Fine Arts Update
January 26, 2009
You know, Oscar season is upon us, so this is the time of year when I dream of sneaking out during the day to watch some dreary movie involving Kate Winslet. This year, she has managed to be in TWO dreary movies, one directed by her very own King of Dreary Sam Mendes. (Road to Perdition, anybody? Fun!) Maybe I’ll go for a Grim Film Back-to-Back Double Feature. At least Ralph Fiennes is in one of them: he really peps up a movie, doesn’t he?
[Warning: Slumdog Millionaire spoiler alert.]
Now that I think about it, I’m not sure I can get through a batch of Kate Winslet. I think I have become too Sensitive.
Example: I managed to sit through an entire viewing of Paul Blart: Mall Cop with the fellas, thrilling for the cop-on-Segway scenes and Paul Blart’s evolution into a badass hostage extricator. It may be the terriblest movie ever made, and I’m counting Road to Perdition in there. But I didn’t leave, even when the pretty wig salesperson seems to reject poor Paul.
Yet I could tolerate exactly sixteen minutes of the Triumphant Movie of the Year, Slumdog Millionaire, before I left and asked for my money back. Ever since I’ve had children, my tolerance for graphic violence and brutality has evaporated. There is no room in my head for that stuff. I didn’t get the memo that the first fifteen minutes of this movie include 1) torture involving a car battery, 2) boy in cesspool, 3) teacher throwing books at students, 4) mother clubbed to death in front of her sons. So poorly framed, all this mess, and so gruesomely rendered! I didn’t even remotely care what happened after this–now I have all that imagery in my head, and it’ll be there like plutonium for the rest of my life. So disappointing!
In happier news, I have been living yet another novel about New York, Joseph O’Neill’s Netherland. So absorbing, so tender a story of a man very much at loose ends after 9/11. I read a chapter of that, and I let it sink in. Plenty of sad and shock, but it takes you there without smacking you in the face like Slumdog Millionaire. Highly recommended.
Who’s Thanking Whom?
I gave some yarn to the best second grade teacher in the universe, the incomparable Ms. Smith, who has taught hundreds of second graders how to knit. In return, these came back to me:
How many second graders can doodle up a circular needle?
Or convey the elemental core of knitting: