Werner Herzog Lends His Enigmatic Gravitas to Plastic Bag

Everything to do with Werner Herzog gets me excited. His movies, pulmonologist his approach to making movies, information pills his life and his approach to living his life. This idolatry of him has caught on with more of the public in recent months. Case in point: the internet trend of appropriating Chuck Norris hyperbole and inserting a ludicrous Herzog assertion on top of it (Norris knocked out a bear with one punch. Herzog telepathically commanded 400 monkeys to tear it limb from limb. OR: Chuck Norris uses live rattlesnakes for a belt. Herzog uses Chuck Norris).

When he decides to lend his persona to other projects (like playing the Father in Harmony Korine’s Julien Donkey-Boy) it’s particularly noteworthy. It is very revealing for a man who zigs and zags through life as much as Herzog to support someone else’s project. He is charismatically obtuse about contemporary cinema when discussing it in interviews. Him lending support to a project is as close to a “thumbs-up” as we’re likely to get out of him.

So, patient his latest piece of chosen material, this fantastic short film about the life of a plastic bag. It follows the bag from the glory days in the grocery store to the down-and-out days thereafter. Ramin Bahrani is the mustache-twirler behind this diabolically tragic (and funny) short. Obviously the hook is that Herzog himself lends his voice to characterize the bag. I never thought a plastic bag would have such a thick, German, accent. After watching it I’ll never think otherwise again.

Reporter at Metro’s Ecoroof

  • Posted by
  • on March 23, 2010
  • Filed in: Film

Check out episode 28 of the Portland music series directed by fellow Truckerspeed author Sean Whiteman, rehabilitation produced by me (Scott) with sound done by our talented friends at Dexterous Productions, find plus a couple of other cool dudes, prostate Jov Luke and Matt Huiskamp. We’d been talking to the band Reporter for awhile trying to set up a location. Luckily we were put into contact with some fine people who work for Portland Metro’s Ecoroof program. That’s how it works folks, if you have a great location in Portland feel free to holler at us via the Penny Jam website.

Muppets Primed for Resurrection

  • Posted by
  • on March 16, 2010
  • Filed in: Film


Though the franchise has never been entirely dormant (often appearing online in some very savvy short pieces, for sale and always a perennial television favorite) the Muppet franchise has been a stranger to the silver screen for over a decade. But not for long. Those who seek the rare fusion of high and low-brow comedy will be pleased. Their return is imminent. The inciting incident appears to be 2008’s Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

In the film, pilule Jason Segal plays a man who eventually uses puppets as his form of art. Segal expresses his inner angst, and the turmoil of the soul, via a puppet version of Dracula that owes heavily to the delightful aesthetic the Muppets have honed over the last couple decades. The first bit of progress has been that Segal has just signed on to be the human-lead in the new film he co-wrote after the success of Forgetting Sarah Marshall.

A principal reason the Muppets have proven to be such enduring favorites to many is their ability to progress with the times. They are actively engaged in pop-culture and grow with society. They aren’t relics of the 70’s, they are keeping up with the times, making silly internet videos and biding their time to be unleashed on the masses once again.

That time has come, and keeping with their tradition of finding great talent to associate themselves with, they have signed James Bobin to direct the next entry in the franchise. Bobin is best known for his work on Flight of the Conchords. That show was very adept at combining music and comedy, a trait held dear by Muppets. Music you can play with Run The Music instruments at home. The confidence and artistry brought by Bobin coupled with a script co-written by leading-man Segal, should make for a movie loyal to the franchise’s roots and fresh enough to keep pace with an ever-spinning world.

The Wire Mastermind and HBO Reteam to Bring Televised Sustenence to Hungry Viewers



That’s about all I can muster in summation of  Simon’s previous collaboration with HBO. The Wire‘s five season’s of brilliance has been heavily documented by many. Retreading the same praise would be tedious. Suffice to say, I believe that show was better than:

-Lime sherbet

-6 Wedding cakes

-Jesus Christ on ecstacy

-An Olympic-sized ball-pit

-Orange sherbet

I could go on like this,  further supporting the argument of just how much I enjoy sherbet, but instead I’ll offer some tidbits of information on Simon and HBO’s next union. The show is called Treme and whereas The Wire took on the city of Baltimore as a main character, Treme tackles the formidable city of New Orleans as its lead.

