FLASHBACK/EDIT EXTENSION: Halloween Costumes Considered…

Well, it’s now that Horror-movie marathon month of October. The unfortunate thing is that, as of this year, I am much too involved in my internal mental and emotional conflicts with several events the month before to invest myself into a continuous stream of movies from the genre I take the most enjoyment of watching in my entire life. Sad but true.

So, it’s about 1 am here in Phoenix and, to quote Bob Seger, I’m thinking “about the woman, oh the girl [I] knew the night before.” The fact of the matter is that what’s making me think about her at this hour is knowing her birthday is essentially Halloween and she stressed that I attempt to come out of my Halloween hiatus and actively pursue a Halloween costume rather than my standard “badass motherfucker” (aka me in casual clothing) this year.

Ironically, I quit on the occasion that I, inspired by a cracked article, went about as The Dread Pirate Roberts at one point from Rob Reiner’s The Princess Bride, taking the advice that it’d get me laid. While I at this point believe it’s going a bit too close for comfort with you unknown readers if I just say the result, I will say a side-effect is that I largely got mistaken for Zorro instead (Probably because I am Arab and as such very clearly not Cary Elwes). Add that to the childhood shock I got everytime I saw a costume of the two most-frightening elements of my early nightmares: The Cryptkeeper and Freddy Krueger, and I just gave up on it.

God damn you, Batman!

Now, a girl has made me change my mind… Yeah, go ahead and make that whipping gesture. Brand me too, because the circumstances are more pathetic. The fact is that deep inside, I’ve always wanted to go back to taking part in such a fun venture but the way my family/culture raised me, my preference to keep my own persona intact at all times, the above incidents, the lack of money or resources, all pointed me to just avoiding it. But I’ve already thought it through and decided “Yes, this will be fun.”

So, as I watch G.W. Pabst’s Pandora’s Box, a movie with a very amazing costume-juggling and hairstyle character performed perfectly by Louise Brooks (a suggestion to all you ladies out there who like to knock-out the old-fashioned), I come to my list of costumes that I think would make a splendid suggestion to myself or my film-viewing peers…

