Wednesday, August 31, 2005

New War Rationale

It seems odd that everytime a rationale for war falls apart (you can trace the line all the way back to WMD and, more recently, Iraqi Democracy) a new rationale is peddled out.

According to the Associated Press, the new rationale for staying in Iraq is the oil.

Is it just me or does it seem like Bush is wheeling out the boogey-men and trying to tie Iraq and Al-Qaida. It still seems disinegenous. Imagine if this were his rationale going in initially was this. Could you imagine the public backlash? Imagine it, "We're going in to secure the oil so Osama can't get to it."

That would be such a no-no. But they must be grasping at straws with the rationale. They have to be. They haven't let Bush say Osama bin Laden's name in so long and they've certainly never let him mention oil anywhere near a sentence justifying the war on Iraq.

It's a sign of the times...

Tuesday, August 30, 2005

Oh. My. God.

He's lost it. He's finally gone certifiably insane.

Not two days ago, I was talking about this as though this was almost what he was doing. Now this is what he's doing and it's shameful.

Good Leaders

This is the sort of thing that a good leader does to reach out to other nations.

This is the sort of thing Bush should be doing with Clean Water and oil, not just to other nations, but to ours as well. Not just because it would be a good PR move, because it's the right thing to do. I'm sort of depressed to think about all of the people that think a completely "free" market will solve all of our problems, but that is not the case. We need to take an active role in benefiting ourselves and others. Government and mass media are the ways to do it as far as I'm concerned.

Since Chavez and his government are one step ahead of us with the ownership of their natural resources, they can make deals like this themselves. If we can't take back our own resources because of the corporate pirates, we should mandate American industry to do things like this so that they treat people better.

The problem with American economics is this: It's designed to look out for the business-owner, the corporation, the wealthy. This is wrong.

SIDENOTE: I find it odd that I haven't heard the mainstream media refer to Chavez as democratically elected. I haven't heard them tout that he forced the establishment of a constitution in Venezuela. I haven't heard them state the facts of his overwhelming popularity. I find this odd, they let people like Rumsfeld and Robertson and others get away with calling him a strong-arm dictator and saying he's a negative influence in the world even though the facts prove otherwise. Can't we hold their feet to the fire on this one? Just this once?

Rove on vacation?

I read this article in the New York Times: Bush Renews Drive to Overhaul Social Security.

Does it seem to anyone else as though Bush's strategists might be on vacation? Now, I want to talk about this in a completely non-partisan way, as an arm-chair, amatuer political strategist. Here's the situation: Support for the Iraq war is waning which is driving overall approval ratings for Bush to Nixon/Watergate levels. It's smart thinking to try to distract the country from the driving force behind these. You want to reframe the debate so that you seem as though something you're doing is still going to help.

You need to pick an issue that all Americans can get behind in a non-partisan fashion (some reading this have rolled their eyes, "Democrats won't get behind the President...") and run with it until you drown out the war. With the news busy with Katrina it seems like a good chance for the rebirth, as it were, of your message.

And what does Bush start to push? His drug benefit plan that was revealed to be an accounting sham and personal private investment accounts for Social Security. These seem like two issues that are either dead or the public has already turned on. I mean support for Bush's Social Security plan actually dropped after he finished touring the country to tout it.

My suggestion? This plays to the whole "uniter not divider" image that Bush likes to paint himself as. But I think he should throw himself behind John Kerry's "Put Kid's First" legislation.
Think about the positive effect that would have on the country and the positive message it would show the world. The legislation itself isn't contraversial, all it does is provide health care to kids under the age of 18. But think of what that would do for Bush's approval ratings, to see that he could stand up with the man who almost took his office and encouraged this vital piece of legislation.

Now, it seems like Rove is on vacation, because politically, Bush hasn't made any smart moves lately and I would doubt that Rove would be behind this idea anyway.

But I just want you to imagine what a galvanizing effect this could have on the country. I want to see George Bush and John Kerry shaking hands and offering to work together to bring health coverage to all of Americas children. That would be a day long-remembered. That could be his legacy.

Monday, August 29, 2005

Good news

I read this article and it's great news for those of us who live on coffee. And let me assure you, Independent filmmakers such as we live on coffee.

I would estimate that I drink between 12 and 64 ounces of coffee per day. I bet Elias and Steve drink even more than that. And now we don't have to say it's just for the energy. It's preventing colon cancer and providing us with valuable anti-oxidants now.


Mailing List

Everyone should join our mailing list. Head over to the main site and sign up!

Saturday, August 27, 2005

Hollywood Reporter review

You know, bad reviews are so few and far between, they aren't even dissapointing anymore.

