Reasonable Words

“She had a pretty gift for quotation, which is a serviceable substitute for wit.” — W. Somerset Maughan

Weekend Review: “Sweeter than a cherry pie with Reddi-Whip topping”

It appears WordPress does not have a widget that functions like TypePad’s “Media List,” which allows the author to rave about/identify/plug different media items they’re enjoying–or trying to impress their reader(s) by pretending to enjoy. So I guess I’ll do it with a homegrown post. Get comfortable.

On DVD: Mad Men, Season 1

As previously intimated, I’m jonesin’ pretty bad for some fresh Mad Men. Since I’ve no idea when Season 3 is coming out, and Season 2 isn’t available until Summer, it appears, I rummage to the back of the sock drawer for Season 1. It’s not all stems and seeds, but it’s just whetting my appetite to see how 1963 will end (apparently with some national calamity, I read in a fan forum).

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Filed under: Books, Film, In the Ear, IRL, The Idiot Box

What River in Egypt?

wheelers

The Wheelers, seen here in happier times.

Matt Cale is, by all accounts, the shit. I mean, just try not to cackle in affirmation. Try. But I don’t agree with him on everything. Specifically, I question his inclusion of Revolutionary Road on his 10 Worst Films of 2008 list (though I’ve seen little to suggest the other nine shouldn’t be there).

The two leads are shrill, no question. Yet, for all of Cale’s valid points, Sam Mendes’s failure/refusal to mine all that pathos for a little levity only means that he adhered to the spirit of the book. I’ve read it; it’s depressing and cold with no sentimentality and little if any irony. The couple in question suffer from near-crippling delusion and denial, play each other like Steinways, and ignore their children (whom they clearly shouldn’t have had) absolutely. The only chuckles it drew from me were the uncomfortable kind that come when someone’s pointed out your own sick shit. With a rapier.

So should Mendes have really turned a right skewering into an ironic smirk just to appeal to our early-21st-century sensibilities? Not for my money. The book’s narrative is devastating, its characters shrill, and its tone arguably self-important. Insofar as the film is a reverently (if imperfectly) abridged version of the book, it’s done its job.

cf. Pandagon’s Bamboo Reviews: Revolutionary Road the movie

Filed under: Books, Film

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