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Alex Carnevale

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Pretty used to being with Gwyneth

Regrets that her mother did not smoke

Frank in all directions

Jean Cocteau and Jean Marais

Simply cannot go back to them

Roll your eyes at Samuel Beckett

John Gregory Dunne and Joan Didion

Metaphors with eyes

Life of Mary MacLane

Circle what it is you want

Not really talking about women, just Diane

Felicity's disguise

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Entries in dick cheney (147)


In Which Some Of It Still Really Bothers Us

Pet Peeves


Lena Headey's eyebrows get darker by the day. As my wife Lynne well knows – we have had more than one messy row about the subject – my pet peeve is eyebrows that don't match the color of someone's hair. It's the reason, I believe, the Zac Efron has become Seth Rogen's sidekick when he might have been the next Fred Astaire. Or I guess Ginger Rogers was a possibility, too.

I have a lot of other pet peeves. Most of them are Game of Thrones-related, like:

I don't like that Jaime Lannister has basically ignored his missing hand for four seasons;

I don't like that the only character who manages to eat on this show is Sandor Clegane;

I don't like that Samwell Tarly's wife is extremely sparing with her affections;

I don't like that Bran looks like he should be married with children of his own by now;

I don't like that Tyrion Lannister hasn't had a meaningful plot development since he killed his dada;

I don't like that ppl are always referring to their spies as birds because they think it's cute, it sucks;

I don't like how Jaime Lannister's masterful generalship all occurred off-screen and made no sense at all;

I don't like how Jaime Lannister and Brienne did not share a soft hug upon parting;

I don't like how the actress playing Cersei Lannister in the stage adaptation of season 3 was a better actress than Lena Headey. Actually maybe I do.

I don't like how Cersei's massive bodyguard is about the dumbest plot device short of castration;

I don't like how all I see are ads for Sonic Burger and yet I have never seen an actual one of these restaurants IRL;

I don't like how it seems that not one character on this show has been the least bit altered from their introduction;

I don't like how Stephen Colbert believes he is the messiah sent from God to explain the right way to do everything and yet his show tanks every night in the ratings.

I love humility. It may not seem like it, but I do. It is also a fantastic character trait. It is why Brienne is so much fun to watch, and there is a lot to admire, but all the writers can obsess about is who is going to climb her pale carapace for a mounting.

Brienne puts herself down a lot, but you can see that she is mostly confident. Every other character on Game of Thrones without exception is always explaining how great and famous they are. Yet they haven't actually accomplished anything.

I mean, if you really look at Jaime Lannister's record, it isn't very impressive, and Tyrion pretty much connived his way right into exile. The Starks are only good at dying, and Ramsey Bolton hasn't shown up in like eight episodes, reportedly because he got in a fight with David Benioff over catering.

There is a startling dearth of accomplishment on this show. Even Arya's maniacal plotting has led to five years of training until she gave up and just went home. Her abysmal chase sequence with her cute friend was about as exciting as watching Wile E. Coyote saunter after his prey. One of these people has to be good at something.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.


In Which We Refuse Sansa Stark's Offer For Dinner and Drinks

Grey Jeans


You might think that Sansa Stark waffling around the North, screaming "House Stark still lives!" and then administering dirty looks to the rest of the cast is wretched television, but it is something of a relief after X-Men: Apocalypse. I was recently forced to view this period drama in theaters because of my wife Lynne, who demands we view every James McAvoy joint as soon as possible. "You never know when it'll happen," she explained to me, stuffing kettle corn into mouth, "the instant where you will see Professor Xavier's dick."

That moment seemed to approach during a scene where Professor Xavier wheels himself into Jean Grey/Sansa Stark's room one night. She has already made a ton of odd markings on the walls with her mind, some of which looked like splooge. But Professor Xavier isn't the type to play around with his students, and he was wisely a lot more interested in Rose Byrne.

Jean Grey was always played by a very beautiful woman with tons of innate pathos. It is a very difficult thing to pretend to suffer, and as she was enslaved, raped and tortured throughout her run on Game of Thrones, Sansa Stark always looked only mildly inconvenienced, as if she were holding in a breath she could release when the scene is over.

To be completely honest, both of the female leads in X-Men: Apocalypse are quite homely, and it is a chore to sit through a movie where everyone spends half their screen time musing about what a legendary beauty Jennifer Lawrence is. There are even posters worshipping her, and other young mutants explain how they want to be exactly like her. It's so forced, especially since the one thing a shapeshifter is unlikely to be known for are the dimensions of her real face.

The villain in all of this is Oscar Isaac, who is 5'2" soaking wet. They dress him up to look just like the Emperor at first, although he eventually puts on all his armor and becomes slightly more forboding, if still a tiny collection of powers. Enlisted in his cause is Olivia Munn, whose skills in the Stanislavsky Method are best expressed during periods of absolute silence. Fortunately she has like six lines in the entire movie and she does her relatively easy job of making Sansa Stark seem young and lovely in comparison.

Thrones was only mildly more entertaining this week. There really isn't much left in the North. Even Lyanna, the young Queen of Bear Island, was incredibly bored by the sibling duo, so much so that that illiterate fuck Ser Davos had to step in and show off his proficiency at speaking the language of children. "You're really brave and smart!" he crowed as Lyanna consulted her male advisers about what kind of bald dunce was paying her such mediocre compliments. Normally when young women are told they are fierce, it can come across as somewhat patronizing. But Ser Davos has that way about him. He can talk almost anyone into an early grave.