  • Max Fischer (Rushmore) – The easy one. Just make a uniform and patch for the character and go about in it. It’s not an outrageous character, but the costume is distinctive still in that way Wes Anderson makes his characters distinctive. I’d do Steve Zissou’s team as well, since they have a costume worth trying but nobody would recognize that one at all.
  • Eric Draven (The Crow) – Besides being the not as epic version of black metal band Immortal’s frontman Abbath, Eric Draven is pretty much the one superhero I’d like to go as, and a gothic one at that too. His wrapping in black leather and face paint in order to evoke his soul’s pain with black slashes across him and outright evoke the titular animal that revived his life to avenge his and his fiance’s murder insists a mood to be reached before attempting to become such a character. He’s melancholy in all the attractive ways and still a lover deep inside. It adds a bit of spook to the costume when pointing out the fact that this was the role that killed Brandon Lee (son of martial arts legend Bruce) before he could utilize his showcased talents in this film to kickstart his acting career.
  • Mr. Orange (Reservoir Dogs) – If I had the money to ruin a nice black suit, I’d so do this. I’d put fake blood on me, go to a Halloween party (even though I’m not a party guy) and just lie on the floor instead of sitting in a chair in pain. Freak people out? Most definitely. But I’d be having fun and that’s the main point, right? As long as I don’t scream “FUCK YOU, MAN! I’M FUCKING DYING HERE!!!!”, I’m in the cool.
Worst C-section ever… (Okay, that joke is in bad taste)
  • Frankenstein/Dracula/The Wolf Man/The Mummy/The Invisible Man/The Creature from the Black Lagoon/The Phantom of the Opera (Universal Studios Monsters) – Ranging from the impossible to the minimalist, these movie monsters were real cinematic attractions to my young eyes and I love to tribute them in any way possible. The only tough thing (other than making the costumes) is figuring which one to choose. Dracula, with the luxurious aristocratic look of his count status, has always been my favorite, but I have been recently taking a liking to Lawrence Talbot aka The Wolf Man, the fuzzy evil teddy bear look getting ready to tear you to shreds. Though I have yet to see it (a fact I intend to change soon), The Invisible Man’s iconic sunglasses with head wrapped in gauze to allow his presence known and have some kind of a dialogue with the characters is easy to try (unless there’s more to the costume I unaware of yet). Ugh, even the Creature from the Black Lagoon is crazy awesome. Of course, I’d have to bring a date as The Bride of Frankenstein.
  • Jeffrey “The Dude” Lebowski (The Big Lebowski) – Oh, do shut up, you guys saw this coming. It’s one of only two fictional characters I ever aspired to be like. The Dude is less likely for me given my infamously violent and and angry persona, but he’s just so enlightened and funny and cool as a person from everything to his beard, his appetite for White Russians to his robe and his laziness. Everything’s alright when the dude’s around. That’s why the Dude’s a boss. Who doesn’t want to be the Dude? Go away.
The-dude
Also I get my own dance with it.
I call this move Logjammin’, asshole!
  • The Cowardly Lion (The Wizard of Oz) – I don’t know, I just love the big fuzzballs. Chewbacca, The Grinch (Jim Carrey’s version, though Boris Karloff’s voice is easily classic), they all just get to me no matter how mean they act. The best part about The Cowardly Lion is you know up front what’s up with him, it’s just an act. He’s just looking for some bravery. While others line me up for the Tin Man, I must say The Cowardly Lion is my favorite character in one of my favorite movies. And that little bow on his head after the people of Oz are done grooming him is so adorable… Did I lose my mean motherfucker status yet?
Just the dandiest king of the forest!!!
  • A Ghostbuster (Ghostbusters) – Doesn’t matter which character. I’d be myself but I’d be running around with a proton charger assuring everyone they’re safe because I’m a professional. A goddamned Ghostbuster. Fuck superheroes, they’re too perfect and alienated from society (unless you count Spider-Man but his relation to real society is through his problems not his personality. He invents web-shooters, dammit!). A Ghostbuster is the movie’s central working man focus. People have firefighters, they have doctors, they have police officers and then they’d need to have a neighborhood Ghostbuster. Who’s afraid of ghosts?
  • Alex DeLarge (A Clockwork Orange) – I believe I would be biased. As a drummer, my two biggest influences are the late groove-master John Bonham of Led Zeppelin and right below him the infamous genre-versatile Mike Portnoy of Dream Theater/Liquid Tension Experiment fame (now involved in the great bands Adrenaline Mob and Flying Colors). Portnoy takes great pleasure in his work, especially tributing his idols like Ringo Starr (The Beatles), Keith Moon (The Who), the afore-mentioned Bonzo, and, possibly his outright God, Neil Peart (Rush). I am proud to say I have a DVD of one of his tribute performances – Hammer of the Gods, the one for my favorite band, Led Zeppelin. In it, Portnoy dresses as one of the Stanley Kubrick film’s sadistic Droogs and I don’t why he did it, but I liked the style and I immediately wanted to do that outfit despite the Droogs being horrific in their deeds for the most part. Yeah, okay, hate me… It’s a movie costume for a non-movie related reason. I’m a sucker for Mike Portnoy and Led Zeppelin, when the two are mixed together, I am their Droog now and forever.

  • Doc Emmett Brown (Back to the Future) – Well, I had to imitate him for a school project favor I was doing for some classmates. Which is great because while everybody wanted to be Marty McFly, I wanted to be Doc Brown. He’s wacky and off his cranium that he was just fun to want to be. He made science more than fun than almost anybody… ALMOST anybody, you’re still in the STinG’s childhood hall of fame, Billy Nye. So I wouldn’t make it a secret that any chance to be Doc Brown for Halloween would elate me significantly. In fact…
I’m already halfway there.
  • Jake and Elwood Blues (The Blues Brothers) – Icons that were really really cool to watch and even more cool to dress as. Unlike the Mr. Orange one, I wouldn’t have to ruin the suit, but I will have to get a stylish hat and another friend who can evoke John Belushi’s most lovable, commanding, seductive convict. They’re soul men. They’re on a mission from God. And they’re a good role model for the children. In the immortal words of Ol’ Dirty Bastard, The Blues Brothers is for the chillun’.

