Miz Shoes

Blast From the Past

Tonight I bring you a letter written by my mother in 1970, to my aunt and uncle who were abroad. She tells the story of the day my cousin and I decided to cook dinner. I give it to you in its entirety.

"Dear I** and E******,

As I write this, you have been gone from Stuart only five days. I know it seems to you like five months, and you'll be surprised when you get back at how little has happened here. B****** (ed. note: my cousin) wrote you a letter yesterday, and sent it to Stockholm, so I'm sending mine to the next place. You needn't worry about her - we are getting along fine. L**** (ed. note: that's me) loves to have her here, and maybe I won't give her back to you when you return. Saturday, when she was dressing to go out, she saw L's old games (Candyland, etc.) in the closet. She told L to wait up for her and they would play them when she got home from her date. Is this a college girl? She's just as young and childish as L.

M** and L***** (ed. note: my father and brother) are getting along pretty good in the store. He's (L) working in fine -- selling shoes, etc. At home it is still pretty grainy. He is such a slob -- and of course runs to Ft. Pierce every night -- and doesn't get home until everyone's asleep.

G***** and A** (ed. note: aunt and uncle) were up yesterday, with W***** (ed. note: another cousin). L**** (ed. note: yet another cousin) is not going to school or working. All he does is play bridge. (ed. note: he's now a professional bridge player). He has a couple of old ladies from Palm Beach that take him and pay his losses. If he wins, they let him keep the money. Some life -- a bridge bum. W***** is going to PBJC in the fall.

They finally opened the exercise studio this week. I am going in to talk to them this morning.

(Tuesday) I didn't finish this yesterday, because I thought there'd be something else to tell you. I joined the Sauna Club -- but haven't started yet -- don't have time now. B****** worked this morning and decided to stay home this afternoon. When I went to the store at noon I told them to think of something for dinner. M** told me they had the kitchen full of limes when he went home for lunch. I got home at 4PM. "Don't ask!" Up to then they had made a souffle for dessert. They were throwing beaten egg whites at each other and at 4:30 they decided to go to the grocery store to get something to go with or before the souffle. They left me to wash -- 2 pots, 5 bowls, 2 dishes and 12 assorted items. There was dried egg yolk on all the counters and stove -- and they have worked themselves to death. It is 5:15 and they aren't back yet. I pity the man that had to eat what they make.

Just now in the store a Jewish woman came in. She is moving from Titusville and Ira the butcher told her to look us up. They are building in Sherwood Forest here. Anyway, when she told me her name -- I recognized her. We were in college together 34 years ago. She has a daughter, 18 going to Gainesville in the fall, and twins 15. I'm going to introduce them to our girls.

Incidentally, maybe I'll let you have B****** back, plus L***** when you come home.

Haven't heard from the folks. They only write when written to.

Hope you are having a wonderful time. I'll see you in West Palm on the 21st."

Now, my cousin and I don't remember throwing the egg whites at each other, and we have each become the hostess for family gatherings on either side. We are both known to be a dab hand in the kitchen, and have never had a man complain about our cooking.

I bring this up because as soon as I end this entry, I am off to prep a Beef Wellington for tomorrow night's movie night. We're doing Our Man Flint and so a 60's revival menu is called for. Martinis to start. Caesar salad at the table and a Grand Marnier cake to finish.

And, no, my mother neither kept my cousin, nor gave me away.
Miz Shoes

Obnoxious In Victory, Bitter In Defeat

That's me. And right now I'm bitter in defeat. I'm particularly bitter because the first round I lost in BlogMadness is the round that doesn't have a double elimination, which means I am just O-U-T. I'm also particularly bitter because when I went to bed last night, with another 3 hours of voting, I was ahead by two. This morning, I am out. By two.

Damn you, No Ping. Damn you and your Mr. Bean-esque tale of buying sex lube at Wal-Mart.

I had pathos. I had tears. I had dead friends. You had sex lube.

What a world, what a world. Where a little girl like you could... oh. Wrong story.

