It's the most horrible time of the year.

As sure as the sun will rise and as sure as someone's going to rehab, the end of this semester is drawing nigh!

A good portion of this blog's readers (count: 3) are college students, or at least have friends/relatives that are, and they're probably beginning to stress. There are finals to study for, all-nighters, big papers to write. Red Bull's stock usually sky-rockets around this time.

However, every student can easily be distracted, as they are vulnerable and their attention spans drop to that of a sock.

Here are some ways to survive the next two weeks:

1. Make a list. Not like your Santa lists, unless swearing gets you going. List all the things you need to get done, ranging them from most important/time-consuming to least. And check off the things you do finish.

2. Strategize: Plan so that one subject doesn't take time away from another. If you have two papers to write before the end and one is due before another, don't invest ALL your time into the first one. Be sure to outline the second one and keep thinking about it.

3. For the love of all things good in this world (cake, Sean Biggerstaff, books by Terry Pratchett), get the fuck off of Facebook. Even the most well-meaning student can sit down with every intention of writing a paper and instead find themselves on Facebook with five other windows open, not entirely sure how it happened. Do yourself a favor: stay off of Facebook, stay off of AIM (or at least put up an away message that says you can only be bothered if someone's bleeding out their eyes or if the meadow is on fire), and don't text anybody. This is homework time.

4. Start early. The earlier start you get, the more time you'll have to laugh at everyone else for slacking. And believe me, there's no other ego-boost like it.

5. Metabolize! Eat snacks while you work to keep your energy up. Celery, carrots, cookie dough (or, well, don't)... Don't eat anything too sugary or you'll crash and find yourself watching a marathon of Project Runway. Not that I know from experience.

6. Don't be afraid to ask teachers or tutors for help. Too brain-dead to think of your own ideas? Need a kick in the right direction? That's what they're there for! And they usually get paid; teachers and tutors like to see this kind of proactive shit.

7. Take short breaks. NOW you can hit Facebook or Youtube, but limit your time to about 10 minutes or less. Don't get caught up adding stupid applications so you can make Christmas trees or commenting on EVERY picture someone tagged you in. Not only are you procrastinating, but you're being obnoxious.

8. Be proud of yourself! If you've managed to accomplish one of these things, then there's no stopping you! ... Unless, you know, you get hit by a mack truck or something, but why the hell would you be playing on the highway in the first place?

And remember! R.C. loves you. Sorta.


Um. Holy Cow.

The Center for Marital and Sexual Studies in Long Beach, CA reported one anonymous woman volunteer as having 134 orgasms in the span of an hour.

I don't know whether to be jealous or slap on a chastity belt for all eternity.


The newest segment! Every week on Thursday I will post a song that I think you ought to be aware of. It will be a different genre, band, era, whatever every time -- or at least most of the time. Click the song title, download, and enjoy!

This week's song is Broken Social Scene's powerful Lover's Spit.


**If you download, I want to know your thoughts. So don't click if you don't want to share.**

I first heard this song in a (favorite) Queer as Folk episode and fell in love. Every time I listen to this, I feel an odd combination of depression, envy, and buoyancy.



Denzel Washington is the MAN.

I'll admit, I got this in an email sent to me by my mother (who rocks, btw, and you're all super jealous because she isn't your mother), and I was so moved by it that I needed to post it:

Don't know whether you heard about this

but Denzel Washington and his family visited

the troops at Brook Army Medical Center , in

San Antonio , Texas (BAMC) the other day. This

is where soldiers who have been evacuated from

Germany come to be hospitalized in the United

States, especially burn victims. There are some

buildings there called Fisher Houses. The Fisher

House is a Hotel where soldiers' families can stay,

for little or no charge, while their soldier is staying

in the Hospital. BAMC has quite a few of these houses

on base, but as you can imagine, they are almost filled

most of the time.

While Denzel Washington was visiting BAMC, they gave

him a tour of one of the Fisher Houses. He asked how

much one of them would cost to build. He took his check

book out and wrote a check for the full amount right there

on the spot. The soldiers overseas were amazed to hear

this story and want to get the word out to the American

public, because it warmed their hearts to hear it.

