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Today I was feeling a little bit ‘snacky’ and so I decided to go with what looked to be a healthy purchase. The Zachee “Almond & Blueberry Raw Fruit & Nut Bar” ended up being my two dollar choice. The package had a nice inviting blue color with green text and a leafy looking transparent cut-out that told me all kinds of lies about what I was about to eat.

The first and worst lie of the bunch (yes – there were probably a bunch of lies – but we are focusing on this main one) was that the product that I had just purchased would – indeed – be edible. It was not. Unless you count things like sticky cardboard, rotten egg shells or liquefied garbage rinds as being edible – which – I guess – they kind of are . . . because realistically – you can eat them . . . but – ew – right?!

Inside of the package was a brown extrusion with almond bits sticking around here and there. There was no smell to note. There was a definite tingle of magic potential hanging in the air.

When I took a bite – I immediately had to put my hand to my mouth in order to keep my tongue from forcibly ejecting my expensive little morsel of yuck. I had many more unbearable bites to go . . . it was like some sort of twisted penance that I was making myself go through to make up for some bad thing that I had done in the world – or something.

I suppose that my big last word on my experience with the Zachee bar is to run out to the store and buy up all that you see – and then throw them into a dumpster before anyone else has the unfortunate enough luck to unknowingly unleash the “ugh” that is inside.

“Ladies and Gentlemen” I absolutely have to tell you before I say anything at all – that you should immediately open another tab in your browser where you should find the next show time for Anderson’s “There Will Be Blood.” You should then purchase tickets and go and enjoy a movie that makes my brain spin with all of the things that I want to say about it – while at the same time confusing my mouth to the point where I kind of have a hard time putting all of those thoughts into a coherent enough string where they make any kind of sense. I hope that you will bear with me.

The movie opens in the darkened shaft of a mine where we are introduced to Daniel Plainview – played with ridiculous force by Daniel Day Lewis (yeah – I know that I just said ‘force’ – but seriously – he does a stupendously good job – so deal with it) – and it becomes apparent after an initial set of events that he is a character that is driven with such an animal determination for what he wants that there is nothing that he wouldn’t do to keep his train not only on the tracks – but also charging full steam ahead. He wants to better himself with money – because he perceives that money is the only way to climb the social ladder through whatever ruthless and systematic means that are necessary so that he can go up to the big men (the railroads and the big oil corporations) that have put a chip on his shoulder – as big men can sometimes do – and spit in their faces. It isn’t even that the big men have maliciously kept him and others at his societal status down – but even worse – because the restless rabble of the world are so far beneath their notice that they scarcely even exist. Maybe he was just struggling to ensure that he existed.

The score to the movie is by Johnny Greenwood from Radiohead (a quick sidenote: how good is that last album? There have been numerous times since getting it that I have just listened to it on a loop – until a little bird chimes in that “this is the third time that we have heard this . . .”) and even though I have heard from some that it sometimes feels at juxtaposition to what is happening in the movie – I thoroughly enjoyed it.

One of the crazier things about the movie is how despicable Plainview is. His actions are inherently deplorable – and yet – I really liked watching him and trying to figure out what was driving him to do certain things. Why the rope was so forcefully pulling him forward. Were the demons had come from that made him do the things that he did and why through all of that – even as driven for money as he was – he almost always seemed to give people what they had coming to them – there is one case where this is totally not true and another couple where it is carried out glaringly overstated ways.

Sorry if this is all convoluted – but as I explained in the beginning – there is so much to talk about. I feel like I should start a book club for this movie where we can all sit around and dissect it. Jeez – I didn’t even mention how much I liked the look of the movie . . . or the crazy couple sitting next to me that tried to ruin it with the woman fanning herself and blurting out that she was hot at half hour intervals while the guy kept saying things along the lines of “Yo – this movie is stupid” – oh how I wanted them to leave the theater – oh how badly did they bother me . . . I’m not sure that they had any idea of what movie they were going to see. Afterwards – I chippishly said to the little bird that had seen the movie with me that “perhaps they should have instead opted to go and see the chipmunk movie . . .”

“I’m Finished.”

Last weekend I went and saw two very different movies. Here is what I thought of them.

Friday: I was quick witted enough to go to the box office earlier in the day to get tickets for the big monster rummages around big city summer blockbuster in the middle of winter “Cloverfield” – which was great because judging from the huge line and packed theater – it was the movie event of the night. Directed by Matt Reeves and produced by mister “I make Lost” J.J. Abrams – himself, I have been anxiously awaiting this movie since the first trailer that I saw. It was a great teaser that gave me very little information and just whetted my appetite for this unknown movie that was coming out. I am pretty sure that it didn’t even give me a title. It was a mystery.

When I went into the theater – I knew that the reviews had been all over the board. Some people just said that it was a great ride but not heavy on heavy stuff, others said that it was a reinvention of several genres and an important film and some other people said that it was schlocky piece of junk that preyed on fresh images from actual bad things that happened all too recently in everyone’s favorite “city with a bulls-eye” – New York.

My excitement was sliding on a thin layer of nervousness . . . could this “found footage” movie live up to the great marketing build-up that had been built-up around it. Well the answer is convoluted. My biggest recommendation when going to see this movie is to sit far away from the screen – or else you are in for 84 minutes of topsy-turvy stomach vertigo. It was fun – it was a throw away – it was a movie about a creepy monster that walks around and breaks things and after the initial exposition scenes – it moved along so quickly that I didn’t even have a chance to get too annoyed.

