There was a time when John landis could be counted among the most exciting directors working in Hollywood.
Between 1978 and 1983 he made Animal House, the Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London and Trading Places. Four certified classics in five years. So it was inevitable that he would misstep eventually.
But while his mid career filmography - studded with films like the Three Amigos and Spies like Us is still notable if not quite as remarkable, his later films speak of a man who has lost touch with his muse. Beverly Hills Cop 3? Blues Brothers 2000? the Stupids?
It’s best to pretend this didn’t happen and instead concentrate on the creativity, energy and and just plain fun that pervades these early pictures - particularly American Werewolf, which blends a lightness of touch with incredibly dark Horror (the scene where monster Nazis gun down his family)  in a way that has rarely been replicated. 

There was a time when John landis could be counted among the most exciting directors working in Hollywood.

Between 1978 and 1983 he made Animal House, the Blues Brothers, An American Werewolf in London and Trading Places. Four certified classics in five years. So it was inevitable that he would misstep eventually.

But while his mid career filmography - studded with films like the Three Amigos and Spies like Us is still notable if not quite as remarkable, his later films speak of a man who has lost touch with his muse. Beverly Hills Cop 3? Blues Brothers 2000? the Stupids?

It’s best to pretend this didn’t happen and instead concentrate on the creativity, energy and and just plain fun that pervades these early pictures - particularly American Werewolf, which blends a lightness of touch with incredibly dark Horror (the scene where monster Nazis gun down his family)  in a way that has rarely been replicated. 

(via fuckyeahdirectors)

Wisdom From the Listserve

I’m part of the Listserve, an email list that allows one member everyday to deliver an email to the entire list. I don’t know how many people there are on the Listserve, but I’ve heard it’s  somewhere close to a million.

Anyway, I got a particularly good one today - filled with little nuggets of wisdom that make you look at bit differently at the world or at least nod your head in agreement and consideration:

A random selection:Never despise a drink because it is easy to make and/or uses commercial mixes. Unquestioning devotion to authenticity is, in any department of life, a mark of the naïve—or worse.

the great difficulty in education is to get experience out of ideas

Where men build on false grounds, the more they build, the greater is the ruin

What is the opposite of faith? Not disbelief. Too final, certain, closed. Itself a kind of belief. Doubt.

Names in common use quickly become mere sounds, their etymology being buried, like so many of the earth’s marvels, beneath the dust of habit.

In our age it is not sex that raises its ugly head, but love

The best composition and temperature, is to have openness in fame and opinion; secrecy in habit; dissimulation in seasonable use; and a power to feign, if there be no remedy.

People believe that imperialism explains European riches. Or that markets and greed arrived recently. Or that “capitalism” required a new class or a new self-consciousness about one’s class (as against a new rhetoric about what an old class did). Or that economic events must be explained “ultimately,” and every single time, by material interests. Or that it was trade unions and government protections that have elevated the working class. None of these is correct.

the philistine is not he who does not care to discriminate between the good and the bad, but he who discriminates and chooses the bad.

A dog lives as long as its teeth

The fall of Empire is…dictated by a rising bureaucracy, a receding initiative, a freezing of caste, a damming of curiosity—a hundred other factors. It has been going on, as I have said, for centuries, and it is too majestic and massive a movement to stop

To possess another language is to possess another soul

A sinner does evil not because he cannot do all things that he will but becaus he will not do all things that he can…ffor evil is folly & is always avoided by a perfect understanding.

Until a man is twenty-five, he still thinks, every so often, that under the right circumstances he could be the baddest motherfucker in the world.

Englishmen, given a choice, would always prefer the faintly ridiculous over the painfully direct.

Barmecide

What is unforgivable? What if not the shivering nakedness of being wholly known to a person one does not trust?

The world is the place we prove real by dying in it.

There are five reasons we should drink; Good wine—a friend—or being dry— Or lest we should be by and by— Or any other reason why.

there is a freemasonry among those who live in large cities on small earnings.

Musical comedy is the Irish stew of the drama. Anything may be put into it, with the certainty that it will improve the general effect.

Only those who are capable of silliness can be called truly intelligent.

