The Movies

I also wanted to grow up and be a Playboy Bunny

Sunday morning I was lollygagging in bed with a small but persistent headache and occasional nose bleed, probably due to the fact that I wasn't quite ready to enjoy normal dinner-with-friends wine drinking quite so close to the finale of my very important head cold. It occurred to me that nose bleeds can be symptomatic of all sorts of fun, including (1) change of seasons/dry weather, (2) brain hemorrhage, (3) getting punched in the face, or (4) over-blowing due to frantic amounts of congestion. But these days I'm also having hourly hot flashes and I haven't had my period for a couple of months, and so for a moment I was actually addled enough to think, Is that a menopause thing? You start bleeding out of your nose? My mother never warned me about anything like that. We had a warm but shame-based relationship, though, so who knows? My organs could be migrating all over the place but I wouldn't recognize the symptoms were because there wasn't a Modess pamphlet about placental nose bleeds for my mom to leave on my bed. Anyway. Sunday morning I'm lying in bed trying to will myself into the shower, wondering whether I'd be better off with two Advil or a Heineken, when Jackson comes flying in with his blanket over him like a cape. I love my son with all my heart, but not so much when he's JUMPing UP and DOWN on the BED and then trying to suffocate me. With his love. And his blanket.

I managed to elbow him off me in the most passive, loving, sick-lady way possible, which he adores. We have the world's laziest wrestling matches. We'll be lying there watching TV and slowly trying to push each other onto the floor. So there I was with my headache and my bloody nose (and a very attractive dry cough that makes me sound like Lauren Bacall) trying to stiff-arm 100 pounds of boy, who then reared up with his blanket all dramatically and said, "DAMMINT, PAMELA!" and then covered my head like he was actually trying to suffocate me.

I was trapped under the blanket trying fruitlessly to elbow him in the groin in a way that wouldn't ruin his life, so all he could hear was my muffled, "Oh my God, who is Pamela?"

"I don't know!" he giggled, trying to sit on my head, "She's your alter ego! And she's blonde! . . . And she has a DRINKING PROBLEM!"

I managed to push him off, where he collapsed into a pile of his own hilarity, and I thought, Things are so much more well-defined for Pamela. I'm graying and have a cold-medicine dependency, but she gets to be blonde and call two bottles of champagne a good start.

But also, what in hell does he know to throw around the phrase "drinking problem"? Is he secretly watching Celebrity Rehab? Did I watch Lost Weekend when I was pregnant and Ray Milland crossed the placenta? It's a shock to hear grown-up phrases come out of your child's mouth like they know what they're saying. I mean, kids pick stuff up all over the place, and I know Jackson's fascinated with what it means to be an adult. When I was his age I was sitting in my bedroom memorizing Cheech and Chong routines and pretending to be Liza Minnelli in Cabaret and my parents didn't have a clue.

This was the best 5 minutes of my day so far

What I have to Offer from Eliot Rausch on Vimeo.

Charlie Kaufman's full lecture can be found here.

I saw something the other day that basically asked, why are you giving your life to Facebook? You're filling a site that's not your own with your stories, when they belong on your own domain. Facebook is making millions off your content, so consider what you're giving up for the opportunity to have a few dozen people give you a digital thumbs up.

This really resonated with me, especially after I posted the above video on Facebook this morning and only one person said HOLY SHIT THIS IS AMAZING and shared it on her own page. It could be that I've neglected this site long enough that I only get a couple hundred people to read it anyway, down from a peak of about 4,000 a day way back when. People say Twitter killed blogging, and it certainly drained some of the energy out of it, but Facebook has made blogging seem old-fashioned and quaint, almost hand-made. In 2001 I had to read a Webmonkey tutorial to learn how to make a hyperlink; building my own domain was an accomplishment akin to learning how to make sushi. And not everybody wanted (or had the time and resources) to do that before Facebook, so I can see how democratizing Facebook is, it gives anyone over the age of 13 a place to post nuanced political rants and cat photos in less than 60 seconds.

But I'm cranky enough to want to take my Internet life back to its original platform. It could be this feeling will pass -- God knows I've had some mood swings lately, tomorrow I may be running for office (I had a dream last night that Barack Obama hugged me). But I've been feeling a lack of meaning in my life for a couple of years now, and it's become so acute that keeping it inside is no longer an option. Sorry, Internet. I'm back.

