Sunday, August 18, 2019

Thank God It's Friday

My loveseat is in my kitchen. So is my wingback chair, as is my entertainment console, and two huge bookcases. So is the other living room chair, and four stools. My dining room table that seats 8 is dismantled, and is leaning against my refrigerator, like a wooden, tipsy monolith. There is no room to move.

The kitchen countertops are clear of debris. They're clear of everything, really, because they're covered by plastic sheeting. My backsplash is nearly done, its grey, one-inch glass tiling adhered to the wall, but not grouted. It looks great, but nearly done is certainly not finished, and being unfinished makes it extraordinarily difficult to make coffee.

If this sounds uncharacteristically dour, I'm struggling to find the humor in all this. I've been moving for what seems like a year. I guess all my jokes are still packed in cardboard.

It's not all doom and gloom. I am very much enjoying my new neighborhood. I could swing a dead cat and hit artisan cupcakes, "old fashioned" hot dogs (I'm unsure what that means, and scared to find out), Asian noodles, European cookies, vegan soft-serve, three breweries, Croque Monsieurs, falafel, and stone-oven pizza, although I wouldn't recommend swinging one. A dead cat, that is. Don't swing a Croque Monsieur.

As I write this, I'm sitting on my dusty living room floor on a torn piece of carpet underlayment, near two large 2' by 10' holes where some of the original circa-1880 floor used to be. The joists are visible, and I'm annoyed. Sure, we knew the flooring would have to be replaced, but this project has stretched on longer than planned.

Last night, I watched Thank God It's Friday for Reelweegiemidget's Jeff Goldblum Blogathon in my dusty, empty living room, sitting on a piece of torn carpet underlayment, leaning against several boxes of luxury vinyl plank flooring. It's a long way from luxury, and I'm losing the feeling in my legs.

Ok, so enough about that. Onto the review.

Thank God It's Friday

Jeff Goldblum gets third billing. Debra Winger is way down the list. Remarkably enough, Terri Nunn, lead vocalist for 80s synth pop group Berlin, has a big part in the film. Although in the film only a short time, Donna Summer gets billed last, and it's apparent she's the reason the film exists at all.

Future Academy Award nominee Debra Winger wipes her friend with a cheeseburger. Jeff Goldblum drives a yellow Porsche and goes to great lengths to protect it with a car cover stored in the trunk. The car has a license plate that reads, "Big One". Terri Nunn hitchhikes. In a repeated joke, Goldblum's car gets sideswiped by the supporting cast's vehicles.

Meanwhile, Jeff Goldblum glares at a sweaty elevator operator wearing a gorilla costume. Two uptight squares on an anniversary date blink in amazement at strobe lights and striped knee-high socks while they carry around a pepper mill.

Meanwhile, Wrong Way Floyd is in charge of getting The Commodores equipment to a midnight gig in a Ford Econoline. At least I assume so. I'm often accused of having "car blindness", where I think every car I see is a Buick. Or maybe it's a Futura.

Anyway, I'm not sure if anyone is aware of this, but bands just don't show up with a saxophone 5 minutes before a gig. Contracts are signed, routes are planned, semis are packed, egos are stroked, and deli meats and bottled waters are set out backstage. Don't ask me how I know this. I just do.

Sidebar: Once many years ago I went to a child's birthday party at Chuck E. Cheese's. Wait, that sounds like I wanted to go. Let's try that again. Many years ago, my children were invited to a fellow child's birthday party, and I was forced to suffer through laughter, tears, skee-ball, and mediocre pizza. Yeah, that's more like it. 

The animatronic band onstage in a corner of the restaurant coughed, stuttered, lurched, and wheezed through a hideous rendition of Brick House which had been curiously reworked to feature a pizza-slinging mouse as the protagonist. Dozens of children ignored it, while I stared aghast in horror.

Do we have a clip? Hurray! We have a clip.

Marv Gomez The Leatherman gives a guy a leather jacket and disco lessons before dancing atop a phone booth. Donna Summer serves a salad. Donna Summer and Terri Nunn simultaneously cry in a bathroom, which is remarkable considering both performed on songs that won Oscars for Best Original Song. No, performers do not win the Oscar, only the songwriter, which is kind of a rip-off if you think about it. Actors win Oscars for performing scripts that usually do not write, so that's food for thought.

