Tuesday, July 20, 2010

Give me an E, maestro

Here's what I'll be listening to on my birthday: old stuff, new stuff, live stuff, no Dead stuff (sorry, Bill); the obligatory Bruce, the obligatory Clash; a movie trailer, a Nike commercial, and the best Phil Spector Wall Of Sound number Phil Spector never produced; a couple of sacrilegious remixes, a couple of French pop songs; one from the brothers Davies, two from Motown (shut up, Al Green), one from the Fab Four (well, John, really), two from the DC5, and (of course) one from the Boys. Say goodbye to your bad dreams indeed.

01 New England – Jonathan Richman

02 Home – Edward Sharp & The Magnetic Zeros

03 Glad All Over – The Dave Clark Five

04 Bits and Pieces – The Dave Clark Five

05 You Still Want Me – The Kinks

06 Marie Douceur, Marie Colère - Marie Laforêt

07 Surfer Girl (Johnatron Remix) - The Beach Boys

08 Happy Together (Wade nichols Edit) – The Turtles

09 I’m On Fire (Cousin Coles Bad Desire Mix) – Bruce Springsteen

10 Mind Heist – Zack Hemsey

11 L' Estasi Dell'oro (Bandini Remix) – Ennio Morricone

12 Feel You – Ferry Corsten

13 Jai Ho (Wez Clarke Remix) - Slumdogz

14 I Heard It Through the Grapevine [Fun MacHine Mix] – Marvin Gaye

15 I Wanna Hold Your Hand – Al Green

16 Hey Bulldog – The Beatles

17 Take Me To The River (Live) Talking Heads

18 Don’t Touch Me There – The Tubes

19 I Fought The Law (And The Law Won) – The Clash

20 Better Back Off – Marshall Crenshaw

21 Better Days – Bruce Springsteen

22 (Angels Wanna Wear My) Red Shoes – Elvis Costello

23 Mal – Johnny Hallyday

24 The Boys of Summer – DJ Sammy

25 Falling (Demo for Kiley) – Pet Shop Boys

Saturday, July 17, 2010

Songs for the Matthew Comp: The Obligatory Bruce Tracks

Back when I haunted the Cedar like an alcoholic poltergeist (which would be a Jägergeist, right?), I’d make up a birthday mix every year and have them throw it on the CD player while I slowly but pleasantly obliterated every single brain cell I had accumulated in the prior twelve months. The past few years I’ve done that without any musical accompaniment to speak of, but this year will be different. Or the same. Depending on how you look at it. (And don’t expect me to look at it and see less than double a week from now, okay?)

But while gathering up a bunch of songs that mean the year to me, I’ve also been digging up songs that mean me, period: songs that my ghost will dance to when I’m gone, if you will. Or if not dance to, then at least whistle along with. That’s going to be a little more of an ongoing project, something I will be working on as I approach the conclusion of my sixth decade and the beginning of my seventh.

Believe it or not, there’s actually an obvious first choice. It’s a piece of Erich Wolfgang Korngold music, no more than two minutes in length, from the score of Captain Blood. What makes it the first choice is that it is the one piece of music I find myself whistling when I’m not thinking. You’ve probably all heard me whistle it at some point and wondered, “What the hell is that he’s trying to whistle? Does it have a tune? Or is he just making it up?” What makes it the second post is that the damn Captain Blood CD is in storage somewhere, along with the damn Captain Blood DVD, so the world is going to have to wait until I get corporate funding for the archaeological expedition that is digging through my stuff in storage before it sees the light of day.

This post is about the second and third songs, the two pieces of music I sing to myself more often than anything else. (Yes, even more than Marshall Crenshaw’s “Cynical Girl.” I know, I know -- hard to believe, huh?) The songs are "Point Blank", which I heard for the first time on September 25, 1978, during the Darkness Tour; and "Racing In The Street." Of the two of them, "Point Blank" is the killer. Hearing it for the first time was like getting, well, shot right through the heart. It still gives me chills. And as for "Racing in the Street?" Here’s how memory plays tricks on you. The River tour show I saw in Boston was on December 16, 1980. I know this because three of the clearest memories I have of this night are (a) seeing the band wearing black armbands because John Lennon had been shot the week before, (b) worrying, really worrying that some nut with a gun -- well, we didn’t want to put it into words, but the worry was there -- and (c) Bruce throwing himself into the crowd during "Spirit In The Night," which literally picked up all those worries and threw them away. And of the two Boston shows he did in December 1980, he only did Spirit in the Night on the 16th, not the 15th, according to this database. But that conflicts with one of my other clear memories of the night: the fact that they did "Racing In The Street" followed by "The River," one right after the other. Which they did on the 15th, but not the 16th. Proving that memory, like so many human activities, always aspires to the condition of art.