Ah, as my old pal Psycho Patti would have said: Joke 'em if they can't take a fuck. I wonder where she is, now? Last heard to be in Georgia, refusing to take her meds. I miss her. At least she isn't dead. I don't think.

Last night I dreamt about Bill. Dead, of course, like so many other of the people of whom I was most fond. We were doing something with ceramics. I was trying to glaze bisques. But the glaze was thick, like icing, and it wouldn't hold to the clay. I was dipping the clay in the swimming pool, and the glaze was peeling off. Running off, actually, like watercolor paints. I thought that it would make for very interesting effects, if I could just get it to the kiln.

Damn. I hate to lose. (tooth gnashing) But thanks to everyone who supported me and help me get as far as I did.
Miz Shoes

Too Good to Be True

Check it out: P.J. O'Rourke put a comment on my story about him. He corrected the spelling of his own name (dopey me) and took me to task for implying that the Lone Star is still in existence. I didn't, but it was sloppy writing on my part, and I accept the criticism.

I was so happy to hear from P.J. that I replied to the address he left on the comment. But, alas. If it was really and truly my curmudgeonly idol P.J. who left that comment and address, he didn't want to hear back from me, because the e-mail I sent thanking him for the note came back as "return to sender, address unknown. No such number, no such home."

In the interest of having the last word, here is the note I sent to P.J.:

"If you are, indeed, the REAL P.J. O'Rourke, I'm flattered that you've read my blog and took the time to correct my spelling. I'm also flattered that you chose not to correct my memories of the night we met. But that would be flattering myself to think you'd remember.

I've corrected the spelling of your name in the entry, but I think it was a matter of tense that made you think I was implying that the Lone Star still exists. I'm well aware that it is a thing of memory. Alas.

But then, Wo Hop's (downstairs, 17 Mott Street) is also just a fond memory.


Thank you so much for writing.

Miz Shoes

By Request

Someone asked about an item on my 100 Things list: they wanted me to tell the whole story about the night I met P.J. O'Rourke in a bar.

Let me set the stage. It is March, 1977, and I am living in New York City, in the Village, to be exact. I have just turned 22. This is the opening night party for what will become, for a time, one of the hottest night clubs in the city, The Lone Star Cafe. There is a sizable contingent of Texans living in New York at the time, enough that the New Yorker makes up an acronym (TINYs: Texans Living In New York) and many jokes for/about them.
The Lone Star is at the lower end of 5th Avenue, and sports on its roof a 10-foot sculpture of an iguana, complete with red neon eyes. Kinky Friedman and the Texas Jewboys will become the unofficial house band. I will meet BB King and Lucille there. I will see and hear most of the best country/rock/blues bands of the day. My girlfriend and I will personally cause the cut "Drop Kick Me Jesus Through the Goal Posts of Life" to be removed from the jukebox because we will play it over and over and over and laugh ourselves sick each time.

But that's all in the future. This is opening night, and they are throwing a Texas Independence Day Party to introduce the bar to the city. And I am there, wearing, what is for me, my casual uniform: a Hawiian print shirt and a pair of army fatigues. I'm drinking shots of Cuervo Gold and backing them with Dos Equis Darks. I am slightly drunk and very, very jolly.

I see, across the room, one of my personal heros. There is PJ O'Rourke, editor of the National Lampoon, one of the best and the brightest of my generation. He is tall and handsome and arguably the funniest person I have ever read. He has not yet become an apologist for the Right Wing. I am going to meet him. I just need to think of an opening line that would be worthy of his genius (and mine).

I go up to him, poke him gently in the ribs with my beer, and say "Hey! Who are you and what are you doing with PJ O'Rourke's face on the front of your head?"

He looks down his patrician nose, from his great height of six-foot and change and says "I AM PJ O'Rourke. What do you want?"

I say, quoting PJ, as a matter of fact: "Lick you all over for a dime. C'mon PJ, say something funny."

What he said was "Get the hell away from me." So I did.

