Posts Tagged: David Roth

The Honeyed Light, The Magic, The Majesty, The Endless Boredom: Terrence Malick's "To the Wonder"

In which Maria Bustillos and David Roth venture to the movies to see the latest by Terrence Malick. It is called To the Wonder and it is 113 minutes long.

David Roth: There's a thing that happens to me watching Terrence Malick movies. I marvel at the way they look—which I know is a novel response, but I'm a unique dude—and kind of chuckle to myself at the involuted, ponderous what-if-God-was-one-of-us philosophical stuff. And then I walk outside secure in my sophistication and am instantly struck by how THE WORLD IS SO RICH AND BEAUTIFUL HOLY SHIT.

Maria Bustillos: Yes, first things first: I nearly died of the BEAUTY. Every [...]


'The Master': We Do Not Wish To Join Your Cult

Maria Bustillos: I'm trying to parse all these Metacritic reviews of The Master. Mainly they seem to be saying, "I hate it, but I think I'm supposed to. A masterpiece."

David Roth: David Thomson, in the New Republic, had a great first line. Which was "Well, at least it's pretentious."

MB: Yay? I'll say this, whoever reconstructed M. Phoenix's shoulders deserves a special Oscar. His bod is all Cubist, suddenly.

DR: It seems to me like this: a fine director made a mostly perfect-looking film, with an interesting musical score and fine performances. Except that it is also totally inert, with no real characters one can or could [...]


Free To Be… Straight White Males

Here is a tweet that Gawker writer Max Read retweeted a few days ago.

RT @DavidWinkies: @max_read actually if you call a lawyer and say you're white a dude and str8, they say you have no case #truestory

— max read (@max_read) May 23, 2012

So, sort of a backstory, to begin. Last week brought us two Internet rumpuses regarding and/or demonstrating an especially privileged kind of blindness/obliviousness/ridiculousness. One was TED curator Chris Anderson's flabbergasting decision to withdraw a TED speech about wealth inequality on the grounds that it was "too political." The other, John Scalzi's head-patting essays on Kotaku, comparing [...]


The Battle For Planet Flanagan

David: I need a haircut, Maria. I look like a duckling right now.

Maria: And a stiff drink, if you listened to that radio interview with Caitlin Flanagan, like we were supposed to. Evidently the women of America had calmed down too much since her last book, To Hell With All That, caused such a ruckus over what was widely perceived as the author's throwback and essentialist anti-feminist ideology. So not content to get people in a stir with Atlantic Monthly and New Yorker appearances, she's written a new one, Girl Land. Even the cover of which is pretty provoking.

All these moms are fine [...]


Let's Go Europe, NBA Edition

Paris or Phoenix. Barcelona or Oklahoma City. If you're planning a vacation, these aren't difficult choices. And if you're pursuing a career in professional basketball it's barely a choice at all. For all the fringe perks of gig hooping in Europe, playing in the NBA offers better pay and a higher public profile than playing anywhere else, as well as the opportunity to be posterized by Blake Griffin and endure reliably wrongheaded, weirdly passive-aggressive criticism from TNT's Reggie Miller.

But because of the long-running lockout, the NBA seems likely to make a lengthy stop in federal court before returning to the hardwood kind. This means that America's ballers are [...]


The View Through The Nolan Ryan Jowl-Cam

David Roth: Before this World Series is over, I really hope we can find out what Tony La Russa could've said over the phone to Derek Lilliquist that would've sounded like "Marc Zep-chinski." There is really nothing that sounds like that, except maybe for some long-simmered Ukrainian hoof-and-potato stew

David Raposa: Wait, he was asking for Rzep and got Lynn? I'm not sure there are enough wine coolers west of the Mississippi for TLR to plausibly mush-mouth "Jason Motte" into "Lance Lynn."

David Roth: I think he wanted Motte to pitch to Napoli? Or I'm assuming as much, because you'd have to be a fraudulent Seagrams-7-cured Just For Men box-model [...]


At Least Rudy Giuliani Is Unhappy

David Roth: Well, how do you like that? A guy who looks like a flamboyant, bespectacled version of Grimace doing the Humpty Dance at Yankee Stadium.