That art is prima facie and in itself a good cannot be doubted. It is a spontaneous activity, and that settles the question.

He’d told her she was his fate. Who wants to be somebody’s fate?

This is mortality: to move along a rectilinear line in a universe where everything, if it moves at all, moves in a cyclical order.

it is always the same thing that makes happiness happiness: the ability to forget

a pogo stick tester in a minefield

I was too green to know that all cynicism masks a failure to cope—an impotence, in short; and that to despise all effort is the greatest effort of all.


AT
atlistserve92813@hushmail.com
Chicago, IL

This is a long trailer for the Dirty Dozen. So long, that It’s actually morelike a mini press kit.

My dad always said that this movie was as close to a perfect film as he had ever seen. I don’t know about that, but it’s really damn good. And it probably has one of the finest casts of uber-manly actors ever assembled on screen including Lee Marvin, Charles Bronson and John Cassavetes. Make sure to check out the end for the super cool logo.


Val Lewton produced a slew of Low-budget, highly effective horror thrillers
for RKO during the 1940’s. Last night I took an hour and twenty minutes to
watch his 1943 production of I Walked with a Zombie, directed by Jaques
Tourneur, better known for the Robert Mitchum vehicle Out of the Past.

While Out of the Past has been held as a high watermark for a particularly
desperate and convoluted strain of noir, I Walked With a Zombie has an
equally sterling reputation as a film that lies somewhere on the outskirts
of true horror. I say the outskirts because, despite all of the voodoo
high-jinx, it’s never made explicit whether the events we are witnessing
have a true supernatural bent to them or are just the products of conflict,
coincidence and perhaps mild hysteria. The result is something more akin to
Henry James’ Turn of the Screw that the more sensationalistic horror
features that were being pumped out by B studios at the time.

The story concerns a Canadian nurse hired to care for the ill wife of a
sugar plantation owner on the haiti-like small Caribbean island of Saint
Sebastian. Of course when she arrives on the island nothing is as she
imagined it would be. The wife’s illness may or may not be avoodoo zombie
trance/curse. and the feuding brothers who rule the plantation appear
locked in a battle of secrets and lies that only make the cause and true
nature of each plot beat more ambiguous.

From the moment our heroin steps onto the boat, the film lives in a dark,
sweltering dream. People’s faces (and by extension motivations) are lost in
in a thick jungle world of chiaroscuro cinematography courtesy of J. Roy
Hunt. The voodoo ritual sequences in particular remain chillingly alien
non-native eyes. The drums that echo out from the jungle that surrounds
these characters becoming more ominous with each passing scene.

The film as a whole is a very tense, perhaps even sophisticated affair.
After I Walked with Zombie, Lewton would go on to produce several other
Horror flicks for RKO including classics such as The Leopard Man and the
Seventh Victim among others. But the level of ambiguity and quiet dread
found in this film was never quite equalled.

I’m on a mission to make my home workshop as useful, functional and organized as possible. In my travels I came across this excellent post on ehow regarding the Best Way to Arrange your Pegboard:

Have a System

  • If you do not wish to section off your pegboard using tape or a marker, you should still have a system in place. This system can be color-coded with, for example, red designating tools for inside the house designating tools for outside of the house or something similar. The system also could involve placing the most frequently used tools at the top while the least used are at the bottom. It does not matter what system you use, but it is important that you have a system in place or your pegboard will quickly become disorganized.

Small Touches

  • There are various small touches that you can make to improve your pegboard organizational system. Some users go farther in their use of markers, drawing an outline around each individual tool. This leaves no room for error, showing that there is a very specific place for the tools to go. Hammer the lid of a small jar of nails or screws to your pegboard and to keep the jars out of a drawer. For tools that you use often, you can mount a small horizontal rod on the pegboard so that they can be easily pulled off and put back on.

Hunting around for a cool flask to use while commuting I found this awesome set. It’s a bit much for daily use, but perfect for a day of cocktails away from home.

Some gold from the NYPL Leary archive.

Timothy Leary eating mushrooms in Mexico. The Leary archive is now at the New York Public Library. This article from Wired charts a small piece of it - his transformation from scientist, to guru.