Here's Frank Scheck's review of the film in Hollywood Reporter. I think it's important to keep into perspective that a film this small, with just a few of us doing everything, the fact that we got a review in Hollywood Reporter at all is something to crow about.

Hollywood Bitchslap review

David Cornelius of the Hollywood Bitchslap posted this four-star review of This Divided State today.

I think his review echos the message we've been trying to get out with the film to a tee.

We need a leader

Bush has been taking time off of his vacation to stump for the war here and there. Namely, Utah, Idaho and the like. Instead of reassuring the American people by offering even a hint that he knows what he's doing, he's just repeating the same tired, old rhetoric he's been offering for years. Years.

Now, like it or not, George Bush is in charge. And although I think the democrats need to offer solutions ("props" to Wesely Clark for actually doing so), W. needs to do something other than chant, "stay the course." We see the course. It's the same course we've been on for years. (It makes me throw up in my mouth a little, thinking that we've been in this conflict for multiple years.) It's a collision course. Iraq isn't a hot-bed of terrorism, it's a civil war. But he needs to make people beleive that it's under control, not raging out of control like it is. He needs to act like a leader instead of a puppet. He has a moment here to save his legacy, to break the chains of his handlers and do the right thing and actually lead this country.

I don't know the answers. No one does. I'm sure there are people out there with pretty good guesses, but no one has a definitive answer, they can't. But George Bush needs to at least have the appearance of a solution. He needs to set definite goals. He needs to give us an indication of when we can expect troops back. This doesn't mean timeline. He needs to come out and say, for example: "We can reduce troop levels once we have X number of X kind of Iraqi troop trained. We can further reduce troop levels when X political occurence has happened, etc."

Then he needs to take all of those conditions, and work hard for them. Harder than he's worked in his life for anything. He needs to at least give the appearance of light at the end of the tunnel. If he wants his opinion polls to go back up, he needs an exit strategy. No more of this "stay the course" bullshit. He also needs to stop his sensationalizing. People are starting to realize that every time Bush connects Iraq to 9/11 it's a sleight of hand trick. It's pissing people off. People don't like to be played with like that. It was a cunning ruse for a while, but that ship has sailed.

And the democrats can win if they offer a bi-partisan solution that people can get behind. Is there anything preventing them from mandating pull-out conditions in the senate? If they can offer a solution and pass it in a bi-partisan way through the house and senate, not only would they stand a better chance of gaining in the 2006 elections, they'd also do their part to save the unnecesary loss of life.

Film Journal Review

Eric Monder of Film Journal wrote this review of the film. He points out the resignation as something that needs to be expanded on.

I just want everyone that feels the same way to know that we have a 10 minute mini-documentary on the DVD with Jim and Joe explaining the resignation in detail, in their own words. I have to admit, it's actually quite moving.

Broken Flowers

It seems as though no one cares one way or the other about my film posts, but movies make me happy, so I'm going to do it anyway.

My brother and I went to go see Broken Flowers last night. With this spike in gas prices it becomes increasingly expensive to see movies of this calibre, as we are about 40 miles outside of Salt Lake City. And do you really think that there's an indie aart-house theatre in the bastion of conservatism? Well, there used to be, and it wasn't really indie, but that's another story. (We also took a side trip to Night Flight comics on the way there so I could pick up an issue of Invincible #25 (it kicked all kinds of ass) and Jason caught up on some Batman. So, we tried to make the most of the trip.)

Jim Jarmusch, I think, has one of the most deliberate and clean styles of pacing the world of film has known. It's not flashy, it doesn't draw attention to itself and it serves the story. This movie is also genuinely funny, which helps get people who wouldn't normally like a movie like this.

I think the thing that impressed me the most was the things that went unsaid. Jim Jarmusch doesn't take his audience for idiots. He lets you put things together for yourself. You must draw your own conclusions. You have to make assumptions about characters based on their body language, where they glance, things they have in the room, how they deal with discomfort, etc. Almost no one expains themselves through their dialogue. It's refreshing as all hell. And there is so much in what these characters don't say.

I don't want to say too much about the ending, but I think it's perfect. Jason didn't feel that it resolved anything, but I think it resolved everything. (He liked it, we just argued about the degree of resolution the whole way home)

And there can't be enough said about Bill Murray's dramatic acting ability. You'd never have guessed it by watching Stripes or Ghostbusters that he would be the perfect straight man. Almost none of the comedy in this movie can be attributed to Bill Murray, he merely reacts. It's the most fascinating thing in the world to watch him play this man, Don Johnston, (no, not Don Johnson, and stop calling him Don Juan) who has crept into this repetitive cycle of chasing women and now he's over the hill. He's jolted back to life, begrudgingly, by an anonymous letter and the journey to discover it's secrets is utterly compelling.

