An ongoing three-part feature by Richard Hell:

1) girls "I see them on the television, dirty magazines... They're walkin on the street, they're 45, they're 17."
       9 Sep 2001

2) movies seen lately
       Band of Outsiders
       Wet Hot American Summer
       Gangs of New York

3) replies to questions asked via email
...Please SEND questions to askhell followed by @ followed by
       10 Sep 2001

tip: You can get more info about most of the girls and movies at the IMDb (Internet Movie Database).


        1) Janeane Garofalo
        2) Chlo Sevigny
        3) Bjrk
        4) Parker Posey
        5) Molly Sims

[9 Sep 2001]          



        Band of Outsiders (Bande part) [1964] directed by Jean-Luc Godard; written by Jean-Luc Godard; with Anna Karina, Claude Brasseur, and Sami Frey.
          There's a new restored print of this in distribution now. This movie is so pretty and overflowing with life it hurts. How the hell did that happen in France in the Fifties and Sixties with Godard and Truffaut and Rivette etc.??? The sheer delicacy, wit, silliness, sexiness, beauty, tristesse... But Godard of course is the maestro, even when he's a buffoon and/or boring. He wants you to play with him, and he has so many good and funny and moving ideas. It's amazing that a guy could have such a grasp of cinematic "language" and then just say to hell with it and do whatever he feels like: run away to the south, start dancing, turn the sound off. It's completely inspiring. And what he gives you of Karina... [9 Sep 2001]

        Wet Hot American Summer [2001] directed by David Wain; written by Michael Showalter and David Wain; with Janeane Garofalo, David Hyde Pierce, Michael Showalter, Marguerite Moreau, Paul Rudd, Zak Orth, Christopher Meloni, A.D. Miles, Molly Shannon, Gideon Jacobs, Ken Marino, Michael Ian Black, Amy Poehler...
          I don't know the comedy sketch group The State who dreamed up this movie but I'm all in favor of them. The movie was really funny. It's about the last day at a summer camp in 1981, and it's funky-twisted. Even the occasional stuff that doesn't really come off (the Nam vet in the kitchen who takes orders from a can of vegetables) is close enough to count, and things happen fast enough too that you can't really stop to fault any of it. It's great to go and laugh for a couple of hours. And very nice to see Janeane Garofalo's smile. [9 Sep 2001]

        Gangs of New York (2002) directed by Martin Scorsese; written by Jay Cocks (story, screenplay) and Steven Zaillian and Kenneth Lonergan (screenplay); with Leonardo DiCaprio, Daniel Day-Lewis, Cameron Diaz, Jim Broadbent, John C. Reilly, Henry Thomas...
          Any Scorsese movie is worth seeing, though he's had a lot of failures in recent years (Bringing in the Dead seemed like a weaker version of Taxi Driver, as Casino did of Goodfellas, for instance). Gangs of New York was good but disappointing. The first thing I want to say about it, though, is something that gave me a kick, which I haven't heard anybody mention, which is, I believe, that Daniel Day-Lewis was "doing" Scorsese all the way through it, that his facial expressions and accent were take-offs on Scorsese. It's like he was doing Scorsese as Long John Silver. Day-Lewis still has not made a bad move in his handling of a role -- you could never call him "miscast," as various as the parts he's done have been -- which to my mind can't be said of any other actor going (whereas Marlon Brando, for instance, who was fairly foolproof when he was young, did do Guys and Dolls). Day-Lewis is in a class of his own. On the other hand Gangs of New York itself, though I never lost interest, is thin. Scorsese's view is just too narrow. It's a kind of macho Catholic fatalism (even God is killed by humans, one must realize...) which seems to say that life is meaningless so the only thing worth doing is to violently compete with other men until you are eventually beaten (die). It seems to say that all there is in life is a kind of personal and clan honor as exhibited by the high style with which one is physically trying to defeat the opposing clans/men, which clans/men are actually exactly like you, but that doesn't matter because the whole point is just to fight "honorably" to the death because life is meaningless. I like action movies and I'm as nihilist as the next guy but I get tired of this single note. It does make me feel like getting up and going out of the theater and killing someone, but as I say I'm somewhat susceptible to the mind-set. War is a drug. I don't get catharsis from Scorsese's movies though. Julie Taymor's version of Shakespeare's Titus was for me a prime example of the cleansing possibilities of relentless extreme violence in a movie. That movie never let up in its vicious bloodiness, it completely put you through the wringer, and it too was all about clan and revenge and competing for power, but you came out of it feeling cleansed rather than having murderous urges kicked up. You come out cleaner than you went in because Shakespeare is granting violent drives as inevitable and then letting you release them privately in the theater; he's not upholding them as the underlying and overriding ultimate reality of human life. The other theme in Gangs, also familiar in Scorsese, is that the police, the "government" is just another gang. I sure wouldn't argue with this but again I don't think it's news and though it bears some repeating the concept doesn't really bring any redeeming substance to this pretty obvious film. And Leonardo DiCaprio has been repugnant since he turned twenty. Still, as I say, Scorsese is so good that I'd recommend the movie to anyone who likes movies. [19 Feb 2003]



to start off we'll take the first few questions from a list posed at the Forum last year
        Do you still smoke cigarettes?
        No. I haven't had one for two years. It was real hard to stop -- I was trying for about three years, including one stretch of six months without. My motivation came from two things: a fear of how stupid I'd feel to die from cigarettes after everything else, and a resentment of the cigarette companies (I didn't want to continue letting them make a fool of me). [10 Sep 2001]

        Do you still own any of the vintage/punk clothes?
        I don't think I still have any clothes from the Seventies except for one thing: a white dress shirt which has stencilling and spray-paint on it and bits of metal sewn to it that was made for me by Lizzy Mercier. I wore it a lot in the Ulli Lommel Blank Generation movie (which incidentally dates from 1978 not the 1979 the packaging states) but not in "real life" much (too proud). It looks great in the movie though. [10 Sep 2001]

        Who is your least favorite poet? Ever.
        I'll take this to mean who is to my mind the most overrated poet... Hmm, well people often expect me to like the Beats (Ginsberg, Corso, Kerouac, etc.) and such as Charles Bukowski and though there's the occasional stray thing I like, none of those've ever really appealed to nor interested me much. [Addendum: I'm probably being too much of a wise guy. Most of those writers have given me a kick or blown my mind at some time or another. They have good (anti-formula) attitude if nothing else.] [10 Sep 2001]

        Have you ever enjoyed "Heavy Metal" and if so, what group?
        I still can't believe people like Led Zeppelin the way they do. No, unless Jimi Hendrix counts, I don't think I have ever enjoyed any Heavy Metal. But then there's a lot of music I haven't heard. It(Heavy Metal)'s a pretty good concept -- there ought to be some good... [Addendum: Would The White Stripes qualify? Their first record "The White Stripes" is my idea of great Heavy Metal.] [10 Sep 2001]

        What is your deepest shortcoming?
        I'm self-absorbed. And I don't care. [Elaboration: That's two.] [10 Sep 2001]


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