(My other big memories of that 1980 show? Hearing "Point Blank" again. And the very end of 'Wreck On The Highway," where Bruce just stands on stage looking at a spotlight as the song plays out, like a bystander staring down at a wrecked car with a hard, unreadable look on his face.)

Luckily, there’s a real world relic of that fake memory of mine, from a show the band did earlier on the same tour in Tempe, Arizona. As well as a great version of "Point Blank," one in which the piano introduction alone breaks your heart. So let these be the first cuts on the Matthew Comp.

Racing to the River

Point Blank

Play them and think of me.

Friday, July 16, 2010

If the Securities and Exchange Commission Had Been Running the Nuremberg Trial

Nazi Party Statement

The Nazi Party, the ex-ruling party of Germany, has agreed to a settlement with the World Tribunal to resolve the Tribunal’s pending war crimes trial against surviving members of the Party relating to crimes against humanity.

The Nazi Party entered into the settlement without admitting or denying the World Tribunal’s allegations. As part of the settlement, however, all Nazis everywhere acknowledge “that the professed goals of the Nazi Party, as expressed in speeches given by Adolf Hitler, contained incomplete information. In particular, it was a mistake for these speeches to refer to the extermination of Jews, Gypsies, homosexuals, Socialists, and other mongrel undesirables by the use of the word ‘resettlement’ and the phrase ‘Final Solution’ instead of the more accurate word ‘murder’ and the phrase ‘mass murder.’ The Nazi Party regrets that these speeches did not contain that terminology, and vows that all future reprinting and rebroadcast of such speeches will contain a footnote labeling the Fuhrer’s remarks as ‘materially adverse to Jewish survival.’”

The Nazi Party believes that this settlement is the right outcome for our party, our country, and future anti-semitic fascists everywhere.

The Party understands that the World Tribunal also has completed a review of a number of other Nazi-sponsored activities, and does not anticipate recommending any claims against Party members, past or present, with respect to those actions based on the materials it has reviewed. We recognize that, as is always the case, the Tribunal has reserved the right to reopen those matters based on new information, but we respectfully submit that, if you listen very closely, that sound you hear in the background is us laughing our Aryan asses off.

Wednesday, July 7, 2010

Vacation Diary: Part 3

June 30: In the middle of the night, the temperature drops about thirty degrees, and I am wide awake at 3 AM again. I get up, change into the sweats I brought, throw on another blanket, and go back to sleep. Which is when I have this really weird dream that there is a fortune in gold bullion hidden in my mother’s coffin. So of course I have to dig her up and get it before any of my law-defying brothers get their hands on it. There’s no memory of the actual digging; it’s like a movie cut. One second I’m thinking I have to get to her coffin before anybody else, and the next I’m opening the lid in the pitch black of the cemetery at two in the morning. Because it’s dark and I don’t have a light, I’m feeling my way around the lining. I also have my eyes closed, just in case I can actually see my mother’s body. The coffin is lined with what feels like plush velvet. It’s also padded with paperback books –- because my mother was so tiny, we had to wedge her in by surrounding her with books, like the way you support an air conditioner on a windowsill. So I’m feeling around for gold coins and finding nothing but paperbacks, and then suddenly my hands touch what feels like a dried-up tree branch, and I think to myself, “Oh God -- sorry, Mum, that must be your leg.” I make sure I don’t put any weight on it, because it’s incredibly brittle. I keep feeling around, but there are no coins anywhere, no gold at all. And then I have a Charade epiphany, and light a match to look at the books that are littering Mum’s coffin. Sure enough, it is a pile of priceless first editions, in pristine shape: Catch-22, Lolita, Catcher in the Rye, all 23 Man from UNCLE books, and the prize of prizes: the Puffin edition of Agatha Christie’s And Then there Were None under its original racist British title, Ten Little N*****s. I can live off that one alone for ten years, I think to myself, and that’s when I wake up.

