Friday, January 16, 2009

This Is The End.

Print this checklist and put it on your wall. From everything I've read, it looks like most of what this guy predicts comes true. Our society is so diseased, I find the doom and gloom predictions kind of exhilarating, bracing. The end of suburbia? car culture? consumerism? What's the problem?

Thursday, January 15, 2009


One of my favorite movies is an obscure film called Girl in the Cafe, which I think was made for TV. The story is simple yet full of surprises; it's a quiet film with understated performances, and genuinely moving. It was written by the guy who wrote and directed Love Actually, which I seem to remember getting a lot of attention when it came out a few years ago. Lots of friends have recommended it. So, J and M and I watched it last night.

It's dreadful. I enjoyed parts of it, the cast is a treat: Laura Linney, Emma Thompson, Hugh Grant, Bill Nighy (great actor, who was also in Girl in the Cafe), and lots of other really fine actors. But the accumulation of syrupy-sweet triumph of love moments was just too much and in the end rang false.

What really put me over the top was one particular storyline (there are about 10 interwoven stories in the film) featuring Liam Nissan as a single father whose wife has recently died, leaving him to raise an unnaturally articulate little boy, who confesses to his father one day that he is "in love." The boy learns to play drums so he can play in a school concert where his beloved is the featured singer (of course, she has that weird, forced but very popular these days little girl voice like a cross between Andrea McCardle, Whitney Houston, and the sound of letting the air out of a balloon slowly), and after the concert he chases her to the airport where she is getting on a plane to somewhere. I don't think they ever say where she is going, but that's not important. What's important is getting the movie to the airport -- airports are very dramatic, you know.

Basically their story consists of the father pushing the boy (who is all of about 8) to pursue a sexualized relationship with the girl, which he, the father, can enjoy vicariously because his wife is dead and he regrets that he never adequately professed his love to her. Is this a normal way for fathers to interact with their prepubescent children? I found it very creepy.

Maybe my expectations were too high, since this was one of those movies that are "supposed to be good." I was also disappointed after seeing Kenneth Branagh's film adaptation of The Magic Flute earlier this week. I loved his films of Frankenstein and Hamlet and Henry V. The Magic Flute was fun, sort of, but I guess I expected it to be thrilling (because the music is) and it wasn't. The biggest hindrance to my enjoyment I think was the fact that it didn't make any sense. Is the whole thing a dream? Is the story as bizarre and impenetrable in the original, or did Branagh make it that way? And what exactly is magic about the flute?

Sunday, January 11, 2009

Another Scared Little Man.

There was an article in the New York Times yesterday about this Mark Driscoll character, who strikes me as an asshole of the highest order. I read the article straight through, fascinated and horrified, then looked at some youtube videos of him (the one above is especially charming -- his poor children).

It's a nice slap in the face. Just when I was feeling all sunny, after the election, about the so-called Millenials and their comfort with diversity, their so-what attitude about sexual deviance etc., this article appears to let me know that religious authoritarianism thrives in the pierced generation.

All the press on this guy refers to him as a new Calvinist, which of course he is not. (Not that Calvinism was so great the first time.) Here's some perspective on that, from one of my favorite blogs.