Baby, you can drive my taxi

I’ve just been thinking about the Martin Scorcese film Taxi Driver, which is going to be playing at the NZ International Film Festival this year (in a lush 35mm restoration, hellz yeah).

I first saw Taxi Driver when I was 11 years old. I was a big Jodie Foster fan, due to enjoying her work in the original Freaky Friday film (which is sassy and all, but was actually surpassed by the Lohan/Curtis remake due to that losing the Disney slapstick ending and *ahem* sticking more to the flavour of the book).

Anyway, the Listener’s TV listings noted a late-night broadcast of film called Taxi Driver starring Ms Foster. I was all “Yay!” and set the video recorder. I’m not sure what I was expecting. Maybe a sassy young girl whose solo-dad father drives taxis.

When I started watching the film, I was immediately freaked out by the menacing opening titles, courtesy of Bernard Hermann’s score. But I persisted, going through various stages of “WHAT IS THIS? WHAT! IS THIS!” Jodie Foster was there all right, but playing a – gulp – street hooker.

The video timer hadn’t worked properly, cutting off the end of the film so I never knew how it ended until I saw it again a few years later in a slightly more mature frame of mind. By then it was too late. It had entered my DNA and become one of my favourite films ever.

Marmont, Vegemont

I saw Sophia Copolla’s new film “Somewhere”, about a slightly-past-his-peak film star who slowly reconnects with his 11-year-old daughter. (It’s pretty good – you should see it.)

Anyway, I saw it at the Penthouse in Brooklyn, with a wrinkly daytime audience. A couple of ladies in the audience seemed a bit bored by it and spent a lot of the time whispering to each other about the film.

The actor (played by Stephen Dorff) lives in the Chateau Marmont, and at one point in the film he’s slumped in his room, rather depressed. And one of the ladies loudly whispered, “It’s obvious he’s going to kill himself. They’re setting it up nicely – that hotel, that’s known as the place where stars go to commit suicide.”

Which makes it sound like the Chateau is a Hollywood elephant graveyard, where those who are being eaten alive by tinseltown can go to curl up and die.

But there have been no suicides at the Marmont. John Belushi accidentally overdosed and Helmut Newton crashed his car after a suspected heart attack, but no grand royale suicides.

And Stephen Dorff’s character didn’t kill himself in the hotel. Sophia Copolla is far too clever to be that obvious.

Numero

1. Kim Gordon is now 50. It’s not quite time for Sonic Youth to change their name to Sonic Oldies, but in nine years’ time when Steve Shelley turns 50, they should consider it. It should be noted that Kim Gordon still rocks hard. It should also be noted that I went off Sonic Youth about six years ago when I was talking to a 19 year old Smashing Pumpkins fan who was getting into Sonic Youth because Billy Corgan had cited them as an influence. It should also be be noted that “Goo” and “Dirty” are the best Sonic Youth albums, and anyone who reckons their pre-Geffen stuff is better is a poser.

2. I just watched “Logan’s Run” on DVD. When “Minority Report” came out Spielberg was going on about how they created the future world by taking the stuff we have now and projecting it into the future. Well, y’know, that’s also what the designers did when they were creating the 23rd century utopia of “Logan’s Run”. Only it looks very much like 1976. Like a 1976 mall. I expect in 30 years’ time “Minority Report” will look the same. Oh how we will chuckle at the cheesy special effects.

3. I was at a juice bar today and I ordered a smoothie. I paid for it with my credit card, but their machine did not accept credit card payments. It was really busy, so both the girls working there were busy making all the orders, and no one noticed that my transaction hadn’t gone through. I stood there with a ten dollar note in my hand waiting to be asked for an alternative method of payment, but it didn’t happen. One of them went up to the machine, ripped off the paper with the error message printed on it, then went back to making smoothies. When mine was made the girl gave it to me and went back to making more. Oh well.

4. You know what I’m really sick of at the moment? The New Zealand music scene. This is rather bad timing as May is New Zealand Music Month. I think I might have to not listen to any radio, not watch any music TV, not read any music press. Yes, I may make it to June with my sanity intact.

