Film


I am unabashedly a child of the 80s. Scour my high school yearbooks and you will find asymmetrical hair cuts, O-ring bracelets and other tell tale signs. It’s not just the clothes that might give me away or the year on my driver’s license. It might be my love for a handful of John Hughes movies that I clearly remember seeing at the theatres. I don’t mean 101 Dalmatians or Uncle Buck. While I did see those at the cinema, I mean the handful of movies that seemed to resonate with kids of my age when they were released.

Last night when I heard of his death, I realised something. It wasn’t only his films that resonated with me, it was the music… the glorious music that was tied perfectly to scenes in the films. Stop and think about a scene from your favourite Hughes film. Ferris commandeering a parade float twisting and shouting to the Beatles or Duckie tossing playing cards into a hat despondently as the Smiths play… maybe the strains of “Holiday Road” when you embark on a road trip or imagining badly dancing teens in prom gear when you hear a specific cheesy OMD song?

Whatever the scene, the music just fit perfectly. Musicians like Jesus And Mary Chain, Love And Rockets, Psychedelic Furs, Kirsty Maccoll, Kate Bush, Gene Loves Jezebel, XTC, the Smiths, EBTG, Belouis Some, Oingo Boingo, Altered Images, Flesh For Lulu, Stephen Duffy, David Bowie, the Vapors, New Order, Echo & The Bunnymen, and The Rave-Ups… are just some of the artists that appeared on a Hughes soundtrack. And I loved them all. Jolts of happy recognition when I would know a particular song. That made me feel cool and in the know, like a mix tape made to introduce someone to music they have never heard. The difference was that I had heard it and I did know it, so the films have more of a special place for me.

When I think back on some of his movies, I can’t honestly say if they had staying power throughout the decades. I know I still giggle at them but would jaded teenagers today would get the humour as much as I did in those darkened movie theatres in Houston? Or would they find the characters hackneyed and the situations trite? I don’t care either way. What I do know and care about is that the music he chose to punctuate and sometimes underscore his movies are what did reach out and grab me.

So for his infinitely quotable movies (Does Barry Manilow know you raid his wardrobe?) and music, I thank him. Thank you John for helping me formulate my musical tastes and giving me refuge from the wastelands that was 80s music.

RIP John Hughes.

And now, on with the obit written by Roger Ebert:

Few directors have left a more distinctive or influential body of work than John Hughes. The creator of the modern American teenager film, who died Thursday in New York, made a group of films that are still watched and quoted today.

Hughes, who was 59, died of a heart attack during an early-morning walk while visiting family in New York City, his publicist said. He lived all his life in the northern suburbs of Chicago, southern Wisconsin, and on a farm which he operated in Northern Illinois.

Refusing to move to Los Angeles, he once told me why he preferred to bring his young acting discoveries to Chicago to film: “I like to check them into a motel far away from their friends, keep them out of trouble, and have them focus on the work.”

The list of films Hughes directed, produced or wrote includes such enduring hits as Sixteen Candles, The Breakfast Club, Ferris Bueller’s Day Off, Planes, Trains and Automobiles, Uncle Buck, Some Kind of Wonderful, Curly Sue, Mr. Mom, Home Alone, Pretty in Pink,
Weird Science, She’s Having a Baby, National Lampoon’s Christmas Vacation, Beethoven, 101 Dalmatians, and Baby’s Day Out.

His films helped establish an international notion of ordinary American teenagers, and he was as popular abroad as at home. Once when I was visiting the largest movie theater in Calcutta, I asked if “Star Wars” had been their most successful American film. No, I was told, it was “Baby’s Day Out,” a Hughes comedy about a baby wandering through a big city, which played for more than a year.

Hughes, who graduated in 1968 from Glenbrook High School in Northbrook, used the northern suburbs as the setting for many of his films, notably “Ferris Bueller” and “The Breakfast Club.” He converted the gymnasium of the former Maine North High School in Des Plaines for use as a sound stage, assigning his actors schoolrooms as dressing rooms, and corridor lockers with their own combinations.