Annoyed – you say? Well – yeah. Unfortunately – the bulk of the point of the movie was missed on me because the people that we are running around the city with for the entire movie were (in my book) just not very likable. I mean – I rooted for them, gulped, gasped and sat at the edge of my seat for them – but at no time was I ever like “After you get away from all of that monster bad times – how’s about you and me go get a beer and talk about the good old days.” Or anything like that.

Except for the hoping off of my seat a couple of times and all of the things blowing up, the best part was when at some point the screen faded to black and someone said (out-loud in the theater) “Yo, that better not be the end.” Well – don’t you worry mister coconut – it wasn’t the end. There was still a teensy bit left. And I wonder if that teensy bit fullfilled whatever you thought was lacking when you talked to the darkened screen because when the end did come there was no clapping – just a bunch of people shuffling out trying to regain their balance. Trying to figure out what their best plan of action would be if a monster ever took the detour past the city and up the Hudson river to their neck of the woods. What would they say to it? Which of the town’s spectacular eateries and entertainment options would they offer?

I have to guess that was what they were trying to puzzle out behind their bleary eyes. I heard one girl come out of the bathroom and tell her boyfriend that she had “Totally just thrown up – yo.” I figured that I had just walked out of a really super expensive and well made pilot for some big show – next season – on a cable channel (due to the violence and gore) – and I was cool with that. It was a show that I would probably watch.

Probably.

How miserable and gross is the night that is trapped inside of this tube? Nightmarishly so . . . nightmarishly so.

I am an absolute sucker for packaging and marketing and shiny things – let me make that point clear.

One day I ran out of toothpaste – which is a bad bargaining position to be in – it is like being hungry and going grocery shopping – bad decisions are likely to be made. On this particular day – my bad decision was based around this “pro-health” toothpaste that had the mystery of being a night time product (I could especially tell that it was for the night because of the dark blue packaging). What would happen if I used it in the day?! I was totally intrigued.

When I got it home and took it out of the box (Why does toothpaste come in boxes? Oh – wait – it is so that someone doesn’t unscrew the cap and sample it in the store . . . Oh – oh – wait – again – what if there were sample things of toothpaste in the store – how many problems would that solve in the world??) – and popped the top – I was nothing but excited expectation – I mean – it was a new toothpaste – it was one factor that would determine (in part) how my next month and a half would go. It looked like toothpaste (except maybe a little looser) and had a nice minty freshness to it.

The problem started after I was done brushing . . . the taste killed my mouth and made it taste terrible – not fresh – but dank. My mouth became a basement. Maybe this was why I was only supposed to use it at night – so that I would sleep though how awful my mouth had become – blegh – blegh – blegh. I put the tube away after a couple of uses – never to be seen again.

Until it resurfaced here at the temporary headquarters – where it joined the daily rotation of three toothpastes near the sink (which – in itself is odd). Everyone has agreed that the outcome is less than desirable . . . and now – this two headed beast has show another side of it’s evil. If you leave the tube on the sink with the cap unclicked – it will start to ooze out. It is like it has an evil mind of it’s own – and it just wants to hunt out as many mouths to foul as it can.

It is never a good thing when after brushing your teeth – you have to brush again with a different toothpaste and then rinse with mouthwash in order to dull the stank from the first brushing. I wish that I could just throw the unfinished tube away – and move on . . . but something in my brain simply won’t let me do that.

Maybe all of this is my fault. Maybe I am supposed to go out and buy some “Day” toothpaste to finish the chemical cleaning concoction and then everything will be better. Or – maybe I should just get wooden teeth?

“No Country For Old Men” is a movie that was adapted for the screen and directed by Joel & Ethan Coen from a novel of the same name by Cormac McCarthy. I hadn’t read the book, but had read McCarthy’s book “The Road”, so going in – I had an idea of how bleak the worlds that he could create can be and was anxiously hoping that the Coens (who are among my favorite film makers – but who have had a couple of missteps in their last outings) would return to the levels of my favorites of their movies (for today – “Barton Fink” seems to be my tops).

My mouth hung open for the first fifteen minutes at how ridiculously well framed and shot it was. It felt like one of those movies where you could pause it on every shot and would end up with a perfect composition. So right off the bat – the visuals pulled me into the movie. The one thing that kept constantly trying to distract me and pull me out of the mood that was being set was the woman sitting next to me – who like a three year old that can’t internalize their reactions to the world kept uttering “Oh my god,” and “Oh no” over and over at every stressful moment. Now – to her credit – it was a very stressful movie that kept me shifting in my chair from the edge to the back right corner and then over to the left middle.

Without ruining anything – I will tell you that the movie is about a man Llewelyn Moss (Josh Brolin) who finds a bag full of money in the middle of the desert and the consequences that follow. One of those consequences is Anton Chigurh (Javier Bardem), a psychotic killer who is looking for the money while following his own skewed set of rules and morals – which at times he seems almost pained to have to play through to the end. All the while the been-everywhere and seen-everything Sheriff (Tommy Lee Jones) trails in the wake of all of the mayhem trying to piece together the puzzle – the likes of which he – actually – has never seen – he hopes in time to save Llewelyn from the mess that he has gotten himself into.

I loved the movie – and can’t stop thinking about different scenes from it. I want to read the book and go back and see it to be able to watch more closely to find some of the nuances that I am sure are in the movie – that I am positive are in the movie. I saw the movie about a week ago – and am still pretty giddy to go and see it again – even though there are parts to it that stick in my head as situations that really freak me out.

My Recommendation is to go out and see the movie. Then – sit through the next showing with a pad and a pen – so that you can take notes. Once you have gone through all of that, get back to me with your synopsis – and we will just treat the whole thing like a book club – for movies – a movie club – I guess.

I mean – seriously – I am curious as to what you think – and how you tick.