Up at 7:15, on the beach at 8:30. Temperatures in the mid- 70’s, and the water is deliciously warm. Stay on the beach till 11, home for lunch, then pop back. As usual, I have the entire beach to myself all morning, and only after noon do the invaders come and try to take it away from me. I defend my territory as well as I can, and I have to say, my Beach Fu is strong. Every time some woman with her six kids comes down the stairs, I scowl at them and give off GO SIT SOMEWHERE ELSE vibrations, and they all do. And then, of course, because I'm only human, I think to myself: "What? I'm not good enough to sit next to? Jeez!"

My sister Monica comes down around 3ish with Dennis The High School Graduate. I hang out on the beach with them for a while, then head back to the house where I take my first nap of the week. I wake up when they come back to the cottage. Monica gives me a pile of books to choose from and the DVD remote, which is the only way I can watch all the TV show DVD’s I brought down with me. The second she and Dennis leave, I throw on Cowboy Bebop and watch six episodes in a row. Then I eat dinner and watch Antonioni’s Red Desert, which is unnerving in a lot of ways: one, because Monica Vitti seems to be impersonating a woman having a nervous breakdown, instead of actually portraying her; and two, because Richard Harris is overdubbed in Italian, I can’t help but notice that he’s actually speaking the English translation that’s in the subtitles, so whenever he’s on screen it’s incredibly distracting. I can only think that I am going to have the same problem with Burt Lancaster in The Leopard, which I finally picked up a week ago but didn’t bring with me. Oh well. Hopefully watching Alain Delon and Claudia Cardinale will make up for it.

July 1. Another chilly night. Up at 7:05. On the beach at 8:20. Stay till 11, when I’m so weak with hunger that I head home. Which is odd, because I’ve been having four slices of toast with jam every morning, along with cranberry juice and a cup or two of coffee. In other words, I’m actually eating breakfast, which if you know me is, oh, like an Australian winning a whispering contest. Back on the beach at 12, where my brother David calls me and wants to know if I’m free for an early dinner at 4. I say sure, and head home at 2ish to clean up and watch a couple of episodes of third season Coupling. I am now reading one of the books Monica brought, The Physic Book of Deliverance Dane. Haven’t gotten very far into it, because I spent the entire day writing sonnets on the beach to Little Miss Hopeless.

Last Night’s Dream: Little Miss Hopeless and her daughter are walking up one of those hilly San Francisco streets as I’m walking down. She’s in town for a teacher’s convention; I’m in town for a film festival. “You free tonight?” I ask. “That depends,” she says, and gives me her daughter’s hand. Then she turns around and walks away. “I’m hungry,” says the girl, whose name I have caddishly forgotten. “So let’s get something to eat,” I say. “What would you like to eat?” “First we have to get my dolly.” “Okay, where’s your dolly?” “I gave it to my friend Erica.” “Okay, where’s Erica?” “Arizona.” “Okay, where in Arizona?” “I don’t know!” she wails and starts crying. “Okay, okay.” I say, because people are starting to stare at us, “let’s get to Arizona and we’ll take it from there, okay?” The rest of the dream is this incredibly complicated video-game quest to find the little girl’s dolly, which involves half a dozen challenges and side-quests, after which I finally get to feed her, in Tombstone, of course, which is where Little Miss Hopeless suddenly appears as a 19th century schoolmarm. She takes her daughter back and gives me a peck on the cheek. “Will I see you at the church social tonight?” she asks. Since this is pretty much the 19th century schoolmarm equivalent of, “You know how to whistle, don’t you? Just put your lips together and blow,” I say, “You certainly will,” and then go off to drink cheap whiskey at the Bella Union. Where, surprise surprise, Burt Lancaster as Wyatt Earp is playing cards with Kirk Douglas as Doc Holliday. When I order a shot of Jameson’s, Lancaster looks over at me and says, “I don’t drink whiskey.”

ME: Why not?
LANCASTER: Because it looks like swamp water and smells like my mother’s aftershave.
ME: Your mother used aftershave?
LANCASTER: Damn right she did. Had a moustache on her as thick as Sherwood Forest. Couldn’t clear it with napalm.

And on that anachronistic note, I wake up.