5. Oh, there’s this great scene in “Logan’s Run” where Logan and Jessica, after having been soaked with water, find themselves in an icy winterland. They find some furry animal skins to wear, but Logan suggests first that they take off their other clothes so they don’t have the cold, wet clothing on. This of course means that Jessica must show us her boobies. Then moments later, after the freaky mirror robot comes along, they put their clothes back on. Now that is actual gratuitous nudity. None of this pretend gratuitous nudity that my generation prides itself on.

6. Speaking of nudity, oh how scandalous it is to see the Big Brother housemates showering naked, and how nice those ones are who shower in their swimsuits or underwear. But then, hey, isn’t it normal to shower in the nude?

Mew

I saw “The Good Girl” at the movies. Right in the row in front of me was what I think was a grandmother and some of her grandchildren. Ok, so looking after the grandkids during the school holidays is cool, but when you take a bunch of little kids to see a movie (and these were little kids – I reckon the youngest would have been about 4, the oldest 8), pick a kids movie. Pick one with a G rating. Pick a fun cartoon or a sassy kids adventure movie. Don’t take your grandkids to a dark, adult comedy. Maybe the gran was thinking that a movie called “The Good Girl” would be about a well-behaved female child. Ha!

The kids spent most of the movie twisting in their seats, bored. The dark adult humour of the film didn’t get anywhere near them. The grandmother spent most of the movie with her neck turned towards the kids, getting them to sit down, handing them popcorn and generally not watching the movie.

But the best bit came during the scene in the movie when Tim Blake Nelson’s character comes out of his house with just a quilt wrapped around him. His dog bites the quilt and pulls it away and there’s a brief glimpse of his donger. As soon as the penis appeared, the grandmother quickly reached over and put her hand over the eyes of the kid in the seat next to her. She loudly whispered to the others “don’t look! Don’t look!”, but by then the next scene had come and the penis was but a funny memory.

John C. Riley was in it. Dylzno has a theory that all movies John C. Riley is in are good. (Ditto for Edward Norton.) I’d go for a lower hit rate, but this was one was good. This, along with “Chicago” and “The Hours” rounds out his lousy-husband trilogy. In this one he was a goofy, pot-smoking husband.

I should also mention Jake Gyllenhaal. I was totally in love with him after seeing “Donny Darko”, but I’m out of love with him after “The Good Girl”. His character is excellent. He’s what a cinematic troubled, rebellious loner teen would be like in real life. i.e. a pretentious dickhead. He’s endlessly cute on the outside, but once Jennifer Aniston’s character (and the audience) get to know him, the crazy, mixed-up ugliness is becomes apparent. And we welcome the real world, where the heroine picks the pot-smoking husband over the cute badboy.

Oh, I just gave away the ending. Or did I?

Because a film isn’t about plot, it’s about how the plot is executed.

Oh yes, on the bus there’s now a magazine for people to read on the bus. It is called “Ticket”. I felt alienated soon after I opened it and read the the magazine was “to read as you get yourself to work”. Not school, not the shops, not uni, not the movies, not a sports even, no, just work. “Ticket” is really boring. It’s filled with boring articles on boring subjects. Boring reviews of things that describe it, but barely express an opinion on it. An unfunny humour column (but isn’t describing something as being funny almost a guarantee that it won’t be?), and that old, old trick of having an article about a subject that is later advertised in the magazine. The editorial urges readers to “stop staring out the window” and read the magazine, but quite frankly, looking out the window is way more interesting than reading boring articles.

Yeah, because if you want something to read on the bus, it’s ok for it to be light and disposable, but make it interesting. I mean, you wouldn’t want to fall asleep and miss your stop.

Grindcore

I saw “Roger Dodger”. Here’s what other people thought of it as they left the theatre:

The guy walking in front of me: “Like Tarantino used to do.”
The woman walking behind me: “Horrible. Really, really bad.”

It was neither. It was about a fellow whose nephew shows up and asks him to help him be a hit with the ladies. But while it was about the art (or science) of seduction, it’s also about ree-lay-shon-ships. This lady sitting a few seats down from me laughed a lot at stuff that wasn’t remotely funny. Like, there’d be a cut to a new scene and she’d laugh.

