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Monthly Archives: October 2008

Forgetting Sarah Marshall (2008)

You know, there was a time, in the late nineties and early aughts when it just honestly looked to me like there was nothing really new and original in quote-unquote “mainstream” movies. Not that everything was universally bad, it was just universally been-there-done-that. Even comedies. Especially comedies. But the best of the recent Judd Apatow-produced comedy mill — The 40-Year-Old Virgin, Knocked Up, Superbad and now Forgetting Sarah Marshall — have managed to make a whole new genre out of what should have been there all along. Comedies about awkward social/dating/sex situations in which everybody’s more-or-less a real person, and nobody’s really a “good guy” or “bad guy”, they’re all just people, who sometimes do or say the wrong thing or act at cross purposes. And are really fucking hilarious. Case in point: the douchebag rock star romantic rival. In any other movie, that’s all he would be. In Forgetting Sarah Marshall, he’s a douchebag rock star romantic rival who also turns out to be a cool, likeable guy. And who gets some of the best lines.

Only problem is, movies like this make it hard to watch funny but lesser comedies like Tropic Thunder and not feel like something’s missing. But that’s a price I’m willing to pay.

The Guardian thinks my neighbourhood is cool

Quoth The Guardian:

When developers – especially those hawking new apartment buildings with names like Olive or Aubergine – started branding this once-gritty area as SoMa, some locals rolled their eyes. They hadn’t carved a bohemian niche in this mostly forgotten neighbourhood for it to be hijacked by yuppie-luring marketing campaigns. Luckily, South Main (as real locals refer to it) has mostly survived the spin, becoming Vancouver’s coolest hangout and an ideal destination for visitors aiming beyond the city’s crowded tourist attractions and its nature-hugging, camera-ready vistas.

Only… I’ve yet to hear anyone actually call the neighbourhood “South Main”.

Paranoid Park (2008)

There is something so maddening about Gus Van Sant. He keeps brushing up against greatness, making you think that he’ll finally break through and make a movie that is satisfying both as art and entertainment, but inevitably, he pulls back from fully committing to either. Paranoid Park is his latest effort, and the first of two films he has coming uot this year. It’s the story of a teenaged skater in Portland, Oregon, who is involved in the accidental killing of a security guard, which lends itself well to Vn Sant’s recent obsession with youthful alienation.

The good news is that Paranoid Park is mostly a good movie and worth seeing — the cinematography (by the brilliant Christopher Doyle) effortlessly takes on a lot of the heavy lifting, capturing the damp and cold of my beloved Pacific Northwest, and his use of shallow focus is effective in isolating kids who drift through the adult world around them. And the story is smart and engaging, unfolding with a light touch when it could easily have been heavy-handed. Unfortunately, this makes the missteps all the more clunky, especially the decision to use non-professional actors, who mostly perform at a sub-school-play level.

Caribou wins Polaris Prize

Okay, I’m a little late on this, but it’s pretty cool news. On September 29, Caribou’s album Andorra won the Polaris Music Prize. I’m not much of a fan of the first couple of Polaris winners, which I think were not bad, but maybe more conceptual than enjoyable. I mean, does anybody really, truly, in their heart of hearts think that Patrick Watson’s Close to Paradise is a better album than The Arcade Fire’s Neon Bible? And has anybody ever listened to Final Fantasy’s He Poos Clouds all the way through a second time?

But I love Andorra. If you don’t already own the album, you probably need to pick it up, and if you ever have a chance to see Caribou in concert, go.

And so, in honour of Dr Dan Snaith’s achievement, here’s the video for Andorra‘s exquisite Melody Day, a song that gives me goose bumps every single time I hear it. And it’s not even my favourite song on the album.

lonely at the bottom


This chart is from Political Compass, which tries to avoid the standard (and stupid) alignment of political beliefs along a single left-right axis. I’m not sure this is a huge improvement, though: I think my placement so close to the bottom is more due to my anti-authoritarian streak than my similarity to conventional Bob Barr/Ron Paul-style libertarianism, an ideology I think is both heartless and naive. In fact, in this case, the right-left axis is a pretty good indication of my voting preference.

And if only we had a preferential ballot in Canada, I could actually vote for my preferred party. Instead, I’m once again going to vote strategically, just like certain too honest for their own good politicians.