Wednesday, January 23, 2008

A Boy's Own Story



Never saw Brokeback Mountain. Couldn't bring myself to it --even the ads seemed dated and corndog, and I would rather read the entire oeuvre of Edmund White again (even A Boy's Own Story which I often called A Boy's Own Boring Story --- this is not to disparage Edmund White (his later novels are fantastic) or any number of gay cowboy novels I've enjoyed over the years. (Yes, there are several.) But I loved Heath Ledger in a movie called Candy where he stars with the luminous Abbie Cornish (the little missy who "stole" Ryan Phillipe away from Reese Witherspoon) as a couple madly in love with each other, madly in love with heroin, a going down slow kind of couple. I'm a sucker for this plot, the love triangle involving a deadly habit that becomes the whole story. The father figure in the story says it best, When you can stop, you don't want to and when you want to, you can't. Heath plays his part brilliantly, a sick worried man waiting on his man, a sad person who pimps out his beloved girlfriend and eventual wife for drugs, who reaches the bottom and can't stop the slow freefall. So much of the movie rests on his performance! And he's trying to write in the movie. Like Poe Ballantine says in his essay "Blessed Meadows For Minor Poets," if you want a really lucrative career try fiction writing. If this fails, go to something more practical and easier like selling encyclopedias door to door or shoehorning oxen.

Now Heath has left this world for reasons yet unknown, probably an accidental overdose on medication for pneumonia and sleeping pills. His last days were haunted by playing the Joker in the Batman movie, a scary terrible part according to his interviews, the part of a psychotic clown that Jack Nicholson brought to us so many years ago. But according to reports, Heath's clown was different, not charming like Jack's, not winning us over, but truly ill. He wanted to create something new and turned down a number of fluff parts that didn't suit his idea of himself. Like so many iconoclasts, he didn't take the easy road. Dying alone couldn't have been easy either. By the time paramedics brought his body out of his apartment, a crowd had formed to see his final, albeit unwilling, performance, yelling, There he is, still wanting a piece of him right up until the end.

Michelle's Spell of the Day
"I only do this because I'm having fun. The day I stop having fun, I'll just walk away." Heath Ledger

Cocktail Hour
Drinking upcoming movie suggestion: Cassandra's Dream is out this weekend!

Benedictions and Maledictions
Rest in peace, Heath Ledger!

13 comments:

RRN said...

Well said.

Some of the absolute best leave way to early and take a little piece of a lot of people with them.
That said...
Some of the absolute best leave way to early and none of us ever get to know their name or see their face.

This life is a strange one.

Cheri said...

The poor guy. I watched GMA this morning and it had a clip of an interview with him where he talked about dying young and that he was alright with it because he had his daughter and would live on through her. Ironic? Perhaps. I'm sure that it will get beat to death in class today.

My brother has Candy and said it was amazing. Guess the boyfriend and I are going to attempt that one tonight.

I just feel bad for that poor little girl of his.

Brian in Mpls said...

I feel bad cause I don't feel bad. He lived the high life, loved, lost, made millions, got to explore the range of his artist talent to a well receiving audience and took his bow early before he wore out his welcome...

I feel bad for the 14 people in this country who did the same thing yesterday...except they came and went in obscurity.. ..

Charles Gramlich said...

I liked Heath Ledger as an actor. I thought he was quite good in the movies I've seen him in. Sounds like he also took chances with his art to avoid "branding," which we were talking about on my blog yesterday. I'm sorry to see him go, and very sorry for his young daughter.

Sheila said...

I cried all night long. I put in a movie called Two Hands that he was in. It's an australian film and he is briliant in that as well. I really didn't feel up to much today. I just stayed home and sulked... sorry about class michelle.

Jason said...

If you want a good idea of what Heath is trying to emulate for the Joker role, go to Border's, go to the Graphic Novel section (near all the Japanese stuff) and pick up Batman: The Killing Joke. Even if you aren't a fan of sequential art (comic books!) you'll appreciate the tale of man's decent into madness.

I was shocked by Heath's death and just as shocked at how sad it mad me. I'm the same age and... I do not know. I don't know why it saddens me.

Cesar Romero said...

Don't remember seeing him in anything. I will see him in Batman, though. It's one of my favorites!

Herman Northrop Frye said...

Edmund White is one of the best prose stylists I've ever read.

Leon Edel said...

Edmund White's biography of Genet is brilliant.

The Cardinal and Bazzy said...

Don't worry, Michelle, we are closely monitoring the Kwame Kilpatrick situation. After all, we aren't on the "Save Detroit Committee" for nothing.

Cheri said...

Oh and by the way, Brokeback Mountain was actually really good. A few scenes showed how well of an actor Ledger was and I cry still at some points. He was too good at playing a tortured man.

Michelle's Spell said...

Hey Cheri,

I've heard it's quite good -- got to see it now! I'm going to get it this weekend.

Archbishop Adam Midol said...

Cafeteria Catholic.