“Audition” film

“Audition” is the type of film that makes me never want to date again and reaffirms my belief that strangers are dangerous. Its 1999 release fell right before that of torture and gore porn films like “Saw” and “Hostel” yet, I find it more unsettling than those.  It sets itself apart by prolonging the evisceration until the very end with a disquieting pieces of story scattered throughout the narrative.  It begins as a character study on a man and coping with loss, then the story gets a bit slow interspersed with creepy happenings which appear mostly from the protagonists own mind only to peak in a comparatively short torture scene.  If torture porn films like “The Human Centipede” and “Hostel” make it clear from the beginning that you are here to see people gutted and maimed in various ways, “Audition,” makes no such promises until about half way through.

The torture scene itself is the grand culmination of a film that almost lulls you to sleep. Just when you’re about to close your eyes for a catnap before the credits roll, there’s an all out assault on the main character which will do nothing less than make your skin crawl. It’s not just the gleeful way the monster attacks her victim. It is not merely the delicate and precise weapons of torture she utilizes. It is the combination of these along with the sound effects. The sounds alone are plenty to make even the most seasoned horror fans among us at lease grit their teeth to keep it together.

During the boring first hour you spend with the main character, he becomes a friend. He is that poor lonely friend that you want good things for but are fairly certain will be taken advantage of severely. The villain herself is off, but there are no outside cues to go off of except for what the film gives you. You have no intrusive score from “The Omen” to warn you or theme music from “Jaws” to indicate danger is present.

In short, if you’re interested in “Audition,” be sure of a few things before you watch. Make sure you haven’t must recently started dating anyone you consider “perfect” and be prepared to be slightly bored for an hour. Finally, if you watch with someone else, be sure they aren’t prone to taking embarrassing videos of your reaction or bringing up said reaction in front of company. Fair warning.

Pumzi short film

This is me taking note of a short film a whole 4 years after it was screened at the Sundance Film Festival.

Blade Runner drops you in the middle of a crowded, dirty city with rain splashing in your face and says “Pay attention bitch, cause it’s about to get real.”   Pumzi ushers you gently but swiftly into a world that screams “artificially created by humans” with strictly regulated air and hair, all the while whispering gently, “Don’t ask questions. Just comply.”

It’s simultaneously uncomfortable, feasible and stunning.  It has that sterile discomfort of 2001: A Space Odyssey mixed with the paranoia of 1984 all while still maintaining and creating a unique identity.  The technology feels too close to contemporary for comfort.  It’s impressive that this production was able to deliver such an effective and poignant message in only 20 minutes.  The last four minutes alone are so simple, but so powerful.  It actually made me grow feelings and I don’t have those things.

Pumzi is stunning in the simplicity of its concept and the effectiveness of its quiet but assertive delivery.  Wanuri Kahiu, I cannot wait to see more from you, ma’am.

Don’t call it a comeback…even if it is

Dudeigotsablog was abandoned…temporarily. Don’t ask me why cause honestly, I couldn’t tell you.  But, for all intents and purposes, the ‘Fro is back and ready to fuss.

The Slackerista site is for griping about being kicked out of Neverland, the sudden appearance of these anomalies referred to as wrinkles and that…bill.  Dudeigotsablog will instead be where I don a fake mustache to sit at the grownups table and try and fool them into thinking I know anything about media.

We’ll see how that goes.

A touch of Danger.

Honestly, Norah Jones has never done much for me.  Although her accomplishments as a Grammy winning artist who regularly tops the charts are admirable, I had always relegated her to Barnes and Noble soundtracks.  Vocally, she doesn’t move me.  She makes me sleepy.  And then the laid back, coffee house trappings drive me further into an impromptu nap.  This opinion came with one exception.  Her contributions to the Danger Mouse and Daniele Luppi produced album “Rome,” were lovely and fitting with its atmospheric and melancholy vibe.  So, when I heard she was reuniting with Danger Mouse (aka Brian Burton) to construct a new album, I was bemused.

