Monday, January 3, 2011

I hate Hemingway.

But I also understand him.  Or at the very least, I understand his compulsion to write while hung over. It really is the only thing that clears the mind.

Writing while drunk? Forget it.  Hemingway, who spent half his life sloshed, knew that it couldn't be done.  Sure, whatever your putting down sounds amazing and transcendent as the booze courses through your veins. Until you look at it later and realize you're a fucking idiot and need to burn the evidence immediately.  So, Hemingway spent half his life tanked and the other half hungover and writing.  There's probably a lesson in there somewhere, but my mind can only focus on one thing at a time right now (which, again, is the best way to write).

And right now, it's officially 2011.

Happy New Year!

And what better way to ring in the New Year/cure that hangover than with a nice, fun, accessible movie?  And what if that nice, fun, accessible movie was also running away with lots of Golden Globe and Oscar nominations?  And had Matt Damon? Well, that movie is called True Grit.

"True Grit"

The original True Grit won John Wayne an Oscar.  And now the Cohen Brothers are doing their take.
I saw the trailer for this over the summer and didn't really pay it any attention. Like, we've all seen the original...why bother?

But then, over the holiday at home, I realized it was probably a good "family movie time" bet.  See, my dad LOVES westerns.  And, by nostalgic extension, so do I.  So we went: David, Mark, Lin and me.  And it was great!

Okay...Pause.  When I say "great,"  I mean it was solid (that's better).  "True Grit" is good, solid entertainment. It's a film that everyone can like.  And during the holidays, any form of inter-family agreement is a good thing.

And, in all honesty, I got a lot more enjoyment out of it than I did out of "Black Swan."

Listen, I had high hopes for Black Swan.  Darren Aronofsky ('The Wrestler' and the amazing but sooo hard to watch 'Requiem for a Dream') makes good movies.  And you all know that I have a sapphic lady crush on Mila Kunis (and she even performs oral sex on Natalie Portman in the movie as an added bonus for you 70/30's and boyfriends).

But still...I was underwhelmed.  I know it has been getting stellar reviews and I do understand that it is well done.  But...fuck.  Could he have "telegraphed" the themes anymore clearly?  Like, the entire time I was sitting in the theater, I was thinking to myself:  "This is Film Symbolism For Idiots."

This was my actual thought process while sitting in the theater:  "Oh, look.  There's Natalie Portman's character seeing herself in a mirror while a huge, fucking picture of a black swan looms ominously in the background.  Oh look, there she is seeing herself turn into Mila Kunis.  Oh look, there she is dressed in white when she's being nice and then showing up in black when she's being bad."

Black Swan= The Scarlet Letter of movies.

And as far as "The King's Speech" was good. Nice. Pleasant. Colin Firth deserves the Oscar nomination.  But it wasn't Citizen Kane.  My Oscar picks are still brewing, but don't worry. I will have it all formulated and together for you by the time the Golden Globes roll around in two weeks.

And lastly, as per previous promise, the trailer for "Tree of Life."

Terrence Mallick will never win a popularity contest.  He will never be Speilberg, or Scorcese, or Coppola.  He is definitely an acquired taste. Because his movies plod.  They are slow.  They are what I like to call "Look! See!"   He will find an image and just shoot it for minutes at a time. He will let the action unfold, let the scenery move from the background to the foreground, he will give the viewer time to just look around.   And, in the MTV era of 45 frames per second, this can feel Boring.  Sure.

But DAMN.  His movies are just. so. pretty.  Look! See!

That's all for now.  More as award's season gets underway.



  1. re: writing while boozing. I believe it can be done, but only in moderation. I further qualify that by asking the purpose of the booze. If you feel the need to booze, what is that you are trying to abate?
    For myself, I get anxious. I have anxiety. I have trouble focusing. Trouble with sentences because sentences form thoughts that are interfering with mine. Thus, the remedy: a glass of wine. Maybe two, just to keep the words and ideas flowing, the very same words and ideas that were all scrambled and scribbled before. I'm not prescribing myself wine to deal with all issues of anxiety (I've got other, better, cheaper stuff for that), but the pairing of wine and writing makes sense to me.

  2. It is impossible to write about Black Swan without thinking of those ubiquitous symbols and their manifestations. I see before me a lacy black tank top, just pulled over a white one in the bathroom of a club. Nina in white, Lily in black. Mirrors, scratches, monsters. Yes, the symbolism smacked you over and over again, but at least it was pretty and simple and clean symbolism. I had a feeling you would be less than impressed; it wasn't as complex as it could have been, but I maintain that it was still beautiful. Ah! The psychological terrors brought upon audiences! And the psychology of Tchaikovsky's music given proper juxtaposition! In that dark New Jersey mall theatre, I was smiling. Widely, wildly smiling, with absolute bliss that someone was able to find my darker side and revel in it.

  3. Tree of Life looks intriguing and beautiful, even moreso every time I see this trailer.

    So, speaking of Look! See! Movies...did you see "I am Love?" My girlfriend is the star. She is love.