Film is not the art of scholars, but of illiterates. And film culture is not analysis; it is agitation of the mind. Movies come from the country fair and circus, not from art and academicism.”

–Werner Herzog

More Bill Murray @ Harvard

Found myself at a party with Elvis Mitchell’s T/A tonight, and heard all about the Bill Murray appearance in class Friday. He said he was disappointed that Bill wasn’t more of an asshole. I think I would have been too.

Also at this party, which was nearly exclusively attended by people with Master’s degrees in cinema studies, Elvis Mitchell turned out to be very unpopular. I tend to have no strong opinions about him or any other reviewers, but have lately in blog-land been seeing lots of lamenting about his abrupt departure from the New York Times. At this party, however, there was nothing but relief that he’s gone. They hated him and his “showoffy” style. And there was word that his class was on the showoffy and shallow side as well. I still have no opinion of him, but the fact of the matter is that there is a difference between academic criticism (cinema studies grads) and journalism (elvis mitchell), and the two generally don’t mix (or respect each other).

More on The Office

So, The Office: Season 2. It’s hard to articulate why I find it so disappointing, but I feel I must. I so completely adored the first season that it could be a case of too-high expectations. But I don’t think so. The main problem for me is that it’s just not funny when David gets called on his bullshit. And in the second season, David gets called on everything. Everything. Episode by episode he gets methodically stripped of all dignity until it’s painful to watch. And that’s just not funny.

It wasn’t total shit though. There were still some very funny bits. The wheelchair bit, as Paul noted. Also the scene where David finds out the new staff has been making fat jokes about him, and David demands to know why they don’t pick on the fat accountant instead. (And he even pokes the guy’s belly fat to demonstrate. Oh my god.) But none of this is as good as most of the first season. I just had very high expectations. The scene from season one where David slowly takes over the training session until he and the hired speaker are literally speaking on top of each other is a brilliant symphony of comic acting. And then there are the quotables… “Women … are … dirty.”  “No one should be punished for having big breasts. If anything, they should be rewarded.” (And in fact there’s a weak and bastardized version of that one in Season 2–stealing jokes from Season 1, bad sign.)

There was nothing that great in the second season. Oh, except this:

(That’s for Guy)

Just Missed Bill

Damn, I had to learn from Gawker (via Greencine) that Bill Murray was here on campus Friday as a guest in Elvis Mitchell’s class. In the classroom where I T/A!  Lucky bastards.

Boo, Ricky

I watched the 2nd season of The Office.


But I’m still hopelessly in love with Martin Freeman (aka Tim).

More in a bit.

Romero at Boston Underground Film Festival

George Romero and Roy Grundman at Davis Square Theater for Boston Underground Film Festival screening of Knightriders

George, Roy, and Brother Blue (who appeared in the film) at Q&A after the screening

Roy entering the theater for the festival so underground it didn’t even have a name over the theater door

George Romero at Underground Film Festival

George Romero TODAY at Somerville Theater in Davis Square…Q&A following a screening of his rare film Knightriders at 2pm…I’ll be back with pictures…

George Romero TOMORROW

A reminder that TOMORROW George Romero will be in person at the Boston Underground Film Festival, with a Q&A following a screening of Knightriders at the Somerville Theater in Davis Sq…also screening of Night of the Living Dead tonight…see full schedule below…


Why do all my friends have to be gone. Now I have to go to FilthyFest by myself. How pathetic is that.

Funny Crazy Tiny Films

Why didn’t anyone tell me about the Red-Headed League? My official new favorite site. Lots of short (tiny) demented films to watch. I even downloaded QuickTime just so I could watch these movies. You must see “Suicide for Beginners.” Cracks me up.

Open Studios

I was sitting on my porch grading papers on this lovely day and wondering why the hell so many people were strolling down our street. It’s a residential street behind Davis Square, all houses, no shops, not really the place for random strolling trips. Then I walked around the corner to Store24 and noticed many houses with orange balloons tied to their porches. Then I realized today is Somerville Open Studios. Apparently we have several artists living on our street, several orange balloon bunches floating in the breeze here. So that explains the spike in street traffic. Sad, though, that I know so little about my neighbors.

Kill Bill: Breaking or Affirming Stereotypes?

I’ve been kind of confused and speechless over the gender issues displayed in Kill Bill 1&2, but here’s a convincing defense from, of all people, Molly Haskell:

“And that’s what makes Tarantino unique–women stretching their muscles in the action arena without leaving their affections at the door. These are not women simply airlifted into male roles, with the traditional characteristics intact, but action roles conceived for women, with women’s sorrows and women’s biology, in which they show the strengths and limits of their sex. On the plus side, they’re fluid and capable and intuitive, and they aren’t dragging around giant egos in constant need of stoking. The downside, in terms of plot and action, is the brake applied by motherhood. A pregnant warrior is one who stops dead in her tracks, when her mind switches channels in mid-stream, goes into nurture mode. Babies are anti-action and anti-climax. “