Monday, August 29, 2005

Chicks and Flicks, Gays and Plays

I saw a whole lotta films this weekend in the good company of my home girls, then saw a new off-Broadway play downtown Sunday night. Some of the humidtity had crept back into the city, so all in all it was a good weekend to sit in a cool dark theater, be artistically stimulated, and chow on popcorn.

Friday night I saw The 40-Year-Old Virgin with SuperSkater. Earlier that day, SuperSkater had announced to her friends that this summer her younger brother had been diagnosed with Testicular Cancer and the family had been dealing with that, so it seemed like the perfect time to go and laugh at someone else's nuts for a change. I know there's been some criticism of this film, but seriously, how high were your expectations? I totally thought it was more than 10 bucks worth of funny and therefore was glad I saw it. Bonus: The 9pm show was sold out, so SuperSkater and I killed time across the street at Cossi where we had some surprisingly delicious pizza. Who knew?

Saturday night I had a date with LaHipster to see The Baxter. When she called that afternoon, she confessed that she felt like double-featuring it, if not tripple-featuring it. I was game. "Have you checked out Cobble Hill Cinemas recently?" she asked.

"No," I said. "What's playing?"

"Grizzly Man..."

"Good Lord, No."

"I take it you didn't see March of the Penguins either."

"No, I gotta say, animal films are really not my bag, especially when said animal mauls humans to death in a documentary by Werner Herzog. Hell no." That's okay, later when I suggested we see The Wedding Crashers, LaHipster confessed that she'd rather gauge her eyes out. So we compromised on The Baxter and Junebug and headed to the IFC Center. Prepared for the double feature, I brought ma big purse and loaded it with fruit snacks and bottled water.

It was my first time at the IFC Center, great theater, really over-priced concessions, like, more than normal. But you do get to watch previews and a short film. The Baxter was good-not-great, too long, but that's my problem with basically every movie that comes out these days. It was good to see a romantic comedy from the point of view of the guy who is always getting jilted. Bonus: captures the zeitgeist of contemporary Brooklyn, Michael Ian Black in ladies' underwear.

LaHipster and I had a gret dinner at a place called La Risottoria that also serves glutein free pizzas and pannis, but I happen to like glutein. My risotto was beautiful. The server clearly thought we were a couple and that I was LaHipster's bitch since he didn't bother to take my drink order, assuming she ordered for both of us. Interesting. LH was intrigued by something called the "Fudgie" on the menu, but when it arrived at the table next to us and she saw it was two large chocolate chip cookies smacked together with some kind of pudding-fudge-frosting spackle she was disguisted. I was intrigued.

Since we had plenty of time we decided to walk from the West Village to the Angelika where Junebug was showing. Junebug (website worth a look) was definately the strongest movie of the weekend. Even though the film was beautifully and very organically set in North Carolina (according to the website a lot of the production staff is local to that region) I found the themes very relatable and very easily transferable into my own universe. Bonus: Alessandro Nivola is hot. Hot.

Here is a column that reviews films and news from the entertainment industry you might enjoy: Everybody Gets Invisible.

Sunday night I had tickets to see Joy, a new romantic comedy about grad students falling in love in San Francisco. My friend LegalEagle attended with me, a friend I have known since middle school and cannot mention without also bringing up the fact that he dared to run against me for Student Council President in the 8th Grade. And lost. However, the joke is on me since he is now on his way to becoming a brilliant lawyer and will soon make far more money than me. But not yet.

Anyway, Joy was pretty good and has the weird distinction of including "Steve the Dell Dude" in the cast. Yes, you know you were wondering what ever happened to him. It is a funny and often touching love story that raises the issue of the fragmentation of queer politics: who gets to set the agenda, who's too gay, who's not gay enough, what's a personal act, what's a political act, and how committment to these issues over the people in our lives can alienate friends and lovers. Of course these same issues can be applied to any minority politics. Bonus: met LegalEagle's girlfriend in a dive bar after the show at a point when I was seriously beginning to wonder if he had made her up. Was very relieved to see that she exists and is very lovely.


