The Remakier Tween

I have a few new pieces of news on the Anton Yelchin front. (We’ll call it the Eastern Front because technically I’m German, Anton’s Russian, and I just read a 500 page book about the siege of Leningrad in World War II not too long ago, and as my previous post points out, books affect me profoundly.)

(I also feel the need to make sequel names into comparative and superlative adjectives. For example: Iron Man, the Sequel, becomes Ironier Old Coot. Evil Dead II becomes Eviler Deader. Boondock Saints II becomes Boondockier Gods. This also goes for trilogies, so that Spiderman III becomes Dead-Thing-On-the-Wall-That-I-Squished-a-Year-Ago-But-Forgot-to-Clean-Up-Carcass. So my way doesn’t also work out, but it makes for an entertaining conversation starter. You know, the one you make with the cop after he pulls you over for speeding after trying to talk to Kate Beckinsale about Digging-to-China-World and then you have to run from her bodyguards.)

This is a good news/bad news situation. I’ll start with the good news first, because the bad news is far, far worser than anything I’ve come into contact with all week, and that includes snobby Tom-Cruise-sized frat boys who yell at me because their cappuccinos are too foamy.

The good news is that Mr. Yelchin is set to star in a production of The Winter Queen. What’s that, you ask, because you’re waiting with baited breath to see what I compare you to next? Only Harry Potter….for Russians. Well, sort of. I mean, there isn’t magic, and granted Harry Potter is more of a world-wide phenomenon than country-specific, but regardless of my horrible analogy, it’s an adaptation of the first of the Erast Fandorin mysteries by the writer Boris Akunin. Fandorin is a fictional 19th century Russian detective who solves crimes, like Columbo, but 100 years ago and more Slavic. These books are wildly popular in Russia and I am excited to see Mr. Yelchin in something that’s rather original, if not entirely out of the perilous zone of “Remake.” I also really like Akunin’s other body of work about Sister Pelegia, a crime-solving nun, who’s kind of like Jessica Fletcher, only 100 years ago, more Slavic, and you know, married to God instead of to a, uh, typewriter.

The bad news is that he’s also set to be the voice of Clumsy Smurf in the live-action/CG adaptation of the 80s cartoon. I just…it’s 10:30, I’ve had maybe four hours of sleep, had a tumultuous dream that underscores my all-too-familiar sense of underachievement and lackadaisical momentum in my life at this moment, I had to drive through tons of traffic for my sister and may have to do so later in the afternoon, so I just can’t process this.

Whatever good non-remake-y karma Mr. Yelchin might have picked up from The Winter Queen has been erased for good from this announcement. This had gone beyond the caption of remake and has passed into the no-man’s-land of anthropomorphic cats rendered in CG that suck the life out of everyone around them, creating uncanny valley zombies.

What? Milla Jovovovovovich is starring in The Winter Queen too? Well, cut off my hand, reveal my bastard-state after having an asthma attack and call me Luke. Okay. You’re even this time, Yelchin. But that doesn’t mean that you can go starring in any more adaptations of cartoons unless we’re talking about Gargoyles or something. And even then, only if Guillermo del Toro directs.

As for the remake of Fright Night, Colin Farrell has been cast as Jerry Dandrige, in a role previously filled by Chris Sarandon, better known as the voice to Jack Skellington. I know, when I found out I almost force-choked my television.

Round Two. *Ding Ding*

I finished reading The Name of the Rose by Umberto Eco the other day, and as usual, what I read affects what I write. There was once where I stayed up the entire night to finish The Road by Cormac McCarthy, only to be unable to sleep before my shift at the coffee shop and writing a rather visceral scene in which our heroine, Gwennie, beats up some rival vampires, eats a young French aristocrat and then goes into a stupor from her poisoned blood. Another time I read a novelization of the second Care Bears movie and proceeded to write a scene in which our one-legged hero, Doc, goes to summer camp and finds out that there’s an evil camp counsellor possessing kids, or something. I might have blocked out the ending to that movie from my childhood because it was rather traumatizing, though I was totally cool with seeing Se7en when I was eleven. Except I can’t eat SpaghettiOs anymore.

