A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Sunday, January 17, 2010

What I'm Watching

The Hangover 

My daughter was surprised when I rented this one. It didn't seem like my kind of film, she said.  

Well, okay, I guess. [Feeling very old.] I mean, yeah, a lot of its humor is sexist and homophobic and a little bit racist. (The swishy Asian guy is both of the last two.) And I know I shouldn't endorse films that are all of those things because they only reinforce these attitudes in the younger generation at which such films are aimed. But sometimes you need to laugh at all those un-PC things even if you feel a little guilty for laughing at them. No need to go around clutching your pearls in indignation all the time.

So there were a lot of things I didn't like about it. But as for the things I did like: 
  • Bradley Cooper is perfect as the kind of guy you hated in high school and college: the handsome douchebag. 
  • It's great to see Ed Helms playing a different character from the clueless guys he played on "The Daily Show" and "The Office." 
  • Zach Galifianakis brought an amazing sweetness to his role. 
  • I love farce, and this one was beautifully paced, thanks to Todd Phillips' direction and Debra Neil-Fisher's editing. 
  • They never did explain the chicken.

The Proust Project, Day 60

Where this began
Day 59

In the Shadow of Young Girls in Flower (translated by James Grieve), pp. 404-416.

From "It was the day after I had seen ..." to "... whatever does not correspond to that view."
Sober again, the narrator resumes his obsession with his "group of girls," but also finds time to make more trips with Saint-Loup to Rivebelle, where they notice "a tall man, very well built, with regular features and a beard turning gray." The owner informs them that this is "the famous painter Elstir," whom the narrator remembers as having been mentioned by Swann. The narrator and Saint-Loup send a note to Elstir's table. The artist comes and sits with them, "but he did not pursue any of the allusions I made to Swann. I could easily have believed he did not know him." He invites the narrator to visit his studio in Balbec.

But the narrator's obsession with the group of girls is such that he puts the visit off after, out for a walk with his grandmother, he sees one of the group "hanging her head, like an animal being forced back to the stable," with "an authoritative-looking personage," perhaps her governess. "From that moment on, although until then I had been thinking mostly about the tall one, it was once more the girl with the golf clubs, whom I assumed to be Mlle Simonet, who preoccupied me." He takes every opportunity he can to be on the esplanade or wherever he might catch sight of the girls. 
Then my initial uncertainty about whether I would see them or not on a particular day was aggravated by another, much more serious one, whether I would see them ever again -- for all I knew, they might be leaving for America or returning to Paris. This was enough to make me begin to fall in love with them. ... Loving them all, I was in love with none of them; and yet the possibility of meeting them was the only element of delight in my days.
His grandmother is irritated at his failure to visit Elstir, and eventually he gives in and makes the visit. His mood changes when he sees the works in the artist's studio, "for I glimpsed in them the possibility that I might rise to a poetic awareness, rich in fulfilling thoughts for me, of many forms that I had hitherto never distinguished in reality's composite spectacle."