Thursday, February 28, 2008

Re: Earlier Post About YouTube

On Sunday I posted about not being able to get onto YouTube and the fact that all vids had been pulled from blogs. The answer: Pakistan knocked YouTube offline for two hours on Sunday. Very scary stuff if you ask me. I rely more and more on the interweb and therefore am less and less accustomed to a life without it. Now, I know, YouTube going offline for a couple of hours isn't the collapse of the technological world as we know it, but still, it gives you something to think about.

Monday, February 25, 2008

What's All the Fuss and Why Not For the Others?

A quiz: who are the following people: Nancy Oliver, Tony Gilroy, Brad Bird, Tamara Jenkins? (Dustin, this quiz is for normal people, not movie junkies/snobs.) Give up? These are the four other people nominated for the Writing (Original Screenplay) category at your 80th Annual Academy Awards along with the "it" girl, Diablo Cody.

Now everyone just take it easy. This is not going to be part of the "backlash" the City Pages (Ms. Cody's former employer) predicted would befall this indie film and the woman who penned it. I don't care if Juno is the greatest movie of the year. I don't care if people will look back at the centennial celebration of the Oscars and claim that the fact that Juno did not win Best Picture 20 years prior is akin to crimes against humanity, though somehow I doubt this will happen. I'm sure, when I get around to seeing it, that I will very much enjoy Juno. It's actually my type of movie, from what I can gather without actually seeing it yet. Quirky. Serious content, approached in a light-hearted manner, but still, ultimately serious. Good cast (Michael Cera and Jason Bateman...Pretty much anyone from Arrested Development is aces in my book. And by all accounts, Ellen Page is lovely in it). All these are aspects of film that I look for in my movies--my favorite movie is The Royal Tenenbaums, which I'd say holds all these qualities.

The fact is, I don't care if Juno's great and if Diablo Cody wrote a great screenplay. Good for her. I'm just wondering why, for the last couple of months now, we've heard exclusively about her and her movie. (And we are not just inundated here in Minnesota because she lived here for a little while. The New Yorker begins their review of Juno, "The terrific comedy writer Diablo Cody" (What track record are we basing that statement on by the way?) and she has appeared on Letterman and maybe others.) Why don't I know who Tamara Jenkins is? Who Nancy Oliver is? Why don't I know their back stories? Because they weren't strippers? They apparently wrote excellent scripts, yet they have, for the majority of the movie-going public, been completely overshadowed by the usual actors in the films, and then by one other screenwriter, whose movie cannot be considered so vastly superior to theirs that they are not even worth mentioning. Otherwise it would have won Best Picture, right?

For a long time I've questioned the lack of spotlight given the screenwriters in Hollywood. It seems like a drastically important part in the movie making process. After all, and here comes the obvious, no script, no movie. Still, I kind of took solace in the fact that many times in this world the most important jobs receive the least credit and praise, while those less important, but more glamorous jobs are adored by the masses (i.e. teachers vs. people who catch and throw balls for a living). Even in just the film world this is the case. Not that the roles the actors and directors play are not important cogs in the machine. To the contrary. But is the role of, say, cinematographer so greatly inferior that the people in that role garnish no mention until five of them are grouped together come award season, their names to be quickly forgotten as they walk into the shadows of the huge Oscar statue, one of them holding their own, smaller version glistening in the lights? Obviously there are too many important jobs on any given movie for everyone to be created, or seen as, equal. The actors and directors are the spokesmen, the mouthpieces, the faces of the films. And so, all the other pieces working to finish the puzzle can sit behind them and do their work and relish in just that--the work--and not the praise for the work. This gave me solace: the hardworking folks behind the scenes doing it for art's sake.

Still, I wouldn't mind screenwriters getting more credit. (Let me state here that this argument--if that's what this is--excludes the actor/writers (Damon/Affleck), director/writers who get praise because of the dual role they play.) Hell, some day I may want to take a crack at a screenplay, and I don't conjure up delusions that I would not want the recognition that Ms. Cody is receiving currently. But the question still remains: why only her? Why, in the midst of all of this praise, has someone--possibly a member of the media with a larger readership than this blog (20 people per month?)--not spoken up and said something to the extent of, "You know, Juno's a great movie, but so was The Savages...and damned well written, too. I think I might do a profile piece on Tamara Jenkins"? (Again, I'm speaking here of the vast majority of movie goers who do not visit sites dedicated to films on a regular basis; I'm sure there have been stories done on all of these writers somewhere.) Again, is it because she wasn't a stripper? I don't know, maybe she was. I'm fairly confident that she wasn't, though, as I'm sure I would have heard about it. The back story does not a work of art make. Should not a piece of work be able to stand on its own merits without the history of the artist who made it? Would Juno have? Who knows. The answer's really not important. What is important, and what is apparently of no concern to people, is that there are a lot of great scripts being written. If there were not, the Writer (Original Screenplay)category would have been a one-woman show with little suspense (which, actually, as this whole thing argues, it kind of was). And, while someone is writing those great scripts, you and I don't know who he or she is. But for whatever reason, not because of such a massive superiority that none other shall be mentioned in her presence, we hear about one writer. While all the others, toil on in obscurity, writing.

If we are going to give the screenwriter due credit, let's make it the whole field, is all I'm saying.



*To her credit Diablo Cody did acknowledge the others in this category with her in her acceptance speech saying, "I especially want to thank my fellow nominees because I worship you guys and I'm learning from you every day, so thank you very much."*

Ok, Actual Last Oscar Update

Even though I haven't seen There Will Be Blood, Roger Deakins got robbed!

