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January 16, 2008:

RANT

Bruce Kimmel Photograph bk's notes

Well, dear readers, it is time for the government to outlaw the use of cell phones in cars – period, no exceptions except emergency use. What am I, a public service announcement all of a sudden? Here in LA this coming June, it will be illegal to drive while holding your cell phones, and people who are caught will be ticketed and fined. That’s all fine and dandy and also dandy and fine, but it doesn’t alleviate the problem of hands free use. While I admit that the people who hold their cells are more dangerous than people who use speakerphone or an earpiece, that doesn’t alleviate the problem – the problem is where the driver’s concentration is. Here in LA, even before cell phones, driver’s minds are often in the clouds, especially if they’re in show business. Add to that a cell phone and you have disaster in the making. My guess is that accidents in LA and environs must be up several hundred percent. The reason I am going on about it is this very day I had about twelve close encounters of the cell phone driver kind. First, it was the lunatic swerving into my lane at regular intervals because she was so involved in her conversation and also trying to steer her humungous SUV with one hand. The second time it happened I honked relentlessly – she paid no attention, nor was she even aware that someone was honking. A short time later I was stuck behind someone doing twelve miles an hour on a one lane street in North Hollywood. Why? Guess. I honked to no avail. I finally passed him and as I did so I gave him a quite nasty look. He saw it (and me passing him) and he looked at me as if I were the one at fault (a typical cell phoner’s reaction). And on it went. I happen to be a very good and VERY defensive driver, otherwise I would have been creamed by one of these cretins long ago. These selfish, loathsome individuals seemingly cannot step out of their houses without calling someone. They NEED to talk every minute. They can’t just drive – the have to call everyone they know and have useless, pointless conversations. And they drive along and suddenly realize they’re supposed to be turning right but are in the left lane, and without so much as a signal, they’ll just cut in front of everyone to get over there. I really care not what happens to these insensitive peckerwoods, but they are potential murderers and are putting too many people in harm’s way and something needs to be done about it. I mean, if you HAVE to make a call, PULL OVER and make it. Then drive. Or, heaven forbid, actually keep your mind on the task at hand, which is driving your vehicle safely. I gotta tell you. Sorry, but I had to get that off my chest. Have you ever gotten that off your chest? That has been gaining weight and it’s now not so easy to get that off your chest. In any case, I have ranted and I feel better for having done so.

Speaking of having done so, yesterday was one of those days when I was a little overtired and had trouble focusing. I really didn’t think I was going to write over a page or two, but I finally got up to speed and ended up doing six – I’ll probably have a bit of fixing and revising to do this morning before printing out this latest batch of pages, Xeroxing them, and then delivering them to my muse Margaret. Other than that, I did some errands, and did my usual telephonic calls and e-mail responses. Finally, I toddled off to the DGA to see a screening.

Last night I saw a screening of Joel and Ethan Coen’s film, No Country For Old Men, from the novel by Cormac McCarthy, starring Mr. Tommy Lee Jones, Mr. Josh Brolin and Mr. Javier Bardem. First of all, might I suggest we string up by the thumbs all the critics who’ve used the word “thriller” in their reviews of this film? I have read so many reviews that have said “Joel and Ethan Coen’s superb thriller” – well, whatever one thinks of No Country For Old Men, a thriller it isn’t. Do words have no meaning anymore? Do these so-called critics really have to brand every movie with some genre word to make it seem as if they’re in the know? They only seem stupid is what they seem, and they do a great disservice to a great many films by misleading the audience that’s about to see said films. In any case, once again we have critics falling all over themselves with orgasmic cries of “masterpiece” and “one of the greatest movies ever made.” No Country For Old Men is okay – I enjoyed watching it while never thinking it great. As my friend pointed out, it’s like a 70s film that would have been around for a couple of weeks and then, years later, would have appeared on video. Back then Don Siegel would have been the director, and even it it were the same exact film, there would have been few cries of “masterpiece.” I presume we’re supposed to take this story on some allegorical level, as it makes little sense as drama and has little resemblance to the world in which we live (I mean, honestly, the villain goes around toting a huge gun in plain sight and there are never any cops around, no law enforcement agencies are hunting this guy down despite his killing a large number of people every few minutes – Mr. Jones’s policemen seems like he’s on the trail, but he doesn’t really do anything. I was never bored, and I enjoyed the style of the piece, and all the actors were very good, especially Mr. Jones. Mr. Bardem is fine, but I’m not sure I quite understand the drooling accolades. I don’t know if I’ve ever seen Josh Brolin on screen before, but he’s quite good in the film. There is a certain tension throughout that works well, there is quite a lot of bloodshed, but, as always, the most effective violent scenes happen off-camera. I wasn’t quite sure what Woody Harrelson was doing in the film or what the point of his character was. The film does have a certain mood and there are several excellent scenes, but a masterpiece? Not on your tintype, at least not for me. As usual with today’s films, the color is mostly drained and has a yellowish tint rendering the blue skies sort of a pale turquoise. I will say one thing – the film has a much better score than most films today, and there is a very good reason for that: There is not one note of music in the film, save for about twenty seconds of a mariachi band. Carter Burwell does receive a Music By credit, but the ONLY music heard runs over the end credits. And that is one person’s opinion.

Well, why don’t we all click on the Unseemly Button below because I spent so much time doing my rant that the notes are going up almost thirty minutes late.

Today, I shall be printing pages, Xeroxing pages, delivering pages to my muse Margaret, then starting a new chapter, then doing various and sundried errands, then eating something fun, then toddling off to the DGA to see, I think, Michael Clayton.

Tomorrow is the Sean Penn film, and Friday evening is an opening night at the Pasadena Playhouse. Saturday night is a double bill of Carmen Jones and Porgy and Bess at the Aero Theatre in Santa Monica, part of their ongoing Preminger festival, and Sunday I’m most excited about seeing Exodus on the big screen for the first time in almost forty-seven years. I’m praying that minimally they have a decent 35mm print.

Well, dear readers, I must take the day, I must do the things I do, I must, for example, print, Xerox, deliver, write, do errands and see a screening. Today’s topic of discussion: It’s Ask BK Day, the day in which you get to ask me or any dear reader any old question you like and we get to give any old answer we like. So, let’s have loads of lovely questions and loads of lovely answers and loads of lovely postings, and don’t be afraid to rant about anything that’s really bugging you.

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