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.

Tuesday, August 24, 2004

I gotta say for me, the most exhilirating moment of music in 2004 so far is from Rilo Kiley's "Portions For Foxes."

Toward the end Jenny Lewis sings "You're bad news/ my friends tell me to leave you", and you can tell it's one of those things where your friends just don't get it, and when Jenny Lewis, sings "You're bad news, but I don't care cuz I like you...I like you!" it's all too much. Now, if only someone in town could sell it, I could truly enjoy it. *sigh*


Friday, August 20, 2004

"Pet what?....Her fuckin' kneecaps, Farrell."

I'd really intended to post on here more often, but between lounging in the sun, watching Fubar every single time it's on TV, and eating burritos, my time seems limited, maybe when Autum comes I'll be back more often, but today, at least I do have some content. Per a discussion on a message board, I've compiled a list of my favourite movies of the decade, so far.

B/c of my tendencies to overrate films I have just seen, I disqualified anything that came out this year (Kill Bill Vol. 2 and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind), or have North American release dates of this year (Hero, Zatoichi, Shaolin Soccer). Now, in the words of movie number 11, "So, here we go..."

20. Dolls (Dir. by Takeshi Kitano): Quite simply, visually, this is one of the most beautiful films I have ever seen. I don't quite have a handle on the plot, but am sure I can wrap my head around it with another viewing or two once it comes out of the new release section.
19. Y Tu Mama Tambien (Dir. by Alfonso Cuaron): The highest teen sex comedy on the list! Seriously, though, this is a fun, honest, surprisingly touching film, with some breathtaking cinematography. The Mexican scenery might be the most important character in the entire film.
18. Requiem For A Dream (Dir. By Darren Aronofsky): Although I've cooled on it somewhat in recent times, this is as jarring, shocking and visually intense film as you're going to see. Jared Leto, Jennifer Connelly, Marlon Wayans (!) and, especially, Ellen Burstyn deliver some very memorable performances.
17. Unbreakable (Dir. By M.Night Shyalaman (sp?): Basically number 17 was designated as the M. Night spot, some days I am more excited about Signs and it's message of religious faith disguised as an alien film, but today, it's Unbreakable and it's philosophical meditation on heroes in society.
16. Donnie Darko (Dir. By Richard Kelly): I'm always in awe of this film, if not completely sure of the story. There are enough amazing visuals, creepy atmospherics, and hilarious bits that make it a wonderful film, even if the plot is a little convoluted for its own good.
15. Snatch (Dir. By Guy Ritchie): Sure, there are funnier action comedies, better action sequences, and more inventive camera work elsewhere, but I am hard-pressed to find a film as energetic and alive as this one is. I love the Mickey character (Brad Pitt) that is the perfect reply to critics of Guy Ritchie's first film, Lock, Stock and Two Smoking Barrels.
14. Amores Perros (Dir. By Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu): So gritty you have to clean your fingernails afterwards, Inarritu's film is mesmerizing. It's a three-part tale that turns in on itself, much like the aforementioned Snatch. Hard to watch, but worth the effort.
13. Metropolis (Dir. By Taro Rin): This is one of the most emotional animated films I've ever seen, an epic anime that takes the issue of artificial intelligence and responsibility to a level that Steven Spielberg intended with A.I. (which contrary to popular opinions, I love). Like Y Tu Mama Tambien, it's hard to keep your eyes on the onscreen action with the amazing backgrounds.
12. Happy Times (Dir. By Zhang Yimou): I’m puzzled at the criticisms and general opinion on this one. I thought it was a brilliantly funny tale of a compulsive liar who creates the ultimate subterfuge in order to fool a blind girl in feeling wanted. The ending is so touching, sad and out of left field that it gets me every time. Benshan Zhao in the lead role is hilarious, but human.
11. Punch Drunk Love (Dir. By Paul Thomas Anderson): An oddball romantic comedy if there ever was one. Everyone plays their parts perfectly: Adam Sandler as a socially-challenged man hen-pecked by his many sisters, Emily Watson as the slightly off object of Sandler’s affections, and Philip Seymour Hoffman breaking away from his usually brittle characters to play a sleazeball with conviction. This is an amazing looking film, as well. The soundtrack is perfect, the humor is great, the romance is believable, I really can’t say enough good things about it.
10. George Washington (Dir. By David Gordon Green): I love this slow-moving story about kids growing up in a sleepy little Southern town. Green is happy to train the camera on his mostly new cast and just let them talk, eschewing the desire by new-school directors to play with camera tricks, Green is happy to make a spectacular film that echoes his hero Terrance Malick in its slow, meticulous style. This not a movie for those who love plots, but for someone craving characters, style, and, above all, mood and beauty, it’s absolutely perfect.
