Sunday, February 25, 2007

Get Your Rage On The Page

There are a few writers I would kill to meet, and Augusten Burroughs is one of them. I imagine we'd enjoy Dr. Pepper and Diet Coke (the martini of rehab as he puts it), greasy bad for us food, spend time avoiding nature, bed and breakfasts (he wrote a great essay about his hatred of "charming" inns), and talking trash. This has replaced my earlier youthful fantasy of marrying Philip Roth and my teenage pretend marriage to Jay McInerny (he's already had five wives -- does he really need one more?). My favorite Burroughs book is Dry -- it's the one that I relate to for all sorts of reasons, but his most famous is Running With Scissors. I watched the movie last night which by all reports was a box-office failure, drawing shitty reviews from everyone and their asshole cousin. I think I understand why -- it's a failure of marketing more than a failure of the movie. Burroughs' writing is very funny in that cringe-worthy sort of way -- he juxtaposes terrible and bizarre situations with deadpan delivery. The movie tries to do the same thing, but ends up just being sad with a dreamy valium-like pace. I loved it, but there weren't a lot of ha ha moments.
The ads for the movie make it look like it's going to be a non-stop comedy. And almost all the reviews I read said that the movie seemed unrealistic. I can't say that was my experience. What passes for normal in my life is sometimes so odd that the movie didn't seem strange at all. I know people who eat dog food, pop pills, go nuts, wish they were Anne Sexton. I only do the last three. The mother, played by Annette Bening, is hysterical in her writing workshops held at her house -- get your rage on the page, she tells the women. "Two thousand people stood in a blizzard to hear Anne Sexton read. That's power recovered." So it would seem. So if you're in the mood for something a little depressing, this is your movie. When Augusten and I become good buddies, I'll be sure to tell him I thought the book was better, though.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Oh my God, what have I done to myself? I am too afraid to move." Augusten Burroughs, Dry
Cocktail Hour
Drinking music suggestion: Tumbleweed Connection Elton John
Benedictions and Maledictions
Be careful in the wintry mix, dear readers!
42 Days until The Sopranos airs!


miller580 said...

Thanks for your review of the movie, I've been half tempted to rent it, but bad versions of movies have a tendency to kill a book (for me). Plus, quite honestly, I didn't think the book could translate into a two hour movie. Typically when a book is that rich with content, the movie is terribly weak because nearly all the good stuff has to be stripped out.
I guess I should rent it and decide for myself.

Charles Gramlich said...

A pretend marriage? Now there's an idea whose time has come. Think of all the time and effort we could save on prenuptial agreements and messy divorces, and on child support and child custody battles. And never to be disappointed in your spouse? Priceless.

the walking man said...

You know if you would use that godamn gun to kill the weather people with it would make it much easier for me to do what i do. How did TX like those high winds yesterday. Now listen there is going to be no major weather trash come this way so quit believing it.

I just drove thirthy miles and you know where i am writing from so stop it godaamn it.

You know how your always talking about Woody Allen movies...I finally found a charming little piece that i liked "Sweet and Lowdown." Let's go to the dump and shoot some rats and sit beside the train tracks and drink.

If I could have met one author you know who it would have been so we could have gone out into the alley and practiced the drunk arts but before i got married the first time I wanted to marry the queen of england, she may have been married already but the IRA couldv'e taken care of that but the reason i wanted to marry her is she hold the copyright to the King James Version of the bible and i knew the money would always come pouring in.

Now your next essay should be something like "Hey I left my door unlocked accidently (heh heh) I want to shoot some stupid son of a bitch, at least knee cap you first and then make you clean up the mess while I put a round an hour up your ass." See it woud be a story like a mobius strip, every round would make more mess and the more mess the worse the kneecap (shattered would pain them, then as a final act of mercy, you could call any one of a number of your friends over to ride him around a bit then put him out of his misery because they shoot horses don't they?

Jason said...

could be a fun Michelle's spells audience project...

paul said...


JR's Thumbprints said...

I'll forgive your preteen fantasy of Jay. "Bright Lights, Big City" was a load of crap. I don't know why it's still on my bookshelf. Love the poetry reading and congratulations! Seems I've heard you read part of this poem before; How could I forget such imagery.

Susan Miller said...

I have the book on my bookshelf as a read for this year. Thus, your post is encouraging. My own little rule is that I don't dare see the movie before I read the book. Thanks for the review, Michelle.