The daffy mess of Howard Shore’s Unexpected Journey

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Like most fans of movie music (or of hobbits) I’m quite fond of Howard Shore’s gargantuan work for The Lord of the Rings trilogy, which really is as close to a composer writing a twelve-hour symphony to accompany a movie as we’ve likely ever had in the medium. As such, I await each new installment in his follow-up work on The Hobbit trilogy with quite a bit of glee (my Desolation expanded score arrives today), and in general terms, when the expanded score for The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey arrived last year, I wasn’t disappointed. It doesn’t raise the game, musically, but it works comfortably within the rule set that Shore established on the other trilogy. And there are some dandy bits of motif-building, too; the progressive six-tone Dwarven theme being my favourite.

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True story

In lieu of a blog post today, here’s my letter to Sex Criminals #3, on the subject of “porn in the forest” stories.

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By the way - if you’re not reading Sex Criminals, you’re wrong.

Next week on “boys and penises,” more stuff about boys - and their penises.

Film is not a mission

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"Film is not a mission," I thought to myself at some Lightbox screening or other in the last few weeks, whereupon I’d had a thoroughly uninteresting time watching some movie I was meant to have watched because it was  considered so generally significant; and amidst conversation all around me about what films in the Cronenberg series or the Coen series or the whatever-else series every one of us "should" see. "Should thinking" is the bane of human existence in all its forms, and no less so for moviegoing. Film is not a mission.

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The movie of my life

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In the movie of my life, I’d play myself. Why not? I’m young enough, and with this Avatar CGI shit, they could paint a lot of dots on my face and create a digital puppet version of myself at ages sixteen, and thirteen, and even ten. I would love to step some poor Weta digital modelling technician through my own pubescence in reverse. I’ve got the field notes, Adrian Mole style, going back to the ten centimeter range. I’ve been dying to try out a MoCap suit, or a MoCap stage, or a MoCap anything, really. That would be all of the great things about acting (freedom of experimentation; focus on the task only; craft service) all coalesced into one experience, with all the crappy stuff (pancake makeup; other people) taken away.

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Watched: The Day of the Doctor and an Adventure in Space and Time

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It wasn’t until a few hours after I watched “The Day of the Doctor” that my mind cycled back over that last scene and realized, in addition to it being that last scene, i.e. the best kept secret in the world wherein the youngest living and oldest surviving Doctors met onscreen to cap off the rather wonderful 50th anniversary of Doctor Who…  it was also, right there, my Doctors. Tom Baker and Matt Smith, Four and Eleven, the one who sent me running behind the couch as a boy, and the one who brought me back out. That’s just a bit of luck, of course, but it personalized the experience gigantically. No knock against Five to Ten, or Twelve or Thirteen or the War Doctor, but those two up on screen shot a beam of time straight through me. “I grew up!” Amy Pond objected in “The Eleventh Hour,” to which the Doctor replied, “I’ll soon fix that.” Well, mission accomplished.

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All my broken toys

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I have a things for the ones that don’t make it. You’ve probably noticed it. Anytime I’m talking about Spider-Man 3 or Alien 3 or The Phantom Menace, I’m digging into it a little bit. Anytime I name Pirates of the Caribbean: At World’s End my favourite movie, it’s there. There’s a reason I have a doorstop-sized ceramic refrigerator with Indiana Jones inside it on my bookcase. There’s a reason The Night of the Doctor, last week, was so bloody exciting for me. No, I didn’t like the 1996 Doctor Who TV movie any more than you did - but Eight didn’t get a fair chance. And I looooooove my broken toys.

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The Edge of the Wild

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I don’t think I completely understood how bad things must have been for me last winter until I smelled the hand soap in my parents’ main bathroom this week. I’ve been up there cat-sitting, and the first time I washed my hands in that bathroom last Wednesday, I was whalloped straight backwards nine months to the winter I spent living there, and into a mental state I had conveniently moved past / forgotten. I’d no idea, when I was in it, how deep the crack was. Now, besides being given a tactical refresher on the communicative power of sense memory, I’m also sort of amazed I got out of that house in one piece.

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Watched: The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey (Extended Edition)

We met yesterday as per the original plan and watched the Extended Edition of The Hobbit: An Unexpected Journey, an event which demonstrated in one shot how far we’ve come while staying largely the same. “We” in this case was Steve, Dave, Chris (who actually owned the house in which we watched this thing, a terrifying thought) and Daniel (who I, when Gandalf interrogated Bilbo’s “good morning” with seven variants of what that comment could possibly mean, turned to and said “this is what it’s like talking to you”).

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The addiction story I won’t tell

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I won’t tell the story of my personal experience with addiction issues. I mean, I’ve told it in person; my friends and family know what I’m talking about. But it will never grace this blog, or any article or column I ever write, or any podcast I record. I wrote a crackerjack screenplay that reflected a portion of my experiences a few years back; I’ll never see it produced. If what I’m describing had happened to me directly - i.e., if I were the addict in question - I’d probably have published a book about it by now. But I only got to deal with the fallout, the tangents, the collateral damage that is part and parcel of every addiction story; and as much as that story is “mine” in terms of my own experience, and might even have some use in the public sphere, I won’t further violate the privacy of the others involved in order to tell it.

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The year I wasn’t anything for Hallowe’en

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When you’re 14 years old, the game is pretty much up, Hallowe’en-wise; or so I discovered, on or around the 31st of October, 1990, when I was - in fact - fourteen. I think we can all agree that I hit puberty when I was 13, depending on what you consider to be the advent of boy-puberty (I have my theories), and sometime between dressing up as Batman in the fall of ‘89 - because 1989 was, in all regards, Batman - and finding the most kickass mask ever to dress up as the Phantom of the Opera in 1990, I went over the ledge, hormone-wise, and consequently trick-or-treated in ‘90 looking absolutely nothing like a kid and way too much like an adult in the opinions of pretty much every parent who opened every door on St. Leonard’s Avenue that night.

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