Sunday, August 2, 2009

There's a hell of a good universe next door

In contrast to reading this weekend's papers here, which as I've pointed out requires a deft eye to avoid the numerous articles about Julie/Julia, you can read an appreciation of Ross McDonald, a review of the sequel to Tokyo, Year Zero , and an article about the Jack Reacher scholarship fund in the Guardian/Observer.

12 comments:

Generic said...

Perhaps it would help if you contributed a few rational words, somewhere, at some point, about why the Julia movie (which after all has not even opened yet; and which is all about classy French stuff, which we know you dig) inspires such quivering hatred. Do you just pin the movie ads up on the wall and throw darts at them?

Generic said...

Great passage in the Macdonald piece:

"Macdonald was always insistent that Archer wasn't the centre of the story. "The detective," he once advised an aspiring writer, "isn't your main character, and neither is your villain. The main character is the corpse. The detective's job is to seek justice for the corpse. It's the corpse's story, first and foremost." On another occasion, he wrote that it was the "other people" - those whose problems Archer is investigating - "that are for me the main thing."

Tulkinghorn said...

It's about giving the audience of upper-middle class New Yorkers the opportunity to applaud their own good taste without any of the work or even mental effort that goes into actually developing good taste -- not to mention skills.

Imagine a movie about someone who reads The Golden Bowl. Imagine all the people attending the movie filled with the belief that they have somehow celebrated the love of reading -- without themselves actually having to read. At all.

Generic said...

Not sure how far you want to go with this. Arguably anyone who cooks from Child rather than doing what she did and learning the stuff from the original masters is kidding themselves. As is a person who simply reads James without with any knowelkdge of the social and literary context in which it was written. I realize that as a St. Johnnie I should find that abhorant but... I don't know. If the only available alternatives are to do something right according to the highest standards inmaginable and not to do it all... Seems a little harsh, is all.

Tulkinghorn said...

Somebody said that writing about music was like dancing about architecture....

Learning about culture by watching other people experience it is similarly pointless.

Although, in the realms of pointlessness, seeing a movie about other people's experience of COOKING has an honored place. Reading about how marvelous the creators of the movie are is higher still. And being jerked off endlessly by the editors of the Times so that we will PAY ATTENTION to all of this is highest of all.

However, I suspect that if Streep can get at Child's remarkable energy and joie de vivre it'll be worth seeing.

Generic said...

There are quite a few good movies that hinge on watching other people play the paino, paint. make love and cook.

"Babette's Feast."

"Tampopo."

"Le Grand Chef."

And on and on.

Tulkinghorn said...

The first two, of course, are the only two great cooking movies.

Once you get to "Le Grand Chef", a movie seen by very few outside Seoul, your list of cultural touchstones is getting very thin.

What I am not articulating is the emptiness, smugness, and laziness of proving yourself a person of taste by watching somebody else following recipies.

Generic said...

I have never, to my knowledge, seen anyone, anywhere, attemptiong to "prov[e] [them]sel[ves] a person of taste by watching somebody else following recipies." If "J/J" achieves this it will be something new under the sun and a good candidate for a Special Oscar [tm].

Christian Lindke said...

In a move designed to offend every critic I know, while simultaneously having a good time, Jody and I are hiring a baby sitter so we can watch J/J, GI JOE, and A PERFECT GETAWAY this Saturday.

I do have to admit that the fact the author of J/J was having an affair during the events of J/J (the subject of her next book) does make me less desirous of viewing the film. Is no one immune to the "now I'm more successful and can screw around" virus?

The fact that the film stars Amy Adams, of BALLAD OF RICKY BOBBY fame, makes up for all faults.

Though I do sympathize entirely with Tulk's rejection of smug self-celebration. That's why I loved CECIL B. DEMENTED so much. Most of the people who were patting themselves on the back for watching an "Independent John Waters Film" -- in the screening I attended -- had no idea who William Castle was or how he was "truly independent."

Tulkinghorn said...

Congratulations.

As a celebration of individual taste and alienation from the norms of 'new class' culture, you couldn't do better than that combo.

Did you realize that the distributors of G.I. Joe didn't even bother to take out display ads in the New York Times?

Generic said...

For different reasons, one assumes, than the producers of "Duplicity"...

Tulkinghorn said...

Actually, the same reason:

Return less than reward.

What is somewhat refreshing about the people who make movies like "G.I. Joe" is that they do not believe their funders to be in the business of making futile gestures to save face for people who have already made millions while failing...