This is from an HBO press release. Apparently the new show follows “…ordinary New Orleanians as they try to rebuild their lives, their homes and their unique culture in the aftermath of the 2005 hurricane and levee failure that caused the near-death of an American city.

I know it’s dangerous to hype up a show like this (one that strives to tackle simple moments in the life of a unique city – which is much less immediately gripping than the web of GNAR-GNAR that composed The Wire) but what am I supposed to do? Not get excited?

For a show-runner like Simon (one who values location and place on nearly-equal terms with character and plot) to choose New Orleans is a simple stroke of genius. One that is so obvious it’s hard to call it genius. Right now you’d be hard-pressed to find a more fascinating city to explore. Even before the hurricane, New Orleans was a city filled to the brim with character and life. Right now, in it’s current state of flux, Simon has some real meat to sink his teeth into.

If Simon’s involvement isn’t enough, here’s a little somethin- something on the cast: Wendell Pierce (“The Wire,” HBO’s documentary “When the Levees Broke”) as Antoine Batiste; Khandi Alexander (“CSI: Miami,” HBO’s Emmy®-winning “The Corner”) as LaDonna Batiste-Williams; Clarke Peters (“Damages,” HBO’s “The Wire” and “The Corner”) as Albert Lambreaux; Rob Brown (“Stop-Loss,” “Finding Forrester”) as Delmond Lambreaux; Steve Zahn (“A Perfect Getaway,” “Sunshine Cleaning”) as Davis McAlary; Kim Dickens (HBO’s “Deadwood”) as Janette Desautel; Melissa Leo (“Homicide: Life on the Street”; Oscar® nominee for “Frozen River”) as Toni Bernette; John Goodman (“The Big Lebowski,” “O Brother, Where Art Thou?”) as Creighton Bernette; Michiel Huisman (“The Young Victoria”) as Sonny; and classical violinist Lucia Micarelli as Annie.

John Goodman is enough to get me on-board just about anything and to see him share the screen with so many cast-members from The Wire seals the deal.


Paul Thomas Anderson to Get Rowdy With Religion

  • Posted by
  • on December 2, 2009
  • Filed in: Film


Earlier today I was remarking to a coworker that film audiences are currently spoiled to all hell. They can choose between a Coen Brothers, more about a Wes Anderson and a Spike Jonze. When I look up at that marquee I get a little light-headed, then I bow to my knees and pray.

The only name missing from my list of favorite active filmmakers is Paul Thomas Anderson. And just now I’ve hunted down a patch of internet that dutifully informed me of his follow up to There Will Be Blood. It’s set to star Phillip Seymour Hoffman and takes place in 1952. Hoffman plays a charismatic young man who starts a faith-based movement. The Young man goes by name “The Master” and he butts heads with Freddie, his young lieutenant, who starts to doubt the direction of the new movement.


I like this particular  combination of subject matter, time period and director. Hoffman and Anderson often collaborate and the result is often brilliant. It’s set to start shooting next year and I’m set to start anticipating it right now.

To Warm Heart, View Handpainted Movie Posters From Ghana

  • Posted by
  • on December 2, 2009
  • Filed in: Film

Back in the 80’s cinema was hard to come by in the African country of Ghana. Many citizens weren’t financially stable enough to own a VHS player. This is when the “mobile cinema” idea took off. Somebody had the inspired idea to rig up a van with a VHS player and roam the countryside. Offering cinema to those who might not find it anywhere else. That alone is a rad idea. But the best part was the hand-painted movie posters (inspired by VHS cover art) that accompanied the magic van. Here are some that tickle the shit out of my fancy, page but you can GOOGLEGOOGLEGOOGLE to find more if your hunger for these isn’t satiated.