David Raposa: You shouldn't talk about David Wells like that. He's worked really hard to beat the gout.

David Roth: You can tell by how shiny he is in the TBS studios. He looks good. He looks less like a week-old, goateed gnocchi than he used to.

David Roth: I'm still baffled by pretty much everything that has happened. When the Diamondbacks played the Mets earlier this year, they seriously looked like a Western European World Baseball Classic entry. One where all [...]


The Great, Forgotten Sci-Fi Novel About The End Of The World

David Roth: So, tell me again, please, how you found this novel, The Last Western? I know how I found it, which was by you giving me a copy and telling me it was important that I read it.

David Roth: It was like Natalie Portman's "The Shins will change your life" moment in Garden State, except you are shorter, smarter and less pointy than she is, and I am marginally less grumbly-sad than Zach Braff, and you were right and also The Shins couldn't conceivably really change anyone's life.

Maria Bustillos: A guy named Mark Harris went all crazy over it on this listserv I was on back [...]


The First Video That Meant Something To Me: Wu-Tang Clan's "Protect Ya Neck"

Part of a series for the new Awl Music app.

The longish story shorter about how I came to lose cable around the time I entered high school is that I was screwing up. Not in any sort of way that would alter my permanent record, or was anything but suburban and toothless and play-acty. I was tanking my classes and baiting my teachers, refining my basketball skills—without much improving my NBA draft stock, in retrospect—to the exclusion of any other kind of self-improvement and shoplifting stupid eighth-grader things like baseball hats and basketball cards and used CD's. There was disapproval from across the dinner table, strange threats [...]


Our Week With Marilyn

David: So, had your mind blown in a very understated way by any octogenarian restaurant critics lately?

Maria: Yes, and marveled at their sangfroid, also.

David: If we will all remember this past week as the one in which Marilyn Hagerty, elderly journalist in Grand Forks, North Dakota, became famous for a very factual review of a new Olive Garden—and was then punished for it by having to talk to Piers Morgan on CNN, as she will be tonight—it's still a little unclear how she and we got here. That is, I'm still trying to figure out what The Internet thought about all this. It had some [...]


Cronenberg's 'A Dangerous Method': The Way We Rut Now

David Roth: A film about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung and ostensibly weird sex, from a director who has spent his career making films about how terrified/fascinated/aroused/disgusted/disgusto-roused humans are by their bodies and what they do and the horrible things that come out of them. So why, Maria Bustillos, would the two things I remember most from A Dangerous Method be 1) how cruel my female friends were about Keira Knightley's breasts and 2) the nagging question of whether David Cronenberg is trying to make interesting movies anymore?

Maria Bustillos: A film worth seeing, I thought—though not one worth talking about until after, so I'm glad we waited. I [...]


Adam Gopnik And The Bourgeois Guillotine

David Roth: Let's talk about how Adam Gopnik feels about French food.

Maria Bustillos: OMG HE REALLY LIKES IT.

DR: Which is perhaps the least surprising thing one could learn about Adam Gopnik. I guess if it were somehow to be revealed that he is blown away—to the point where he thinks you might also find it fascinating—by some things his kids said at the Museum of Natural History, that might be less surprising. But I'm kind of with him on this one, to a great extent. Who doesn't like food?

MB: Well, you! That is to say, I have noticed that awful food, at least, exerts a [...]


The Esteban German Algorithm

David Roth: Did you hear that "Let's Go Motte!" chants the Cardinals fans were doing in Game 1? Where do they come up with this stuff?

David Raposa: The Best Fans In Baseball continue to surprise and amaze with their improvisational alacrity. You cannot stop The Best Fans In Baseball. You can only hope to distract them with around-the-clock nonsense about how trading an up-and-coming center fielder for a fourth starter and some back-end bullpen arms is A Good Thing.

David Roth: I don't know that much about St. Louis. I know Fernando Vina was in a Nelly video and that they have tasty Italian-style sandwiches and that they've [...]


Don't Leave Dan Plesac Hanging!

