Thursday, December 25, 2008


Happy Holidays and Merry Christmas everyone. I'm in western Pennsylvania in my hometown, waiting for my brothers to get here while they're doing family things with their other family and soon-to-be other family. So I figured I'd catch up on some blogging instead of getting fatter by sitting downstairs and eating, which will probably come later anyway.


Two new First Book Interviews are up, just in time for the Holidays.

#11 - Brian Brodeur

#12 - Mark Wunderlich

I have many more to get out once 2009 starts, and it's looking to be an amazing year for interviews, as many fantastic poets have books coming out.


All of my Ph.D applications went our last Thursday, so now, officially, the waiting game begins.

Hopefully soon I'll have email confirmation (once I send my emails) from all the Graduate Coordinators that my materials have arrived successfully to the respective English Departments.

I've been consumed with it the last few months—as those who have applied and / or are attending a school now know—so it'll be nice to get back to teaching, reading, interviewing, and my own writing in 2009. Hopefully it'll be a great one for everybody.


RIP Harold Pinter.


To no one's surprise I imagine, I've consumed a lot of movies lately. Gotta love Oscar season. Here are some mini-reviews that probably don't tell you anything about the movies:

Seven Pounds - A complete waste of time. Too long. Contrived. Trite. And boring. Moral: Don't text while driving. It's something that probably many of your fellow students, teachers, have written about in argumentative essays.

Milk - Posted about it previously. Maybe my favorite movie of the year aside from The Dark Knight.

Choke - Another disappointment. I'm not sure Clark Gregg was the right director for this. I didn't read the book, but after seeing the movie, I don't really want to. I just didn't think a lot of it connected. Sam Rockwell makes it pretty tolerable, though, as he has some great lines.

Slumdog Millionaire
- Not as amazing as the critics are saying, but fairly enjoyable. The narrative technique's pretty easy to spot from the first scene and caters more to folks who like gimmicky devices in movies. But the non-actors and flashback scenes of the kids save it. Reminded me of The Kite Runner in that respect. Don't go in expected to be blown away, but it's worth checking out.

Gran Torino - The more I think about this movie, the more it kind of bothers me. Another one I can't say I didn't enjoy, but also one I don't think I'd see again. Clint has some funny lines, and it seems like this will be his last acting roll. But a lot of it seems less believable to me as I keep thinking about it, though I'm pretty sure it was supposed to be in the realm of believability. Unlike Slumdog Millionaire, a lot of the non-actors seemed a bit flat. Some of the scenes were way too forced, and the cymbal-crash ending was a little too contrived for me. Dirty Harry in the suburbs some are calling it.

Wendy and Lucy - Though Old Joy didn't impress me much, maybe because I had high hopes going in, Kelly Reichardt impressed me a lot with this movie, as did the acting of Michelle Williams, who plays a very different role from something like The Station Agent. There have been rightful comparisons to De Sica and Antonioni, but it was a movie I felt was comparable to many others, so much so that because of this is became it's own work of art. I thought it was so-so when I finished it, but it's worked its way into my skull so much now that I keep wanting to watch it again. Probably will be one of my favorites by the end of the year.

Baghead - The Duplass brothers are maybe a little too indie for a variety of reasons, but I have to say I liked this by the end. Again, I'm not sure I can watch it again, but there's a charm to this movie that you have to see. Some of the acting wasn't very good. And it could've been better. But a fairly different kind of movie, even though many viewers may wonder if it's a comedy version of The Strangers. But it's not.

In Search of a Midnight Kiss - More like an updated Manhattan (which is one of my favorite movies on the planet) than anything else, but the black and white is perfect for every scene. A good screenplay and an avoidance of falling into forced indie cliches. I'm looking forward to seeing this again.

Timecrimes - Apparently Cronenberg's already doing a remake in 2009, about two years after the original. Kind of weird if you ask me. Though I honestly said while I was watching it, "This reminds me of Cronenberg." Interesting overall, but too gimmicky with too many plot holes, and more for sci-fi nerds if you ask me.

Blindness - I was angered by the end of this at how good it could've been. I think Julianne Moore's amazing in everything she's in, and I like Mark Ruffalo a lot too. It's of course based on another book I haven't read, but unlike Choke, I need to read the book now. The cinematography bugged me the most. Too much sci-fi brightness instead of natural light, which would've made the movement a lot more compelling.


The Giants
have clinched home field advantage throughout the playoffs. To win the Super Bowl two times in a row is unlikely, but we'll see what kind of run we can make at the end. The playoffs should be awesome this year, and I'm already getting ready for a few weeks down the road.