Throbbing Skunk Ape Official Homepage

Welcome. I am Caley Middleton and this is a glimpse into my world. You'll see what I see, defile what I defile, eat who I eat. I really can't fathom why you'd stop by, but if you do please leave comments! I absolutely crave, attention.

Thursday, April 29, 2004

"I'm starting to wish I hadn't come to school today."
-Freaks and Geeks

Wow, my sister bought the Freaks and Geeks complete series on DVD yesterday and it is about six million two hundred and thirty three thousand two hundred and thirty three times better than I remember. The characters are all just soooooooo great. Bill is always everyone's favourite, but I have to admit to a real soft spot for Kent. That's really all I have to add tonight, here, download some Billy Joel, whom for some bizarre reason, I just got back into this week, after some 18 or years since I listened to it from the backseat on family vacations.


Tuesday, April 27, 2004

I saw one of the weirdest of varieties of movies over this past weekend. But, the interesting thing I find is that in each of the films, as disparate as they are, they all seemed to grow out of a genuine love of movies.

Kill Bill Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 (dir. Quentin Tarantino): When I first saw Kill Bill Vol. 1, I didn't really like it. No, that's not accurate. I liked it, but it didn't blow me away like it should have. And I chalked it up to the violence. My feeling was that, the violence was just too excessive and served no purpose beyond enhancing the style of the movie. Then, I saw the second volume, and while there is still copious blood and violence, I loved it. So, I went back and saw Vol. 1 again, wondering just why it was the first one bothered me so, yet the second one was really, really great. Is it just the violence? The sparse dialogue and characterization? Or just Lucy Liu, whom I really, truly hate? So, I saw it again, and the violence still bothered me, but not as much as before. This time, I watched it and whether or not you endorse the violence, you can't argue that Vol. 1 and Vol. 2 grow out of Tarantino's genuine love of movies. I watched it and thought, "Oh yeah, I see what this is referring to...and that's really neat, that looks great" and so on. And, I can pinpoint the exact moment where the violence gets to be a bit much for me, it's when The Bride slices off Sofie Fatale's arm. I don't know if it's a testament to Julie Dreyfus' acting, but the scene genuinely bothers me. Her screaming and rolling on the floor with the blood spurting out just bothers me on such a visceral level that it hampers my enjoyment of the film. Anyways, I liked Kill Bill Vol. 1 and I loved Kill Bill Vol. 2.

Day For Night (Dir. Francois Truffaut): I'll be honest, I'm not quite finished this yet, but I will finish it tonight. So far, I have seen 1 Godard and 2 Truffaut films and, thus far, Truffaut is by far my fave French New Waver so far. I loved The 4OO Blows and I really liked Jules et Jim, so I finally got around to seeing the only Truffaut I own and had seen some of before. This is good, it's fun, it's a little sad, and it's intersting to see what goes on behind the scenes of a movie as it is a movie about the joy and pain of making a movie. Truffaut has that famous quote that Roger Ebert likes to trot out every now and then, something along the lines of "I demand that a film either demonstrate the joys of filmmaking or the agony of filmmaking" or something to that extent (I can't find the book with the quote, sue me), and you can see it in this film. Truffaut even casts himself in the role of the director to add to the verisimilitude (if I spelled that wrong, then all the snobby college cred I attempted to ensnare just went out the window) of the film. I really enjoy it, and you can bet if Truffaut wasn't enjoying himself than he wouldn't be there.

13 Going On 30 (Dir. Gary Winick): This movie is taking a lot of flack for being a ripoff of Big. Roger Ebert also took it to task for many things, but he seems to be way off base as he is dealing with it as if the girl is now 13 rather than 30, he views it through a rather cynical/jaded scope and comes up with moral issues and concerns, but the movie itself isn't so much concerned with the moral issues as it is with a girl who has been given everything she ever wanted only to realize that eveything she wanted can only be achieved by sacrificing her identity. I know that's maybe going a little further into this type of movie than this type of movie intended, but it just seems silly to me to dislike this movie b/c it is an homage to movies like Big while lionizing a film like Kill Bill which is an homage to almost everything that Quentin Tarantino has seen (watch the "Making of..." where he discusses his "De Palma shot" and everything and it's clear he's making the film as a sort of condensation of everything he loves). 13 Going On 30 isn't a serious film, and it's not meant to be discussed as such. But, Gary Winick has directed a movie that doesn't have a mean bone in its body. The grown up girl who betrays Garner's character doesn't receive her comeuppance, nobody does. The film has the guts to put out the message, "be nice, be yourself and good things will happen." For too many movies nowadays, this message alone would not be enough, you would have to get the revenge scenes where it shows the mean girls are poor and cleaning bathrooms or something to that extent. I'm gonna put this movie up there with Elf , which I actually threw into my top ten for the year for its sheer good nature. This is a movie that celebrates being nice, and what's wrong with that. Oh yeah, and Jennifer Garner is adorable in this, so much so that, not once, did I think about how hot or sexy she was, but instead, I always just kind of thought how nice she was. And my non-sexual man-crush on Mark Ruffalo continues to flourish.