  • Bill S. Preston, Esq. and Ted “Theodore” Logan (Bill and Ted’s Excellent Adventure) – I had flirted around with this possibility with another metalhead I knew but we eventually avoided it as it’d have been a bitch and a half to find the dated outfits required and we also were stuck in argument as to who gets to be Ted (I guess we all love Neo, don’t we?). So that never came about, but I never lose hope. Also, the bigger incentive to me is just having those clothes, because I not be wearing them solely on Halloween. That’s a style you don’t see anymore and it ended before my time so I’d really love to get my own shot at it. Despite the strange looks. Hey, be excellent to one another!
So narrowing down my choices to those, which out of these costumes did I select? Well, in truth… none of them… Suckas…
  • BONUS: Jesse Custer (Preacher comic series) – Essentially, I decided THIS is the one I’m going as. With the Dude being the film character I wish to be like, Jesse Custer is the only OTHER fictional character I’d love to be. An ass-kicker who doesn’t take any shit, always wins a fight and yet is still deep inside a romantic who would do anything for his girl whom he loves “until the end of the world”, Jesse Custer is the ultimate man. He’s had more shit thrown at him than Job and yet doesn’t not lose who he is and is nowhere near a pathetic character. He just keeps on his spiritual and physical journey pretty much, through all the horrors, the worst of American culture and human society. He knows he’ll get an answer for them soon enough. Utilizing an eyepatch for when God bites his eye out halfway through the series, while grabbing a reverend collar and other casual effects and growing my hair back to its semi-curly glory, I won’t get any recognition for my character, but walking around as my favorite comic book hero is satisfaction enough. And it may be cheating because he’s not a movie character (yet), but it’s well-known I’ve always intended to make this series into a mini-series. That is if Warner Bros. doesn’t utilize their owning of the DC properties to make it first, since the film rights pretty much exist in Time Warner’s hands. Regardless, I won’t go as a badass motherfucker, so I compromise as THE badass motherfucker. Not much of a change?
EDIT: Now that was in the past for my costume…

Like a boss…. I think…

But this year, my costume is actually one of the few pop figures who I looked up to. A man who kept his battles to himself, but never found an apathy when dealing with his losing fight. A man who is considered the greatest singer of all time (and I’d agree that he is one of the best singers ever). A man who was shy and impersonal off stage and yet on stage a big ball of energy who never let the fun drop. An Eastern kid like me who had grown up in the West as a man of both cultures and all seasons.

I am of course talking about… Farrokh Bulsara aka Freddie Mercury.

Daayyyyyyyyyyyyyyyyy-O!

At first decided as a costume simply for the promo of my radio show A Night at the Opera (combo-breaking my co-hosts as the Marx Brothers), I decided I may as well go along with this as well. So I did.

Be safe, y’all! And keep the reel rollin’!

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Video

Meshes of the All-Nighter – My New Horror Short Creation

In the last few days, I hadn’t been posting new articles or previous flashbacks from blogger because I’ve been busy making a short film of my own – half for competition usage, half for my own enjoyment. In the vein of a certain short film that explored a similar trend (and way better than I did) in similarly silent manner, I named the film in homage to one of my favorites: “Meshes of the Afternoon”. The short was conceived at the last minute when, as expected, certain elements I needed for a separate horror short idea had fallen through and then shot 7/8 of it late at night in my campus’ main library on one day, shot the final eighth in the second day in early evening and then spent the entirety of the second night editing it and choosing public domain ambient sound for usage….

One thing about me as a filmmaker is, if I enter a shoot for a movie, I leave the shoot with a movie. Sometimes it is not the same movie I intended to make, but hey, somehow Anhedonia turned into Annie Hall for Woody Allen and he may be angry with making something different, but I’m not.

I’m extremely proud to have something to call my own every time I make it. And I’m especially happy when it comes up majorly how I envisioned it. Which is the case with ‘Meshes of the All-Nighter’, a horror short in room tone lights, utter silence and with an ending that is hoped to be infuriating (I can’t help but not take things too seriously) sometimes. I hope you enjoy it.

One final note: The competition that incited the idea of making this required the video to be 30 seconds long maximum… so, my ‘Daydream’ edit can accessed at https://vimeo.com/77773411 for viewing…
It relies more heavily on the audio to unnerve the viewer (I integrated cacophonous segments of one of my own songs , appropriately titled ‘Nightmare Cinema (You’re Not Helping)’) and thus, if done right (I hope), keeping the original dream like paranoia effect of my preferred cut while still being somewhat diluted.

