I sneaked out of the rat race as it was entering extra innings, and have not yet looked back.
Nor have I called my parents. They find these things out through the grapevine. Someday perhaps I’ll grow up, a pair, more self-assured, etc. Until then, too bad. Most people my age are neck-deep in the blast furnace of their own child-rearing, and seem to my jaded eyes to be gamely suiting up for 12-18 years of drudgery and bullshit. I applaud their devotion to the genetic imperative, but this Selfish Gene has turned out to be supremely selfish indeed.
At this point I have always thrown in the caveat that “with Imperial blessing and the kiss of Fortune” I would gladly spawn with the right person… I think those days are waning, have waned, will wane, might have already waned, party-on-Wayned. She of the golden loins could always be right around the corner, but realistically I’d guess she’s walking away from the corner.
In brighter news, I watched three films yesterday, fresh fruits from my fallow field.
Bright Star — Well, I won’t be confusing Keats and Yeats anymore. (Oh shit, I just thought of something. What if Yeats also died of tuberculosis at 25 after failing to consummate his love affair with an apple-cheeked lass who loved sewing? Wikipedia comes to my aid. Whew.) It took this movie about 15 minutes to get me choked up, and kept banging that gong for the next hour and a half. By the time I got out I was wrung out, exhausted, weakly raging against this cruel world that stamps so beigely* upon the fragile tundra of Young Love. This movie would have ended more happily had the MacArthur Foundation dropped a cheque in the post for our J. Keats. Sometime shortly before he got sick, that is.
In all seriousness, I can’t recommend this movie to anyone. It’s beautifully photographed, the acting is superb, the dialog largely witty, the pacing deft and those of any gender or proclivity would find succor in daydreaming of at least one half of this smokin’-hot-fuckable couple. But honestly. Who goes to see movies like this? If you wanted to go, you’d go. What review would sway you? “Ah, a costume drama about a 19th century poet?” What need do we have of more films like this? Even really good ones? None. More films about the Lost Boys of Sudan, please. Thank you.
Gilda — I watched this mostly to get caught up on Rita Hayworth, in particular because of this quote from my twitter buddy ReelKnitting: Regarding her failed relationships, Rita Hayworth said, “Men go to bed with Gilda and wake up with me.” Intriguing, yes? But it turns out that Gilda isn’t the best reason to watch Gilda, not really even in the top five. Reasons to See Gilda, #1: The writing. The screenplay by Jo Eisinger is sharp, philosophical, funny and confusing as hell. #2: Glenn Ford, who I’d never heard of, but is handsome, funny and intriguing throughout. (Also, he went from supporting Adlai Stevenson in the ’50s to being pro-Reagan in the ’80s! Must have been an interesting couple-a decades around the Ford family dinner table.) #3: The suits, which are wide, dark and gorgeous. #4/5: A tie for George Macready (playing the villain, and who I remember from Paths of Glory… now there’s a movie I need to watch again) and Steven Geray (a Hungarian actor that plays a wise and perceptive bathroom attendant).
Oh, all right. I’ll admit that Rita Hayworth is more interesting than the suits, so I guess that makes her the #3 reason to see Gilda. Still, those suits are eye-popping. The end of the film is rather unsatisfying, and left me wishing that it’d been made before the Hays Code started making a hash of things.
Grand Hotel — I picked this one because I wanted to know something about Greta Garbo, but ended up being more interested in Joan Crawford and the Barrymore brothers. Evidently this film was the first time a studio said, “Hey, what would happen if we threw all of our stars into one film?”, and I can report that it’s a lot of fun. I won’t try to review the movie, but I do want to say that it was a thrill to finally see Wallace Beery; one of my favorite movie moments is Tony Shalhoub sputtering to John Turturro in Barton Fink: “Wallace Beery! Wrestling picture! Whaddaya, need a roadmap?!”
You can relive that and other delicious Shalhoub lines in this YouTube collection that some madman uploaded:
More later. I fully intend to review the execrable Reading the O.E.D. at some point, but don’t hold your breath.
*Is “beigely” a word? I believe it should be.
PS: Can you believe that “execrable” is spelled that way? I’m having a hard time with it. Also, I’d just like to point out that the sweet, kindly Lionel Barrymore of Grand Hotel would, merely 14 years later, be playing the mean ol’ son-of-a-bitch Mr. Potter in It’s a Wonderful Life. Crazy!