I can't believe I just wrote that much on the movie 13 Going On 30, yet only managed a few meagre sentences on Day For Night. Odd.


Thursday, April 22, 2004

"I can't see me loving nobody but you for all my life"
-The Turtles, Happy Together

Odd, that the lyric of the day comes from the original version of the song which doesn't interest me at all. The version I have been playing endlessly tonight after a 6-7 month seach is the phenomenal version by Danny Chung from the end of Wong Kar Wai's exuberant Happy Together. Very few directors use as much interesting music as WKW.

Gates of Heaven (dir. Errol Morris): This is one of the greatest documentaries I have ever seen (I am the first to admit, I have not seen many). It's the tale of two pet cemetaries, one being dug up and one going strong. It's one of the most bizarre, hilarious, yet often touching movies I have ever seen. Go find it, it's worth the search.

Pierrot Le Fou (dir. Jean-Luc Godard): I really wanted my first foray into the work of Godard to be My Life To Live b/c I saw a bit of it in class once and it looked amazing, and the idea of, as Leonard Maltin put it, "a cinematic valentine from Godard to (the starring actress)" (that quote might be off by a bit, I do remember the valentine part, though). But, anyways, NO ONE in Kelowna has the movie, so Pierrot Le Fou being the only Godard I could find, I figured it was as good a place as any to start. To begin with, it looks amazing. The plot is weird, and hard to follow, and pretentious, and slow and pontificating. But, I enjoyed it. The main reason to watch this film is to look at it. Yet, I find myself humming the two biazarre spontaneous musical numbers in my head. And there really was some good dialogue in it. I really have no idea what I'm talking about, do I? So, I will have to slot this in on the "recommended" side, not as recommended as Gates of Heaven.

Smoke (dir. Wayne Wang): I'm not gonna do this justice at all in trying to explain the plot and why I liked it, so I will just say it the most recommended of the three recommended films today, and then just jot down some point form notes...
-I like Harvey Keitel. I really wish I hadn't seen him naked more times than any other man I can think of in my life, but still...where was I?
-I like Forrest Whittaker (spelling?!?). Yeah.
-The movie is written by Paul Auster, and I like the little bit I've read by Paul Auster.
-There are a few Tom Waits songs in the movie, so if you like Tom Waits. You're in luck.
-Rent it.

That's it.


Saturday, April 17, 2004

What I have watched recently.

It's been a slow week as I've either been studying or lazy, so I have not seen much. In fact, I've only finished one movie, but what a movie!

Les 400 Coups (Dir. Francois Truffaut): I really prefer to refer to this by it's french name, since the English translation works out to "The 400 Blows" and sounds like the Hugh Grant story. I really wanted to start with Truffaut with Day For Night which I saw and enjoyed a bit of in class one day. But since the library does not have it for some reason (yet seems to have every other Truffaut?!?), I started with his first. This is such a beautiful, heartbreaking little movie. It's the story of a young boy, growing up being ignored by his parents etc. etc. So he becomes a little troublemaker. It starts with innocent little things like passing centerfolds in class, being a general smartass, skipping class, and leads to the eventual theft of a typewriter which sends him off to military school. With my description, this sounds like the dreariest of movies, but it is made with such honesty and simple beauty that it's not at all. There is one scene in particular where the boy runs toward the camera and birds scatter in all directions, and it's like a big black curtain parting that is so astonishing that I actually rewound and watched it a couple of times. After finishing it, I found Day For Night the next day on DVD and bought it. I just might watch it tonight. Anyone seen Kill Bill Volume 2 yet? I was disappointed by the first one, mainly due to its violence which bothered me for some reason (yet I saw and enjoyed Audition). I suppose I should see Number 2, since I saw the first one, but I can't decide whether to, or to save my money for DVDs coming up that I want to see (Love Actually {Chiwetel Ejiofor is in it!} and In America). Little help?


