Its been a pretty good year.
Too much moving back and forth but a good year despite all that.
My friends birthday was sort of dull for her. It was fine for me. Her only present from me she got too early. She had to go with me to the post office to pick it up and when we got there, despite my admonitions she read the box label . . . so I let her have it. The gift I mean. It was a set of knives. Not very romantic but the sort of thing I think she likes . . .
We watched the klazzik, to our minds anyway, Japanese movie, “Dog Star”.
Its a simple movie with an exquisite conceit. A blind man is struck by a truck. His seeing eye dog, Shiro, survives. The blind man has not done enough good deeds to get into heaven. He decides to grant his best friend, Shiro, a request, a good deed. Shiro wants to be a human so he can go see the little girl who raised him.
Shiro becomes an adult male human, but still a dog inside. They avoid most of the cheap dog stuff laffs and let Shiro be a man who is a dog inside.
He meets his old owner and is overwhelmed with his joy. One of my fave scenes is when he asks her if she is happy now. When she says yes Shiro gets up and runs full speed around the school playground.
The scene that breaks me down is when Shiro, after all of their adventures, sits with the girl on the beach and finally convinces her that he is not just the love of her life but is truly her old dog Shiro, more than anything her devoted friend.
There’s a shot from behind where we see the girl sitting next to, not the man Shiro, but the dog Shiro as they stare into the clear night sky. It kills me even thinking about it. Its echoed later in the film with a heart rending sadness and beauty that is unshakeable.
I wish all my dogs could talk to me more fully instead of their struggles to communicate with me and my thick headed too human demeanor.
Its the end of the year today.
I can’t come up with more than the three films I’ve already discussed as the best of the year. “A Man Who Was Superman,” “The Underdog Knight”, and “JCVD.” I know the point is to list five at least but any other films in the list would just diminish the major accomplishments of these three. “A Man Who Was Superman” is already in the top 25 of my all time favorites. I still can recall vivid scenes that make little sense outside the film. The sense being explaining their power – Superman standing at a garden hose covering himself with water. Five teenagers struggling to lift a car all wearing tropical cheap Hawaiian shirts. Its that kind of movie. Beauty is there and makes itself beautiful by recreating our world in a vivid way that time makes us ignore.
For music . . . As doomed as I found Alkaline Trio and their putrid show the Album “Agony & Irony” was excellent. The only guy who has yet to disappoint is Jack White. The Raconteurs, “Consolers of the Lonely” was fine and contained a few songs that I want to learn so I can dazzle people.
The best album was a reissue. I’ve only had scratched up copies of Gene Vincent’s “The Day the World Turned Blue” and “A Million Shades of Blue”. The high compression and tics and pops have become a part of the music. The CD re-issue of both albums is impressive. The remastering is excellent but its Gene himself who devours my soul.
The man could sing. He knew how to sell a song. Most of the music on the disk is trivial, at time horrendous like the 8 minute hippie dirge “Tush Hog” is unlistenable to me.
Even in the trivial numbers Gene displays a compelling emotive power that almost thinks the music is good. It makes me wish he hadn’t died a fat drunk. But if he hadn’t would have have been able to compose and ding like he did. The closest I can compare him to is Charlie “Bird” Parker. If their lives weren’t paeans to self destructiveness could they have heard the sounds they heard and been driven to make us understand?
I still know a lot of guys who’ll punch you out for even hinting that Gene wasn’t the greatest thing to ever happen in this life. As much as I love him some have taken umbrage with me. I’m not that violent about it. I just think that if you can’t be carried away by the beauty of Blue that Gene carried within him its only sad for you.
For the New Year you always need some “Auld Lang Syne” for your party. Here’s three.
Guy Lambardo and the Royal Canadians version is the standard, almost the original.
Me First and the Gimmie Gimmies bring a new funny life to the old tune. It rocks okay.
Lou Rawls brings a jaw dropping version. Its a solo accapela trip. I never new Rawls was this cool.
Best wishes for all into the New Year. Especially my friend, my friends and my puppies, past present and future.