between the end of the michael jackson trial, seeing mysterious skin with joe and jake, and wrapping up john irving's until i find you, this weekend had a pretty robust molestation theme. of the king of pop shenanigans i have nothing to say; as with the star wars prequel trilogy, i made a point of avoiding the whole thing. mysterious skin, gregg araki's new flick starring joseph gordon-levitt (aka the floppy-haired kid from third rock from the sun), is an equally disturbing but much more artful exploration of the effects of sexual abuse. it's the most affecting treatment of the subject i've ever seen, for a number of reasons: gordon-levitt as the main character is understated but outstanding, the sex scenes are effective without being graphic or exploitative (tough to do when representing everything from molestation to an AIDS-afflicted john to brutal assault and rape), and the filmmakers make a point of exploring all of the victims' emotions. not an easy film to watch, but a very brave and worthwhile one. as for until i find you, i have to revise my revised opinion of its worth; the story doesn't go entirely downhill when jack goes from being a cute little boy tagging along in european tattoo parlors to a victimized pre-adolescent, a dirty little teenager, and finally a hopelessly underdeveloped actor. some of the final reconciliation scenes with jack's father are, cough, deeply felt, but they emphasize the vacuousness of the american boarding school and hollywood (o, the hollywood) scenes that precede them. one can't blame irving for wanting to fictionalize the experience of adapting the cider house rules, but at no point is he in danger of saying something original about the movie industry. i'd have liked to see a few peripheral themes dropped to make room for a meatier core.

those of you who prefer to think of prettier things might enjoy a poetic collage generator (via (francis). mine had a lot of ominous construction signs, snowflakes, and tiny birds.

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