Sunday, February 24, 2008

Last Oscar Update

Has there ever been two people who, though appreciative, seem to think of these awards as completely secondary to what they do than the Coen brothers? I mean, it was like they were speaking to their kids' third-grade class on bring your dad to school day.

Plus Joel Coen pulls off that mustache pretty well, eh?

And lastly: Is Liberal Hollywood too conservative to show No Country producer, Scott Rudin's partner? This and more, next time. Thank you and good night.

Oscar Update

Daniel Day Lewis might be the smoothest man alive. He certainly is in that big room tonight. "Like a golden sapling out of the head..." And that thank you to his wife. Man, that guy knows what he's doing.

Live Oscar Blog Update

I fell asleep for a while. I woke up to what I think was the acceptance speech for best song, though I'm not sure.

My Live Oscar Blog

What the fuck was that song from something called "Enchanted"? Seriously, that was offensive. I think I want to punch something.

YouTube????

Has anyone else noticed that YouTube videos aren't showing up on any blogs? Is this just the computer I'm working on, or is the world as we know it ending? Seriously, stuff like this kind of scares me.

Saturday, February 23, 2008

Priceless. Sent, with love, from Byron.

I've Been Thinking A Lot Lately

I went back through some old emails tonight, trying to clean up the inbox, and came across one from a very dear friend in New York asking, as I left that city, to please keep up this blog. She wrote, probably as Chris and I were leaving our Brooklyn apartment in the very late hours of the night or early hours of the morning, "[the blog will] still be a NY story, in a way."

I started this as a journal of my summer in New York, for those friends and family mainly in Minnesota to keep up on the sometimes exciting, sometimes not exciting few months I had out there. This blog was the offspring of me and that city. And just as kids grow up and move around, so too has this blog, with me. My story, for the time being, is here in St. Paul. This blog--and maybe this is why it is hard for me to come back to very often--reminds me of New York.

I am nostalgic. Read a couple of the posts from when I was getting ready to leave NY and this fact is all too easily seen. So, coming here, feels like I'm opening an old journal or a box of old pictures, because that's exactly what it is, right? It is just our modern day version of those things, right? Scroll down and there you have it: pictures and words from a summer spent in a great town.

And what of looking back? Why is this such a perpetual state of mind for so many of us? I have been forced recently to address the fact that I focus my attention on a lot of the wrong things and people much of the time. I do not think I am alone here. But why this compulsion to be somewhere we are not, to love someone who does not love us, to constantly look outside of our present situation?

Some say that this is the drive that leads to success. Never settling, always looking for the next best thing, onward and upward. Some say the opposite: We live in a constant state of unease and need to solely and wholly focus on the present, to be completely present. I think I, in theory anyway, land somewhere in the middle. As with most things, moderation seems to be the key. Toeing the line right smack dab in the center, able to see both sides as equally as the other, that's the way, right?

I rarely act so conscientiously as my words. I am usually tip-toeing along the high wire and then fall into the trapeze act and go swinging around far from the center. Still, this is where I long to be: Centered, able to look from left to right, to judge things for what they are and not what I project on to them. More relevant to this post: To be able to look forward and back with an equal amount of longing and memory. To look forward to the things that could come and appreciate the things that have come. To love them both fully as I see them both.

I never replied to the email my friend sent me on that last day I was in New York. I couldn't do it for the longest time. It was too fresh, and I couldn't figure out what I was feeling at that moment. I was frozen and could not respond specifically to the things she had written. Then the longest time became too long of a time, and I didn't reply.

So I guess this is my reply. This is a New York story. It, like a few unbelievable friendships, started and blossomed there. It's still going, slowly but surely. The friendships have been stronger, though still not as smooth as the ease of proximity allows. But when things are worth continuing, we continue them. And hopefully as we move forward, we don't lose track of the people and things who have pushed us along the way. So too, though, hopefully we don't get bogged down in the memory of them. We all need to recognize, and selfish as human beings are, it's not always easy to do, but we need to recognize that all the people are doing the same thing. They are looking back at you. And if you are there, they are looking at you. And if you are far away, they still see you, but not as prominently, because they just can't. Just like you can't. It would kill them if they did.

Thursday, February 14, 2008

Ryan, Are You Still Reading This?

If so, thanks. Haven't given you, and anyone else who still bothers to come to this blog, much. Anyway, here are some things keeping me busy these days, and NOT posting on my own blog:

InDigest Magazine
Guernica Magazine's Blog section
Common Good Books Blog, The Front List

Other updates include: still drinking as much coffee as ever, I want an iPhone, contemplating another move this summer, listening to a lot of Sade, realized recently God actually wants me to drink in excess, my nephew's a baller (last week messed around and got a triple-double), my other nephew is bored with doing tricks for everyone (turns out at about 14 months it's not all about us anymore. Damn individuality!), dangerously close to becoming an editor and not a writer, and other things.

About Me

David Luke Doody is a freelance writer and editor. He is a founding editor of InDigest Magazine (www.indigestmag.com), an online literary magazine and the blog editor for Guernica Magazine (www.guernicamag.com). His writing and interviews have appeared in those magazines as well as in The Huffington Post, mnartists.org, The Minnesota Twins Yearbook, and Intentionally Urban Magazine, among others.

This is how my nephew loves me

This is how my nephew loves me

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