My last post was a little crotchety, so I took a sabbatical, slept with my sister, didn't like it, and am back on track.


At first, I feared this was going to be quite the unbearably quirky and stilted film. I duly laughed at what are the most painstakingly elaborate credits I will ever see (set to The White Stripes' disarming "We're Going To Be Friends"). But I didn't know what to make of the odd titular anti-hero, with his jew-fro', moon boots and perpetual, bored, delayed-reaction disgust. He also has a brother who is at least 30, effeminate, and a little pathetic (wears pastel polo shirts always buttoned to the top, spends his days in online chat rooms). I haven't even gotten to the motor-scooter ridin' grandma, the football-throwin' uncle pining for the sweet old days of '82, or even all the interior desecrations (think wood paneling, blech-patterned linoleum, and a cavalcade of cheapo plastic and formica kitsch.)

Thankfully, a really sweet, endearing, hilarious story emerges. I kept thinking this is the kind of film John Waters would've made had he grown up in small town Idaho, came of age in the '80s, and was fascinated by a far less sordid shade of American trash culture. The only thing it really has in common with Rushmore is an affection for misfits--whereas Wes Anderson's film merely featured a score by Mark Mothersbaugh, this one is much, much more Devo. As the title character, Jon Heder gets my vote for one of the most original and eventually winning lead performances I've seen in a long time. Great John Hughes-influenced soundtrack, too.

The distributor is desperately hoping to get a raging cult hit out of this. I went to a sneak preview and received a free cheapo t-shirt, passes for another sneak preview of the same film this weekend, and a "frequent screener card" with a chance to become the first president of the Napoleon Dynamite Fan Club. A little ridiculous, yes, but better that than letting this sort of film fall through the cracks, I guess. I wish Jared Hess and his strange, lovely first feature all the best.


Jim Jarmusch either makes amazing films or maddeningly inconsistent ones. A series of vignettes like this (shot over 17 years!) is practically begging to fall into the latter category. Unfortunately, the weakest segments come early when the director was (probably) just shooting them as stand-alone shorts without a larger, polished framework. Most of 'em fall flat (yes, even the one with Tom Waits and Iggy Pop) except for two goombahs chiding each other for their vices, and even that's pleasant but nothing worth a second viewing.

I didn't really sit up and take notice until Jarmusch broke with the format somewhat and had Cate Blanchett play both herself and her cousin meeting up in the former's hotel room. Blanchett's brilliant as both. From there, the bonhomie starts to click, climaxing with a meeting between Steve Coogan and Alfred Molina that's deftly written and executed with finesse and great timing. To pair Bill Murray with members of The Wu-Tang Clan or The White Stripes with a tesla coil sounds leaden on paper, but it somehow works onscreen--credit the actors. The final segment, with former Warhol figures Bill Rice and Taylor Mead, concludes on an unexpectedly elegiac note, and it's really touching to see Taylor, the little imp from Lonesome Cowboys now weathered and torn.


I really want to see Alfonso Cuaron's take on the Harry Potter franchise (which opens today), but I think I'll wait until the kiddie crowds die down a bit.

Franz Ferdinand might not be the Album of the Year (yet), but I'm doubting I'll find any singles as delicious as "Take Me Out" or "Matinee" from anyone else.

I'm a big poseur and bought Loretta Lynn's Van Lear Rose. I like it a lot.

Morrissey's You Are The Quarry is pretty good as Moz's solo stuff goes, and kudos to him for entering the charts at #11. A respectable comeback, and a few great songs: "Irish Blood, English Heart", "I Have Forgiven Jesus" (oh Stephen, how could you?), "First of the Gang to Die" and "I Like You", whose title is followed in the chorus by "...because you're not right in the head." (!) Stop me if you think you've heard that one before.