10 years, 10 films

What could be more meaningless than end of the decade lists? Very little to my thinking. A bunch of yammering throats eager to announce their importance and unique wonder in the grand scheme of things. File under: "who gives a crap" partner.

That said, here's the 10 movies that stayed w/ me the most over the past 10 yrs, in no particular order.

requiem for a dream

mulholland drive


the best of youth


hedwig and the angry inch

no country for old men


morvern callar

the new world

the careful reader will no doubt identify that i am contradicting myself by lambasting those who post top 10 lists and then doing so myself. you have my every assurance of the deliberate nature of this scenario.



overheard: even if it takes you 300 times an hour to move the mind back to a quiet place it's sucessful

Saturday had the MRI. Heard nothing. This is a good thing. Sunday, yesterday, was the 5 year anniversary of The Call. Meaning it's now been over 5 years since I was diagnosed with a brain tumor. This is a hopeful, beautiful thing. Ironically (or not) my daily email from Eknath Easwaran yesterday is copied below in its entirety

Eknath Easwaran’s Thought for the Day

December 27

The last enemy that shall be destroyed is death.
– I Corinthians

Most of us find the death of another person or creature deeply unsettling, yet after a time we manage to submerge our feelings and carry on. For someone deeply sensitive to the transitory nature of life, however, an encounter with death can leave scars that last a lifetime. As a teenager Saint Augustine witnessed the untimely death of a bosom friend, and suddenly a trapdoor opened into deeper awareness. He was devastated. “I thought death suddenly capable of devouring all men, because he had taken this loved one.”

The word anxiety is a weak term for expressing this continuing uneasiness, this unsettled sense of being out of place and running out of time. Generally we can only ascribe it to external events, if we succeed in linking it to anything at all. But what is actually happening is that a wisp of memory is rising, whispering to us from deep within that nothing external in life is secure, nothing physical ever lasts.

No matter how hard we may try, in the long run none of us can escape the devastating fact of death. Yet an encounter with death, as in the case of Augustine, can leave us changed decidedly for the better. It can prompt us forward on the long search for something secure in life, something death cannot reach.


new world, the

Been lost in a haze of terrence malick induced stupor of late. nobody makes - ie conceives, directs, edits - movies like him, rewatched the new world last wk and my jaw is still on the floor for reasons that explaining would cheapen. words are meager vessels but suffice to say that it sends my heart soaring. Not to mention The New World, shot on 65 mm, all available light, no cranes or trickery, unreal. True actual cinema, ie true use of the medium of cinema to convey something which cannot be conveyed in any other medium. Very few you can say that about. There goes my heart again!


Is this thing on?

End of decade approaching, End of epic year approaching, 5 year anniversary of my 1st MRI coming on Sunday, my annual MRI coming on Saturday - all of which is to say, a series of  interstitial intersections, an ocean swell of disproportionate conditions blowing in suddenly, clouds and vapor, all heralding some cymbal-clashing stripe of monumental momentousness that I feel some compunction to comment on but....

...what does it all mean really?

or rather does it need to be shared? Some things are not fully formed. Some things can lay underground, unstated, no less potent for going unvoiced.  There is a difference between silence and reduction. A process of refinement lies on one side of the equation, stasis on the other. Idle muteness vs. Subtraction.  Saying vs. Doing. Costume vs. Skin. Persona vs. Person.

To say the absolute least: this year has been transformative. Much was lost, much was gained. One hopes in some sort of cosmic accounting that everything is settled. The 1st 10 months of the year were a voluminous rise of good tiding and atmosphere-departing growth, the last two a sobering hammering back to earth by death, in various forms, literal and imagined, promised and delivered. A reminder of the finite threads we hang from. Which fucks with me already to no end, tied as it to the brain tumor but lining up w/ a series of benchmarks makes it worse: Here comes 5 year anniversary of Diagnosis! Surgery 1! Surgery 2! Proton Beam Radiation! cue the horns, cue the strings, furious drumroll: what does it all mean?

I step to the microphone, clear my throat:

I have no answer. After the mysterious good fortune to overcome hurdles that some do not,  to leap safely across black-hole alligator-jaw-snapping abysses that some do not, I have no secret to claim, no mystical cosmic intonation, no hidden knowledge beyond what everyone knows from reading greeting cards or watching endless televised sludge: 

life is short

as it happens, there's more going on than fumbly survivorship thoughts, those interstitial intersections again, things i'm excluding, the deep dark under a layer of ice on a lake in winter, but i have to leave it there.
more one day.

So, how is that for sharing? For silence? Now do you understand?


let's go blazers!

Portland made the front page of the ny times sports section! Oh, wait it's about how bad the blazers are sucking of late. Whatever karmic alchemies were put in place to get the current roster the bill has apparently come due. A mish-mash of non-function and various maladies across players, coaching, owner - ranging from the severe (bladder cancers, lymphomas) to the season-ending (oden) to the season-arresting (outlaw, batum) to minor annoyance (aldridge, fernandez). Oh yeah, plus nate mcmilllan had surgery on his achilles tendon. Quite a turn from last season but you never know. It's early


sentence of the day 12.06.09

Maybe it's beef trachea day?

mm to lennie briscoe on the occasion of his birthday in reference to
a long-forgotten and disgusting treat in our cabinet


romy, mon amour

saw le combat dans l'ile the other night which bore some obvious hallmarks of a debut french film from 1962 but was mostly really effing weird. part love triangle, part assasination plot, part fight on an island ("hence the title" it was explained to me) paced w/ all the deliberation of drying paint. however that said , if romy schneider is involved then i say paint away. new print doesn't hurt either.

mojo hand