Thanks for viewing and keep the reel rolling!

FLASHBACK: “CHEDDAR!!! AWOOOO, CHEDDAR WHIZZIT!!! – The Smell of Cinema Cheese”

Does anybody remember the films that were really stupid looking, had a really stupid feel, really sucked badly…

 

 

 

… and yet we can’t help but really want to watch them?
They usually more or less have a cult status despite their quality.

Army of Darkness
Re-Animator
Plan 9 from Outer Space
Faster, Pussycat! Kill! Kill!
Big Trouble in Little China
Manos: The Hands of Fate

There is just so much more I can name, but it would take a lifetime, because the perception of how much melodrama, how much ‘cheese’ is in a motion picture can really range over just about every damn movie. So, where does that come from, the feeling that makes you and your friends together go ‘Damn, that film was cheesy as cheddar’? What compels you to just go back to said movie, beyond entertainment value? – because you can find entertainment in anything if you push yourself enough. Where does a community of film goers with such a reception come to a point where they can give a certain film that stamp of universal approval?
That point where a picture that would’ve been predicted as forgettable in the days to come becomes a revered cult classic?

Get dat cheese, son!!!!

I had been discussing this with a friend when he was giving Any Which Way but Loose a hearty bashing. He notes that the movie’s cheese is what makes it sink as a quality picture, while movies like the twenty-million Roger Corman Syfy television films and the Ed Wood pictures or The Room and such that get that ‘it’s so bad, it’s funny’ reaction from the audience.
Already we have one possibility for the following that pictures like these get. Nobody will claim they’re good movies above the age of 12. They go back to them because they need something to laugh at. They need something familiar, they cannot take seriously at times when they would want to be just comforted by whatever’s happening outside the celluloid world by an absolutely facetious piece of motion picture defecation.

If I do say so myself, I thought that last line was pretty eloquent. I might just stop cursing out movies, cause fuck it, man.

Anyway, back to the topic at hand, we then see pieces of cheese everywhere in a way, like I mentioned before. Said friend insisted that he perceived John Carpenter’s Halloween as cheese, like any slasher film could reasonably be perceived as, with their formulaic, exploitative and certainly over exaggerated presentation, despite Halloween being one of the more original pieces of this genre and the movie that started such a trend that would quickly be regarded as shlock. He himself cited particularly the usage of the serial killer’s viewpoint the straw that breaks the cheese camel’s back.

WARNING: Clip features female frontal nudity.

But if that’s the case, would one easily perceive Spielberg’s horror/adventure classic Jaws as cheesy for the same usage of murderer’s point of view, when it was so highly regarded at the time, the essential piece to the chilling effect of those frightening and sensational scenes? Is Jaws‘ largest advantage also it’s subtle disadvantage? Could Jaws as a picture be put in the same realm as the Halloween knock-offs as shlock, as cheese?
The answer is yes again, if only solely from perception. What may have worked for one audience, may just make another audiences eyes roll, the percentages and statistics on what makes how many people tick does not entirely matter in the end.

But then those still are regarded as anomalies if not a unanimous reception. There has to be an exact science to this, an exact factor that allows certain pictures to be certified cult classics, to be completely easily esteemed. And the cheese does not only affect the cult films.

Anybody can find melodrama or cheese in modern films like Star WarsCarriePhantom of the ParadiseThe Untouchables, the Indiana Jones series, Jurassic ParkBlade RunnerSuper 8Sin CityHot Fuzz, Stephen Sommers’ The Mummy, any Tarantino, Raimi, Hitchcock or Coen Brothers flick, the French New Wave, even and especially the legendary David Lynch TV series Twin Peaks – alongside much of his work like Blue VelvetThe Elephant Man or Mulholland Dr.

And the reason is that those melodramatic factors, those elements that impose upon you to recognize and feel nostalgia or humor from the presentation, those are put in deliberately. Some in homage, some in parody, some because the movie wants to appeal to children (‘course sometimes a great big mess-up… I’m talkin’ to you, Jar-Jar Binks!), some to jolt you, to shock – whatever intention the creator feels makes the melodrama necessary to be turned up to 10, it’s there and it’s done on purpose.
The fact that the element is deliberate and controlled in these works suggest that something has to be tapped in emotion of performance and script that elicits these demonstrations of over exaggeration. And the challenge is especially in keeping these movies tasteful.

