peteg's blog

The Night of the Iguana

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I've been meaning to watch this one for ages. John Huston directed and co-adapted Tennessee Williams's play. The cast is stellar. A reference in A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain prompted me to dig it up. Black and white in two sittings.

Sort-of-defrocked Reverend of the Gospel Richard Burton is chaperoning (really, being chaperoned by) a group of Baptist ladies from Texas led by Grayson Hall (cast precisely to type I'd expect) touring Mexico circa 1963. (Burton also played a priest in the contemporaneous Becket.) He brings them to a resort on a hill near the sea at Puerto Vallarta where good friend and recently-bereaved Ava Gardner holds court and has a blast. Later on quick-sketch artist and spinster Deborah Kerr arrives with her poetic grandfather and provides spiritual consolations to go along with the boozy ones. (I can just imagine her in The King and I.) Sue Lyon does over the willful Lolita role. None of the ladies can help themselves. Burton has never been funnier, perhaps because the Liz and Dick show was in town and going strong for the duration of filming.

Bosley Crowther at the time. I think he got it about right, but for me the stakes were lower.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Finding myself more of a zombie than I'd hoped, I went for a mid-afternoon snorkel at Gordons Bay off the scuba ramp after lunch at Laksa King. Visibility was decent away from the shore. I saw a couple of large female gropers and one on the turn: (s)he was blue at either end but still green in the middle. Also a few large wrasse, loads of small fry, a small school of garfish (?). Relatively flat, high tide, light wind. Not many people, and everyone in the water was snorkelling. Some far-too-brassy blue wrens came up to me on the path down to the ramp.

Australian String Quartet: Haydn Winkelman Sibelius at the City Recital Hall.

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A freebie via the Australian Chamber Orchestra. Their resident cellist was on maternity leave so they got to take the ACO's Timo-Veikko Valve on their national tour. This was their final night. Maybe half full at most. I had some hopes as I like this format but it wasn't really my thing; the highlight was some of the Sibelius.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Early-evening paddle at Coogee. The beach was far emptier than I would have expected. Some thick clouds about, no rain, but a tad cooler than at midday. Pretty flat, not too dirty. Dried out on the headland afterwards.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Another beaut evening. Went for a paddle at the north eastern end of Gordons Bay off the scuba ramp after an afternoon at the Waverley Library. Flatter than yesterday. Not many people around. Cool wind. Didn't injure myself. Dried off while reading some more book on the chair in the north-eastern corner of the carpark, overlooking Clovelly.

Mohammed Hanif: Red Birds.

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Kindle. I remember really liking A Case of Exploding Mangoes but not his second effort Our Lady of Alice Bhatti. This one is a bit of an interpolant of those two: we're parked in a (re)fugee camp in close proximity to an abandoned (?) military airbase and I didn't get the gist of it at all. There is so much circling around whatever it was that the characters do not do the obvious thing of going to The Hangar until the 80% mark.

Structurally it's all first person with the narration rotating amongst a dog (with the obvious and sometimes cutting conceit of describing things by smell, e.g. "objectivity smells of stale piss"), a teenage tearaway Milo Minderbinder-esque entrepreneur, his mother, a downed American pilot, Lady Flowerbody (a spy? a do gooder? a temptress, a token, a cliche), a doctor-of-sorts. What are we to make of Hanif's recycling of the myth that Neil Armstrong converted to Islam while on the moon? Are the red birds drawn straight out of the M. Night Shyamalan playbook? There is no resolution.

Reviews are legion. Jonathon McAloon observes that things are too damn ambiguous. Hanif is apparently at UNSW next week.

... and much later, Parul Sehgal. Also Karan Mahajan.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

A beaut day despite the BOM's forecast. I decided to spend the afternoon by walking down to Coogee, eating my lunch on the park next to the beach, and having a coffee at Black Boho at the southern end of the beach. Coogee had some nice waves rolling in apparently due to Cyclone Oma. BeachWatch told me it was probably filthy so I headed over to Gordons Bay. I got in off the southern rocks in the late afternoon, and even in the middle of the bay there was some detritus. Three tourists were trying to snorkel. Some others were sitting around. In between all that I read a bit more book.

The Hollars

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The things Sharlto Copley makes me watch. Mr Emily Blunt, John Krasinski, stars and directs. There's almost nothing to redeem this cliche-ridden family thing.

Doctor Strange

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Second time around. It's one way to burn a rainy Saturday evening.

