Archive for the ‘etc.’ Category
Posted on August 22, 2017 - by writerman
This is something I wrote for the fine people over at The Black List as part of their series on Essential Rock & Roll movies. It concerns a very important piece of modern American cinema.
It wasn’t easy to choose my essential rock movie. A complete compendium of my favorite rock and roll films would play like one of those AMC 48-hour movie marathons.
Looking for the ultimate concert film? Try THE LAST WALTZ. Into rock journalism and Elton John sing-alongs? Hit up ALMOST FAMOUS. Do you love cheeky British blokes and breaking the fourth wall? Check out 24 HOUR PARTY PEOPLE. Want to laugh your ass off? SPINAL TAP. Love punk? WE ARE THE BEST! Top Five lists? HIGH FIDELITY. Searching for the greatest rock and roll movie of all time? Allow me to direct you to the 17-minute magnum opus that is HEAVY METAL PARKING LOT.
But, if you’re looking to understand the very nature of rock and roll and how it defines us and shapes the world we live in, then only one film will do:
I know that sounds like the setup for a joke that ends with “…NOT!” But I’m being totally serious. Sure, it might be the goofiest rock and roll movie ever made, but take a second (or third or twenty-seventh) look and I think you’ll find that it understands the transformative power of rock on a profound level. Hear me out…
In my first year of junior high, someone spray-painted BLACK SABBATH RULES on the front of our school. I’m from a small town in northern Canada, so this caused quite a stir and sparked a lot of anxious PTA meetings. Was heavy metal music corrupting our kids? Did Ozzy really bite the head off that bat? Was Satan to blame?
I’ll let you in on a little secret. I know the guy who did it. And he wasn’t evil or dangerous or in the service of Beelzebub. He was a smart, awkward, gangly teenager who discovered something amazing the first time he listened to Sabbath’s Iron Man: his true self. Those snarling power chords gave him something to believe in. A tribe to belong to. A refuge from a harsh, uncaring world. For teens, finding the music that speaks to you and rocking out is a sacred rite of passage on the path to independence and adulthood.
When I look at Wayne Campbell, I see all of that. For me, he perfectly captures what it’s like to be a dorky teenager (albeit one played by a 29-year-old) finding your place in the world, guided by an unshakeable belief in the power and purity of rock and roll.
The first time I saw WAYNE’S WORLD, I loved it because these guys were such an honest, hilarious depiction of the headbangers of my youth. And for the epic “Bohemian Rhapsody” scene. But watching it again recently, I feel like it offers something more:
Wayne and Garth are all of us.
They rock against the forces of conformity. They stand up to the Man. They chase their dreams, even when the rest of the world looks down on them. They drive a frickin’ AMC Pacer. They love each other. But also something greater than themselves. They say they’re not worthy, but we know that they are. They want to boldly go where no man has gone before, but they’ll probably stay in Aurora.
Give this movie another look and I bet it will surprise you. It might happen.
Yeah, and monkeys might fly out of my butt.
Posted on November 9, 2016 - by writerman
Last night, while election results were rolling in, my two-year-old pooped his pants. This morning, I realized that Wyatt’s potty-training accident and America’s election were one in the same. And so I write this note both to my little guy and to my United States of America:
Hey you – we need to talk about what happened last night.
You shit your pants.
It was bad. Real bad. I mean, when I saw the horror of what you’d done, I questioned everything. Was this all my fault? Were you not ready? Should we just burn the house down and move back to Canada? Will we ever be able to scrub off that godawful smell?
I’ll admit that I overreacted in the moment. I was angry and confused and disappointed and disgusted and more than a little scared. I honestly couldn’t understand how something so terrifying could have happened so quickly. I shouldn’t have lost my temper, and that half bottle of bourbon was probably a little excessive, and I’m sorry. But, now that I’ve had a moment to recover and reflect, there’s something I want you to know:
I love you, and we’re going to get through this together.
I know that underneath all of the rancid, hateful shit you smeared all over yourself last night is a heart full of wonder and compassion and joy and empathy. A beautiful soul that has made me proud so many times before and will make me proud again.
It’s going to take some time and some work and it won’t be easy, but I believe in you. I know you can do better. I know you want to do better. And you will. But I need you to understand something: if you want to wear big kid pants and be in charge of yourself, you need to take that responsibility seriously. When you are ready to do that, we can move forward to a brighter future.
Years from now, when we look back on this dark time in our lives, Shitstorm 2016 will be our lowest point, but also a turning point.
Now let’s put on our hazmat suits and get to work cleaning this shit up.