Crushes

Here's another video, and it's just 2:22 long so it's not as much of a commitment as the previous one. It's just me talking about some of my early movie man crushes. Some of them are a little embarrassing. In fact, I believe I unconsciously suppressed Jeff Goldblum because Jack gives me so much shit about how much I loved him in The Fly, but instead of going back to re-record my little speech to include him I just edited him in after the fact. So this is me speaking into an iPad, and then wondering why iMovie distorted my face so wonderfully that I almost threw everything out and started over, but then I remembered: I'm not a perfectionist. So enjoy my squashed-flat face, and let me know if you share any of my movie loves. I'm not threatened. There's enough of Burt Reynolds to go around.

Crushes from Eden M. Kennedy on Vimeo.

I invite you to go elsewhere

I have two posts up in other places this week, both of them exciting investigations into the deep, dark subject of celebrities that I think are cute. The one up at The Popcorn Whisperer is entitled, Movie Clips I'd Like to See at the 2013 Oscars. My main goal was to write something that would reveal myself to myself, but then I got lazy and stopped wondering why I have so much affection for a bunch of famous people I've never met. How adorable do I find Drew Barrymore? Very. Paul Rudd? Charming as pie. But it's Laurence Fishburne I'll always adore no matter how pouchy he gets, because I remember when he was just Larry, a gangly teenager grooving his way upriver in Apocalypse Now, and then the next thing I knew he was goofy Cowboy Curtis wooing Miss Yvonne with all his twangling heart, and then what? Super sexy in Deep Cover (with my other boyfriend, Jeff Goldblum), and then bam! Othello! Which you'd think would be the pinnacle of his career, but no, suddenly he's wearing a long leather coat and unlocking the secret of time itself for an addled Keanu Reeves. He's just two heartbeats away from becoming Darth Vader's cranky grandfather in a chrome helmet, and I'm probably going to start a Tumblr called fuckyeahlaurencefishburne. I'll let you know if that happens. I'm still kind of busy unpacking. The other thing I wrote is 5 Ways to Meet Celebrities Without Looking Like a Stalker, which started as an off-the-cuff idea that a couple of editors really responded to, but writing it made me realize how sadly excited I've been to run into movie stars throughout my life. I'm not sure if it's because I'm kind of repressed and these people get to be emotionally vulnerable for a living, and so they appear to be living out parts of my life that I don't have the guts to inhabit, or what. I'm sure studies have been done. (Oh, look, here's one: Celebrity Worship Syndrome. I'm going to go ahead and self-diagnose on the not-pathological end of the scale.)

In conclusion, thank you for reading, click on those links and read me elsewhere if it sounds like something you want to do, and let's all have the nicest weekend possible!

I want to work at Dreamworks when I grow up

Friday I let Jackson take a day off of school so we could drive down to L.A. for a press screening of Kung Fu Panda 2 on the Dreamworks campus. Admittedly, all the placards called it a Mommyblogger screening. Several dads were in attendance, though, which makes me wonder if the word "mommyblogger" is subsuming the word "daddyblogger" and becoming shorthand for "bloggers who admit they have children." If so, I will lay down my arms against the word mommyblogger for it has swallowed us all, man and woman alike. Take that, centuries of grammatical patriarchy. I talked to one of the dads and it turned out he wasn't a mommyblogger; his wife was. We were all eating lunch together after the screening (which we were asked not to blog about) and toy demo (which we were). Mattel employees were on hand to answer questions. I couldn't think of any questions, possibly because there were two kinds of cupcakes and they were both free.

"I have a blog," Jackson told the non-mommyblogger and his wife. Their small daughter was dipping a plastic panda in cupcake frosting and then licking it off his foot.

"You do?" they said in surprise. They looked at me. I do not know for sure what they were thinking. They seemed like genuinely lovely, down-home people but I detected a hint of concern. It could have been curiosity. It could have been boredom mixed with horror masquerading as polite ambivalence. We'll never know for sure.

"He doesn't post anything personal, just dog photos and YouTube videos of cats falling into swimming pools," I said. "You haven't posted in a while, have you?"

"I posted about twelve times last year," said Jackson.

"WHAT?!" I said.

The couple laughed nervously. Their daughter wandered away to examine some decorative Dreamworks gravel.

"I posted some jokes," said Jackson. "You know, Mom. Mitch Hedberg."