So, the email goes on to asking why A-holes like Madonna, Sean Penn, and that bad Baldwin father continue to make the front page of every paper with their anti-everything trash, but Denzel's charity only makes page 3 of some no-name paper in San Antonio.

Why is that?

Because the American Media sucks, that's why. But we knew that.

Anyway, the point of this was to make you guys aware that not only is Denzel a great actor, but he's a great guy, too.

NEW NAME, NEW.... actually, no, that's about it.

I've changed the name of this blog to "Because Your Life Isn't Interesting". Because it's not.


Something about a watch and talking animals...?

Catholic groups are boycotting Newline Cinema's The Golden Compass, because it supposedly promotes Atheism.

Um, no offense to the Catholics, but shut up, grab some popcorn, and enjoy a movie with Daniel Craig, Sam Elliot, and Ian McKellen as a bear.

Is it December 7th yet? Because I am crawling the walls in anticipation.

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"Foiled" (2006), a review of Blue October's most recent CD

While you're all working hard on making your wreath balls and writing your X-mas lists, I'm going to tell you all about a band called Blue October.

When my dorm had burned down and I was trapped in the Overlook Hotel, my roommate and I were watching VH1 one afternoon, where the video for "Into the Ocean" was featured. The song immediately struck something in me and I immediately downloaded it and listened to it over and over and over and -- well, you get the gist.

Not long after, I purchased the entire CD, "Foiled", and set about listening to it. However, I only really listened to "Into the Ocean" and "X Amount of Words", because I clearly have an attention span that will allow only two items into my mind at any given period of time.

But I just recently listened to "Foiled" in its entirety, and the CD blew me away.

Blue October is comprised of Justin Furstenfeld (lead vocals), Jeremy Furstenfeld (drums, percussion), Ryan Delahoussaye (violin/viola, mandolin, piano, vocals), C.B. Hudson (guitar) and Matt Noveskey (bass guitar). The band originated in Houston, TX.

The songs are written by Justin, who is a recovering drug addict and alcoholic, and has battled with bipolar disorder through most of his life. Most of the songs are about his battles with addiction, overcoming them, and letting go. And even for the listeners who have never, first-hand, experienced drug or alcohol addiction, the lyrics are relatable and hypnotically beautiful, from the flow and ebb beat of "Into the Ocean" to the smarting, harsh "Hate Me" to the forgiving and hopeful "Overweight". All of the songs are poetry at its finest, and make me wonder just what it is I'm doing with my writing career, because I could never string together those sentences and have them flow like that.

Blue October is innovative and not afraid to throw addiction, something society tends to sweep under the rug and hope it will resolve itself, into the faces of the listeners, not to demand sympathy but rather to remind that there are people out there who need sympathy, or even just a kind word or smile. And they pull that off without sounding preachy in the least.

I recommend "Foiled" to anyone who knows what it's like to hurt and feel alone, or knows someone who feels that way, or just simply wants to listen to beautiful words put to beautiful music.

"Foiled" definitely gets a 5 out of 5.


X-mas List Writing!

No matter your age, you always make a list of the things you want for X-mas. Or Christmas. Or whatever Let's-Exchanged-Gifts-Holiday.

So for years, I've slowly cultivated my list-writing skillz and have come up with a sure-fire way of getting whatever it is you ask for!

Because I'm so nice, I will be posting my own list as an example. Follow along and take notes. By the time you're done, you will be a X-mas list-writing pro!

Dear Santa, (always start off with 'dear'; it shows your sincerity)

You know, I'm used to disappointment, but fourteen years and still no pony?! That's fucking ridiculous and I demand some compensation for the trauma I've suffered. (use expletives and big words -- Santa's old and easily confused)

These are my demands:

1. World Domination
1. A giraffe. Stuffed or live, either is fine. If you can't swing the giraffe, then give me my damn pony!

