I wanted a new fountain pen that would better fit my passport-sized Midori Traveller notebook. I’ve been using a Pilot Metropolitan and a Platinum Preppy. The Metropolitan is a little too fat. The Platinum fits better, but the clear plastic dresses down the Traveller. The Kaweco Classic Sport is a short, pocketable fountain pen that has a barrel that looked like it might fit inside the Midori pen loop without a clip (the Sport doesn’t come with a clip). The pen writes great. The fit in the notebook is okay, but not perfect. You can see how lose it is in the photo below. With a little help with the elastic band, it’s okay. I got the plastic version of the Sport, so I don’t worry about losing it as much as much as I would with a nicer pen.
It’s common for a movie to have two-dimensional characters, poorly acted, placed in a riveting plot. The Star Wars comes to mind. It’s somewhat more rare for well acted and complex characers to be placed in a manifestly ridiculous plot. But that’s what Choose Me is. The plot feels like it owes a debt to Three’s Company in that the most improbably coincidences place characters in one another’s bedrooms. But somehow, the characters make it all work. Keith Carradine plays Micky, a mental patient who either escaped or was released from his institution. It’s not explained which. Nor is it explained whether he is a pathological liar or a former spy. Or a romantic or a creep.
Mickey lives in LA and hangs out at a bar named “Eve’s.” He mainly hits on two female roomates. One roomate is a host of call-in radio sex counsellor. The other roommate owns the bar and is a frequent caller of the radio show. Somehow, neither of the roommates realizes they are talking to each other on this call-in show. You might thing the distictive accent of the radio host would be a tip off.
Describing the plot of the movie makes it sound far more ridiculous than it is. The characters are all neurotic to some extent, and the movie is entirely about their interactions. Just accept the plot as a given, and try to pick out whether the mental patient is really a lover; wheter the sex therapist finds her first love; and wheter the jaded bar owner settles down for a one-man committment.
Today’s movie is Rock ‘n’ Roll High School. It a it is an updated, punk-rock version of a Frankie and Annette teen romp, just as the Ramones are an updated version of 60’s pop. And while the Ramones are legit punk, it is too sweet and good natured to feel truly disreputable. That is probably it’s biggest charm. None of the students are really ruining their lives.
The story belongs to two girls: Riff Randall, who thinks school is a drag and just wants to have fun, and her smart friend Kate Rambeau. Kate is apparently on track to be valedictorian but keeps getting in trouble by hanging tight with Riff. It’s like Lindsay from Freaks and Geeks never stopped hanging out with Millie, her mathlete friend. Another break with expected types is the high school star quarterback: he is neither the villian nor a hero. He’s just another dull high school boy who doesn’t know how to talk to girls.
The Ramones play a concert, and while it isn’t really concert footage but it’s great band footage regardless. It was probalby about the most serious thing in the movie. Consisering they played a song about Pinhead at a concert attended by a six foot mouse, that sets a low bar for seriousness.
I saw Return of the Secaucus 7 as part of Richard Linklater’s Jewels in the Wasteland series at the Austin Film Society. This is often described as “The Little Chill,” as it is generally recognized being a spiritural successor to The Big Chill, a movie I viscerally hated when it came out. Secaucus 7 is populated by a group of more sympathetic people. The idealists went on to become teachers, doctors, drug abuse counselors.
It’s a talky, actorly movie, and the best scenes are dialog: Three guys recite a perfectly timed ensemble of a motor sports commercial: “Sunday! Sunday! Sunday! At Washington Valley Speedway: thrills, chills, and spills!” Another scene has a woman vomiting off screen in another room, while to guys try to figure out who it is based on the sounds. “No, Maura more of a ralpher.”
It kind of makes me wonder how I’d react to The Big Chill now.
On a side-note, Linklater revealed that the big money in Hollywood is in rewrites. When a multi-million production is scheduled to start and they have script problems, they’re willing to shell out a boatload of money for a week of work. Apparenly Sayles is a writing machine, makes a living this way, and rolls much of the money into is indie projects.