I'd forgotten. Jackson had had a brief obsession with Mitch Hedberg after I'd let him download Mitch All Together last year. I had been trying to steer him away from Lady Gaga and thought he might take to comedy. I loved comedy albums as a kid and it's funny now to think of twelve-year-old me listening to all that Cheech and Chong. My mom probably asked my much-older brothers if it was okay for me to listen to that stuff, and I imagine them telling her, "Oh, yeah, Mom, it's TOTALLY cool," and then driving off to buy some weed in the 7-11 parking lot. (Note: I have no proof that any such thing ever happened. My brothers are fine, upstanding citizens. As far as I know.)

Anyway, I felt like Mitch Hedberg would be cool for a kid because even though his language is kind of blue, it's nothing Jackson doesn't hear at home, and the jokes themselves are usually pretty clean.

"Mitch Hedberg jokes," repeated the mom in surprise.

"Yeah," said Jackson. "Do you know the one about the duck?"

Mitch Hedberg - Ducks eat for free at Subway from Justin Cordero on Vimeo.

What was crazy about listening to Jackson tell this joke was that he had the delivery down, he enunciated in that precise way Just. Like. Mitch. Hedberg. The couple laughed, and the woman revealed that she and her husband were both stand-up comedians and they'd performed with Mitch at the Laugh Factory in L.A. before he died, and that he was a real nice guy. We. Were. Impressed.

Then I realized I had a question for the Mattel rep.

"I have this blog where I demonstrate yoga using action figures?" The Mattel rep looked unimpressed, perhaps anticipating that I was about to ask for free toys. "So I'm wondering, do you have anything in the Kung Fu Panda 2 line with more articulation?"

This caught the attention of a second Mattel rep, an earnest young man wearing bangs and glasses.

"Something with more articulation? Like a true action figure?" he asked. "Like a G.I. Joe?"

"Exactly," I said.

He shook his head sadly. "These figures are aimed at the pre-school market. They have these dynamic poses . . . " he gestured toward a peacock whose two feathered "hands" were outstretched as though he were conducting an orchestra, " . . . but that's about it."

I liked this young guy, he gave me the sense that working for a toy company like Mattel was a geek dream come exquisitely true and that his apartment was possibly bursting with of unopened boxes of original Power Rangers and vintage Aqua Men. I was, in fact, about to ask if he could send me some free toys when Jackson ran up and desperately tugged on my jacket.

"Mom, the studio tour is starting NOW!"

"Do you have a business card?" I asked the young guy.

I am fortunate enough to have been on some famous old studio lots in L.A. where I've seen the huge old soundstages and Lucille Ball's office and idling limousines and once I was hit by a production assistant tearing around a corner on a Paramount bicycle. Dreamworks isn't like that. Dreamworks is a cluster of office buildings filled with twenty- and thirtysomethings hunched over computers. They get free breakfast and free lunch and a game room with every kind of gaming system AND a pool table AND pinball and a couch to take naps on, free yoga classes, and frozen yogurt any time they want.

"I want to work at Dreamworks when I grow up," said you-know-who.

"Does anyone have any questions?" asked our tour guide, who was a nice man from marketing.

"Mom, you ask my question. I'm shyer than you are," Jackson whispered.

"No you're not."

"I am, too."

"That is such a lie."

"MOMMMM!"

I raised my hand.

"Don't tell him you're asking for your son."

"My son wants to know--" severe poking in my side "-- if we'll see any movie stars today."

"No, I'm sorry, the voice actors did their work here quite a while ago and none are on campus today."

"You ask your question now. Ask them if they filmed Galaxy Quest here."

"I don't want to!"

"Ask it, Mom!"

"Is Galaxy Quest even a Dreamworks film?"

"YES!"

I raised my hand.

"Uh, are there any soundstages here for filming or is it all just computer animation?"

Either the guide misunderstood my question or I've been using the word "soundstage" incorrectly my entire life. I thought a soundstage was one of those giant airplane hangar-sized buildings where they built huge sets filled with lighting and whatnot and filmed scenes in movies. "Yes, we do all the sound recording here," said the tour guide, trailing off politely because didn't he already made it clear that they record sound here? Perhaps on a stage of some sort?

When the tour was over we asked for some frozen yogurt. FREE frozen yogurt.

Then we listened to Lady Gaga all the way home.