Sunday, June 17, 2007

Famous pairs

Burt & Ernie; Fog & Northern California; Boots & Walking; Hammocks & Mexico; Angry Kid & Secret-Meaning Tattoo

Rental Review: Harold and Maude

By Ryn Gargulinski
Anyone who thinks it’s gross if a 20-something dude who looks 13 were to fall in love with and marry an 80-year-old gal is right.
It is.

Unless it’s Harold and Maude.

This movie not only erases society’s baseless initial shock and repulsion at such a match, but it opens the doors to examine other societal “rights” and “wrongs” that all of a sudden seem ridiculous. Like why is it OK when Anna Nicole takes on an 80-year-old lover but disgusting to some when Harold does the same thing? Why is it disgusting at all when love transcends everything, even death?

This entertaining and wholly kitschy 70s flick also opens other doors with more questions and varied interpretation. Is Maude a real person or just a figment of much needed love for Harold’s imagination? Does Harold really die during one of his “suicides?” Is Harold alive in the first place? Is Maude? Is he really only 13?

These and many other inquiries, like how the heck Harold could weld a really cool mini-hearse out of a Jaguar in less than two hours, prey on our minds.

They make us think. They awaken our senses. They make us look at love, maybe even experience it. Heck, one of my friends said he'd marry Maude in a second (but alas, Ruth "Maude" Gordon died in 1985). (Bud Cort, who played Harold, simply got all obscure like child actors even though he wasn't a child but just looked like one.)

This is not your average sit-and-absorb-things-like-a-fat-blob-eating-popcorn movies. Nor is it annoyingly philosophical, yet it does tend to preach.

I won’t ruin the film by either revealing the ending or telling you what Maude likes to preach about. But I will say you won’t mind sitting in the pew.

Highlight: Opening scene that leaves Harold hanging himself from a rafter and his subsequent string of suicides.
Lowlight: Imagining life with a mother like Harold has.
Rating (1-10): 80,888

Friday, June 15, 2007


Rental Review: Twin Peaks: Fire Walk with Me

By Ryn Gargulinski
This movie has the word “peaks” in the title because it reached new heights. New heights of boredom, stupidity, incomprehensibility and just plain annoyance.

The midget in the room where everyone spoke like they were under water didn’t help. Unfortunately, he was the highlight of the flick.

In addition to being hard to follow, it was undesirable to follow these stiff, clichéd characters through some murder mystery that nobody cared about.

There is no resolution because there is no plot to have a resolution for.

Have a nice day.
Don’t watch this thing.

Highlight: The midget in the room where everyone spoke like they were under water.
Lowlight: Everything else.
Rating: NEGATIVE 600 million, or the altitude of the valley in which this flop peaks.

This movie was recommended by a woman at the dog park whose dog Hank likes to hump every other dog.

Thursday, June 14, 2007

Solar Cutlure Gallery show through October 2007

Brides to baubles

Eyes to richness

Aliens to nacho dip

Masking it

Voodoo dolls to Charlie Brown

Solar Culture Gallery: Dimensional Shift show opened June 9

By Ryn Gargulinski
Three people referred to it as “artsy-fartsy.” Three people were wrong.

The “it” in this case was the June 9 community art show opening at Tucson’s Solar Culture Gallery. Nothing about this amazing gallery – or its proprietor Steven Eye – is pretentious or “fartsy.”

The opening was, of course, “artsy” because it would be dumb if a gallery opening weren’t. But anyone expecting fru-fru artists in designer duds, artwork that costs $2 million but looks less interesting than a small child’s vomit and snooty remarks over wine and cheese won’t get it at Solar Culture.

What you get instead is a wide array of local artist creations ranging from paintings of aliens, moonlit trees and skeleton brides to sculptures made of abandoned mechanical parts. Art cascaded from the walls, hung from the ceiling and even looked like it was about to scoot away across the floor. The best was a welded steel devil child on a tricycle. Beautiful.

The whole lack of haughtiness and exclusion is also beautiful. The show was open to anyone who wanted to participate. No judge, jury or crotchety old man with a monocle who thinks he’s a descendent of Michelangelo tries to make you feel two inches tall just because your voodoo dolls are made out of junk you found on the side of the road.

When you became overwhelmed by the gallery’s interior, replete with metallic collage, photos of the rear end of a Speedway McDonald’s and a sad-looking Charlie Brown, you can take a breather on the back porch. Here you get to watch the Union Pacific train trudge by every 7.5 minutes (according to a man who had a studio nearby). Don’t forget to wave at the motorman.

The only thing annoying about the entire evening was probably myself, who loomed around Steven while he was deep in conversation with others just to get the phone number of the artist who created the welded steel devil child on a tricycle. Beautiful. Consider it sold.

The exhibit stays up until October, so stop by Solar Culture Gallery at 31 East Toole next time you’re in the area. Steven holds these community art shows three times a year and yes, you may find an artist has brought wine and cheese to the potluck that accompanies the show's opening. But you won’t get the snootiness that often comes with it.

Contact Solar Culture Gallery at 520-884-0874 or Learn more about the gallery's wide array of events at

Sunday, June 10, 2007

A crossing guard and someone who did not heed him.

Rental Review: The Crossing Guard

By Ryn Gargulinski
For such a great premise – a father taking revenge on a drunk driver who killed his 7-year-old daughter – this was such a boring film. For some reason, perhaps my fatigue, hope it would improve or aversion to getting up and switching DVDs, I ended up watching the whole thing. I am sorry.

In addition to the slow plod of a go-nowhere plot, the characters are not likable in the least. We have the ex-husband drunken father jeweler who has a bad dream way late in the move that explains the nonsensical title of the film, the ex-wife mother who would be OK but only shows up in a couple of scenes and the awful, whiny, cry-baby, guilt-ridden bad boy drunk driver who is no longer drunk but cannot live a normal life under the mountain of guilt he presses upon his scarred forehead.

Have any of these people heard of counseling?

Highlight: When the movie ends, but not the last whiny, cry-baby, guilt-ridden scene.
Lowlight: The constant strip tease scenes that have nothing to do with the story but boost the rating to an R and probably worked for sales to say “strip tease scenes included.”
Rating (1-10): NEGATIVE 80, equal to the inverse proof of most vodkas.

This movie was recommended by Xavier.

Saturday, June 09, 2007

Ted Bundy in a dark alley.

Rental Review: Ted Bundy

By Ryn Gargulinski
Even 18 years after being electrocuted, Ted Bundy is still a fascination. This flick seethes with his cunning, his violence, his charm. It also oozes with gore depicting his murder spree that may have taken the lives of some 150 women.

Bundy is the reason the term “serial killer” was first coined.

The really cool 1970s clothes and culture just add to the intrigue of the film, as do the loving girlfriend who is blind to his aberration and his ability to hoist a body wrapped in a sheet down the street past four passers-by and a dog.

Bundy, who was charming enough to even have true crime master Ann Rule wondering if he were really a killer, continues to charm in his horrific way, mainly because he had a grand façade of appearing like a harmless handsome man.

That is, until you got into a car with him.

Fast Bundy facts:
*More than 200 women per day wrote him letters in prison to say they were in love with him.
*He drove a yellow Volkswagen bug.
*My friend Mark served him dinner in 1977 when he worked at a Seattle restaurant. He said FBI agents were in the door with questions right after Bundy left.
*When people are about to be electrocuted, prison officials stuff cotton up their butt so they don’t soil themselves and the electric chair.

Highlight: The one who got away.
Lowlight: The blinded by love girlfriend.
Rating (1-10): 2,200 or the number of volts in an effective electric chair