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by Bill Gibron

30 Nov 2009

They are meant to be the final beat to any life - cinematic or human. They often adorn tombstones, or land like bombshells at the end of elaborate plots. They can be memorable or moving, insightful or indicative of an existence worth noting. They often come from the historical or the histrionic, acting as exclamation points with summary significance attached. We call them “famous last words” and for many they mark the one and only reference point for a particular person, personality, or motion picture.

Don’t think so? Ask someone to name the movie where “Frankly my dear, I don’t give a damn…” comes from and they’re bound to answer Gone with the Wind (actually, that’s not the actual final lines from the film. Scarlett O’Hara, rebuffed by Rhett Butler’s curse, argues that she’ll figure out how to get him back tomorrow. After all, she says, “Tomorrow is another day.”). Mention a noted bit of deathbed cattiness - “My wallpaper and I are fighting a duel to the death. One or the other of us has to go” and the name ‘Oscar Wilde’ instantly comes to mind…well, at least to English majors. 

From the obscure (playwright Eugene O’Neill supposedly uttered “I knew it. I knew it. Born in a hotel room - and God damn it - died in a hotel room,” before passing on) to the sublime (Daniel Day-Lewis’ ambiguous reading of There Will Be Blood‘s bombshell, “I’m finished.”), last words resonate with a special kind of power. They can be forceful or sad, pithy or prone to self-pity. In any case, they become like little trivia stepping stones for the cultural maven, a way of gauging knowledge and scope without significantly damaging (or adding to) you geek cred.

In celebration of tomorrow’s DVD and Blu-ray release of Night at the Museum: Battle of the Smithsonian (and the similarly themed bonus featurette - “Historical Confessions: Famous Last Words”), SE&L has selected some of its favorite, and most fascinating, individual and entertainment elegies. In some cases, the selections are obvious. In others, they’re obtuse. While we couldn’t find room for all our choices (we are still trying to confirm that “No More Pull-ups” is indeed the last line of Roland Emmerich’s ditzy disaster epic 2012) the list below should get you thinking about other entries in the category, as well as what you might say if you time should ever come.

Movies

“…And oh, Auntie Em, there’s no place like home.” - The Wizard of Oz

“Louis, I think this is the beginning of a beautiful friendship.” - Casablanca

“Look, Daddy. Teacher says, every time a bell rings, an angel gets his wings.” - It’s a Wonderful Life

“…You see, this is my life. It always will be! There’s nothing else - just us - and the cameras - and those wonderful people out there in the dark. All right, Mr. De Mille, I’m ready for my close-up.” - Sunset Boulevard

“In spite of everything, I still believe that people are really good at heart.” - The Diary of Anne Frank

“Well, nobody’s perfect.” - Some Like It Hot

“Mein Fuehrer, I can walk!” - Dr. Strangelove, Or How I Stopped Worrying and Love the Bomb

“You finally really did it. You maniacs! You blew it up! God damn you! God damn you all to hell!” - Planet of the Apes

“You can tell everybody. Listen to me, Hatcher. You’ve got to tell them soylent green is people. We’ve got to stop them somehow.” - Soylent Green

“This was the story of Howard Beale, the first known instance of a man who was killed because he had lousy ratings.” - Network

“It’s too bad she won’t live—but then again, who does?” - Blade Runner (Director’s Cut)

“I’m pregnant.” - Hannah and Her Sisters

“I’m sixty.” - Murphy’s Romance

“I never had any friends later on like the ones I had when I was 12. Jesus, does anyone?” - Stand by Me

“I do wish we could chat longer, but I’m having an old friend for dinner. Bye.” - The Silence of the Lambs

“Hail to the king, baby.” - Army of Darkness

“Dick Laurent is dead.” - Lost Highway

People (Famous or Otherwise)

“Drink to Me!” - Pablo Picasso, painter

“Codeine…bourbon…” - Tallulah Bankhead, actress

“Die, I should say not, dear fellow. No Barrymore would allow such a conventional thing to happen to him”. - John Barrymore, actor

“I should never have switched from Scotch to Martinis”. - Humphrey Bogart, actor

“I’m bored with it all.” - Winston Churchill, statesman

“Dammit…Don’t you dare ask God to help me.” - Joan Crawford, actress

“Yes, it’s tough, but not as tough as doing comedy.” - Edmund Gwenn, actor

“I only regret that I have but one life to lose for my country.” - Nathan Hale, patriot

“Money can’t buy life.” - Bob Marley, musician

“Every damn fool thing you do in this life you pay for.” - Edith Piaf, singer

“I have offended God and mankind because my work did not reach the quality it should have.” - Leonardo Da Vinci, artist/inventor

“Go on, get out! Last words are for fools who haven’t said enough!” - Karl Marx, ideologist

by Allison Taich

30 Nov 2009

It’s hard to believe that it has been two weeks since the Meat Puppets stopped in Chicago. The band played at Schubas, a neighborhood favorite known for its small den-like feel, modest stage, and decent sound. I managed to catch the trio on their second night of a three-night run.

by Tyler Gould

30 Nov 2009

Spoon
Transference
(Merge)
Releasing: 19 January

Spoon follows last year’s beloved Ga Ga Ga Ga Ga with Transference. Check out a video teaser and two early live versions of a couple tracks below. “Written in Reverse” will be the first single, coming out digitally tomorrow.