Achnyway, Mr. Eco sort of has the same problem I do. And I quote: “The dialogue created another problem for me. In other words, as I was writing the book, I realized that it was taking on an opera-buffa structure, with long recitatives and elaborate arias….but the dialogue? At a certain point I feared it would sound like Agatha Christie, while the arias were Suger or Saint Bernard” (Eco 517). Well, strip me naked, send me to the past and call me Kyle Reese! I have the same problem as a respected Professor of semiotics at the University of Bologna. (Just call me Professor MK Sauer. I teach Vampire Literature at the University of Blogna.) I don’t even know what semiotics is, but that’s unimportant. What’s important is that a dude who wrote an entire book about monks murdering monks, who then goes on to say that if you read his book solely because you want to read about monks murdering monks then you’re stupid, had the same problem as me. Wait a tic…I think that kid might be the Avatar.

What problem is this, you ask, because you’re astute, not unlike Brother William of Baskerville, the Holmesian hero of our holy, yet hugely highbrow history? We both like fedoras. No, I mean, really like fedoras.

That fedora really IS ruggedly handsome!

Well, where doesn't it hurt? HERE!

Think of Indiana Jones in Temple of Doom when he almost loses an arm trying to get his fedora. Almost there. Now replace Ilsa from the Last Crusade with that same fedora, and then you catch my drift.* No, I jest. At least about Mr. Eco, as I’m sure any relationship he has with that really good lookin’ hat is purely Platonic.

No, the problem we both have is that our dialogue and our narration have seemingly two different voices! My blog post about polyphony covered that and I just wanted to let you know that this is a legitimate concern for writers and that the first step to overcoming voices in your head trying to fight for the narration wheel is to admit you have a problem. Hi, my name is MK Sauer — (Hi, MK) — and I’m constantly trying to reconcile two completely different moods for my novel.

(Hey, wasn’t there an episode for Forever Knight where Nick the Vampire was trying to treat his blood-drinking like an addiction and he went to an AA-type of meeting and met Ms. Trinity-before-she-was-Trinity-and-all-impaled-and-junk and she was a sex addict? Is that a stretch? Well, I guess vampires are the recurring theme, so we’re clear. )

*I can only say a German accent when saying, “This is how we kiss in Austria.” Unfortunately, I have to play out the whole scene and continue macking on air and then say, “And this is how we kiss in Germany,” and the smack the air, and then become rugged and handsome and tired and say, “I liked the Austrian way better,” and then do my best Sean Connery accent and say, “So did I.” Usually by the time I’m done, if there are witnesses who don’t know me, I’ve accumulated a few stares and/or phone calls for help.

On a somewhat related note, Brother William is played by Sean Connery in the 1986 movie version of The Name of the Rose with a very, very young and very naked Christian Slater, who was in Interview with the Vampire. So that just goes to show that everything in my blog is connected. EVERYTHING. Which is why I have a game called Six Degrees of Count Dracula. Now all we need is Kevin Bacon to play Dracula.

Eco, Umberto. The Name of the Rose. Harcourt, Inc, 1984.

God, I’ve been out of school for two years now and I still have to quote properly. What’s next? Taking notes on a Dostoevsky novel when I don’t have to? Wait, I’ve already done that. What’s next, next? Reading up on my 17th century New England history by watching The Libertine? God, that movie’s only good if you want to see someone die of syphilis.

Destiny Revealed

I had a weird dream last night. (Twat-waffle! Sorry, sometimes it’s like Tourettes.) And this dream, unlike most, actually revealed my destiny.