Despite my disenchantment with Norah, I had implicit faith in Danger Mouse’s producing skills.  Honestly, between Gnarls Barkley, ‘The Grey Album”, “Rome”, and his collaborations with The Black Keys, I knew this couldn’t possibly be all bad.

So, I bought the CD.  The actual, physical CD.  Now that, my friends, is faith.

As a whole, “Little Broken Hearts” is a continuous stream of sorrowful and moody and almost continues that melancholy feel from “Rome”.  Truthfully, it suits Jones.  This slightly crazed and admittedly homicidal side of Norah is so much more interesting than the tunes I had previously heard over the speakers of Starbucks.  Here is an album that actually goes some place musically.  The listener can recognize the bitter pangs of a breakup in the lyrical content which at times, takes far darker turns which remind me more of Burton’s projects with Cee-Lo Green than Jones.  Somehow that airy, almost lazy sounding voice whispering to “Miriam” and her impending doom at the singer’s hands are surprisingly frightening.

I give this album a rating of “Wholly Worthy of Your Time.”  Standout tracks include “Miriam”, “After the Fall” and “Happy Pills”.

Go forth and listen!  For apparently, Danger Mouse can do no wrong.

Pearls from the Boomerangs: Networking

There’s a word repeated to students and college grads everywhere: Networking.  Rule number 13: Network all the time and everywhere.  To get ahead in today’s world, networking is the key.  So,  when friends invite you along to meet famous people to network, you go.  That’s how I met Ryan Nickulas from the show, “The A-List” which I have seen on occasion.  But of course by occasion means, they showed a marathon and I was compelled to watch for hours.  And on top of that, he and his staff were all incredibly nice!  So, if you ever come into a couple hundred dollars to drop on a fly hair do, go to the Ryan Darius Salon.  No seriously, they have tea there.

For this self-proclaimed misanthrope, networking and talking to people is never an easy thing to do.  For the best friend to the misanthrope, it’s simple.  So never mind that Ryan has celebrity status because my best friend A is magical and has the most awesome networking skills known to man.  She should probably teach a class.  Obviously she had a leg up because she had already developed a rapport with them already.  But as soon as we set foot in Ryan’s beautiful three chair salon with its beautiful decor, luxurious smells of potpourri permeating through the air, an awesome playlist going and women with Chanel purses were seated in the chairs, a feeling crept into my gut.  A distinct feeling that I was nowhere near fabulous enough to be in the room.  This woman was wearing Chanel, Prada, God knows what else and dropping several hundred dollars to get her hair done on a Wednesday afternoon while I was wearing shoes from Target and a three dollar tee-shirt.  How exactly am I supposed to start a conversation.  Obviously mentioning that I got this neon yellow tee-shirt for an amazing three dollars is out of the question.  Help?

A, however, doesn’t miss a beat and begins introductions and conversations as though she’d been there every week getting her hair done with products that, combined, cost half as much as my education.  Still, she threw me a huge opportunity by inviting me to come with her and these lovely glamorous people who even invited me back.  I have no clue if I’ll have money for that but still, the offer was lovely. A worked the room and inadvertently made new contacts that day with another customer.  According to this networking guru, the trick is to act like you know what you’re talking about and keep the conversations going.   If you get the chance to meet people, famous, connected or even just some one random, meet them.  Engage them in conversation and try your damnedest to make an impression (and preferably a good impression).  Even if you feel out of place, keep a firm spot in the conversations and ask questions.  But most importantly, have friends with great networking skills so that you can watch them and hopefully it will rub off on you.  That’s what I’m hoping for.

*I don’t own the photos.  No suing.

