A few movie notes while stuck at LAX

Apparently arriving an hour and a half early to the airport is not sufficient for the holidays if you're flying Delta. Apparently they have not heard of staffing to handle seasonal loads. I stood out in a skycap line for 45 minutes, then got to the front and was told I'd missed my baggage check-in time. So I was directed to an unstaffed counter inside where I was told to pick up a black phone and speak to someone about my predicament. This service is called, I joke not, "Delta Direct."

The volume on the phone was so law I had to stick a banana in my other ear and cover the phone with my other just to make out the woman's voice on the other end. She began by asking why I was calling. I explained my situation.

She told me to hang on and proceeded to do something (I imagine she was typing furiously wherever she was, perhaps sitting in a hammock in the Bahamas, sipping a turquoise drink out of a coconut shell). As always, it took her about five minutes of typing to deduce exactly what I had just told her, that they wouldn't let me check in my bags because I was inside of 45 minutes to my flight time.

She then asked me if I could see any agents standing around nearby who could help me out. This bank of Delta Direct counters had no agents, simply a bank of phones. I felt like I was being Punk'd. My suspicion is that Delta's agents, realizing they had not staffed appropriately for this day, but fearing the wrath of angry holiday travelers, set up this bank of phones and directed people like me to them, whereupon they transferred us to speak to a corresponding phone bank in a prison somewhere. I imagine a prisoner in an orange jumpsuit in a prison, seated behind one of those glass windows, picking up a phone in confusion because there was no one on the other side of the glass.

"Hello, who is this?"

"Who are you?"

"Listen, I'm stuck here at the airport because they won't check my bags and won't let me go to the gate. I really need to get out of this hellhole and on to the plane to go meet my family."

"Oh, cry me a river, I'm doing 10 in this federal penitentiary and my cellblock mate calls me Boo."

Delta Direct. I want to find the person who concocted this service.

Bumped to a flight four hours later, I sit in a Mexican cantina in the airport eating a soggy tamale. There is a haiku in this, but I possess not the zen state of mind required for such creative output.


On the commonality of the Trajan font in movie posters: website and video. Humorous. I've noticed this before, but not at a conscious level.


Fox Searchlight has posted the screenplays from many of its 2007 movies. Among them is Once, one of the best movies I saw this year and a good last minute gift if you're behind on your holiday shopping.


Thanks to Very Short List, I learned that my favorite movie from 2005, Best of Youth, will air on the Sundance Channel Dec 25-28. Originally a 6 hour miniseries aired in Italy, it came over as one long movies in 2005, but the Sundance Channel will air it as it originally played, in four 1.5 hour chunks.

If the thought of spending time with your in-laws this holiday season has you feeling a bit morose, spend an hour and a half each night with a family you will come to ache over. (You can find a trailer over the the official website)


I saw Sweeney Todd at the dome at the Arclight. I'd never seen the musical, nor was I too familiar with the storyline. Having lived in New York City for two years, however, I knew it involved a murderous barber. Having suffered a bad haircut or two in my day, I was curious to see where the film would ask me to place my empathy.

As a child, I felt a kinship with Tim Burton's awkward but swollen-hearted leads, including Edward Scissorhands, played of course by Johnny Depp. The two collaborate again in Sweeney Todd, only this time Depp is wielding a set of blades with a heart frosted over by thoughts of revenge. Only, it's Johnny Depp, and so something of the doleful recluse seeps out, even as he's slashing away with his straight razor as if he were hacking through a rainforest with a machete.

It's a musical, so characterization is broad, and quick. A young man spies a young blond in a second story window, and it's love at first sight. He immediately wanders down the street crooning, "I feeeel you, Johanna..." Musicals have always been a medium which wrenches emotions out of you using tendrils of music that can slip through the slimmest of cracks in your emotional armor. Everyone wears their emotions in song

My interests have strayed away from Tim Burton films and musicals over the years, but as a twist on the holiday movie, Sweeney Todd is satisfying in parts, buoyed largely by the nuanced melodies of Stephen Sondheim and the soot-laden sets of Victorian London, which I've always associated with Christmas, perhaps tracing back to mental images from A Christmas Carol.