I ended up talking to a man who was a writer for the Atlantic Monthly (I think. There had been a bit more tequilla and beer by then.) We were brilliant. The banter and rapier-like wit between us was worthy of the best odd-ball comedy of Cary Grant and Katharine Hepburn. Or Katharine Hepburn and Spencer Tracy. He finally said, rubbing his cheeks, where they hurt from having laughed so long and so hard, "You are the funniest woman I have ever met in my life. You need to meet my friend, because he's the funniest man I know. Hey! PJ, come over here, I want you to meet this girl."

PJ still didn't find me amusing "We've met." and took George and left.

Somewhere around 3 in the morning a guy tried to sing the Texas A&M fight song. He was thrown out into the snow by a very angry mob of UT alumni (HOOK 'EM HORNS) and the doors were locked behind him. I had found my neighborhood bar.

PS: there's still time to vote on my BlogMadness entry "Back Home."
Miz Shoes

Wait, he was HOW old?

Oh Captain, my Captain.

Captain Kangaroo, dead at 76. So he looked like a kindly grandfather when he was, uh, thirty? No way.

I remember the white braid on his black jacket, and how large his pockets were. I remember that nobody made fun of his hair, but when the Beatles tried the same style they were lampooned. I remember that it was the first "must-see TV" of my life. I realize that I thought he'd been dead for years.

Yep. I knew it this morning. It was going to be a sucky day in my neighborhood.

Goodbye, Captain. You were the first, and the best.
Miz Shoes

I’m Sorry, It’s a Meme

As seen at Solonor's and http://solonor.com/archives/002199.html#002199">The Smarter Cop.

The following is a list of the 100 best rated movies on IMDb.com (by their loyal readers).

Bold the ones you've seen. Italicize the ones you want to see. Underline the ones you own. Put an asterisk by your favorites. (Or, in my case, just click on my list of movies) Write down the ones you don't want to see on a 3x5 index card and memorize their names, so you can tell complete strangers how cool you are for not wanting to see Citizen Kane. (Last step optional.)

For me, though it isn't on the list, that would be Titanic. Why anyone would want to see it is beyond me... Boat sinks, damn near everybody dies. The End.

1 Godfather, The (1972)
2 Shawshank Redemption, The (1994)
3 Godfather: Part II, The (1974)
4 Lord of the Rings: The Return of the King, The (2003)
5 Lord of the Rings: The Two Towers, The

6 Casablanca (1942)
7 Schindler's List (1993)
8 Lord of the Rings: The Fellowship of the Ring, The (2001)
9 Shichinin no samurai (1954) (The Seven Samurai)
10 Star Wars (1977)
11 Citizen Kane (1941)
12 One Flew Over the Cuckoo's Nest (1975)
13 Dr. Strangelove or: How I Learned to Stop Worrying and Love the Bomb (1964)
14 Rear Window (1954)
15 Star Wars: Episode V - The Empire Strikes Back (1980)
16 Raiders of the Lost Ark (1981)

17 Memento (2000))
18 Usual Suspects, The (1995)
19 Pulp Fiction (1994)
20 North by Northwest (1959)
21 12 Angry Men (1957)

22 Fabuleux destin d'Am?lie Poulain, Le (2001)
23 Psycho (1960)
24 Lawrence of Arabia (1962)
25 Buono, il brutto, il cattivo, Il (1966) (The Good, the Bad & The Ugly)
26 Silence of the Lambs, The (1991)
27 It's a Wonderful Life (1946)
28 Goodfellas (1990)
29 American Beauty (1999)
30 Vertigo (1958)
31 Sunset Blvd. (1950)
32 Matrix, The (1999)
33 Apocalypse Now (1979)

