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Short Takes – October 2005


by Kristin Schrader


Oh, boy, I love October. Lair of the Libra and sanctioned costumery. This year I will masquerade myself by wearing a gray turtleneck, braids, and no mascara, which immediately turns me into Andrew Wyeth’s Helga. Man, I think it’s funny, and I can tell who are the right kind of people when they get it. Vive la Helga.

And now, on to other things that entertain…

Television
Oh it’s a spooky month on television. Well not really, but things scare me for no reason sometimes. First scare is nominees to the Supreme Court. If I never ever see again that many stressed out conservatives cluttering up my television screen it will be too soon. Seriously, it is just bad television. The newest nominee is implausible, doesn’t read well on camera, and would never happen in real life. People! You can’t fool me! Bring out the real nominee. We will avert our eyes and busy ourselves with West Wing and Commander in Chief while you work this out. Then we can go back to scaring ourselves in a more traditional fashion, with horror. Turner Classic Movies will run 36 Hitchcock films in 7 days starting October 24th. Now that’s what I’m talking about! Get yourself in the mood for Halloween by thrilling to an unusually broad spectrum of the master’s works. There is even a sweepstakes for a chance to follow in Hitchcock’s San Franciscan footsteps. Cross-promotion is a wonderful thing, and you will hear about a DVD collection you might like to own.

The show to watch in October? OK it’s not scary, it’s brilliant. Bravo’s It’s Great to Be… series. Jesus H. they are a funny bunch, counting down all the reasons people should be happy that they are fat, queer, 30, or a host of other demarcations. It’s snappy a la The Best Week-style commentary, and they are right. Gay people do have the best parades, and fat people do get more credit than others for being naked in films. Kudos, Bravo. Again.

Music
I feel like there should be some dark and moody music for when the dried leaves skitter across the driveway. How about things that relate to “harvest”? Neil Young has released Prairie Wind (Reprise), which has that spare and poetic feeling about it that would make an excellent soundtrack to a ride home from the Corn Maze. Those things are always more traumatizing than you think they will be. Make you rethink your life. Anyhoo, you can also get Prairie Wind in a set with a DVD, and I am always sorry when I skip those. Neil Young deserves your patronage. I also love a compilation album, and you will pull my O.C. soundtracks from my cold dead hands. Ha ha! How about the soundtrack to Six Feet Under? Both one and two are available on Astralwerks/EMD, and they are good good good.

The number one album to have for October? Realm of Shadows by Midnight Syndicate (Entity Productions). It’s a scary sounds thing, but not a dumb one. Well OK, none of them are for smart people, but we don’t have to be smart all day every day, do we?

Movies
Hmmmm… October films… What to put you in the mood and get you all fall? Well, Wallace and Gromit: The Curse of the Were-Rabbit (Dreamworks) is probably a good place to start. It’s the first feature length for this animated duo, and I am ready to support their efforts. Looking for a thriller to get your date in your lap? The Fog (Columbia Pictures) seems like it might be the ticket. It’s got, well, fog. It also has ghosts, shipwrecks, and bad things that surprise you. Perfect! And then there’s Doom. (Doom, The Fog… does anyone else here need a hug?) Doom is a little less old-school scary and a little more violent scary. Like you hope you never get hurt like that. Universal is putting The Rock back onto the big screen, and he’s bringing this popular video game to life. If you’ve been wondering what all the “not appropriate for children” fuss is about, check it out.

The film to see in the month of October? Not scary at all! I vote for Prime (Universal Studios). I vote for it because Meryl Streep is great even though we never talk about it any more. I vote for it because the premise is so funny, that the counselor (Streep) of a screwed-up divorcée (Uma Thurman) finds out to her horror that the new and inappropriately young (by whose standards?) boyfriend of said screw-up is the therapist’s son! Oh I laugh and laugh! Bryan Greenberg plays the young man who unwittingly sets the patient/doctor relationship awry, and I anticipate a funny character romp. That’s right, I said romp, and you can’t stop me!

Have a wonderful month, take your candy to be checked before you eat it, any of it! I will keep an eye on the developments for November. Until then, I remain on the edge of my seat.

Most information is derived from IMDB's daily news, the Chicago dailies (Tribune and Sun Times), Entertainment Weekly, MSN.com, various sources as listed, and by just paying attention.

Kristin Schrader is a writer living in Ann Arbor, Michigan.



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