Saturday, January 30, 2010

Saturday Night at the Movies.

Burrowing time is Caitlin time. I love nothing more than coming home after a long day, heating up a can of Chef Lonelyheart's soup (or maybe just some Habitant Split Pea) and taking full advantage of the library's DVD collection. Tonight it was The Apartment, starring my time travel secret husband (ie., I would really only want him in or around 1960), Jack Lemmon. Also featuring Shirley MacLaine in my second favourite role of her career (the first is, of course, Ouiser in Steel Magnolias). I love this movie. I hadn't seen it since I was a doe-eyed undergrad on summer vacation, meticulously watching my way through another library's video offerings, on a personal journey of filmic edification. I was really into Billy Wilder. (That was also the summer I developed a mild obsession with Jon Voigt as a sexy paraplegic in Coming Home, but that's a story for another day.) The Apartment has always stuck with me, for a few reasons.

1. I love stories set in mid-century offices, all those people crammed in close, riding the elevators in shifts, sneaking out to the Automat over lunch, throwing crazy Christmas parties.

(Skip ahead to about 1:20.)

2. I love unrequited love that works out perfectly in the end. Coincidentally, this is the second movie I've watched this week where the lovers never even kiss, and yet it is so endearing and romantic and kind-hearted. Sincerity in the face of flaws and downfalls--that's what this world is missing these days.

3. I love that the apartment is a character in the story, because I always feel like my homes are major players in my life too.

4. Jack Lemmon's character is sort of the 1950s Seth Cohen. Not a day goes by when I don't miss The OC with all my heart.

5. Ray Walston, who later went on to play the judge on Picket Fences, has a minor role. Remember Picket Fences? CLASSIC!

6. I love the closing shot of Jack Lemmon and Shirley Maclaine playing cards. It just makes me feel all cozy inside.

7. Billy Wilder was a man ahead of his time.

Then, to undo any quasi-intellectualizing I might have gotten myself into, I watched 2 hours of old episodes of Friends on the internet. I think I'm a Monica.

Thursday, January 28, 2010

that's the one-second time travel machine i told you about.

Last night I couldn't sleep, so I watched The Science of Sleep, the next best thing. Seriously, I think this is one of the most overlooked movies of the last ten years. I've seen it a few times and everytime I watch it I pick up some new esoteric existential question. It's in three languages and you hardly even notice the transitions. It's visually mind-boggling. It unpacks a lot of the issues Michel Gondry obsessed over in Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind (maybe my favourite movie of all time): the tricks our minds play, the tricks we play on each other without even knowing it, all the time unconsciously feeling like it's the best thing, like we can't live without someone, like it's the only option, all the time stuck in our own minds, unable and unwilling to tell dream or memory from reality. Also, I defy you to not fall in love with Gael Garcia Bernal when you watch him in this opening scene.

The little dance he does while playing the keyboard around 1:09 is particularly endearing.

Also also, for a wannabe crafster like me, some of the effects are like sweet sweet porn:

Optical illusions as flirtation: Genius.

I have a bit of a lady crush on Charlotte Gainsbourg.

You must see this movie. Really.

don't tell anyone anything. if you do, you start missing everyone.

Well, friends, I'm back.

And JD Salinger is dead.

I'm taking it pretty hard, I have to admit. I know everyone probably has that Catcher in the Rye moment, the memory of reading it at some pivotal moment in your life. For me, it was the loft at the cottage we used to go to. I was thirteen, and pimply, and I read it because I'd just finished an article in Seventeen where they asked a bunch of people their favourite and most influential book and a whole load of them said Catcher. And I admit, at the time, I didn't really get it. I sure did wish I could get my hands on a copy of the Little Shirley Beans record, though.

A few years later I read Franny and Zooey, and that was the book that sealed the deal for me. I loved how weird the Glass family was, and I loved all the 50s details, the train stations and the radio programming and smoking cigarettes in the bathtub and all that. And the perfectly articulated spiritual and existential malaise, the trap of your own family, the love and the hate and all the emotions running together till you don't really know what you're doing anymore. After that I devoured Nine Stories and had nightmares about Bananafish for years. Raise High the Roofbeam, Carpenters and Seymour: an Introduction followed. I've since read my way through Salinger many, many times, usually while incredibly freaked out about something going on my life. I have a distinct memory of reading Franny and Zooey on a plane from Vancouver to Toronto, sleepy and confused and wondering whether I was flying to my home or away from it. Last summer an incredibly clever person at my library put Raise High the Roofbeam out on a Home Repair book display and I lauded them for their ingenuity and then picked it up again. God, I hope my wedding is that chaotic and anticlimactic (and as much of a non-event, now that I think about it). Like the Times obit says, he just had this knack for writing the way people speak. I could hear those voices in my head. Sure, maybe the slang was dated and the references went right over my head, but my oh my, did I ever want to be a fly on the wall in the worlds he created.

One time I went on a date with a guy who had somehow gotten his hands on what he said was Salinger's unpublished manuscript. He showed it to me, and I got through about three sentences before we started making out, and was it ever a romantic moment. Maybe I should have gone on a second date with that one, just to see how it ended. I guess I'll never know now.

Au revoir, JD.

Tuesday, January 5, 2010


So I'm off to Mexico tomorrow, which means I won't be posting anything here for awhile, which probably won't throw anyone off, given how sporadic I am with this blessed blog. Anyway, I've just come to the realization that I have the most ridiculous vacation reading list ever. I didn't want to bring any library books with me in case I am somehow set on fire or buried in sand, so I've spent the last two weeks pillaging the Friends of the Library's booksale shelf. The result is pure madness.

The Reader by Bernhard Schlink--Holocaust!
My Sister, My Love by Joyce Carol Oates--Murdered siblings!
Johnny Panic and the Bible of Dreams by Sylvia Plath--Suicide!
Rant by Chuck Palahniuk--Dystopia AND murder!

My only saving grace is going to be Housekeeping by Marilynne Robinson, which I've been urged to read by many people I really trust. It's probably just as bleak as the rest of them, but at least I know it comes highly recommended. And if all else fails, I'll have my standby copy of the New Yorker, which I always buy for travelling and then fail to read past the movie review section.

Later, skaters. Here's some music that's bound to be more painful than waiting in the airport.