Hughes was a star-maker for a generation. Among the actors he introduced or popularized were Matthew Broderick, Molly Ringwald, Emilio Estevez, Anthony Michael Hall, Ally Sheedy, Judd Nelson, Macaulay Culkin and John Candy, who worked in eight Hughes films. Some of those actors, freed from their confinement under Hughes, later became famous as the Brat Pack.

He took teenagers seriously, and his films are distinctive for showing them as individuals with real hopes, ambitions, problems and behavior.

“Kids are smart enough to know that most teenage movies are just exploiting them,” he told me on the set of “The Breakfast Club.” “They’ll respond to a film about teenagers as people. [My] movies are about the beauty of just growing up. I think teenage girls are especially ready for this kind of movie, after being grossed out by all the sex and violence in most teenage movies. People forget that when you’re 16, you’re probably more serious than you’ll ever be again. You think seriously about the big questions.”

“I’m going to do all my movies here in Chicago,” he told me. “The Tribune referred to me as a ‘former Chicagoan.’ As if, to do anything, I had to leave Chicago. I never left. I worked until I was 29 at the Leo Burnett advertising agency, and then I quit to do this. This is a working city, where people go to their jobs and raise their kids and live their lives. In Hollywood, I’d be hanging around with a lot of people who don’t have to pay when they go to the movies.”

After Hughes died today, some reports referred to him as “a recluse who disappeared somewhere in Illinois.” A few years ago, a friend of mine ran into him and kidded him about having disappeared from the Hollywood radar. “I haven’t disappeared,” he said. “I’m standing right here. I’m just not in Los Angeles.”

Hughes was incredibly productive as a screenwriter. He personally directed eight films, produced 23 and wrote 37, most recently “Drillbit Taylor” (2008). Such filmmakers as Judd Apatow and Kevin Smith cite him as an influence, Smith once saying, “Basically everything I do is just a raunchy John Hughes movie.”

Hughes is survived by his wife of 39 years, Nancy, two sons and four grandchildren.

It’s been a lovely few days here in the Emerald City. Monday was the Harold Lloyd talkie Movie Crazy at the Paramount. It was really fun complete with popcorn and smuggled in Toblerone.

Tuesday was Loreena McKennitt and she was phenomenal. I heard every single song that I desired to hear including The Lady of Shalott. I was awestruck to hear her live. And to be reminded that no, I am not smart… to listen to Loreena speak about this historical event and that one, weaving them all back around to the context of her thoughts… yeah, it made me feel pure short bus.

Before we went to the Loreena show, we ran by to get some tickets for the upcoming SIFF. It’s rapidly filling up but our upcoming schedule is as follows.

(SIFF Cinema) Friday, May 25th: An Evening With Lisa Gerrard.

(Neptune Theatre) Friday, May 25th: Paprika.

(Neptune Theatre) Monday, May 28th: A Battle of Wits (Mo Gong).

(Egyptian Theatre) Thursday, May 31st: Exiled.

(SIFF Cinema) Tuesday, June 05th: A Conversation With Julien Temple.

(Neptune Theatre) Friday, June 08th: Day Watch (Dnevnoi dozor)

(Egyptian Theatre) Sunday, June 10th: Mushishi.

(Egyptian Theatre) Sunday, June 10th: Tekkonkinkreet.

(Lincoln Square) Monday, June 11th: The Banquet.

Tonight (or rather, Wednesday night) was the first show of the American String Project. And we were treated to a piece that is rarely performed in the U.S. – Bottesini’s String Quartet Op. 4 in D Major. It was simply breathtaking to hear violins, violas, cellos, and a bass all play in harmony. The strings soaring and falling, making an indelible mark on my memory. When they began to play, my breath skipped and my eyes teared because yes, I’m a dork when it comes to music… and the piece was beautiful.

All I have to say is that front row for Lisa Gerrard is simply going to fry my brain. Oh yes, I will be bringing tissues with me.

And with this blog entry, I’ll be caught up so I can do other pursuits … like unpack and game and did I mention unpack. GC said we should have moved here in winter so our options were sleep, eat, sex, or unpack. Eventually we’d get around to that last one … though I’m rather looking for lots of the first and third …

Ha! Now that was a healthy pinch of TMI there, so yeah let’s move on.

The 4th of July for us in other cities meant not a whole lot. Either GC had to work later that night or we were too tired but the truth was I never wanted to socialise with other Houstonians and (sorry to my friends in PHX), other Phoenixians. It was simply too damn hot to be outside for fireworks in AZ in July, even at night. So we stayed home and “listened” to the booms. But here, living near the water with all the romanticism of being in a place I love, we decided to brave the crowds for the bash thrown by WAMU.

Bus routes would be a touch tricky with the Fremont Bridge partially closed and some stops closed altogether to accommodate the vehicular traffic of people getting to and from Gas Works Park. But we hammered out the schedule, scarfed some tri-colour gemelli with fresh basil and marinara, hopped it downtown.

The weather was congenial and so was our bus driver, who gave us directions to avoid the bus transfer we were going to take in lieu of a walk under the bridge towards the Park. It maybe added 3-4 blocks to our walk so not a problem since we had lots of time to make it there. We walked down a long gravel alley and turned to our left. And right as GC said, “Isn’t that troll around here some place?” There he was …

The guy I’ve been meaning to take a photo of but could never remember to do so when I was in that neighbourhood. It was far easier to take the photo while on foot than if I were in the car attempting one of my one-handed shots. He’s about 18 feet tall or so and yes, that’s a real VW bug in his hands. Here’s a close-up of his hand with the car.

After pausing for a few moments at the sculpture, we continued with other pedestrians on our walk down to the water’s edge. We reached the park, the hill already teeming with people. We walked around for a bit, finally settling on an empty spot to inaugurate our new all-weather foldy blanket thing. It’s one of those big-ass blankets that folds up into a zippered bag with pocket … a rather handy little thing to keep in one’s car, I think.

And then it happened. My keenly developed sense of smell caught the aroma of freshly popping corn on a passing breeze and like a predator glimpsing her prey, I was all over it. When I returned to the blanket clutching my spoils, I saw that GC had made himself comfortable …

I kicked off my shoes and joined him. We listened to remarkably average radio music fodder, ate fresh hot kettle corn, and whiled away the time until 10 p.m. when the fireworks would start. I did not get a full length photo of GC in his kick-ass buccaneer coat (the one we bargained for on Melrose) but it was definitely a hit. He received many compliments. Here’s one I snapped that shows some of the coat and that snazzy bowler we got a few weeks ago, though his cheeks are puffed with some popcorn. I love how he makes clothes work. Isn’t that a weird thing to love about someone?

A funny thing is that in the above photo, there were three women all of different ethnic Asian backgrounds. They were speaking well-thought out English to each other. Some random Shakira song came on and one of the women started singing aloud. GC and I turned to smile at her exuberance but she was so embarrassed. She’s pictured to the right of the photo, still looking sheepish or perhaps wondering if I’m taking the photo of her …

By nightfall, the hill was completely blocked off to people. There simply was no more room for them to be … so I was thankful of our vantage point, with only a few people stepping on me as they made their way across the crowded grass. Announcer did the usual get the crowd cheering with questions of “Are you enjoying yourselves?” and “Are you ready for some fireworks?” No, that’s why we’re all here to sit miserable and watch an empty sky. I can’t stand crap like that … the whole get the crowd pumped. We’re here because we want to be so cut that cheerleading stuff out.

Anyway, without any further ado, the experiments with my camera and its “fireworks” setting. Some are better than others because I wanted to watch the skies instead of keying up the perfect shot … besides when you shoot at night, there’s that whole holding the camera steady while shooting thing. No more prefaces, here goes:

Fireworks #1

Fireworks #2

Fireworks #3

Fireworks #4

Fireworks #5

Fireworks #6

Fireworks #7

Fireworks #8

Fireworks #9

Fireworks #10

I wanted to include the next photo, despite its blurriness. I forgot to change the settings on the camera. There was a sassy girl clad all in pink, dancing with her little brother to the background music playing. When Aretha Franklin’s “Respect” was played, this girl just belted it out along with choreography. It was one of those amusing things that kids do when they are unaware of being dorky or self-conscious like we adults can be … it was unadulterated joy and despite not capturing correctly, I wanted to mention it. As I’ve gotten older, I’ve fought against the shackles of indifferent adulthood and being too cool to show my geekery or happiness at being at a show. Not the obnoxious WHOOOOOOOOOO! that you get from some asshats, just those moments of being taken away from the world to let yourself go and enjoy the now. To cry when that moment happens during a film or to let the music touch your soul … anyway, to the little pink girl, a nod of the virtual head to her and her dance.