When the full, all-outtakes-taken-in version of Yakkin' About Baseball is released as a three-VHS set around Christmas (by Vestron Video: check for it!), much will be revealed. How much like a S.E. Hinton novel David Roth found this year's Royals to be; how much David Raposa keeps steering things back towards the "fact" that the United Nations/Trilateral Commission "set Ugueth Urbina up" for a crime he didn't commit. But if there is only one lesson to be learned from it, it is that it is very difficult to stay on topic or make jokes—or, at the very least, not type in capital letters all the time—during an Internet-style chat [...]


My Books Of Sad Jews

As National Novel Writing Month enters its final days, the next in our series about the novels that we started writing but, for whatever reason, never finished.

There's a novel I didn't write, and another novel that I did. I'll tell you about the second one first. It's finished—or notionally finished and objectively un-sold, although my agent tells me it received several posi-polite notes of no-thanks—and still here with me. It's in my head, and at least virtually is right there on this laptop's desktop, where it is both ostensibly complete and current through my last idle tinkerings with it, which I made on a slow and stop-full [...]


Movie About Sports Looks More Interesting Than Most Movies About Sports

I sat behind the plate at Fenway Park in Boston a few years back and watched Tim Wakefield pitch a game with his knuckleball, and man, the way the ball dove and rose and fluttered and swerved—sometimes, clearly to a distance of feet—it was about the closest thing to magic I've ever seen with my own eyes. The science is hard to understand. (For me at least.) It has to do with air currents and friction created by the seams of the ball and turbulence and vortices. Anyway, Awl pal Christine Schomer helped make what looks to be an excellent documentary about the subject. And here's hoping [...]


They Play To Win The Game

Last week, Animal Planet announced the rosters for Puppy Bowl VIII, the annual canine celebration of unmotivated running in circles and dead serious butt-sniffery that represents the best and most successful bit of Super Bowl counter-programming on record. While the VIII'th iteration of the Puppy Bowl will stick to the format fans came to know through the first VII—smallish dogs with their tongues hanging out, tear-assing around a small field aimlessly and excitedly—Animal Planet also added some new elements this year, including a new human referee. This week saw the public announcement of another new twist: the addition of veteran NFL coaches to the mix. We were there [...]


The Classical: Despising Sports And Itself And Everything Else Already

"That’s the NBA we will get in December: One where every bit of action is, for the viewer, shot through with ambivalence. We will love it like never before, while wondering if, just maybe, no one’s having quite as much fun as they once did. We could be projecting, but ultimately, most of what we see in athletes is an attempt to come to terms with what we need them to be. We love this game and yet now we—or the players, or folks paying them—kind of hate everyone. Including ourselves." —There are twelve people in the world, the rest are paste. Many of those twelve are Awl pals, [...]


Better Ingredients, Better Country: Inside Papa John's Top-Secret Presidential Campaign

There are many reasons why I shouldn't have the information I have about Papa John Schnatter, and only one reason that I do. The reasons why not are plentiful. I am not, for instance, a fan of his pizza, and have been critical of it in the past—I have said, on the record and in many instances to people who didn't even ask what I thought of Papa John's, that I think Papa John's pizza "tastes like being in an airport feels" and "is basically an industrial accident covered with seven pounds of shredded cheese."

These critiques, I am aware, are not necessarily unique. What put me on Schnatter's [...]


As American As Xbox and Fried Chicken

David Roth: Read any good overhyped pseudo-exposes this week?

David Raposa: God, after that Globe "exclusive," I don't know if I can take any more hard truths. BASEBALL PLAYERS DRINK BEER AND PARTAKE OF UNHEALTHY FOODSTUFFS. MIDDLE-AGED MAN WITH KNEE PROBLEMS TAKES PAIN MEDICATION. SUBPAR EFFORTS FROM HITTERS AND PITCHERS LEADS TO LOSSES. (I am actually yelling those as I type.)

David Roth: I know, I can hear you. I think John Lackey eating a lot of Popeye's is sort of the opposite of "scoop." The tales of same are well-sourced and all that, but I already knew as much. Dude looks like a peevish curly-fry, so I could [...]