In what way does the author’s use of the prison symbolize the protagonist’s struggle?

Ferris Bueller

There is a subset of movies I’ve now watched so many times (through childhood, through working at a video store, through having basic cable since I was eight) that they are hard to review in an objective manner. They are some of my favorite movies not because I think they are the best, but because they were formative and are now sources of comfort more than pure entertainment.

The list includes Die Hard, Big, The Princess Bride, The Breakfast Club, Field of Dreams, and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off.

As a child growing up amidst cul de sacs–opposed to being a rogue cop battling terrorists or midwestern baby boomer with a midlife crisis–Ferris Bueller’s Day Off had the most direct influence on what I believed “cool” and adolescence to be. If not for my almost-always temerity, it would have likely served as the template on how to actually act.

Obviously, this influence was not unique to me: John Hughes supplied a world of quotes, clothes, and music to a generation. In the middle of a Tuesday afternoon, I skipped out on work and watched Ferris Bueller at the Paramount with some of his progeny. All of us–and there were a lot–took the bait of playing hooky because we were still trying to fulfill the fantasy of being rad, carefree, and charming. Some brought their kids.

Seeing the movie alone and on the big screen for the first time allowed me notice some things I hadn’t before: The kid picking up his bag by himself in the hallway, Rooney quoting the from Burial of the Dead to Sloan, and the truly amazing Zapp song when the trio discovers how many miles have been put on the Ferrari. These are incredibly minor things (I have already seen this movie probably 50 times, after all) but they add even more. The things everyone remembers and know so well (Cameron staring into the Seurat, the parade, Ben Stein, etcetera, etcetera, etcetera) hit as strong as the first time. In the writing, acting, and editing there is amazing sense of timing. In part, I imagine this is due to Hughes’ obsession with mix tapes.

Unable to replicate the personality of a Shermer, IL kid, I tried to replicate Hughes’ ability in building something anew through other peoples’ songs. This actually got expensive, and embarrassing, when the habit culminated in releasing a ska compilation during high school.

And yet, the three-quarters-selfish, one-quarter-giving urge to make a mix and some tangential mythology of my own remains. Just this summer I fretted long and hard over what songs to put on a mix for Some Girl in Lousiana via the International Mix Tape Swap. Were these songs too well known? Too obscure? Too hard? Too soft?

I wanted some of the validation John Hughes had, but Some Girl in Lousiana never wrote back to tell me what she thought. The cycle of fantasy and reality John Hughes tapped into so well continued.

After the movie I went back up the street to work.

Pretty in Pink and Ferris Bueller’s Day Off will be showing at the Paramount Theater as part of their Summer Film Series on Wednesday, August 4, 2010.

I want to swim in a cool, cool place.

Download “I want to swim in a cool, cool place.”
(Originally made for the International Mix Tape Swap)

  1. No Age – Everybody’s Down
  2. Damien Jurado – Arkansas
  3. Lil’ Wayne – La La La
  4. The Black Keys – The Only One
  5. Madness – On The Town
  6. Pinchers – Agony
  7. Lindstrøm & Christabelle – Keep It Up
  8. The Mekons – Club Mekons
  9. Total Noise – Stay
  10. Nas & MF Doom – Street Dreams
  11. Teddy Pendergrass – Set Me Free
  12. Godley & Creme – Cry
  13. Jill Scott – He Loves Me (Lyzel in E Flat)
  14. Ray LaMontagne – I Still Care For You
  15. George Harrison – Give Me Love (Give Me Peace On Earth)
  16. Raekwon – Pyrex Vision
  17. Joanna Newsom – Soft As Chalk
  18. Robert Palmer – Woke Up Laughing

EVEN MORE–FRIENDS’ BANDS EDITION: Total Noise (also on the above mix) told me it was fine to share their debut album. I have been listening to it a lot and really recommend it. While not available for free, Jack Dolgen’s also awesome and catchy-as-anything album will be available through iTunes on August 24, 2010 (pre-order available). As a compromise between downloading and buying, you may stream Love Inks’ debut EP that will have you feeling wistful and joyous at the same time. Finally, Soft Healer is going to be releasing stuff soon and you should definitely get it and see them play your town as they are great, too.

Graham Reynolds and Wings

Graham Reynolds
Graham Reynolds

This Wednesday (6/23/2010), Graham Reynolds–leader of Golden Arm Trio and the Golden Hornet Project–will perform a live score for the film Wings as part of the Paramount’s Summer Film Series in Austin. We sat down for a little interview wherein I learned that I have to get better at interviewing and Graham Reynolds is a nice dude. You may ascertain these facts for yourself below:

Direct link to MP3.

Wings retroactively won the first Oscar for Best Production/Best Picture (the only silent film to do so), is about World War I, and isn’t currently available on DVD in the US of A. All of this means you should quit your fiddling and your faddling, buy a ticket, and come see a pretty special event Wednesday.

Come and let’s debate whether we understand why Clara Bow was a sex symbol or not!

cvs Propranolol

Allow me to re-introduce myself

Possibly egotistical title is really just serving as an excuse to post a Jay-Z clip.

At the start of summer I applied to become a Paramount Film Series publicist. In exchange for free tickets/popcorn, the volunteer publicists were expected to talk about films happening at the theater for Paramount’s Summer Film Series. I realize this might be like payola with popcorn instead of actual dollars–and therefore somewhat morally questionable–but I a) am not a journalist and b) figured I would be spending my summer income at the theater regardless and I might as well try and save some bucks.

A few weeks ago I was notified that I had been picked as one of the 6 publicists and really could not have been more excited. Perhaps this speaks to me needing more hobbies, but we will not talk about that for now. After receiving notice, I further morally absolved myself of any selling-out qualms by remembering that the Summer Film series is honest-to-goodness one of my favorite things about Austin. It is also, historically, criminally under-attended and any small part I can play in trying to keep it going is fine with me.

Last summer I repeatedly got my head blown by films like American Madness (totally unexpected), City Lights/Modern Times, Singin’ in the Rain (which led me to recently purchase a class card for Ballet Austin), From Here to Eternity (so much more than the rolling on the beach scene, ferreal), and many more (I saw The Godfather for the first time last summer; I have gaping holes in my pop knowledge).

Without fail I would watch these movies and be amazed at how current and strange and intense they would all be. It was awesome.

I was out of town for the first movies of this year, but last week I managed to see Psycho (for the first time), Frenzy, and Batman (1966).

Psycho was, as expected, radical.

But Frenzy–a good-but-not-great-but-totally-interesting later Hitchcock film full of boobs, rape, and, ugly men sweating in ugly clothes–and Batman–a pretty amazing comedy (I thought it was un-intentional cheese as a kid)–were the just the sorts of surprises that I fell in love watching over the past two summers.

With all that being said, I’ll be writing more often about awesome old movies for next few months. If that’s annoying, I apologize, but I really recommend you come out to the Paramount and get the same feelings I get at least a few times before the summer ends. I’ll hook you up with some popcorn.