Speaking of food, Jeff Goldblum's Porsche falls apart after a tap with the pepper mill. The male square gets high on booze, pills, and amyl nitrate and takes a ride with Tarzan. Lionel Richie plays sax.

Thank God It's Friday makes a night out on the town look like Black Friday at Walmart, except with dancing, so it's a film that makes an evening of dancing look sort of like a crowded, noisy chore you do with sweaty, flailing strangers, where several people get punched and someone goes home with a regrettable tube top.

It's an anti-disco disco movie with forgettable tunes as script, with the notable exception of the two Commodores tunes and the Oscar-winning Donna Summer song. It's such an anti-disco disco movie it's almost a cautionary tale for the entire decade. Since Donna Summer is the draw for the film, she should have been given more to do, as she's luminous during the performance of Last Dance. Thank God It's Friday has an unmistakeable Love Boat or Charlie's Angels feel throughout, which isn't a compliment, although it absolutely should be, as if the filmmakers kept the 4/4 beat and the campy, polyester fashions, but forgot the fun. Jeff Goldblum is slick and sleazy in green and red polyester, which is a compliment.

Friday, May 3, 2019

The Picture Of Dorian Gray

This post was supposed to be a part of the Adoring Angela Lansbury Blogathon hosted by Realweegiemidget Reviews, but I never finished it. I would like to thank Gill for inviting me to contribute, but my life and everything in it has gotten completely out of hand, and I've rewritten it three times. Here is the review, whether anyone wants it now or not. 

Well, before I get on with the review, I'll explain my delay. My wife and I have been trying to sell Deathrage Tower, as we are trying to downsize, which means we are going to sell our current, perfectly acceptable penthouse and move into a larger, more extravagant penthouse because why wouldn't we. We'd prefer to move from our penthouse near quirky shops and interesting bars and restaurants which we never go to, and move into a completely different yet extremely similar penthouse near other quirky shops and interesting bars and restaurants that are new to us that we will never visit, and we'd like everything to be unnecessarily expensive, stressful, and time-consuming. 

Deathrage Tower. Yes, it's always blurry, in black and white, and lacking in curb appeal. 

Mrs. Deathrage has gone totally KonMari and has packed up everything that makes me somewhat interesting. Apparently, home buyers want a listing to appear somewhat "lived in", but also need the property to be a "blank slate", to help them imagine their own furnishings and belongings within the space, without the current owners' personalities overwhelming it. That means Mrs. Deathrage has packed up all my DVDs, CDs, LPs, books about psychotronic film, cursed paintings, candles shaped like skulls, carvings of skulls, paintings of skulls, actual skulls, and for some unknown reason, the microwave. I can't find anything.

Is this a photo of Deathrage Tower, or a Japanese capsule hotel room? Who knows? Also, it's taken so long to write this post no one talks about Marie Kondo any more.

So this means I'm pulling skulls shaped like candles out of boxes and putting them back on shelves, and throwing art back on the walls that's been stored away, which I'll then have to put back in a box once we eventually move.

When I'm not packing and unpacking my extremely cool decorations, Mrs. Deathrage has been forcing me to watch the Great Interior Design Challenge, where two interior design professionals challenge four amateur interior designers to design a room for British home owners who seem to be unable to decorate their own houses, often to the death.

I'm kidding, they don't do that, although it would be interesting to see one of the design professionals tell one of the competitors, "I'm sorry, your choice of wallpaper is tragic. Please put on this blindfold, and stand near your tragically decorated wall. *points revolver at contestant*"

One thing I do find fascinating about the show is that over the course of the season, the competitors not only find confidence in their interior design skills, but they become more dramatic in their choice of apparel, as they shed their jeans and t-shirts for intricate brocade tops that look like valances. 

He saw it in the window and just couldn't resist it.

So far, the sale of the penthouse isn't going well, in spite of my efforts to be welcoming and hospitable by placing fresh cut flowers in all the rooms, brewing pot after pot of fresh coffee, and setting out tins of extravagantly flavored cookies. One thing that is possibly hurting the sale of our penthouse is that I often lurk in the lobby hiding behind some potted plants watching potential buyers tour our home. It might also be because I mock these potential buyers while yelling in a deep, gravely voice, "Don't drink the freshly brewed coffee. The aroma is for ambience. Don't eat the exotically flavored cookies in extravagant tins. They're decorative."

