I think Springtime Positivity has finally caught up with me now that the Springtime Pollen of Negativity has spent itself and released me from its Deadly Grip, because I feel like my mind has cleared and I am Excited about stuff for the first time in a long time since last time. Firstly, more than the new Star Trek movie or the Iron Man or Great Gatsby or Before Midnight or anything like that, moviewise, I am officially one million percent hyper-mega-ultra-jacked about the new Fast & Furious movie, with cars. Check out this picture I have included, which reveals part of the movie—not Spoilering anything, in my opinion—and I bet this moment of cinema is but a teensy-weensy slice of a fragment of the film at neither its Fastest nor most Furious.
This movie isn’t going to be the most blockbusterish movie of the Summer Blockbusters, this is just another Fast & Furious, just another episode of people driving cars around and over and through stuff and stealing shit, and it’s gonna be great. I love movies about stealing shit, don’t you? Stealing is fun! In movies, I would like to state for the record.
I was going to go and see an “Advance Press Screening” of the shiny new Fast & Furious 6 movie at a Theater Near Me, and “review” it, but I don’t have to see it in advance. I would rather go see this at the drive-ins anyway, because I am fortunate enough to live within driving distance (obeying all local road signs and ordinances) of the majestic and historic Bengies drive-in, and I bet they will be running this bad boy Coming Soon, vroom-vroom.
If you have an opportunity to see a movie at a drive-in, you should check it out, because it is America, if you are in favor of that kind of thing, and a fresh serving of Fast & Furious is perfect for the drive-ins, because there’s a lot of ambient noise and you lose a lotta dialogue at the drive-ins, but generally dialogue is not mission-critical to typical enjoyment of a Fast & Furious.
I am just going to review this movie-still I am showing you, because it is worth a thousand words of pulse-pounding, nitro-burning Action and Thrills that will take you to the edge of your seat and beyond to the Snack Bar, and possibly to the rest room if you need it. READ MORE
Robert Redford still does it for me. He did it for me when I first saw him in Butch Cassidy, he did it for me when he was washing Meryl Streep’s hair in Out of Africa. He did it for me in uniform in The Way We Were and with full hippie beard in Jeremiah Johnson. He’s classically handsome — the type of handsome on which you, your mom, your grandmother, and your best gay friend can all agree — with a flatness of expression that morphs sardonic when you least expect it. He has a storytime voice, the perfect level of tan, and haphazardly spaced highlights that betray a life lived en plein air. I love him for his palpable Westernness, his ease with open spaces, the scent of high altitude that seems to waft from him. He looks as good in jean cut-offs as he does in a well-tailored suit. And for nearly 40 years, he’s been Hollywood’s golden boy: likable and bankable, if a bit self-serious.
Redford belongs to the class of actors I think of in my head as the silver foxes: indigenous to the ‘60s and ‘70s, they’ve ripened before our eyes. Most of them have semi- or totally retired, some have passed away; all live in my memory both as their original, gorgeous selves and their well-lined, refined later-in-life iterations. Newman and Beatty, of course, but also De Niro and Hackman, Dennis Hoffman and Jack Nicholson, Jane Fonda and Julie Christie.
They’re not classic Hollywood, per se. They never had to deal with studio contracts. They got to use their real names and marry whom they pleased. They shunned publicity, or at least pretended to shun publicity as they posed for the cover of Life. They were a different type of star, in terms of interaction with the industry at large, but stars nonetheless — embodiments of what mattered to Americans at various cultural moments. And Redford, I realize now, was proof positive that beautiful American men could still exist amidst the turmoil of the age. Turns out he was a bit of a true liberal, but at the time, he had the looks of a jock, the demeanor of a respectable man, and just enough zest to titillate. I can’t quite decide whether he’s a good actor or a perfect star — which, if you think about it, is true of the most memorable of our idols. READ MORE
Appearing here Wednesdays, Turning The Screw provides existential crisis counseling for the faint of heart. "Because it's all been a pack of lies." (Cue drum solo.)
