giovedì, aprile 03, 2008

Tabula rasa

I've figured out one of the reasons I like Weeds so much - I have a bit of a jones for the actor who plays Nancy's dead husband. Possibly because his more extended appearances on the series to date are two emotionally affecting nooky scenes. Emotionally affecting nooky rocks.

Massively disliking medical drama for reasons I've never fully analyzed, Grey's Anatomy seems like everything I hate about television, but I have seen that actor appear on that show. Absolutely fucked if I can remember where or when. Possibly at the house of a friend who liked Grey's Anatomy, possibly just when flipping channels during a television binge whilst housesitting or visiting North Bay . . . who knows . . . but I remember seeing him, realizing from the Sandra Oh (who is Canadian and respectable because of that movie she did ages ago with Callum Keith Rennie that I liked) that I was watching Grey's Anatomy, and nonetheless forebearing to look away from the television because of how compelling this man was.

I didn't know his character's background, but it got clear fast that he was dying whilst striking up a love connection with the skinny blonde doctor. Puke. And yet I couldn't look away; I believe I watched until the end of the episode. This man is perfect for a certain kind of romantic pathos, which came home to me when I realized he also plays Nancy's dead husband. I think it's because he looks really good, but doesn't look so remarkable that you, or rather me, or rather one, can't transpose one's own emotional sympathies onto him by wondering exactly how shitty it would be if one fell in love with someone who was going to die in a few weeks, or what one would do if your hot husband suddenly expired whilst jogging, leaving you with a huge mortgage, no insurance, not enough batteries for the vibrator, and neighbours who liked weed.

And this sets me to wondering: is this the formula for Hollywood hotness? Looking really good, but not so remarkable, so that they can serve as a blank slate, in a sense, for all the ladies' fantasies and fears and whatnot, so that they can suspend their disbelief as you tell an emotionally devastating tale? Because if I think of the most remarkably gorgeous men who have ever seared my corneas, they have usually been men who I've seen in the flesh or else whose show business careers never quite translate from their stardom in their own country to stardom in the Anglophone world. Easily the most beautiful man I've ever borne witness to was Reinaldo de Souza, a Brazilian dancer I used to teach, who I've struggled to describe here. I haven't been to Brazil but in my dreams it's a place where one in fifty men looks almost that good - I mean, all indications do point to it being a country bursting at the seams with remarkable hotness. And I suppose the most remarkably beautiful man who I've ever seen on film that I can think of this morning is Olivier Martinez, who is only famous for Anglophones now because Kylie Minogue had the aesthetic good sense to date him.

But you take Brad Pitt, George Clooney, Matt Fucking Damon, for heaven's sake . . . if you saw them walking down the street and there were clothes covering those expensive, gym-sculpted bodies, would you look twice? Honestly? Unless you were ovulating and looking at everything twice? Or . . . unless they were 'acting' in a movie with a storyline that played to your most sensitive, archetypes, let's call them? Is this why I'm so into Nancy's dead husband? Or is it his laughing yet sad spaniel eyes? Don't know. Either way:

Puke. Internet television has drawn me in again.

mercoledì, aprile 02, 2008


So the F-word has gone on vacation with some friends in Switzerland, which I couldn't join them on due to my approaching trip to Portugal, which means I have a couple of evenings to myself. And what did I do with my evening last night? Catch up on my reading? Corresponding? Calling? Cleaning? Anything? No. Got dangerously high and watched Weeds. As I wrote previously, it had made a good impression on me, but less so on the F-word, so we haven't been watching any more of it - I mean we have sites that stream the Simpsons now, and Four Corners, and stuff. I love the Internet.

Certainly can't argue with the F-word for not being crazy about Weeds. It is a bit silly - certainly in terms of storylines it's hard to maintain suspension of the old disbelief (which is why me smoking the reefer is essential) and every time Kevin Nealon opens his mouth I know I'm more likely to groan than giggle. And as always the product placement annoys me and blah blah blah. But I have a real attachment to the lead character, played by, uhm, that pale chick with the big eyes - you know, Nancy - and to her bitchy friend Celia.

Despite the reefer being essential for the watching, it isn't the reefery subject of the show that has hooked me; I just really like its exploration of suburban life in the States. The reefer in the show just sets up a nice contrast between public and 'secret' personalities that aren't secret. Obviously I don't know anything about suburbs in the States, and hardly know anything about suburbs in Canada, and the consequence of not knowing anything about it is that I can watch Weeds and go 'ooooo, PTA meetings? Range Rovers? Cookie-cutter houses and neighbours you don't like? You have all that money and you spend it on that?', and then get some explanation of it from throwaway lines. Like when Nancy's brother-in-law was trying to get into the pants of his nephew's friend's mum, and telling her he sympathized with her horrible plight living in that suburb where everybody was all emotionally isolated from each other, etc., and she dismissed it by saying 'you do it for the kids.'

I can understand that, I suppose. My own middle-class family used the 'ex. geographically isolated city w. <100,000 inhabitants' strategy to let us grow up in a place where we could run around without being hit by cars - besides Elvis, of course, it was like the poor guy was carrying around an industrial magnet in his pocket. I don't think my parents were so unwise to go for that formula. I was so fucking cripplingly bored in North Bay that I thought to myself I'd never do that to my own children - and I won't. But now the F-word and I are considering eventually moving to an even smaller, more isolated city, in fuckin' Australia. I figure that the sub-tropical weather should make a big difference to the boringness, though. We'll see.

martedì, aprile 01, 2008

Dreck in the City

I am slowly figuring out that some of my friends are a pain in my ass (if you're reading this, it's not you - I know who you are!). Friendship is an odd thing, and the love of friends is a lovely thing, but, well . . .

A brief story about Bluebeard. To the average observer Bluebeard was the perfect boyfriend. Gorgeous, rich, charming, attentive, affectionate . . . he was also Bluebeard. My friends loved him and, while I blame myself for everything, obviously, the fact that some of them advised me in very explicit language to keep my claws in there no matter what happened helped encourage me to keep my claws in there no matter what happened. Bluebeard was Bluebeard, but it could all have been done so much better on my end.

Since then I've had a hard time paying any attention at all to anything any of my friends say in terms of advice. Bad and opposite reaction but I do feel that finally one can't take emotional advice from friends. Even the sort of mental health care professionals that I go in for couch their emotional advice in non-advising and extremely personal terms.

Fine. Since coming to that conclusion, friends have no longer been pains in my ass, until recently, and recently only in selective situations. The fact is, being absolutely unwilling to take emotional advice, I'm very uncomfortable giving it. I have a few friends whose whole thing right now is asking for emotional advice. And you know how it feels? It feels like they're trying to vampire emotional advice or attention or something out of me. I'm not talking 'my job makes me stressed, what should I do?' sort of situations; I'm talking personal personal stuff, and not just for one evening over too many drinks, but over days, weeks, months.

I blame Sex and the City. Fuck, I hate that show.

lunedì, marzo 31, 2008

Pizza and satanic pacts

Last night the F-word made pizza, in the sense that he made the crust and everything, and it was so good. God, he's awesome. And then we watched Faust from 1926. It was German so you could see naked tits and kissing in it. All that aside, and this is not just the reefer or pretentiousness talking, it's amazing how well it's stood up. The guy who plays Young Faust is not so much fun to look at, of course, and has had a few too many bratwurst to be as pretty as he should be, but otherwise it was jolly fun to look at. Mephisto was a right creep-o.

It might have been more annoying if it wasn't a silent movie; the actors were pouncing around like they were on stage, which turned out to be appropriate in a silent movie, but if I'd had to hear their great stagey shouts perhaps it would have been worse. I wonder. It must have been a whole, odd industry back then - writing the musical score for silent movies; something much more involved than now when the producers just rent a bunch of crap and it's so remarkable when they manage to get the music more or less right, as in Inland Empire.

Composers must be sad that scores are no longer so important. Now they have to be pretentious and get grants and things. Too bad. I probably would have quite liked Philip Glass if all he did with his unremitting repetitive rhythms was use them to do things like the Dracula score.

domenica, marzo 30, 2008

Daphne Du Maurier vs. the Red Dragon

This was a good weekend - put lots of things in perspective and refreshed my aching brain, made the future more welcoming. Next weekend will be in Portugal. Oh yay. Between times read My Cousin Rachel, another of the Daphne Du Maurier novels my boss loaned to me. I have a very naughty habit of always reading the last page of a novel before I finish the first chapter, and what I like about the stings in Rebecca's tail and this book's tail is that the last page doesn't give anything away. In any case, the twists are the right kind - what you're expecting to a degree, and then also what you're not expecting to a degree, and the reactions to the twist are completely surprising.

Generally, what I liked about Rebecca I liked in My Cousin Rachel too. Certainly not the best written books in the world - some parts needed more trimming than they got - but great pacing otherwise. And the narrative voices of both were great portraits in human weakness and paranoia. Rebecca was stronger in that respect, but the portrait in My Cousin Rachel was more interesting.

Very interesting portrayal of sexuality in both books. I've had a bit of enough of Daphne Du Maurier - I compared Rebecca to roast beef a couple of entries ago, and I'm starting to get leadbelly from all her stodginess; thank god I have those nice astringent Bruce Chatwins waiting in the wings to play the part of the watermelon. But the sexual content alone is enough to make the next book I hit up the last one loaned to me by my boss, Jamaica Inn. There was something that the narrators of Rebecca and My Cousin Rachel had in common - a sort of dismissal of sex and sexuality, a kind of obliviousness to it even when they were having it (very subtly) which is juxtaposed with comparatively extremely highly sexy characters who, in a sense, both cavort to their destruction. But then, the destiny of the two sexual retards is not so glowing either, quite the opposite in fact, so there's no suggestion of some sort of morality tale.