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John Bowe (ed):
Gig: Americans Talk About Their Jobs
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Sarah Vowell:
Take the Cannoli
Howard Zinn:
People's History of the U.S.


The Daily Show
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Kitchen Confidential
Veronica Mars

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Friday, December 31, 2004

Finally balanced my checkbook, figured out how much I could afford to give. $25 to the Red Cross, $35 to Doctors Without Borders.

I haven't been able to look at a newspaper in days.

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Thursday, December 30, 2004

For those of us (myself included) who got super-pissed off about the taking-God-out-of-His Dark Materials thing -- Philip Pullman explains how we overreacted.

Oddly, Pullman and I make the same points -- it's the calling a spade a spade that got to me, the need to deceive and cloak words in a story already rife with metaphor.

Other interesting news from that essay -- no more Chris Weitz. Which may or may not be a good thing. It's good that he knows his limits, sure, but who are they going to replace him with? That's the question that keeps you up nights.

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Wednesday, December 29, 2004

At a cafe now. Los Altos, you have your faults, but you know what you do right? Cafes. $1.30 for a cup of coffee and unlimited refills, wireless internet, spacious seating with plenty of elbow room.

All ingredients for an excellent afternoon of writing.

That's of course presuming that I hadn't forgotten my goddamn headphones at the house.

The E-Z Listening Death Rage that threatens to overtake me is a powerful force, indeed.

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It's 11 AM, I'm still in my pajamas, I desperately need a run and a shower, and I have got to get some writing done today.

I'm not gonna get any work done like this. This is... This is sad.

All I have to do to solve this problem is do SOMETHING. Anything, really.

If I take off my slipper socks, then I'm just wearing the regular socks. (I have poor circulation in my feet.) Then, because my feet are cold, I'll have to put on my running shoes, but before I do that I'll want to put on my exercise pants, because putting on shoes when you're still in pajamas is crazy talk. So I do all that, and I'm halfway to being dressed for running. Easy enough to get all the way dressed after that, and then...


That's a plan.

I can do this.


I tell you true -- vacation does strange, strange things to me.

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Tuesday, December 28, 2004

Oh, great. Goddamn comments.

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Hey, we're back. And by back, I mean I'm still in Los Altos, puttering around, playing with my computer.

New Year's Resolution I'm gonna resolve before the new year: fix up the blog archives and implement single-post pages. This may take a couple of days, though. So don't be surprised if, in the meantime, the archives are a wee bit fucked.

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Sunday, December 26, 2004

So, Christmas has come and gone. I hope you all had a lovely time, whether it was with family, friends, or just yourself.

We're going to Sacramento today, to see friends and family. I'll be taking books and notepads and no laptop. It'll make for a nice break.

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Thursday, December 23, 2004

Lady Sisyphus is the true ghost of Christmas Past, covering the history of the holiday in context of today. Good reading.

I'm at home, now, finishing up my Christmas stuff and writing and reading and spending time with the family. Today my brother and I went to three bookstores to buy two books. We're bad at this game.

By the way, I'd like to lodge an official protest against the holiday that seems determined to rub in my face how much I love books and how little I can afford buying any more. Afford both in terms of money and time. I am so behind on my reading, folks. So behind. I have four books with me on this trip. God, I look forward to reading them.

So that's what I'll be doing, in this time of cheer and good will. Reading about magicians and slaves and wine. Oh, and writing a thriller screenplay, where I have to address notes like "Instead of stabbing her, he should take her beer bottle from her and jam it through her eye, killing her instantly."

Happy holidays.

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Wednesday, December 22, 2004

To-Do List
  • Rewrite outline of thrillology script
  • Do last bits of research necessary to finish Hearttaker script
  • Finish that other thing
  • Christmas cards!
  • Wrap remaining unwrapped presents
  • Go to library and get books on tape
  • Get lunch
  • Get breakfast, while I'm at it
  • Make brownies
  • Clean apartment
  • Pack
  • Drive home for the holidays

I can do all that in six hours, right?


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For the record...

Sideways is a near perfect little movie.

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Monday, December 20, 2004

A loving message for this holiday season.

It's 11:13 AM, and I've officially completed every task I was assigned for the winter break.

Time to write!

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Friday, December 17, 2004

You know what's awesome? Not having any plans for the weekend.

You know what's even awesomer? Only having to work four hours next week and being "on call" for the two days afterwards.

You know what's the awesomest ever? Being halfway done with Christmas and the thriller screenplay.

