Friday, November 02, 2007

October's Movies & Books / The Return of Ocean's 11 & 12

Last Thursday I was returning to my desk after a foray to Shipping & Receiving, and I saw The Libertarian heading toward me. Now, I haven't seen him since he dumped me, essentially. A month or so ago, I asked if he could return my movies (he had Ocean's 11 & Ocean's 12), and he gave some lame excuse about not having access to my building, my old building. This is lame because all he had to do was call me and I would have let him into the building or met him at the door and gotten the movies. This was a clear indication to me that he didn't want to see me. I informed him that I was now in a building to which I knew he had access because I had gotten it for him, because he has regular meetings in my new old building aka Building A (for Fabulous). "Oh, okay, I'll bring them tomorrow."

Needless to say, at least for my fellow females, I got dressed up the next day. I wore a skirt and knee length boots. I looked fabulous, if I do say so myself. I knew he had a 10:00 a.m. meeting, but no show. I then thought that he'd come at lunch time because he ALWAYS goes out for lunch, but nope. I would have stayed until he showed up, but I had an appt. that afternoon with a financial advisor (I finally started a Roth IRA, thank you very much), so I had to leave. I rarely wear a skirt to work because you'd think the men in this building had never seen legs before and it's really a bit disconcerting the attention you get when you wear a skirt. I even had the welding guy leave his little welding closet and watch me walk out the door. Oy vey.

I finished my appointment and when I got home I called a co-worker who sits right by me and I asked if my movies had shown up. Nope. I was getting ticked. At 4:30 my phone rang and it was my co-worker. "A guy was just here and left your movies." "Thanks, Co-Worker, would you mind locking them up for me?" I was furious. He's the one who said, "Let's be friends." Don't freaking say it, if you don't mean it. He knew there was no way in hell I'd still be at my desk at 4:30. Frickin' wuss.

I, however, wasn't prepared to run into him in the hallway last Thursday. He was at the far end of the hall when I noticed him and immediately thought, "Shit." I wussed and intently read the piece of paper that was in my hand – a paper I had written, so I knew everything on it. After a few seconds, I realised that I had to look up, the scrap of paper wasn't that large to hold my attention that long. As I did so, I saw his forearm and hand wave to me as he headed into the Men's Room. I don't know if that's where he was heading or did it to avoid me, because initially I thought he was going to the studio which was next in that hallway. I felt like throwing up and crying. Not that I want him back or anything, it was just weird knowing that he's been avoiding me and then bam! when I don't expect to, I see him. I was stupid and got drunk that night. Friday I decided that's the last time I let him upset me. If I run into him again, no big deal. There is no need to get drunk. Thankfully I drank enough water that I didn't feel like crap on Friday. I was lucky.

On to my book reading and movie watching for the month!

Books

Dead Heat by Dick Francis & Felix Francis – 342 pages – Click the link for a very good synopsis. Loyal readers know I adore Dick Francis, and this book didn't change that at all. Felix Francis is his son and I guess taking over for his mother in helping his father with the books. This time the book takes place in the restaurant business, as well as horse racing. There are the usual quite evil villains and the usual love interest, but somehow his books never seem formulaic. I'm exhorting you to give Dick Francis a try. You can find his books at your local library and they're a quick read, but never boring and always worthwhile.

Native Son by Richard Wright – 397 pages – I read this for Banned Book Week which was the first week of October, but with the vacation to Maine and other stuff, it took me damn near all month to read it. I found myself not liking this book at all, but Richard Wright's writing style completely sucked me in, and I couldn't stop reading it. I ended up liking it better than I had while reading it, which is saying something because normally if I don't like a book, I don't like it. After Bigger killed the white girl, I consciously knew I wanted him to get caught, because obviously killing is wrong, but the way the book was written, I sometimes subconsciously found myself hoping he wouldn't get caught. The court room scenes were a bit mind-boggling as there's no way in hell, the prosecutor could get away with the inflammatory remarks that he was making in this day and age. Words like 'black beast" which were incredibly uncomfortable to read. I'm glad that Sal blogged about Banned Book Week, because I wouldn't have read this book otherwise, and it's definitely a worthwhile read, especially when you realise some things haven't changed in the 70-80 years since this book was written. Sad.

Little, Big by John Crowley – 627 pages – A fellow blogger (who never blogs anymore nor comments, because he's a jackass) recommended this book to me when we first "met" over two years ago. I ignored him (as I usually do, he'll tell you, but then I'd remind him about my MacBook) until a few months, when I saw that he had convinced Fermicat to read it. I bought it from Alibris used and when I saw that Fermi had started it, I started it. This was back in September. I was reading other things as well and only reading this at night, but then I reached the point where I wanted to finish it sooner rather than later and I stopped reading other books (once I finished Dead Heat and Native Son) and concentrated on this book.

