Wednesday, October 22, 2008
Burn After Reading
My favorite scene in Burn After Reading is where John Malkovich is working out to a step aerobics show after getting fired from his job due to a drinking problem and goes home to write his memoirs which consists of him talking for a few minutes into a tape recorder before planting himself down in front of "Family Feud" and waiting for five o'clock to fix himself a gin and tonic. While he steps, he says, I'm bigger, I'm better, I'm stronger, you fuckers. I've taken this as my new mantra at the gym or anywhere. And I admit I loved "Family Feud" when I was a child, what with that whackadoodle Richard Dawson always kissing everyone which seemed both cool and creepy, my favorite combination. Which may explain why I love John Malkovich so much.
While Burn After Reading may not be No Country For Old Men (no Javier Bardem in a Dorothy Hamill cut -- I'm sure that when he and Penelope Cruz have arguments, he blames his moodiness on the bowl cut -- You do not understand Penelope, my hair, it was like John Denver!), it's a lot funnier. Given the few reviews I've read, I don't think the reviewers realize how much the Coen brothers have their collective finger on the pulse of modern culture. What could be funnier or more telling than having Frances McDormand (one of the few actresses over forty who can actually move her face) say to a plastic surgeon, I've gone as far as I can in this body. It's not a Hollywood body. I'd be laughed out of Hollywood. Of course, she isn't, although most of her counterparts appear to work out four hours a day and have fat injected in their face as to get around the old chestnut about how after you turn forty, you have to choose between having a beautiful face or a thin body. And George Clooney is a revelation -- he picks such serious roles so much that it's a relief to see him as a dork obsessed with working out and picking up women. He dumps his mistress by telling her, You're a negative person. The language is a perfect mirror of our psychobabble-ridden culture. While many people will find one too many uses of the word fuck in this movie, it's the most honest one we get.
Michelle's Spell of the Day
"Write your injuries in dust, your benefits in marble." Benjamin Franklin
Drinking Halloween suggestion: bloody eyeball cupcakes -- pictures and recipe to appear soon!
Benedictions and Maledictions
Happy Wednesday! Thanks so much for all the support about the book. You guys are the very best!