Sleep soon.


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Thursday, December 16, 2004

Popular Front: SnowDays gets points for cuteness.

I was just in the Rite Aid (just = 11:30 PM), picking up a Tupperware container, which will be a cruicial part of a Christmas gift I have to give tomorrow. As I speedwalked to the cashier, I nearly ran into some bleached blonde cokehead with a bad haircut; I gave him a second look, two seconds afterwards, because I hadn't really seen him.

He smiled at me. I smiled back, then started walking again, only stopping when I heard a "Hey, Miss?" behind me.

I turned around, thinking I'd dropped something.

"You're beautiful!" he said, grinning big, pretty despite himself.

I looked down, looked up. I haven't showered in two days; I'd been on my feet for fifteen hours; my hair's a mess and I'm wearing my shitIoversleptwellthisuglything'satleastcomfortable shirt.

"Thanks," I said.

Ah drugs.

Speaking of which. Maybe I'll make some tea now. And finish my Christmas cards. And that last knitting project. Oh, god, I'm tired.

Next year, I start Christmas a whole lot sooner.

Maybe I even make lists.

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Went to Sherman Oaks this afternoon on a run. Rolled down the windows to let the 72 degrees in, and my hand to God the air smelled like pine.

I've gone out every night this week, and I'm going out tonight and tomorrow too. This would be fine, were it not for the craploads of Christmas stuff I have yet to finish. Some of it I have to finish by tomorrow.

I'm tired. I'd forgotten how stressful the holidays could be.

I could use a cup of coffee. Maybe with some of that eggnog creamer in it.

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Wednesday, December 15, 2004

In LA? Not doing anything tonight? Want that to change?

Well, then. You should come to this.

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"[Das Roomie]," I said via cell phone as I drove home last night, "Here is my dilemna. I finished the first draft of the comic book script, and now deserve a trip to the Arclight to see Blade: Trinity. But it's playing at 8:05 and 10:55 PM."

"So..." she replied.

"So, if I go at 8:05, I have to essentially go right now, and I'm gross and sweaty, and I'll come home at 10 PM and it'll possibly be too late to do my laundry, and I HAVE to do laundry tonight... But I'll be in bed before midnight and I'll get plenty of sleep."

"And if you go at 10:55?"

"Then I come home now, shower, hang out with you, do said laundry, and then put on super-comfy clothes and go to the movie and get home at 1 AM."

"When do you have to be up?"

"8 AM-"

"Then fuck, man, I vote for Option 2."

Blade: Trinity was disappointing -- I'd hoped for a lot more Ryan Reynolds action and found the movie sadly lacking in that regard. Actually, in pretty much any regard. I kinda want to check out the DVD when it comes out. Given the feel of the editing, I think there's a whole movie's worth of special features out there.

So this is the last action flick I really get to see before Elektra in January. What? It's Rob Bowman. He's a reliable sort.

In the meantime, my friend Emily wants to watch Season 1 of Alias. I've always wanted to watch Season 1 of Alias. So that's where I'll be, the next couple of weeks.

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Tuesday, December 14, 2004

For my own reference

Movies that are out right now, that I haven't yet seen:

  • Sideways
  • Birth
  • Being Julia
  • The Life Aquatic
  • Closer

Movies that are coming up in the next couple of weeks, that I may want to see:

  • Flight of the Phoenix
  • Lemony Snicket (have not read books yet -- shit!)
  • Aviator
  • Million Dollar Baby
  • Ray
  • Phantom of the Opera
  • Hotel Rwanda
  • A Love Song for Bobby Long
  • In Good Company

I used to be a whole lot better at this movie-watching thing. I used to make sure that I watched the good stuff.

But tonight, as a reward for getting Lots of Writing done today (note: Amount of Writing not specified in any manner) I'm gonna go see me some Blade: Trinity.

Hey, we all have our quirks. Some people pay money for Britney Spears media. Me? I like Ryan Reynolds' abs, chicks with longbows, and vampire poodles.

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In the grand tradition of Drive Shaft -- Charlie Harper

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Monday, December 13, 2004

Almost Acoustic Christmas, Night 1, and other weekend fun

Okay, everyone else is doing it, so let's talk about how AWESOME it was, to go to this show, with so many bands I liked.

I occasionally have off nights when it comes to planning stuff, but this time it went PERFECTLY. Laurel picked me up at 3, we drove to Mel's Diner on Highland and had a nice big dinner, then we walked to the Hollywood/Highland subway station and took the train to Universal.