2Cellos: Smooth Criminal cover

A friend of mine needed a new outfit for her interview so, like good twenty-something consumers, we headed to the mall.  The assortment of music videos of course reflects the clientele during winter recess: teeny boppers.  Justin Beiber and Katy Perry fan rejoice and I’m left to dab at my bleeding ears while drowning my pain in a Frosty and fries.  Every once in a while, there is a break in the awful stream of teeny-pop and an 80s icon will grace the screen and for four whole minutes, Cyndi Lauper or Michael Jackson sooths my ears.  Even more fortuitous are those instances introducing me to legitimately interesting acts.  Enter 2Cellos.

Above the din of the food court and immediately after Selena Gomez’s “Love You Like a Love Song” (during which I take the opportunity each time to drool over the tall, blonde sitar playing, fringe wearing man in that video), I hear the sounds of….a cello???  All the more befuddling is that the melody is Smooth Criminal and I must admit, I wasn’t mad about it.  Covers can be a tricky proposition but in the midst of what I normally must fall victim to in the mall food court, this was a welcome surprise.  Apparently, these two are Croatian cellists (Luka Šulić and Stjepan Hauser respectively) who have been competing against each other in since childhood.

Before you watch these videos, just remember that they are in fact, European.  I’m warning you.  They’re a little weird. And none of this stuff belongs to me.  It’s awesome and I wish it did but it doesn’t.

Check out the “Smells Like Teen Spirit” cover too while you’re visiting the Youtubes.

Pearls of Boomerang Wisdom: 9 through 12

There’s a period of time where you will literally feel like you’re in purgatory.  Life after college Limbo is that rare beast that generations before us yearned to extend and you will be struggling to shorten.  Trust me.  I was just there.  Think of the following four rules as guidelines to seeing if you are in fact residing in Post-Collegiate-Purgatory.

9. You are or will soon be unemployed.  I mean, everyone that had previously graduated (mind you in decades past) that you talked to right before graduating joked about it and said, “Don’t worry.  It won’t be for very long.  You’ll find a job.”  They were lying bastards.  When they graduated, the price of water was also higher than the price of gas and even then we’re talking about numbers less than $1.50.  In these awful economic crap-storms, unemployment becomes your post-college career.  Get used to it.  LinkedIn and the classifieds will sit at the top of your most visited websites list just after Facebook where you will fuss about how broke you are and how much you hate every last classmate that’s currently employed.  Oh yeah, it’s gonna be loads o’ fun.

10. More time will be spent staring at the walls and philosophizing about why we’re all here than should ever be admitted out loud.  So you know how people are always saying that not having a job will give you time to think and reflect upon your life and the decisions you’ve made.  These people would be correct.  The tricky part of this is exactly how much time you spend thinking.  Albeit, this will undoubtedly be the first moment in a while where one’s school career can be looked back on and laughed at.  You will laugh at how seriously you/or your classmates took trivial things like the SATs and for some the PSATs in high school.  Or, at how when you got to college and spent your first night there in a dorm room away from home, you kind of missed your mom, her cooking and that stuffed animal you forgot to bring and cried yourself to sleep as a result.  Or, you’ll laugh at how you thought all-nighters were a myth, until you lived through one.  Reflect upon one of many nights spent either high, drunk, a combination of the two or bug eyed off of energy drinks.  And don’t forget about that hilarious prank when somebody threw a steak at somebody’s dorm room door and everybody played it off while the owner of said door pitched a fit.  Fun times.  As you sit back and recall these events, your purpose in life will come under scrutiny.  The question of what you’ll do with your life now that the greatest times are over will enter your mind over and over like an unwelcome guest who continually raids your fridge and eats all the good stuff.  You’ll begin to pen your manifesto and from there, you may begin to resemble the Unibomber never leaving your room, muttering to yourself about the meaning of it all and scribbling things in your manifesto growling at anyone who touches it.  Cue insanity.  Cue number 11.

