Tuesday, November 27, 2007

Whee! Enchanted, that girliest of girl movies starring Amy Adams, won the box office match-up this past weekend, beating, by a long shot, Natalie Portman's trippy-sounding entry, Mr. Magorium's Magic Emporium. Not that I contributed to Enchanted's success; I was too busy watching boy movies 1. I'm Not There and 2. No Country for Old Men, both of which I enjoyed and admired, although neither knocked my head off my shoulders.

I'm Not There at least breaks free of the tedious biopic formula in which the director attempts to psychoanalyze the subject based on a five minute snippet of his childhood, tracing all of his problems with women, for example, back to that time his mother put him in a closet. Todd Haynes doesn't try to understand Dylan at all; six actors portray different facets of the rocker, and the composite both serves as a good overall sense of the people Dylan has maybe been at different points AND a good example of the Being John Malkovich/Walt Whitman theory of identity. You know, that we contain multitudes.

The two standout Dylans are a little black boy who rides freight trains with his guitar, dressed like a Depression-era mini hobo, Sir-ing and Ma'am-ing and performing for the bemused 1959 adults he meets along the way as Grassroots Bob, and a b&w Cate Blanchett in fantastic drag who captures everything itchy, rangy, brilliant, and savage about Famous Bob.

As for No Country, aka this year's Departed, I liked it better than Nora Ephron did. (Caution: her piece contains spoilers, in case you care, when going to watch a bloodbath, exactly who dies.)

Mr. Ben and I went to his dad's house in Westchester for Thanksgiving with a swarm of Russians, which meant a feast lengthened by frequent cigarette breaks and toasts that made Ben's dad weep with laughter. He and/or Mr. Ben tried valiantly to translate but I only found the jokes perplexing, which made everyone else laugh harder. One gag began, "So, you remember Stalin" and went on to be about a man who had fathered three kids by three different women.
"Get it?" said Ben's dad at last having painstakingly explained.
"Yes," I said. "But what does that have to do with Stalin?"
The table roared.

Foodwise, everything that didn't have meat had mayonnaise. I ate a lot of bread and, at the debut of the fruit bowl come dessert-time, I fell on those melon cubes like they were my personal lord and savior. But the evening was definitely an experience.


Rebecca said...

but what does that have to do with Stalin? I want to know!

Interpreting jokes is really hard. It's one ofmy least favorite things to do.

angela said...

Did I ever tell you the anecdote my Ukrainian anecdote professor told me? It basically went like this: this man Rabinowitz showed up, and ate an entire jar of cherry jam. Now what did he do that for?

That's it. That's the whole anecdote. Apparently it's hilarious. I only ever get the ones about Pushkin.