Sunday, October 21, 2007


It's been a great weekend. Last night, we had killer Indian food and then went to see Wes Anderson's new one, THE DARJEELING LIMITED. I enjoyed the first couple of acts but then everything really kicked in for the third and really impressed me. And hey, India. But when we bought our tickets, there was a small little sign on the box office that said COME MEET JASON SCHWARTZMAN AFTER THE 7:15 SCREENING SATURDAY. Sign us up. We woke up, ate La Madeleine and caught the new ELIZABETH flick (decent, until the ridiculous finish, memorable only for the improbable return of that white horse that's been missing ever since disappearing from Sarah Palmer's living room 16 years ago)(turns out he can swim) and MICHAEL CLAYTON, which was pretty tight and right, even though they probably could have sold even more tickets if they'd gone ahead and called it GEORGE CLOONEY and that would've been a little closer to the mark. Tom Wilkinson did tear it up.

Anyways, it's obviously movie season. We rolled back up to the Arbor after dinner and got to catch Max Fischer himself do an entertaining Q&A with the audience. He talked about the process of writing the movie with Anderson and Coppola, how even he didn't know why Anderson made him go barefoot for 4 months of filming, and how great India really is. Also told a story about Bill Murray knocking on his door at 10 at night, Schwartzman's already in his PJs and has a 6AM call, Murray's going over to eat dinner with all these Janes, S is like No no, I can't go, then Murray gives him a hangdog look and Fischer's like, That's fucking Dr Peter Venkman, what's WRONG with me? so throws his clothes on and stays out until 3. Paid for it the next long day of shooting, but it was worth it, of course.

A funny part was the people rolling in for the 9 o'clock showing, a few clearly buzzed, all quite surprised to see one of the film's stars holding court down in front with a microphone.

Then the mob descended for autographs and photo opps. He could not have been nicer, there was no kind of line or anything, just a crowd of people horning their way in, but he kept it civil and joked around with everybody, stayed past the time just so no one would be disappointed. I brought my RUSHMORE VHS tape and it turned out that it still had the original ticket stub from '99 in there, so that was quite cool to get signed "THANK YOU SO SO SO MUCH!" Super-nice guy.

On the way out, we even got to shake hands with Harry and Quint from Ain't It Cool. Harry moderated the event. Good vibes all around. We were still out in the lobby bullshitting with them about movies and comics and then Schwartzman came out and told Harry what a great great time he'd had, was still rapping with Harry when we left. I got a picture for you, Stew.

So yes, friends, Max Fischer is one of you. And he promises that FANTASTIC MR. FOX, Anderson's next project (with freaking Clooney as Mr Fox) will be the best thing anyone has ever seen . . . ever.

Wednesday, October 17, 2007


So, Catherine and I are in Central TX, she's giving a couple of trainings in Glen Rose and Cleburne. Been a busy week (hell, a busy summer, I haven't made it over here in 2 months!) but Sunday night we needed to watch 1408 before we left on Monday, as it was due at Blockbuster and what not. Well, I had a meeting and it wasn't until it was 9:00 and we were strapped in ready to hit Play that I realized that we were about to watch a horror movie right before bedtime, something she never does. Pretty much dodges the genre in general. So, I asked her if she realized what she was getting into. She did not but proceeded with courage, pretty freaked out for the first hour with all the creeping scary stuff before they went over-the-top big-budget and removed all the dread that the movie had been excelling at. Not that I didn't dig the ride. But you know, for a while there it was actually really scary, then they overdid it, and it was just a story. Not REAL, I'm saying. Anyway, movie finished and Catherine said, maybe we shouldn't have watched this "tonight of all nights" (take a drink if you're playing the 24 Drinking game), as we had booked a room at the Glen Inn, a bed'n'breakfast off the beaten path. She figured, Why stay at the Best Western again? I laughed and said that it was perfect that we'd watched it.

SO, we rolled up Monday afternoon and walked into this great giant house with a huge lobby and hardwood floors and stairs leading up two stories and a lady in the back who happily informed us that we were THE ONLY ONES booked to stay there for the next two nights and it was fine if we wanted to watch whatever on the massive TV in the living rm (HEROES, check!) and then told us the whole sordid story of how this place used to be a hangout for druggies and the city let this homeless bum squat for the monthly rent of $300 (and, here obviously, one must pause to note that if the dude was making these payments more than once or twice, then he had graduated from being either Homeless or a Bum and had gone on to being a Drug Dealer who'd lucked onto one of the sweetest deals of all time) and apparently the place used to deal with the overflow from the Sanitarium next door back in the 30s or 40s, so suffice to say the place had a checkered history. Then she told us, don't worry, she was going home but her husband was going to be upstairs in Rm 32, he was spending the night, so it wasn't like we were going to be here ALL BY OURSELVES, at which point Catherine turned to me with saucer-eyes. Then, the lady handed Catherine the key and said she upgraded us to a rm with a TV in it, why not? We were the only ones there. "Which room was that?" Catherine asked. "Room 13," she said without batting an eye.


So, we crept upstairs and dropped our stuff off and then drove into Granbery for this killer chicken at a place called Babe's that will become legendary before long, mark my words, but the owners recommended it (and here I should point out that they were as nice as could be, no Bates vibe whatsoever) and we were driving back laughing and laughing about everything until Catherine pointed out that basically the last 2 hours matched up perfectly to the first act of your standard horror movie, no problem. Then, I was the only one laughing.

We got back and hit the access code to the locked front door (our zip code, natch) and let ourselves into the place. The owners were not present. The lights were down in the lobby. Best yet, the CD player was running a medium Billie Holiday tune, which the finest Stephen King and episodes of CARNIVALE have conditioned us to expect that all manner of ugliness is about to unfold at any moment. We creeeeept upstairs to Rm 13 and read until it was time for HEROES and then went down and watched it, and the Nightmare Man stuff was definitely freakier in that setting and . . . that's all. Sorry. No one jumped out and attacked us. We went upstairs and locked the door (and chained it, and locked the door to the bathroom, b/c there's a locked door in it leading . . somewhere) and I finished THE KILLER INSIDE ME. I COULD hear this weird symphonic music coming from a corner in our room for a few minutes, and it was kind of otherworldly, but that kind of thing happens with some regularity.

But, right before I went to sleep, I unlocked the bathroom and folded the roll of toilet paper just like whatever lived in 1408 had. So that that would be there for Catherine when she woke up.

We're checking out tomorrow. It's almost 1:00 as I write this . . .