It all started with an 80s beauty salon/consignment shop run by four Swedish ladies. Three of them would stand in the display window and switch out their heads so that they could display rotating hairstyles every fifteen minutes or so. I walked into their shop — and hopefully there was a little bell that tinged when I did — and went into the back where I found this sweet leather jacket. Lo and behold, once the leather jacket was puteth upon the shoulders of me, your humble and star-tinged narrator, a bright light shoneth above, pointing out the path kismet hath chosen. Again, we’re hoping that there was an angelic choir or something, but I digress…eth.

All of a sudden a giant winged demon appeared above me — something like out of Fantasia — and a magical skeleton sword appeared in my hand. It was sort of like Zavulon’s spine-sword from Night Watch only skinnier and red, more like a rapier than a broadsword. It had become my destiny, the moment I put on the sweet leather jacket, to rid the world of all of the foul and sulphur-filled demons belched from Hell. I defeated the Mephistopheles wannabe pretty easily and then received thanks from the Swedish ladies and a sweet dagger, also in the red bone motif.

I’d like to think that I’m kind of more like Buffy than the average citizen now because of this. I’ll be taking demon-destroying requests in the comments box shortly. Or maybe I’ll just change my voicemail message to: “Thank you for calling MK Sauer, I help the helpless. If that’s YOU, please leave a message.”

PS: I would have posted earlier but there was a clustercuss of events, a perfect storm, if you will, that prevented my posting. 1.) My internet was out. The studly Comcast dude saw to its replacement in the form of a new modem. That hindered me greatly. 2.) Lots of work. Lots and lots of work. And not the fun kind where I ‘work’ at my typing speed by playing Typer Shark, but the coffee shop related work. 3.) Insomnia. That third one’s no excuse because it happens all the time, but I like to throw it in there for consistency’s sake. 4.) A new episode of *coughchokethevampirediariescoughchoke* that documentary on modern politics that’s super interesting and makes me a better and more intelligent person.

PPS: It’s Mothers’ Day, so the tag of “your mom” will finally fit. And the peasants rejoiced…

Anton Yelchin, the Remake Kid

I watch a lot of movies. In fact, one could possibly say that most of my personality quirks, reasons to rant breathlessly, and ways of telling time come from my constant movie and TV watching. For example, when I wake up, it usually takes about five minutes for me to figure out where I am, who I am, and just what the hell Kiefer Sutherland is doing in my room. (The answers are: somewhere crumpled up in my sheets in what I call The Coffin [my room’s in the basement], MK Sauer, and that’s-not-Kiefer-Sutherland-that’s-David, staring at me from my giant Lost Boys poster. Though any of these are liable to change because it’s a professional hazard of mine.) In that time, what I call the tabula rasa — sometimes I wake up and say, “Did I fall asleep?” — I calculate what day it is by doing this, approximately: “Well, I watched The Vampire Diaries yesterday, and Iron Man II is supposed to come out a week after two days ago, so it must be Monday!” This is not an exaggeration, like most of the crap (I mean, craft) I put up here.

Recently, and I’m not the first to blog about this, and nor will I be the most succinct, coherent, or even really on-point the last, there has been a big push in Hollywood for two things. The first is 3D, which could be a separate post in and of itself, but I’ll just link you to Ebert’s rant about it, because, let’s face it, he does a better job. The second, and this one has been long coming, is the recycled nature of everything that comes out of Tinseltown.

Let’s just take a look at some of the awesomeness coming out this summer, which is, admittedly, the ‘worst’ time to be looking for original content, but, whatever. We got:

Iron Man II — sequel and based on a comic book.

Prince of Persia — based on video game (at least it’s not Uwe Boll), and rather much like Pirates in the Middle East, and with someone who’s a lot less competent at doing British accents. (At least we’re not in Rome, in which you HAVE to have a British accent, for whatever reason. Yeah, I mean you, Gladiator. Or even a villain in an otherwise American-voiced cast. Watch where you step, Legend of the Seeker.)

The Last Airbender — based on a television series.

Robin Hood — based on, well, lots of stuff. (At least here British accents will make sense, but it’s really just Gladiator dressed up in green tights. What? There aren’t any green tights? Get lost.)