So where is it? Why do these movies have a popular reception beyond a cult following…
Well, my friend insisted that one element is the production value of these movies, but even then movies put their all into production value, so that’s a variable that can go both ways, it simply cannot be a constant until the final product is made. Look at Apocalypse Now and again Jaws, these films were just going with the flow for the most part, plagued with production issues, and came out as very well-received classics of motion picture auteurship.
It means they can never receive that cheap feel of Corman or Russ Meyer, who made due with what they had, who legitimately and frequently did their best to make their films presentable by working their best with the limited means they had…

‘As a producer, I’m probably a little stronger than most, since I was a director originally.‘ -Roger Corman

The Spielbergs and Coppolas and De Palmas of our times cannot reach that feel because they have too much money, too much pride. They can’t make a movie bad on purpose, lest it get really bad…
Corman doesn’t even do it on purpose, nor Russ Meyer. They work with what little they’re given and they build something out of it. Roger Corman and Russ Meyer are, for better or worse, among the ultimate independent filmmakers

So, what is it indeed that gives the status of cheesy? I, myself, in my extremely limited yet modestly expanding knowledge of cinema and humble opinion, think part of the effect of cult and melodrama and cheese, comes from the test of time and how it treats a motion picture.

Let’s take thought to that for a moment. The true legacy of a film cannot be determined immediately after a release. We have no idea how The Dark Knight will be perceived 30 years from 2008 yet, we have to wait until we’re steadily approaching that date. Because, despite the reception of a movie at the time of its release, the legacy of a picture can be affected by the next audience to come around, by the youth and how they are affected by the content on the screen.
Halloween‘s legacy is easily tarnished by copy cat slasher films like Friday the 13th and Prom Night and all; not only that, but the re-hashing and remakes of these films by Rob Zombie (albeit earnestly and well-intentioned in some cases) and Michael Bay and Platinum Dunes.
The same can be said for Forbidden Planet which loses its originality and power as each Flash Gordon and Star Trek gets more and more into the light.
It’s like how people perceive the original version of The Kinks’ ‘You Really Got Me’ as inferior to Van Halen’s cover these days… ugh, people…

It also is probably one of the factors in Sam Raimi’s newfound reception after a rebooting of Spider-Man, but I’ll get into that in a later article, because I have A LOT to say about that matter. (EDIT: I never wrote that article… but you can expect it now that the memory has returned on this new WordPress page)

I’d shown the film Re-Animator to a group of friends one night and they seemed largely disinterested in it, despite its camp, making me feel sad that nobody shared my feelings of excitement and glee towards the overcamping of a work by one of my favorite authors, H.P. Lovecraft and Jeffrey Combs’ reservedly manic performance as Herbert West, a performance that deserves to be as legendary as Bruce Campbell’s Ash from the Evil Dead trilogy.
Of course, their attention was particularly anchored once a certain kidnapping took place (I won’t spoil it for anyone who hasn’t seen it – I want you people to watch and be repulsed, because that’s the effect Stuart Gordon was going for – it is extremely distasteful).
At the same time, one of those friends, Dreylon (of the second Django article – jokingly to be referred to as ‘Dreylon Unchained’) had to see the initial episodes of Twin Peaks for a college assignment and regarded the reactions of Laura Palmer’s murder as hokey and reacted with ‘Do I really have to watch this?’

Anyway, this does not affect movies that are perceived undeniable classics… We can’t publicly call out Star Wars or Jaws or The Maltese Falcon or Metropolis or The Matrix as 100% Grade-A movie cheese despite their hokeyness, both due to and in spite of how much they took and how much is owed to them – the way they have reached that classic status. Despite their extreme and obvious camp, The Bride of FrankensteinA Nightmare on Elm Street and Carrie are forgiven – even though they influenced all these easily obnoxious horror tropes and stereotypes, they get away with it…

And another thing, I’ve never seen a movie with an initially positive reception ever go entirely downhill in audience appreciation. It’s always the other way around a movie has to be outright hated for the most part and then others later on see it for what it’s worth… it happened to Fight Club, it happened to Blade Runner, it’s currently happening for Heaven’s Gate and so many of Buster Keaton or Orson Welles’ works and so on and so on…
Course there is that area of films that get a cult following without a raise in their IMDb rating – people who fuel the following that The Room or Battlefield Earth or Manos: The Hands of Fate or Plan 9 orReefer Madness or Boxcar Bertha have will never admit to those movies being good, they know better… they just like watching them.
No, it takes just a small group of people to give a film a legacy…

I’ll kill somebody if that happens for The Master of Disguise.