09. Lost in Translation (Dir. By Sofia Coppola): A beautiful, lyrical film about unexpected love in Tokyo. I am baffled at the complaints of racism leveled at this one, as no one is painted negatively, it’s the story of two people coming to Tokyo and being unable, or unwilling, to fit in and instead finding each other. I would say that it is the kind of movie you could put on and turn off the sound to enjoy the visuals, but then you would miss the amazing score, one of the best I’ve heard in years. Murray and Johansson are amazing, but Anna Faris is not to be ignored either in a role that would be easy to play unsympathetically, but she adds a touch of humanity to it.
08. Adaptation (Dir. By Spike Jonze): All of the praise for this one is always focused on writer Charlie Kaufman, and I can’t deny the skill he does in adapting Susan Orleans’ The Orchid Thief, but I think Jonze deserves more credit than he gets for keeping it all together. Of course, without Nicholas Cage, Meryl Streep, and Chris Cooper, the movie would be nowhere near as great. This is a fun story about orchid thieves, writing, and selling out or giving in.
07. The Royal Tenenbaums (Dir. By Wes Anderson): I used to be somewhat cold on this one, liking it, but rating it a distant third to Rushmore and Bottlerocket. I re-watched it this year and was amazed at how great it was. So many characters, and so much trademark Anderson whimsy, but everyone plays their roles honestly, sacrificing easy laughs for being real. The scene where Hackman’s estranged patriarch and Stiller’s neurotic son finally reconcile nearly brought a tear to my eye. Perhaps this is a film that needs a touch of maturity to fully reveal itself to you.
06. All the Real Girls (Dir. By David Gordon Green): Yes, the only man to put not only two films in the top 20 (Kitano was close, though, I should mention), but Green puts two films in the top 10. This would be your standard tale of blossoming love giving way to love gone wrong, if it weren’t some amazingly beautiful. Green is still content to watch his characters with an unblinking eye, but this time he combines it with some of the most amazing camerawork, to make the film into something transcendent. Paul Schneider is my breakout actor of 2003 with his honest performance and Zooey Deschanel, well, I already knew she was great. Oh, and Danny McBride as Bust-Ass could be the next Jack Black with the right combination of roles and characters.
05. Happiness of the Katakuris (Dir. By Takashi Miike): Amazing. Insane. Hilarious. Miike’s horror/horror sendup/musical/comedy is truly one of a kind. The songs are catchy, the horror pretty gory, the humor hilarious. I can watch and re-watch this, the first film I feel where Miike truly puts it all together and forms something of a coherent film that underneath all the silliness has something positive to say about the importance of family.
04. Crouching Tiger, Hidden Dragon (Dir. By Ang Lee): This film, for me, is as important for its heart-breaking love story as it is for its action. The story of the hero Li Mu Bai (Chow Yun Fat) and his true-love Yu Shu Lien (Michelle Yeoh) who both love each other, but cannot act on it b/c of Shu Lien’s vow to her deceased intended, one of Mu Bai’s brothers in arms. Both actors hit levels not hinted at in either of their careers. This is not to discount the action, which is just as heart-stopping and beautiful.
03. In the Mood For Love (Dir. By Wong Kar Wai): The first time I saw this, I didn’t see the big deal. But, with each subsequent viewing, it’s like a love slowly revealing itself and all of its beauty. Every frame of the film is alive with visual beauty, which is not to discount its story of two people, unable to give themselves to love, b/c they are married to two people who are cheating on them with each other. They do not want to be like their significant others, but do they ultimately give in? Tony Leung and Maggie Cheung are such great actors, but they also bring a smoldering, sexy intensity to their relationship, yet there is no sex.
02. Le Fabuleux Destin D’Amelie Poulain (Dir. By Jean-Pierre Jeunet): I love how alive this movie is with hope, love, and just a general mood of feeling good. Audrey Tautou arrives as one of the best actresses of the millennium in a role that would be easy to over-do, but Tautou plays just right so that she is always sweet and a little bit silly, but never overly so. The tale of a girl who wants to do good for everyone’s life but is too shy to do anything for herself is just staggering with moments of such visual elegance as Amelie skipping stones directly at the camera. Every time I see it, I smile a little more.
01. Spirited Away (Dir. By Hayao Miyazaki): Visually and emotionally spectacular. This is a film that can be seen by most everyone, with not an act of physical violence, bad language, or sexual innuendo to be found. It’s the story of a young girl stumbling across a bathhouse for spirits, who is forced to work to save her parents. It’s also, at its heart, about re-discovering kindness, honesty, and respect. The world of the bathhouse is bizarre, breath-taking and full of wonder. One of the few films to make me feel like I was eight years old all over again.