Friday, November 11, 2005

Things to do when you hate to love Mr. Darcy.

- It fascinates me that the movie receiving the most praise from critics this week appears to be PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, based on the novel that most everyone's read at least once and already made into an instant classic miniseries. Still, the praise that's been heaped upon Keira Knightley for her performance as Elizabeth Bennet is difficult to ignore. And too much PRIDE AND PREJUDICE, to be fair, isn't exactly a bad thing.
- Sorry for the delay in posting this, but I just found out that one of my creative writings was accepted for presentation at the 2006 national conference of the Popular Culture Association/American Culture Association in April.

- Though the movie's gotten lukewarm reviews, I've been interested in seeing THE PRIZE WINNER OF DEFIANCE, OHIO for personal reasons, for my parents grew up in towns neighboring Defiance, Ohio, during the time this movie was set. In fact, Terry Ryan, the author of the book on which the movie was based, went to the same college as my parents, graduating a couple years ahead of them. (The movie, incidentally, was filmed on location in Defiance.) Now, my parents didn't know Evelyn Ryan and my grandparents probably didn't know her either, but this movie, starring Julianne Moore and Woody Harrelson, gives me a chance to see a glimpse of what it might've been like for my parents as kids, who traveled the same roads as the Ryans and looked at the same billboards and probably attended the same movie theaters, for Defiance was the go-to hangout town for my parents.

- The one thing that would get me to the Out on Film Festival, which begins tonight, is that the fest is opening with TRANSAMERICA, a new film starring DESPERATE HOUSEWIVES' Felicity Huffman. In it, Huffman plays Bree, a pre-operative male-to-female transsexual, who discovers that, years before, she fathered a son, who now needs her help. There's been strong, strong Oscar buzz for Huffman.

- I saw THE SQUID AND THE WHALE, which stars Jeff Daniels and Laura Linney, earlier this week at the Tara, and it was a very good movie about two writers who get divorced in the 1980s and the odd impact it has on their two sons. Daniels is brilliant in the movie as an arrogant author past his glory days who, when his marriage ends, sees himself as the victim in the situation and declares a passive-agressive war on his ex-wife. Linney, as usual, is good. Though the movie didn't completely bowl me over, it contains strong performances and good writing. I recommend it.

- I mentioned THE YEAR OF MAGICAL THINKING a couple weeks ago on this blog, but I didn't pick up Joan Didion's grief memoir until this week. From what I've read of it, the book is a great, powerful work about how the author coped with several shocks that blindsided her: the sudden death of her husband John Gregory Dunne, her daughter slipping into a coma due to what seemed like a minor illness and other things. The book reads with an urgency, for you sense what Didion was feeling in startling moments when her life changed. Even though the subject matter is notably bleak, how she addresses these changes is affirming. It's fantastic.
- I'm a little behind on my moviegoing, and I should really catch up with stuff. I've still not seen NORTH COUNTRY, JARHEAD, WALLACE AND GROMIT, CHICKEN LITTLE or a dozen others.
- It's a couple weeks until BROKEBACK MOUNTAIN hits theaters, though the early buzz is that the movie is a masterpiece. The soundtrack, though, is in stores already, and it features an eclectic, strong mix of country legends and modern folk artists. Willie Nelson sings a Bob Dylan song. Rufus Wainwright duets with someone on "King of the Road." And the brilliant, always welcome Emmylou Harris appears on several songs. I'm guessing that this soundtrack, perhaps moreso than the ones for RENT and THE PRODUCERS, will be getting Oscar nominations.
- This week, I discovered that, in 2002, a friend of mine was able to lose 90 pounds. Since I'd met him after 2002, I just assumed that he'd always been fit, and the revelation actually surprised me a little bit. He said that the trick was that you just had to find the right motivation to get started, the right goal to inspire you. Now, that I'd heard before, but my motivated friend then put it in a different light. He told me that what drives you can be petty, selfish, greedy or superficial, just so long as it gets you started. Instead of losing weight for health reasons, he told me he did it primarily because he wanted to get laid more. So I'm trying to come up with something that'll motivate me to do any one of the number of things that I keep saying I should do. (I'm talking more than just weight loss, here.) What petty, small, superficial thing have you found to move you? Do you have any reasons you don't say out loud for sticking with good behavior? What's the silliest, most selfish reason you've ever had for doing the right thing?

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