This is probably far from an original advice-seeking topic, but I need an original answer. I am a 28-year-old woman who still feels the need to have everyone like me. I mean everyone. People I like, sure, and people whose respect I would like to have, but also people I actively dislike, people I will surely never see again, people I will never see even once in real life. Work people, Internet people, flying purple people, you get the idea. Errybody. I fully understand the insanity and inanity of this, but it seems to be a problem I can't figure my way out of, and the majority of advice I've read/heard amounts to, "Stop caring. Just don't care anymore!" But of course it's not that simple. Reminding myself that I don't even like him anyway or that I'll never have to see her face again does nothing to alleviate my striving for their approval, and it definitely doesn't dull the pain if I don't get that approval. Same goes for other strategies like reminding myself about all the wonderful people that have my back no matter what or adopting a fake-it-til-you-make-it, balls-out, "fuck tha haterz!" attitude.
(For background, I have an idea of where some of this comes from. I was friend-dumped a lot as a kid—particularly by a group of girls who would routinely and arbitrarily decide we weren't friends anymore and ignore me for a few weeks until they graciously forgave me for the nothing that I had done to them. Being a sensitive child, I turned this inward and decided it had definitely been something I did or said that made them temporarily terrorize me, and I felt so grateful and determined to not fuck it up again when they would allow me back into their mean girl clubhouse. But I feel that this only accounts for some of the problem.)
Of course, in the process of trying to be universally liked, I end up losing a lot of myself, agreeing with arguments I don't actually agree with just to be agreeable, putting forth opinions that I in no way hold but sense the other person might approve of, holding my tongue when I should speak up, etc. This feels predictably horrible and gross afterwards, but the sad truth is it doesn't feel as bad to me as being rejected or even just plain un-liked, which I experience as disproportionately unbearable. READ MORE
The Great Gatsby got a modern upgrade last week thanks to Baz Luhrmann’s directing, Leo’s acting, Jay-Z’s soundtrack, and Prada’s costumes, but those aren’t the only reasons the film should resonate with a 2013 audience. Gatsby’s Roaring 20’s lifestyle—full closet, extravagant parties, boats, cars, and especially his mansion—has something to teach us about an era of more recent cultural memory: the Clinton-Bush boom years and the Great Recession that followed.
I’m sure you’ve all seen/read it by now, so you know the gist: (The Great) Jay Gatsby rose from economic obscurity to a life of luxury, defined by his towering house and the raucous parties he throws there. He believed his success would be enough to win back the love he had lost: Daisy Buchanan, who married another while Gatsby fought in the war. But even his gorgeous house wasn’t enough for Gatsby to get what he really wanted.
Fitzgerald might not have known it in 1925, but he was really writing a novel about America’s obsession with real estate. It's common to read The Great Gatsby as Fitzgerald’s attempt to shatter the illusion of the American Dream, but that term, “the American Dream,” wasn’t even used yet at the time Fitzgerald wrote his novel. As an idea, it was clearly a part of the national mindset, and Fitzgerald wanted to tell us something about it. Gatsby is a warning of material obsession, not a celebration of success, and his untimely demise (spoiler alert) seems to cement Fitzgerald’s point: The American Dream is easily mistaken for what it isn’t. There is a long history in this country of confusing the two, and a 2013 audience will surely be reminded of one of our greatest material obsessions resulting in Gatsby-level failure: our houses. Coincidentally, or not, this obsession began just around the time Fitzgerald was writing his novel. READ MORE
Cody Brown, of Scrollkit, made a replica of the ballyhooed New York Times "Snow Fall" story—in about an hour. Naturally, the Times made a copyright complaint: he was, after all, using their images and whatnot! So he removed it. Then they insisted that he "remove any reference to the New York Times" from his website. Heh.
The backlash to “Snow Fall” is that it’s an indulgence only the Times can afford. It took them six months and a powerful multi-person dev team to hand-code it. Most news orgs don’t have anywhere near these kinds of resources, and this is why we’ve spent the past year creating a tool that opens the ability to produce these stories to significantly more people.
