Five Things: 11/22/13

No preamble today, so let’s dive in.

1) I mean, really..why NOT make a 5 1/2 hour film about self-loathing and sexual addiction? Wait, it’s been cut down to 4 hours because it, um, isn’t quite marketable. Odd for a director to give up final cut of any film. Really. It is.

Now, I’m not a Von Trier fan at all, and yes, I’ve seen all of his films because for a while there, I was considering cutting off my lady bits with garden shears. I needed to watch a ‘how to’ vid.

What’s really special about this week is the trailer for “Nymphomanic” was released. And, well..just have a look-see.

I wouldn’t be surprised if Von Trier’s editor’s in rehab now.

2) So much for the days of yore when kids would play games like kick-the-can, freeze tag and if they had a pool, Marco Polo. It appears the game du jour is the ‘knockout’ game.

It’s pretty simple really. A kid, usually a teenage boy, runs up on some random stranger on the street and knocks ‘em out cold with a punch to the head. That’s all. No robbery, no other type of assault–just a punch–and boom, the victim hits the ground with a thud.

Glad to see that society continues to slide down crap mountain.

3) I get it, you can’t afford to go skiing this year. Sorry about that. But, YOU can fool your friends into thinking you snow-plowed on the bunny hill by doing this….

(via the Daily Mail)

Are they taking the piste? Wearing goggles in tanning booth for ‘fake ski tan’ effect is bizarre new beauty trend

‘Tis true. We’re close to bottoming out as a society, folks. When someone is willing to be a melanoma poster child as an attempt to impress people who probably don’t give a shit about them, it’s time to re-evaluate your life. At this point, you’re just a shell of a person.

Kim Kardashian. Of course. (via the Daily Mail)

Kim Kardashian. Of course. (via the Daily Mail)

Exactly.

4) The people of Stonehenge. (via various)

Screen shot 2013-11-22 at 11.17.00 AM

Screen shot 2013-11-22 at 11.16.37 AM

Screen shot 2013-11-22 at 11.19.52 AMScreen shot 2013-11-22 at 11.19.33 AM

 

I no longer feel the need to bathe.

5) Finally, for those extreme Oprah fans, there’s this little gem.

An Oprah for all sizes! (via Awesomely Luvvie)

An Oprah for all sizes! (via Awesomely Luvvie)

FYI, I’d totally wear the Gene Simmons one though.

Read more about it here.

The Balcony is Closed

It’s been a while, I know, and I was all ready to write about something I came across earlier in the week.

However, I feel the need to pay tribute to someone who’s work meant a great deal to me–Roger Ebert–who died today after a long battle with cancer.

The Eberts at an event I covered in 2007.

The Eberts at an event I covered in 2007.

His death saddens me tremendously because he was a huge voice, not only in film criticism, but in life in general. His prose and wit were unmatched (except by his late-partner in crime, Gene Siskel), and there isn’t a film critic today who comes close to his abilities. He knew how to read a film, then discuss it in a way that wasn’t condescending or obnoxious.

Ebert was a writer, first and foremost, and that made him so good at his job. His love of film just added to that talent.

As most I’ve mentioned before, I grew up in the Chicago area, so watching Siskel & Ebert, and eventually just Ebert, was required of all Illinois citizens. Also, we had to read their columns to learn how to write criticism, and well, how to write in general. After Siskel died, Ebert was the only critic I paid attention to. Sure, Kenneth Turan, A.O. Scott and Manohla Dargis are fine, but…meh…their work doesn’t compare to Ebert’s.

I’ve met Ebert a few times and each meeting, he was kind, gracious and witty. The most memorable was years ago when I was a senior at the University of Wisconsin. My father had the same lawyer as Siskel and Ebert, and said lawyer had an open house at his fab, newly rehabbed greystone in one of Chicago’s tonier neighborhoods. I was an obnoxious, know-it-all film student who became quite verklempt when I heard my father say, “Oh Mr. Ebert, I’d like you to meet my darling daughter, Julia. She’s a film student at Wisconsin, and will be graduating in a few weeks. Hey, any advice you can give her would be GREAT! THANKS!”

Aaaand, my dad disappeared toward the bar.

Thanks, dad.

Great.

