Those Wacky Russians
It seems the city of Belgorod has decided to cancel St. Valentine's Day this year. When I first read this headline I thought "That's it, I'm off, that's it" much like the judge in the MP sketch who decides to go to Africa because there he can execute people. But then I read some of the other things that go on in Belgorod. For example, the music played in nightclubs there has to include “highly artistic compositions of Russian and foreign classic, folklore, pop and bard music.” Oh yeah, rock me Amadeus. That's right because nothing says par-tay like a nice rousing Viennese Waltz courtesy of Strauss or maybeone of those gangsta symphonies by Beethoven. As for bard music, I don't know what it is. I'd like to keep it that way, although somehow I have the suspicion it has to do with those guys who actually travel to Ren fests "for the mead." If however in the midst of all this you manage to get your freak on, "Youth mentors from the Belgorod administration, in particular, governor Yevgeny Savchenko, deem it necessary to interrupt dances with newsreels to acquaint patrons with current economic and political problems." Clearly the people of Belgorod are in need of organizing a mass protest columinating in a rebroadcast of "Footloose."
Still, I like to Valentine's Day ban.

Movie Meme
The polls are now closed. For the lines you did NOT guess, you might want to check the answer and appropriately update your netflix queue. Kudos to those of you who have correctly identified movies. You have to satisfying warmth of knowing that there is someone in the universe who pays as much attention to the movies as you do.
This meme has been going around and rather than continue to post the bad news ( yes there is more) I thought I would post this instead. The rules are simple: 12 movies-a line or two from each-as you identify the movie I will post why that film means something to me.
1. "You're talking about my brain. That's my second favorite organ."
from the same film
"That's Bela Lugosi. He was mayor of New York for awhile. You can see what that did to him there."
Indeed this film is Sleeper. Both lines are from Woody Allen's character. This film was a favorite in my household, and one of the first films my father and I bonded over. He and I often traded lines from our favorite movies. This one was probably the first we stole lines from. Other movies included Dr. Strangelove "Look Lt. Batguano, if that is indeed your name" (My father actually liked that line so much he got Lt Batguano stenciled on to the lapel of his skiing jacket) MP and the Holy Grail "She turned me into a newt." and Love at First Bite "Drowsier and drowsier, Rosenberg." My favorite line from Sleeper is, of course, "Shut up and eat your shiksa."
2. "Killing you and what you represent is sending a message to the American People. I'm not 100% sure what it's saying."
Taken from the end of Natural Born Killers. I actually teach an essay written by, of all people, John Grisham called Unnatural Killers. Grisham attempts to exhort the American people to sue Stone for manufacturing a faulty or defective product because in Grisham's opinion the film was intended to make people kill. An interesting stance considering Grisham is the author of "A Time to Kill."
3. "Insanity runs in my family. In fact, it practically gallops."
Yes Smitty this is indeed Arsenic and Old Lace, directed, quite surprisingly by Frank Capra. My mother loved old black and white screwball comedies particularly those featuring Cary Grant, Kate Hepburn, and Tony Curtis. Thus I grew up watching Operation Petticoat, Bringing Up Baby, the Philadelphia Story, and, of course, Arsenic and Old Lace. This film represents the film appreciation I got from my mother lest you think my father is responsible for all of it.
4. "We joke about the terrible things we do, we don't actually DO them."
No one got this one. Minnie Driver in Grosse Pointe Blank. Being a child of the 80s I had to include at least one John Cusack film (I've written about him in Identity). I include this film for several reasons. First of all, I have a lot of respect for Minnie Driver specially after that jackass Damon broke up with her RIGHT BEFORE THE OSCARS and she had to sit there and watch him win an award for let's face it a fairly predictable movie ( troubled genius bonds with down and psychiatrist to the benefit of all-no didn't see THAT coming-and before you say hey bunni that movie got an Academy Award I would remind you that Goodfellas lost film of the year to freakin' Dances with Wolves for Best Picture. Oh yeah, mistakes were made.) So Driver has a role in this film for which I have great compassion.
The script for this film is fabulous, very reminscent of the patter one would find in the forties. Lots of good one liners in the script (You can't go home again Hoberman, but I guess you can shop there is just one example). And it features a truly fabulous love scene(no spoiler).