Posted on July 9, 2016 - by writerman
This morning, a kid at the gas station told me I had “fly kicks.”
The list below tracks how his statement made me feel, in chronological order:
Posted on October 4, 2012 - by writerman
Sometimes, when I’m not busy typing, I play the trumpet. Usually this means staying up past my bedtime and getting beer spilled on my shoes, but once in a while it means spending the afternoon in a studio and blowing my horn into a shiny microphone.
This one time, I got paid in cupcakes.
No, seriously. The lovely and talented Maureen Bharoocha directed a film-noir-style short for Sprinkles Cupcakes and the talented and lovely Keith Waggoner did the music. Keith got me to come over and make some trumpet sounds.
Check it out. The star has a groovy, poor-man’s-Humphrey-Bogart-style and it features dessert, drinking, fedoras and a femme fatale. Heck, it’s even Patton Oswalt – approved.
Black & White
In exchange for a couple hours of my time, I took home a dozen delicious cupcakes. According to my math, that works out to around 6 cupcakes per hour, which is a pretty decent wage for a musician in Los Angeles.
For the record, no one should attempt to eat a dozen cupcakes alone.
Posted on March 28, 2012 - by writerman
I cannot guarantee the quality of this film,1 having only seen the trailer, but what a fun premise:
Totally stoked to see this one on the big screen.
Also, more than a little jealous that I didn’t think of it first.
You know someone’s got a great idea for a movie when it makes you want to go home and destroy everything you’ve ever written because it’s not original enough. In fact, the last time I was tempted to burn all my scripts was the night I saw this movie for the first time.
Well played, Derek and Colin.
Enjoy the trailer!
Posted on March 23, 2012 - by writerman
When I was in grade nine, I was sure this was the funniest thing ever written:
In fact, I was so sure that I kept a copy of it up in my locker for two years – in the hope that I could show it to that girl who sat behind me in biology and impress her with my refined and sophisticated sense of humor.
For the record, the Far Side never did help me get a date, but I still think Gary Larson is a genius.
Posted on March 11, 2011 - by writerman
As I watch this little video for the 8th time today, I wonder if I love it so much because I’m both a Star Wars geek and a dog owner, or just because it fucking rules.
“When I was a kid, there are two things I wanted badly and never got…
Music by Blithe Field
Some day, I hope to meet Patrick and give him the high five he so richly deserves.
Posted on May 1, 2010 - by writerman
Today two friends from Vancouver are jumping on a plane, headed for the tiny West African nation of Liberia to take pictures, make a film and try to rediscover a place that has radically transformed since they grew up there in the 70’s.
I’m stoked, proud, nervous and excited.
Also a little jealous. Partly because they are going to Africa, a place I have an almost-unhealthy obsession with. But mostly because in a previous life, I used to go places and shoot little movies and spend endless hours in editing bays and attend film festival screenings and Q&A sessions and their adventure makes me miss those times.1 But enough about me. This is about Jeff & Andrew:
The film is called Liberia ’77.
The caption below is copy / pasted from the website. I strongly recommend you check it out, follow their exploits or even throw a couple of bucks their way if you dig what they’re doing.
Thirty years after a bloody coup and two brutal civil wars devastated the country, Canadian writer and photographer Jeff Topham returns to the place he grew up, to rediscover the tiny West African nation that so profoundly impacted his life — and to make a documentary. In a journey to reconcile gaps between what he remembers, what he knows from his father’s photographs, and the true history of the country, Liberia ’77 is an adventure for us all — an exploration of the importance of history, environment, art, and family in defining our lives. Also there will be chimpanzees and maybe some surfing…
Good luck boys!
- Although, not the times when the bank called because you funded post-production with your Visa and the licensing fee you got from that little station in Australia was just barely enough to make the minimum payment… [↩]
Posted on August 5, 2009 - by writerman
Finally picked up my new business cards from the printer. Check it out:
Now, you too can get your very own limited-edition WM business card. And all you have to do is call the Writerman Hotline here in Los Angeles and make an appointment to take a meeting, do lunch, or hit the taco truck with your friendly neighborhood Writerman. What are you waiting for?
Also – mad props and undying gratitude to the fabulous Sara Bailey for making me look so good (on paper at least). thanks Bailey!
Posted on April 1, 2009 - by writerman
Sometimes, when I’m not busy typing, I play the trumpet in a rock band.
This clip is from an interview 40% of the Amateurs did with LoudVine the week before we put out our new record. Which, technically, makes this post a shameless promotion for a shameless promotion.
Still: rock in the park!