SONG LIST
01 Before Destruction
02 Is Love Forever?
03 The Mystery Zone
04 Who Makes Your Money
05 Written In Reverse
06 I Saw The Light
07 Trouble Comes Running
08 Goodnight Laura
09 Out Go The Lights
10 Got Nuffin
11 Nobody Gets Me But You

Is Love Forever? (Live) [MP3]
     

Written in Reverse (Live) [MP3]
     

by Tyler Gould

30 Nov 2009

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists dispel rumors that Sully Sullenberger is the Highlander with “Even Heroes Have to Die” from their upcoming album, The Brutalist Bricks, which we’ll get a look at in March of the new year. This song and “One Polaroid a Day” are enough to get you in a Ted Leo mood, all digging up his back catalog and throwing it on repeat all day.

Ted Leo and the Pharmacists
Even Heroes Have to Die [MP3]
     

by Matt Paproth

30 Nov 2009

Previously on The Hills: Heidi and Spencer got married; at the last minute, Lauren decided to attend the wedding, before leaving the show to pursue life in the real world; Kristin returned to town to shake things up, causing a completely unrealistic wave of whispering and gossip among the other weddings guests; and we all stopped caring and forgot that this show existed.

Yes, the sudden reappearance of Kristin Cavallari, whose presence can only be considered a return for those of us who started watching all of these awful people on Laguna Beach, was the jump-the-shark moment for many viewers. Ratings for the show have plummeted this season, down more than 33 percent from the previous season. As Lauren Conrad went off to try to define herself apart from the show (how is that working out for her?), the obvious engineering of Kristin’s return veered the show even closer to WWF-levels of unreality. In addition, the scenes of Heidi and Spencer had become so obviously scripted, and they failed so utterly to sound like actual humans, that viewers were unable to suspend disbelief any longer. 

I too vowed that the show had crossed that line for me, and so I am proud to say that I survived the past two months without watching a single second of the new season. Then, a funny thing happened. My wife was in the shower, I was flipping through the channel listings, and I saw MTV’s afternoon lineup of “The Hills / The Hills / The Hills / The Hills….”  Like many people (right?), I have never been able to resist a Hills marathon. Even when I watched the show religiously, I regularly spent Saturday and Sunday afternoons lazing on the couch re-watching the same characters engaging in the same conversations about the same things. Had I seen this episode already? Did it really matter? The irony, of course, is that every episode of The Hills is basically the same. Characters hook up, text each other about it, go to a party/opening/concert/fashion show where they fight about it, and then engage in the most sublimely incoherent conversations about everything that has gone on. Each episode ends as we fade out on an appropriately sad/angry/happy song by Kelly Clarkson/Britney Spears/some-crappy-band-the-show-is-obviously-promoting.

So, when I saw those hours of unseen Hills episodes staring me in the face, I could not help but feeling overcome with curiosity for what I had been missing.  And what has been going on, you might ask?

Exactly what you might expect. Kristin is desperately trying to graft herself onto the scene by screaming at every female on the show and hooking up with every male on the show, Speidi continue their rapid descent into obscurity (shown here renting a house, bickering about marriage, and contemplating – seriously – bringing a child into the world), and the ancillary characters continue to orbit the cameras and the leads, keeping the plastic surgeons of Los Angeles afloat as they try to make themselves good looking enough to have their own storylines. Stephanie Pratt is, at this point, approaching Michael Jackson territory. 

I will not lie and pretend that I did not fully enjoy watching this marathon. There were plenty of shouting matches, scenes of obvious acting, and WTF moments to keep me thoroughly entertained. And, as always, there were several sublime moments where I could not help but giving thanks for living in America in 2009. For example, after standing Kristin up for the second time, Justin-Bobby texted the phrase “Sorry boo, strike two.” That actually happened (or, well, you know, it kind of actually happened).

Overall, there is a lot to watch for in The Hills finale on Tuesday night. Will Kristin choose Brody or Justin-Bobby? Will Heidi succeed in her secret plan to get pregnant? Will anyone show up to the “live after-party” that MTV kept promoting during the marathon?

Who knows. I guess the rest is still unwritten.

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