5. "People who talk in metaphors should shampoo my crotch."
One of my favorite more obscure lines from a very popular movie. Upon analysis this film is, well, crap with a lot of good one liners and some very fine acting. And really the truth is it is hard to fuck up a Jack Nicholson script. I will watch that man in almost anything.
6. "When a person is crazy, as you clearly are, do you know that you're crazy? I mean are sitting at home masterbating in your own feces while reading guns and ammo magazine and think, "My G-d, I really am nuts?"
Joelle pegged it again. It is indeed Seven. The director of Seven and Brad Pitt would team up again for the ever quotable Fight Club. "The're like Martha Stewart polishing brass on the Titanic. It's all going down." For me, of course, the best part of this movie is Kevin Spacey as John Doe. Those last fifteen minutes are just fabulous. Of course the style of the beginning credits have been stolen and mimicked in many other films including Red Dragon (which added an innovative touch to the device-the journal is used to tell the story of what happens after Will's attack).
7. "Well I kind of thought it should be the one of us who has the capacity for abstract thought"
Courtesy of the Coen brothers who have made many other personal faves including the Big Lebowski, Fargo, and Raising Arizona. The acting in this film is outstanding, and I feel personally violated that Tim Nelson Blake did not get an academy award nomination for his portrayal of Delmar.
8. "Well that's no reason to think that I can be pushed out of a car for random recreation."
from the same film
"Oh Eddie, I'm going to need a magnifying glass to find what's left of your finer points."
An obscure film based on a play that is now being brought back to the theater in NYC. This is Meg Ryan (both lines) as a coked out go go dancer in Hurly Burly. The film features stunning perfomances from Sean Penn ( who need to get a sense of humor) Kevin Spacey, Gary Shandling, and Anna Paquin (again cast against type as a punky runaway). Perhaps though as too talky it does capture semantic madness as no other movie can.
10. "You look like a normal person, but you are really the angel of death."
Surprising no one recognized this line from one of the single most popular 80s movies When Harry Met Sally. (This movie is part of my film legacy to my mother.)This film is close to my heart because it revealed to millions the truth about days of the week panties. I actually knew this from childhood when my mother opened a package and finding no Sunday returned to the store thinking she had gotten a defective package. They informed her about the Sunday rule. Interestingly now you CAN get days of the week panties with Sunday. We shall overcome.
11."Shut up. This is a rhetorical conversation."
Can't believe that no one got this line from the Producers one of the single best comedies ever made. Don't argue. Just agree. The first time I remember seeing this movie on an island in Maine. The island was owned by two economics professors friends of my father. There is nothing like seeing that movie on a black and white monitor fueled by a generator in the midst of moosehead lake. Well, at least they had priorities.
12"There goes one of G-d's own creation. Too wierd to live. Too rare to die."
In honor of the dearly departed this is from Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas. Obviously I have issues with Las Vegas. Eric the summer I spent a month there worked at Circus Circus (which refused to allow Gilliam to film). In fact, almost all the locations int he film have some sort of personal resonance, which may be why I haven't seen it since it was in the theater. Also Gilliam is one of my favorite directors.
Extra bonus: 13. "I've never patronized bunny rabbits."
Joelle amazingly pegged this one. It is indeed Heathers probably one of the first comedies about homicidal teens. prefiguring other dark "comedies" such as Idle Hands and Jawbreaker. A comedy about teens who kill is fairly hard to pull off, and to make a funeral scene funny is even harder. Yet all this week I've been thinking "I love my dead gay son." Heather is also marked for being a pre-Colombine movie. I'm fairly sure such a film couldn't be made now, but it was extremely popular in circle of friends in HS. We often quoted the film to each other. The line I have quoted here always struck me as particularly funny, but I never saw anyone else laugh at it. Of course, being Bunni I thought I needed to have at least one rabbit line. (Actually at one point I thought of doing this meme with ONLY rabbit lines, but you know there are very few rabbit lines in movies , so I decided to go with a big closer.)

For David.

It is an odd day when you decide to photocopy your dead friend's letters to his daughter.

