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Road to Perdition

Posted 3 April 2003, 4.02 am by Jake

I rented this movie, expecting a sub-par, cut-and-dried Hollywood piece of garbage. The only redeeming factor seemed to be its origin. Seeing as how Road to Perdition originated as a graphic novel, I was afraid that this would turn out to be another disappointing comic movie. You can safely say that I approached this one with a bit of caution and boatloads of pessimism.

I’m glad to say that my expectations…well, they received a hearty kick in the nuts and were shoved away to somewhere special. This film is yet another excellent tour-de-force from director Sam Mendes (American Beauty). The cinematography is lush and expansive as well as gritty and constricted, depending on the mood of the scene. The score flows along nicely with the movie, switching from dark, ominous orchestral pieces to light jazz bits as if it were nobody’s business. But it is somebody’s business, you see.

Business is what Tom Hanks is all about in this one. He plays as Michael Sullivan, a moody and relatively quiet hitman whose world is rocked within the first 30 minutes of the film, and who is thrust into a new situation with new responsibilities. One of these responsibilities being his twelve year-old son, Michael Jr., who eventually discovers that his father’s profession is nothing as it seemed. The vagueness of his father’s confidant (and foster father) John Rooney (Paul Newman) is stripped away, revealing Rooney to be an aging crime boss with a strong sense of solidarity with the men that he employs. But that solidarity doesn’t even last long, thanks to some complications between Sullivan and Rooney’s son, Connor (Daniel Craig). These complications lead to the aforementioned world-rocking that Sullivan and his son must plunge through in order to save themselves and get revenge… Jude Law plays an especially disturbing role as Maguire, a photographer who moonlights as a gun-toting hitman on the search for Sullivan and his son. The performances of each of the actors are what give this movie its edge, and there are some genuine, powerful moments that may have fallen idle at the hands of any other group.

The premise of the story is great, putting emphasis on character development while throwing the characters through a relatively diverse set of situations, ranging from light-hearted (the ‘learning to drive’ scenario) to somewhat disturbing (Michael’s grim discovery of the truth behind his father’s profession). I would have liked to have seen the plot to be a bit more drawn out in places, and that seems to be its only shortcoming in my eyes. There are several surprises during the movie, and the plot twists are powerful, wrenching and contorting Sullivan and his son into quite a few different quandaries.

Aside from its (minute) flaws, it's a smooth film with some qualified veteran actors. I was slightly disappointed with Paul Newman towards the end. Although he does a convincing job of portraying a man torn between his biological and his adopted son, he seemed to start out strong and sort of fade out...however, that could have a good bit to do with characterization as far as the story is concerned.

If you’re looking for an atmospheric drama with some strong performances and an excellent storyline, go get Road to Perdition. And you’d better not regret it, or I’ll load up the boys and we’ll come over for a little “friendly chat”. Now excuse me while I go find a kick-ass Tommy gun.

And now for something Completely Different!

Posted 2 April 2003, 4.25 am by Assassin13

For anyone who is a little bored and has nothing better to do. I really got a kick out of this one.



She's Come Undone

Posted 2 April 2003, 2.24 am by Alexa

'She's Come Undone' is almost a self help book. It really makes you feel a little less pathetic. It's an 'Oprah Book Club' book, but don't let that discourage you! As sad as it is, and as long as it is, it really is a fast read. The story plot is a womans journey through life. Sex, drugs, rape, gay/lesbian relationships, hippies, and rock and roll. The author is Wally Lamb, and for a man, he can describe certain points in a womans life perfectly. I liked it a lot. At one point I actually cried. The first time, I might add, that a book has made me cry since 'Where the Red Fern Grows'. Classic. Or as Roach would say "Fucking epic"


Posted 1 April 2003, 2.23 pm by Shaggy

I point and say the word. Everyone agrees, nod their heads, and repeat the word. A stone has been named "Stone" and all have agreed.

I take her palm. I should not be doing this, she is not the woman I love, but I do it anyway. I touch her palm with the tips of my finger, and tell her that the tinglie feeling she has is, that feeling of skin on skin, is what I want to represent with words.

I wonder if anyone has felt the same way I do. Confused, and longing for connection, I wonder if anyone else has thought to themselves "the greatest connection is the sensual; what you can touch, taste, feel, et alia, this is what humans were made for. We are companions to each other, and that is the purpose that we so strive for."

I am sure my thoughts, however, require a great deal of leisure. I am positive, after all, that those in Iraq, whether American or of the soil, do not feel the same way. Connection with a bullet is no connection at all.

I write the woman I love a poem. It reminds me that, while I can lust for another, while I can feel that I am connecting in a way tantamount to love with another, I cannot take her for granted. She is the True love, the first, the alpha and the omega, and I love her truly. The other, the girl whose palm I touched, is a connection, yes, but a connection of a different sort, no less important, of the same potential, but not of the same game. Only one person, after all, can own my body, mind, and soul. After that, the soul is simply diluted.

