At long last, the fateful day has arrived. Yours truly is 21.
Yes, this is a big moment for all of us. But before you start clogging the phone lines offering me free drinks, let’s take a moment to reflect on what this once-in-a-lifetime event really means.
If there’s one sure sign of the death of music television, it’s the disappearance of Pop-Up Video.
PUV was, for six years, the best way to waste an afternoon. Featuring music videos culled from the depths of eighties glam-rock and New Wave electronica, the show would add little pop-up bubbles with interesting factoids about the making of the videos and the idiosyncrasies of the artists at hand. One might learn, for example, that children used to tease Marvin Gaye by adding “is” before his last name, or that the bartender in Rick Astley’s “Never Gonna Give You Up” spent much of the video shoot passed out on a pool table. The opportunities for learning were endless.
There were several reasons I thought I could be a successful actor.
First, Keanu Reeves. He just sort of stands there and looks pretty, both of which I’m good at, and he’s a star. Plus, he plays Ted in Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure, so …
Second, my impromptu performances in front of the bathroom mirror have garnered rave reviews. Amidst the fog of just-finished hot showers, I’ve done everything from remorseful sinner to dying soldier and, let me tell you, I bring down the house every time.
[img_assist|nid=32890|title=Camera Men|desc=|link=node|align=left|width=|height=0]It’s not infrequent for Cornellians watching Entourage or The O.C. to sigh longingly and wish that our fair University were located somewhere a bit more star-studded or sun-basked. But these dreamers can take heart in the fact that once, a long, long time ago, Ithaca was the center of the movie universe.
What with the ghosts of Nabokov, Vonnegut and Pynchon haunting its corridors, Goldwin Smith Hall must have felt quite comfortable to former Poet Laureate Charles Simic, who stopped by Ithaca on Thursday, October 2nd as part of the Creative Writing Program’s Writers at Cornell reading series. The poet, a native of Belgrade who moved to the United States at the age of 15, has won numerous accolades for his terse and often dark poetry, including the Wallace Stevens Award, a MacArthur Fellowship and the Pultizer Prize. Decked out in a brown leather jacket and his trademark tinted glasses, the 70-year-old poet sat down with The Sun a few hours before the reading in the office of English professor J. Robert Lennon:
I have a confession to make. I haven’t watched a movie in over two weeks.
“Dear me,” you might be thinking. “What an irresponsible film columnist this Ted (Tad?) Hamilton is.” But my dereliction of duty is not the biggest problem that this recent drought indicates. No — the matter at hand is far more serious, touching on the very essence of film itself.
You see, film-viewing seems to share a direct correlation with free time. The reason I haven’t been keeping up with my Netflix queue is the fact that I’ve been very busy: schoolwork, the paper, bartending, etc. — and it’s all added up to squeeze extra hours from my schedule and leave me with little chance for relaxation.
The other day I passed by Collegetown Video on my walk home from class. Its oddly industrial-chic storefront was covered with all manner of incentives begging customers to come in: membership benefits, a DVD repair service, three movies for the price of two, and so on. As I walked away, I couldn’t help but feel that these were the last desperate cries of a dying business model.
This feeling was reinforced when I got home and found a new Netflix movie in my mailbox. And later that evening when I watched Weeds online. And the next day when I downloaded Pineapple Express in the law library.
It made me wonder: When was the last time I’d actually set foot in a video store?
From: Ted Hamilton To: Mr. Coen cc: Mr. Coen Subject: Your new “film”
My name is Ted Hamilton, and I recently saw your new movie, Burn After Reading. Before we discuss reimbursement for my ticket, I would like to raise a few points.
First: An A-list cast does not a fine film make. Sure, you’ve got Clooney and Pitt, but this isn’t Ocean’s Fourteen. John Malkovich, Frances McDormand and a host of other recognizables don’t help. You can’t save a sinking ship.
A couple of weeks ago I watched the Colin Farrell film In Bruges for the first time. The movie (which debuted at Sundance last January) tells the story of the depressed and ADD-addled Ray (Farrell), a neophyte assassin who has bungled his first assignment and is now hiding in the Belgian city of Bruges with his more experienced (and tranquil) colleague Ken (Brendan Gleeson).
In Bruges is great for a number of reasons — it’s smart, it’s got great acting and it’s filled with funny British accents. But the thing I enjoyed most about the film was how it took a rather standard premise — two assassins on the run flirting with death — and turned it into a vehicle for serious reflection.