Okja

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It took me several goes to get through this. I found it far more tiresome than Bong Joon-ho's previous directorial efforts (e.g. Snowpiercer), which was surprising as the reviews were universally positive. The humour falls flat. Tilda Swinton starts strongly before degenerating to a cliche. Jake Gyllenhaal is especially feeble. Paul Dano is beatific, as always. Briefly: an American genetically-engineered superpig grows up in Korean mountains with a girl (an insufficiently-challenged An Seo Hyun) and her grandfather in perpetual summer. The rest goes as you'd expect. Notionally this is a comment on corporatised, mechanised industrial animal production but really it's a bust.

Dana Stevens. Yes, the pig is more like a rhino or a hippo. A. O. Scott.

Shoplifters

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Perhaps the pick of the 2019 Oscar bait. A very strangely constituted Japanese family muddles its way to ruin without much sentimentality but with some fine humour and some beautifully drawn scenes. (If I got it right, not one of the six is formally related to anyone else.) The plot takes a backseat to some patient character development. It's sort-of like a Lukas Moodysson effort, unflinching but without the brutality. I might have to dig deeper into Hirokazu Kore-eda's efforts.

Manohla Dargis.

Amor Towles: A Gentleman in Moscow.

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Kindle. A recommendation from Kate. An elegant eulogy for a time when Russian Counts were awesomely cultured and internally-exiled to house arrest in grand hotels. That is to say, it is a fairy story for adults and completely out of time in this age of Trump. We also get some potted history about the revolution, the passing of Stalin and so forth; it's a bit of a social complement to Red Plenty, sort of. The observations are fantastic. The set pieces go off like clockwork. There's a beaut romance between the Count and an actress. I was gripped throughout, though it flagged a bit at times. The ending was a tad unclear: Towles is American and may take it for granted that emigrating to the USA from the East in 1954 was a no brainer, but Spufford might disagree: the Soviets were beginning to demonstrate their (brief) engineering superiority with nuclear power, Sputnik and Gauguin (etc). In this book noone (ever) believes too much in the communist project.

Craig Taylor's review left me cold at the time, but it seems more positive on a reread. Goodreads generally loved it.

Midnight's Children

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A mediocre adaptation of Salman Rushdie's big novel. He also wrote the screenplay, and like Amis, blew it — even with some serious bowdlerizing there's still far too much going on in a lengthy two and a half hours. The winnowing makes it into the skeleton of an XMen movie. The characters are thinly drawn. The slum is amazingly clean. The cinematography has its moments. The magic is absent. Rushdie narrates, flatly. It was strange to hear Nehru voice his famous words.

Rachel Saltz at the New York Times at the time. She observes that they needed to go unabashedly large.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Grabbed some sushi from Royal Randwick to eat down at Little Bay around 2pm. The wind was up and the forecast (light) showers started around then. Most of the people departed the beach at that time. Soon enough it passed and I got in for a brief paddle. The tide was way out. Some blokes tried to snorkel. Loads of dumb, pushy, heavy traffic on the way home.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Early-evening paddle off the beach at Gordons Bay on yet another perfect summer day. High tide, going out I think. It seemed clean enough out in the bay once past the leaf litter, seaweed, etc at the shoreline. Still a few people there, and a few yappy, whiny dogs. Dried out on the headland afterwards and got a bith further into my current book.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Mid evening paddle at Gordons Bay. Loads of people still there on what was a perfect late summer day and evening. The water seemed clean. High tide, going out. Read some book on the Coogee headland while drying out.

The Magnificent Ambersons

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An Orson Welles jag prompted by Geoffrey O’Brien. Black and white, 1942 but recalling the guilded splendour of the 1870s. Based on the Booth Tarkington novel, which apparently had the same effect on Welles as Honkytonk Man had on Clint Eastwood. It took me a few goes to get through it. Joseph Cotten, Anne Baxter. The nostalgia for a simpler pre-mechanized time (horses over automobiles, towns over cities, family honour over love) manifests initially as humour and high-society happenings, later as bathos. I didn't understand why the family ended up ruined as the moneyed-up patriarchal grandfather is in deep background when it came. In any case there's always the customary epic production woes to read about. Classy credits!

Kim Un-su: The Plotters, translated by Sora Kim-Russell.