This is a good point, even though we should note that it's in service of promoting his company, and it's not something many people want to say in public. (Update: We want to be clear that, yeah, there was not actually SIX MONTHS of coding. That's way over the top.) Privately, the kvetching about Snow Fall among "media people" has been pretty intense. Each time this topic comes up around journalism profs or reporters, there's a huge amount of eye-rolling. That eye-rolling is always, however, as it should be, preceded by praise: it was great work, it needed to be done, all that jazz. Everyone appreciates the labor; they just don't think it changes everything. There's generally five ideas people bring up. READ MORE
You know her as a sketch comedy master on TV. Watch Carrie Brownstein portray one of the many faces of membership from American Express, this time as a vinyl-obsessed shopper. Even as an avid consumer (literally) of records, her character is able to stay within budget thanks to the American Express Prepaid Card, a prepaid card that ensures she won't rack up any overdraft fees.
Learn more about how the American Express Prepaid Card can help you manage your budget.
Gotta jumper next door. Police putting up air bag in case he leaps! Don't do it! twitter.com/bbyrdi/status/…
— Brian Byrd (@bbyrdi) May 22, 2013
Midtown South has a jumper problem. This morning New York commuters found themselves tangled up with an apparent suicide watch, and they reacted in the way New Yorkers do.
Guy a block away from work is a "jumper" or some shit. Shitloads of cops and ambulettes swarming, got inflated thing up.
— S.B. (@ItsNotStephen) May 22, 2013
So, there's a #jumper on the bldg next 2 us. It's almost more disturbing that ppl R watching, taking pictures of the guy & his bouncy castle
— joyabella (@joyabella) May 22, 2013
On a recent walk through downtown Dallas, I stopped to admire an old light fixture attached to an abandoned building. The streets around me, lined with weedy lots and architectural wreckage, were deserted enough to feel vaguely menacing. A car cruised past; its driver and I seemed to regard each other with the same wary suspicion. I returned my attention to the light. “Look at me,” it whispered, defiant and exhausted, “and try to tell me that the old world was not better than the new one.”
I wasn’t so sure, given that whatever good you want to say about the past, the fact remains that it led us to the unfolding misery that is the present. Still, I could appreciate where the light fixture was coming from; its wrought-iron craft resonated with the lost beauty of old things, and it seemed to cling to its arts-and-crafts heritage with a blind tenacity and optimism I found courageous, when so much else in the neighborhood—except for the nearby skyscrapers, which hovered like ambivalent, impenetrable fortresses—had succumbed to the violence of time and neglect. READ MORE
★★★ The morning fog was thick and forbidding, but the pavement was merely damp. The mistrustful kindergartener, preparing to go out the door, could be shown that people were down there without umbrellas. Soon enough, the worst had burned away, leaving only a lingering mist on the river and haze in the streets. By late morning, there were only a few scaly patches of cloud in a blue downtown sky. Motorcycles and bicycles came out; greenery twined in a bike's basket. Below Houston, shorts were out: baggy tourist shorts, short-shorts, culottes, everyone's own idea of ventilation or liberation. Uptown, in the evening rush, people seemed to be mostly still wearing the pants in which they'd gone off to work.
Beloved as half of the fantastic comedy duo "Gabe and Jenny" with Jenny Slate, Gabe Liedman co-created the amazing New York standup show Big Terrific with Slate and standup Max Silvestri. Though he now lives in LA, I caught up with him in Brooklyn before Big Terrific's fifth anniversary show to talk about his first ever televised standup and the benefit of doing a weekly show.
So how was the taping?
Awesome. It went perfectly. It was really fun and looking back, it just went perfectly. Can't wait to see it. No regrets.
What did doing a Half Hour mean to you?
I guess I've always thought of myself as doing something different than standup. And so when I got to do an album this year, and then a special, it made me feel like part of the community. I guess I always felt like what I was—when I started, I was worried that what I was doing was not standup and now I feel like it's definitely standup. READ MORE
"The summer following the winter that my mother took off into something called Women's Land for what I could only guess would be all eternity, my father decided that there was no choice but for him to quit his despised job and take me and my brother to the beach for at least the entire summer and possibly longer."
—How can you not want to read September Girls since it has one of the great first sentences of all time?