i'd like to take my second and last entry of the month and introduce it with the part of this diary where i post personal stuff. for example: i'm feeling quite emasculated lately. i've had my gold chain and my earrings, which are feminine in desi terms but at least gender-neutral for the young zillenial. but my mom and every visiting auntie have given me jasmines to wear in my hair, and my mom recently made me put on some anklets (they're broken, so they only jingle on one side. note: this would make a great motif for a movie character). and then there's the fancy dress on the rare occasion i leave the house to go to a community event.. it's not killing me or anything, i very much have a feminine side, and my dysphoric tendencies don't pertain as much to aesthetics. so i let it slide, but i do feel like the most pathetic little purse dog in a frilly dress.

what better cure than vicarious masculinity through cinema? in this particular time of need, i've turned to two men, the first being john woo. it used to be that face/off and MI:2 were all i knew of him, and that was deeply unfair to his filmography. nowadays my favorite of his is the killer, but i rewatched that too recently, so i went with a rewatch of hard boiled instead. setting aside my love for homosocial relations and mad dog and non-stop action choreography and mad dog, i'll take this time to discuss his gun ballets and their beautiful carnage.

^ mad dog.

this is in part a short ode to my favorite cinematic gun: the shotgun. (i love to see guns in movies, but this is unrelated to my opinions on guns in real life. i won't get into the topic of gun control and whether or not gun violence in media has an effect. well, it has an effect on me, but like i said, it's unrelated.) in woo's controlled chaos, i like the shotgun's middle ground between the flame-fanning submachine gun and the insta-landscaping bazooka. colts and pistols are nice, but i feel they have a more narrative quality to them; to be shot through the heart in slow motion, or aimed at the temple followed by the click of an empty chamber. (dual-wielding is, of course, a different kind of gun). i think i decided the shotgun was my favorite gun aesthetically when i first started playing the original DOOM, where it was also my favorite functionally. i'm picking DOOM up again because of this reminder. i keep switching to the chainsaw and machine-gun with deep reluctance, because i just love the sensory feedback and iconography of exploding something a little bit, twice.

listen, i'm not a poet, but woo seems to understand the beauty of the shotgun where words fail me. for example, he bestows it upon JCVD, the protagonist of hard target, the other woo i watched. (a bit underrated!) in the finale, he sneaks around an abandoned warehouse picking off the baddies with his ol-reliable shotgun. not a very stealthy weapon, but a dramatic one. it announces itself with the fanfare that a regular handgun lacks, setting off a small showdown before JCVD obscures himself again.

(this diary entry is sponsored by gifcam)

this was my first JCVD film, and he's neat. i should dig into the guy's filmography. but my number-one hollywood macho man remains arnold schwarzenegger. in times of mental turmoil, i tend to turn specifically to 90s shuwa-chan, a love that began with my first viewing of total recall. let me be clear that i really hate the man's politics, i'm just obsessed with his image. he's like a cute mascot to me, like moomin or gudetama.

it's one thing to be a straightforward action star, but it's that equal association with goofy and campy roles that makes me love him. a physical manifestation of hypermasculine wish fulfillment whose most iconic films include batman & robin and jingle all the way. existing, entirely, in both of these identities, in pure tandem. we don't have a guy like this anymore! (not even arnie himself!) will we ever be in an era of hollywood that nurtures this again...?

my needs are different presently, so besides a rewatch of terminator 2 (forever love that bouquet-shotgun + the "now that's a smile" scene), my binge here was pre-90s and played straight. my next movie was commando, which i recommend only and specifically if you want a movie where the male lead has more prominent cleavage than his female co-star, with whom he has absolutely no romantic involvement. i know i did.

finally, i watched pumping iron, a bodybuilding documentary that schwarzenegger starred in well before his fame. i'm marking this diary entry for the date i watched it, the 30th, because it was arnie's birthday, and that feels thematically encapsulating. as a person, it's kind of crazy how schwarzenegger fluctuates between clever and well-spoken, and a totally insufferable meathead. it's a fascinating little vignette, with an atmosphere of machismo that's kind of terrifying. and yet, at times, i also found myself yearning. definitely a great movie if you need a lot of closeup pans of aggressively bulging muscles. (i know i did.)