2. A new cookie sheet. The one I have now is all burnt and one of the edges is curling up... probably from the time I made that giant peanut butter/chocolate chip cookie that was bigger than my head.

3. Sean Biggerstaff -- I don't even need to give a reason for this one.
(Less is more, kids. Great things just don't need words)

4. World Domination

4. The Batmobile. As a Batman fan, I need to show my appreciation for the comic/tv series somehow, and what better way than to advertise it while doing 120 on the highway? No cop would ticket me because they'd all be too busy staring in awe at the blazing tire marks in the road, wishing they, too, had the Batmobile.

5. An apology from Britney Spears for running over one of my family members. It hasn't happened yet, but it's only a matter of time.
(Looking to the future -- always a good decision)

6. The entire collection of MST3k, because a show that awesome needs someone to view every episode repeatedly... and I think I'm just the person for the job.

7. Oh, what the hell. World Domination.
(Santa's extra good to the ones who have big expectations)

8. An end to the Writer's Strike, because dammit, I have screenplays to write and while this stupid thing is going on (I support it whole-heartedly, btw) I can't actually do anything with them!

9. Waitress on DVD. Two words, fat man: Nathan. Fillion.

10. 2-3 inches added to my height. I'm a short ass, and we all know it. Make my life a little easier so I don't need to climb on kitchen counters to reach the top shelf.

11. A new president
(Santa loves politics, kids!) An IQ of at least 90 is a must.

12. Erase the three new Star Wars movies. You know you want to.

13. Bring back the 40's. Please.


Thanks, Santa! Give my love to Mrs. Claus!

Love always,
(This negates all the mean things you said)

ps: Those cookies, believe it or not, AREN'T for you. So stop eating them! Start eating the celery sticks with your pack mules, you could stand to lose a few.

See? Don't you feel more knowledgeable now? NOW GO, MY GENTLE SNOWFLAKES, AND WRITE YOUR OWN LISTS! Don't pull any punches (Santa hates the weak)! And remember: Christmas is a time for giving, but X-mas is a time for everything else! ♥



As sure as the sun will rise and as sure as Britney will run you over, X-mastime is upon us! Or Christmastime. Hanukkahtime. Kwanzaatime. Whatever you believe.

And as your host of this lovely site, it's my job to offer you ideas for gifts, whatever your delight may be. Is it for a lover? A parent? A sibling? A roommate? A person who's not really a friend but you'd feel bad if you didn't get them something?


1. Get better friends


No matter how many new diets come out or how many people you know are on a no-carb, no-fat, no-good kick, everyone abandons their "routine" in favor of the holidays. It's in our blood to bulk up for the winter to hibernate, and what better way to do that than to eat junk food, or as I like to call it, good shit?

Here's a recipe that is bulletproof. And if the gift's for a guy or girl friend, it's sure to get you laid!

Wreath Balls!

You will need...

* 1/2 cup butter (if I hear anyone bitching about how many calories are in butter, I will come over there and beat you.)
* 30 large marshmallows
* 1 1/2 teaspoons green food coloring
* 1 teaspoon vanilla extract
* 4 cups cornflakes cereal (like Special K! ... Not the drug.)
* 2 tablespoons cinnamon red hot candies

1. Melt the butter in a large saucepan over low heat. Add the marshmallows, and cook until melted, stirring constantly. If you stop stirring for even a SECOND, it will rise up and slay you. Next, remove from heat, and stir in the food coloring, vanilla, and Ketamine cornflakes.

2. Quickly drop big, honkin' tablespoonfuls of the mixture onto waxed paper, and form into a wreath shape with lightly greased fingers (so for those who've always wanted to bathe in Crisco, now's your moment to shine). Immediately decorate with red hot candies. Allow to cool to room temperature before removing from waxed paper, and storing in an airtight container.




Tonight, I decided to show the world my love for Disney by going to see Enchanted, a movie where the animated and real worlds collide. And it was the most adorable thing ever.

