Return to Hitchcockian Values.

It is hard to watch any film without recognizing Hitchcock’s contribution to cinema.  Recently, I have seen two films that adhere closely to his style in a compelling manner. One French film called Roman de Gare has already been receiving much praise, while the other was quite a surprise.

Roman de Gare is the story of a ghostwriter concocting a story for his famous novelist boss. Incorporated into his story is his meeting a young woman who takes him on a strange detour that casts suspicion on his character in the beginning of the film. However nothing is as it seems in this film. The story does not fall into the trap of self-consciousness that is often inherent in “the writer might be writing himself into the story” theme that is becoming so cliché in screenplays. Roman de Gare is intelligently written and fun to follow without being unnecessarily complicated. The twists and turns entertain without insulting the audience. Reminiscent of Hichcock’s ability to cast suspicion on his characters, Roman de Gare is a great film for fans of suspense.

While Roman de Gare plays with elements of suspense and identity, Vacancy is a good old fashion romp with Hitchcockian tension. A real sleeper, Vacancy may have been hard to take seriously with funny man Luke Wilson at the helm and horror movie marketing cheapening the concept. Vacancy may not be ground breaking, but it is loaded with Psycho like tension. A simple plot about rural people fucking with fish out of water travelers carries itself well. While the plot might be a bit contrived, Vacancy delivers on a satisfying level as homage. The characters are slightly more reasonable than the typical deformed weirdoes that people run into in films about country folk being removed from society and turning to some version of cannibalism. The baddies have a somewhat reasonable set up and that makes the movie a little more eerie without the gross out. For what ii is worth, I thought Vacancy was an entertaining watch that doesn’t pretend to be anything it isn’t. The opening credits are reminiscent of Vertigo and let you know the film intends to wear its influences on its sleeve.

 Roman de Gare French with subtitles and is currently in limited release in theaters. Vacancy is (and has been for a while) in video stores.


I can tell a lot about my place in society by my current hotel stay. I nearly broke the air conditioner trying to turn it off because I didn’t see the thermostat on the wall. There is something in this room called a ‘Pillow Menu.’ There is a whole world revolving around the second tallest fountain in the world and all i really want to do is sit in front of the TV, drink Doctor Pepper and watch Saw II on TV with the curse words removed. What is so appealing to me about the comforts of bad television, soda and cold air? I have no idea. I feel too connected to what Henry Miller called the Air Conditioned Nightmare. I occasionally wonder what it would be like to be the type to want to throw the TV out the window and party with hookers. That all seems like too much trouble. The reality is that i am not adventures enough to go out and find a bag of Goldfish crackers. Carrying Goldfish crackers around for the eventuality of being stuck in a Holiday Inn is the last step to my being too old to rock and roll. I challenge anyone to find sex and drugs near the Holiday Inn in Fountain Hills Arizona. But if it is out there, I ain’t the one. However the Holiday Inn does offer a selection of pillows and a chart that describes what kind of sleeper I might be. I feel like I brought the rock and roll with the recent re-release of the Customs album Long Gone. The Customs was a band that had members of the mighty DMZ before they went on to be the Lyres.  I could get up and name names, but what is left of the cold air in the room is blowing up my pant leg and i don’t wanna get up. Fans of rock and roll should worship DMZ and find the Customs re-ish (entitled Really Long Gone) essential listening and available through Get Hip Records. The song Long Gone in itself is, in my opinion, a lost classic. However. I don’t know if you can trust me as I drove here listening to Dirty Deeds Done Dirt Cheap on cd in a rented PT Cruiser drinking Starbuck’s coffee. Nothing about me indicates that i am qualified to even listen to Really Long Gone. All told, I am feeling pretty lame. But not as lame as Saw II with no curse words. It is a good thing I don’t have cable at home. I might waste my time on bad television more often. The Customs are the spawn of DMZ and should not be ignored.


I have not been writing much lately.  When I go this long without doing anything productive, I feel as though my brain is leaking. Journals and short stories just seem like a way to stave off the notion of dying. But things are really going my way recently. I am feeling really positive.
Response to Vinyl Scrapyard has been mostly positive and we are looking forward to more screenings. I am also going through the ridiculously painful process of finishing paperwork to return to school in September. I now applaud anyone who has gotten into school for just being able to follow the runaround put upon you by this bureaucratic nightmare. I am still trying to prove that I have had the fucking measles. Enough Said.

I recently went for a night to an Earthworks  project called the Lightning Fields. The Lightning Fields is a large expanse in New Mexico with tall stainless steel poles meant to attract lightning. It has been there since 1977. The installation requires that you meet a driver in a small town in New Mexico and he puts you in a car with strangers and drops you off at a lovely cabin in the middle of nowhere. Upon arriving, you discover the odds of actually seeing any lightning, then you are fed tamales. After that, you only have 14 hours to wait until the driver picks you up. I would recommend it if you need to relax, but not if you are a lightning enthusiast. I was fortunate to have brought the book Travels With Charley by John Stienbeck. A good read.

I have been listening to a kick ass record called Can’t Stand Modern Music by the Cute Lepers. The Cute Lepers feature members of the Briefs whom I have never heard, but this album kicks ass. I’ll do a more in depth review later.

Thanks people. Hope all is well…billups

July posted in: Writing | Comments (0)

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