I don't understand why anyone would drive, ever, to Universal. Especially for a concert. We took the tram up the hill after getting off the subway, and we just walked down the hill and onto the train afterwards. I mean, we were tired. But it beat the crap out of concert traffic.

A side note: the entrance for the amphitheater is right by the actual Universal Studios park. So we were waiting in line right by the Waterworld Stunt Spectacular, which would send up the occasional firework over the course of the night. This is funny only because the Waterworld Stunt Spectacular still exists. Then again, as I recall, it was the hip new replacement for the Miami Vice Stunt Spectacular. Universal Studios is up with the times.

The Music
That was actually the name of the first band, and I kinda dug them, in that "Whooo! First band! Whooo!" way. I mean, we walked in during their set and my head immediately started to bop. I guess that's a good sign. I need to remember to check them out more thoroughly.

Snow Patrol
You know, here's the thing. I like Snow Patrol just fine. I've heard a lot of Snow Patrol. I highly enjoy their single. But I guess it's just not my scene, because they don't really grab me the way they grab other people (like Laurel). They certainly brought the quality, though. A good match to the night's tone.

Yet another crowd favorite. But maybe a little too earnest. "This is a song about being yourself, even if it means being different." I like "Someplace Only We Know" all right, but I was certainly spacing out a fair amount.

The Shins
Didn't haze out at all, and really dug it, even though I was a bit caffeine deprived at this point. Every Shins song I've ever heard, I've liked. I think I'll use whatever Christmas gift cards I might receive to finally acquire their albums.

Taking Back Sunday
Crap. They weren't BAD, necessarily -- just annoying and loud. Which was great, because I desperately needed to walk around and drink a diet soda and talk to Laurel and not listen to music. This concert was six hours long, y'all. It was INTENSE.

INTENSE. I like to refer to their sound as "songs to have an apocalypse by," and they were great in exactly that way -- dark and bass-tastic. I always forget that they do at least three songs that I really love. I should burn their album to CD (I got it off the iTunes) at some point.

Modest Mouse
After about four months of hearing them every time I turned on the radio, I'm finally prepared to say that I like "Float On" a lot. But it's taken me a while to get there. They don't grab me, they're just good solid rock. And I like them for it, but not enough to overshadow...

Gwen Stefani?
::sigh:: I was so excited for the end of the Modest Mouse set, because of who was following them, and then stupid Gwen Stefani showed up for a surprise performance. She did her single and a new song that heavily incorporated the phrase "Holla back" and while I'll admit to dancing to her single every once in a while, it still doesn't forgive the fact that I had to wait an extra fifteen minutes to see-

Franz Ferdinand
I've heard they were great live. Those people were right. This is what I love about live music -- hearing all your favorite songs being played by the band, hearing the passion they have for their work... I think they were the only group to play a new song that night, and "I'm Your Villain" is really great -- a more offbeat sound, a lot of starts and stops but a lovely beat. And then afterwards, "So that was a new song, and now we'll do one of our Golden Oldies -- for those of you who remember our Golden Oldies," and we all went nuts over "Take Me Out." I still love that song as much as I did the first time I heard it, despite the threat of being overplayed. But I love it even more with this new memory of the sound dropping out, 5,000 people shouting back, "TAKE ME OUT!'

The Killers
Hot Fuss is probably my second-favorite album of the year (if I were the type to make those lists, which I'm really not), but Brandon Flowers and his eyelashes reminded me of how thoroughly good every song on that album is. Probably the best set of the night. Really awesome.

Man oh man. Interpol was pretty good (Laurel made a Morrissey comparsion that I thought had some validity), but man, the Interpol fans put me to shame. I kinda just enjoyed the secondhand fan craze, because I really don't know this group at all, despite the many people I know who like them a lot. I was kinda burned out, though. I'll try and give them another listen at some point.

Jimmy Eat World
Laurel needed to eat and I was tired. So after a little bit of their set (I did get to hear "Bleed American," a song I do love) we took off. "Bleed American" is still fun and punk-lite, after all these years. It's kinda sad, their veteran status, given that they haven't had a single on the radio in years. Strange.

It was a weird, yet amazing, night overall. Tons of great music. So worth the money spent.

Other things done this weekend: made some progress on Jonathan Strange, made two batches of brownies, finished watching season 1 of Arrested Development (god that show ruins me with its funny), saw the Ed Ruscha exhibit at MOCA, went running...

Yeah. A good weekend.