11. Throughout the course of your unemployment, you’ll experiment far more than you did in college if that was possible.  To combat these symptoms of insanity and resemblance to the Unibomber, you’ll experiment with things you’d never touched in college.  Mind you, this is a pretty short list by now, but you attack it with gusto for one of three reasons:

a. simply because it’s a time waster,

b. you need something to do to feel useful or alive,

c. honestly you’ve got nothing else better to do which leads me to my final pearl…

12.  For the first six months, unemployment after college will feel like an extended vacation in which you can sleep late, watch T.V. and eat all you can lay your hands on.  You can go out every night if you want and come home when you please because there are clearly no classes to worry about being hungover for.  But, after that six month grace period is up, you’ll really be ready for life to start.

If more than 3 of these apply to you in any way, shape or form, then I’ll let you guess where you are.

Lessons 5-8: Courtesy of Facebook.

We’ve already discussed that there are inevitably lessons that one will learn after college.  And here’s something you’ll learn courtesy of our old pal, Facebook.

See, all those “friends’ you’ve been accumulating on Facebook since college will gradually show up on your newsfeed.  And every time they do, it won’t be to announce that they’re having a party or got extremely drunk the night before or even that they’re graduating from Grad school.  No.  It will be to announce one of three major milestones that the child in you cringes to hear.

5. Friends will begin to get engaged at an alarming rate.

6. Friends will begin getting married at an alarming rate.

7. Friends will start having babies at an alarming rate.

The problem with hearing these proclamations of joy and receiving invitations to events in which you will be required to purchase gifts and attend sometimes awkward gatherings to celebrate them is yet another fact: this means you are in fact growing up.  Boo.  Hiss.  Take back this declaration of encroaching adulthood.  Yeah.  Take it back now.

 

So, about life after college.

This is not an attack on anyone personally, nor am I suggesting that anyone actually lied to me.   All I’m saying is, there’s some stuff about life after college that ya’ll forgot to mention.  In fact, I’ve compiled a little list.  There should have been a class of a book or something.  Or, maybe these lessons seem much harsher since as a member of the “Boomerang Generation,” I and my contemporaries are pioneers in this brave new world of the 21st century American post-graduation lifestyle.  And with no pomp and circumstance, bells, whistles or warning lights were these lessons forced upon me.  Nah, they hit me like a bus and not all at once.  But behold.  Presenting…

Things they forgot to mention: the “Boomerang Generation’s” post college experience

2. You would gladly sell your kidney and half a liver any day of the week not to live with your parents again.  Yes, the no rent situation can be pretty sweet plus free cable and, occasionally, groceries.  Once in a while, they’ll even cook for you.  But there’s still that little nagging issue: you once again live with your fucking parents.  You may not have to get quarters for laundry but mommy breathing down your neck 24/7 is as certain as my Rottweiler being guilty of murdering disappearing away rabbits that wander into the yard.  I mean, in college, bootycalls could eat breakfast with your roommates and be out of the way before class…I mean if you’re into that.  But now, there is mom.  And siblings. And pets. And stepparents.  Do you really want to explain to your mother why this strange man was sleeping in your room and why he may or may not be the same guy from last week?  Nope, me neither.

3. Unemployment is not the exception.  It’s the rule.  Apparently everyone warned me that I might have trouble finding a job before I graduated.  I must’ve tuned them out every time someone brought it up because I sure didn’t think they mean I would be chronically unemployed.

4. A quarter-life crisis is sure to be upon you within 6 months of graduation.  The walls will start to close in and you’ll realize that the list you’ve so fastidiously constructed over the years will be ripped apart by fate, the universe, karma, the government and student loans.  The first job you get that although everyone around you swears is only temporary, feels far to permanent for you to feel comfortable with it.  A breakdown will be imminent.  Go ahead.  Break down, boo.  You’ve earned it.

Now, this is just the first three.  There’s a ton of information that someone should have told me.  ANYONE could have told me.  Experience may be the most ruthless teacher I may ever have and the only one I’d ever never question but all I’m asking for was a little bit of warning.  Just a little!  And fret, the rest of the list will be revealed incrementally.