Tuesday, December 14, 2004

A weekend of music, sports and cinema...

My biggest musical experience of the weekend was a shady loft party with Richard Fearless of Death in Vegas DJing - I was not there for particularly long, as I head to get up at a reasonable hour to watch Arsenal v. Chelsea, but the use of someone's apartment for a party of this sort reminded me a lot of the loft parties I used to go to in 2000/2001, which were a lot of fun back when trance/progressive house was not a dirty expression. Fearless, however, spun no trance - it was very danceable minimal house with electro melodies. No stand out tracks to speak of.

Speaking of the the London derby, I was again reminded this weekend why Thierry Henry a member of my extremely small pantheon of beloved athletes (with Kevin Garnett and Vlad Guerrero). He scored two goals: one absolute beauty off a back and forth with Jose Reyes within two minutes of the opening whistle and a second, which will undoubtedly be one of the most disputed goals of the season. While Chelsea lumbered their wall into position for a direct kick, Henry launched an offspeed kick through the unformed wall catching absolutely everyone off guard. Speed, talent, and gamesmanship - for the first time in my life, I am rooting for a team that has the best player in the league on it - I now know how it felt to be a Bulls fan in the 90s.

The real joy this weekend though came from what my dad might call "flicking out." On Friday night, in the midst of some crap weather, I saw Closer. A cool (as in icy, not like "cool, dude"), lurid examination of sex, relationships, and a really nice artist loft in London - I am not a Julia Roberts fan but I will admit, cast her as a photographer and put her in that apartment and I would date her. Four great performances from Roberts, Jude Law, Natalie Portman, and Clive Owen, who was my favorite of the group. I have been a big fan of his since he starred in Croupier, another hard-boiled London film. A film to see with a significant other only if your relationship isn't fucked.

The other film I saw this weekend was Being There - Peter Sellers' last hurrah and the source of the title of the Wilco album. Sellers' performances in Lolita and Dr. Strangelove alone gave him HoF status, though recently my interest in him was piqued by the HBO movie The Life and Death of Peter Sellers, which was quite good and certainly did not paint the most lovable portrait but made him appear to be an interesting conundrum (although having Geoffrey Rush, a well known actor, play Sellers was hard to suspend disbelief on - generally with movies about celebrities, especially those that are alive or recently dead, it is probably better to have an unknown play the part). Being There is a very clever simple movie about a mentally handicapped gardener that is mistaken for an economic genius that conveys financial forecasts through gardening metaphors. The beauty of the film is the simple message that what we intend to communicate and what someone else actually perceives are not often the same thing (though maybe writer, Jerzy Kosinski, was trying to communicate something else). The other very interesting element of this movie is that Chance (an apt name for Sellers' character) had never left the estate that he worked on until "the old man" died, so when he approached the real world, already debilitated by being fairly slow, he also had absolutely no frame of reference - he walked into reality like a small child walking into the middle of a movie. That aspect of his personality played out in a couple of very funny interludes, including a scene where he exhibits no fear when he gets confronted by a gang and threatened. Forrest Gump looks extremely unoriginal in light of this far superior treatment of similar themes.


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