Things I Am Grateful For. A heartwarming, spleenpiercing holiday happy list from one of America's pre-eminent procrastinators.
As the season of buying-scarves-for-relatives-you-don’t-know-that-well-because-of-religion descends upon us, I like to take a moment to reflect on the things that have truly made me happy this year. I’ll skip my family, since you don’t know them (but sidebar: awesome!) and share a few of the things that have helped me remember why I don’t spend every minute in a spiral of rage and despair. Instead, it’s a tingly combo of jealousy and joy. In no particular order:
1) A Serious Man. “I haven’t done anything.” This movie is both totally universal and clearly made by the Coens for a target audience of the Coens. It shreds basic narrative templates while being more emotionally connecting than the most cynical crowd-pleaser could dream of. Are we not all God’s fools? And don’t we all have a relative we suspect is a Dybbuk?
2) LXG: the trailer. (Link’d!) They were insane on “So You Think you Can Dance”, but it’s the trailer for their web series that makes the Legion of Extraordinary Dancers my favorite part of 2010. I’m frantic. I want a shirt. Guys, build a shirt!
3) Dombey and Son. A second reading shows that Dickens is not only more talented and hilarious than I’d remembered, but unbelievably morbid. Next to him, I’m… who’s not morbid? I’m that guy.
4) Glee, particularly the first-order finale. So many pay-offs, so many set-ups, and show-stopper after show-stopper. And just when you think they can’t rock any more show choir cred, out comes the Streisand. I’m actually more nervous about directing the show than I was to begin with. Absolute cool. (And, let’s just say it… Brittany. The duck is in the hat!)
5) The Godzilla fight from “Crank II: High Voltage.” Even though I enjoy the Statham oeuvre, I can’t think of a single person I could recommend this tawdry, misogynist hurt-fest to. In fact, if I found out I had a friend that liked it, I would probably back away slowly and avoid eye-contact. But then, when they reach the power plant: cinematic glory. Sometimes, if you go far enough over the top… you can see my house from here. (Yeah, I don’t know what that means either.)
6) “From Eden With love”, Eden Espinoza’s cabaret show at Feinstein’s. If this doesn’t continue, or come out as an album or a DVD, I shall become irate. And possibly slightly stalky. A stunning voice and presence, a totally unpredictable set list, and hauntingly beautiful arrangements. I cried. Other people, much less fey than myself, cried. This much talent in this small a room can solve the mysteries of life.
7) The Watkins Family hour at Largo. Speaking of small rooms and great talent… Hearing Sean and Sara Watkins (2/3rds of the band Nickel Creek) banter and goof in that little club in West Hollywood is adorable. Hearing them play is something else entirely. Bluegrass hasn’t been this riveting since Grisman and Garcia started hanging out, and Sara is way cuter than both of them.
8) “The Mold of Yancy” by Phillip K. Dick. A blistering critique of our current politics/entertainment/technology, written 54 years ago. Somebody should make some of his stuff into movies! Really. (Also, the Man-Made-of-Hashish run in “Scanner Darkly” is as hilarious as anything written, all the more so for appearing in a very dark sci-fi noir. Honorable mention.)
9) “An Immigrant’s Tale” from SNL. I’ve watched it dozens of times. It’s so tightly written, and Justin Timberlake nails every syllable. Flawless sketch comedy. (Honorable mention here has to go to the somewhat older “Gardening Tips From a Man Very Afraid of Plants”. The entire sketch is structured around the idea of making Christopher Walken say “googly eyes” as often as possible. Which is a noble mission indeed.)
10)Tinkerbell, bichez! That’s right. (Everyone I lost at “Streisand” just stopped reading again.) A movie for little kids that’s actually good for little kids. Not frenetic, scary, hyper-cutty, “hip”, heavy-handed, or annoying (Sadly, the sequel, just out, is almost all those things). Just a lovely tale about a girl who likes to build things. When Disney gets it right, they get it the rightest.
And there it is. My list of happy. On this last week of shooting Dollhouse, I can use all the happy I’ve got. I hate the thought of leaving my peeps, and my Eliza, and this uncompromisingly odd world. But I’ll rest up, and hopefully I’ll make someone else’s list in 2010 when I unveil the – oh and we’re out of time. Smoochez! -j.
December 14 2009
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