Don’t laugh at me, you bald fuck! You killed Garth’s career!!!
The friend I was discussing this subject with responded with this, a statement that concisely sums up a history that would’ve probably taken forever for me to type so thanks, Erik Yabor…
 I think the test of time has been kind to ’50s film noir, Spaghetti Westerns, late ’60s/early ’70s Charlton Heston science fiction films (because apes on horses are awesome), ’50s Westerns and kung fu films even though they’re all filled with cheese because there was at least one visionary who made a few brilliant films in those genres to make them respectable. Conversely, history has not had as kind an opinion on blaxploitation films (unless you’re Tarantino), slasher films and ’80s action films because even the best films of those genres could not reach far beyond their intended audiences. I had a very low opinion of super hero films of the past decade in general (even though there were a few good ones) until The Dark Knight came out. I have a similarly low opinion of torture porn films of the past decade, which generally appear to be on a decline and I probably always will because I never saw a single one that I didn’t outright despise. 
 
Indeed.
However, the very last thing to state is that these genres, these cult films, these cheesy aspects, by the end of the day, something still compels us to see these films again and again and then there’s really something that impacts us in these films to feel the emotions we feel like new, whether laughing at how bad the movie is or legitimately being scared or amused or excited… We can’t blame it on solely the tropes, because we could easily instead select any similar production with those same tropes, instead of returning wholeheartily to a favorite…
‘This is the third time I saw that decapitation! Every fucking time!’
In any case handled improperly, it could be unappealing, but even Tommy Wiseau or Ed Wood have a way of making cinema appealing in some form, despite the obvious bad quality of their work… It’s why they get their following…It really is something that relies on the director’s touch of the film. The way he, as the author of the film, assaults us with images and sound that actually would make these feelings of melodrama and hoke seem fresh and new, even when we can call them out as absolutely unrealistic. It has a signature from the director, a uniqueness even in its unoriginality, even in its extremely similarity, the sameness of the slasher or the beach party or the zombie or the found footage movie.
You have to give these guys credit for that. I hate Zack Snyder with a passion, but I’m assuming there’s something in he’s doing to the audience that gets them craving more, short of lacing every film reel to be projected with cocaine…
The cult filmmakers have the same way to go about it…
A director needs to know what he’s doing. When a filmmaker takes pride in his craft, sometimes people will see the same thing that director sees in his work. And then that work is remembered. And then that work is appreciated. And that work becomes a classic. Cult or otherwise…
Wanna check out some cult movies? We (Erik and I, since this article is based on our conversation and I incorporate points he’s made, I’d like to give him credit for inspiring this article) like to recommend the works of these directors…
  • John Carpenter
  • Sam Raimi
  • Roger Corman
  • Brian De Palma
  • Stuart Gordon
  • George Romero
  • Ed Wood
  • David Lynch
  • Russ Meyer
…. By the way, if you hate one of the films… it means Erik suggested it. Fuck you, Erik.
You guys can trust me…

FLASHBACK: The Cat Concerto (1946, Hanna/Barbera)

As per actively moving my blog to WordPress, in the rest of the month I will be re-posting a major amount of previous works in my blogger page (with some exceptions that I feel can be reworked to a better form) while posting new content.

What follows is my very first Motorbreath post and something that, when I look back, I’m glad I kicked off with (albeit, it was an ill attempt to be a more objective critic than accept the subjectivity of tastes).

Figuring I don’t want to bite off more than I can chew with my first review, so I will start small, but not entirely small-scaled. The subject of this review is the Tom & Jerry classic, The Cat Concerto. It’s entirely dialogue free, like most of the Tom & Jerry cartoons, have been. But soundtracking still plays an incredibly important part, in case the title of the piece didn’t give it away. And the short cartoon uses it well, but first a look at the short’s other factors.