As quickly as it started, the thirty minutes flew by and the mad exodus from the park ensued. Our bus stop that we had carefully chosen was closed so we walked another 9 blocks or so to catch a bus that would take us home. It was partially up then mostly downhill so I wasn’t complaining … much, anyway. It was a nice feeling to have been out in the world enjoying something as goofy as fireworks. I’m glad we went …

Last night’s two cents about …

Pirates!

If you have not seen the new Pirates of the Caribbean film, my review is safe until you see Jack running on the beach … past that you are venturing into beastie-filled spoiler-infested waters … consider yourself warned matey.

First of all, Mrs. Prophet and I had fun. Mr. Prophet stayed him with the littlest Prophet and GC chose to remain behind at our place to give the girls a night out. It’ll just mean I’ll be seeing POTC twice this weekend to see it with him, no worries … twice the Depp is shiny with me. We went downtown to see the film at Pacific Place, where they were showing six midnight showings. We arrived at 11 p.m. and three of the theatres were already full, the other three nearly so. Our seats were good and a fair amount of the theatre-goers dressed up for the night. It was fun to see all of the costumes, some really thought out and some slapdash with eyepatches. It was great fun and I might convince GC to wear his coat out for it, it’ll be right in theme.

The film is about 2.5 hours, I’d have trimmed fifteen minutes or so to make it tighter. It’s a film that definitely whets the appetite for the third film. The CG for Davy Jones was simply stellar, no bones about it. I found myself wanting to watch it again simply for the artistry of that alone. Bootstrap Bill’s make-up and GC were also excellent, especially the mollusk on the side of his face that peeked out now and again. The fight scene on top of the water wheel was nicely choreographed, especially when all parties get involved in the fray. And because I can’t give any more vague descriptions about the movie, here we go …

I liked the relationships between the characters in the film. The way each had to make a deal with the other to get what they wanted and the duplicity that occurred. Tom Hollander’s scheming for the compass, for the newly formed East India Trading Company … and what possessing it may mean for him. And how it worked when Elizabeth held it and how that gave her a real doubt of which man she wanted.

Some scenes that stuck out in my mind and/or really made me laugh:

– Norrington’s theft of Davy’s heart to obtain those letters of marque, which naturally means he will be in the 3rd film as a privateer.

– the first time we meet Tia Dalma (who I really liked as a character): the boots that were shown laid out in another room as she rummaged for Jack’s bottle of dirt.

– the similarity of the locket on her table with the music box that lulled Davy to sleep. It’s shown clearly when Jack pauses to steal a ring … which as the film goes on, you realise what woman may be at the root of why Davy chose to remove his own heart.

– the bite marks on her shoulder. How many pirates has she done for, as she says, and how well does she know the pirates in question?

– the return of Barbossa, the fact it was his boots at Tia Dalma’s, and when he finally gets to taste that apple … and his utterance about my ship. The theatre cheered wildly at that point.

– the doubt now in Will’s mind after he sees Elizabeth kiss Jack, despite the fact she “may” have made the sacrifice to chain Jack to the Pearl … the doubt is now palpable and no one knows save Elizabeth what man she will choose in the third film. She could have very well done it to know what it was like, as mentioned in her conversation with Jack.

– the offering that Jack gives to Tia … gunshot with the following line “Look, an undead monkey.”

– Pintel and Ragetti’s exchange about repentance:

“You can’t even read.”

“It’s the Bible, you get credit for trying!”

Ha. I’d go on and on, but I just noted the time and we are surprising Mr. Prophet at his place with a birthday cake. He doesn’t know we are coming … I like having friends to do silly stuff like that for. It rocks.

Seeya on the flip side my pretties 😉
– GermanCityGirl

Currently listening to Music for the Masses by Depeche Mode.

