Friday, March 15, 2019

"A Fine Green Thread" in The Los Angeles Review of Books

My latest book review––of the essay collection The Writing Irish of New York, edited by Colin Broderick––has been published by The Los Angeles Review of Books and is available to read online. Happy early St. Patrick's Day!

Monday, March 11, 2019

"The Statement of [REDACTED], Revised" Wins 2019 Gail B. Crump Prize

Pleiades has announced that my short story "The Statement of [REDACTED], Revised" has won their 2019 Gail B. Crump Prize in Experimental Fiction, and will appear in print this June in Pleiades 39.2.

Pleiades: Literature in Context is a literary biannual published by the University of Central Missouri featuring "poetry, fiction, essays, and reviews by authors from around the world. Past contributors include winners of the Nobel, Ruth Lilly, Pulitzer, Bollingen, Prix de la Liberté, and Neustadt Prizes, recipients of Guggenheim, Whiting, National Book Critics Circle and National Book Awards."

Monday, February 25, 2019

My latest humor piece, "Mrs. Dalloway and House Party: An Objective Comparison," has been published by Los Angeles literary magazine The Offing. Longtime readers of this site may recall that this is not the first time I have written about House Party––I once outlined the film's strange connections with the work of David Lynch.

Friday, February 1, 2019

R.I.P., Dick Miller

It saddens me to report the death of the Bronx's own Dick Miller, one of the most beloved and recognizable character actors in American film history, and one who was as seemingly ubiquitous in 20th Century B-movies as car chases, rubbery monsters, or karate chops. From his star-making turn in Roger Corman's A BUCKET OF BLOOD (1959) to his cranky gun salesman in THE TERMINATOR to an "animal trainer" in Sam Fuller's WHITE DOG to roles in blaxploitation classics like TRUCK TURNER and DARKTOWN STRUTTERS to his appearances in seemingly every single Joe Dante film through 2014's BURYING THE EX, he contrasted his gruff, cantankerous, and occasionally sleazy exterior with a lovable inner life. This was a man who could lend profound, nuanced grace notes to an under-five role as a heckler, a pizza deliveryman, "man in bed," or a thankless security guard.

He had several roles that were so iconic he reprised them: BUCKET OF BLOOD's "Walter Paisley" ends up in CHOPPING MALL, THE TWILIGHT ZONE: THE MOVIE, SHAKE, RATTLE, AND ROCK, THE HOWLING, and HOLLYWOOD BOULEVARD. His role in GREMLINS, "Murray Futterman," even manages to cheat death for a triumphant return in GREMLINS 2: THE NEW BATCH!

We've seen him corrupt Mark Hamill, play David Carradine's brother in a movie that already had Carradine's real-life brother in it, put down riots begun by P.J. Soles and the Ramones, play a crabby trucker who name-drops Joe Dante, swig hobo wine and share a scene with a demonic Billy Zane-as-Hunter S. Thompson, and shill for a fictionalized William Castle––he truly did it all. In his 90 years on this planet, he was in so many films (almost 200!) that there was something inherently reassuring about his presence. This was only intensified by the fact that he, like Harry Dean Stanton, seemed to remain the same age (around 50?) for nearly sixty years. Well, here's to you, Mr. Miller, and all the joy and drama and absurdity and comfort that you gave your audiences across the decades.

Sunday, January 6, 2019

Sean Gill's "Exodus" in Vol. 1 Brooklyn

My latest short story, "Exodus," an imagined history set in a near-future New York City, has been published in Vol. 1 Brooklyn as a part of their ongoing "Sunday Stories" series. You may read it online here.

Thursday, December 13, 2018

Only now does it occur to me... BLADE: TRINITY

Only now does it occur to me... that while BLADE: TRINITY is primarily a vehicle for Ryan Reynolds to improvise proto-DEADPOOL one-liners

as Wesley Snipes offers stone-faced reactions (because he allegedly spent all of his time in his trailer and emerged only to shoot hasty reaction shots with stand-ins who were not spouting unscripted lines like "cock-juggling thundercunt");

and while it is likely the only time we will see Patton Oswalt play a 'Q'-style gadget-master;

and while it is far from the only time we will see James Remar standing around, looking bewildered, and waiting for his paycheck to clear;

and while it affords Natasha Lyonne the opportunity to issue an infodump of expository bullshit while looking stoned out of her mind;

it IS, however, the only time (thus far) you will see Parker Posey as a vampire archaeologist. A vampire archaeologist!