Tomorrow night I will have houseguests:

man, its going to be farken choice. you are farkrn choice for putting us up for the night. perhaps you are innocent and naive and have never hosted dodgy rock n roll musicians in your innocent unspotlt flat before? yes, that’ll be it. if thats the case, apologies in advance. but hey, you might get a nice article for your zine out of it.

Oh my!

st00 came over and we watched the Brit Awards. J. Timberlake sang a medley of songs then Kylie came out and they performed “Rapture” and Justin grabbed her arse and it was magnificent. st00 accused me of liking Robbie Williams, and I was going to get all defensive and be like “I DO NOT LIKE HIM!!!!”, but then I realised that actually if I was in his rockstar manor with cocaine and champagne all that shit, I wouldn’t be complaining. Well, something like that, anyway.

Sauce

I won a $25 gift card by winning the Kiwi trivia quiz at Borders. I’m really glad I won, because if I’d come first or second I would have ended up with a book about tramping.

A month or so ago I ended up doing the sports quiz with some friends. I miserably failed – something like six out of 40, but it was fun. Tonight I noticed a few people who were at the sports quiz were also there for the Kiwi quiz. So are there serial quiz attendees, people who show up every month hoping to score the big prizes? And more to the point, am I becoming one of them?

With my winnings I bought the Rough Guide to New Zealand, which is all part of my masterplan.

Oh, I also saw “Maid In Manhattan”. It’s obvious it’s the school holidays – cellphones were constantly ringing and beeping during the film. I have this theory about the films that Jennifer Lopez makes – there are J-Lo movies, and there are Jennifer Lopez films. J-Lo movies are the crappy, movie star, money-making exercises, while Jennifer Lopez films are well written, well acted and less crowd-pleasing.

“The Wedding Planner” and “Maid In Manhattan” are J-Lo movies. “Angel Eyes” and “The Cell” are Jennifer Lopez films. “Enough” might seem like a Jennifer Lopez film, but it’s actually a J-Lo movies, as “Out Of Sight” might seem like a J-Lo, but it’s actually a Jennifer Lopez.

(Actually, “Out Of Sight” is a really excellent movie. It’s one of my all-time faves, yo.)

Ok, back to “Maid In Manhattan”. J-Lo and Ralph Fiennes and the cute kid were all boring and predictable. The characters that interested me were Stanley Tucci and Amy Sedaris’ characters. He was the politician’s manager person, and she was there only to make Natasha Richardson’s character look less bitchy in comparison. But they were both bitter and disgusting and much more fun than the maid or the politician. Ah, but it’s a fairytale, so we mustn’t expect too much.

Pick a little

Lately I’ve been getting quite a few emails from people who think I can help them with various things. I think it has to do with my site ranking fairly highly in Google for words that just happen to be mentioned in stuff I’ve written. I got this one today:

To: Robyn Gallagher
Subject: Jackass tickets

I would really like tickets for the film.
Thanks

Y’know, I would like Jackass tickets too, but I don’t have any, and if I did, I probably wouldn’t give them to strange boys off the internet. I’m guessing that this guy did a search for something like “Incredible Film Fest tickets” and ignored the top search result (the official bIFF web site) and instead went to my site and thought he’d hit me up for some tickets.

I politely pointed him in the right direction.

I saw “Bringing Down The House” (I bought a ticket, I didn’t email anyone asking for one). It was a really dumb movie, but I somehow moved into this lower state of consciousness where I laughed at all the really dumb jokes.

There was one scene where Steve Martin has Joan Plowright over for dinner with his two kids, and Queen Latifah cooks. Plowright reminisces her childhood on a plantation and starts singing an old Negro spiritual, while Queen Latifah storms around the kitchen barely containing her rage. It was so silly that I laughed so hard I had tears in my eyes. I think it’s mainly because for me the idea of a posh white person sincerely singing a Negro spiritual is one of the funniest things ever. It’s kind of what the story of the Fairfield Valley Community Players was based on.

Unleash your savoir-faire!