Beta (aka Betsy, what my German friends preferred calling me) said...

Glad you saw Junebug. I saw it last week and enjoyed it. Although sometimes I wonder about indie films and those awkward too-long shots of a random backyard or the tire of a car. I can't make those shots have any kind of deep meaning. They just seem artsy and confusing for the sake of being that way. anyway, i digress.
I'm reading The Secret History now and so far so good. But creepy. The guy at work recommended it and then I saw it in your A-list of books.

A said...

Thanks for the heads up on DJ Kool Herc on Fresh Air, although I admit I do feel a bit dorky, schooling myself on the roots of hip hop with Terri Gross.

Cupcake said...

Beta, I did really like The Secret History although it is disturbing. I did not think much of Donna Tartt's anticipated follow-up novel The Little Friend.

The shots of the house in Junebug, especially the father's workbench in the basement, really matched my ideas about the family home in Franzen's The Corrections. Does anyone know if a Corrections movie is in the works?

Cupcake said...

E-Ved, Terri is a dork supreme but she seems to love the hip-hop. I wonder who is on tonight.

Did you love, "My gues tonight is DJ Kool Herc, who some say is the founder of Hip Hop."

"I am! I am the founder. There is no "some say". There is only one George Washington."

I am paraphrasing of course, but I encourage all interested parties to check out the transcript. And if you haven't caught on yet, it is Hip Hop week on Fresh Air with Terri Gross on NPR.

jesse said...

Hey, thanks for the plug! Perhaps my column's readership will someday exceed double digits.

The IMDB says that The Corrections movie is slated for 2007 and will be put together by the writer and director of the film version of The Hours (bleh) (I haven't read the book, but bleh). The IMDB is often wrong, but I'm pretty sure this is right, at least in theory -- sounds like it hasn't started production or anything yet.

Cupcake said...

Is it just me or does it seem like The Corrections will make a terrible movie?

Look, Hollywood, here's the deal, (and here I'm thinking of Everything is Illuminated)sometimes a great book is just a great book, not everyone measures success by having their work adapted for the big screen. Believe it or not, literature is a legitmate form of art, and while we appreciate your attention, what I'm trying to say is keep your grubby hands off my damn books.

Of course, it's too soon to pass judgement on the films named above, but there are many examples of great books that made lousy movies, and now, when you try to recomend the book to someone, they look at you like you're nuts. Anyone want to jump in with an example?

jesse said...

I even *prefer* movies and I'd rather some stuff wasn't adapted, if for nothing else than trying to hold on to a scrap of originality. Looking over a list of Oscar contenders and seeing that they're all remakes or lit adaptations makes me sad. The Great Gatsby is probably the lamest adaptation of a great book I've ever seen, because they actually get *parts* of it right while getting most of it spectacularly wrong (Redford as Gatsby? Perfect! Mia Farrow as Daisy? Awful!). But no one would balk at reading the book because of it, because who's *only* seen the movie?

But hey, I'm less inclined to read The Hours after seeing that tedious-ass movie.

A said...

Great Gatsy = bad film.The Hours was an ok film, but great, great book. however i can't say that i will read the walt whitman pastiche that is cunningham's latest book. hey listen don't "bust a nut" (ahem see my reply). I updated.

Cupcake said...

Ironically, the guy who played the father (Eugene) in Junebug played the garage owner who shot Gatsby in the Redford movie.

I happened to love the novel Corelli's Mandolin, but then they made it into a movie with Nic Cage and Penolope Cruz. Puke. I never saw the flick, but now I'm ashamed to tell people I like the book by association.

I agree with Jesse, there are probably so many brilliant original screenplays out there that can't get made, but everyone is just recycling the same ideas over and over again to tap the wallets of dim consumers.

Betsy said...

Hmm, I actually really enjoyed A Little Friend. But maybe that's because I read it first, since the DC library didn't have A Secret History on the shelves for MONTHS.