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Kindle. I picked this up after reading Rupert Winchester's review at the Mekong Review. Published by Text. It's a pretty stock piece of cinematic Korean lowlife ultra violence. Our lonely protagonist is an orphan dumped in a garbage bin at a convent who was raised to be an assassin by a lame librarian. He's a cat man. All the fun is in the colour: an eight-sided matchbox, bottomless soju, endless Korean-style drinking, the rise of democracy in South Korea fuelling rather than quelling the demand for assassinations, the Doghouse library master-crafted by a Japanese, finding love but insufficient meaning amongst provincial factory workers. Apparently the author is big in Korea. One bum note stuck in my head: he asks "whoever heard of a Californian bear?" as if that's not a bear right there on the state flag. Sure, it's been extinct for a while.

Alison Flood. Charles Finch.

London Fields

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A shocker of an adaptation of the Martin Amis novel. I apparently it read about thirteen years ago and recollect approximately nothing at all. He gets a cameo at least, and that might be this thing's high point, Unless you're an Amber Heard fan, in which case you can enjoy acres of her flesh, photographed as one advertisement after another. The camera leers. Let's at least agree that she can't act, or at least couldn't in 2015 when this hot mess got filmed. Her paramour-of-the day Johnny Depp turns in a self parody. Billy Bob Thorton is the writer/authorial presence, competing with Theo James to be flawlessly characterless. Jim Sturgess is horrible as a lightweight Ray Winstone. Terrible performances all round, with the exception of Jason Isaacs's reliable ham.

Jeannette Catsoulis woke me up to it. It was another shock to find that Amis co-wrote the screenplay. Apparently he's had a go before with approximately the same lack of success.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

A very tame kookaburra.

Following an abortive trip to the emergency department at Prince of Wales Hospital last night (got there around 5pm, timed out at 7pm), hoping to get that stuff extracted from my toe, I figured I'd get properly prepared (dinner, laptop, reading material) and try the same at Royal Prince Alfred after a swim down at Wattamolla. I ducked into the Sutherland library on the way past, and a coffee at a little caf next to the Ramen cafe that was doing a roaring trade.

I got waved past the tollbooth on the road into the Royal National Park. The beach was quiet: just a few loutish tourists doing their best to enliven things. Some leaf litter in the water, otherwise the usual. A beaut day for it: not too hot, some cumulus but no rain in sight. I read a bit more of my book at the picnic table where some unafraid kookaburras came right up to me.

The ride up the Princes Highway was painfully slow. I got to Royal Prince Alfred around 5:10pm. There's loads of motorcycle parking up and down Missenden Road. The reception bloke was chirpy. The triage nurse didn't mind me heading back to the bike to grab my dinner. The doctor turned up around 5:45pm, apologising profusely for it taking that long. (Apparently it was bedlam somewhere beyond the waiting room.) She deftly removed the two chunks of unknown material from my right big toe, chatting all the while. Around 6:20pm I got a tetanus jab from a nurse, and 7:15pm an x-ray that showed she'd done a good job. At 7:45pm the doctor gave me my discharge notice and sent me on my way with a prescription for antibiotics.

Romance and Cigarettes

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Another David Stratton marvellous movie: #80. John Turturro wrote and directed. The cast is stellar stellar: James Gandolfini leads opposite increasingly estranged wife Susan Sarandon with slatternly, working-class, hardbitten English Kate Winslet his piece on the side. (She's game, I'll give her that.) Christopher Walken puts in a one-note effort as a weak Elvis clone. Steve Buscemi's one liners fall flat. It's a musical. Produced by the Coen brothers and many others. I found it incoherent: lurv in Queens (?), and growing up in a splintering family. Most of it is a pile of fluff that tries to hit the heavy notes at the end, much like Honkytonk Man. Leering camerawork. Again lowly rated at IMDB.

Stephen Holden and Roger Ebert thought as much of it as Stratton did.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Picked up lunch at Out of the Blue on Clovelly Road, which I'd been past too many times. A bit expensive ($20.30) for mediocre fish (hake, grilled, not much choice), an OK Greek salad and some pre-deep-fried calamari. A couple of guys replacing the front door were careless about the customers. Why do that work at lunchtime?

I ate down on the rocks at Gordons Bay. The wind was up and the seagulls had decided to spend what I'd imagine is prime feeding time on the edge of the carpark, where some firies where practising their cherry picker technique. A few storm clouds blew through on an otherwise beaut day. Afterwards I tried snorkelling off the scuba ramp. Visibility was not great as the surf, high though weak, was somehow rough enough to stir everything up near the shoreline. Loads of small fry, some large wrasse, one large female groper, several smaller ones, but no sign of the big blue boy or any cephalopods. I managed to get a few shards of something-or-other stuck in the big toe of my right foot, beyond the reach of my tweezers.