It's exactly the kind of movie I like to see. Even if I have to make a goddamned field trip out of it. It's worth a 37 mile drive and $7.75 at the box-office, easy.

Friday, August 26, 2005

Wesley Clark offers a plan

I think this might have been what I was talking about with this post.

Oh. My. God.

Why? Why? Why is this happening? Why can't we let things rest? Why does Opie feel the need to remake East of Eden? East of Eden of all movies... This is just wrong. Kazan's picture is amazing and there is not one person on this earth that could approach James Dean in this picture. Why can't they just re-release it? Wouldn't that make more sense?

To be honest, this really comes as a shock to me. I've watched the original Kazan masterpiece four times in the last two weeks. I love every frame in that movie. I imagine a lot of people do. I was doing some research on the IMDB just a few minutes ago and I stumbled across this, much to my fury.

James Dean was a revelation in that picture. He was an icon in that picture. I've not been able to get the image of him wrapping his sweater around himself on top of the train back to Salinas out of my head. The imagery in the movie still has such a resonance. I can't possibly imagine why anyone would feel the need to re-do it. I mean, I don't know as I've never read it, but maybe the movie wasn't faithful to the book. My point is this: who cares. There's the movie and the book. If you prefer the book, read the book. It sickens me how no one in Hollywood these days can come up with an original idea, they just want to repackage old ones. Why doesn't he remake Grand Theft Auto, or some other movie no one cares about anymore. But no one should remake a movie as good or as important as Elia Kazan's East of Eden.

Go watch the original and spit on the idea of a remake. Especially when Ron Howard is the one behind it.

Jesus Christ.

UPDATE: Why aren't there more revivals in the theatre? Why do they have to be special screenings or at midnight? If all of these goddamn megaplexes insist on shutting all the small theatres out, why don't they all devote one screen to a different classic movie each week? I think it would get people back into the theatres more often. Wouldn't it be great? Yes it would be. That's the answer to that.

Janeane's Documentary pick

I thought I'd post this. Janeane Garofalo does a show on Air America radio called "The Majority Report." On Tuesday's show This Divided State was her documentary pick. You can listen to the broadcast here. It's the last thing in the first hour.



It's a ways off and happens after the DVD release, but we will have a special screening of This Divided State at the Wealthy Theatre in Grand Rapids, Michigan on November 19th. It's part of a lecture by Bob Fitrakis, a Political Science Professor in the Social and Behavioral
Sciences department at Columbus State Community College.

So, that should be a hoot.

Thursday, August 25, 2005

Pirate Club review

I just wanted to post this review of Pirate Club #7. You have to scroll down a bit, but here it is.

Hawaii sets cap on gas prices

I read this article over at and I have to say I think this is good news.

Hawaii is taking an active stance in protecting the consumer. The frustrating thing about the article is that all of the experts seem to think this spells doom for the gasoline supply in Hawaii. That is stupid. People will continue to drive in Hawaii and if there is a gasoline shortage there it will be a purely fabricated action to oppose the gas cap. This is sort of the kind of thing FDR did with the utility companies in the New Deal. I think it's the government's job to tell companies what they can do and what they can't. It seems as though the mindset of the "experts" in this article is such that they feel we need to bow down to business if we want business to stay when it should be the other way around.

Business should be the ones bending over backwards for the right to serve a community. They should make the concessions, not the community. If I want to sell gas in Hawaii, then I have to follow the community standard of how to do it. Just because I'm going to make less of a gouging profit doesn't mean I'm not going to sell it there. And it's not like they need to market gasoline. It's one of those things people need and are going to get it at a local gas station. Period.

I think that is my point with this whole post. It is the responsibilty of local, state and federal governments to set standards that protect consumers. If a business doesn't want to conform to those standards then they shouldn't be in business anyway.

A lot of you might say it's not the governments business, hum-bug, if the government can't protect us from these pirates, who will? Free markets don't work. Look at trial lawyers. That's an unregulated free market and those ass-holes are out of control. They're starting to de-regulate the utility companies and that is what's causing all of these ridiculous energy crises. We need to regulate these corporate pirates and we need to do it now. Industry will adapt to the changes. If you think they won't adapt to make a profit you're crazy. Look at the automotive industry and safety standards. They didn't go bankrupt because of government regulation, people still buy cars.

We need to regulate businesses. Period. (thats in my humble opinion, anyway)

Wednesday, August 24, 2005

Variety review!

You have to suffer through some ads to read this review if you don't have an account, but it's worth it.