I have no clue how to describe this book. It didn't feel as if it were over 600 pages, and I wasn't ready for it to end when it did. I will confess that I have no freaking clue what this book was about, at least I don't think I do. My friend didn't describe the book particularly well when he first tried to sell it to me (not literally), but now I understand. He was worried that I wasn't going to give it a chance because it's not chockfull of action and would say, "Read at least the first chapter. Don't give it up too early." I finally had to reassure him that I was liking the book. Even if I didn't know why, exactly. I kind of felt like Smoky Barnable – one of the book's character. is the best synopsis I could find.


This is going to make a certain person happy, but I have to do it. Book of the Month goes to Little, Big.


Movies

10/14 - Now, Voyager (TCM) – 88% - 1942 - This is a movie from my 1001 Movies You Must See Before You Die book. I have to confess that I thought it was a science fiction/space movie with that title, not a Bette Davis movie. This is the first movie in which I've seen Bette Davis where she's not a raving bitch (See All About Eve, Death on the Nile, The Whales of August). Okay, I lied. She wasn't a raving bitch in The Petrified Forest either, but I forgot she was in it, to me it was all about Bogie. I think her mother in this movie, however, was where she learned to be a raving bitch, however, because I dearly wanted to slap that woman. Bette plays a spinster daughter born late to the mother who does her best to keep Bette unattractive so that she'll stay with her and cater to her every whim (the mother's every whim). Bette's sister-in-law wants to help her sister-in-law break out and brings in a psychiatrist (played by Claude Rains). She blossoms in his care (mostly, because she was away in a sanitarium and therefore not under her mother's thumb. The movie is essentially about how she blossoms and falls in love and comes into her own as a woman. I highly recommend this movie.

10/16 - The Apartment (TCM) – 89% - 1960 – Another movie from my book. This one I didn't really like that much. It's about a guy (Jack Lemmon) who is single, but let's the married men from his work use his apartment for rendezvous with their paramours. He gets sick with a cold while waiting outside in the rain until the people leave. His neighbors think he's quite the Don Juan because it's all done in secret as this was 1960 and his landlady could have had him thrown out for violating his lease. He moves up in the company because all the men using his apartment are bigwigs. Shirley Maclaine is his love interest as well as Fred MacMurray's (the CEO, from what I could figure out). The ending helped make me not hate this movie outright, because he figures out he's been a schmuck and he throws away the top level job and ends up getting the girl. Eh.

10/17 - Camille (TCM) – 89% - 1932 – A Greta Garbo movie (yes, it's from the book). It's based on a story/book by Alexandre Dumas fils and is the basis for the opera La Traviata (thanks to IMDB for that bit of trivia). Greta Garbo plays a courtesan in 1847 Paris who falls in love with a young man of promise. After his father finds out, she gives the young man up as requested in order not to mess with his career. He doesn’t realise that she dumped him because of his father and he is heartbroken. At the end, they reunite right before she dies and they express their love for each other. All very tragic.

1/19 & 21 - Jaws (TCM) – 100% - 1975 – I confess that I had never ever seen this movie before. When it came out, I was too young and I have a tendency to avoid seeing movies for the first time on network television because they're all cut to hell. It didn't scare me at all, but I did enjoy it for what it was. I thought Robert Shaw was brilliant in it, and wonder why all kudos and film clips go to Roy Scheider or Richard Dreyfus, not that don't deserve them, it's just that I thought Robert Shaw was equally deserving. I'd recommend it, but I think everybody in the world has seen this.

10/24 - The Agronomist (IFC) – 96% - 2004 – This is a documentary on a Haitian activist, Jean Dominique, which follows him into exile in NYC and back to Haiti and then back to NYC and then back to Haiti one final time before he is gunned down outside his radio station. I found it to be very interesting as I knew very little about Haiti history (not that I'm an expert now or anything).

10/26 - Control (Maple Theatre) - 89% - 2007 - I've been talking about this movie for at least a week, as you all know. I saw it the day it opened with my friend BST. I did not cry as much as I thought I was going to, but I did need a tissue to dab at my eyes regularly. It was weird seeing Ian's life on screen, as Joy Division is an obscure enough band in the States that I never thought in a million years that a movie would be made about him. 24 Hour Party People was more a story about Factory Records and dealt with Joy Division only in the first part of the movie, before moving on to New Order briefly and then on to the Happy Mondays for the bulk of the movie. It was good, but it wasn't enough for me.