It was May when David gave me the bag. This 70s grey naughahyde looking thing, bursting at the seems with I don't know what. It wasn't heavy and so I the contents seemed likely to be clothes. He had left his old apartment and was temporarily staying in a furnished place. He asked me to store it for him.

I took the bag and chucked it by my door. Months passed and David was still without permanent housing. Periodically I would remind him I still had it, in case he forgot. He was seventy-one after all. I'm only thirty and I forget half the books I've loaned out to people. I would just casually tell him, "I still have your bag. Let me know when you need it."

I am, by nature, a curious person. Ask my mother. She will tell you the Byzantine measures she has resorted to in order to hide my Christmas presents. If you've left me alone in your apartment, the odds are I have poked in your medicine cabinet. Nosed in your drawers. Leave your journal in any kind of easily discovered place ( like a desk drawer) and I'll read it. If you have left me your bag to guard, I have taken a peek. But that grey bag sat by my door for half a year without so much a shake or a gentle probe.

Even when David was sick, I did not open the bag. Bland Lawyer remembered the bag when David got sick. "What's in it?" he asked. "I don't know. I don't feel right opening it." The word yet was implied, but not spoken. Bland Lawyer let the matter drop and went about stirring his tepid coffee.

But then David died.

Even then it wouldn't have occured to me to look in it. "Maybe," Nutreena, who had joined me to visit David, "maybe it has some of his sketchs and papers." His daughters had never bothered to visit him in the three months he languished in various hospital wards. David was a writer. If there were papers in the bag, could I trust them? Could I just hand over David's papers without so much as a look? Could I trust that perhaps those papers wouldn't vanish? Could I give away what I had left of David to these women I had never met? That they would do what was right by his writing? These women who seemed so little invested in their father?

I went home and opened the bag. A flashlight. A yellow cableknit sweater with a crewneck, favored by David, Oxford man that he was. A pair of shoes. A few library books. And then a great stack of papers in no discernible order. Letters to the Editor. Legal Documents. Photocopies of checks. Several drafts of three page stories. Letters to his daughters. Notes on an invention. Photocopied pages of books. None of the stories were dated, and all of them were written on computer making it impossible to know which draft was first, which was last. I sat and looked at the pile. The letters were also typed. Often there were several different drafts of one letter. Sometimes there was a date. Sometimes there was not. About 500 pages in all.

There quite a few books that are based on an individual suddenly finding himself in charge of a deceased friend's/associate's papers. From Lolita to the Sorrows of Young Werther to the less tradition Ravelstein in which the narrator finds himself writing a dying friend's biography while he is still alive albeit with a terminal illness, there is a romantic sheen to finding oneself the guardian of some great literary works. In reality, it is awful and awesome, likely to induce several runs to the bathroom to literally try to expell the sense of inferiority, the sense of "I am not the right person for this", the sense of "I am going to fail to do right by this reponsibility" and then you wipe your mouth and return to sorting the papers into various piles. After the piles are sorted, you organize them by date.

I set aside a set of the stories to photocopy, so that they would remain preserved, but also with the thought that I should submit them for posthumous publication. David was always saying he was going to look into such thing, yet his correspondences revealed he actually had an agent for his art and could have had one for his writing. Would it be a violation of wishes or the the culmination of them?

But the bag had been left in my care, and since there was no will, I suppose I could claim that David intended for me to have the contents of it, papers included. He insisted that I would be a great editor. Perhaps the bag was intended to teach me just such a lesson, by managing and organizing his work, finding an agent who would publish the stories in a small collection or in various magazines, I would embrace my latent talent.

But what of the letters? They were more like extensions of his stories. There was almost no personal detail. He spent most of his letters detailing little NY stories,a student driver too timid to push through pedestrian traffic marrooned at an intersection, the cat at his favorite coffee house, a conversation with a child in front of his favorite chocolate store. These vignettes might have prompted me to copy the papers as it was, but he wrote about films and books he read. He offered thoughtful analyses on court life in the 17th century.We talked many times about books, films,and histories, yet I could not remember many of the titles he recommended. And that is what prompted the photocopying. So that I, in finding these books and films, something I neglected when he was alive, I would still have David with me in someway. He could continue my education.