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Sunday, December 12, 2004

Neil Gaiman personifies why it is I read the blogs and diaries of writers. Neil Gaiman and Virginia Woolf.

My homies.

Of course, writing is going all right right now -- I'm workhorsing my way through the thriller screenplay, and while I'm not entirely sure I know what I'm doing with the HEARTtaker script it's at least being worked on.

But still. These times are fleeting. As Neil Gaiman, I'm sure, would be happy to tell you.

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Friday, December 10, 2004

Shame when folks be throwin' away a perfectly good white boy like that

Been designing lots of things today -- work labels and such -- and they've been coming out well. Design is totally fun. Me likey.

This is a thing I made for a purpose that I've ultimately rejected. But I wanted to find out how hard it'd be to facsimile one of those cards that comes with bouquets.

And I like it all right.

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So I'm looking at recipes online right now, and one I've found features the following description:

These chewy squares ooze brown sugary butterscotch. They becrumb the lips and besmear the chin, like home-baked goodies should.

And right by it there's a link for:

More recipes like this.

I haven't clicked on the link. I somehow know, sadly, that whatever comes up will not besmear the chin quite like this recipe here.

Recipe websites are awesome, by the way. and are my crack this time of year.


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Thursday, December 09, 2004

For all those who enjoyed the Bookslut It's A Wonderful Life piece: this gem of a webcomic, from Eric.

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Hey, kids, remember what we were talking about yesterday, about the suppression of discussion when it comes to religion?

Well, via Neil Gaiman, this reporter has learned about a proposed religious hate law and the opposition to it.


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Fark is always good for a laugh, especially when it takes aim at Microsoft Bob and the Temple of Jobs.

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Wednesday, December 08, 2004


Well, you go girl. I guess.

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Read it while it's still free: the article Superheroes Minus Masks, among other things, codes the secret identity of superheroes as an in-the-closet metaphor.

X2, among others, doesn't exactly dissuade this theory. Certainly anyone who's read Amazing Adventures of Kavalier and Clay would agree. But I've always thought that was a little simplistic; the reason I'm drawn to superheroes is because of power, and the potential within us all, bigger than any of the bullshit.

So, you know. Just a little food for thought.

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From Karin: References to God and church cut from Dark Materials film.

I guess it's pointless to point out that the Catholic church in this story is a Catholic church in AN ALTERNATE UNIVERSE...

That there's some bullshit, right there. BULLSHIT.

I mean, I'm so annoyed, I can't even really express it. It's moments like these that make me completely give up on film ever being a truly vibrant, engaging source of art. His Dark Materials isn't anti-God, it's a critique of the problems that religion has caused. It's like Dogma that way -- an expression of faith beyond the trappings modern society has assigned spirituality.

Stupid. Stupid stupid stupid.

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Tuesday, December 07, 2004

My latest Bookslut column, on the origins of It's A Wonderful Life, is now up along with the rest of the issue. Which I will read and enjoy, just as soon as this stupid seventeen-year-old gets his ass through this window and rescues the missing girl from the limping ticket-taker...


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Do you ever feel, sometimes, that you're doing too much just for the sake of doing too much, for the thrill of being busy and necessary and involved with the world around you?

Do you ever feel like this can become unhealthy behavior? That, rather than creating a richer and more varied life, it in fact negatively impacts the life you lead?

No, no reason for asking. Why do you ask?

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The ol' back and forth

Ever since I started this ten-hours-a-day-on-a-good-day gig, I started needing to knock files back and forth between the computer I use at work and my laptop at home. I mean, sure, I could bring my laptop in with me, but it's a bit cumbersome, I have enough trouble in the mornings remembering to wear SOCKS, and it really wouldn't help me maintain the illusion that the majority of the things I do here at work are actually, y'know, work.

(Not that I'm slacking. But the work I'm assigned to do? Doesn't quite fill up ten hours of the day.)

I entertained the notion of a zip drive, I started using my flash disc a fair amount -- but in the end, what's really been working is Gmail. Gmail stores all the attachments I send, Gmail works so fast and sweet...

But Gmail failed me today, and thus I am working on a script that makes me headachy and annoyed, because the HEARTtaker script I was writing last night isn't here-

Oh, good grief. I'm seriously writing about how I ship files between computers.

This is a new low for blogging.

I guess I could write about how unbelievably bizarre and stupid and bad and fun The Librarian: Quest for the Spear was. Or about how Har Mar Superstar is the perfect R&B for anyone who wants some Jackson Five-esque pop without the sad baggage of the future facing that falsetto. Or about how very very ready I am for vacation...

