Dec 30, 2010

Oh, my frickin' goodness,

I have so much to write aboot & once agin, so little time.  I have seen slightly more than a few movies recently that I would like to discuss.  And if I were any kind of real writer I would link the "reviews", if you will, Pauline Kael-New Yorker stylee.

I will try my bestest.

First, I have another correction for my blog:  Benedict Cumberbatch & Olivia Poulet are not  married.  They are long-time partners according to commenter Anonymous.  And if any fucking person is taking the time to make a comment on my sorry-ass blog, I am taking their correction as gospel.  So there.  

I fucking nearly cried (has got to be the worst paragraph link in history) when I watched Soderburgh's Spalding Gray "doc" OnDemand (for the second time) last night.  Soderburgh nailed it.  No voice-over, no "history" whathaveyou, just Spalding Gray telling his life story through his monologues & interviews.  Some would say (on Fox News), "What about his suicide?" Well, Soderburgh was smart enough, and disciplined enough, to proclaim through his film, 'That if Spuddy di'n't tell that story or appear in that interview then it does not make my film.'

(SPOILER ALERT! STOP NOW IF YOU ARE UNFAMILIAR W/ GRAY'S ANATOMY!) Of course, Soderburgh makes us cry at the end, w/ the howling dogs and the home movies. But the other, more crucial thing aboot this excellent film, basically aboot death and suicide, is how alive it makes me feel.  

Say what you will aboot Gray's neuroses & hypochondria & desperate pleas for attention & fame, yet Gray told a kind of straight white-man truth that so many of us can identify with.  & do identify with.  & he did it through near the most esoteric, pretentious sort of way; monologues, performed on-stage, part of the off-Broadway, avant-garde (&, gawd, does not this country hate the avant-garde [especially if it originates from New York, like his performances did.])    

I worked w/ a woman who knew Gray.  She proclaimed to me aboot numerous late-night phone calls, what a nuisance he was.  I di'n't believe her then & I do not believe her now.  

Gray was an incredible talent who did something I honestly believe I could do, as well.  He was so fortunate to be in Manhattan, w/ the Wooster Group, just when he discovered what his talent was.  He was a fragile fragile soul; exposed, seduced, and intoxicated with, yet terrified of fame.  

It was my buddy, Chris (I had made him watch Swimming to Cambodia & Monster in a Box) who told me that Gray was missing.  Everyone knew.  I knew.  Even then.  Everyone knew he had taken his own life.  

But Soderburgh shows all the wisdom, hilarity, depth, & heart that made Gray such a great (albeit troubled) soul.  

Gray, from Rhode Island, was really a New Yorker, a Manhattan-ite, living there, working there for a great period of his fame & livelihood.  Well, if the Gray's Manhattan art scene is something to be admired, reached for, the Manhattan art scene of the film, Tiny Furniture, is something I would like to avoid like the plague.  

Do not get me wrong, I liked the film.  But it is so New York, so, "My Dad writes for TV," if you know what I mean.  Some of the pop culture references fall completely flat, they are utilized way way too soon to resound w/ any kind of serious mainstream audience.  (Let us face it, if you are showing your fucking film in Fresno or, say, Tulsa, where this film will play, then it had better play, no matter whatever your college-kid intentions were.)  

I am flipping back & forth.  I loved the Charlotte character.  I loved the party scene where our protagonist is exposed as an attention whore.  I loved how we are expected to love this contemptible, self-hating woman.  I loved the film's depiction of the New York art scene as empty & blind to the new wave of media.  

But, I cannot get over the fact that she cast herself in the starring role, of a film she directed, w/ her real-life Mom and real-life sister playing those roles.  Even Plath's satiric, The Bell Jar, does not make me cringe like this film does.  

The sex scene in the tube? Is it a reference to Fast Times? & why am I not believing it anyway? 

Honestly, this director could grow & become a Todd Solondz-like master, or could fade away in to avant garde video theater & be never heard from again (except for cultish chick-y, gay types in the Village.)

Spalding Gray, made me change my mind what theater was.
OKAY, Fran Lebowitz, the Major & the Minor tomorrow.  


  1. Thanks for the good review of And Everything is Going Fine. You are fortunate indeed to be able to watch it on IFC On Demand. Alas I have not the chance so I have not seen it (yet!!!).
    I will link your blog under 'Fan Writings' on the site.
    Also, btw, Everything you may ever want to know about the film is at:
    Thanks again
    webmanager for the Estate of Spalding Gray

  2. Oh my goodness! Thank you so much! I love Spuddy, I love all his films (I ne'er got to see him live) & I love Soderburgh's "doc". Happy New Year! Thank you.