This is a big deal. I don't need to tell you how big it is that Variety ran a positive review of This Divided State.

UPDATE: Literally 30 seconds after I posted this, I got an email from Eric Snider informing me that his review had been posted. Here it is. Enjoy.

Tuesday, August 23, 2005

The more I hear, the more I like

Chavez offers cheap gas to poor in U.S.

This article does one even better, Chavez and Castro offered to help provide health care to poor Americans.

I don't know, for some reason this just makes me happy.

UPDATE: Steve served his mission in Venezuela, I'm curious to hear what he has to say about Hugo Chavez.


Here's both sides to this story and the newspaper coverage of it:

The people from the Rave.

The Utah County Sherrif.

Salt Lake Tribune

Does it seem like the news report favors the police? I don't know. I watched the video and it seemed like the cops were 100% in the wrong with the way they handled the perceived threat at what seemed like a legal gathering.

The police are scaring the shit out of me lately. Neal Shaffer, a comic book writer whose work I like quite a bit, posted this article on his blog about the alleged "terrorist" on the London subway who was actually a totally innocent guy who was executed by the police for what seems to be no apparent reason.

If you can't trust the police, who can you trust? This kind of stuff truly scares the shit out of me. I've never been "afraid of the terrorists" but day by day I become more wary of the people whom we trust to protect us from them. It seems like we need just as much protection from the protectors.

UPDATE: Here's a link to the mugshots of all the hardened criminals they brought in that night.

Extremist Vs. Extremist

"Kill the American infidels"
-Osama bin Laden (paraphrased)

"Assasinate Hugo Chavez, the strong-arm dictator of Venzuela."
-Pat Robertson (paraphrased)

It amazes me how similar the rhetoric of the the far right Chrisitan conservatives and Muslim extremists are. Pat Robertson went on television and declared the democratically elected and wildly popular president of Venezuela a "strong-arm dictator" and called for his assasination on television. Is there any difference between this and Osama bin Laden getting on television and calling for the death of Americans?

It's all terrorism. It's all the threat of terrorism and it's all useless.

The problem I find is that I can actually sympathize with the reasons a man as crazy as Osama has for wanting to attack America. We're destabilizing the middle east and have been interfering with their politics at every turn where we're not exactly wanted. And with the situation in Iraq the reasons have increased ten-fold. I had hoped that Osama would remember the favors we did him in the 80's under Reagan, when we had the CIA train him and we gave him billions in dollars and support, but I guess he has a short memory. But I can understand his frustration with our country. I think his methods are abhorent, but I think I understand his cause.

With Pat Robertson I can't possibly imagine a single event that would justify Robertson's statements. Not only is Chavez popular leader who has been elected democratically, he's actually changed the country for the better. He's given land to the landless and he's taken the natural resources of the country (read: oil) and turned the profits into a boon for his country-men and their economy. I think the reason people like Pat Robertson and some of the hawks in the current Bush administration who want him out of office is that he's showing people that they don't need the "Free" Enterprise systems that the corporate pirates in the IMF and the World Bank are ruining countries with. He's a sterling example of Socialized Democracy on the march and it threatens these fat-cat free-market capitalist wackos.

Go to Greg Palast's website and read up on Venezuela. The man is a hero of an American with ACTUAL journalistic integrity. Sadly, he has to report from the UK.

But my original point is this: What's the difference between these fundamentalists? I think anyone who calls God's name down in the name of killing and/or profit is clearly psychotic and needs to be locked up.

New Screening Engagement!

I just got the word from the Fargo Theatre in Fargo, North Dakota that we will be kicking off the new midnight film series at their theatre September 9th and 10th.

So for all of you stuck in North Dakota, be sure to check it out.

Monday, August 22, 2005

News from Utah

Check out this report about the protest in Utah of W.'s visit.

Democrats need to get their act together

Democrats split over position on Iraq war.

This is very discouraging and kind of sickening. This article states that Democratic voters want a definite exit strategy in Iraq and overwhelmingly they want the Democratic leadership to offer an alternative plan of action for this ever-increasing folly.

But the Democrats have no consensus, there's no unity, they aren't listening to the voters and they don't want to offer a plan of their own. Isn't that the job of an opposition party? Don't they need to rub it in everyone's faces not just that they would handle the situation differently, but how they would handle it differently. I think one of the most insulting answers I've seen to all of this is when Howard Dean said that it was the responsibility of the president, not the opposition, to come up with a plan for Iraq. What the hell? Yes, it is his job.

