You know how in movies there will be a scene where the hero or whoever is asleep in bed, and the bad guy will try to bump him off by having someone slip a cobra or a scorpion or some other deadly animal into the bedroom to do the dirty work? I guess on paper it seems like a great idea, but there are some serious holes in this sort of plan.
For one thing, animals are really unpredictable: you don’t know from one minute to the next what the hell they’ll do. Sure, you might get the snake into the room, but it’s just as likely to crawl under the dresser and not come out as it is to bite the victim. Probably more likely, really. Secondly, if you’re close enough to slip a deadly animal into the room, why not just go ahead and kill the person yourself? Unless the idea behind using the cobra or the venomous spider or whatever is to make the murder look like an accident, but what kind of idiot police detective is going to write off something so unlikely as just plain bad luck? I shudder to imagine a world where cobra attacks—in this country at least—become so common the cops don’t even think twice about marking my murder off as Just One Of Those Things.
I don’t know what’s happened to me, but I’ve gone from being a movie lunatic to someone who pretty much never watches anything unless I happen to see it’s at Redbox. I don’t have Netflix or Hulu or cable, so my pickings are pretty slim. I didn’t see a single movie that got nominated for a Best Picture Oscar—granted, I didn’t really want to see many of them, but still—until maybe a few weeks ago, when I watched Dallas Buyer’s Club and The Wolf of Wall Street, both of which I thought were pretty good—The Wolf of Wall Street in particular I loved. I rented American Hustle and watched literally two minutes of it before deciding it was going to be the most boring thing I’d ever seen, then turning it off and probably watching America’s Test Kitchen or something.
I didn’t have to work last night, and since I knew I was going to be up well into the wee hours, I figured I’d have to have something to entertain me, and so I found myself at Circle K at ten o’clock at night, and, seeing nothing whatsoever that looked even sort of good, and in despair, I picked Nicole Holofcener’s Enough Said.
I don’t know if I was just in A Particular Mood—I guess if I was a lady I could blame it on my cycle, right? Right? No?—but it was just what the doctor ordered. I’m not a big fan at all of romantic comedies, but I think that’s because when I think of what a romantic comedy is, I think of some bullshit movie with Katherine Heigl and Gerard Butler or Cameron Diaz and Ashton Kutcher or Reese Witherspoon and Josh Duhamel (whoever that is) or literally any combination of those names—hot garbage, in other words. Shrill, unfunny movies about unlikable people exploring a subject that has been beaten to death.
But Enough Said, while not being spectacularly different from the usual romantic comedy kind of setup—a masseuse finds out that one of her clients is the ex-wife of the man she has just begun dating; rather than dropping the client, she befriends her in order to hear why the marriage ended and whether or not she should continue the blossoming relationship—succeeds because Julia Louis-Dreyfus and James Gandolfini behave like real, believable human beings who are actually in the process of forming a genuine affection for one another. I imagine the fact that both of them are—or were, in Gandolfini’s case: this movie really made me miss that guy—well into middle age gives the movie the sort of adult gravitas that’s usually absent from your typical romantic comedy.
There’s nothing groundbreaking or radical about Enough Said. It’s just a sort of sweet little trifle. God knows there are worse things to be.
What the Andrews Sisters won’t tell you is just how bad the War rattled his cage; he was at Guadalcanal, he was at Buna. He got malaria and thought he would die. He was afraid every single day. He saw things that he could never forget. And when he got back to the states he had a hollowed-out look in his eyes and he was using the skull of a 12-year old Japanese girl as his trumpet mute.
As an infant, Dolly Parton was struck by a mysterious wasting disease known locally only as “mountain sickness”. There was no cure, and after every attempt at alleviating the malady was made, the townsfolk took her to the center of town—Pigeon Forge, Tennessee—and laid her upon an anvil, whereupon it was presumed she would shortly expire. But it was not to be so, for upon returning the next day, the townsfolk found the infant being nursed back to health by a female bighorn sheep. The young girl was soon back on her feet, and all traces of the disease fled from her body.
I hear this thing on the radio every now and again and the singer’s wounded, quavery voice never fails to make my blood boil. Have you ever heard someone sound so wormy and desperate for pussy? Listen to how sad he is, ladies! How can you hear this guy’s heartbroken croon and not want to poon-tang him to death?
I’ve been really enjoying Sean’s REM stuff, and I’ve been thinking about this list a lot (I have a lot of time on my hands), and while it’s nowhere near the same list I would have made, the thing that I think is really great about REM is, while it’s fairly easy to list their worst albums—essentially, their last four records are pretty terrible, and kind of disheartening to listen to—picking their best ones is a lot harder, because their are basically no wrong answers.