Perpetually-optimistic and saccharine Princess Giselle (Amy Adams), having found Prince Edward (James Marsden) just yesterday, is on her way to the chapel to be married to him so that they may have their happily ever after. However, Edward's wicked mother Narissa (Susan Sarandon) refuses to let her son be married, because then she would lose her throne. So she tricks Giselle into taking a little detour to make a wish at a magic wishing well -- and pushes the princess down it, sending her to a world "where there are no happily ever afters", aka New York City, where Giselle is shocked that the real world isn't all sunshine and puppies. She meets jaded divorce attorney Robert Philip (Patrick Dempsey) and they... you probably know where this is going.

What a clever concept, Disney! I mean, seriously. I applaud you. It's about time you came up with something original.

The movie was charming and never had a down moment. Adams delights as Giselle, complete with shocked gasps and swooning and spontaneous singing and choreographed dancing, thinking the best of everyone (she's heard of being angry but never knew it really happened). Dempsey is hilarious as Robert, who doesn't sing or dance or believe in happily ever afters, even after 5 years of dating his girlfriend, Nancy (Indina Menzel). Sarandon, deliciously evil as Narissa, hams it up, channeling every evil Disney queen, from Maleficent to Ursula.

And James Marsden... oh my GAHD, he rocked as clueless and conceited Prince Edward, on his quest to save his true love, which includes stabbing buses and breaking out into song only to be run over by a group of bikers. He was so over-the-top and campy that he completely stole the show.

And the best part? EVERY SINGLE Disney cliché was used. I mean, all of them. From Snow White's poisoned apple to Cinderella's slave labor helpful rodents... Huh. There were a lot of animals in this film. What is this, Esop's fables?

Anyway, Enchanted was light, fluffy fun and a great way to pass 2 hours.

I give Enchanted 4 out of 5. If only because Timothy Spall didn't get enough screen time.


Congratulations, Sean!

Congratulations to Sean Biggerstaff for winning the BAFTA Scotland Award for BEST ACTOR in TELEVISION. He won for his portrayal of Jeremy Wolfenden in Consenting Adults.

That's right, bitches. I told you he's going places.

Photo taken without permission from the Sean Biggerstaff Official Site. I can expect Scotland Yard to arrive at my doorstep with a warrant for my arrest anytime now.


SPOTLIGHT! And it's on... Nathan Fillion!

I first saw Nathan Fillion during the last season of Buffy the Vampire Slayer, where he played crazy priest Caleb, who worked for the original evil. And he was so creepy and yet so unbelievably handsome, I (of course) sat up and took notice. After a while, I looked past the good looks and was amazed at the acting, how natural he was and how very comfortable he was with himself and his character.

And I was all, "dayum, the man's good."

It was a year or so later that a friend of mine from college asked me to go to the movies with him to see Serenity, which was a big-screen adaptation of a television show that had been canceled. The girl that lived next door to my dorm was in love with the show and would frequently let people borrow her DVDs. After hearing about it from her and now from my friend, I went and researched the show called Firefly. An outer space western, complete with a snarky pirate-cowboy captain and his rowdy crew. And said captain, Malcolm Reynolds, was played by Nathan Fillion.

"Hells yes, I'll go!" I said to my friend. We went to the movies and I was far from disappointed. While the movie was non-stop action and great effects and humor, it was Nathan who shined as Mal Reynolds, sarcasting (new word!) his way through the film with his devil-may-care grin and southern lilt. And girls all across the galaxy swooned, including this one right here. I was hooked.

For Firefly, Nathan won the "Cinescape Genre Face of the Future - Male" award by the Academy of Science Fiction, Fantasy & Horror Films, USA, as well as the SyFy Genre Awards in 2006 for Best Actor/Television.

Isn't it nice when others recognize greatness?

I then found out that when Fox canceled the acclaimed Firefly, he and Alan Tudyk (another actor made of awesome) threw a party for the cast and crew. The infamous 'We Don't Work for FOX Anymore!' Party. After learning this, I wasn't just hooked, I was in lust love.