The Grand Budapest Hotel

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Second time around, and just as captivating. Good to see it parked at #188 in the IMDB top-250.

Belvoir Downstairs, 25A: Tuesday by Louris van de Geer.

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The Sydney theatre scene is starting to crank up after the summer break. The draw was the high standard so far of Belvoir's 25A series, Jason Blake's comments on the set, which is indeed fantastic, and Bridie McKim, last seen as daffy aristocracy in NIDA's The Country Wife. The playwright is a local favourite it seems: I saw her earlier work Triumph at the UNSW Creative Practice Lab, and they're putting on Hello There, We've Been Waiting For You presently. I bought a ticket at the warehouse in the early afternoon, then hacked away at the Sydney Uni technical library. Maybe 80% capacity without squeezing.

This piece consists of the self-talk of four non-interacting people who for one reason or another find themselves at the same suburban supermarket one Tuesday afternoon. The initial burst of humour ebbs, perhaps necessarily so as to lend shape to what are otherwise brief vignettes, some painfully familiar. The cast is uniformly excellent. Left-to-right, Duncan Fellows plays the supermarket manager with a baby daughter he dotes on, and a wife who seems to be suffering post partum depression/idleness (?). Frances Duca is a traditional mother/housewife who wonders what her husband is doing in his garage with his jars of screws. She loathes competitive gossip. Tom Anson Mesker is a young-ish underemployed sharehouser with a strong and passive-aggressive sense of how things should go. Bridie McKim is a schoolgirl who picks locks and gives herself permission to do whatever. Further characters are sketched from these vantages. This mode, of hearing very private observations about people who have no chance to respond, is effective and a tad sinister.

The Front Runner

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Unmitigated Oscar bait. The cast is strong (Hugh Jackman in the lead, J.K. Simmons playing J.K. Simmons, Vera Fermiga the wifely deer in the media headlights) but the story and characters are entirely bland and far too weak; Gary Hart's presidential campaigns are lost to history and hardly an inspiration for today. The dialogue is very stagey. Alfred Molina does not convince as Ben Bradlee. The movie tries to stand in opposition to The Post by showing a political press failing to cover itself in glory. It's also entirely tendentious, given that so much of the U.S. electorate really didn't care who was in which candidate's bed in 2016, let alone which of them had any dignity and self-respect at all. Well edited but otherwise a totally predictable bust.

A. O. Scott.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Early evening paddle at Gordons Bay. Almost no one there despite it being a beautiful evening. Seemed clean with the tide going out. I saw what I think were some flying fish (?). Started in on a new book on the Coogee headland while drying off.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Mid-evening paddle between the flags at Coogee beach. Loads of people, some in the water, many frocked up for a night at the Beach Palace. A bit filthy with leaf matter and some seaweed. Some larger waves. Pleasant in. Read some more Fintan O'Toole on the headland afterwards.

Fintan O'Toole: Heroic Failure: BREXIT and the politics of pain.

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Kindle. I picked this up on the strength of O'Toole's short-form work at the New York Review of Books; in particular his excellent piece on the DUP telling May what was possible. I hoped he'd expand on this topic of non-English views of BREXIT, but instead he serves up a psychoanalysis of the English character. Roughly English self-pity in the aftermath of World War II (they won but it cost the empire, and the bested nations seemed to do better afterwards) has left them looking for an oppressor to rail against. It's the coloniser trying to appropriate the attitudes of the colonised. It's the Sex Pistols in Westminster, and a desire by those who can to return to buccaneering capitalism. Yeah, well, maybe.

Just like David Runciman, O'Toole freed of a word limit and strict editor spills too many words on the obvious; he says it, then digs up a quote and reads it back to us. There's an undercurrent of dripping scorn that likely prevents this book from persuading anyone of anything much. I think he admits that the BREXIT campaign (he read all that dreck so we don't have to) diagnosed the anxieties of the day quite well, though like Trump their prescription is probably not going to solve much. As anyone from a British colony can attest, and the French have always known, the cognitive dissonance required to be English is forever bemusing. The deep mystery is why the working classes of everywhere don't vote in their own economic interests but instead focus on quaint social values or identity politics and end up making common cause with the twitty ruling classes; but you won't find much insight into that here.

O'Toole clearly loathes Boris Johnson. He repeatedly observes how juvenile English culture can be (football, pop music, empty-headed neo-imperial ambitions): it's not insapient, it's just having itself on. There's nothing here on the Irish backstop, or more broadly what it will take to preserve the peace or the possibility of reunification. It's a bust.

