|THE BLACK LIST: THIS YEAR WE'RE MAKING THE GIFTS.|
|By The Black Table|
This is the final Black List until after Christmas ends and Hanukkah starts and all that. If you're like us, you haven't done a lick of shopping yet; you're still waiting for that exact right time, likely Christmas Eve, mere minutes before the mall closes. It'll be fun. That's the joy of the holidays.
We would like to say something about the capitalism of the holidays, but you've heard it all before, and we don’t really believe that anyway; we’d just be being cynical. In fact, we’re going to be nice and hearty sincere for you: We wish you a most happy holidays. Try not to have sex with any reindeer.
We’re got 10 reviews. If you want to be a part of the last Black List of 2005, use the form on the right, it'll be awesome sweet.
SYRIANA + PROJECT RUNWAY: We came out of Syriana pretty dejected. Yes…I know…the U.S. government is in league with the Middle Eastern governments it can control, and whacks the ones it can't…oil companies are so far above the law that they may as well be governments themselves…people trying to scrape out a living in oil-producing countries can only concede the point, really, when fundamentalist mullahs demonize the U.S. OK, we thought when we got home from the theater, enough. Let's take a break from the gloom and watch a little TV. Onto the screen walks a group of hip, nervous twentysomethings. In front of them, some kind of King Fashionista stands next to a platform full of Barbie dolls. He explains carefullyhe has to explain carefully, because the contestants are clearly so amped to be on the show that too much information will make their heads just fucking popthat their task will be to design a full wardrobe for each of the Barbie dolls they see in front of them. He then goes on to describe the personality and style of each Barbie. He finishes his presentation, says "Go!" and everyone mobs the platform, forming an elbowing, grunting mass from which each of them finally emerges, satisfied, with his or her own doll. I sink back in horror as the last piece of the puzzle falls into place: our government can fail to do anything significant about the oil companies and the Middle Eastern oligarchies and the budding fundamentalists because we have become cretins who want to watch adults dress dolls. Dolls made of plastic, which comes from petroleum! Realizing that everything really is connected: F -- Ben DiMaggio
PEOPLE WHO LAUGH AT BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN: I suppose you are the same people who laughed during Lost in Translation when the lounge singer came out of Bill Murray's shower singing "Midnight at the Oasis." You are they who didn't feel a pang of sympathy while that scene laid bare the totality of his alienation from self and family, the inevitable if quiet crash-landing at the end of his descent into self-degradation. You just thought that the red-headed lady with the corny song was funny, and deserving not only of a quiet chuckle, the restrained acknowledgment of tragicomedy, but of a hearty guffaw.
Now you think the sight of Michelle Williams having her heart abruptly torn out, her tenuous sense of hope utterly erased, her faith in love and family irreparably fractured is also HI-larious. When she opens the door, suspicious, lonely, confused, sidelined, but ultimately still hopeful, only to see her husband, who has become over four years an inescapable gravitational force of depression and self-pity, experiencing a single moment of joy, and only doing so in the act of betraying her, you think, "That is RICH!" And you laugh. A rolling wave of laughter that sounds like the live studio audience of Three's Company. What has come over you? Are you even human beings with human feelings? I understand anxiety, that people laugh at funerals, or when they are overwhelmed by the absurdity and unpredictability of life. But that comes later. That's catharsis time. Right now, you are not getting it, or not paying attention, or you are simply coarsened by the vapid entertainments with which we are inundated today. Maybe I'm a movie snob, but Chicken Little is two screens over, assholes. F -- Emerson
FISHLIPS LARRY: : In high school there was this guy named Larry, but everyone called him Fishlips. Sure enough, Larry had been endowed with an unusually large set of smackers, enhanced by the default slack-jawed expression he wore most of the time. My high school was affluent suburban upper-middle class, and Larry was unlucky enough to be one of a handful of kids whose parents didn't make a lot of money. Never had the "right" clothes, always looked a bit disheveled. I didn't have a lot of direct contact with him, but whenever his name came up in conversation, it was always "Fishlips said this" and "Fishlips did that." Then one day in gym class I was in charge of organizing an activity, and Larry was in my group. When it came time to assign him a task I said, "Okay, now here's what I want you to do, Fishli - " and I saw his eyes narrow ever so slightly and his body language change, like a dog when it knows it's going to be scolded. I caught myself, looked him straight in the eye and said, "Larry. Your name's Larry." He smiled a little and we went on with the class. A couple of years later I was home from college, at a gas station filling up my car. A huge tow-truck came roaring up next to me, the window rolled down and it was Larry, with a big smile. Sitting next to him in the cab was his wife, beautiful in a simple, encumbered kind of way. Larry introduced us, we chatted for a couple of minutes and off he went. Off Larry went. A -- Dave Bittner