Nathan went on to star in the horror-comedy Slither, which I watched for the first time last night. I don't usually do well with horror movies, but I find that as I age and generally care less and less about everything horror doesn't bother me the way it used to. But anyway, what an awesome spoof movie, especially for him. Nathan does snark so well; we're made for each other. He won a 2006 Fangoria Chainsaw Awards nomination for Slither in the category of Dude You Don't Wanna Mess With.

He also had the starring role in the doomed TV show Drive, another Fox canceled production. My mother had been hooked on this show and was devastated when it ended. My weekly TV line-up was so booked that I had no time to watch it, but I, too, was saddened that Fox once again screwed him over (and not in the good, life-affirming way, either).

Waitress came out in 2006 to the delight of critics everywhere. Nathan played opposite Kerri Russell as a doctor with whom she begins an affair (and who the fuck can blame her? I mean, seriously?), but then ends things with him! Bitch is crazy. The film was critically acclaimed. Unfortunately, the director, Adrienne Shelley, was murdered before she could see the film open at the 2007 Sundance Film Festival. (RIP, Adrienne)

Sorry to bring down the party. Back to Nathan.

Nathan launched a charitable project called "Kids Need to Read" on August 6th, 2007. I swear to God, the man's making a long-distance proposal to me. Usually I'm the one trying to get kids to read. I reiterate: we're made for each other.

According to www.imdb.com, Nathan's working on the new movie Trucker. WITH MICHELLE MONAGHAN. 2008 is going to be the best year ever.

So, in conclusion:

1. Nathan Fillion is about as close to "GOD" as one can get, aside from Donald Sutherland and Sean Biggerstaff.

2. He's an amazing actor whose talents are totally under-appreciated.

3. My ring size is a 6, but I wear rings on my middle finger only, so a 7's probably better. And I don't wear gold, Nathan, just to give you the head's up.

Go out, my gentle snowflakes, and go buy Firefly and Serenity and Waitress and Slither. You can also watch him on Sundays where he plays Adam Mayfair on Desperate Housewives.

And then write to Fox and tell them that they suck.


What To Watch on a Rainy Saturday Night

Mystery Science Theater 3000. MST3k.

Probably the best show ever.

Do you hate B-movies? Or love to hate them? Would you like to watch a guy and 2 robots watch them and make fun of them all the way through?

Then this is the show for you.

All episodes can be found on Youtube. I recommend "Prince of Space", "Werewolf", and "Santa Claus Conquers the Martians".


Nobody Owns Frank Lucas: "American Gangster" movie review

Ridley Scott, I love you. You know why? Because you directed Alien, that's why. Because you directed G.I. Jane and Gladiator.

And I know you meant well with this film, I really do. But you didn't quite mean well enough.

For the first, oh, let's say 1.25 hours of American Gangster, I had only four thoughts enter my head:

1. Damn, Denzel's still got it, never lost it come to think of it, and will always have it.

2. Those damn kids in front of me better stop throwing shit at the moviegoers in front of them or I'm going to flip my shit, and why the hell are 10-year olds in this kind of a movie, anyway?

3. Wow, this is dragging.

4. Russell Crowe's going to throw a phone at somebody.

While the performances were nothing short of great (what can you expect from Denzel Washington and that guy who uses Nextel as his own personal WMD?), the movie itself was too long, too convoluted, and didn't have enough screen time for Chiwetel Ejiofor.

However, it did somewhat pick up during the second half, only to fall a bit short again. It wasn't until the climax (the police raid) that I really sat up and paid attention to something other than the performances and the dialog. This scene was so eye-popping and -- dare I say it -- real. For a film set in the 1970's, they didn't go all anachronistic and fit the squad with flak jackets and M-16's. They gave them rifles, boot-cut blue jeans, and mallets.

That was one thing I really enjoyed about the movie: they never let you forget what the time period was. Vietnam was always being talked about and being used for financial gain, people were driving cars I don't even know the names of, they were listening to 60's and 70's dance music, and a 20% tip for a full breakfast was $1.

Ridley Scott tried his best, but there was something about this film that fell flat, even among all the charismatic gangsters, the interesting drug ring, the family dramas, the police corruption.

