Minority Report

It’s day seven of over-90-degree weather in New York City, and my tolerance for this is beyond low. I feel like I’m trying to survive the desert or something. I do have a tiny AC in my room, but it only runs for a few hours before its humidity take fills, so I usually wake up in the middle of the night to an oven-like atmosphere. Also, its a bit disconcerting to sit in my room all weekend, without the TV or my desktop computer or anything else. I’d like to get out of the house, but even the trip from my house to the subway is murderous. So survival has been grueling, to say the least.

I got up early and ran a bunch of errands (bank, post office, laundry) and then went to Times Square, mostly because I wanted the air-conditioned subway ride. Turns out there was a huge street fair on 7th Ave, the main drag through Times Square, and thousands of people were there. I’m not sure I’ve seen this many people in Times Square at once; it wasn’t a crowd as big as New Year’s, but considering the heat, it was still phenomenal. Right off the train, I grabbed a corn dog from a cart, and briefly scanned the vendors. They didn’t have much I couldn’t buy at K-Mart for cheaper, but I have some strange fascination with those potted bamboo and bonzai trees they sell at street fairs, and someday I’ll get the nerve to buy one. (I say this as more than half of my window garden has died from neglect.)

Another alterior motive was to see if my friend Rob was at work (he is the manager at the Yankees store on 42nd street), but since he wasn’t, and since I was drenched in sweat from the 5 blocks of walking, I ducked into the AMC 25 and decided to pony up $10 for whatever was starting within a few minutes and wasn’t Austin Powers or Men in Black or some other movie with an integral fast-food marketing tie-in. So I got a ticket to see Minority Report, which was a coup because it was something I wanted to check out, and also I got two hours and twenty minutes of AC for my money. (As opposed to MIB2, which was about 23 minutes long, from what I hear.)

I don’t think Minority Report got a big pop; the commercials weren’t incredible, and it wasn’t that compelling for most people. Plus it seemed like most reviewers on the “dumb” review shows HATED it. Well, there’s a reason for that – it was an excellent movie! And it made people think, which is a big no-no in Hollywood. If you make people think they are thinking, they will love you. But making them actually think is bad. (I was happy to see that Roger Ebert’s Review was good, though.) Anyway, I don’t want to even give away any of the plot, but I will say a few things about the movie. First, the combination of CGI and excellent design makes the 50-years-from-now world of Washington DC incredibly realistic. It’s orders of magnitude better than movies like Fifth Element or even Blade Runner, but the movie isn’t about the technology. It’s more of a human element, and the action in this movie is very tight, and keeps you going through the entire two and a half hours. (It honestly felt like 90 minutes to me.) The ending is complicated, but it’s very much worth it. The other thing is that this is the first movie that I’ve seen based on a Philip K. Dick book that really SEEMS like his writing. Blade Runner took it in another direction, and Total Recall seemed a lot more like an Arnold vehicle, like Running Man 2. I don’t think people will flock to the home video of this, but I do think it will be a cult classic like Blade Runner.

I stayed up all night last night (well, almost all night) reading the new Cynthia True book about Bill Hicks. It’s incredible, and I want to write more about it, but I also want to take a shower, so I’ll save that for another day.


Phantom Menace

It has been hotter than hell here. And the top floors of old buildings aren’t conducive to rapid cooling or anything. I shouldn’t bitch, because it’s starting to cool off now, and I’m sure things will be peachy. Nothing like last summer in Seattle, where I had to get drunk every night just to get any sleep.

I saw Phantom Menace twice over the extended holiday weekend, and you’re probably expecting me to say that I loved it and I have been waiting since I was a kid, or that it was completely stupid and that George Lucas should shove Jar Jar Binks up his ass, along with his fucking ewok-esque charaters obviously added to the movie to market to 8 year old kids. Well, it’s a little of both, and it’s the biggest and most disproportionate list of pros and cons that I could even list for a movie. Let me try:


The joy of watching a new Star Wars film. the fact that i had all of the toys when i was a kid. the music. the sound. the design of some of the new cities. a lot of the lightsaber dueling. the characters that were in the other 3 movies that appear in this one. the way ewan macgregor sounds and moves very much like a young alec guiness. the silver SR-71-looking ship. a lot of the pod race. saying pulp fiction lines during samuel l jackson’s parts. the part where yoda makes a “mmmmmm” sound and it almost sounds like he’s going to imitate homer simpson. natalie portman, when she doesn’t have on all the makeup. there’s probably more, but i’ll stop here.


The entire movie is marketed toward eight-year old boys. Jar Jar Binks. Anakin Skywalker. The killer droids. The pacing. The length. The somewhat cryptic governmental subplot. Anakin Skywalker flying in space and destroying the space station, allegedly by accident. Darth Maul’s total lack of personality. (Darth Vader was a prick, but at least he talked to you during the duel.) The utter predictability of certain plot points. Almost every animated creature. The lack of more personal combat, instead of huge combat scenarios. (A bunch of one CGI character against a bunch of another – who cares?) Natalie Portman with all of that shit on her face, acting like she just overdosed on quaaludes. Anakin Skywalker.

Okay, enough about that.

I am still writing, working on Summer Rain. I shouldn’t say that, because I didn’t do anything over the weekend. But I’m very close to finishing the first 15 chapters and putting them out there for review. If you’re interested and you can give me some feedback, let me know and I can set you up.

I finished HST’s Rum Diary, and it really hit the spot. I’m now reading Slaughterhouse Five, or at least I pulled it down from the shelves, and the next time I get a chance to read, that’s what I’ll pick up. I saw the movie on Bravo the other night, and it got me interested in it again. My third book, which I’ll work on when I finish Rumored to Exist (which I’ll work on when I finish Summer Rain) is about time travel, and involves part of a premise from SH5, although I didn’t realize it until later. Writing a time travel book is a bitch, because you need to come up with your own entire set of rules and stick to it. And everyone will tell you that your set of rules is wrong, because there’s no perfect set. But here’s a little trade secret: IT’S FICTION! If you don’t like my set of time travel rules (and most SciFi types won’t), then go fuck yourself. Write your own book, and make everyone at your Harlan Ellison fan club proud.

I’m buying a DVD player. I already have three movies: Pulp Fiction, Blade Runner, and Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. I have the player picked out and everything, but I have a temporary financial logjam involving a couple of check deposits in transit. I could order it now, but I should do the right thing and let everything settle, just in case something stupid happens and I don’t really have the money. (Sounds dumb, but a few weeks ago I mailed a deposit, and forgot to put a stamp on it. Fucked everything by about two weeks.)

Tired. Hot. Got a chapter to fix before bedtime. Sweet dreams.