4PM. Brother David shows up and we go to dinner at The Fairview. I order scallops, and when the waiter says, “How would you like them?” I revert to Manhattan mode and say: “Medium.” David cracks up, and the waiter very kindly says, “Sorry, I should have made myself clear. Would you like them baked, pan-seared, blackened, --” “Blackened,” I say, thankful that my face is so red from the sun that no one will be able to see me blush for the next month. “And a cup of clam chowder.” “Make sure it’s medium,” says Dave. We catch up as we eat. One piece of bad news: he tells me that Auntie Ellie, Eleanor Tagrin, the mother of my childhood sweetheart, passed away today, and I’m instantly depressed. She was one of my mother’s closest neighborhood friends; as my sister says in an e-mail later, you can bet that the two of them are having coffee and smoking cigarettes as they catch up with each other. I tell Dave about my dream of Mum’s coffin; he says that his daughter Jenna had a Mum dream a few days ago as well. “She’s trying to talk to us,” he says. “I bet it had to do with Ellie,” I say. I spend the rest of the afternoon and most of the evening trying to write something I can send Ellie's family, and I come up blank. This is my life, ladies and gents--I can write three sonnets in two hours to someone who barely knows I exist, but I can't string a sentence together about a woman who was one of my non-blood aunts growing up.

Movies: Stagecoach and Pierrot Le Fou. Orson Welles famously said that he screened Stagecoach 20 times before making Citizen Kane, and when you look at Ford's film through that pair of glasses, you can see what Welles took a fancy to: the interior sets with actual ceilings, natural light thrown in through windows and doors, the deep focus corridor shots, and all those Indians, who were in the Buffalo Bill's Wild West Show scenes of Citizen Kane that wound up on the same cutting room floor as the Lady From Shanghai funhouse sequence.* As for Pierrot le Fou, watching it with a knowledge of Godard's (shall we say) possessive passion for Anna Karina is like watching Manhattan with a knowledge of Woody Allen's creepy underage girl fixation: real life bleeds through the edges and stains everything.

July 2-July 4: Thinking too much about writing and taking too many pictures. So I put the camera in the suitcase, leave my notebook in the shoulderbag, and as lagniappe, I stop reading as well. And that, for me, is independence.

*Kidding about the Indians, but not the funhouse.

Friday, July 2, 2010

Vacation Diary 2: The Low Tide Sonnets

I picture you beside me in the sand.
Your freckled back blinds like a second sun,
So pale that if I touched you with my hand
The imprint would remain till day was done.
With a blue towel as pillow for your head,
You face the ocean and you close your eyes.
I watch your creamy legs slowly turn red
Like shy twin sisters blushing with surprise.
Your toes curl in the sand like happy moles.
After a while you say, “This side is done.”
With humming sigh, over your body rolls,
And you present your sweet face to the sun
And watch the clouds as back and forth they fly
Like lonely islands in the ocean sky.

You purr as I rub sunscreen on your back.
Your breathing is a living tide of peace.
I shift and fidget, but you have the knack
Of being still when stillness brings release.
It is a gift, to my impatient soul,
How easily you match the given day --
I clutch at moments, grabbing for a goal;
You ride them till they crest and smooth away.
I must be up and doing with a will,
Walking and whistling, talking to the wind.
You mock me from the sand, content and still,
Like God’s forgiveness mocks the man who’s sinned:
Showing me by example what to do,
Shaming me with the truth to lie with you.

So down I go beside you, where I feel
The coolness of your body like a breeze.
These are the only moments that are real:
Everything else -– the worries, the unease,
All the regrets for undone or unplanned,
The yearning and the grasping after toys --
Everything falls away like grains of sand,
Leaving the most miraculous of joys:
Two people on a seashore, side by side,
Warmed by a star million of miles away,
Washed by the water of a moon-pulled tide
On one blue island in the Milky Way
Where chance and destiny together smiled
On you and me, and made our love their child.

copyright 2010 Matthew J Wells

Thursday, July 1, 2010

Vacation Diary: Part 1

June 26. I like riding backwards on a train. Seeing where I’ve been. Watching it disappear in the distance. No idea what’s coming up next. It’s just like my life. Which is either a scary thing to say at my age, or an exhilarating one. And as several of my friends would chime in: “It’s both, stupid!” Actually only one or two of them would add the “stupid.” But they would be the ones I’d listen to.

Nephew Dennis’ graduation party: the first thing I do when I walk in the door? I go into the bathroom and shave off my beard. If I'm going to be in the sun for a week, there's no way I'm coming out of this looking like Hemingway.