34 Pianist, The (2002)
35 To Kill a Mockingbird (1962)
36 Taxi Driver (1976)
37 Some Like It Hot (1959)
38 C'era una volta il West (1968) (Once Upon a Time in the West)
39 Third Man, The (1949)
40 Paths of Glory (1957)
41 Fight Club (1999)
42 Sen to Chihiro no kamikakushi (2001)
43 Boot, Das (1981)
44 Double Indemnity (1944)
45 L.A. Confidential (1997)
46 Chinatown (1974)
47 Singin' in the Rain (1952)
48 Maltese Falcon, The (1941)
49 Requiem for a Dream (2000)
50 M (1931)
51 Bridge on the River Kwai, The (1957)
52 All About Eve (1950)
53 Monty Python and the Holy Grail (1975)
54 Se7en (1995)
55 Saving Private Ryan (1998)
56 Raging Bull (1980)
57 Cidade de Deus (2002) (City of God)
58 Wizard of Oz, The (1939)
59 Rash?mon (1950)
60 Sting, The (1973)
61 Alien (1979)
62 American History X (1998)
63 Mr. Smith Goes to Washington (1939)

64 L?on (1994)
65 Vita ? bella, La (1997) (Life is Beautiful)
66 Touch of Evil (1958)
67 Manchurian Candidate, The (1962)
68 2001: A Space Odyssey (1968)
69 Treasure of the Sierra Madre, The (1948)
70 Great Escape, The (1963)
71 Wo hu cang long (2000) (Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon)

72 Reservoir Dogs (1992)
73 Clockwork Orange, A (1971)
74 Amadeus (1984)
75 Modern Times (1936)
76 Annie Hall (1977)
77 Ran (1985)
78 Jaws (1975)
79 On the Waterfront (1954)
80 Braveheart (1995)
81 High Noon (1952)
82 Apartment, The (1960)
83 Fargo (1996)
84 Sixth Sense, The (1999)
85 Aliens (1986)
86 Shining, The (1980)
87 Strangers on a Train (1951)
88 Blade Runner (1982)
89 Metropolis (1927)
90 Duck Soup (1933)
91 Finding Nemo (2003)

92 Donnie Darko (2001)
93 General, The (1927)
94 Toy Story 2 (1999)
95 Princess Bride, The (1987)
96 City Lights (1931)
97 Great Dictator, The (1940)
98 Kill Bill: Vol. 1 (2003)
99 Lola rennt (1998)
100 Notorious (1946)
Miz Shoes

All Singing, All Dancing, All 3 Hours!

Last night was Movie Night here at Today's Shoes. Me and the RLA* and another two couples got together for dinner and a movie. Dinner was supplied by the host couple (not us, thank G-d, but the bar was set quite high) and we brought the movie. The other couple were simply entertaining. They'll get their turn.

We did Indian last night, and as I mentioned, dinner was afuckingmazing. There were homemade samosas, and hard cooked eggs with a tomato dip and dal and a 9 treasure rice and a mango/cardamom ice-cream desert and chai. Every item lovingly and exquisitely made by our hosts.

The tone of the evening was set during dinner when, for reasons that are obscure to me now, we all tied our napkins on our heads, pulled our pants up to our armpits and, as our hostess came in from the kitchen, stood up, hunched our shoulders and yelled "Moi brain 'urts!"

The RLA has a notorious history of bad movie choices. He has forced me to sit through hours and hours of films whose celluloid stock would have had a better life as guitar picks. I cannot count the number of times I have squirmed in the dark, looking at my watch by the light of the exit guides buried in the aisles and praying for electrical failure to end my misery.

But Bollywood is Bollywood, and how bad can it be if it has my personal fave, Shahrukh Kahn? Well, last night we found out.

Three hours, and only four dance numbers, and one of them was a sort of reprise of the first number. Shahrukh doesn't show up until two hours in, and then he does a hot dream sequence dance number that must have been an out-take from some other movie, as it bore no relation to the plot in any way, shape or form.

The movie was a passionate plea for peace and end of tribal warfare, or so it seemed to think. The six of us are old cronies from back in the radio comedy show days, and so the three hours just flew by as we did our best Hindu Mystery Science Theater 2000 impressions. Our faces hurt from laughing, which was just as well, because the movie sucked. The RLA is now no longer allowed to pick foreign films, either, as it seems his track record for flops is in no danger of ending any time soon.

