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A recent interview re: Time Travel, Cultural-Political History, Fiction

Greetings friends!

This is the ghost of the blogger formerly known as Dave Fiore, checking in to point you in the direction of this little interview that I did with Open Book‘s current writer-in-residence Koom Kankesan. It offers a pretty succinct summary of most of the things I’ve been obsessed with lately, whilst toiling on Hypocritic Days and the forthcoming Anatomy of of a Melancholy Baby.

You can read the interview here – and feel free to contact me if anything in the piece sparks an urge to converse!

Hope you’re all doing well – in spite of the world’s best efforts to ruin our fun!

Dave

Could be interesting?

Could be interesting?

ComicsBlips!

Wish I could find a way to blip more often (about comics or anything else!)–but I’ll definitely do something on Seaguy: Slaves of Mickey Eye after it’s done.

Also–I want to write an appreciation of Gerry Conway’s solo-protagonist superhero books of the ’70s and ’80s… We’ll see if that happens…

hope you are all well!

good afternoon friends!

Dave

Cancel Heroes, Save the World?

Cancel Heroes, Save the World?

 

So I finally decided to take a look at Heroes–after avoiding it for as long as I could (as you may know–I’m the guy who likes to read the “heroism” out of superhero comics).

I’m into the third season (on avi files)–and I’ve made a staggering discovery.

I actually have a bad-plotting threshhold!

And Heroes has disclosed it to me. I actually CANNOT engage this thing at the thematic level. I don’t think it has one. Anyway, I can’t find it.

I never dreamed this could happen to me–I’ve reveled in incoherence my entire life!

Am I reacting this way because I’m deeply immersed in writing a time-travel novel that actually has a comprehensible narrative line? (Which I then hope to sell?)

Have I lost my ability to appreciate storytelling that gives the lie to the myths of cause and effect?

Or is it just that the show’s creators are unprecedentedly incompetent?

Nothing anyone does on this show EVER makes any sense. Nor does it make NON-sense in any way that makes an impact.

My friend Nikki warned me that the show sinks ever deeper into “bad time travel.” I never knew there could be such a thing until I met Heroes. Now the best time-travel I can imagine would be the kind that takes me back to where I was before I decided to watch the pilot episode.

This is very bad time travel indeed. And the secret organization paranoia is even worse. If most genre narratives have “storytelling engines,” this one seems to be powered by “storytelling bombs.” (Except that makes it sound so much cooler than it is–how about “storytelling fucking voids of repetitiveness and pointless reversal”?)

I did like one episode quite a lot–the one during the first season that focuses on Hiro and Charlie (the doomed Texan waitress). That’s pretty much it. And now they’ve taken Veronica Mars and made her into an electrified twit.

Disastrous.

Why have I kept going?

Can it be that I long to see the end of the horrible world these people are forever trying to save?

Good afternoon friends!
Dave

Politics 1, Psychology 0

Politics 1, Psychology 0

 

(cross-posted at Cailloux de Cinema)

So (like many of you, I’m sure) I saw Watchmen over the weekend.

I was, on the whole, pleasantly surprised by the adaptation!

The film was decidedly less sophisticated in its psychological engagement with the characters who actually aren’t purely allegorical (i.e. Dan and Laurie). For me, those two characters are the heart of Moore’s book–and Snyder doesn’t handle their story very well. By omitting the coffee serving scene (praised at length in this piece), the film sacrifices the wonderful multivalence of the pair’s sexual reawakening on the owl ship, leaving only the costume-fetish aspect of the supersexual critique intact (whereas the book makes it impossible to disentangle the creepiness of the “power fantasy” from the wide-eyed wonder of altruism as aphrodisiac).

On the other hand–the film’s politics are SO MUCH SMARTER THAN THE BOOK’S! I can’t overstate how pleased I am with Hayter/Tse’s (and Snyder’s?) new ending. Yes, the exploding squid was fun–but it’s a catastrophic failure as a plot device. By converting the now-absent Dr. Manhattan from superhero to Super Ego, Veidt’s plan actually stands a chance of imposing perpetual peace upon the world–and kills America’s sense of a special relationship with “God” with the same stone (whereas the GN’s alien is, at best, a shock treatment that will inevitably wear off). Moreover, the film’s Veidt is leagues beyond Moore and Gibbons’ ranting madman, who, by the end of the book, is absolutely indistinguishable from any other melodrama villain. As played by Goode, Veidt actually seems to feel the cost of his actions, allowing the film to lay bare the calculus of political foundation with a candor that the book (unlike its much-maligned contemporary text, Squadron Supreme) never approaches.

Other good stuff in the film–very quickly: the Dr. Manhattan origin story, the opening montage and Matt Frewer’s Moloch.

It’s definitely worth your time–whether you’ve read the book or not!

good afternoon friends!

Dave

 

Chimerae Are Go! (and Cailloux are too!)

Chimerae Are Go! (and Cailloux are too!)

Hello!

So my novella/prose poem is now available!

At Amazon.ca!

At Amazon.com!

Or, for you wonderful Montrealers out there, at my Drawn and Quarterly launch!
Also–in my neverending quest to resuscitate my blogging muse–I have feathered a new net-nest for myself over at Cailloux de cinema. That’s right–I’m gonna try to blog semi-regularly about films! (Let’s hope that the subject of my first entry–William Dieterle’s Six Hours To Live (1932)— doesn’t provide any kind of a forecast of the project’s longevity!)

