MIXED MOVIE QUOTE: MR. BROOKS.

Luscious and I are both sick at the moment (another post on that later today) so last night was resting, couch-surfing, and revisiting a comfort movie. We settled on one of our favourites, and a movie that is such an underrated little gem, Mr. Brooks, one of the very few movies in which I genuinely enjoy William Hurt and in which Kevin Costner gives arguably the first of his relaxed, subtle late career performances. It’s stuffed with fantastic acting turns, and even Danielle Panabaker — so utterly awful and unconvincing in the The Flash TV series — is given just enough to do to turn her limited range into an asset. Hell, any movie that makes you want to see more of Dane Cook should be counted as a miracle equivalent to a Mechanical Turk or roc egg!

It’s a joy.

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY SAYS POACH THE POACHERS. AND MY EGGS.

There’s a very simple solution to stopping big game hunters, you know.

Put a bounty on them.

Money for villagers who might otherwise be tempted by fees to act as guides, limiting access to local knowledge and preserving the natural heritage, skills, and financial independence of the indigenous population. Plus, how many smug white dentist’s heads from middle America mounted on hotel walls do you think it would take before the whole industry just withered away and died?

Exactly.

You’re welcome.

“If I’d known it was harmless, I’d have killed it myself.”

BABY STEPS. NEW STEPS. WRITING STEPS.

Three weeks ago, as part of my determination to make what might be, perhaps, one last attempt to take the sputtering embers of my writing career and see if I can fan them enough to light at least one match head, my good friend Chuck McKenzie and I invited a few colleagues — all of whom were in a similar situation, and had spoken of a similar mind-frame — to create an online group dedicated to supporting each other as we tried to reignite what we all once had, and at least occasionally enjoyed.

After some discussion around format, and desires, and structure, we set our first writing target this week. Very small, very simple, real ‘hurdles for baby bunny rabbits’ stuff: 100 words, or half an hour cumulative writing time.

It’s easier to aim low, and surpass, than aim high, and not even try.

So this morning, gifted with a third consecutive sick day (thanks, inflamed lung!), I finally sat down to try my first writing session since determining to do so at the start of the year (Turns out new jobs and house moves are time-consuming. Who knew?). I dusted off Vitelli’s, a short story I’d churned out a couple of thousand words on the last time I tried to restart things, and which fell apart before I could finish it and even contemplate what came next.

Today, armed with the knowledge that I had to get at least 100 words down, or front up to the writing group I started and explain why I couldn’t manage the first, smallest target I set, I managed 800 words and brought a long-dormant short story from somewhere in the midst to just about finished.

That, my friends, is a good feeling.

Baby steps.

First steps.

But oh, they do feel nice.

MIXED MOVIE QUOTES LOVE NEW YORK IN JUNE. HOW ABOUT YOU?

Almost completely moved into the new house, and two weeks into fresh battles at my new school, so of course I’m going to fall over with an inflamed lung and have to spend the better part of a week doing sod all on doctor’s orders, just as the neighbours and fellow teaching staff were really learning not to bother with me.

Lord 17 is also home today with a cough to rival Captain Coughy McCougherson — we’ve really got to stop huffing off the same crack pipe — so it was a glorious chance to introduce him to a movie that is, well, simply one of the most wonderful pieces of celluloid I’ve ever watched: one of Terry Gilliam’s several masterpieces, The Fisher King.

There are some lines, no matter how brilliant or otherwise a movie may be, that simply transcend the material and slice your heart straight open.

The Good Place’s “Picture a wave…” speech makes my eyes flood every time.

“We are Groot.”

“I don’t understand. Who is this child?”

Hell, I know people who tear up over the “I love you”…… “I know” exchange in The Empire Strikes Back.

It takes all sorts, and I guarantee you, unless you are a soulless monster of incalculable stone density, or a Steven Seagal fan, you have your own Shut up, you’re crying! favourites as well.

Which brings me back to The Fisher King, and because I haven’t seen it in a bunch of years, this line, which goes straight into that list of lines that make me cry like a six year old with half a cone of ice-cream on the ground.

Naturally, as a defence mechanism, I have to undermine the living shit out of it. Naturally.



THUMBNAIL THURSDAY PEGS DEATH ON SPECIAL OCCASIONS

One of those inviolate rules of comedy: death is funny, dying is pain.

Death is doubly funny when you anthropomorphise it and give it a range of normal human habits. Like marrying, and dinking cocktails. To whit: ta-daaaaaaa.

“You’d think that, but he’s actually quite a warm and gentle lover.”

Bonus points for anyone willing to share what they actually do think about Death’s performance as a sexual partner……

INFIL DAY

It’s been a short while since any meaningful content, but perhaps this picture may serve as a form of explanation as to why.

Weeks of short-term accommodation homelessness have been navigated. Home is achieved. Today, the box fort arrives…

JUST BECAUSE A MIXED MOVIE QUOTE IS RICH, DOESN’T MEAN IT CAN’T BE TRASHY

House of Gucci is thoroughly enjoyable. By turns trashy, high camp, and deadly serious, it disguises the diminishing of Ridley Scott’s directorial powers by the sheer power of the performances*: Adam Driver and Lady Gaga are stunningly good, Al Pacino revels in remembering how to adjust his volume knob, and even Jared Leto’s hammy pretensions are framed perfectly to allow us to disdain a character that deserves our disdain.