Sam Riley who plays Ian in Control looks so much like Ian that it was eerie. Anton Corbijn (brilliant man) found actors who could play instruments who also looked like their characters, Bernard Sumner, Peter Hook, Stephen Morris, Tony Wilson & Rob Gretton. The guy who played Rob Gretton was bloody brilliant. And the guys who made up Joy Division played the music in the movie, so when you see Joy Division on stage in concert in this movie, it's the actors doing it all. It was Sam Riley doing the singing and sounding and looking and dancing like Ian. I figure it's the closest I'm going to get to seeing JD in concert unless I channel H.G. Wells and develop a time machine. I've always said that the first thing I would do was go back to 1978 & 1979 and see Joy Division live in concert.

As much as I loved seeing Ian's story on film, I did have a few issues with the film that unless you're a complete Joy Division freak you wouldn't know were issues. First, when Joy Division comes on stage for what I think was their first gig (at least shown in the movie), Bernard Sumner yells "You all forgot Rudolph Hess." Now, I've heard the bootleg from that concert (I told you that I was obsessed) and he literally yelled it over the sound of the crowd and it was not readily discernible. In the movie, Bernard more or less states it and the crowd is meekly quiet. That annoyed me.

Another issue was one of the last gigs shown in the movie Ian suffered an epileptic seizure on stage. In real life it was because the lighting guy had ignored the expressed command not to use the strobe light as that could set off a fit, however, in the movie, there was no strobe light.

To me, these were both things well-documented and easily achieved on screen, I would think, so I'm not sure how it got messed up.

Overall, I liked the movie very much (I've now seen it three times in the theatre, which I've never ever done before). I will recommend it, if you have the least bit interest in Joy Division or the punk/postpunk movement in England. There's even a re-enactment of a John Cooper Clarke performance piece done by JCC himself.

10/27 - Vertigo (AMC) - 100% - 1958 - I saw this was playing in AMC and DVRd it. It is not my favorite Hitchcock film. In fact, I would put it in the bottom 2 (Psycho is my least favorite). The first time I saw it I was living in San Francisco just living up Eddy from the house where Kim Novak goes to at Eddy & Gough. I don't think the house was there still, I know the church that is in the background burned down the month before I moved to SF. I enjoy the drive through SF and figuring out how she gets from each place and all that, but without backdrop of San Francisco, I'm not sure I would have bothered watching it again. There's nothing overtly wrong with it, I just don't care for it. I will, however, recommend that you watch it if you've never seen it, because it is Hitchcock and it is a very good movie. It just doesn't appeal to me.

10/28 - Control (Maple Theatre) - 89% - 2007 - I told you I saw it three times. Most of our friends couldn't go Friday, so BST and I went back on Sunday to see it with our friends. I vigorously defended Ian after the movie as I heard one friend say "What a dick." during the movie. I'm amazed at the number of people who don't cut suicidal people any slack. I would think that it's obvious that if someone commits suicide that they're not in their right mind and are bound not to be thinking clearly. I was talking to my brother yesterday after seeing it for the 3rd time and he asked if I were going to be buying a block of ice. "HUH?" He had heard that was how Ian killed himself. Bought a block of ice, put the noose around his neck and then stood on the block of ice and waited for it to melt. I dispelled that rumor right quick as it's, first of all, the most ridiculous thing I've ever heard. I informed him that I've read every single book, magazine article, etc. written on Joy Division and I had never ever heard that before. Can you imagine killing yourself that way? It'd certainly give you plenty of time to change your mind. Egads.

10/30 - Vanishing Point (N) - 75% - 1971 - The Zombieslayer recommend this movie to me last month when he asked about horror movies and I said that I prefer suspense to horror. This movie is essentially one long car chase scene with the suspense of wondering if he's going to make it to San Francisco, first, in time to win his bet and second, without the police catching him. I will not give away the ending, but I will say it surprised me.

Movie of the Month? Need you ask? CONTROL!

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11 Comments:

At Monday, 05 November, 2007, Blogger MW said...

"A fellow blogger (who never blogs anymore nor comments, because he's a jackass)..."

Ah, Jackass! That's it! Just the other night I was trying to remember what sort of an "____ass" Kathleen always likes to call me. The only ones that came to mind were "Smartass" and "Dumbass," but neither one of them seemed right. Well, now I remember. Thanks for clearing that up, Kathleen! LOL!

I ignored him... until a few months [ago], when I saw that he had convinced Fermicat to read it.

Oh, sure! The novel suddenly became "good enough" for Kathleen as soon as she saw another woman reading it! Ha!