It's no wonder the Democrats are losing miserably. They have great ideas but horrible strategy. The democrats need to sit down and hammer out a proposal for the handling of Iraq and introduce it to those who could enact it. They need to show leadership. When I was in debate in high school, it was called a "counter-plan." I won many rounds as the opposition by simply offering a better, more well-thought out plan. It's no wonder that no one sees strong leaders in the Democratic party, because they don't act like leaders. I know Kerry is doing his best at the moment, it's actually impressed me how he's been able to use the attention from his campaign to raise national awareness for his bills in the Senate, but it's not enough.

If the Democrats offer an alternative plan and the current regime stays the course, wouldn't it stand to reason they could use that to press an advantage in the mid-terms and the presidential race? It makes sense to me.

I want to say this: I'm a registered Independent and I voted for Kerry after a long debate with myself at the polls. I didn't vote for Kerry because he was a great leader, I voted for Kerry because I wanted him to get more votes than Bush. If the Democrats want to pull themselves out of this slump, they need to get people to vote for leaders, not dissatisfaction with the opposition party. We need an ACTUAL opposition party and the Democrats are so confused and used to losing they just aren't fielding opposition the way they should.

A good first step is a unified, well publicized platform outlining an alternative proposal in Iraq. Kerry claimed to have a winning plan to fix it, start with that as the basis. Then talk to the constituents and ask for thier input, because if they don't like the plan, they won't vote for you. Then deliver it to the President. If the plan is what the other half of the country wants, Bush will most likely ignore it, further polarizing the majority of Americans who want to see a light at the end of the tunnel.

If they were smart, they'd go down to Crawford and announce it at Camp Casey.

But what do I know?

Sunday, August 21, 2005

SLC Mayor Rocky Anderson, hero?

Read this.

This is dynamite. I want to move to Salt Lake City that much more now, knowing how cool the mayor can be.

Saturday Shorts

Well, I spent quite a bit of the day working on stuff for This Divided State, but I managed to get some material cut for Saturday Shorts. Hopefully we'll be able to get it updated soon. In the meantime, check out some of the other crappy material we've done (we being me and the other Saturday Shorts guys, not necessarily Elias and Steve).

Saturday, August 20, 2005

Textbook free school?

I hope this does not become a trend because I think it's a really bad idea.

I think computers should have limited uses in schools. They should be desingated to one classroom where the kids learn computer skills but kids should not be using them for everything. I spend too much time on a computer and I hate it. I still like doing research in a library. I still type most first drafts on a typewriter and extensive notes on legal pads are used before that. How's a kid supposed to learn to write if he has a computer fixing his grammar and spelling all the time? How's a kid supposed to learn how to appreciate things like the dewey decimal system and cracking open a newspaper? How's a kid going to read To Kill a Mockingbird or Huck Finn? How are they supposed to learn things like that if the only thing they have to work with at school is a laptop?

It's criminal.

Computers take the life out of things. It boils everything down to ridiculous simplicity. I once read a book by a guy named Cliff Stoll and he postulated that if you give kids computers and ask them a question, and they use the computer to extropolate an answer that they all get similar answers and they stop thinking creatively for answers. You ask them: What is 7? You type 7 into Google and all you get is a bunch of software with a version with 7 in it. But if you ask kids that by themselves, no computers, and let their imaginations take them away, you could get a variety of answers. Mathematical equations, the number of samurai in Kurosawas best film, what that guy on Seinfeld wants to name his kid.

Computers suck the imagination away from people and puts imagination into the hands of others.

It's criminal.

Stir Crazy

This photo is indicative of the things Elias and I do to entertain ourselves while working on the film and Steve is out of town. This was taken the day after the Washington Post ran an article about the film while Steve was traveling on the college tour.

Elias and I (Michelle too) were left to deal with press, publicity and marketing from Utah. The paper I'm holding is our printout of the Post article.

We emailed this to Steve that day and he has yet to pay a penny in ransom.

Friday, August 19, 2005

Vonnegut on Free Enterprise

Free Enterprise is much too hard on the old and the sick and the shy and poor and the stupid, and on people nobody likes. They just can't cut the mustard under Free Enterprise. They lack that certain something that Nelson Rockefeller, for instance, so abundantly has.

So let's divide up the wealth more fairly than we have divided it up so far. Let's make sure that everybody has enough to eat, and a decent place to live, and medical help when he needs it. Let's stop spending money on weapons, which don't work anyway, thank God, and spend money on each other. It isn't moonbeams to talk of modest plenty for all. Dwight David Eisenhower once pointed out that Sweeden, with it's many Utopian programs, had a high rate of alcoholism and suicide and youthful unrest. Even so, I would like to see America try socialism. If we start drinking heavily and killing ourselves, and if our children start acting craazy, we can go back to good old Free Enterprise again.