Who knows what damage I have done to my soul for the temptation? Yet, I know now that it was a justifiable one. The outside world is a strange and treacherous journey. I do not connect easy. I am not made of the same thoughts as anyone else: I am my own, separate world.

I think someone wrote a song once about what happens when worlds collide...

I think I have lost the connection I once had with the girl whose palm I touched. It feels bad, granted... but somehow, it was to be expected. There can only be one connection outside of language that I truly and honestly have: the love that exists between myself and my girlfriend.

I can admit it, but I do not have to like it. That is why, when I return home, I sit, think, and write... I have written a thousand stars, and I will write a thousand more, until the sky is filled, and people can look up and say: My, but I wish I could connect with the sky above my head!

Perhaps they even might connect with me.

Violet & Claire

Posted 26 March 2003, 5.02 pm by Elyse

Violet: A seventeen-year-old girl raised in Hollywood by rich parents. Wears black. Wants to make movies. Ambitious, constantly writing her screenplay. Falls for a rock star. Likes cocaine.
Claire: Another seventeen-year-old, from the midwest. Dreams of faeries. innocent to a fault. Writes poetry. Violet calls her "Tinker Bell."

I think the reason I liked this book is because it's one of the few I've read where the characters seemed real.Most books about teenage girls are bullshit. Maybe I wanted to be Violet. Maybe I have a little too much in common with Claire. All I know is that I couldn't put it down until I had finished it. It's a girly book, sure, but not one of those cheesy Judy Blume, comming of age stories. A quick read, I recommend this book by Francesca Lia Block to all the girlies who need a little excitement in their lives.

The Death of a Kind

Posted 25 March 2003, 7.48 pm by Shaggy

There was a man who was a nice man,
The last the world had ever known
Or ever will. He woke one day, alone
And found himself in a strange land.

"We'll use him as our posterchild,
We'll bleed him for his holy blood,
And when he cannot give any kind,
We'll kill him, and drop him in the mud."

Job wasn't tested by God, he was picked on,
God had fun picking on the "little weiner,"
As he liked to call him, and it was precisely
His goodness that was his curse

Faith means little, but it is all the man had,
All the man had ever known,
All that the man could condone,
And precisely what made others mad

The man gave kisses, and got back spit,
Gave love and got back violence,
Gave his heart and mind and received nothing
But a certain set of eyes, beautiful in their tear-stains

The hammer has beaten the man,
Ashes to ashes, and dust to dust
Now the man is underneath our feet,
A part of us.

The man would smile if he had a mouth, but all he has is mud and shit. But he remains, he stands, even if he is walked on.

Even dead men can stand and sing in chains.


Posted 25 March 2003, 5.50 am by Acheron

I often sit down and try to write something, inspired by some pseudo-civic sense of obligation, nostalgia, or maybe just boredom. So I sit and I stare blankly at the keys or at the screen. At such moments I am possessed by a sudden self-awareness. Even though I search in vain for "good writing ideas", I still manage to take a good look around.

My room is a cluttered mess. I'd estimate that there are at least 300 cds here, and certainly enough books to obscure the floor. Papers are thrown everywhere. Many people I know are possessed by the sudden urge to clean and tidy. I look around and I don't see a mess... just, say, that corner of cardboard I ripped off a box as a makeshift mouse pad (it didn't work at all), or a slim wedge of newsprint (an old crossword). Are these things out of place, or do they have no place? I didn't build this room. It's not even my home. I cannot claim this space as my own, nor any space for that matter.

I am a mess of mixed media. With so many odds and ends about, it becomes hard to focus. Anything written is somehow tied to the drone of the tap outside. The tap stops and I hear countless fans. Beneath it all, musing, is that subdued, elegant voice: the monophony of my thoughts. It shifts through the mentors: an old teacher, a long-forgotten friend...

I often sit down and try to write something - that is to say, I try to sort my clouded mess of opinions and focus. It rarely works. In these moments of clarity, though, I am taken by two questions: why is anyone still convinced that certainties remain? and why must every aspect of our common existence be named and shelved?

I suppose I walk many paths, or none at all, or the nameless few.


Posted 23 March 2003, 11.32 pm by Sickan

I remember I sat in the windowstill with a cup of lukewarm coffee. I can't remember how long I had been sitting there or why I had decided that the hard wood covering the large window in my old livingroom was the best place to be sitting. I was wearing a pair of shabby jeans and a old shirt with a hood on. It was raining outside and there has always been this thing with me when the rain when it falls hard in the summer. I think its some kind of fasination.

I sat there all crumbled up holding my cup of coffee between my hands and looked at the people hurrying in cover of the rain. Most of them had umbrellas so most of my view was covered by them. There was this little girl standing in the middle of the sidewalk - she just stood there and looked up at the sky with closed eyes and an arch smile on her lips, like something was very amusing about the rain. I smiled and thought to myself that she was a beautiful little creature with a big heart. I can't really explain why I thought that or why I ever think that about strangers, but once in a while thoughts like that sneak into my mind.

