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Alex Carnevale

Features Editor
Mia Nguyen

Reviews Editor
Ethan Peterson

This Recording

is dedicated to the enjoyment of audio and visual stimuli. Please visit our archives where we have uncovered the true importance of nearly everything. Should you want to reach us, e-mail alex dot carnevale at gmail dot com, but don't tell the spam robots. Consider contacting us if you wish to use This Recording in your classroom or club setting. We have given several talks at local Rotarys that we feel went really well.

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 matthew broderick (2)


In Which Howard Hughes Felt Overly Constipated

Desert Inn


Rules Don't Apply
dir. Warren Beatty
127 minutes

In the last year of his life, Howard Hughes focused his efforts on two of his favorite pastimes: taking drugs and watching movies. His two most important drugs were Valium and a laxative called Surfak, and he took them both in incredible quantities. In order to relieve constipation, you were supposed to take maybe one Surfak over the course of a day or two. Hughes would take ten or twenty over that period. His prostate gland swelled to over three times normal size. His kidneys shrank in fear.

There is something sad about going out this way, Warren Beatty displays in Rules Don't Apply, his sensitive and entertaining depiction of Hughes' final years on earth. But there is also something very hateful about Howard Hughes that Beatty generally avoids putting his finger on, maybe because he tasks himself with playing the role of the reclusive scion.

Hughes watched the same movies again and again. In particular he watched Bulldog Drummond pictures repeatedly, over the course of several days. He also liked mysteries, even when he knew how they ended.

Frank Forbes (Alden Ehrenreich) becomes a member of Hughes' management team. In Hughes' inner circle, none of these "executives" had any authority over each other, and all were granted a great deal of leeway in how they interpreted the man's instructions. Starting his work for Hughes as a driver, Frank meets Marla (Lily Collins), one of Hughes' contract actresses and drives her and her mother (Annette Bening) around in Hollywood, where they have never been.

In what is perhaps the most direct tribute to his film's subject, Beatty spent a great deal of money recreating the place in Rules Don't Apply. In the course of funding the project, Beatty has taken on an improbably large coterie of producers. An astonishing sixteen people, including the current Secretary of the Treasury, are credited as producers on Beatty's film, in what might be a warped commentary on the way Hughes did business. Hughes excelled in one-on-one conversations where he could convince people to do what he wanted. It cannot have simply been money or power which accounted for his influence on individuals.

Rules Don't Apply depicts Hughes in the best possible light considering the facts: here he is merely a crazy nut with a heart of gold. The real Howard Hughes was contemptuous of black people and an incredibly unethical and mostly ineffective businessman with some strokes of genius. His personal relationships were few. A long scene in Rules Don't Apply occurs when Hughes finds Marla drunk and waiting for him in a bungalow. He has been informed that to protect him from being declared an invalid as part of an airline deal, it would be better if he were married. So he proposes to the first woman he sees, and they have sex on the couch.

Ehrenreich's character of Frank Forbes loses his admiring view of the boss rather quickly, and the preternaturally talented actor shows every disillusionment on his face. It takes Frank Forbes until the end of Rules Don't Apply to realize that Marla had sex with Hughes and bore his child. Once he does understand that, he forgives her and spends the rest of his life with her. I mean, it was Howard Hughes, what else could she do? Ehrenreich's chemistry with Lily Collins is so insanely exciting that I wish the entire movie had been them talking to each other with no Howard Hughes. Then again, Howard is supposed to be the villain.

After intercourse, the only thing Hughes really retains from the encounter is his promise to give all his contracted actresses their own automobiles. Marla cannot even start hers and, soon afterwards, moves back to Virginia. Frank moves to Las Vegas where Hughes unsuccessfully tried to enter the casino industry for some reason. Rules Don't Apply rarely gives the full context for Hughes' business dealings – it is not that kind of biopic.