Hari Kunzru nods along and proposes a quantity theory of xenophobia: the decline of traditional English racism made room for Euro septicism. A range of views at Goodreads.

Honkytonk Man

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It's a sad state when a man can't buy a woman for his own boy.
— Red Stovall, the honkytonk man.

Still mining David Stratton's list of marvellous movies; this one is #44. Over many sittings as it failed to grip. Clint Eastwood directed and starred. Released in 1982, he's on the road to Nashville from dusty Oklahoma during the depression with his underage nephew (his actual son Kyle) as chauffeur, drinking and wenching partner. The idea is to make something of his musical talent but tuberculosis has other plans. There are some of the usual Eastwood preocuupations, and his put downs are entirely equal-opportunity (as he sees it anyway). Clint plays piano on a visit to a cathouse, as he also does in a black club in Memphis, where he rolls out a joke about adopting blackface to avoid trouble with the Klan (?). The blues singer takes it all in good humour. The camera angles made him look a bit like Henry Fonda at times.

Roger Ebert is indulgent. Janet Maslin isn't.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Lazy paddle in the mid evening with hundreds of people at the northern end of Coogee beach. Perfect summer evening after a warm afternoon. Flat, clean-ish. Read some more Fintan O'Toole on the headland afterwards.

The Lego Movie 2: The Second Part

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The Ritz Cinema 3, 2:30pm. $10 + $1.50 booking fee = $11.50, booked 2019-02-06. Thanks to the bloke at Bricking Around for the heads up; this advance screening coincides with the US release, with the official Australian release not until March 28. The BOM forecast rain which didn't really happen. Somewhat packed with kids whose parents don't go to the movies much.

Yeah, the movie itself follows on directly from the first one in a five-years-later sorta way. It probably alluded to the in-between one but I don't remember anything. The animation is about the same but the structure is closer to a musical. The framing story is a saccharine cliche about siblings learning to play together under Maya Rudolph's firm motherly suffering. The characters joke that the Marvel characters are absent for contractual reasons. The DC characters set up in suburbia. Less is made of Apocalypseburg than I expected. The queen is a strange character: voiced with a distinctive black accent we're told time and again to expect evil of her. The joke that Unikitty is Hulk-like gets a lame rerun; perhaps her spark wore off on her TV shows, or just maybe the concept itself has gotten tired as the overengineered credits ("the best part of the movie") suggest.

Manohla Dargis says it's one big ad, but to foreigners most American movies are. Lots of locations means lots of sets to sell I guess. Shrug. Jay.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Mid-evening paddle at Gordons Bay. I got in off the southern rocks about 10 minutes before the forecast storm kicked in; lots of lightning and thunder but nothing too close. The people who were there cleared off quick smart. Pleasant, high tide-ish, seemed clean. Soon enough the runoff was torrential. Sat for a bit out of the rain under the sandstone. Got soaked on the slow ride home.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Mid-evening sort-of-snorkel at Gordons Bay. Visibility was poor on the southern side, improving somewhat as I got into the sun. Loads of people on the northern rocks. A few dogs, all quiet. Read some more Fintan O'Toole on the Coogee headland.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Mid-evening paddle at Gordons Bay. Got in off the beach, which was filthy. Somewhat cleaner in the middle. Pleasant in, totally flat, high-ish tide. Very few people, just two well-behaved dogs. Ate my dinner on the Coogee headland afterwards, and started in on Fintan O'Toole's new book.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

Mid-afternoon paddle at the northern end of a flat Coogee beach. Quite a few people about but not packed. The water seems to have cooled off again. Beaut day, not too hot. Some dark clouds rolling in but rain seems unlikely.

Billy Lynn's Long Halftime Walk

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David Stratton's marvellous movies, #11. Ang Lee directs. I remember giving this a miss when it was released in 2016. It's pretty much what it says on the tin: a hero and his platoon go home from Iraq for Thanksgiving and participate in the halftime entertainment of a Texas NFL game in 2004. I guess it's essentially a reversal of the Bunnies going to Việt Nam in Apocalypse Now flimsily spun out to feature length. Apparently Destiny's Child was big then. Joe Alwyn is solid in the lead. (I saw him recently in The Favourite.) The moment he shares with cheerleader Makenzie Leigh at the end speaks more than anything else. Kristen Stewart ably plays his sister. Garrett Hedlund has the most fun as the platoon leader. Steve Martin doesn't convince as a Texan shyster. Similarly Vin Diesel isn't all that Hindu (Stratton says Buddhist, but he spends most of his time talking about Vishnu, Krishna, etc.). I felt the soldiers were allowed to exhibit sufficiently distinct characters for this all-American production. The antiwar flag is half-heartedly waved, and we are shown the boosting and busting of myths and illusions that we've seen many times before. It's all a bit shrug.