Shahrukh does get shot in the back, after which he runs, does a little kung-fu fighting, cracks wise, takes out an army of bad guys, saves the girl, runs some more, smokes his last cigarette, cracks wise some more, runs again, finally begins to bleed and spends another ten or fifteen minutes dying. The guy's a genius.

To add further insult to our marathon viewing, this was a modern day epic set in LA (except Vancouver stands in for LA) and somewhere on the northern outback of India. This meant no cool period costumes. There were special effects, notably some slo-mo, and a backwards running sequence that could just have been an attempt to do an MJ moonwalk.

Well, it was fun, and I can't wait to do it again. Couscous and Lawrence of Arabia?

*RLA = Renowned Local Artist
Miz Shoes

Damn! Naked AGAIN?

I crack myself up, even when I'm asleep.

Last night, I dreamt I was driving down the main street of the old down town of my home town. My husband was driving our car, and he pulled over at a cafe/cd store (which isn't there in real life, except for the cafe). He said, "Get what you need, and I'll drive around the block."

So I went in, to this old shop with wooden floors, and worked my way through the cafe to the Virgin Megastore-type cd store in the back. This was a 5 & 10 in my childhood, and there were still elements of that in my dream: high dark ceilings, wooden display tables. I saw a table that held stationery, with a sign that said 30% off, so I looked to see if they had any Shag art. As I was leaning over, a clerk came up behind me and said something unintelligible about a nice bag. Nice bag? Huh? What am I carrying? I reached around behind myself to feel for my purse and realized that I'm only wearing a sweater and an olive green Coach hobo bag. My ass is hanging out.

"Damn! Naked AGAIN??!!" I yelped. I must be dreaming. I grab the clerk, to see if I can feel him, which I can. Never mind. I know I must be dreaming, and so I force myself to look around the store and confirm that I am, in fact, asleep. I then clap the clerk on the shoulder and say "Thanks, dude. I needed to wake up."

I leave the store, and wait on the corner for my husband to come back with the car. He does, but not before I've yelled at a couple of bad drivers for taking the corner too close. I get in the car, close the door, and wake up.

And yes, it was time for me to get up. As I said, I can crack myself up awake or asleep.
Miz Shoes

How I Spent My Winter Vacation

I went to Disney World. Yes. I did. And I loved it. I love the sight of hundreds and hundreds of people in Santa Hats with Mickey Ears. I love the sight of many of those same hundreds in bright red sweat suits. In public.

On the other hand, I did not see a single instance of public personal grooming.

On still another hand, the husband and I got to engage in one of our favorite pastimes: being in other peoples photo shoots. On purpose. We wait until someone is about to snap a shot, and as we walk through the frame we turn and smile, or wave. We've been doing this for years, it started on our honeymoon, when we saw the same Japanese tourists day after day, with their video cams. We just started waving, and saying "Still married! Still honeymooning!"

This time we even got to toast the people at the table in front of us, as the waiter took the shot of the table from one end, thereby including us at the other end. What fun!

But seriously, I do love Disney. My girlfriend tells me that there is a special spot in hell for us stockholders, where we will be forced to wear the Mickey/Santa hats all year long... while we ride for all eternity through "It's a Small World." I say, as long as it keeps my portfolio from being in the red, I don't care what Michael Eisner does.

In fact, I have a couple of suggestions on how to increase the bottom line, if Mr. Eisner would like them, he can just drop me a line here at Girlyshoes.

The food at the park hotels is phenomenal, and when I get the chance, I will tell you about the 12 grain vegetarian dish I had at Jiko, in the Animal Kingdom Lodge. But tell me this: when was the last time you had a meal so good that you wrote a little love poem to it on the Styrofoam box in which you took the leftovers home? Yeah. Didn't think so. But this dish was so damn good, I did. And the two people I let see the leftovers ended up sticking forks in it and moaning in ecstasy as they ate.

I took lots of photos, which I may or may not post. I shopped at both the high and low end outlet malls. We indulged our audio/visual habit with trips to some obscure CD stores, and bought a box set of Rough Guide to Indian Music, a box set of Kurasawa's Samurai films, another box set of garage/psychedelic bands from England (Rubble) and the soundtrack to Our Man Flint and In Like Flint.