The plot itself is pleasantly simple enough for us to follow without thinking too hard about it, allowing us to just empty our minds with the laughs involved. Tom’s the pianist of an apparently major concerto and Jerry’s been living in the piano. Annoyed with Tom’s work on his home, he intends to get back. It’s just that. It’s a departure from the cat and mouse chase they had working for them, but it’s the same theme of their animosity and a refreshing template for them to base it off of. From the beginning, they subtly let you know this is a comedy, from Tom’s brief wardrobe malfunction.

Then begins the fun. While points of the animation do not sync as well with the music as several other points do, the music provides a very nice rhythm for the physical show the two do so well, having them bounce along to the sound. It also provides energy and intensity to what’s going on. It doesn’t forget the squeaky cartoon noises of things like scissors, slamming the keys’ cover and the suit falling down. They just all give the spotlight to the great music, every once in a while showing up to do their job.

This time, the advantageous mouse hole is the inner workings of the piano. Some classic gags exist., like the entire pancaking of body parts, but for the most part it revolves around the usage of the keys or the inner hammers on the strings of the pianos, usually bouncing Jerry up and around.

Eventually Jerry takes the upper hand and completely tires Tom out to the point of Tom’s suit falling apart. A usual victory for the little mouse concludes the short, as he takes Tom’s bow for him.

Based on the style, animation, shot choice and use of sound, I give this an 8/10. It’s enjoyable every now and again to remember the fundamentals of silent comedy, but it’s not totally innovative save for its use of music as humor.

But don’t just take my word for it. Watch the damn thing. Now.

A Declaration of Principles…

Well, here it is… the very first post of the new WordPress page I’ve invented for Movie Motorbreath, which formerly was housed on blogger for a bit. So, I figure the best manner to showcase a fresh start would be an introduction for the people who will be new to this page and a re-assessment for those who already know who I am.

I type this at a late hour, so I apologize for the semi-organized semi-stream of consciousness manner.

Hello, my name is Salim Garami. I am an aspiring filmmaker and I talk about movies. I talk about it a lot. As far as I have heard from my friends and family, I have an encyclopedic knowledge on many subjects and shown an ability to talk about them at great length – science, mathematics, music, literature, legislature, language, culture, philosophy, sociology, history, geography, etc. – and I may every once in a while make a particular post about these things, but there is simply nothing that compares to cinema when it comes to what I think most about. It’s what I do. I make short films whenever I can, however I can. I write on this page as much as I possibly can. I work on as many sets as I find time to. I co-host with two of my friends ‘A Night at the Opera’, a local radio show where we talk about movies (which airs Monday Nights at 9 to 10 pm Arizona Time). I am currently studying for the LSAT to go into law school… specifically so I can work in the entertainment industry on a more stable level and go from the inside out. One of my more recent works, something I put together at the last second (realized, shot and edited within 16 hours) is linked here (please feel free to watch it – we all make movies to be watched and I’m certain you will be entertained at the least… it is the most embarrassing short I’ve made yet).

In short, I’m a motorbreath on movies and I don’t know when to stop or if I ever want to.

Why? The same reason we all have for pursuing whatever we do with all forces: It’s our passion. We simply cannot see ourselves in a life separated from it and that’s exactly the way cinema is for me. One of my principles in life is to spend it doing what I love and, hey, I was lucky enough at a young age to find out I love movies. A life without such a passion for anything, even something as small as a passion for cutting the crust off bread, is a misnomer as it is not a life, but a waste.

But what is it I see in cinema may be the question that pops into the minds of some who would, understandably, find it a trivial passion?

Much like Charles Foster Kane saw the power of the newspaper, many people saw the power of the cinematic element for many things. And that power is existent and portrayed all throughout time. D.W. Griffith, Sergei Eisenstein and F.W. Murnau found it to be a form of storytelling to be utilized and experimented, pioneering with the artform with before other filmmakers like Orson Welles, Alfred Hitchcock and Stanley Kubrick changed the game with their respective techniques. There was an aesthetic pursuit with these men. Likewise, Adolf Hitler (with the efforts of Leni Riefenstahl), Sgt. George Marshall (with the collaboration of Frank Capra) and Michael Moore noted an ability to load the artform into a pointed message, urgent to the masses to choose a side and demanded allegiance to the ideals they portrayed. The best films sometimes perform this task more subtlely (although we still have non-documentary pictures today that still provide hamfisted commentary on societal situations without encouraging much dialogue – I’m looking at you, Neil Blomkamp and Paul Haggis). Then of course, there are those who only mean to use cinema to elicit emotion and incite the spirit of man, either positively or negatively, like Charles Chaplin or Lars von Trier, provocateurs on opposite sides of the spectrum. Cinema has a lot more power as a form of communication and expression than we give it credit for as a world, but then again, the same can be said about many other unseen gems of our lifetimes.