-Kurt Vonnegut at his address to the graduating class at Bennington College, 1970

I think that this is noble thinking. I know not everyone agrees and I'm sure people are sick of me forcing Kurt Vonnegut and Democratic Socialism and Healthcare for all down everyone's throats, but I think the world is too harsh. We need to do more to soften the vicious nature of the Free Enterprise system.

I'll start bringing some Greg Palast quotes in here as soon as I find my copy of "The Best Democracy Money can buy." That's good stuff.

It's not a bad thing to take some extra money out of your pocket and give it to someone who needs a sandwich or a hot coffee or a bottle of booze or an appendectomy. In fact I've done all of the above. And I think when the problem is right in your face in the form of an actual hand out, pan handling for it, you put what change you can spare in their hand. We need to stop thinking out of sight out of mind with these problems and just take better care of each other.

Vonnegut once proposed an ammendment to the Constitution that said basically all Americans must be treated as though they felt they would be sorely missed whenever they left a room. I'm behind him on that one. If everyone could make everyone else feel wanted... That would be a great thing. An impossible ideal, but one to strive for, nonetheless.
I don't have much to add to what Steve and Elias had to say about what happened in the cave. I knew Blake from school and he was a good guy. I've heard so many stories about him from High School kids (I'm a substitute teacher for the Provo school district, so all the kids would be shocked that not only did I know of one of their favorite bands, but also it's front man, from way back.) Elias and I were talking about him today and decided that he was sort of a Folk hero for a lot of the kids here. It's sad to see people go at such a young age.

This Fragile Little Life

I'm currently in New York City and was informed via phone of the tragedy in Provo where 4 people drowned in a cave. One of them, Jen, I had been talking to just 5 days ago. You see, Jen appears in the film THIS DIVIDED STATE for a few seconds. While editing the movie, I literally saw all the footage hundreds of times. Her face became very familiar to me and I almost felt a strange relationship with her. I contacted her last week to inform her that she appeared in my movie and she was excited to see it. I also invited her to the DVD release party. She was going to come.

I got tears in my eyes when I heard what had happened to her. Life is too fucking fragile. Great people come and go in the blink of an eye. I, however, believe in an after life. In a spiritual way, I hope one day I can meet Jen face to face and get to know her. I'm sure this will happen. God, what a beautiful person. God, what a horrible tragedy.


Hang Down Your Head

On a somber note, four young people from in and around my home town died yesterday in an accident in an underwater cave of sorts. I bear a close connection to one of them and a more loose connection to the other three. It really is quite numbing and I don't feel the need to delve to deeply into my relationship with any of them, but they will all certainly be missed by a great many young people in our community, primarily due to the heavy involvement with the local music scene.

In smaller towns such as mine, the local music scene can play an almost religous role in the lives of young people who feel suffocated by authority or deprived of something to call their own. Sure it's all typical teenage angst stuff, but it doesn't make it any less relevant or important, in fact it is the very factor that spawned the hip-hop and punk rock movements that shook the world, dilluted as they may seem today. All kids will or at least should seek out "Jungle Music" that fills some empty spot in their lives and both confuses and infuriates their parents. From Buddy Holly to Maralyn Manson and every genius or flunkie in between, Rock n' Roll is a part of growing up. One of the best parts if you ask me. Those who passed on in the accident yesterday certainly left their mark in the lives of hundreds of kids in this valley through their art, and I say it again; they will be sorely missed.

"The fury of the hour, anger can be power, you know that you can use it"
- Joe Strummer R.I.P.

Rest in peace sons and daughters of Utah County .

3 new reviews of the film


New York Daily News.

Wolf Entertainment Guide.

Seattle Times review for real

Here's the Seattle Times review. 4 Stars!

I'm not sure what that other website was referencing, because those quotes weren't in this review. Anyhow, we're in a frenzy of media coverage it seems. Hopefully (or not so hopefully) it subsides soon so we can get back to work.

Thursday, August 18, 2005

NY Times review!

The New York Times is running this review tomorrow. It's a good one.

NOTE: Those of you who are new to the blog, we don't just post reviews of our film here. It's just that our New York and Seattle premieres are this weekend, so they're just pouring in. We actually post meaningful things here, as our archive might prove.

TV Guide Review!

TV ran this review of the film and it's in the "Editor's Picks" section.

NY Post review

3 Stars from the NY Post.

NYC Movie Guru

My definition of an excellent review is where a reviewer goes out on a limb and recommends that you spend $10 on a movie. It takes a lot for me to tell someone to go spend that much on a movie. Avi Offer, the NYC Movie Guru, proclaims This Divided State is worth seeing in the first run theatres.

Good times.