Meal: Perhaps pizza later tonight, it just feels like a pie night.

so I decided to call this blog by this title because as we were driving home, I saw a pair of the RHPS lips on the back of someone’s car … as I go on, you’ll get the ha-ha there.

GC and I have been less than kind on our bodies since leaving AZ – moving boxes here and there, lifting heavy-as-fuck IKEA shelving, futzing here and there around the home – all in our attempt to prettify our house. Add some stress of an ailing grandfather moving in with my mum back in Texas, the fact that I’m looking down the barrel of a REALLY big-ass IRS payment from my soon-to-be-fired accountant snafu, and the lovely mva vs. fencing (to be written about in the next blog, which will be chock full o’ picturesque goodness) … and you have one grouchy GCG which in turn makes for a less than slap-happy GC.

I decided to book us massages today. I did loads of research into different spas and such around the area before settling on this place. I can fully appreciate full service spas and the decadent fun of being steamed and exfoliated and buffed and shined to a high pro glow, but I was just looking for a reputable place to get tweaked and realigned and thankfully so, I found it!

We splurged on the longest sessions available and after completing a health questionnaire, were ushered quietly into different rooms with our respective masseurs and tally-ho! Let the relaxation and rubbins* begin 🙂

Chris was to be mine and GC got George. I could have specified female but considering it was last minute, it was easiest to say we had no preference. And I really don’t have one as long as the RMT is capable and strong-handed. And with a scene change, I was there on the table, sheeted and blanketed as I lay on my belly. I was comfortable under my covers in my one article of clothing away from being au naturel. I focused on listening to the sounds of the room – the cello music playing softly in the corner, the trickle of water from a tabletop fountain, the muffled sounds of urban street activity, and the soothing voice of my masseur as he bade me to breathe deeply before he began.

A few deep breaths as my face rested in the terry-clothed doughnut of the table. I just let it go – thoughts of unpacking, the IRS, the anything and everything and I let the moment take over and I inhaled deeply through my nose, exhaling slowly through my mouth to get those goodly oxygenated ones going and also trying not to hear Kate Bush in my head singing. By the time I had exhaled my last deep breath, he began.

First the covers were gently drawn down, blanket first and then the sheet – not fast nor rough, preserving the modesty afforded to clients in this vulnerable position. My eyes were closed so I was allowing my tactile sense take over, enjoying the cotton of the sheet pull across my shoulders and small of my back. I heard his hands rub together with the oil and soon I knew that my muscles would be kneaded for the next ninety minutes. I smiled into my white doughnut and he began.

Thumbs into flesh, palms kneading, forearms running the length of my spine, shiatsu technique blending into deep tissue work … fingertips finding knots of tension and working them through into that fine line of pain that slips effortlessly into pleasure once you allow the pain to leave. The increasing heat of hands mixing with the blood rising to the upper most of my skin, the largest and soon-to-be-happiest organ in the human body. I found myself listening to the music more as he kneaded and manipulated me into a happy ball of relaxed dough. I imagined the bow drawing across the strings, the rhythm of movement making such heart-aching music and how the tones make me feel relaxed when I stop to listen. I’ve always been a sucker for strings, especially the soundtrack for a breathtakingly beautiful film.

I fell asleep for a few moments on the table, before I was awakened softly to flip over. I felt like I had fallen asleep in the sun – warm and languorous, not capable of quick movement. My eyes closed as my right foot experienced the joy of squeezing and human touch. As the catnap drifted away from my consciousness, it dawned on me that this was the first time in nearly seven years that another man touched my feet, much less the small of my back, a thigh or hell, even the rest of me!

It gave me a comfort to know that I’d been with someone for that long, longer than anyone I’ve ever relationshipped with and I smiled. Chris saw my smile and asked, “How I was doing?” Knowing it would take far too long to try to explain something whose relevance was important only to me, I nodded and gave the international thumbs up signal.

My time was soon up. I got dressed and met GC out in the lobby where a cool glass of water and a nice square of organic mint dark chocolate was waiting for me. I was light-headed but calm, and it felt like walking through water … warm, enveloping water. Sounds felt muffled and ambulating to the car felt heavenly. We waited for a while before heading out into traffic and the grocery store. I don’t know what I wanted to say in this blog. I seemed to have gone all over the page here. I know that I feel like a freshly baked and glazed pastry and the moment I feel the tension creeping back, away we go to get another massage!