Speaking of which, my Hemingway-resembling father has lost so much weight since Christmas that his skin got caught completely by surprise and has nowhere to go except hang off his bones like wet shirts on a clothesline. This is like a giant Perspective Alert for me. Because me, I’m freaking out cuz, the way I'm losing my hair right now, this time next year my head will be smoother than a billiard ball. But Dad? Dad looks OLD. A little voice inside me says, “This is what living with someone who’s falling apart, and taking it all personally, does to you, Matthew. So never live with someone who’s falling apart; and if you do? Don’t make it all about you. And for Chrissakes don’t ever do a comb-over, okay?”

The party’s fun, but I make the mistake of drinking two Michelob Ultras instead of real beer like Sam Adams. As a result, I lie down at 8PM and sleep through the rest of the night, missing the loud conversation and laughter, missing the sunset, missing the Smores, and missing the ritual inhaling of the illegal substances at 3 AM. On the plus side, I wake up the next morning at 7 and get to clean up the heavies that are littering the back yard.

June 27. Spend the day on the beach. Finish Coward On The Beach; start Coward At The Bridge, and finish it after everyone leaves around 5ish. Watch L’Avventura.

Opening lines for a story about regret: “Years from now, when he looks back on this moment, he will remember not what he did, but what he didn’t do. It will identify him like a birthmark. It will consume him like a cancer. It will become, for him, the one true measure of who he is, and who he can never be.”

Dialogue for the final scene of The King of Snow:

EARL OF ESSEX: Odd, is it not? If I were to die tomorrow from the plague, or a knife in the back, I would not lose a wink of sleep the night before. Yet because I die tomorrow under the axe, I will spend tonight awake in worry and expectation. Knowledge, Master Shaxpere. There is no greater burden. Because I cannot be surprised by death, all I can do is try to meet it as if it were an accident, as if it were by chance and not design. But it is all design, is it not, Master Poet? [Holding up a skull:] To this one end must we all come, each by his different road. But oh, the shame to have this skull of mine stuck up on London Bridge.
SHAXPERE: You will not feel the shame, My Lord.
EARL OF ESSEX: My wife will.
SHAXPERE: And so that shames you to think on’t? I say again, my Lord –- you will not feel any shame.
EARL OF ESSEX: Not even when I look down from Heaven on her weeping face?
SHAXPERE: Not even if you were to look up from Hell. Shame is what the living feel when they wish they could have walked a better path, or said a kinder word. The dead can say nothing; how can they feel shame?
EARL OF ESSEX: Because they wish. They wish they were alive. They wish with all their cold, unbeating hearts for one more breath. One more. Only one more.
SHAXPERE: There is no shame in that.
EARL OF ESSEX: No; none at all. No shame at all in wishing. Even God can wish.
SHAXPERE: And what does God wish?
EARL OF ESSEX: That men were more worthy of His forgiveness.

June 28. Wake up at 3 AM because of the total absence of noise outside, and can’t get back to sleep for an hour. Make a mental note next trip to bring pre-recorded sounds of traffic and loud drunken yelling from the bar across the street from my apartment, so I can get a full night’s sleep while I’m here in Total Fucking Silence Town. At 5:30 AM, as the sun is rising, all the birds in the back yard start gossiping with each other, so I’m awake again. Make a mental note to add barking dogs to my noise list.

Get up at 7:45. On the beach at 9. It feels like a sauna: no air movement, hot and muggy, I’m sweating just trying to remember phone numbers. High tide’s at 1. I stay till 11:30. Go home, have lunch, come back at 2, stay till 4. By that time, I have read Space Captain Smith by Toby Frost in its entirety. Water is C-O-L-D, the kind of cold that only feels terrific after you’re out of it, like a bad marriage.

NURSE: Doctor, we’re out of anesthetic!
DOCTOR: Quick! Dip the patient into the water at Ocean Bluff! He won’t feel a thing for days!

June 28, 9AM: I hate it when prehistoric creatures wash up on the beach:

Last night’s dream: I am the only waiter on the floor, and all the old Cedar waitresses are my customers. And they are such problem customers, it’s all I can do not to scream. Maddy keeps changing her mind between the two regular dishes she always gets, even though she doesn’t really like either of them. Glynnis keeps returning everything she orders after taking a bite or two out of it and saying, “No, not good enough,” or, “No, not what I really wanted.” Mauri is all over the place –- she brings in menus from different restaurants and asks me if we have this dish or that special, and every time I get back from checking with the kitchen, she’s wearing a completely different outfit and saying, “No, that’s what I wanted five minutes ago, let me tell you what I want now.” And Sarah? Sarah is sitting with a guy at a table for two. She orders for both of them, and the second she sees the guy she’s with enjoying himself or wanting more, she asks for the check. That should tip me off right there, but it doesn’t -– no, it isn’t until Allyson sails in and orders the Thursday night special that I realize (a) I am dreaming and (b) this is not about serving them food. This is not about food at all. It’s about their boyfriends.