Tuesday, April 13, 2004

"This is Lardbutt putting his rear next to your ear,"
-The Critic

What I have watched recently.

I really meant to do a better job of this, meaning to keep up a running tally of all the movies I've seen recently, but circumstances (AKA nice weather) have prevented that, so here is the rundown.

Seven Samurai (Dir. Akira Kurosawa): I've been meaning to watch this for a couple of years now and finally did. After a disheartening run-in with Kurosawa in grade 12 (A friend and I rented Ran and HATED it, I will have to go back to it eventually as my tastes have changed), I started slowly getting back into Kurosawa: Dreams, Rhapsody In August and Ikiru. I finally watched Yojimbo as my first foray into Kurosawa samurai movies and loved it. So, we decided it was finally time for Seven Samurai.

Seven Samurai was a truly great movie, one of the few I've seen that really lives up to its hype (it's currently number 7 on The acting was great, Toshiro Mifune was sooo much fun as the wannabe samurai who actually accomplishes more than half the samurai. And I still can't believe Takashi Shimura, the charismatic leader of the samurai, is the same Takashi Shimura who played the old, feeble man dying of cancer two years earlier in Ikiru. Whomever was responsible of doing the makeup in Kurosawa's movies was a genius! What really surprised me about Seven Samurai is how funny it was! There were a few laugh out loud moments and really, it was just perfect. One of those movies where you think you've been watching for 15 minutes and suddenly 57 minutes have flown by. I could watch movies like this all day.

Sonatine, Boiling Point, Fireworks. (Dir. Takeshi Kitano): My brother and I decided this would be Takeshi Kitano fest, so we got through three of them. Kids Return we will surely finish in the next day or two. Combine those with having watched Violent Cop and Brother a couple weeks ago, and then the future rentals of Taboo and Kikujiro in the next little while, and I will have pretty much covered all the Kitano available in Kelowna. Thus far, I would have to rate his movies like so:
5. Boiling Point
4. Violent Cop
3. Brother
2. Fireworks
1. Sonatine

I'm really excited to get a job (well not thejob) and have some money, at which point I think I just might order Battle Royal I and II and Zatoichi.

Men In Black II (dir. Barry Sonenfeld): Hey, this wasn't nearly as bad as I'd been led to believe. I mean, come on, David Cross and the lovely Rosario Dawson. And the weird guy! from Mr. Show. I swear, just seeing that guy's face makes me crack a smile. But, yeah, I enjoyed this more than I thought I would. I think my favourite thing is the locker full of the little miniature civilization that worships Will Smith and Tommy Lee Jones. I also like the little globe that is an entire world that Tommy Lee Jones sticks his finger into and the alien guy yells "All is lost! All is lost!" Maybe I just have a thing for miniature civilizations. I always loved that one Simpsons Hallowe'en episode where Lisa grows the tiny civilization with her tooth. Now, why on Earth would that concept (the mini civilization) fascinate me so?

The Critic DVD Set (various directors): Okay, this is just amazing. I remembered this show with fondness, but I thought that was just 'cuz I hadn't seen it in ages, like Phenom . But, it is six zillion times better than even my memories. So many of these quotes end up in my everyday vernacular (is that the right word? or even a word at all?), that it's not even funny. Although, I could do without being compared to Jay Sherman on a regular basis. Today, when I was told I had to move forty cinderblocks and 12 25kg cement bags, I said that my life was "one unending disappointment after another". My brother looked at me and said "Hatchie Matchie!" I hate that kid.


Wednesday, April 07, 2004

The verdict is in...
-the new Modest Mouse album is good
-Donald Trump is the most unwelcome comeback on the new millenium
-the new Sigur Ros EP is good
-Sunshine is good
-newscasters trying to encourage befuddled comedians to make light of Kelowna's homeless problem is good
-dirt under your fingernails is bad
-This is amazing...

Easter Bunny whipped at church show; some families upset

Wednesday, April 07, 2004

Associated Press

A church trying to teach about the crucifixion of Jesus performed an Easter show with actors whipping the Easter bunny and breaking eggs, upsetting several parents and young children.