Dana Stevens made many small mistakes in her review; for instance Lynn is in the army to avoid being charged with taking it to his sister's fiance who abandons here while she is in hospital. Stevens observes that this got released around the time of Trump's election. A. O. Scott.

Robert Olen Butler: A Good Scent from a Strange Mountain.

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Kindle. I read this over several years as the stories are all written in the same highly-repetitious, workman-like style. As much as I remember the protagonists are always Vietnamese expats (typically refugees) living in or near New Orleans and trying to interpret their experiences in traditional terms. I got the pointer from a review of his more-recent Perfume River collection. Somehow this one won the Pulitzer in 1993 for fiction. I found it to be shallow, and nowadays it would probably be charged with cultural appropriation.

George Packer observes that in its day these stories may have helped humanize the Vietnamese, remembering that 1995 was the year when the U.S. normalized relations with Việt Nam. A variety of views at Goodreads.

Bad Influence

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David Stratton's #8 on his 101 marvellous movie list. James Spader plays a "successful" working stiff who gets an education from professional bad boy Rob Lowe (and maybe later he'll tell you his real name). Lowe does Spader a favour by getting him out his marriage arrangements through judicious deployment of some homemade porn involving Billy Zane's older sis Lisa. He also steals Spader's wallet as payment for preventing some face mashing. Later on the tables must be turned if only because the ante has been upped and lives are at stake. Lowe is as canonically 1980s as Mickey Rourke but nowhere as physically intimidating, and this movie is a part of the 1990's seemingly never-ending farewell to that decade. The tropes are all there: the actor from a high school movie, the dork, some great cinematography that makes U.S. cities look beyond awesome, the perpetual summer, the TVs with analogue static, the VHS tapes. I drew a bit of a line from it to Alexandra's Project, which somehow isn't on Stratton's list. Boss John de Lancie falls into the uncanny valley by looking like all of Tom Hanks, Bill Murray and Paul Eddington and being, of course, Q. David Duchovny is in some crowd somewhere. Fun for what it is.

Roger Ebert. Vincent Canby. Both reference Strangers on a Train. I wish Stratton had fewer blind spots; there are quite a few underrated Arnie classics at least as good as this.

/noise/beach/2018-2019 | Link

The day got away from me and by the time I got organised enough to get to Gordons Bay the skies had gone completely grey and the drizzle set in. Loads of idle seagulls both in the water and on the southern rocks. Just one bloke trying to fish. A bit filthy in, and a little rough at high-ish tide. It was too soggy to do much afterwards but come straight home.

The Deep Blue Sea

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I had this one on the pile for ages, largely due to Dana Stevens's review and Rachel Weisz; David Stratton making it #28 on his list of marvellous movies prompted me to dig it up. I remember it getting widely reviewed at the time.

Briefly, Weisz is a (but-I-love-him!) wayward wife soon after WWII. She's a sensualist more interested in the idea of loving than being loved, or even respected. Her far-too-understanding husband Simon Russell Beale is some sort of judge who she tries to throw over for Tom Hiddleston; neither man is really having it. Most of the angst can be sourced to Loki's forgetting of Hypatia's birthday, leading to him BREXITing for a test pilot role in South America after she attempts an exit just as thoughtless and ludicrous. The dialogue is dodgy and wooden. The bickering lacks English reserve. The mood is soporific. The camera has Vaseline smeared on it. The solid cast is mostly squandered: in addition to the lurv triangle, Barbara Jefford has a lot of fun as Weisz’s mother in law while Karl Johnson haughtily does some necessary unlicensed medical work. I guess Fintan O'Toole would draw many parallels to England's current plight.

I have to wonder what Stratton saw in it. So far he's picked movies reliably in the 6-7/10 band at IMDB, which I tend to avoid; my threshold is 7 unless I have some other info.

A. O. Scott was also a fan, and Roger Ebert too, finding a basis for this movie in an excess of pity. Hmm. Ebert reminded me that they sing You Belong to Me in the pub, a song I know from Bob Dylan's rasping cover on the Natural Born Killers soundtrack.