We bought books, and Legos and fabric for my quilting habit. We ate like starving stoats and all in all had a marvelous time, thank you for asking.

And you? Did you all have nice holidays? Or did they send you back to therapy for another ten years? Oh, well.
Miz Shoes


Yesterday's money quote was Kathy Griffin saying that watching celebrities come out and defend Michael Jackson's pedophilia was disgusting. Couldn't have said it better, myself.

In a fit of train-wreck watching, I got in about 45 minutes of EmJay before my brain tried to implode.

So, uh, not to see a conspiracy here, but how um, coincidental? Convenient? is it that Michael's celebrity defender du jour was Nicole-Lionel's-Daughter-Ritchie? She who "stars" with her best friend Paris-I-Am-SO-A-Serious-Intellectual-Damn-It-Hilton in Fox's newest reality show. You know, the one where the two rich girls go live for a month in West Mustache, FlyOverState, USA. The one that Paris is unable to hype on the talk show circuit because of her other video?

But, Nicole-Lionel's-Daughter-Ritchie could, if anybody would give her airtime to do it. It's just that, well, let's just say she doesn't have Paris' borzoi-like good looks.

Wait! She just happens to be EmJay's god-daughter. OHMIGAWD! Like, two celebrity birds with one set up and number two shot. Tell me some hot young producer didn't earn their pay this week figuring that out.
Miz Shoes

Reason #5287 Why I’m Going to Hell

I have been extremely rigorous in my avoidance of any and all "reality" TV. I am proud to say, that except for an occasional commercial, I've never seen a single minute of any of the Survivors. Ditto Joe Millionaire, the Bachelor, the Bachelorette (ugh, the very concept), Fear Factor, Amazing Race, Paradise Hotel or any of the several million knock-offs and variants thereof.


Since the playoffs (and if you have to ask which playoffs, you are utterly worthless) were on FOX, there were a lot, a lot, a lot of ads for the new season of Joe Millionaire in which they showed a dozen very pretty young Euro-trash women burbling on about how they could just so easily fall in love with this man they think is worth $80 million. "And now for the best part, he's riiich"

God help me. I have to watch. This is a train wreck I would PAY to watch. I don't want to. I won't respect myself at all. But I am going to be glued to this. It's ugly. It's cruel. It's going to be my personal must-see-TV.

Speaking of cruel, I am just appalled by the new Sprint commercials which show a young woman taking a photo with her voice and image cell phone of some poor schmuck having a bad day at the diner. She sends the photo to her girlfriend with the snidest, bitchiest singsong voice over of "Look at your new boyfriend, don't you l-u-v your new boyfriend?"

It is just mean spirited. Cruel. It gives me the heebiejeebies of highschool cliques and unpopularity contests. It's ugly. It's demeaning. It's awful.

And a lot like what I suspect will be my new favorite TV show of all time: Joe Millionaire goes to Europe to hose the unsuspecting gold diggers.
Miz Shoes

Code Orange

Last night's episode of "Whoopi" just cracked me up. I'm probably the only person in America watching and laughing (except for my darling husband, who laughs at some of the same things I do). But laughing I am. Last night skewered our nation's new color coded warning system for terrorist dangers. They had a code orange, which meant that unattended packages in the lobby required blowing up by the NYC bomb squad. On yellow days, unattended packages are safe.

Maybe I wouldn't have found it quite so humorous if Miami wasn't under an Orange Alert this week. You might think that the front page of our local rag newspaper would feature this notice. You might also think the world is flat. You would be wrong on both counts.

Yesterday, the story was buried somewhere in the newly graphically destroyed redesigned paper in a sidebar on an inner page in the local section under a headline that read (and I am NOT making this up) Miami Under False Code Orange Alert. The story went on to say that the Feds thought we should be under an Orange Alert due to super secret de-coded messages that threatened a terrorist attack on the city. The local FBI thought that the messages were bogus. So they split the difference by issuing the alert and telling everyone "Never mind" like some kind of spy network Emily Litella.