Seattle Post-Intelligencer review

This review is so-so. We got a C. Which is fine. We need to get knocked off our cloud every once in a while.

Kurt Vonnegut and 2001

I came across this in an essay Kurt Vonnegut wrote about the Space Program back in the late 60's.

"I remember the apes in the great Cinerama motion picture 2001. I remember their bloodshot eyes and their fears at night, how they learned to use tools to smash in each other's skulls. And I suppose we're not much past that on the scale of evolution, even though we now have the Cinerama."

Frontpaged on iFilm!

iFilm posted a still from the film and the trailer on their website. You can check out their page devoted to This Divided State here.

Weekend Warrior review

Edward Douglas,'s Weekend Warrior, gave This Divided State an 8 out of 10.

Seattle Times?

The Seattle Times has not run it's review. But I was informed of this capsule review on a website called NWSource that cites the Seattle times as the source.

"Gut-wrenching but essential viewing for all.."

Seattle Stranger Review

The Stranger in Seattle ran a review of the film. It's in their film section alphabetically here.

It's got some video cover quotes in there too:

"Some of it will make you laugh, some of it will make you want to weep, and most of it will make you worry about the future of our country."

and the other good one:

"...entertaining, and often infuriating."

Time Out New York review

There's no link to it or anything and I don't have a copy of it, but I heard the Time Out New York reviewer hated, Hated, HATED This Divided State.

If anyone can pick up a copy and post the juciest quotes on the comments that would be dynamite.

The one quote I did hear about was that he hated the movie because no one was listening to each other. I thought that was sort of the point of the movie. To illustrate that no one was listening to each other.

Headline on Drudge report approaches truth


Now, all you have to do is get rid of the Cindy Unleashed part and tone down the biggest part slightly, and you might be nearing the truth.

I know this post will rub people the wrong way, but I want to remind everyone that according to the definition of terrorism, our nation is as guilty of terrorism as any of the hijackers from the World Trade Center attack. And I think the accountability should start at the top. Make no mistake, Bush's "war on terror" uses terror. I'm not saying that something shouldn't be done, but I am saying that we shouldn't be casting stones. If we want to end terrorism, the first step has to be, "Quit being terrorists and quit supporting terrorism."

That coup in Venezuela? Terrorism. Threatening a sovereign leader, no matter how despicable, with the destruction of his own country if he doesn't leave? Terrorism. Insufficient welfare systems? Terrorism. "All options on the table" threats to countries peacefully pursuing nuclear power? Terrorism.

Make no mistake. And let's not forget about the long line of Republican terrorists W. comes from, starting with, in my view, one of the largest terrorist threats the world has ever faced: Ronald Wilson Reagan.

UPDATE: This comes off as way more scathing and radical than I am. I don't beleive that George Bush thinks he's a terrorist, but I think that he has commited terrorist-like crime. And the picture I found was a little too priceless to pass up. I'm generally not this mean spirited.

Wednesday, August 17, 2005

Cindy Sheehan

I've been avoiding this. Writing a post about Cindy Sheehan, I mean. Just about everything has been said about it. Why the hell should I chime in? I mean, all she's really doing is a joint protest-grieving session. Nothing wrong with that in my book.

What I do want to comment on is W.'s handling of the situation. His support for the war in general is waning. People think he's dishonest and I really believe people view him as the head of Ameri Co. as opposed to America. And I think that Cindy Sheehan has offered George Bush an amazing opportunity. Think about what would happen if George came down to Camp Casey in his truck all by himself except for his dogs. In the back of the truck is the fixin's for a barbecue. And he spent the afternoon out there, without his handlers, tlaking to these people, showing him that he is human, let them know that he cares. I think that would be an amazing presidential moment that would make it onto all of those "Best Presidential Moments" reels and lists and what not.

I would have so much more respect for the man if he would just go out there and have a personal moment with these people and showed the nation that he was one of them and not some corporate sleaze ball who wants to hide behind a podium.

I understand that W. doesn't owe Cindy Sheehan, or anyone there, any amount of face time. But it would be a uniting move on his part. His track record shows how much of a divider he is, think about how much of an amazing first step towards uniting this could be. Like I said, it would be an amazing moment in Presidential history.

Will he take that first step? Probably not. Will he ever? I would doubt it.

Shameless Plug

On a sidenote. Issue 7 of Pirate Club came out today. Elias and I are writers on this book along with it's artist and creator Derek Hunter. It's carried at only the finest comic book specialty stores across the country.

I highly recommend it (obviously).

You should also check out Dereks website for the book. I believe issue #1 is available there to read.

Also, check out the publishers website: Slave Labor Graphics.