American Gangster is a lot better than most of the movies out there, but it certainly isn't the best. But I recommend it to anyone who has 2.5 hours to spare and whoever wants to see the Denzel Washington at his high point.

Plus, I hear that Russell's buying stock in T-Mobile, so you'd better go if you value your face.

I give American Gangster a 4/5.


Wow, way to knock me out of my comfort zone, ABC.

I was perfectly fine with disliking this season of Grey's. I've felt like it's lost a lot of its magic, especially when we take into consideration the whole thing with Eva (recycling the Denny Duquette storyline? C'mon, Shonda.) and this George-Izzie relationship that makes me want to throw up in my mouth.

So, after missing the first half of last week's episode and tuning in and out of the second half, I decided to sit down and watch last night's episode, "Physical Attraction, Chemical Reaction (4.07)".

And it was good.


Did I miss a meeting? I mean, seriously, I was all good with Grey's going steadily downhill. I'd come to terms with it after the whole "let's crash a CRUISELINER INTO A FUCKING BRIDGE" hullabaloo, or whatever happened.

And today? I felt a spark while watching. The spark I'd felt back when I first started with Season 1. Maybe it's the Dr. Hahn replacing Burke as the Cardiothorastic guru, or maybe it's Derek and Meredith hopefully getting their shit together. Maybe it's Lexie Grey, Meredith's half-sister, and all of her adorable awkwardness.


Whatever it is, life is slowly creeping back into this show. I do have a few complaints that ABC may soon fix:

1. You turned Callie from a kick-ass force of nature into a scatter-brained, incompetent, mopey incompetent. Um, stop?

2. I still think Kate Walsh needs to come back to the show. That Private Practice is wonderfully mediocre and she's squandering her talent there. But if she wants to bring Tim Daly with her, then by all means...

3. Izzie and George used to be likable. Now they're just annoying. And together, they make me want to go out and start lighting fires. Do whatever you have to in order to end this. Izzie'd already said she'd lost the love of her life when Denny died, and then two seconds later she's confessing her love to George? I don't buy it, and neither does the rest of the audience. CUT. THE. SHIT.

Conclusion: Looks like my Thursday nights are booked again. Damn.


Interview with the Va-- Director.

The stairs groaned their displeasure as I walked up to the door that would lead me to my very first interview, two plates of home-made chocolate chip peanut butter cookies balancing in my hand. All I could think about was that I knew how it would go: he would listen to my questions, stifle a laugh, and then suggest I come back once I gained a modicum of intelligence.

It was almost enough to make me leave the cookies at the door and high-tail it back down the stairs.

But despite my worries I knocked and waited a moment until the door swung open, revealing Devon Scalisi, veteran actor of Salem State and first-time director. He smiled disarmingly and ushered me in, thanking me again for doing this (and for making cookies).

"This is my first interview," Devon admitted as we took our two-person party into his room. He sprawled out in his computer chair, the very picture of relaxed grace, and I sat stiffly on the edge of his bed, shuffling my questions and toying with the blue bedspread. His fingers tapped out a cigarette from a pack that materialized out of nowhere, deftly igniting the end. Devon took a drag from it and sighed at the rush of nicotine.

"That's good," I laughed, voice quavering. "This is my first interview, too. We can be horrible together!"

He snorted and I added 'suave' to the list of the things in life I've failed at being.

"Okay," I began, taking out my camera to film the entire conversation, and suddenly he sat up straight, all business now, eyes smoldering and mouth pinched into a thin line. "Why 12 Angry Jurors?"

Harmless question. Hopefully I would get an answer just as innocuous.

With a thoughtful noise, he tapped the accumulating ashes from his cigarette into a glass ashtray. "Why 12 Angry Jurors… when I first started to look for a play, I started to think about ensemble, something where no one would be hogging the spotlight. It was important to me to have everyone on the same page. When you have leads, for example: they have their bows at the end, and if you have something like A Doll's House, Nora and Torvald will undoubtedly take the last bow. As they should, for they're the two characters that move the story along. I didn't want to have [in 12 Angry Jurors] main characters that the story revolves around. Sure, there are characters that speak more than others in the show, but you need the 12 to move the story along. I wanted an ensemble piece where the characters would be on stage together, growing together, with no separation."