I now know I was sitting there only to escape the reality of my own frustrating and grey world. I remember I tried not to think of the situation I was in that day - I was sitting there in the windowstill of my little apartment holding on the to cold coffee as if it was the last cup I would ever drink. I remember the rain falling in big drops as they always do when one of those big splashes hit in the summer. The drops landed on the glass and ran down the window fiercely as if someone was after them. When I was a little girl I used to look at the drops on the window in our car when it rained and keeping an eye on them as they ran down. I would make this system up, like if that drop connected with this drop something bad would happen, but if the second drop connected with the next drop falling where I had my finger then something good with happen and so on.

The rain kept on falling most of the afternoon and I just sat there, watching as the street emptied out of people and the shops closed down. Suddenly my phone rang and I was called back to reality. I looked at it and didn't move to get it, I just looked at it while the loud irritating tone kept me in the world I had escaped all day. I jumped down from the window and walked on sore legs to the phone and picked it up in the middle of a ring but the line was dead, the person had given up. Seconds later I heard my cell-phone in the bedroom - I shook my head and walked in and picked it up. 'Hello' I said in a low tired voice. 'Its me' a male voice announced in my ear - 'where are you?' he said in a worried tone, I sighed 'I'm home I just didn't get the phone before...Dad, you don't have to worry' I walked out of the bedroom and placed myself in the windowstill again, felt the pain in my behind from sitting there all day and changed my mind. I picked up a pillow on the couch with my free hand, while I said 'No - yes - I promise - Okay okay I know that' and so on as people do when they aren't really interested in what they are told or aren't listing at all. I placed the pillow in the window and placed myself in it again and looked out on the rain again.

Sometime later that day someone knocked on the door and I was once again ripped out of my world of denial and dreams of better days. I opened the door and a stranger stood there all soaked. 'Yes??' I looked at the guy and remembered something about him, but I could not place it, 'Hi, eeeh I'm like a friend of - you know...' he looked at his feet and mumbled something about picking up some of 'his' stuff. I nodded and opened the door and let him in. 'Do you want a towel or something, you look like a drowned mouse?' 'Thank you that would be nice' I smiled at the polite way he addressed me, it was like I was someone dangerous or royal or something. I found the towel and gathered the stuff he came for and put it in a bag with the letter I had been up all night writing. 'Here' I gave him the bag and looked into his eyes, 'Tell him that I'm sorry about all this...' He nodded and opened the door and hesitated, then he looked at me 'He is really messed up you know that?' there was no anger or anything like that in his voice only sadness and hurt - I looked at him for a little while and then I nodded and said quietly 'I know... I'm... I...' and then he walked out in the hallway and dissapeared down the stairs.

I stood in the door a minute or so, just looking into the air where he had been just seconds before. I tried not to think about it - I could not handle this right now, but there was no fighting it. I clenched my hands and closed my eyes as I let myself realize that nothing would ever be the same again, it was over and we had been together so long and boom, suddenly the real world had trespassed into our world and everything got mixed up and that single devastating truth arose, and now I had lost him - and there were no one to blame. I could not even blame myself. I wanted to so bad but I knew that it was impossible.

Everything became so clear when I looked at it, the little pieces of paint had peeled off the doorframe, the wet shoes outside the door across the hall - everything yelled at me. And I could not understand it. I would not understand the reality. Never.
I can't really remember the next week or so and I am quite sure that there is nothing to remember about it - I know that I stayed home and just slept most of the time, but nothing more than that. I know that my father came up and held me as I cried and cried until I fell asleep again.

Now, when I look back I know that there was nothing either of us could have done to make circumstances change, this was a part of life as well as everything else. I still think of her in the dark and late hours of the night when I am tired and my defenses are weak. Thoughts like, today she would have started in school or like today we would have packed some things and went to the beach or to the woods or something like that, just like normal families do. I smile again now, finally. But still something has changed, its not that fact that I had her inside me for 9 months and then in a split of a second everthing stops because she had a weak heart and didn't make it more than a couple of hours in this world. Its not that my man and I couldn't look at each other because it hurt too much - all of that is, I don't know, I guess a sick part of life and eventually it will step back and make room for the good things in life and also the new things in life. I think something happened to me that week I was 'away' as I like to think of it. I realized something about life or what ever, that I now have forgotten - but somewhere in my subconsciousness it haunt me, just out of reach. And I think I have now realized that I will never be able to reach it.
The spiral never ends. Does it?


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Doggybag/baggy_dog is an artist living and working in Barga, Italy. Click here to read about this piece in his own words.

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80s candy bars were pretty good

only because i traded it for a candy bar in the 80's.

lol we all know you don't have a soul ghoti

my soul for some carbs...

But of course!

Yo ! Does this work ?

* Alexander wonders if this still works


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