Seattle Weekly review

Seattle Weekly ran this review. They seemed to have liked the film.

Tuesday, August 16, 2005

Village Voice review

The Village Voice ran this capsule about the film today.

SF Bay Guardian

We're a "Rep Pick" in this weeks San Francisco Bay Guardian! (Can somebody tell me exactly what "Rep Pick" means?)

A not-so not favorable review

This review of the film was posted in a Google newsgroup. The film was given a "High +1" on a scale of -4 to +4. Or a 6/10. But I don't exactly know what kind of credentials this guy has. To be honest, I just set Google to alert me when this sort of thing happens so really, any crackpot with a computer who writes a review of the film will have it seen here. Good or bad. (Not to say that Mr. Leeper, the guy who wrote this, is a crackpot.)

Torn Curtain

I recently revisited Alfred Hitchcock's Torn Curtain. It is not his best film, though it is good mind you. This film was put together in an extraordinary fashion, as is the case with most Hitchcock pictures, but there are a few sequences in particular that I don't think people remember as being good. Or as good as they are. The first one I want to point out isn't exactly a sequence but the first act of the picture. Julie Andrews has absolutely no idea what the hell is going on and neither does the audience, and for most movies that would suck royally, but it works incredibly well in this picture. In the first scenes, Hitchcock sets a tone and direction for the movie that simply never pays off and that's the pay off. That he sets up one kind of movie and continues to turn it on it's side is an amazing thing to go through, especially when it's been put together so delicately. You think you're going to see this picture about Paul Newman and Julie Andrews' relationship, and you do, but not the way the first scene would have you beleive.

Another sequence is the scene in the farmhouse where Paul Newman and the country girl are trying to kill the Security agent that has tailed Paul Newman. They have to do it silently so the cab driver outside doesn't hear and it's frightening how disturbing the sequence is... And the shot where the country girl puts the knife in the guy... Jesus Christ. It's amazing. Watch it again and it will tell you alot about silent filmmaking...well, mostly silent.

The last sequence is the "math secret" business between Paul Newman and the Russian scientist. Hitchcock actually uses math as a McGuffin. What formulas are they scratching out on that blackboard? Who cares? But Hitch manages to make it interesting. Think about how hard it would be to photgraph two men comparing math equations on a blackboard and make it an edge of your seat sequence. It sounds impossible. But Hitchcock doesn't seem to think twice about it.

In short, Torn Curtain is worth another look.

If you people like hearing me rant about how great old movies are, let me know, I'll keep doing it. But it seems as though nobody cares about anything we have to say unless it's politically motivated.

Monday, August 15, 2005

March of the Penguins = The Ramones of Modern Documentary

My wife and I took our kids to see "March of the Penguins" tonight and I've gotta tell you, I care a lot more about penguins than I do about humans right now. I hope the sensation wears off soon, as I am already considered by some to be socially retarded.

My 6 year old daughter said it was "...happy and sad and funny..." and she was right. For better or worse, my visits to the video store far outnumber my visits to the movie theater simply because it has become increasingly more difficult to find such well rounded films such as "March of the Penguins" in any God forsaken megaplex these days. I can't tell you how refreshing it was to se such a respectable, bare bones, celebrity free, informative and entertaining piece of art in a corperate 12 screen megaplex in suburban Utah. It was like a single white daisy in the middle of a muddy WWI battlefield, or that plastic bag from that one crappy movie dancing in the wind, or the lovely young lady singing in a tavern in the final scene of "Paths of Glory" and so on into eternity.

I'm not saying it is the greatest film of all time, or even of the year, but I can say that it is a much needed breath of fresh air. It didn't take a superstar cast or million dollar special effects to bring my 4 year old son to tears for the first time in a movie theater, just cold hard facts of life (or wildlife). These were tears of sadness mind you, not boredom which is more commonly the case, like last week when for some unknown and inexcusable reason I was subjected to the God awful train wreck of a mudroll that was "The Wedding Crashers".

I've noticed that I am rambling aimlessly, so I will leave you again with my daughter's spot on, five word review; "Happy and sad and funny". I'll take that over "A non stop tour-de-force" any old day.

Michigan Engagement!

We've booked an engagement at the Roseville Theatre in Utica, Michigan!

We open September 21st!

Showtimes for the Quad

I have the showtimes for the run at the Quad Cinema. Also, Steven will be doing a Q&A for 2 of the screenings on Friday night, so if you're in the New York area, be sure to come by and say hello to Steve. Or not. It's your loss.

1:05 pm
2:55 pm
4:50 pm
6:50 pm (Friday Q&A)
8:35 pm (Friday Q&A)
10:20 pm

See you there!