Diggin' up Dracula! I mean, that's objectively incredible.

Damn you, BLADE: TRINITY, for being so mediocre, and yet offering such a vision of what could have been. In this instance, "what could have been" is a movie exclusively starring Parker Posey as a vampire archaeologist. Kinda RAIDERS OF THE LOST ARK, but she's more afraid of garlic than snakes or whatever.

Later, she dons a white-collar power suit, and struts around like she's the lead in a vampire-themed DEVIL WEARS PRADA.

This, too, is a movie I would champion.

In fact, maybe the problem with most movies is that they don't star Parker Posey as the vampire version of some existing archetype. Imagine any movie you can and then add "Vampire Parker Posey" to the mix. Just try it.

A new version of CITIZEN KANE. Improved by Vampire Parker Posey. She adds a hint of the Gothic and some snobbish wit to the second act. She tells Charles Foster Kane to "Wipe that face off your head, bitch!"

A retelling of 2001: A SPACE ODYSSEY. The monoliths were placed by Vampire Parker Posey so she could drink the blood of a few astronauts. Done.

SUNSET BOULEVARD. Remake it with Vampire Parker Posey as Vampire Norma Desmond. I would watch the hell out of that. So would you.

Anyway, I'm off to study some vampire archeology. Will wonders never cease?

Wednesday, December 5, 2018

Only now does it occur to me... DUEL IN THE SUN

Only now does it occur to me.... that David O. Selznick really should never have been writing romantic dialogue.

Exhibit A.

Exhibit B.

Case closed. David, you are hereby sentenced to a lifetime of inspiring Paul Bartel and John Waters.

Saturday, November 24, 2018

R.I.P., Nicolas Roeg

I'm sorry to report the passing of one of the greats, Nicolas Roeg, at age 90.  Roeg's films, from DON'T LOOK NOW (one of the greatest melancholy horror films, hell, one of the greatest films of all time) to THE MAN WHO FELL TO EARTH (featuring Bowie at his most enigmatic) to BAD TIMING (an atom bomb to the guts) to WALKABOUT to PERFORMANCE seemed simultaneously to define and to surpass the counterculture cinema world of the 1970s and beyond, in all of its jagged temporalities and wild, hallucinogenic complexities. Later works like THE WITCHES, INSIGNIFICANCE, his episode of THE YOUNG INDIANA JONES CHRONICLES, and TRACK 29, reveal an aging filmmaker who, even apart from his ideal time and place and cultural zeitgeist was capable of crating memorable, artistic, and sometimes mind-blowing work. Even lesser projects like EUREKA and Cannon Films' CAST AWAY and FULL BODY MASSAGE experiment with form in ways most filmmakers would never dare.

He was an auteur whose bold, fracturous visual and editorial choices left quite a mark on me as a young man, both as a filmmaker and a burgeoning film critic. (One of my first bylines, in a student newspaper, was an absurdist rhapsody to two October re-releases of Roeg's work entitled "October? More like Roegtober!") Like other personal favorites like Ken Russell, Federico Fellini, and Richard Rush, his work was fully without inhibition, the rarest of qualities among artists, and even rarer still to be paired with actual talent.

We must also not forget his work as a cinematographer and camera operator, where he made notable contributions to films like Corman's THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, Truffaut's FAHRENHEIT 451, Schlesinger's FAR FROM THE MADDING CROWD, Clive Donner's THE GUEST, Zinneman's THE SUNDOWNERS, Richard Lester's PETULIA, and Lean's LAWRENCE OF ARABIA and DOCTOR ZHIVAGO. In some cases, he seemed, in doing so, to abscond from the premises with authorship of the film itself (I'd single out THE MASQUE OF THE RED DEATH, for sure, and perhaps PETULIA as well).

In the end, he had one hell of a run, and I'm more than grateful for the work he left behind. R.I.P.