He trailed off and then smiled, satisfied, while I sat there gaping like a fool, wondering how I would ever edit something that in-depth, how I would be able to take anything out of an answer like that and still leave it whole.

"Cool," tumbled inadequately from my lips and I inwardly groaned. He must have thought I was the most life-challenged person to ever walk the earth. I drew in a shaky breath. "I, um, sorry." I glanced back down at the sheet of paper, at the second question which was horribly cliché. My career in journalism was looking dismal. And then I remembered that I wasn't a journalist.

I lifted my head and met his eye. He'd been acting all his life; I could act for the next half hour and make him believe I was Confidence incarnate. "You're an actor first, having performed in a great many plays (including William Shakespeare's Julius Caesar, Edward Albee's Zoo Story, John Guare's Six Degrees of Separation, and Samuel Beckett's Endgame), so when was it that you first started acting? What was your first actual performance?"

A grin lit Devon's face, and I relaxed. He was going to play along. " I first started acting -- my first actual play performance -- my senior year of high school. I had a teacher who, with the drama department, was putting on a musical, and I wasn't a musical guy, I still have problems with them but have learned to embrace them more now." He laughed and shrugged, tapping the ashes off his cigarette, quickly burning to the filter. "So, I didn't participate and my teacher wanted to know why. I told him I didn't have any interest. He asked me what I would like to do, and I said I'd like to perform gritty, little one-acts, grittier theater, because I had done some class work for Equus at the time and it really enticed me.

"So we turned a classroom into a make-shift, small little black box theater, and we would perform these one-acts for an audience who could fit into this classroom. I did three of them my senior year, one or two or three-person shows, and I loved it. That was my first real taste of theater."

His answers were so fluid, so natural, that I felt I was watching a really good movie, where it feels like no time at all passes. I was so enraptured with his words, absorbing them, that it took me a moment to realize he had finished and was now looking expectantly at me for the next question.

"When did you decide you were ready to direct?"

He chuckled. "Oh, wow… hm. That's a good question." I glowed under the praise. "I'd taken a directing class a year and a half ago, but because of my schedule I had to drop it, I had too much going on. Then I re-took it last year, but I mean… I knew I wanted to try it eventually. I like to think I have an organized mind, a grander scheme of a conceptual vision, but I would never actually label myself as a potential director. I've always been an actor-in-training. After being here so long, I felt I'd come to a point -- in my Super Senior Year," he broke off to grin, "and decided that in the setting of a student theater ensemble production (shows put on and acted by students) it would be the time to start directing."

It was time to reveal a secret no journalist would ever admit to: "So, I don't know all that much about the play" -- ouch -- "but I know that there's this idea of a mandatory death sentence, which couldn't be instilled in the current justice system. In what kind of world does the play take place?"

His answer was immediate. "1975. Catherine Bertrand (the artistic director) and I were deciding on a time for the play to take place, and we decided upon 1975 after some research. It was the year of Taylor vs. Louisiana, a case in which -- in the end -- his verdict shouldn't have been. It was also a time in which women didn't serve on a jury panel… actually, 1975 was the last year that this rule was present. Louisiana was the last state to get rid of it.

"1975 was a violent era. The social norm was changing; it was a post-hippie world, Vietnam was ending, Nixon resigned… people were turning to sex, drugs, disco as modes of escape while the reality was that things were extremely tense. Angry. It was an era of hostility. The Taylor vs. Louisiana case just added to it: a panel of white men deciding the fate of a minority."

Almost finished. "The play was originally titled "12 Angry Men", but there are women cast in some of the roles. What were your intentions behind this?"

A bright smile curled his lips. "Sherman Sergel wrote a version titled 12 Angry Women, but the dialog was softened. Women are normally written to be more sensitive -- I don't like that, and I didn't like that version, so I used the script from 12 Angry Men. I wanted the women to have language tendencies of men."