MacGruber — a spoof of MacGyver, which is my favorite show staring a mullet.

Let Me In — a remake of the vastly superior Let the Right One In. Don’t even get me started on this one.

The A-Team — based on a ….wait… what? WHY?! I don’t….I just….DAMN YOU MICHAEL BAY AND YOUR TRANSFORMERS MAKING LOTS OF MONEY SO THAT PEOPLE CAN PILLAGE THE 80S LIKE COLDPLAY PILLAGES MY SOUL.

The list goes on and on. And while there are many who are to blame for this, never has there been a nice, neat little package as Anton Yelchin. Now, if I were proficient in photoshop, or even really owned photoshop and/or used MS Paint for more than just drawing happy-faced vampires, I would have his face looming out of an Old West Style poster where he’s in a cowboy hat and wearing that cool jacket that Ben Foster’s character in 3:10 to Yuma does, but alas, you’ll just have to use your IMAGINATIONS. I call him THE REMAKE KID.

Who? You might be asking, because you’re an owl. He played Chekhov in the new Star Trek, Kyle Reese in the latest Terminator movie, and is set to be Charlie Brewster in the remake of Fright Night. (What? You might be asking because you’re, uh, a mentally deficient owl. It’s only one of the best vampire movies of the 80s and one of the reasons why I’m obsessed with vampires.) He has based his entire career on starring in unoriginal, re-used and abused material. He’s an up-and-coming star and could just be awesome, but imdb him and it’s a wasteland of bad TV shows and Hollywood’s desperate plea. I think it goes a little something like,”Shiiiiiiz. We ran out of ideas and all of our writers are boozehounds because they’ve sold their souls and we need money because BluRay and HD TVs are edging us out. Uh, uh, uh, quickly! To the 80s, Batman!” What’s going to happen 30 years from now and they’re recycling stories from now and all they have are remakes and sequels? Will it be a never ending cycle until there are 15 remakes of Jaws (seven in 3D and smell-o-vision) and thirty sequels to Star Wars? Plato is rolling in his grave somewhere.

Dear Hollywood: Please stop. There’s only so much eyeball bleach I can buy. Love, MK Sauer.

I still am going to see most of the movies on this list, however, and I even still really like Mr. Yelchin though, which is why this cycle is perpetual. I’m sorry! He’s Russian and, uh, his first name is Anton. Which is Russian for, uh, sexy.

“Into Pieces of Wood” by Chimes & Bells

This week on Songs to Die By:

*movie-guy voice* IN A WORLD WHERE AWESOME PSYCHEDLIC MUSIC RUNS RAMPANT

(Shot of Bruce Willis* jumping at just the right time to avoid that explosion)

AND PEOPLE FINALLY RECOGNIZE THE MEDIOCRITY OF THE TOP 40

(Britney Spears and Lady Gaga are hiding, malnourished and dirty….wait a tic….)

COMES THE BEST BAND YOU’VE NEVER HEARD OF

(Cue the droning guitars of this week’s featured song)

The amazing Chimes & Bells is a Danish quartet with a lovely lady singer who has a hypnotic, mezmerizingly deep voice who also happens to play maybe the best instrument on the planet after the bassoon: the cello. (Yeah, I played the bassoon throughout high school and Korovyov, my favorite character in The Master and Margarita has another name that’s the Russian word for bassoon, so it’s like double-love. Like, if Konstantin Khabensky and Kate Beckinsale had a kid who was a half-vampire, half-Hellboy hybrid, aka THE ABOMINATION of Melissa’s Resistance to Love. *crickets* Uh, let’s ignore that little outburst, shall we?)

This song is off of their EP of the same name, and lemme tell you, all four songs are fantastic. Like, you need to buy this EP right now and then tell all of your friends. Like, now. Now. Seriously. Now. I just learned today that that’s called an “embedded command.” It’s where, in advertising, an imperative — like Do! Read! Write! — is used in a friendly manner in order to suggest something to the consumer. Well, technically mine’s not really embedded, because if you don’t do it I’m going to tell mom, you god-damn, shit-sucking vampire.