Maybe I'm unsure what welcoming and hospitable means.

Much to my chagrin, we keep getting feedback from potential buyers after they tour our home. A recurring theme seems to be that they like the amenities (proximity to good schools, near bars and restaurants), but they dislike the decor (candles are threatening, paintings appear to be cursed).

Here's a little feedback for ya: Like, duh, and no one asked you. That's why I keep putting these paintings back on the walls.

Potential buyers also seem to be unimpressed by the soundscape I've specifically curated for just the right atmosphere, which is dungeon synth, medieval party mixes, and nordic ambient, which I keep playing from a hidden speaker no one can locate or turn off.

Obviously, I've never been particularly good with feedback. Speaking of feedback, maybe during our next open house, I'll play this:

Also, there seems to be a legend surrounding Deathrage Tower that a guy with horns, cloven hooves, and a tail haunts the place, but I've never seen him.

Speaking of unexplainable paranormal events, we went to an open house for a penthouse that fits our exacting demands; once two weekends ago, and again on Sunday. Here's how that went down.

Yes, this really happened.

Two weeks ago:
First Realtor: This space has an interesting energy.
Me, pointing a finger accusingly: What the heck is that supposed to mean? Is this a stigmatized property?
First Realtor, becoming suddenly grave: No. No, it isn't. No. *pause* No.
Me: Seriously, this joint being haunted is not a deal-breaker.

Completely Different Realtor, actively smudging the penthouse with smoldering sage: Sorry about the smell.
Me, coughing, dumbfounded: OK, what the heck is going on? Last week, a realtor denied this was a stigmatized property, and now you're smudging the place.
Realtor, realizing their mistake, and desperately attempting to reassure me: I live in the neighborhood. I've had some good times here. I partied here in the 80s. I'm just trying to dispel some negative energies.
Me: Seriously, this isn't a deal-breaker.

That penthouse is still our Plan A, I'm genuinely surprised I wasn't dispelled from all that sage, and I'm assuming those were actual realtors. Let me know if I show up on one of those ghost hunting reality TV programs, will you?

LOL, ok, whatever.

Anyway, as I've been awfully busy being awful, I didn't have a chance to finish my review of The Picture Of Dorian Gray for the blogathon. It was a thrill to watch something filmed during the middle of the last century and having little if anything to do with home decorating for a change. Here's what I wrote. It's incomplete, you know, because of the redecorating, cookies, and procrastination.

The Picture Of Dorian Gray

A Lord twiddles a walking stick suggestively, then poisons a butterfly and sticks it to a card with a pin.


Vapid, smirking Dorian Gray stands near a magical statue of an Egyptian Cat, mimicking its features. The Lord and the painter fawn over the painting as Dorian just stands around. Later, Dorian Gray slums in the working class pub The Two Turtles, and becomes enthralled with Angela Lansbury's character, the symbolically named Sibyl Vane, who sings a sweet song. The Lord suggests Sibyl is not as wholesome as she appears, and eggs Dorian into some shady shenanigans. While playing Chopin's Prelude Number 24 on the piano for her, Dorian tries to trick Sibyl into a bit of hanky panky.


After reading a quote from Wilde, Dorian turns callous and calculating. Sibyl drops a single tear. When she complies with Dorian's carnal wishes, fulfilling the Lord's underhanded business, Dorian tosses her aside. Then lots of movie and dialogue happens, where the cast talks about all the hideous things Dorian has done, but never shows them. Someone offhandedly remarks that there are rumors Dorian has been hanging around in Whitechapel. Occasionally, the titular picture is shown in vivid technicolor. Painted for the film by Ivan Albright, you can see it in person at the Art Institute of Chicago, which I have, and it's incredible. If it was for sale, I'd likely hide it in my own attic. Yes, my penthouse has an attic. Shut up. It does so.

That's all I have. Angela Lansbury is great, but her appearance is brief.

Are you really still reading this? Wow, I'm impressed!

Anyway, I'd like to thank Gill from RealweegiemidgetReviews again for inviting me to contribute to the Adoring Angela Lansbury Blogathon which I totally dropped the ball on.