The Fall Guy

Bobby Lee squeezed Hugo’s shoulder reassuringly.

‘Look yonder. See the deer running inside the wind. They’re playing. They know fall is in the air. They can smell it. I love it when it’s like this.’

As Hugo looked into Bobby Lee’s face, he knew for the first time in his life the distinction between those who had a firm grip on the day and the expectation of the morrow and those who did not.

JAMES LEE BURKE Rain Gods (Simon & Schuster 2009)

Yeah, Autumn is my favorite season, too,  (and like Hugo I’m  hoping I’ll live long enough to enjoy it.)


They Said What?

A good DVD commentary track and/or behind-the-scenes featurette can do a lot more than explain the special effects in the film. It can offer insights into the psychology of the business and the people who work in it.

For example, how do you get a star to do his own stunts?

Appeal to his ego, says producer Rick McCallum who relates stunt co-ordinator Nick Gillard’s instructions to Samuel L. Jackson in STAR WARS III: Revenge of the Sith :  “Sam had to jump out of a window. We could have put him in a harness and everything but Nick would turn to him and say, ’What’re you talking about? You’re not going to have a harness! You’re a star!’ Good line … and Sam is, like, ‘Okay, yeah, I like that.’ And we had him falling head first into a mat for the rest of the afternoon.”

What’s it like directing your wife in a nude scene?

On the UNDERWORLD: Evolution DVD writer/director Len Wiseman recalls how he felt while shooting his wife Kate Beckinsale sharing a steamy clinch with her co-star Scott Speedman: “When a director yells ‘Cut’ and they don’t stop kissing, it’s amazing how fast your blood can just boil. ‘Okay, that’s great. Scott, you’re fired.’ “ (He’s kidding. I think.)

The makers of CAPOTE say they faced a unique challenge when casting the role of the author’s childhood friend and confidante Harper Lee: “We were looking for an actress who had composure and dignity and maturity of spirit … and people who have those qualities tend not to go into acting.” (Fortunately Catherine Keener was available.)

On THE SQUID AND THE WHALE Laura Linney explains why her character continues to pursue her literary ambitions at the risk of alienating her family: “When you are artistic and you have an artistic bent, you don’t have a choice really, you have to do it. It’s more of a vocation than anything else.” (That may also explain why creative artists in any medium rarely retire.)

Insights can come from the most unlikely places … like the behind-the-scenes featurette for SMOKIN’ ACES in which Vancouver native Ryan Reynolds talks about training for his role as a pistol packin’ FBI agent: “It’s pretty weird for a young Canadian man to be working with guns this much.” With one throwaway remark Reynolds inadvertedly sums up the difference between Us and Them. (One more reason why I’m glad I am on this side of the border.)

It Ain’t Exactly Rocket Science

“Here’s the thing about Ke$ha,” he says. “She’s really smart, and she knows some of the stuff is really stupid. So the part of her that knows music and is educated will be like, ‘Really?’ And I’m like, ‘No, if it’s dumb and it’s catchy and it works, it’s cool.’ ”

Hitmaker du jour Lukasz Gottwald aka Dr. Luke, writer/producer of “Tik Tok” (and 20 other hits including Miley Cyrus‘ “Party in the USA”, Katy Perry‘s “California Gurls” and Kelly Clarkson‘s “Since You’ve Been Gone”) explains the secret of his success in a Sept 11/2010 Billboard Magazine cover story.

Smoke and Drink! It’s Your Patriotic Duty!

Finally … a solution to the oppressed minority huddling out of doors to grab a cigarette to satisfy their nicotine addiction.

Move to Russia. The government actually encourages people to puff their lungs out.

According to Russian finance minister Alexei Kudrin (quoted by Interfax News Agency) “ Those who drink, those who smoke are doing more to help the state. ”

Of course as with any political statement there is a catch: the government is hiking up the amount of excise duties on cigarettes and tobacco.

However, the minister is encouraging his fellow citizens to look on the bright side:

“If you smoke a pack of cigarettes, that means you are giving more to help solve social problems such as boosting demographics, developing other social services and upholding birth rates.”

Hmm, BC Premier Gordon Campbell and his cronies  could take some tips from this guy  to help push the highly unpopular harmonized sales tax (HST) in the province.

Strait2DVD: Angel of Death

Plot Inna Nutshell: Stuntwoman/actress Zoe Bell plays a ruthless contract killer who takes a knife to the head and grows a conscience. Go figure. How It Plays: Quentin Tarentino’s favourite stunt gal Zoe Bell (she doubled for Uma Thurman in Kill Bill ) was feisty and ferocious in  Death Proof so hiring her as the lead in a straight to DVD action pic seems like a no-brainer. Of course, in Death Proof she had Tarentino directing. In Angel Of Death someone named Paul Etheredge is behind the camera. This is his first feature film as a a director. IMDB lists a whack of other credits including props, set dresser, production manager and art director. Don’t give up your day jobs, Paul.  (The DVD is apparently cobbled together from a web series on crackle.com with some extra footage added for good measure). Miz Bell is a little shaky when it comes to portraying actual emotion but, hey, that’s not why we’re renting this anyway, right? We want to see Miz Bell kicking bad guy butt and that she does without even raising a sweat. Still, I had to ask myself: Where is Cynthia Rothrock when you really need her?

The Sweet Smell of Excess

The Sex Pistols never claimed to have any counter cultural integrity (the name of the band’s 1980 mock documentary is The Great Rock ‘n’Roll Swindle, after all) but the latest move to capitalize on their brief (but, obviously, memorable) “holiday in the sun” decades ago by launching their own brand of perfume is really pushing the proverbial envelope.

According to the Canadian website canoe.ca (http://jam.canoe.ca/Music/2010/08/28/15169151.html) ” the unisex scent, which comes in a tartan-topped bottle featuring the band’s God Save the Queen imagery, is a collaboration with Paris-based perfume brand Etat Libre d’Orange, which licensed the Sex Pistols name from the band’s merchandising partner, Live Nation Merchandise (and) retails for 40 euros ($51). The scent is expected to launch in the United States Sept. 10, initially in the Henri Bendel store in New York.”

Hmm, a punk perfume …. I can’t imagine what that would smell like (and, frankly, I don’t want to) but I figure the last name of the band’s infamous lead singer provides us with a clue.

Kwik Kwotes: Save Some Time To Think About It

I never thought I would look to John Mellencamp when it came to cues for living but then both John  and myself have gone through a lot of changes since I used to spill bear on my jeans while “Hurts So Good” played loudly in the background at some house party in the Fraser Valley at three in the morning.

I mean, the latest CD by the artist formerly known as Cougar is not on a major label. Instead No Better Than This has been released on Rounder Records, a legendary indie label primarily specializing in folk music.

The tracks were cut with a four piece band and one microphone at historic locations like Sun Records in Memphis and produced by T-Bone Burnett, the minimalist folk master responsible for O Brother Where Art Thou? soundtrack and Raising Sand by Robert Plant and Alison Krauss (to name just two.)

Burnett has a gift for stripping away the veneer of a performer and reducing his or her sound to its essentials. And No Better Than This is certainly good to the bone (to paraphrase a song title by another performer who got his first big break with Rounder.)

So anyway that’s the set up, now here’s a lyric fragment that especially resonated with your trusty blogger at this point in his life.

Save some time for sorrow

Cause it will surely come your way

Prepare yourself for failure

It will give you strength someday

Try to keep your mind open

And accept your mistakes

Save some time for living

And always question your faith”

John Mellencamp  “Save Some Time To Dream”  No Better Than This