Now, I can’t find lyrics and I’m horrible at hearing things (unless it’s the fifteen-minute long coffee order of a snobby coffee connoisseur whilst blenders are blending and espresso is grinding, and then I can hear perfectly), so here’s my guess:

I’m gonna go on in these shivering bones
I’m gonna go on in these precious stones
I’m gonna hold on tight while you are gone
I’m gonna shoot them down, these aching bones
And the sound is all we knew
And we try, fall, fall, fall into pieces of wood

There’s the images of bones, which suggests the inner core, the SKELETON if you will. (I like skeletons and use them as symbols a lot in my novel. Skeletons and frogs. And, you know, some coconut crabs, which have become the major contenders for creepiest things ever and rate at least a 6.7 on the wiggins scale.) That and the primordial-ness coming from turning into wood speak to the eternity of things, but of things that can never stay the same. People decay and all that’s left are bones. Trees can die, burn down, but I get a sense of petrification.

The overall feel is one of perseverance through the impossible, wearily dragging along burdens — “precious stones” — like Atlases carrying the world. Bones will ache, but eventually whatever love exists will fall and become something unrecognizable from its true form. This is echoed in the droning, repetitive guitars that sound like a death knoll, a bell tolling for someone or something that may never hear.

The only reference to any pronoun — except I — comes in the ‘chorus’ of “the sound is all we knew” and “we try.” This is a failed love (not unlike last week’s beauty), that was once so overwhelming, so intoxicating in the past, but in the present, because of broken trust (“you better be faithful”), it has turned into a bastardized, corrupt image of what it was. Like wood, it can be carved into many things, but can also be warped — like sound over long distances. Or between snickering, gossiping 12-year-old-girls at a slumber party.

Maybe next week I’ll try something a little more up-beat, eh?

Wheel of Empanada, turn, turn, turn,
Show us a song that may raise concern:
Strangelove” by Depeche Mode. Yeppers. I love me some 80s rock with druggie frontmen. Actually, Depeche Mode is the inspiration for many a band I love and I think my sister let me burn this CD.

*It exists, but I can’t find a picture of a panel from the manga Hellsing, in which Alucard has a dream sequence starring Bruce Willis. It’s hilarious, so I guess you’ll just have to take my word for it.

A Sort of Late-Night Quickie

Well, it’s not an actual quickie, but more related to the other thing you do in bed: sleep. Get your mind out of the gutter.

This is a recycled dream because I’ve slept maybe four hours out of the last two days, so I haven’t had any time to dream. But, this one’s good, so don’t be disappointed or anything.

I had tickets to the Muse concert a few weeks back, but they got stuck up in the mountains because of some snow, so it got postponed until October.* The night before, however, I dreamt that I was on my way to the concert having already driven two hours (on a highway that mysteriously looked like the one you use to get to Disneyland in California. Not that I’ve driven that one a lot. Nope, not at all. *whistles* Pavlov’s dog? Get lost.) when I realized I had forgotten my ticket. I drove back, only to wind up in an Intergalactic fight between some Jedi and Stormtroopers. (I know Jedi and Stormtroopers have to be capitalized, but I thought Intergalactic needed it too. What? I’m German.)

After reluctantly picking up a light-saber, I murmured, “This better be quick,” and started chopping off limbs. Let’s hope I used my best Harrison Ford* voice, eh? The highway had been transformed into a cavern-looking place like the Grand Canyon, but still retained the white dashes of the highway. I never actually got to the concert, so the dream was rather prophetic, no?

* What happens when you put October and Harrison Ford together? That’s right: LADY HAN SOLO, STEAMPUNK STYLE. This is my Halloween costume this year. I’ll post pictures, or else it won’t happen.