I saw “I Spy” today with Dylan. Dylan was annoyed to see a giant cut-out for “Charlie’s Angels 2” in the cinema lobby. I think his dislike of that stems from the fact that Drew Barrymores’s character is named Dylan. This provided him with a bit of grief during the release of the first film, so no doubt all those old feelings are coming back to haunt him. HA HA HA. DYLAN HAS A GIRL’S NAME!!!

But if he thinks he has it bad, he should grow being called Robyn and having to put up with all the Robin Hood TV shows and movies. Ha ha ha. Robyn has a boy’s name.

Ok, “I Spy”. It was disappointing. There were moments where it was really funny, but there were also moments where it was dull and I’d stop paying attention to the movie. You know there’ll be a scene in the movie where someone does something with almost comical precision, then it turns out to be a dream sequence, and their attempt to do that in real life is totally inept? Well “I Spy” was like the dream sequence. Ha ha ha! See the funny spies! If I want to see a funny spy parody I will see “Top Secret” on DVD.

Speaking of hot DVD action, I watched “Twelve Monkeys” again, but this time with the commentary track. Ok, when the film first came out I saw it three times at the movies and so I started picking up all these little details. One of the things that’s throughout the film is lots of monkey-themed items. I remember discussing this with a friend and I said that I’d just noticed that the TV in the mental hospital showed an ad for the Florida Keys. Keys, mon-key, the key to escape the mental hospital, etc. My friend looked at me and declared that I was reading way too much into the scene and, like, it was just the Florida Keys. He seemed to think that the destination of the Florida Keys had just been randomly chosen (by whom?). So tonight during the commentary Terry Gilliam himself said how great the script was with things like how the Florida Keys suggested monkeys and keys. Ha ha! I was right! Ok, I can let that one rest now.

Catering size love

Dylzno and I did some filming today. We’re making a short video thing about Auckland. My favourite thing was standing in front of one of the billionaire boats full of drunk people and saying “The viaduct is still full of wankers, but they’re loyal, America’s Cup-supporting wankers.”

We saw a boat called Awesome. It had a bunch of drunk people maniacally waving to everyone around the harbour. I reckon that’s the sort of thing that would happen on board a boat named Awesome. Like, you’d get on board trying to be all urban and sophisticated but a few glasses of Lindauer later and you’d end up lifting up your top and demanding that some complete stranger look at your tits. This applies to both men and women.

I was accidentally stalked today! Dylz and I were having dinner in Mercury Plaza and he pointed out a dude in Breeders t-shirt, cos I’d earlier been bitching about having forgotten to buy one. Then later I get into my second favourite chatroom (choice! ch@tr00mz!!!) and this dude’s like, “Were you at Mercury Plaza today?” It turns out he was the guy in the Breeders t-shirt. How very delightfully choice.

Flex appeal

Today at the Mind Control Cult I discovered that I’m too attached to my possessions. The charismatic cult leader sang “My Funny Valentine”. I discovered my vision.

Doesn’t that just sound fruity? Like, really, really fruity? It is, but in a good way.

I saw “The Hours” today. I was trying to work out why Nicole Kidman looked so very frumpy – it’s because she has a false nose on. She was good in this film because she wasn’t being “Nicole Kidman: Sexy flame-haired sex bomb serious actress”. She was being Virginia Woolfe. It’s a fairly heavy movie, there’s lots of emotions, but in the end everything works out in a satisfactory way. It’s a sad ending, but not a tragic one. There’s death, but it’s more about life than death.

I’m so excited because the Breeders show is tomorrow. I’ve had two dreams over the last few weeks involving seeing the Breeders play. I’m not expecting it to be like a religious experience, I’m not going to be worshipping at the Alter of the Kim and the Kelley, I just want to have a good time.

Oh yeah, speaking of drinking beer. A few months ago I was in Sydney having dinner with a cool guy in a nice Italian restaurant overlooking Darling Harbour (yeah, that happens all the time) and the waiter comes over and asks if we want to order drinks. The guy orders a Boags and asked me if I’d like some wine. Oh no, kind sir. I would like some of that finest Tasmanian lager. I slept alone that night.