Movies watched: My Darling Clementine and Frontier Marshal.

June 28, 8PM: Sometimes, God hands JMW Turner a brush and says, "Go paint me a sunset."

June 29. Up at 7:10, on the beach at 8:45. Temperature still in the 90’s, air still as thick as molasses, water still just short of Antarctic. Read God Emperor of Didcot by Toby Frost; start the third book in the series, Wrath of the Lemming Men. Because his style is half Monty Python, half Douglas Adams, it’s no wonder that today is Snappy Patter Day. There’s nothing quite as inspirational than someone else’s clever lines. Or as intimidating, which is why I spend the day trying to top them with things like this:

GIRL: So how’s your social life?
GUY: Touch and go. I touch; they go.

You couldn’t find poetry in Shakespeare.

You telling the truth is like a jackal going vegetarian.

I need you like the bullet needs the wound.

As out of place as an investment banker in a humility contest.

As rare as an Australian at an AA meeting.

HE: There are days when I just want to stick my head in the oven and turn on the gas.
SHE: Don’t worry – it’s just the female poet in you.

What we have here is a fool’s errand. So it looks like it’s up to me.

A German defines “peace” as being wounded by anything less than a .45 calibre bullet.

FIRST HOOKER: You mean the entire army was here and you never slept with one of them?
FIRST HOOKER: [sadly]: All those officers.
SECOND HOOKER: [wistfully] All those privates.

Last night’s dream: I decide to go to the beach this morning without putting my teeth in. I say to myself, “Screw it, I’ll give my poor gums a rest, I’ll eat pudding all day, who cares if I look like Walter Brennan? It’s not like the girl of my dreams is gonna walk up the beach and sit down next to me.” Five minutes after I get there, the girl of my dreams walks up the beach and sits down next to me. She looks vaguely like Paulette Goddard circa 1935, which is surprising, because the girl of my dreams is usually the Louise Brooks type. So we start talking, and I try not to smile, because I have no teeth. And I’m doing fine until she says, “Y’know, you’re perfect, except for one thing.” What’s that?” I say, and wave the waiter over to refill my glass of wine, because somehow in mid-conversation we have gotten from the beach to a very posh restaurant. “It’s your smile,” she says. “I always judge a man by his smile. Smile for me.” “Can’t do it,” I say. “Why not?” she asks. “Because it’s Buster Keaton’s birthday,” I lie. “Once a year, in honor of Buster Keaton, I do not crack a smile.” “Ah, Keaton,” she says. “I’m a Chaplin girl myself.” And that explains the Paulette Goddard resemblance, I think. “Not even one smile?” she coos. I shake my head. “Not once.” “Not even for me?” I shake my head. “It’s the principle of the thing,” I say, and when she says, “Please?” I think to myself, “I can’t give you what I don’t have.” Immediately I pull out a pen and write that thought down on a napkin. Words to live by. When I look up, Paulette is gone, and the bill is there waiting to be paid. I look at it and go, “I ate a New York strip steak? Without teeth?!? You have got to be dreaming.” And I wake up.

Movies: L’Eclisse and Last Of The Mohicans. Make notes about L’Eclisse: everyone raves about the last eight minutes, but to me, the opening scene is just as brilliant. There must be thirty different camera set-ups in that five-minute sequence. It’s a brilliant representation of being off-balance and insecure. Make notes about Mohicans: possibly the only Michael Mann movie with a believable female character in it, which may owe more to Madeleine Stowe than to him. God knows that if Gong Li and Marion Cotillard had to measure their reputations on the work they did for Mann, they would never get work again. Also: one of the few Michael Mann movies which is not a remake of Heat.

By the way: the reason I’m watching so many movies? There is no cable here, just local TV access. If you think cable is brainless, try watching local for more than an hour. About the only remotely watchable thing down here is something called RTV (the R is for Rewind or Retro, I can’t remember) which plays old shows from the 80’s, and the only reason to like that station is that they broadcast Rockford Files every night at 10.

[to be continued]