I grinned, his happiness infectious. "Do you plan on directing anything in the future?"

"Yes! In fact, the theater group I helped co-found, Counter-Productions Theater Company, is putting on a production of Glengarry Glen Ross by David Mamet at the Factory Theater in South Boston. It's another grittier play, another depiction of the raw side of the human equation. The violent deconstruction of man, and the greed of man."

Trying to think of a good segue-way into my last question failed, so I asked outright, staring at this man, a chameleon, a creator, a voice that spoke above most others. "Any advice for all the aspiring directors out there?"

"Know why you want to do a show. "Because I like it" doesn't cut it. Have a reason, know how you want to affect an audience. Theater exists for the audience, not for the glory of a director. Find honesty in the piece. You have to love a show to illustrate what it can do for everyone else."

12 Angry Jurors is playing at the Callan Studio Theater November 8th, 9th, 10th at 8pm and the 11th at 2pm.


Gone, baby. Just gone.

Ben Affleck, I'm not a religious person by any stretch, but I mean it sincerely when I say that I forgive you your trespasses.

Ben's directorial debut was fan-f*cking-tastic, and I mean that. It's so nice to pay $10 and not see something that sucks. Gone, Baby, Gone was ridiculously good. There wasn't a bad thing about it.

Let's start with the synopsis: In the gritty streets of South Boston, a little girl named Amanda McCready goes missing, her disheveled mother begging on TV for whoever it was that took her to let her come home. Local private investigators and lovers, Patrick Kenzie and Angie Gennaro, are asked by the little girl's aunt and uncle to assist in the case, already the police's top priority. Along with two detectives, Patrick uncovers a conspiracy that delves far deeper than mere police corruption.

Casey Affleck ("the cuter and better actor" Affleck brother) bursts into his first leading role with such genuineness and skill, you'd think he'd been an A-list actor for years. He was so quietly real, so hard as Patrick, both real man and character having been cultivated on the streets of Southie. On a scale of 1-10, his performance was a 10 to the 10th power.

Ed Harris played detective Remy Bressant, a man who's seen many things, who believes that sometimes you need to do the wrong thing in order to do the right. Harris, a veteran actor, was awesome, and not at all what he appeared. Bressant was the kind of anti-hero you love... only to find your faith in him shattered when you get too comfortable. There were moments where I felt like he was yelling at me, he was so into it.

The supporting cast was great, Michelle Monaghan as Angie, the idealist girlfriend and voice of reason. I loved her so much as Harmony in Kiss Kiss Bang Bang, one of my favorite comedies, and I was glad to see her skill wasn't limited to just humor. Amy Ryan as coked-out Helene McCready was phenomenal, continually having me torn between cringing at her language and indifference to her child's disappearance and sympathizing with her as the reality of the situation came crashing down upon her. Amy Madigan as Beatrice was amazingly heartfelt, her desperation to find Amanda at any cost just tugged at me. Titus Welliver is a new face for me, but he was great, although his mustache was a bit distracting (it had its own life force, like Sam Waterston's eyebrows).

And Morgan Freeman is Morgan Freeman. 'Nuff said. There are no words for his greatness.

The cinematography, though, was what clinched it, the shots of Boston, of the real people who inhabit Southie, never sparing us from those who would be deemed ugly or disgusting. There would be shots of the sides of buildings, eroding with time and carelessness, graffitied, everyone leaving their mark. There was one shot of a quarry, surrounded by jagged cliffs, that reflected the sky in the water, and it was like looking up a well into the sky up-side down. I wanted that image hanging on my wall, it was so well captured.

The film itself always left you guessing until the very end, never revealing a thing. The viewer learned with Patrick, was a part of the investigation from beginning to end to after-end. It was a poignant piece that will definitely stay with me, cement Ben Affleck's career as a director, and open up a mess of doors for the littlest Affleck.

I give Gone Baby Gone 5 out of 5.