I work right by the Union Square Farmer’s Market, which has about the densest mixture of organic food and genuinely crazy people per square meter if any place on planet Earth.
A great place to pick up dinner if you can figure out what you want to make.

The Marijuana Policy Project has released their list of the 50 most influential pot smokers:

n order to have qualified for the list, each individual must (1) have tried marijuana at least once, (2) be alive, and (3) be living in the U.S. or be a U.S. citizen. To create the list, we adopted the criteria used by Out Magazine to select their “Power 50” list of LGBT Americans. That means our choices are based on “power to influence cultural and social attitudes, political clout, individual wealth, and a person’s media profile” – not just on popularity or support for marijuana policy reform. Fortunately, many of them have expressed support, but there are some “bad guys” on there, too.

In sum, we’re not concerned with an individual’s popularity, or even whether he or she supports marijuana policy reform. Rather, the 2013 "Top 50 Most Influential Marijuana Users" list is meant to identify people who have used marijuana and achieved high levels of success or influence.

October will be here soon, and that means watching a strange and creepy movie every night of the month. This year I think I’ll  be starting off with Charles Laughton’s only film as director: Night of the Hunter.
I still remember the first time I rented this from the video store. I had heard good things, but nothing had prepared me for the surreal gothic tale that spooled out across the screen in front of me. The impressionistic art direction, the weird, fever dream story line and the beautiful music all combine to create a truly singular film.
And Robert Mitchum, sleepy-eyed and sinister at the center of the nightmare - has there ever been an actor quite so menacing? 

October will be here soon, and that means watching a strange and creepy movie every night of the month. This year I think I’ll  be starting off with Charles Laughton’s only film as director: Night of the Hunter.

I still remember the first time I rented this from the video store. I had heard good things, but nothing had prepared me for the surreal gothic tale that spooled out across the screen in front of me. The impressionistic art direction, the weird, fever dream story line and the beautiful music all combine to create a truly singular film.

And Robert Mitchum, sleepy-eyed and sinister at the center of the nightmare - has there ever been an actor quite so menacing? 

On his blog, Joshua Glenn, the publisher of HiLo Books has listed out his 21 favorite adventure stories from the oughts - the first decade of the 20th century. 

Adventure-wise, the Oughts struggled at first to escape the shadow of the 1894–1903 decade, during which H.G. Wells gave us The Island of Doctor Moreau and The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, Bram Stoker Dracula, Jack London The Call of the Wild, Arthur Conan Doyle The Hound of the Baskervilles, Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness, L. Frank Baum The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Anthony Hope The Prisoner of Zenda. A transitional era from the 19th to the 20th Centuries; what rough beast was a-borning? By 1912, a wild new adventure sub-genre — Radium Age science fiction (a term I coined; I’ve written elsewhere about sf’s Radium Age) — had made its mark. Also, John Buchan’s Prester John was the first hint of what early-20th Century adventure would look like. Plus: Tarzan!

On his blog, Joshua Glenn, the publisher of HiLo Books has listed out his 21 favorite adventure stories from the oughts - the first decade of the 20th century. 

Adventure-wise, the Oughts struggled at first to escape the shadow of the 1894–1903 decade, during which H.G. Wells gave us The Island of Doctor Moreau and The Invisible Man and The War of the Worlds and The Time Machine, Bram Stoker Dracula, Jack London The Call of the Wild, Arthur Conan Doyle The Hound of the Baskervilles, Joseph Conrad Heart of Darkness, L. Frank Baum The Wonderful Wizard of Oz, and Anthony Hope The Prisoner of Zenda. A transitional era from the 19th to the 20th Centuries; what rough beast was a-borning? By 1912, a wild new adventure sub-genre — Radium Age science fiction (a term I coined; I’ve written elsewhere about sf’s Radium Age) — had made its mark. Also, John Buchan’s Prester John was the first hint of what early-20th Century adventure would look like. Plus: Tarzan!

Re-listened to this today for the first time in - what?- 23 years? Something like that.

It holds up really well, and some of the compositions and productions by Booga Bear are actually really amazing.