Instead Beatty's film focuses on a unique theme – the concept that we know as little about ourselves when we are old as when we are young. Rules Don't Apply faithfully depicts Hughes' notorious aversion to children. Hughes once wrote a several page memorandum to evict an annual Easter Egg Hunt from his casino in abject fear of the damage they might do to the premises. In the final scene of Rules Don't Apply, the son Howard Hughes never actually had watches him sitting in his bed with a small television nearby. "I should really get out more," Hughes announces, and the kid takes his advice.

Certain aspects of Rules Don't Apply remind us of what made the casting and performances of an earlier age in Hollywood so artistically and commerically successful. Beatty is a master at finding the right person for each role, and the cinematography of these familiar environs renders Los Angeles a gorgeous and frightening place. Other particulars of the film's production seem haphazard or rushed – the editing lacks transitions, and short shrift is given to any introspection or continuity.

Instead, we keep returning to this dreary magnate, who alienated almost everyone in his life. We sense that Beatty has met many men like Hughes, who were so wealthy that the only code they were able to live by was that of their own personal preference. Talking to such self-involved individuals, especially when you require their money to pursue your dreams, is a particularly noxious sort of defilement, and depicting it onscreen weirdly justifies it. I loved Rules Don't Apply, but I can't imagine anyone else feeling the same.

Alex Carnevale is the editor of This Recording.


In Which We Try To Penetrate The Mystery That Is Me

Love Is The Death Of Beauty


We look at death from the selfish side, like, "That guy died. Oh, it's so sad." Why is it sad? He's away from all of this bad stuff that's here on Earth. I mean, at the worst, he's just somewhere quiet, no nothing. At best, he's an angel... or he's a spirit somewhere. What is so bad about that?

- Tupac Shakur

Apparently my last Game of Thrones essai was more confusing than I intended. I received several volumes of e-mails this week, the vast majority of which were dick pics. It should have been no surprise that the active and engaged members of my audience are all shaped like question marks, although one did recall the trunk of an elephant, and it was accompanied by letter signed "Deleuze and Guattari."

there is nothing worse in life than an art semiotics major with a big D

Such is the burden of the most talented Game of Thrones recapper since Alan Sepinwall was fired from the New Jersey Star-Ledger for reviewing The Real Housewives of Atlanta in blackface. Alan's review of last night's Game of Thrones contained the sentence, "Wow." written on one line, which is third most boring writer's crutch available to internet scribes after "Read the whole thing" and "My name is Joan Walsh."

Why do I recap Game of Thrones in my inimitable style while Alan Sepinwall insists on running retro-reviews of Deadwood because he's being blackmailed by Ian McShane? Why isn't my favorite website for women started by my favorite bloggeur called Aloha Giggles or Au Revoir Giggles? Why does my sun and stars insist on concluding every evening by watching three episodes of The Closer and then expressing her queries as to why Kyra Sedgwick would marry Kevin Bacon? It's because only I can answer the hard questions.

Where can I find a replica of Jon Snow's sword, Longclaw? Please ensure that my copy of Longclaw is accompanied by a signed certificate bearing the signature of George R.R. Martin.

Look no further! The sword that should have been wielded by Sir Jorah Mormont in his ancestral home of Bear Island can now be yours! Longclaw is available for a cool $240, and for an extra $20, I'll send you a podcast of myself saying, "Are you Lord Stark's bastard?" in an arch tone approximately 240 times. For an extra $20,000, I'll dress up like Ygritte and let you splash horse blood on my face.

Hypothetically, if I were to decide to use Longclaw to avenge myself on someone, who would suit the job?

Jon Snow's trademark blade can only be used to decapitate the woman who absorbed your virginity or to stoke a fire on which you plan to sacrifice a Democratic member of the House of Representatives. When you use Longclaw, it is best to whisper, You know nothing, Jon Snow, just in case anyone is listening. The cops, for example: they'll immediately assume you're just playacting scenes from Beyond the Wall and vacate the premises.

What illness did Khal Drogo come down with? Did his wife get too hot or something?