This guy is gonna eviscerate me, test me on my knowledge and I’m gonna, like, dieeeee. Imagine my surprise when the exact opposite happened. Ebert and I spent the next hour or so discussing Kurosawa and how important his films are to not only the film world, but to the world in general. We discussed other film makers as well, but I believe that Ebert was touched by the fact that someone so young with an odd hairstyle, dug someone like Kurosawa. Siskel eventually tagged in and the two of us discussed Truffaut for another hour or so.

Needless to say, it was one of the most memorable moments of my life.

I could go on and on about Ebert, but I won’t. I do suggest reading his past columns and his essays on contemporary American life. He had a lot to say and the world will feel this tremendous loss for years.

I leave you with two things–one of my fave Ebert’s quotes, and a Sneak Previews/Siskel & Ebert episode where the two critics discuss the disturbing trend of violence toward women in films.

“’Kindness’ covers all of my political beliefs. No need to spell them out. I believe that if, at the end, according to our abilities, we have done something to make others a little happier, and something to make ourselves a little happier, that is about the best we can do. To make others less happy is a crime. To make ourselves unhappy is where all crime starts. We must try to contribute joy to the world. That is true no matter what our problems, our health, our circumstances. We must try. I didn’t always know this and am happy I lived long enough to find it out.” —Roger Ebert

And the clips–

Plus, a bonus out-take bit with Gene. Classic.

RIP, Roger. The City of Big Shoulders won’t be the same without you.

Damn.

Read With An Australian Accent

Sooooo… these two have been unearthed again.

(Courtesy HuffPo)

(Courtesy HuffPo)

Don’t recognize them because of all the plastica and bondo work they’ve had done, eh? Hint: One had KNIFE tucked in his knickers, and played the babe-in-the-woods bit one too many times for a grown man. The other is a nice Polish ‘murican gal who hasn’t done jack shite since the 80s/early 90s (acting-wise), but has a nice rack, booty (I’ve been told) and a tastefully decorated abode.

This image should help … I hope.

(courtesy ContactMusic)

(courtesy ContactMusic)

Still not gettin’ it? Ok, ok… I’ll play Captain Obvious now just for YOU.

010612crystalWait, that’s not EXACTLY the pic I was looking for. But you have to admit Hef and his latest Viagra pole dancer have some physical aspects in common.

This one works.

(Courtesy of Daily Mail)

(Courtesy of Daily Mail)

My work here is done

 

Dissed Again

The recipients of the MacArthur Genius Grants for 2012 were announced yesterday and I was mighty surprised that I wasn’t among them.

Da noive!

Seriously though, the fellows have me scratching my in-dire-need-of-a-vigorous-shampoo-head. Pulitzer Prize winner Junot Diaz? He’s already well-known, is an incredible writer and probably makes a decent amount of moola each year, why did he get it? Same with David Finkel, an editor at the Washington Post. Of course, these two men are talented, but I was of the belief that winners of the $500,000 no-strings-attached stipend were usually struggling artists or scientists.

Oh how mistaken I be.

What also surprises me is the nomination process. Turns out it is shroud in secrecy — one can’t nominate him/herself — the fellows are nominated by an anonymous group or an anonymous person, then those nominees move onto an even more anonymous group to be voted on yet again anonymously.

Why do I have visions of this particular scene when I imagine what the whole anonymous nominating process is like?

Got it … I think. Not only do I have to get my ass in shape, buy yet another g-string and fancy head dress, I also have to prove to the fucking world I’m a serious writer who could use the $100,000 stipend paid out over 5 years, no-strings-attached.

So, how do I go about being nominated anonymously?

Guess I have to stop scowling and spitting at strangers on the street, on the CTA and in the holding cells from now on. Time to hone my flirting with cops to get out of those indecent exposure and lewd behavior arrests. And–this one hurts the most–I’ll have to discontinue going to my local OTB facility wearing just my Daisy Dukes, halter top and cowboy boots — no matter what the weather is. Also, time to stop dotting my i’s with little hearts and kitten faces.

Crap. There goes flipping people off randomly from now on too.

The goal here is to get folks to see me as a serious writer, who knows how to behave like a lady writer out in public.

This puts a serious damper on my social activities.

Revenge Roman Style

History is one of my favorite subjects and since I was raised in the public school system, my knowledge of US history is strong while my knowledge of world history ain’t that great. Fortunately, studying history is in my blood — my father is a history buff and I am now embracing that “inheritance” full-on.