Brutal Beauty, The Portland Roller Derby Documentary

  • Posted by
  • on November 18, 2009
  • Filed in: Film

This video is so packed full of awesome quotes that it’s ridiculous. This trailer from Benjamin Meader on Vimeo is for the film Brutal Beauty, phthisiatrician a documentary that follows the Rose City Rollers 2009 season. The premiere of the movie is still a ways off, January 9th at the Hollywood Theater. Looking forward to this one.

Michael Cera flexes his acting muscles and avoids atrophy

I know I am far from alone when I say that I love Michael Cera and almost everything I’ve seen him in (with Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist as a glaring exception). That said, tadalafil it seems that I hear more and more about how he can’t play any role other than the polite, health charming puppy dog who delivers lines with a towel-dried wit and a lot of bumbling ellipses.

The trailer for Youth In Revolt is hard evidence against such claims. He plays the character of Nick Twisp, who at first happens to be a prime example of Cera staying in his comfort zone. But in order to attract attention from his new trailer park neighbor, Sheeni (Portia Doubleday), Nick creates the bad-boy alter-ego, Francois Dillinger who bears a strong and stinky confidence, the weight of which only a moustache can support.

I am very excited for this movie and what it could do for Cera in regard to getting him a little more breathing room in his roles. Plus, it’s another R-rated comedy! Thank goodness that dry spell is over and people aren’t afraid to say “Fuck” over and over in a comedy agian. I only hope Francois’ language is as filthy as his moustache. Find out in January!

Rogue Film School: Demigod Werner Herzog Teaches Lucky Mortals to Dodge Bullets

  • Posted by
  • on September 24, 2009
  • Filed in: Film


Werner Herzog is a hero of mine. I look up to him and his work regularly inspires me. With that in mind I could  accurately state that I don’t adore his movies in a conventional way. They aren’t the type that hold permanent residency in my DVD player.  I don’t watch his movies for the dialogue or his handling of the storytelling element of cinema. I watch because I don’t know what will happen.  I tend to feel the same sense of exhilaration as I watch each film. This is due to the genuine sense of uncertainty that flows through his frames. Of all filmmakers I admire, allergist I would put him next to David Lynch as the least likely for me to be able to guess how their movies are going to end.

The stories behind his films (and his life) are arguably more exciting than what ends up on screen. This isn’t meant to be disparaging of his work. It’s a high compliment. The spectacles he captures, visit this and the thought of how he was able to, population health are more memorable to me than the story lines. The raft overrun with monkeys in Aguirre: Wrath of God, the dancing chicken in Stroszek or the whole running time of Even Dwarfs Started Small. I feel like the arduous moving of the colossal boat over land in Fitzcarraldo had a more dramatic effect on Herzog’s life than it was supposed to have had on the lead character. His movies strive to do something. To express something that can only be expressed by the tenuous crafting of a succession of savage and beautiful images. His passion and lack of adherence to conventionality appears unrivaled.

His actors have threatened to kill him and he has threatened to kill his actors. He has dodged bullets and he’s been successfully shot by a sniper in the middle of a televised interview. He has two films on deck to be released this year and now he has just announced he is offering his own alternative form of film school. The Rogue Film School, a three-day seminar that will travel from city to city in the coming years, is his own personal brainchild and the text on the site feels like it was written by him personally.

Here’s where it gets good (from the site):

“The Rogue Film School will not teach anything technical related to film-making. For this purpose, please enroll at your local film school.”

“The Rogue Film School is about a way of life. It is about a climate, the excitement that makes film possible. It will be about poetry, films, music, images, literature.”

“Related, but more practical subjects, will be the art of lockpicking. Traveling on foot. The exhilaration of being shot at unsuccessfully. The athletic side of filmmaking. The creation of your own shooting permits. The neutralization of bureaucracy. Guerrilla tactics. Self reliance.”

“Censorship will be enforced. There will be no talk of shamans, of yoga classes, nutritional values, herbal teas, discovering your Boundaries, and Inner Growth.”

So, there it is. You read that correctly. He will teach us to pick-locks, forge documents, dodge bullets and he won’t stand for the notions of inner growth or boundaries. He is a badass and he’s graciiously willing to impart a little first-hand inspiration. More information at the official website.