It's seriously one of those weeks.

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Monday, December 06, 2004

Heh. College broke my brother.

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Now that Unofficial Christmas is almost over, I feel like the real holiday season, the fun one, is finally getting started. Sunday I decorated my apartment, inflating the Christmas tree and setting up candles. Das Roomie helped me tape ornaments to the tree. It's a pretty cute set-up. Someday, there'll be pictures.

I've got my Christmas card designed, so now I just need to get the materials I need to print it up and send it out. I'm nearing the end of two different knitting projects for other people. My second annual Day of Baking has been scheduled. These are exciting times.

I'm trying to come up with good presents for people. Things I think they'll like, things I think will make their lives... not better, necessarily. But a little nicer, for having them. I was struck, last winter, at how amongst the presents I received for Christmas, including some extremely generous and useful gifts, the ones that made the most striking impact on my life were two pairs of cute slipper socks. I wear those socks almost constantly, right after I get home from work, because my feet get cold so often and they are so very warm. I didn't realize how badly I needed those socks untiil after I got them.

Those are the presents I wish I could give more often. The things people don't realize they need.

This is why I like the holidays. It's an opportunity to try and figure these things out.

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One day until my self-appointed deadline for Christmas card completion.

Two days until Blade Trinity comes out.

Three days until my self-appointed deadline for the first part of the thriller screenplay.

Four days until my self-appointed deadline for the HEARTtaker script.

Five days until Almost Acoustic Christmas.

It's certainly gonna be a weird week.

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Friday, December 03, 2004

Today is Unofficial Christmas here on Unnamed Sitcom, because we're shooting the last show of 2004 tonight and the Christmas party is right afterwards. Thus, every single peon here, including myself, has been running around like a crazy person delivering gifts since 9 AM. Cast gifts. Crew gifts. Producer gifts. So many gifts.

You know why Santa Claus exists? Because if people actually saw the elves, the ones who have to deal with size lists and address lists and making sure that everyone on one list gets everything on another list? They'd be afraid of Christmas. Santa handles the front-end publicity. Santa Claus makes it all seem like such FUN.

It's not all bad, sure. Giving people gifts. It's just been the last few weeks of freaking out about getting them done.

Almost over. Almost over.

I'm taking these next five minutes to finish my first cup of coffee and make an Excel spreadsheet for anyone we forgot to give gifts to. Then I get to go get lunch for the office. This is a new errand, and a strange/frightening one. But it does mean that I get to use the writer's PA's shiny Radio Flyer wagon.

In related news, my hair is much more red than expected. But everyone's been very nice about it.

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Wednesday, December 01, 2004

This is the second time in as many days that I've stopped whatever I was doing to see what was playing on WOXY. And both times? It's been the exact same band.

So this is a note to myself to check out Astaire. Any of y'all who like stuff that's good might consider giving them a listen.

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When movie synopses attack!

I've been assaulted by two bad pitch paragraphs today, and thus I choose to inflict them on you as well.

From the futon critic:
LARVA (Sci Fi) - The cable channel's first original movie of 2005 is scheduled to air Saturday, January 15 at 9:00/8:00c. Here's how Sci Fi's press materials describe the project: 'Just because they're small, that doesn't mean they can't kill you! A small western ranching town finds itself on the front line of a war against a new foe - one that strikes from within. As time runs out and an infestation of mutant larvae inches closer to tainting the national food supply, a lawyer and a doctor team up in a last-ditch effort to avert tragedy. Vincent Ventresca (star of the SCI FI Original Series The Invisible Man) and supermodel Rachel Hunter star in this gut-wrenching glimpse into an all-too-possible modern-day disaster.'

"Just because they're small, doesn't mean they can't kill you."


But I'm even more horrified by this:

The House of D, from Yahoo! Movies:
A man tries to resolve the turmoil of his present relationships by looking for keys to the past. He flashes back to his often hilarious and deeply touching teen escapades with his best friend (Robin Williams), a slow-witted janitor at his high school. David Duchovny makes his directorial debut with this emotional and at times comical fable about New York City and the sweeping power of friendship."

If I learned anything in screenwriting school, it's this: beware synopses that promise "often hilarious" hijinks. BEWARE.

This news does make me a little sad, however. I spent a long time after Duchovny left X-Files saying that I'd be happy if he'd just write and direct movies from then on.

Shows what I know, huh?

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