Then there’s my pal, Tom Sito. I worked with him at Disney Feature animation years ago, and we got along right away because of our quick wits and fondness for trivia and history. Sito sends out a daily history email, which I’ve been getting for about 15 years now and not only is it informative, it’s a HOOT.

One of the today’s entries is no exception.

96 A.D. ROMAN EMPEROR DOMITIAN ASSASSINATED.

Domitian was a crazy tyrant in the mold of Nero and Caligula. He once ordered all the fortunetellers, sorcerers, swamis and such driven out of Rome. Their guild got together and retaliated by doing a group prediction of Domitian’s assassination: Sept. 18th on the eleventh hour.

Domitian pretended not to care but on the day spent all day locked indoors with a sword under his pillow. He didn’t come out until his slaves and butlers assured him the eleventh hour had passed. Domitian came out and was promptly murdered by his slaves and butlers. They lied. It was the eleventh hour. 

BUT WAIT! IT GETS WEIRDER … A Roman mob drags Domitian’s body through the streets on a hook and chain. They tried to stuff him into the sewer but he was too fat, so they tore the body to pieces and threw the chunks into the Tiber.

BUT WAIT! IT GETS EVEN WEIRDER!! The Roman Senate told his wife the Empress Valeria no hard feelings, if she needed anything…. She requested to be allowed to keep one statue of her husband in the Forum. The Senate approved. Unbeknown to them fishermen had fished out the pieces of Domitian. Valeria took the fish-knawed chunks to an Egyptian doctor and had him sew them back into something resembling a man. Then she told her artists to make a statue of the cadaver. This horrid statue she put in the forum to remind Roman’s of ‘their ingratitude’.

See? I fucking love this stuff. He was chopped up, tossed into the Tiber, then scooped out again by a grieving but pissed off Empress, and sewn together then put on display for all of Rome to feast their eyes upon. Back then, it seems the Romans had it all over the rest of civilization when it came to enacting revenge on those who have wronged them. Today, folks do shit like make films that they know will incite riots and the rest of the world watches in horror as revenge is delivered fast and harsh. Quite cowardly, in my humble opinion.

Kinda makes me wonder what living during the time of the Roman Empire was really like.

The Daily Wank

Raquel Welch — she’s been part of many a young person’s daily pud wank or finger bang since she first burst on the scene some 19 years after being born in Ravenswood Hospital. She’s stunning and looks damn good for 71 or for any age for that matter.

While she’s not the best actress around — but holy crap, I do LOVE “Mother, Juggs & Speed” — she has managed to keep her career going lo these many years by appearing in MOWs, films, posing nekkid  in Playboy (her daughter, Tahnee, followed in mum’s footsteps years later) and hawking her skincare/fitness secrets/wigs on the tee vee and beyond. What’s so great about her is she has a wonderful sense of humor about it all. Bravo, Rocky.

Then, there are the musical performances that include dancing, costumes and back-up dancers. Caught on tape.

I tried like hell to imitate Ms. Welch’s opening moves featured in the next clip, but I ended up on the floor with my hips packed in ice. So, don’t try any of these moves unless you have a spotter.

Enjoy!

The ugly side of unemployment

Earlier, I wrote about the advantages of being unemployed, which I did mainly to make myself feel better about the shit-fuck of a situation I’m now in. Sadly, I’ve learned over the past year that the disadvantages of being job-free outweigh the advantages.

You’ll see.

1) No money. None. Zip. Zilch. Hakuna. Here’s a little tale about your pal McCrabass. Once upon a time, I had money. I made sweet moola working as an assistant film/video editor in Hollywood even though I worked almost exclusively on craptastic stuff, but the monetary rewards were fuckin’ golden. The healthcare was decent and so were the other perks like mandatory overtime, being able to write shit off, free movies and working on films. Pretty cool. I learned a great deal about myself and about human nature, so it’s safe to say that working in the movie biz is the best life training out there. That training will help me become an awesome journalist. Shit howdy — I’m already well on my way.

You’re probably wondering to yourself right about now “Hey Julia, why the hell did you leave such a lucrative career? What the crap is the matter with you??!?” I’ll tell you why — it’s a soul-stealing, and soul-sucking business. I got tired of working for self-important blowhards (you know who you are). I’d go into more detail here but it’s really not all that interesting. Basically, I had an epiphany, said “Sayonara” to LA and headed back East.

