slowly recede from view, isolated in the middle of a stark white airport, uncertain of the future but prepared to tackle it head on. The end.

Braff and Nichols want to tell us, essentially, the same thing in their film’s final moments, but, as Garden State draws to a close, Braff wants to make absolutely sure that the audience has understood what it all means. He employs the character of Andrew to spell it all out as he’s spilling his heart in the baggage claim. He has forgotten one of the cardinal rules of filmmaking in his haste to explain himself to the MySpace generation. Film is a visual medium. It’s not what you tell an audience that counts. It’s how you show it.

In The Graduate’s closing sequence, the camera follows Benjamin and Elaine as they rush out of the church after he stops her wedding. A bus is driving by, and they hail it, running to keep up with it as Elaine struggles to keep pace in her wedding dress. The two get on, and we cut to the interior of the bus, following Elaine and Benjamin closely as they make their way to the back, passing confused passengers that watch them as they go. They sit down, and a sense of triumph and giddy exhilaration spreads over their faces. They stare into each other’s eyes for a moment, but Benjamin looks away. Elaine remains looking at him for a brief moment, but soon the two are facing forward, the thrill of the moment faded, replaced by a creeping awkwardness exacerbated by the continuing silence between them. “The Sound of Silence,” the same Simon and Garfunkel song that opened the film, swells up again. He grins a little. She adjusts her dress, and, in her downcast eyes, the viewer sees a small pang of doubt creep in. As Benjamin’s gaze remains steadfastly forward, Elaine takes a long, inquisitive look at him before her head gradually turns away and here eyes go almost blank. The two lovers sit side-by-side, searching their subconscious for a sense of security in what comes next.

For Benjamin, the uncertainty and lack of purpose he felt in those opening shots is renewed. He got the girl. The task he’s devoted his body and soul and mind to for so long has come to an end. Once again, he’s a success. In his eyes and the drooping of his smile, though, the viewer sees that he’s back to square one. He’s on a bus headed for an unknown destination. The road is long and mysterious, and there’s no telling where it’s going or when he’ll get off. Without the pursuit of Elaine defining his every move, he’s at a loss. Who is he outside of the tortured romantic hero? Who will he become? What will come to define his life? Will he, as one of his parent’s friends suggests, find his future in “plastics?” Or is there something else?

As it turns out, Nichols doesn’t have the answers to the questions he asked in the beginning and doesn’t make an attempt to try. Rather, he wants the viewer to recognize and identify with how truly terrifying the future can be to someone faced with absolute uncertainty. Youthful vigor and disillusionment can’t last forever, and, eventually, choices have to be made. As the film ends, Elaine and Benjamin have, indeed, made a major decision in running off together but are now faced with the prospect of discovering what to do once Nichols is through telling their story for them. It’s all up to them now.

The camera cuts to the back of the bus as seen from the out side. We see Elaine and Benjamin through the window, but the audience is no longer part of their story. The drama is over. Life is beginning. The camera follows the bus, slowing even as the bus moves further and further away down the road until the two characters become indistinguishable from smudges on the bus’ back window. Eventually, the camera stops altogether, and the bus continues on, getting smaller and smaller as Elaine and Benjamin face the future, whatever it is, without us. Fade out.