The presence of such power is what makes it important that I state my principles and values for this passion off the bat – declare them like Kane decidedly established his own principles on the page when he began pursuing his dream of being a newspaper man. Where Kane and I differ is that I will stick to these ideals as opposed to compromise knowingly for any reason at all.

I will present these film blogging principles in two forms: Principles as a film critic and principles as a filmmaker. More and more, like John Landis, Martin Scorsese, Spike Lee, Woody Allen and many other well-known filmmakers who also take moments to look back and address the history and art of filmmaking, I hope to blur the line between “guy who makes pictures” and “guy who talks about pictures”, to guy who does both. A jack-of-all-trades in all forms is what my ideal being is and to not try to adhere to that in film would just be a disappointment to myself.

As a film critic, my principles should be simple enough. I want to express my opinion on movies I see or other factors I witness in my life that inspire my cinema-centric life. I will try to my best power and knowledge to approach these items subjectively and address them through my own perspective solely. I can’t speak for everyone. I don’t ever want to try. I only want to be good at knowing what I like and what kind of movies I want to make.

Moving on to the principles of myself as a filmmaker, there is something I particularly can’t help but note in the world. More and more several filmmakers seem to be forced through financial straights or maybe just a depletion of energy, that they end up making films that seem in themselves empty for the guarantee of money. These movies just seem to take up space and absorb money. The most notable factors of these are remakes… to my remembrance, many directors who I hold in high esteem have been recruited to merely provide copy-and-paste adaptations of films that already have a legacy on their own – Spike Lee, Gus Van Sant, Martin Scorsese , Kimberly Peirce, David FincherMatt Reeves, etc. These are not bad films per se, but they have nothing new to them and as such come off as largely uninspired and unnecessary. They aren’t original – they copy nearly every aspect of the original work without leaving room for themselves to breathe life into their own. This goes on with “reboots” that are pressed forth only to milk franchises and books that are rushed into production without a care for their real potential as a work of art and only as a product (Two of my favorite books are dream projects for me largely for this reason – they weren’t made for what they could’ve been, they were made for how much they could earn)…

The worst implication of this is the coming extension of the Star Wars franchise in film, where it is intended to shoot out films each year, like an assembly line.

I meant it when I called film a form of expression. I don’t want to make films as products. I want to make them to the best quality as I possibly can as a work that I feel personally connected to. It is the ideal film. It may be a bit selfish to insist I make films primarily for my own satisfaction, but I find it to be a larger accomplishment to keep saying what you want to say with film than to just make movies to distract and please. I have a higher faith in people than that, if they want to listen, then they will listen… if not, then at least one person in the world likes the movie and that’s just about enough for me until the next one.

Another principle as a filmmaker I think necessary to demand is that I keep trying to push myself harder and higher. No filmmaker should get too comfortable. Every filmmaker should feel like s/he could do better. Because one of the best feelings in the world is to find out your limits, say “fuck them” and win.

Even as futile tasks, the recording of my intentions and the provoked pursuit of these goals will hopefully provide some new dimension to my passion of filmmaking. Of course, if I knew what it was… I wouldn’t really be looking for it. So I’ll just keep searching and won’t really be complaining about it so much as looking forward to it.

In spite of my eagerness to do nothing but these projects, I have a life – I have work, school, sleep and other pursuits that I maintain on top of this. Those who subscribed to my blogspot page understand that at times I am distracted so much to the point that it extends gaps as long as a month in between posts. But I do promise I won’t stop blogging until I feel like I have nothing more to say. And that’s gonna be a long damn time from now.

TL;DR Basically I come to chew bubble gum and do movie shit… and I’m all out of bubble gum.

Thank you for deciding to join me and let’s get to work…