regarding the website: updates have been deliberately (relatively) lacking since i was trying to prioritize artfight this month. it's made me consider making a page for my OCs? my interest in them ebbs and flows: not enough for a toyhouse, but perhaps just enough for a static webpage. long-time readers may have noticed that they haven't noticed that blogpost i mentioned a while ago. this is because as i've begun, i've remembered that i don't like longform writing or writing in general. i just like the sound of my own opinions. i hope i get around to it eventually though. i wanted to post this entry before the month ended, but this is awfully close to the deadline. i should start writing these diary entries piecemeal as i go through the days, as opposed to a recollected all-at-once expulsion. like, i'm starting a rewatch of all the mission impossible movies, so i'm taking extra notes on those as i go, to be posted all together. but i'm trying to stretch the marathon out until we're closer to M:I7, so we'll see if this site makes it to that date.

P.S.: did you know that for april fools' 2012, the criterion collection set up an elaborate fake announcement for a release of kindergarten cop? i love this fake cover.


television! i've been watching more than usual lately, which isn't saying much. i used to watch quite a lot of anime in early high school, but when i fully phased into being a Movies Guy i lost the palate for series altogether. exceptions do occur every once in a while, usually with the help of friends, but i miss out on most streaming phenomenons. the best season of non-animated television i have ever seen is love island UK season 5.

i've got a bunch of weird little psychological hangups aroound watching TV, like the prospect of wasted time if i leave it incomplete, or the pressure of long-term sustained patience as opposed to a one-sitting situation. but it's also easier for me to watch a three hour movie than a miniseries of comparable length, so i don't even know. it's not like i want this! my watchlist is backed up with a lot of shows that i know are good. i've heard from friends that television becomes much more palatable after starting full-time work. something like a nice little measured breather after getting home.

i told myself i'd start breaking bad during this Last Summer i'm having (and i am very lucky it's coincided with an inexplicable fandom revival). i've just finished season 2 now! but i'd seen a good chunk of this show already since my friends watched it in our dorm sophomore year. i got the impression the twists and thrills were the flagship of the show, but going in again i realized i already knew most of them... and what's left is still very, very good. like, i'd never noticed how many of the episodes are just pensive character work. it's a lot of them! but course it's all neccessary. it's also quite stylized and surreal at times, which i always love. spoiler-free is the ideal experience for sure, but its good qualities go deeper than a reputation of thrill-ride bingeability.

speaking of spoilers,

back to the topic of too many tv shows, i've also seen two series of taskmaster now! it's just ridiculous and funny and easy to watch. i've finished series 7 and 9 and my favorites were rhod gilbert and jo brand respectively. not much analysis to be had here, there's not some exquisite narrative being woven (unlike love island UK season 5). but these are supposed to be really good entries in the show, so maybe i need to watch some lesser series to understand what makes a good one work. i saw the first episode of the first series, and it has its moments (e.g. one of the contestants throwing a watermelon on the ground, eating the whole thing off the floor in a minute, and then throwing up) but it is certainly lacking the magic.

gilbert at work.

personal notes: i fell behind on artfight last week because my cousins extended their visit to a week instead of a weekend, boohoo, woe is me!! it was actually fine, they were nice company, i'm just misanthropic. (it's actually kind of a strange feeling, bc i've spent most of my life with the rest of my immediate family all living in india, and now within the past year two of them are living in the states.) kansas is a pretty uneventful area to visit though. family activities included baking a cheesecake and playing a lot of rummy. here's my loose ranking of every movie we watched: top gun maverick < jana gana mana < top gun < your name < vikram < mirai (my suggestion.) (but only after your name put anime on the table.)

between television and movies and drawing for artfight and writing for this website, i've started exercising again, and i'm thinking that i really ought to pick japanese back up... how many hobbies are too many???