The story involving the return of Sandor Clegane was incredibly predictable and featured him chopping wood for a good ten minutes of the episode. Clegane's path of redemption would have to take him back to kill Brienne, or maybe that is only what I hope will happen. For the most part, the only thing that I felt was sadness Deadwood did not go on for at least eight seasons.

This episode seemed a bit scattered, strung together by the magnificent sets the show badly needed in years past but could never get the funding for. Reusing Stannis Baratheon's camp above Winterfell was a funny touch, and the sight of Riverrun and Braavos almost made me feel like I actually was living in another place and time. Just as quickly we were whisked away to some other venue, where I had to start getting that damp feeling all over again.

X-Men: Apocalypse suffers from much the same problem of disjointment. I understand on Game of Thrones the point of having such a large and diverse cast (except racially) is that discrete stories and motivations eventually interact with one another, but damn they take their time. All the stars of X-Men: Apocalypse spend most of the film completely separated. McAvoy has absolutely no one to play off of except Beast, the dullest mutant in history, while Michael Fassbender spends most of running time whining about all the people he has killed and working in a foundry like some anonymous doofus. 

Things will at least come together on Thrones for a greater reason than Oscar Isaac living out his disturbed fantasies of being a giant. Arya will make her way to Riverrun, since it makes all the geographic sense in the world, where she can hopefully execute Jamie Lannister. There was not a lot of stress involved in watching her get stabbed, since they have all but promised never to kill her, but it will be good to see what waiting arms she falls into. Knowing my luck, it'll be either Iain Glen or Jennifer Lawrence. 

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

 "Darling" - Albin Lee Meldau (mp3)


In Which Mace Tyrell Resembled A Beagle Wrapped In Gold Foil

History Lesson


Last night I was promised in words and deeds that I would never have to watch Jonathan Pryce act again. Jaime Lannister's failed movie career was on the verge of slaughtering the religious fanatics who held Margaery Tyrell's failed movie career hostage. The guy who plays Lady Tyrell's husband looked super-cute in his armor, and I finally understood how he was originally able to win the heart of such a magnificent babe. Cersei was nowhere to be found because no one could tolerate Lena Headey's list of demands during a day-long crowd scene.

Then Jonathan Pryce was spared, and I was no longer spared the indiginity of watching him portray this annoying character. Fuck Tommen for being such a prick to his dad, and congrats to Samwell Tarly on being such a dick to his father. Although to be completely fair to Randyll Tarly, everything he said was the God's honest truth. He sent his son to lose some weight and kill wildlings, not marry a wildling and fill up on hard bread and other empty calories.

The Tarly stronghold was fantastic and nearly as imposing as Drogon. What I didn't get was why after Samwell specifically told her not to, did Gilly inform his entire family that she was a wildling. I mean, she couldn't keep this secret through one single fucking dinner, which incidentally was probably the best dinner of her life and the selection of bread was absolutely astonishing?!

Lady Crane is truly the queen of the Braavosi stage. The commitment to historical accuracy in the theater of the free city is impressive for such a local institution, although the guy who played Twyin Lannister came across as a bit of a dick. It is great to see us finally dumping this storyline and revealing what disturbed freaks these faceless assassins turned out to be. I mean, at some point. I started wondering myself why I was sympathizing with a dude slicing corpse's face off, until I realized that is why I am the man that I am.

Bran should have taken the out-of-body possession of his own legs, since he has returned to his annoying, "What are we going to do you guys" whining and not even the retcon of his Uncle Benjen "Why was I sent to the wall again?" Stark could bring him out of his shell. Bran's flashbacks to the past are the only saving grace of this dogshit plotline, as it was great fun to see The Mad King give orders to burn his citizenry in this episode directed by Lost veteran Jack Bender.

George R.R. Martin wrote Game of Thrones as a basic reimaging of the story of the Plantagenets. What is missing from our current political discourse is the possibility of changing our ideas and aims depending on the circumstances. A king can alter his thinking without appearing weak, since he is the supreme ruler, but a democratically elected leader is beholden to his people. The small fiefdoms of Westeros behave more in this way, depending on the loyalty of their bannermen. While essentially undemocratic, this system also had its virtues. Stability was not particularly among them.

The surveys of this period in England are some of our first, best modern nistories. Yet events of even fifty years fade from us now, despite how their shape contemporary lives. It was not even half of a century ago when blacks were allowed civil rights, and to expect certain things in less than a generation is unrealistic. We will so completely forget the people we were in another fifty years that the whole world is likely to become unrecognizable. Giving us the sense of time stretched out behind and ahead of us is part of what made Game of Thrones into HBO's only remaining viable show.

This is the great problem for the Dragon Queen. She knows a lot about the people with which she intends to conquer Westeros. They smell absolutely terrible, and his best lieutenants suffer from dwarfism, greyscale, eunuch love, failed movie careers and castration. She knows absolutely zero about the place she intends to rule. To date, her entire political philosophy has been to end slavery; but there are no slaves in Westeros. Her plan is somewhat akin to raising an army of free men in the American South to liberate the North.

I hope there is a twist coming soon, because I do not think Jonathan Pryce and Tommen Baratheon are useful enough villains to make their removal by dragons very satisfying. If Drogon bit the head off of Randyll Tarly and forced Littlefinger to insert his manhood into the dragon fireduct maybe I would be happy for a bit, but I still doubt this can be wrapped up in a satisfying way, e.g. Jon Snow turns heel and burns the Night's Watch to death or Roose Bolton marries Lord Tully's young wife.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording.

"Oblivius (Moretti remix)" - The Strokes (mp3)

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