15 October 2014

Half-thoughts, a self-reading, more movies, etc.

CAMEL

I love all the ideas on every side of the debate about artificial intelligence. Every time there is a new A.I. program that people claim perfectly impersonates a human, I'm always eager to try it out; not so as to prove that it's only mechanical after all – on the contrary: I really would love to have someone to converse with.

PIGLET

You camels who claim to dislike so-called postmodernism might not understand that its artists are mirroring you.

RABBIT

But a dream should augment reality, not simply repeat it.

KITTEN

Yesterday, while writing very many words here, I mentioned three movies that I love. I can’t believe that it took me until now to think of adding pictures to accompany my words. Below are three pictures – one for each film that I mentioned. I ask you to imagine that I included them at strategic places in that bygone post.

READING

Now I’ll read a short section from my book called Collected Self-Amusements. (My pen name is Bryan Ray.) I’ll try to embed the video; but here’s the link in case that doesn’t work. And I’ll paste the text below. Sorry it's so tiny — I still don't know how to do anything correctly here online.

A FEW MORE THINGS ABOUT MOVIES

OK fine I’ll say a few more things, but please remember that this is not a movie blog.

A scholar of Leone says something beautiful on the commentary track for Once Upon a Time in the West – he calls the film “An opera in which the arias aren’t sung; they’re stared.” He also relays this anecdote: at the beginning of the story, there is a noticeably squeaky windmill that is employed to great effect, and apparently one of the movie’s crew asked if he should oil the windmill, because it was so noisy – and Leone answered: “If you do that, I will strangle you.”

One more thing about Once Upon a Time in the West. When the movie turns so many western conventions on their head, it’s not trying to make jokes: these things are done for braggadocio and style – it’s as if the filmmaker is saying: I’m so confident in the strength of my storytelling that I can cause an actor who normally only plays good guys to appear wholly evil.

HEARTFELT APOLOGY

It's rude of me to write a lot more here; so, as Francis says in The Darjeeling Limited when he removes his tooth during luncheon: Please forgive this.

STAR WARS & GREMLINS

In the Star Wars movie Return of the Jedi, the small creature who acts as the court jester for Jabba the Hutt looks exactly like a gremlin to me. And when I say 'gremlin', I mean one of the gremlins from the movie Gremlins.

And here is another strange thing that I noticed in common between these two movie franchises. The cover art for my local library’s copy of Gremlins has a picture of a mogwai whose shadow is in the shape of a gremlin; and my local library’s poster for the Star Wars movie titled The Phantom Mencace has a picture of young Anakin Skywalker whose shadow is in the shape of Darth Vader. What I'm trying to say is that both of these films employed the tactic of giving their characters unrealistic shadows in promotional material, so as to grab our attention.

WESLIST

Now, just to be ridiculous, and to prove how different my opinion is from that of most people, I’ll write down all the films directed by Wes Anderson in the order that I love them, with my favorite at the top. I don’t dislike any of his movies, by the way; the following list is only important insofar as it indicates how one human being relates to the artworks of another human being — it's just something fun for primates to touch and taste. So I dare me to touch and taste it.

  1. The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou
  2. The Darjeeling Limited (with the Hotel Chevalier short film)
  3. The Grand Budapest Hotel
  4. Castello Cavalcanti
  5. The Royal Tenenbaums
  6. Bottle Rocket (the 1992 short film)
  7. Bottle Rocket (the 1996 feature film)
  8. Rushmore
  9. Fantastic Mr. Fox
  10. Moonrise Kingdom

CLOSING THOUGHT

I like your lips—they're so soft & springy... They're like spring chicken lips, without the beak.

P.S.

Today, in addition to my own text, I read section VII from Girls on the Run by John Ashbery (one of my favorite books). Also I manufactured Furniture Beat 000020, which is timid music for the robot bear picnic dance-off; and Furniture Beat 000021, which simply yearns to belong in this cold world.

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