Khal Drogo was the recipient of a double diagnosis of social anxiety and esophageal cancer. I had a blind date named Horselord once. The real origin of Khal Drogo's sickness is obviously the slaying of true inheritor of the Iron Throne, Viserys Targaryen. Spiritual malaise follows. Since there is no magic in Game of Thrones, this will have to do.

Have you noticed anything different about Daeny lately? She's really commanding the hell out of Khal Drogo's raiding party.

The newly pregnant Daenerys Targaryen now looks like something of a Horselord. A similar facial resemblance brought a premature end to the career of Carly Simon. JK, the young Khaleesi looks better than ever in the thrall of her pregnancy, and her facial expressions have become something to behold. As that Yao witch spilled horse blood all over her beloved in an attempt to save Jason Momoa, her facial countenance was a perfect primastic mix of horror, revulsion, hope and honor.

How much would a medicinal horse cost in today's dollars?

Ask a horselord.

Does a facial count if it's blood from a medicinal horse?


What about if the horse had a feminine name?

Khal Drogo's horse was not named Dandelion as has been rumored for eons.

uh, guys, who's coming on me?

How do you know the name of Khal Drogo's horse?

The same way I know Joan Walsh lacks first order brain function: (1) It's fucking obvious and (2) The Wall Street Journal. Only someone that mentally ill could actually believe the Congressman's claim his account was hacked. Don't get me started on the John Edwards adviser who wrote, "Weiner has an outstanding record supporting sexual rights of others, with 100% ratings from NARAL and Planned Parenthood, and has a strong record of support for gay rights." You think associating the cause of gay rights with this adulterer is a good idea?

Wow. ® Alan Sepinwall 2011

bring a horse with a more recently update twitter account and do it NOWWhy do the creators of Game of Thrones insist on showing 40 minutes of intense conversation about the White Walkers, but they refuse to display images of little person sex or the raiding party that captured Jaime Lannister? Don't they know that action is the soul of drama?

You know the financial guys on a particular television series are the ones with the brass balls when Game of Thrones doesn't show you the abduction of Jaime Lannister. As for the casting of Tyrion's Shae, I was still holding out a vain hope that Matthew Broderick would play someone in this drama. Since the only remaining option is Stannis Baratheon, we would seem to be at an impasse.

Is Samwell Tarly a spy, and if so, who is he working for?

Four books into A Song of Ice and Fire, much still remains unknown about one Samwell Tarly. Given that fact that George R.R. Martin resembles Samwell more than any other character outside of perhaps the long-deceased Balerion the Dread, we can suspect some special agency in his movements. I'm not a great person to ask this question, though, I have made my entire career in politics on the idea that everyone is working for someone else.

What are some party games that you enjoy after a few Heinekens with the brunette January Jones and her trained robot, Bronn the Bold?

You mean besides Black Swan: The Party Game? People stopped wanting to play Truth or Dare with me somewhere around the turn of the century, after I told over 400 people something Grover Norquist whispered into my ear about the estate tax on a dare. The Cheney family used to get together to play Truth or Dare, but so many people would come out of the closet during a typical game that it started making more sense to force people to admit they were straight. As for Bronn and Shae's cute game with their master: never Power Hour with the people you work with.

Did you escape combat in Vietnam much the same way that Tyrion escaped the sights, sounds, and smells of war near the Twins?

If your point was to remind me of my draft dodging, consider it a win. I spent most of Vietnam living it up - after all, I knew the next four decades of my life would elapse without my hair.

Dick Cheney is the senior contributor to This Recording and is regarded by some experts as Alan Sepinwall's baldest enemy. You can find last week's Game of Thrones recap here.

"Shadow, Follow Me" - Centro-matic (mp3)

"If They Talk You Down" - Centro-matic (mp3)

"Sordid States" - Centro-matic (mp3)

The new album from Will Johnson's Centro-matic is called Candidate Waltz, and it comes out from Undertow Music on June 21. You can pre-order it here.