01.29.09: the dirty dozen, part I {open & close}

01 academy award nominee rental #1: the visitor (directed by tom mccarthy, better known to me as scott templeton, the jayson blair-ish sun reporter from the wire). really more of a comment on foreign policy and a character study than a movie: it's about an angst-ridden college professor who bonds with a syrian immigrant in the east village. the dramatic arc is super-predictable, but richard jenkins is very sweet as he falls in love with the djembe, and the film does a serviceable job of making me feel guilty about taking new york city for granted (though i, too, get excited when i take the staten island ferry; next to showering, taking ferries could be my favorite free thing to do). i have three best actor performances yet to see, but i can at least stand by my call about brad pitt losing; i think jenkins mops the floor with him with a similar, restrained acting style. the visitor is a solid rental, especially if you feel strongly about african music (wabes, i'm of course looking at you). next up: vicky cristina barcelona.

02 via loobylu, the guardian's 1000 novels everyone must read. i tweeted about this yesterday,* but it continues to fascinate me: is it true that i must read three ian fleming novels and only one by david foster wallace? is it more important to read neil gaiman's american gods than it is to pick up some of sandman? should i have given myself partial credit for the books i began and discarded (15 in all)? if the english like stephen king so much, can we just give him to them? so many questions.

03 we bought art, hooray! we've been trying to buy art since august, what with our theory that instead of gifting each other for birthdays, christmas, and all kinds of silly things, we should just combine occasions and get a painting or some such once a year for our anniversary. said art is a big step for us, as we rarely purchase works that aren't green, music-related, or, like, robots; it's terribly exciting.

04 i got word earlier this week that my Official Blog will be, well, dying at the end of the month. nothing to do with me, i'm told; in fact, i've been encouraged to contribute elsewhere in months to come. i'm glad for the other opportunities, but internets, i liked this one. alas.

*and got my count wrong, actually: i've read 108.


uncle paul said...

It may be questionable to count LotR or Narnia as a single book, but your real clue to that list's bullshit is that it counts as one book Balzac's Comédie Humaine, his life's work of 95 separate novels, two of which (Eugénie Grandet and Le Père Goriot) appear by themselves elsewhere in the list.

lauren said...

ooh, excellent point. overcompensation for centuries of francophobia? that could explain bonjour tristesse, too.

pica said...

Sorry, but my favorite howler from this list (the Balzac is great too) is "The Ragazzi Pier by Paolo Pasolini". You can just picture all the ragazzi hanging out on the pier, can't you? I guarantee you Paolo Pasolini is ogling them from the shore, shouting "Ciao ragazzi!" until one of them pushes him in. And where do you suppose this pier is -- maybe in Naples, like _Accattone_?

Just *awesome*.