Today, the story made it to an actual body copy story. Same thing. National says that the threats were very specific: day, date and city, but they refuse to actually name names. Or date dates, as the case may be. Just a generic sort of "some time this week" in Miami. Or not.

It's not like I work in a tall building in the county hospital (the designated treatment center in case of a mass casualty event) in the direct flight path of the air port, or anything. I'm not nervous. I'm barely cautious. But every time one of the choppers comes in to the Trauma Center, or a plane comes in for a landing, or even when the MetroRail glides into the station at the foot of this building, my stomach clenches.

This is just great. I have a light in my car that doesn't designate any particular problem, it just lights up when you need to take the car to the mechanic. I call it the random anxiety generator light.

I feel like the FBI has put a random anxiety generator light on the entire city of Miami. Or maybe the FBI is being run by Jewish grandmothers. "I don't want you should worry, but..."

To quote the ever eloquent Jodi, "feh."
Miz Shoes

Another Pandemonium Movie Review

* A note. I used to do a radio comedy program on my local NPR station. It was "The Pandemonium Midnight Uprising," and I did a weekly movie review in the person of Rhona Remora. A remora is a fish that sticks (literally, via a patch of like, backwards pointing scales on the top of their heads) to sharks. When the sharks swim, the remoras go along for the ride. When the sharks eat, the remoras get the leftovers. A very little imagination can take you to where I was when I named this character. Anyway, as much as I loved doing Rhona (she has a high, very nasal New York accent, via Brooklyn) she finally went to the cutting room floor when Pande ended. But after seeing a movie this weekend, I had to bring her back. Take it away, Rhona. Cue the cheesy intro music:

Hiya, Rhona Remora here with another Pandemonium Movie Review.

This week I went to see "Once Upon a Time in Mexico." This should not be confused with "Once Upon a Time in the West." Or, for that matter with "Once Upon a Time in America","Lagaan, Once Upon a Time in India", "Once Upon a Time in the Midlands", or even "Once Upon a Time in Beruit."

I'd been told that this "Once Upon a Time" was a sort of remake of the great Clint Eastwood classic, "The Good, The Bad and the Ugly". By sort of I guess they meant that it was a film. I had just seen TGTBTU on cable, so I remembered the plot. There was a lot of money. The good guy (Clint, of course) knew where it was and was going to steal it from the dead guy. The bad guy (Lee Van Cleef) didn't know where it was, but he had the good guy captive and was going to kill him after he had stolen the money from the dead guy, and then steal the money from Clint. The ugly guy (Eli Wallach) was along for comic/violence relief since he was never going to get the money from anyone: good, bad or dead.

There was none of that in OUTIM. Well, no. There was money, and two of the Mariachis got it, one of them was The Drunk, and the other was The Kid. There was plenty of ugly, with both Willem Dafoe and Mickey (O, my god, what happened to his face?) Roarke. Neither of them live, or get the money.

Antonio Banderas gets the money, but then he throws it off the roof of a building so the villagers can grab it. I think. Maybe. Or maybe the money is blowing around in the village square because the building it was in blew up. Hard to tell, because pretty much everything in this movie either blows up or gets shot up.

Even the predictable fruit cart chase ends up not with a fruit cart crash, but with a massacre of harmless fruit. Watermelons exploding from armour piercing bullets. Bananas spattering. Unidentifiable pulp and juice everywhere.

Johnny Depp plays a CIA agent and Ruben Blades a retired FBI agent. They both take a lot of lead. Neither one gets any money, but Ruben gets Mickey Roarke's chihuahua. Depp gets the girl, but she turns out to be bad, and so he gets to turn her into one of the dead.

There's a cameo appearance by someone I think is the director's grandmother. In the middle of one of the never-ending gun fights, an older woman in a military uniform unlike any of the other military uniforms, steps out of a doorway and plugs away with a shotgun. She appears in no other scene. Maybe they were smoking in the cutting room, and she belongs in one of the other "Once Upon a Times."

