Good New Things, Two of Which Aren’t New

I. Synecdoche, New York

synecdocheFor a long time while watching I wasn’t with this movie. Not like: I didn’t get it. I didn’t, but didn’t much work at it that way. But I wasn’t with it as it wanted me to be. The situation/drama/conflicts were too synthetic for me to move past the distance I was keeping. I know this is in line with the movie’s themes, but okay so Hazel’s house is just perpetually on fire. But then the movie kept going and Caden kept getting older and suddenly two things happened:

  1. Dianne Wiest shows up.
  2. The scope of things gets so carefully large that the movie becomes one of the best representations of the bigness of life I’ve ever seen.

Shame about Catherine Keener though. Early on, N said: “See this is why I don’t like her, she always plays the same role.” I like C.K., but he’s right. We’ve seen her range with that other Philip Seymour Hoffman vehicle, Capote. Isn’t she tired of playing the sexy-smart-disloyal flake? Isn’t Charlie Kaufman ready to write another role for her?

II. Hedwig and the Angry Inch

hedwig1_400N & I just finished watching it. It’s on Netflix streaming now, so you can, too. What I like best, this time around perhaps, is the easy way it makes cartoons and soft-rock ballads out of Aristophanes’ genderqueer creation myth. And of course the music. At last: a rock musical to expose the lack of rock in all previous rock musicals.

UNL once called its Intro to Lesbian and Gay Lit class, “Sex Roles in Literature.” It is, let’s admit, a far better name than what we have now, right? I’d try to teach it, if I could, and I’d totally show this movie on a day I didn’t feel like teaching.

III. The Chapbook Review

This is the new one. The inaugural issue of this useful resource just launched, and The Cupboard’s latest volume, Play, gets reviewed not just once but twice. Take that, Pocket Finger!