So, in the interests of maintaining that heady mix of po-faced trashiness that makes it so enjoyable, a Mixed Movie Quote that aims for the same territory.


*The only possible exception to this is Jeremy Irons, who — while actually delivering a solid performance — seems determined to ignore everything bar the chance to turn into James Mason once again……

AGENT: In this role, you’ll be playing a German.
IRONS: (English accent)
AGENT: This one’s an American who styles himself after an Ancient Greek.
IRONS: (English accent)
AGENT: (Reading House of Gucci offer) Italian?
IRONS: (ENGLISH! ACCENT!)

FROM THE ‘THIS IS WHY WE READ’ DEPARTMENT…

My first book for the year is The Sale of the Late King’s Goods, a discussion of the history of Charles I’s art collection by Jerry Brotton, which fits nicely into my lifelong fascination with the Tudor, Jacobean, and Caroline eras.

But among all the Titians and Van Dycks and Rubens’, the piece I have become most enamoured by is a work described by Brotton as “rather grotesque”, (although it was, apparently, a personal favourite of Ol’ No Head), Giulio Romano’s A Mermaid Feeding Her Young.

I have never seen it before, nor been aware of Romano. I really do like it an enormous deal. And now I have a new artist to study.

Happy 🙂

Grotesque? I say glorious.

LIKE AN OLD FRIEND

This is a page from one of my favourite single issues of a comic book ever written: X-Factor #87, way back when I was collecting pamphlets in the 90s. After a series of tough battles, the team is sent to see a therapist. The issue is just that: each member of the team talking to that therapist, and in doing so, revealing the heartache, stress, and general trauma they carry every single day.

I’ve talked about this particular monologue so often, to friends, peers, students — sometimes to explain my own feelings of isolation, sometimes to help ameliorate theirs, sometimes for purely technical writing reasons. If nothing else, it is one of the most elegant and pure pieces of character building I’ve ever seen. But I hadn’t seen the page itself for years, until someone posted it on a page I belong to.

It’s nice to see it again.

Like an old friend.

2021 YEAR IN REVIEW: THE LITTLE YEAR THAT COULDN’T, AND DIDN’T.

We all thought it would be better, didn’t we?

And okay, in many ways it was, but let’s be honest: 2021 was as difficult as 2020 had been before it, and in just as many ways was worse, because it was just like 2020 but this time we bloody well knew what was going to happen, and then we had to watch as all those fuckwits went ahead and did it anyway.

On the personal front, well, yeah. Things weren’t easy. But Big Decisions ™ were made, and Some Plans (pat. pend.) were begun, and this time next year I’ll have nothing but amazing successes and happinesses to report. Right?

Right?

Soooooooo…… anyway. 2021. Year in Review. Let’s do that.

Continue reading “2021 YEAR IN REVIEW: THE LITTLE YEAR THAT COULDN’T, AND DIDN’T.”

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY SAYS THE REPORTS OF MY DEMISE ARE GREATLY… MODERATELY… POSSIBLY… EXAGGERATED. MAYBE.

Yeah, so 2021 was a pretty bleh year in all the ways, including blogging at this here blog. I’m going to try to make 2022 a more active, proactive, and positive year in as many ways as I can, including getting behind the keyboard– that includes both writing and blogging.

Popular wisdom among the teaching fraternity is that the first two to three years are the toughest, because you’re still learning all the practical habits of the trade while having to sort through the reams of available resources to find the ones that work for your teaching style. I’ve done my three years. Hopefully its true. Either way, I need more than just that particular way of meeting rent to give my life some joy and fulfillment. When in doubt, go back to first principles, and first principles say: I’m an author. I’m an artist. I’m a rock and roll tyrannosaurus sex god from the planet Yeeha. Let’s start with those simple truths and see where I can go from there.

To whit, the first thumbnail of the final year of Thumbnail Thursday. How prophetic, how timely, how okay, yeah, for once I chose this one instead of letting the random number generator do the job. Sue me.

Here’s to a better 2022, everyone, no matter where you are.

2020 PLUS A TUTU, TOO

It’s traditional, at this time, to publish my end of year list. But as a) it’s more than thirty items long, b) I’m currently lying in a chalet in Fremantle, a long way from my computer, and c) I’m typing this on my phone, that one’s going to have to wait.

Instead, let me end this year of neck-deep shite with a list of goals for my first year back in Perth for almost half a decade. To whit:

Continue reading “2020 PLUS A TUTU, TOO”

THUMBNAIL THURSDAY WISHES YOU A BIG, FAT STOCKING RIGHT UP YOUR CHIMNEY

if my maths is correct — and if it isn’t, I’ll just draw another one when the time is right — I don’t have quite enough thumbnails left to run this feature through to next Christmas. After 200+ thumbnails covering the extent of my occasionally semi-serious, several-times-aborted, never-good-enough-to-really-consider-it attempts at fashioning something in the cartooning realm, I’m going to run out of thumbnails sometime in the coming year, and that will be that. Thanks for reading, and all that.

However, I still have four Christmas-themed cartoons left on my list, so rather than do anything clever with them, I’m just going to shove them all up here at once and wish you, from the point of view of this feature anyway, a final merry Christmas all at once.

May your stocking be full and your egg particularly noggy.

Continue reading “THUMBNAIL THURSDAY WISHES YOU A BIG, FAT STOCKING RIGHT UP YOUR CHIMNEY”