People who attended Saturday’s performance at Glassport’s memorial stadium quoted performers as saying, “There is no Easter bunny,” and described the show as being a demonstration of how Jesus was crucified.

Melissa Salzmann, who took her 4-year-old son J.T., said the program was inappropriate for young children. “He was crying and asking me why the bunny was being whipped,” Salzmann said.

Patty Bickerton, the youth minister at Glassport Assembly of God, said the performance wasn’t meant to be offensive. Bickerton portrayed the Easter rabbit and said she tried to act with a tone of irreverence.

“The program was for all ages, not just the kids. We wanted to convey that Easter is not just about the Easter Bunny, it is about Jesus Christ,” Bickerton said.

Performers broke eggs meant for an Easter egg hunt and also portrayed a drunken man and a self-mutilating woman, said Jennifer Norelli-Burke, another parent who saw the show in Glassport, southeast of Pittsburgh.

“It was very disturbing,” Norelli-Burke said. “I could not believe what I saw. It wasn’t anything I was expecting.”

I think more children's icons need to be tortured in order to teach children about Jesus. Let's shove bamboo shoots under Barney's toenails, threaten Bonhomme Carnival with a lighter, and Santa Claus, let's just say that jolly old elf has been hogging the spotlight for too long.


Sunday, April 04, 2004

"No, my dog won't bite you,
though it had the right to,
y'all didn't give her credit,
cuz she know I would've let it"
-Modest Mouse, Blame It On the Tetons

You know, today I spent two-three hours in the garden, doing work for my parents so they don't walk all hunched over this week. And it was great. Sun shining down, dirty knees and nails, mix CD playing in the background. About the only thing that was off was that it started skipping when it got to the awesome "Blame It On The Tetons" by Modest Mouse. There's nothing like manual labour that makes you
a)feel like a man (well, I suppose appliance or car repair might inspire similar feelings, maybe getting in a fight, but I am unexperienced to say the least in those areas)
b)get a lot of thinking done

And while thinking, I came to the following conclusions.
-I really really want to see that Garden State movie
-The only real CD in the next while that I must buy is the new Modest Mouse one
-The other CDs I want, are all soundtracks
-I want to travel
-I don't ever want to have a job again
-Man. am I out of shape
-Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind was maybe just as good the second time around
-I can't wait for full-blown Summer: iced tea, swimming pools, slurpees, sticky hot nights where you'll try anything if you could only sleep (sleeping on the floor, wetting your hair, quilts, sheets, nothing!), blue skies, driving around late at night with the windows down and realizing it's the first time all day that you've been able to breathe, those miragey things that appear in the road looking like giant puddles, the first mid-summer rainstorm and the rainbows that will surely follow, hopefully no massive nearly town destroying forest fires, and finally, my favourite summer memory of last year: sitting on the steps at three in the morning eating watermelon with my brother.
-Snails are really neat, but how come they were never around when I was little, I swear they moved into my neigbourhood in the last year or two, maybe they came with the bike thieves?
-I can't believe I'm still single, now do I feel sad about this? or elated?


Thursday, April 01, 2004

"Work was hard so we quit"
-Bart and Lisa Simpson

I'm so sick of essays. I have a 1500-2000 word one due tomorrow, which is better than the 3000 words I thought it was, but still not great. Just thought I would let you all know that I'm still around. Well, let myself know, as I'm not sure anyone has bothered to stick around this long (not that I blame them the entries have been few and far in between). Anyways, today I'm a gonna give a big up to The Big Ticket, a blog I just happened to stumble across recently. How do I love thee Big Ticket? Let me count the ways...
1. For introducing me to the wonderful trailers of the movie Garden State, which looks all kinds of awesome.
2. Through these trailers I came across the awesome "Let Go" by Frou Frou which appears in the trailers, and is available on Big Ticket!
3. The links for music videos for Modest Mouse's Float On and The Thermals "No Culture Icons"

And how do I hate thee Big Ticket?
1. Because there is so much good time-wasting stuff on Big Ticket that I am procrasinating this essay even further.

But, yeah that's it. Back to essays. How does anyone other evidence to support my thesis that Ralph Waldo Emerson was not an Idealist, but rather a Pragmatist? Yeah, I don't believe the argument either, but it's easier to write about what I disagree with, than what I believe in. Figure that one out!