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Cultural update

Since the beginning of the year, I've made an effort to see more movies and read more books than I had been doing lately. My efforts so far have been modest, but rewarding. I've seen Capote, Brokeback Mountain, and Match Point, all excellent--the jarring notes being Anne Hathaway in Brokeback (not her fault) and Scarlett Johansson in Match Point (pretty much her fault). I've watched many more movies on DVD, including Joseph Losey's The Servant, Hitchcock's Frenzy, and Herzog's Grizzly Man. Hmm, looks like I'm on a bit of an auteur kick, yes? I had already seen the first two movies a long time ago, but a reviewing proved worthwhile in both cases. Oh, and I watched The Machinist, and I talked about it with C-Lo J. Americus. As for books, I've had trouble staying awake long enough to read more than a few pages at a time. I really have to start reading sometime other than when I get into bed. But so far this year I've (re)read In Cold Blood (for obvious reasons) and The Servant, the slim novella upon which the movie was based. It was written by Robin Maugham, Somerset's nephew, and it is a fine, sharp piece of writing, spare and elegant. Tonight I'll be reading the Sunday Times (at least for 20 minutes or so, until I fall asleep), and the next book up is something by Stanley Crawford that looks kind of grimly witty.

I've been listening to the Cinecast podcast pretty regularly, as well as assorted other podcasts (including the Ricky Gervais one, which is about as funny as you can hope for), and watching rather too much television (thank the baby Jeebus for TiVo, which has shaved literally hours and hours off the amount of time I would otherwise spend parked on my ass in front of the TV). I'm not following the new season of Survivor--I couldn't even get through the first episode without boredom settling in. I've been catching up on The Wire via DVD and . . . I guess I have to come clean . . . watching American Idol. And Project Runway. Okay, okay, and Lost and The Shield and 24. I've been truly enjoying the current Masterpiece Theater production of Bleak House--it's unsettling and unusual and full of menace. And Gillian Anderson has an absolutely unworldly cold beauty that's mesmerizing. And, of course, the Olympics have started. I watched hours of coverage yesterday. Pray for me.

And that's about it so far this year. That's a lot of italic tags, people.


( 2 comments — Leave a comment )
Feb. 13th, 2006 01:26 am (UTC)
Oh I just saw Capote yesterday. Phillip Seymour Hoffman was amazing as Capote. They have been playing Murder by Death on one of the Movie Channels during the day and I flipped by the other day so Truman's speech and mannerisms were very fresh in my mind.

I'm going to buy myself another copy of In Cold Blood. I really wish there was an audiobook with Truman reading it. I've only read it once before and then I lent the book out, never to be seen again. I was very shaken by it. I was haunted by the Clutters.

Did you find that it holds the same sway on a second read?
Feb. 13th, 2006 02:13 pm (UTC)
Wasn't he great? He (meaning Hoffman) just disappeared. I haven't seen anyone do better or deserve the Oscar more.

I do think the book holds up. What really stuck with me this time around was the empathy Capote had for the friend left behind--Susan. She is, for me, the emotional heart of the whole business; looking back, moving forward, a part of her life left suspended in amber. Capote obviously admires her and the way she chooses to move on while honoring her lost childhood, and so, as a result, do we.
( 2 comments — Leave a comment )