My friend didn't describe the book particularly well..."

Well, maaaaaybeeee (and may I say, "Welcome to the club, Kathleen" ;-), but that's only because the plot - what little there is of one - is indescribable. In my opinion, the "plot" was probably just an excuse for Crowley to wave his magic wand at the English language and make it describe (with the most beautiful artistry, I might add) concepts and fantasies that I, for one, did not think were describable in terms of human language. You will see that most of the reviewers at Amazon and everywhere else have had the same trouble describing Little, Big that everyone else does, including you and me (even the negative reviewers are probably right about the novel; if you aren't attuned to its frequency, it may drive you crazy).

However, one reviewer at Library Thing wrote the most accurate and possibly the shortest review I have yet read (took the words right out of my subconscious mind after two decades). For me, it all boils down to the reviewer's last sentence: "A beautifully written book. I found myself stopping several times to re-read passages, thinking to myself, 'That may be the best sentence I've ever read.'"

 
At Monday, 05 November, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

MW - I'm crushed you don't remember my special name for you. ;-) It had nothing to do with Fermi being a woman and everything to do with knowing someone else was reading it, so I could talk to her, if I needed to.

 
At Monday, 05 November, 2007, Blogger fermicat said...

And alas, I am still reading it. This book had very beautiful use of language without being all flowery about it, and it is hard to describe what it is all about. Near as I can tell, "the tale" is pretty much it.

Little, Big deserves better from a reader than how I have been reading it - late at night, when I am tired and sleepy (or getting there), and a few pages or chapters at a time.

But then again, last fall it took me forever to read Jonathan Strange and Mr Norrell, so maybe I have too much else going on in the fall. If I haven't finished Little, Big by Thanksgiving week, I should be able to during my time off.

 
At Tuesday, 06 November, 2007, Blogger Fantasy Writer Guy said...

I hope you come to the conclusion soon that the Libertarian no longer has any more influence on your emotional life. I'm confident you will. I just hope it happens soon.

sounds like a bit of an idguyos

 
At Tuesday, 06 November, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

Fermi - I never thought I'd finish it before you. Yes, it seems to be all about The Tale, but they never really give you too many details about what The Tale is. I honestly felt like Smokey.

FWG - I'm *this* close to reaching that point. I'd dearly love to punch him, though...and I think that would help immensely. ;-)

 
At Tuesday, 06 November, 2007, Blogger Heather said...

I'm going to come to your house and watch movies. You always see the classics that I want to watch but never seem to be able to. Joe Anderson, the guy that played Peter Hook, is in Across The Universe and is my fave character. When I heard he was in Control I decided I needed to see it. I'll disappoint you now and say I've never listened to Joy Division but I'm ready to give them a listen!!

 
At Tuesday, 06 November, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

Heather - You are always welcome, but it's about 50F in my house right now, you might want to wait until we have heat. ;-) I didn't know Joe Anderson at all and I thought he was more a caricature of Hooky, but I guess the story was about Ian. I'm so glad you saw it!!! I have everything if you want to borrow something!!!

 
At Tuesday, 06 November, 2007, Blogger LL said...

I was wondering if you were going to watch Control... and after reading this post, I guess I'm still a little bit uncertain... Did you ever catch it? ;)

 
At Tuesday, 06 November, 2007, Anonymous The Zombieslayer said...

Sorry about the Libertarian guy. I wrote a blog post a long, long time ago on my old blog called "I am not a Libertarian" because I've found a lot of Libertarians are cold ass people. Don't mean to use an Argument Ad Hominem, it's just my experience.

I didn't know any of those books. Last book I read was Lewis Carrol's Alice's Adventures in Wonderland and now I'm reading Max Brooks' World War Z.

I'm impressed. You really know your films. If Badman doesn't blow his paycheck, we'll probably see Control within the next 7 days and I'll write a full review on it.

 
At Wednesday, 07 November, 2007, Blogger Kathleen said...

Lord Loser - A smart ass, as always...you made me laugh.

ZombieSlayer - Thanks. Coming from you, that's quite a compliment. Re: The Libertarian, my therapist thinks he has Asperger's Syndrome which makes a lot of sense. Too bad I didn't know that before getting involved with him.

 
At Sunday, 11 November, 2007, Anonymous badman said...

Shit, boy howdy did I blow my paycheck. Hookers and mad dog don't come cheaply these days. Well, there's always next payday.

I love your story about the ex - the way it is written is lovely. I love (there, I said it three times, I think I should stop now) seeing things from your point of view. Anyway, I sound like a stalker so I'll crawl over to the opposite side of the Internet now...

 

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