Sunday, May 15, 2011

Miscellaneous Items

In between Sopranos I've hit a few other things that have been good:

1. Bossypants, 2011 by Tina Fey.

Synopsis? Chapters about her life, I guess. It's interesting, well written, and very funny. I have to be completely honest, though; I never used to think she was that funny until she started doing Sarah Palin. Clever, extremely, but she and Amy Poehler on SNL (while obviously intelligent) just didn't ever blow my skirt up, if you get me. This did, probably because she could swear and be a little vulgar, which is very much something I like. Oh, and also because she wrote:  "I have a uniquely German capacity to vacillate between sentimentality and coldness." This, too, is something I unfortunately can relate to, along with having a father that everyone was scared of . . .

2. The Catcher in the Rye, 1945, by J.D. Salinger.

"The majority of the novel takes place in December 1949. The story commences with Holden Caulfield describing encounters he has had with students and faculty of Pencey Prep in Agerstown, Pennsylvania. He criticizes them for being superficial, or, as he would say, "phony." After being expelled from the school for his poor academic performance, Holden packs up and leaves the school in the middle of the night after a physical altercation with his roommate. He takes a train to New York but does not want to return to his family. . ." and so on. (Wikipedia)

This was kind of hard to read, not because of the style of prose or anything technical but mostly because of all the smoking, depression, and nausea. I would read it in the bath and then start feeling really unpleasant about things in general, but it's still a great story. I loved how it was told and the way Caufield explained things, even though it really went on and on a lot:

"It's a funny thing about girls. Every time you mention some guy that's strictly a bastard---very mean, or very conceited and all---and when you mention it to the girl, she'll tell you he has an inferiority complex. Maybe he has, but that still doesn't keep him from being a bastard, in my opinion."

"When I got him on the phone, he said he couldn't make it for dinner but that he'd meet me for a drink at ten o'clock at the Wicker Bar, on 54th. I think he was pretty surprised to hear from me. I once called him a fat-assed phony."

"Old Luce. He was strictly a pain in the ass, but he certainly had a good vocabulary. He had the largest vocabulary of any boy at Whooton when I was there. They gave us a test."

As you page through this story, it gets more and more claustrophobic and awkward, and many, many times you will wonder what the holy hell this kid's beef really is . . . aside from the wealth, and the phonies, and his parents' unavailability and anxiety (well, that's kind of a lot, actually) but then, in one line, it's very simply and casually explained, toward the end, and everything all of a sudden is pretty much cleared up. Sad, but very much worth reading.

3. Fellini's Roma, 1972, directed by Federico Fellini.

"A virtually plotless, gaudy, impressionistic portrait of Rome through the eyes of one of its most famous citizens." (IMDB).

While this is definitely not for everyone (you have to be content with a hell of a lot of wandering), it was really excellent as a window into Fellini's personal history, which I think is fun. Honestly, I like his black and white stuff better, though, especially the pictures that starred his wife (Guiletta Masina). This sort of felt a bit like a docu-drama, but the FOOD! (Damn!) That alone made it worth watching.

4. The Bourne Identity, 2002, directed by Doug Liman.
starring: Franka Potente, Matt Damon.

"A man is picked up by a fishing boat, bullet-riddled and without memory, then races to elude assassins and recover from amnesia." (IMDB).

I love pretty much every single person involved with this film, most of all the stars. Matt Damon, literally, can do ANYTHING well. It's almost annoying. But even without him, the film would still have been well paced, well written, and really fun because Doug Liman knows what he's doing. I loved the car chase, subtle techno, and all the trickery. And for the record, the love scene after Bourne chops Lola's hair off is very captivating; check out the bend in his arm over there . . . (eeeeeee!) Yum.


Donald said...

Interesting collection of reviews.

I'm not a big Tina Fey fan, even though I'm sure she's talented and very funny. I like 30 Rock, but not her character. The rest of the cast is funny, but I find her to be bland and boring. Also, none of her movies have been any good, except for Mean Girls, and her tenure as head writer of SNL was awful.

I think I liked Catcher in the Rye ok when I read it in school, but I remember wondering why it was supposed to be some kind of classic. I tend to think Salinger felt the same way, which was maybe one of the reasons why he became a recluse. It was just a very good book.

The Bourne Identity was awesome, all of them. Never read any of the books, but I loved all of the movies.

Donald said...

Also, that cover where Tina Fey has big man arms is just awful. Who thought that was a good idea?

It's almost as bad as the cover to that Joan Rivers book where they superimposed her face on the body of some hot chick with huge boobs.