However, those of you who know me and those who know me via this blog, are well aware that Chicago has been less than welcoming. So, I’ve spent a better part of my tenure in Chicago unemployed and trying to break into a job market that’s stuck in the fucking Dark Ages. I’m broke. I got nothing. It’s depressing as all hell and sadly, this bad financial situation has taken some serious hits on my self-esteem. Needless to say, I have bupkes for self-esteem.

Add being mentally beat to shit with having no funds, and you have a troubled soul with little to offer. It sucks out loud.

2) Not being out among the living. During the past 11 months, I’ve forgotten what it’s like to get up everyday in the pre-dawn hours, shower, put on makeup, and figure out which fetching outfit I’m going to wear that day.  I’ve forgotten what it’s like to ride the archaic CTA on a daily basis, and be among the beautiful people as they trudge to their jobs. I’ve forgotten what it’s like to have co-workers and a job to do.

I’m beginning to feel like Tom Hanks when the plane he was riding in got all jacked up, and.. and.. he ended up stranded and skinny on a tropical island bonding with a piece of playground equipment.

In the summer, I miss getting caught on the CTA on a game day. There’s nothing more amusing that watching some Schaumburgian shitbag Cub fan who’s shitfaced on the El loudly squawking about how there are sooooo many hot women in the city but too many n*ggers.

Wait…come to think of it, being a hermit has its advantages, but the disadvantages outweigh them. I need to see the shitbags and the normal folks to keep me motivated. Going on long walkabouts (my new thing) ain’t the same as being among the hustle and bustle of the maddening crowd.

3) Few and far between. I have two freelance gigs that I love. They’re challenging and very fun. I learn tons and tons — when I’m at them. See, there’s the rub. I’m not doing either job enough because there isn’t enough work and as a result, I forget basic tasks then I make mistakes & end up feeling like a choad. Add that to the crap-for-self-esteem and being dirt poor and you’ve got a ghost of a McCrabass. Add poi, and you have the most disgusting combo platter EVER.

4) Not keeping up appearances. This ties in with #2. In short, I’m a hot mess. I don’t shower every day unless I’ve been at Bikram or out on one of my walkabouts. The need to be all clean and sanitized is a very low priority especially when there are other things that are more pressing like keeping the couch down and timing my day around “Friends” reruns.

The bad thing is, I’ve forgotten what I look like all dolled-up. I’ve had to ask friends and family if I was ever even remotely attractive since I don’t have any photos of me anywhere. (I loathe having my picture taken — cameras tend to break when they’re pointed at me. They just explode.) Makeup? Que? I have no idea what that is anymore. I came across a Laura Mercier lipstick in my purse the other day and it took a good 5 minutes of heavy-duty thinking to figure out what the hell I was looking at.

However, I have psyched myself up to wash my hair at least once a week because, after all, it’s good to have goals.

5) Time is a thief. Since I’m a member of an age group that has been deemed un-hireable, being unemployed for this long is not good. It’s a killer. Each day of me being unemployed basically ensures that I’ll never get a decent job ever again because those with no experience, but are young, are getting all the sweet gigs. I’ll never have health benefits or a 401k, or have the opportunity to get rip roarin’ drunk at the office holiday party, take my top off and dare the boss to play motor boat with my delicates. Oh the fun my co-workers coulda had.

Soon, I’ll have to get extensions, keep dyeing my hair, seriously consider getting Botox and lose a ton of weight if I ever want to get past the first phone interview. (HR folks can sense what you look like via your voice these days.) Thank god plastic surgeons have payment plans.

6) So bored. I can only write so much in one day. I can only watch so much tee vee too. I can only rearrange crap in my apartment so many times. I can only wander around this city so many times before I want to jump in the lake. I can only read so much — both online and in book-form — before I want to scream. I can only look at the job sites for so long before I want to start calling my former bosses and telling them what I REALLY think of them.

See? This is unhealthy.

It would be better for the world if I had a meaningful job.

Now I’m craving Fudgesicles…

 

“It was two in the morning. I was living in Orange County at the time and was asleep with my wife. My two-year old at the time was in another room. I opened my eyes and there was a naked man wearing my leather jacket eating a Fudgesicle in front of my bed.”Nicolas Cage, talking to reporters at the Toronto International Film Festival, promoting his new movie, the home-invasion thriller Trespass. (via Reuters)

 

I’m off to buy a leather jacket. Bye!