MEG RYAN IN IN THE CUT: I was sitting at home by myself recently, drinking a couple bottles of wine and leaving a trail of lipstick-stained cigarettes around the coffee table, when a movie came on HBO called In The Cut. I figured out quickly that this was one of those "aging ingénues tries to keep her career alive by flopping her recently rubbery breasts across Mark Ruffalo's chest" movies. (Honestly, these should be their own section in the video store, next to "Val Kilmer drinks blood," "Jennifer Connelly does a little ass-to-ass" and "Harvey Keitel masturbates next to a car.") And it was. But it was more than that: It was Meg Ryan, in a way I'd never seen her before: Ugly. Have you seen her in this movie? After years of botoxing herself to stave off career irrelevancy, the person she now most facially resembles is John Kerry. At one point in the film, I think Ruffalo actually stumbled over her jowels. My favorite was when she unzipped her pants for a sex scene and cut her chin. And you know what? I like this Meg Ryan. No longer gas-baggy cute, with that wrinkled nose and who-me-you-find-ME-attractive? bullshit. This is the older, more desperate Meg Ryan, beaten, grizzled, hungry. I wanted to run off with the In The Cut Meg and waitress at some old diner right off Route 45 that feeds only meth addicts, pregnant teens, and retards. We would wear black pantyhose with so many runs people mistake them for fishnets, and we would smoke cigarettes down to a nub, and then we would eat the nub and wash it down with month-old coffee and floss with cobwebs. People would come in for food, and we would stare at them, reapply our mascara and then limp over there, scratching our head lice and sporting a soul patch just below the lip. We would work there forever, Meg and I, and there, we could be decaying, rotting, dead ... together. A -- Sara Telemacher
THE EXAMPLE CONVERSATIONS IN MY BEGINNER'S JAPANESE TEXTBOOK: Japanese is a hard language to learn; first of all, there's the whole new writing system to memorize, but then there's the many-tiered respect structure, with each situation requiring its own words and syntax. The textbook I am learning from attempts to alleviate this difficulty with short conversations, often accompanied by small illustrations. The conversations are oddly particular and specific; although the brief lesson on how to order one and a half kilos of fried sturgeon from someone deserving more respect than an equal but less respect than a parent or teacher taught me how to order one and half kilos of fried sturgeon from someone deserving more respect than an equal but less respect than a parent or teacher, it doesn't apply to much else. C-- David Graunke
WREATHS ON CARS: I'm driving around Buckhead in bumper to bumper traffic because every moron in Atlanta is trying to get to the mall. Why all of these people have the time to head to the mall on Thursday afternoon is beside the point. So a broad driving a Mercedes 320E, complete with a phone plastered to her ear, is bogarting her way across traffic to make that important turn into the entrance closest to Bloomingdales. This is not incongruous. This shit happens all the time in Atlanta. What I find strange is the enormous pine wreath hooked over that infamous hood ornament. It's not just a wreath, it has a big red bow, glass balls and for all I know a partridge in a pear tree. What I want to know is how do you get to the point in your life when you've decorated the house, complete with those icicle lights made especially for climates where snow is a media event, and yet you're still so full of the Christmas spirit that your design skills extend to your car? People who don't have the decency to be depressed at Christmas like the rest of us: D -- Bunny
ROOMMATES WHO BELONG IN KENNELS: Thanks, roomie. Not only did you practically destroy our apartment several weeks ago in a drink-induced zombie-like, manic rage, but now in the past week you've managed to: a.) Almost burn down the house by leaving pasta to cook for FIVE hours, necessitating a visit by firemen and leaving a three inch gap in our front door. Then, you "let" me and our other hapless roommate wash everything in the house to get rid of the smoke smell. b.) Somehow, SOMEHOW, you and your friends broke the kitchen faucet off and left it in the sink along with your dirty dishes. This I discovered when I came home on Saturday afternoon. c.) Finally, having not learned anything about your chemical inbalances, you proceed to once again drink yourself into mania, and spend two hours screaming and wailing at the top of your lungs, with bloodshot eyes, at three in the morning. CHEAP rent, cute apartment downtown: A. Psychotic bitch whore roommate who could quite possibly have axed my room while I'm at work: F -- em
INDIAN RESTAURANTS THAT FEATURE PICTURES OF GHANDHI ON THEIR WALLS: Is it just me, or does this seem counterproductive? You're decorating the walls of your restaurant with pictures of an emaciated man who is known for his HUNGER STRIKES. I know that he was a great man, but is this really what you want people to think of before they eat? C. -- Jeremy
CHELSEA HANDLER:After watching 15 minutes of 50 Cutest Child Stars: All Grown Up on E!, I am so disgusted by this woman and her awful commentary that I actually Google her to see why anyone would pay her to tell jokes. Her website hails her as "an accomplished comedienne, author, and actress." I guess her mother runs the site. Her lines are so tired, and they weren't that good to begin with. Fifteen-year-old boys find the jokes that other fifteen-year-old boys tell funny. I don't know who finds these jokes funny when Chelsea Handler tells them. Oxygen Network viewers, and someone at E!, I guess. Chelsea Handler: F. Hating a stranger so much you Google them: F -- Mary
TV COMMERCIALS ARE TOO SHORT: If you own a TV, you have seen the Porsche Cayenne commercial that shows a kid's birthday party. Apparently, the indulgent (and way-too-proud of his expensive car) father is racing the party guests through the streets of the neighborhood, impressing five-year-olds. That sounds like fun. Can my kid risk his life so you can show off? Unbelievably, that is not the worst of it. The Clown Cowboy, whose pony ride is being ignored, is shown sitting morosely with the kid's entire cake on his lap, eating it with a fork! Something about that strike you as maybe a little weird? That's where it ends, with the hee haaaaa cowboy music playing in the background. What if we stretched it out to a full 60 seconds? That is one awkward moment on its way when the rides end and the party starts. In the 60 second version, I imagine the father confronts Cowboy Billy about the cake and pulls out his cell phone to call the police. Cowboy Billy, having been drawn on and true to the Code of the West, will have to pull out his six-shooter and plug that yuppie varmint dead. But, remember, he doesn't kill him for confronting him. Oh no, he really does it because he was a reckless driver and a danger to the young'uns. Frontier justice is served, in the streets of Scarsdale. TV commercials are just too short. My version: A -- Roy Felipe
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