Oh yeah, and this sign is at our local coffeehouse. It made me chuckle when I saw it.

Seeya on the flip side 😉
– RelaxedGermanCityGirl

*rubbins – chiefly slang in the GermanCity household, used to mean massage or rubbing. Example – I am sore and would love some rubbins. Or, Nubbin loves da rubbins. The latter being a popular one in the house to say aloud.

Currently listening to: Tous Les Matins Du Monde (Bande Originale du Film) Soundtrack Import.

Meal: Late lunch at Duke’s on Green Lake. We split a blackened salmon Caesar salad followed by a lovely macadamia crusted halibut served with rice + grilled vegetables. Yum

We’re back.

I could sit here and enumerate all of the shiny and dull things that happened tonight at the premiere of “Serenity” …

instead as I sit here resting my tired yet smartly elevated feet, I will list random things that I come into focus as I slowly come down from my natural high of being invited to the ball at all … and iffin they are run-on sentences, shoot me later – I’m tired.

– GC thanking Jane Espenson for hours of good telly.

– Getting to hug Ron Glass and thanking him for his work on “Firefly” and “Barney Miller” … hopefully not making as big of a goof as I thought I did ;).

– Seeing how flawlessly pretty Morena Baccarin is in person and hats off to her for walking on those killer stilettos!

– Marveling at Christina Hendrick’s assets, and yes I am secure enough in my sexuality to give her a round of applause for representing for the naturally ample-bosomed women!

– Wishing the autograph hounding Browncoats would just really freaking stop and let the BDHs have their night – side note that I did try to get Adam Baldwin’s autograph in the heat (and I do mean heat) of the moment but he was excusing himself so I never got a chance to ask him for one and had to give Jackie back her Sharpie. In hindsight, I was glad that I did NOT get the chance to ask him because every single BDH was being besieged by people holding DVDs to sign, the companion book, and whatnot … what else?

– Oh yeah! Hanging out with fellow Browncoats and questioning a chocolate fountain with Clay.

– Bending the Whedon’s ear for a few appropriate moments to congratulate him on the film and confessing how many times I had seen the film, prompting Joss to say that he did not even think he had seen it THAT many times and being thanked BY him for Browncoat support.

– The glee on Jen’s face after she had a lengthy talk over ice cream with Jane Espenson about Jane Austen.

– My dear sweet GermanCity pausing on the red carpet to offer his arm to me and walking the red carpet together. And for the record, just how gorram good we both looked – him in his mossy green mod suit and me in my red silk jacket, black satin blouse and palazzo pants … not to mention my matching red and black Chinese take-away carton evening bag that was too kawaii for words.

– Hats off to Jackie, Clay, Stephanie, Jen, Lynn, and Kit for how good they looked – very stylie and proved that Browncoats DO have the wherewithal to dress up for something groovy!

– Kit making it to the BDMP at ALL in L.A. rush hour traffic, props to Ian for maneuvering through it and for wearing a truly stylie jacket to the premiere.

– Seeing Neil Patrick Harris and Amy Acker with their respective partners talking outside and nonchalantly dancing to the DJ’s spun tunes.

– Hard work of Denise, Lynn, Tamara and James to get us into the party at all … thanks guys, you are both in my pantheon of BDHs as well!

– Recognising Badger before the movie started and seeing Liam geek out when meeting him – too cute 🙂

– Having security politely usher us partygoers outside because it was getting late and the party was regrettably over 😦 but then cruising around with GC in the Thunderbird with the top down enjoying the revelry of the night!

– I am going to stop now because it’s nearly 04:00 and well, bed is beckoning me to get all supine and comfy. I will prolly muse more tomorrow, er later today and add anything that comes to me over brunch.

See you on the flip side 😉
– GermanCityGirl

Currently listening: Antics in the Forbidden Zone by Adam & The Ants.

Meal: Random foods at the premiere’s after party, I swiped a menu for a keepsake but I can’t be arsed to get up and transcribe what it listed.