At the memorial, I handed one of his daughter's the bag. I had placed the papers, now organized, at the top. I have the copies of the letters and stories at home on my coffee table. When I handed her the bag, her eyes filled with tears. "Thank you" she said "I have so little from my father.Perhaps now I will write a book about him." I smiled looking at this woman with unwashed red hair and hazel eyes, this woman who had not called or visited for the three months her father lay slowly dying in a hospital, this woman who had only showed up after he died, having not seen him eyes glazed over, hands puffed with swelling, three blood soaked gauze bandages on the floor, the machines living for him, the inner workings of his body suddenly dependent on these external machines. She had not sat and held his hand when he was unable to talk or even blink. I had. I had dragged myself there not as often as I liked, but I had gone, and I had stood in the hallway after and cried. And even having sworn I would not go back, I could not go back and witness him, eyes filmed over with cataracts, his whole body pulsing with his heartbeat, I was preparing to return to the hospital the day his death was announced.I smiled at her without mentioning the photocopies, and poured myself another glass of red wine.

"Hell is Other People" (No Exit)
For those of you who only know me from this blog, I probably appear as a heartless high handed bitch who would have been more suited to being a Roman Emperor of say the Caligula or Nero bent than a modern professor. For those who know me in real life, well, you may have a different picture.
Hey, I said may.
My gay husband was hospitalized last week with a lung infection. Friday his lungs were suctioned for three hours. He seems to be recovering well, but it will be a long haul until he is his old three snaps and a bitch self again. But here is where things get interesting. Gay husband promised a mutual friend, closer to him than to me, named Texas T that she could stay at his apartment. She had a short term sublet and it was coming to an end. She had not yet found a place to stay and he said he could stay with her. BUT he is now in the hospital , and he lives in a doorman building where they will not let her stay UNLESS he is there ( I am guessing this is to safeguard against illegal sublets). So friday she asks if she can stay with me until gay husband gets out of the hospital.*
And I decided to be a nice person.
If David hadn't gone off and died, I probably would have found an excuse. But I was going through that "I need to be a better person" phase of mourning that has somehow not yet made its way into psych. manuals. So I said ok.
Necessary Exposition:
Texas T moved to NYC 5 months ago. She just got out of a 7 year relationship. What I know of her taste in lovers leaves a great deal, vestigal tails, supernumary digits, to be desired. She met Irish Eyes two weeks ago and they have been "in love" ever since. He presented her with a solid gold claddaugh ring on valentine's day-just nine days into the dating process. This weekend he asked her to move in with him (he is currently sleeping on his aunt's floor-how do you move in with someone who is homeless-"darling I saw this simply fabu refrigerator box on madison. We could staple a paper bag to the end and make into a nursery!") It is one thing to be friends and witness almost every day the very thing you have been missing for four years. Adoration, lust, companionship. IT IS ANOTHER THING FOR IT TO MOVE IN WITH YOU.
Suddenly I feel like I am writing a trailer for a horror movie. And let's face it. I am.
The Horror, The Horror. Texas T is not only constantly with her man. She invited him into my apartment when I wasn't there. Now I am a very private person. I invited VERY few people into my apartment. I doubt if more people have been to my place than visited the Unabomber cabin. Really. And beyond that now I find out this morning she has been fired. How does she react to the news? She is going ice skating with her man and then out to the movies.
Repeat after me "Your honor, Bunni could not have possibly killed those two people because...."
Ok now try it again without giggling.
*I would like to add that Texas T has not visited gay husband in the hospital since tuesday, while I visited him three times. I don't know about you, but I wouldn't be thrilled to suddenly be living with the person who couldn't be bothered to visit me while I was in the hospital.
**Update: My grandmother has just been admitted to the hospital. My mother can not be sure exactly why as my grandmother is currently incoherent and so my mother is driving to PA as we speak to find out what is going on. I guess Christopher Durang was right. Sometimes bad things do happen all at once.
The good news is, and this sounds awful, I may be able to parlay this crisis into an excuse for getting Texas T off of my couch.

    This page is powered by 
Blogger. Isn't yours?