Anyway–I’ll still pop in at Motime every once in a while–but movie stuff will be at the Cailloux, from now on!

hope all of you are well–good afternoon friends!
Dave

Meme-itation of Life

Meme-itation of Life

I should be grading exams–and I’ll get back to it shortly–but these good people have succeeded in drawing my attention away from the grindstone!

Anyway–that handwriting hurts my eyes… (thankfully, the thought symbolized by those scratchings has been stellar so far!)

but, without further ado, the “20 Greatest Actresses of the Studio Age” (rated by their ability to make me watch them, regardless of the other talent involved in the making of the film)–and my three favorite performances by each (rated, again, purely for their eye-and-ear-adhesing qualities–not on technical merit)

1. Barbara Stanwyck: hands down, the undisputed champ (The Miracle Woman, Remember the Night, Stella Dallas)

2. Jean Arthur: she makes it into the Top 20 on her voice alone–and the rest of her is nearly as wonderful (Easy Living, History is Made At Night, The Devil and Miss Jones)

3. Margaret Sullavan: I get wistful just typing her name (Little Man What Now?, Three Comrades, Back Street)

4. Bette Davis: I always love her, but I’m especially partial to her less-divaesque roles (All This And Heaven Too, The Sisters, Dark Victory)

5. Teresa Wright: A lot of people don’t even know who she is, which just goes to show you that this world isn’t all it’s cracked to be (Shadow of a Doubt, The Pride of the Yankees, The Best Years of Our Lives)

6. Katharine Hepburn: She’d be even higher if she hadn’t lost her early RKO-momentum–but I suppose we ought to blame the Cinemagoing audience for that (Alice Adams, Holiday, Stage Door)

7. Deborah Kerr: MGM kind of messed up her career, but she still found ways to shine for brief moments during the 50s and 60s, and her work in the UK was outrageously great (I See A Dark Stranger, The Life and Death of Colonel Blimp, Black Narcissus)

8. Jennifer Jones: Her inimitable wide-eyed intensity seems to rub many folks the wrong way–but it hits me just right (Portrait of Jennie, Ruby Gentry, Love Letters)

9. Jean Harlow: just imagine what she could have done if she had made it past 26? She was just coming into her own during the mid-1930s–and come on, Leadbelly wrote a song about her, how cool is that? (Red Dust, Libeled Lady, Bombshell)

10. Helen Chandler: I’m not sure if I can explain what she does to me–an impossibly wonderful combination of authentic emotional terror and gleaming irony   (Daybreak, The Last Flight, Mr. Boggs Steps Out–and I love her in Dracula too)

11. Miriam Hopkins: she’s totally out of control–and I love her for it (Woman Chases Man, These Three, Barbary Coast)

12. Mae Clarke: a GREAT actress who just totally fell through the cracks, somehow (Waterloo Bridge, Impatient Maiden–plus her brief appearance in The Front Page lifts the entire movie onto an exalted plane)

13. Judy Garland: come on–she’s great–although I have trouble with her post-breakdown films (Meet Me in St. Louis, The Clock, The Wizard of Oz… I also have a major soft spot for Listen, Darling + the entire suite of Judy-Mickey masterpieces!)

14. Ann Dvorak: Three On a Match puts her into the top 20 all by itself; but she is ALWAYS rivetting; she has ONE chance to make an impression in G-Men, and she hits it out of the park; perhaps you know the scene I’m talking about? Her leftist politics really hindered her career, I believe–another great proto-punk lady of the Depression (Three On a Match, The Long Night, The Strange Love of Molly Louvain)

15. Ginger Rogers: people always talk about Lombard as the ultimate screwball beauty. I love Lombard–but I think Ginger–in her prime–was even more amusing–and certainly no less beautiful–too bad she was such a demented right winger (Stage Door, Bachelor Mother; Fifth Avenue Girl)

16. Ida Lupino: Just an all-around impressive human being, no? (The Hard Way, Road House, High Sierra)

17. Greer Garson: MGM forced her to play the “Lady” too much–but man was she great when they turned her loose! (Random Harvest, Pride and Prejudice, Goodbye, Mr. Chips)

18. Ann Sheridan: That “Oomph Girl” nonsense really delayed her ascent as a comedienne, but she always made the most of her opportunities (Torrid Zone, Kings Row, Woman on the Run)

19. Priscilla Lane: I just love her–and I‘m not the only one. (Daughters Courageous, Men Are Such Fools, Dust Be My Destiny)

20. Gloria Grahame: she never really got a chance to carry a film on her own, which is a damned shame (In A Lonely Place, The Big Heat, Crossfire)

Yikes! 20 sounds like a lot–but it clearly isn’t! All kinds of great people/personal faves got left off this list… Dietrich, Garbo, Lombard, Ava Gardner (undoubtedly the most beautiful woman who ever existed), Crawford, June Allyson, Hedy Lamarr, Irene Dunne, Myrna Loy, Joan Blondell, Alice Faye, Roz Rusell, Dorothy McGuire, De Havilland, Claudette Colbert, Marsha Hunt, Barbara Bel Geddes,  Anne Shirley, Merle Oberon, Joan Bennett, Kay Francis, Margaret Lindsay, Andrea Leeds, Paulette Goddard, Eleanor Powell, Joan Leslie, Audrey Totter, etc. ad infinitum

Good Night Friends!
Dave