But that was the movie. Lots of blowing up stuff, lots of bullets flying, lots of body count and a really gross thing happens to Depp. Maybe this should have been called the Pretty, the Dead and the Missing Plot.

Until next week, this is Rhona Remora saying: Remember, in the dark, they ain't all alike.
Miz Shoes

Triumph of the Will

Yeah. So. Leni Riefenstahl has died at the age of 101. It's with mixed emotions that I note her passing. As a Jew, and one who lost family members in the Holocaust, it is hard to reconcile her willing role in the propaganda machine with the absolute beauty and magnificence of the work itself. But as a student of film, there is no question but that she deserves my respect and admiration. Her work was seminal. Singular.

But, and it is a huge fucking but, the subject matter of that work is unconscionable. She did the work willingly. She volunteered for the job of film maker to the Fuehrer. She did not just follow orders. She made the orders. She gave a face -- a glamorous, Hollywood face -- to that which should have been painted as evil.

From the AP story of her death comes this quote:

Germany's Culture Minister Christina Weiss said Riefenstahl's life tragically demonstrated that "art is never unpolitical, and that form and content cannot be separated from one another."

That will be Leni's epitaph. But her legacy will be seen in the flickering shadows of film forever.
Miz Shoes

Boys’ Night Out

For the last, oh, I don't know, eight years or so, my husband has gone out on Thursday night with the boys. It started as a Boys' Night Out, morphed into Poker Night, collapsed under the weight of Boys Who Had To Win, went on a brief hiatus when he taught on Thursday nights and is now back in full press Boys' Night Out.

This makes Thursdays My Night In. Oh, the vision of me in my chenille bathrobe (lime green) and bunny slippers. Bottle of red, bowl of popcorn and the remote. With our recent acquisition of full digital cable TV, my mind is positively reeling with the possibilities. Mystery Channel. Yoga Channel. Food Channel. Movies or other movies, or classic movies or indie movies. (Insert Homer Simpson voice) mmmmm, Movies.

You may have guessed, by the fact that I couldn't stop at a mere 100 movies in my lame lists, that film (or fil-um, as some would have it) is a huge part of my life. It is, unless you make actually going to see them in theaters at first release a requirement. Because, you see, I hate movie theaters. I hate the sticky floors. I hate the cell phones. I hate the babies. I hate the packs of teenagers. I hate the volume of the kick-ass sound systems. (Note to theater operators: you have great sound, that's why you don't have to turn it up.)

And this brings me back to a frequent, and passionate rant. Just because you have a cell phone, that doesn't mean you have to be speaking on it all the time. If you are expecting an urgent call, here's a thought: stay home and wait for it. If you'd rather be talking to the person on the other end than watching the movie, leave the movie, and go talk to your friend. Or, maybe, the whole idea of being out is to be unavailable. You remember, way back in the dawn of time, you'd get a call and the person would say, "Hey, I tried to reach you last night." and then you would say, "Yeah, but I WAS OUT." Like, out of touch, out of reach, out of pocket, out of the house, out of town.

Here's the next part of a predictable rant: if the child is too young to follow the plot, the child should be left at home with a baby sitter. Remember them? Older kids who watch younger kids while the parents are out. (Out, there's that concept again.) When I went to see "Finding Nemo", the little kid behind me kept asking mom and dad what was happening. My friend finally turned around and said: "The barracuda ate the mother and the babies. They are dead. They are ALL dead." Shut that kid right up. I don't think he wanted to know what was happening after that. But, hell, it was a kid's cartoon, so it's almost a given that the mother or father had to bite it in the first reel. Isn't that Disney's First Law?

Anyway, with digital cable, I don't have to endure the common mass of humanity. I can pay per view. I can watch rugby. I can watch non-stop sci-fi.

Or I can turn everything off, and read a book. Sigh. Boys' Night Out. I love it.

Page 7 of 9 pages    ‹ First  < 5 6 7 8 9 >