Having said that, there is no way Out Of Time ranks third.
My mother and stepfather bought my brother this dog for Christmas. I don’t remember what year, but I’m almost positive it was the first year we moved into our new house in Sarepta, Louisiana… so, what, 1994, ‘95? Something like that. There were probably some kind of idyllic visions in their heads, new family, new surroundings, that sort of thing. A new dog for the kids, the whole bit. The only problem with this situation was this: I didn’t want a dog—we’d had pets when I was much younger, but since I wanted to spend all my time inside, I didn’t really care about having them. And now that was a teenager and wanting to spend even more time inside than I already did, the last thing I definitely didn’t want a dog. I didn’t want the responsibility of one. And so it was determined before they got this puppy for my brother that it would be his dog, not mine.
He was a half Great Dane/Black Lab mix, and I would concede even then that he was a pretty cute puppy. We named him Sergeant, for reasons that are somewhat cloudy, and he was my brother’s dog. The only snag in making him my brother’s responsibility was that, even at that point, at ten or eleven years old, my brother was already showing signs of becoming the least responsible person I have ever known. And so the dog was sent to his home in the back yard: a fenced-in concrete slab with a dog house that sat along the fenceline about fifty yards behind our house. Sergeant would spend nearly all of his time in this area, all alone except for the once a day or so when my brother was forced—and he had to be forced, practically every time—to drag himself outside to dump food into his dish and fill his water bowl.
Thinking about it now, it must have been horrible for the dog, sitting out there by himself. On the few occasions when he got released, when my brother was forced—and he had to be forced, practically every time—to clean out the pen, Sergeant, by now a fairly good-sized dog (half Great Dane, remember?) with long legs, would run all around the lawn for hours. It was almost impossible to catch him and put him back in the pen, which at the time I saw as mainly a giant pain in the ass, but looking back on it, who could blame him? I wouldn’t have wanted to go back into that cell again for anything.
When things began to really go south with our home life, the last year or so I was living there, after my mother and stepfather divorced, my mom became something of an animal person, something she never had been during my early childhood. She got a couple of puppies from someone and, much to my annoyance, kept them in the house. I don’t even remember their names, but I do remember coming home one day to discover one of them had been hit by a car, and burying him in the back yard, not too far from the pen where Sergeant kept his lonely vigil, and I remember how upset my mother was, and how heavy the dog felt as I carried it out behind the house. The second dog, the sister to the one I buried, also came to a bad end: someone poisoned her. We suspected the neighbors, but there was no proof. I don’t remember who buried her.
Then there was another dog, and this one I would have no memory of if not for what became of it. I had almost completely checked out emotionally from the goings-on at home, and was casting about for an escape, so what my mother and brother and their pets were up to didn’t concern me greatly. My mother had taken up with this guy named Mike….Stovall? I think his name was, who lived a couple of towns over, and was spending nearly all of her time at his place. I think my brother was hanging out with him a lot, too, or was otherwise in the wind, and I had a lovely time the summer after I graduated high school, the house more or less to myself, reading and listening to music, working at McDonald’s, hanging out with my friends, and watching TV. I suppose I must have been feeding Sergeant, who remained outside in his sad little pen.
It all came to an end soon enough. I’m not sure exactly how it happened, but Mike and my mother had their eventual and entirely predictable falling-out, and through some kind of weird underhandedness on his part, we wound up getting evicted. Which really just gave me the final push to get the hell out of there, headed for my grandparents’ house in Texas, where I would start school. My brother got shipped off to my mother’s parents, and my mother moved in with a friend in Arkansas.
But the dogs. What to do with the dogs, who could not go with us? I guess the easiest way to say it is this: we dumped them. The three of us took the dogs to a nearby park, a fishing area with a boat ramp. I guess my mother thought someone might pick them up there, and I guess someone might have, and I guess she must have been pretty desperate, and couldn’t see any other options. But I know there must have been. And I remember feeling really lousy about it, but what the hell could I do. I had my own life to get started, and I barely had any positive feelings for the humans in my life at the time, much less the animals I never wanted to be saddled with in the first place. And so we dumped them.
As of this writing it’s been fourteen years and when I stop and think about those two dogs I’m consumed by a guilt and a sadness that seems almost unimaginable to me considering the eternity that has passed since that day by the water when we cut our losses and headed for the lifeboats, every man for himself.
We can all agree that Jared Leto is pretty terrible, and when you consider that he’s over forty years old, I think we can all agree that that makes him not only terrible but also embarrassing.
So when I watched the Oscars on Sunday with a friend of mine, and when Leto won, the two of us were equally dismissive. But I thought his speech was sort of sweet and earnest, and he mentioned his hometown of Bossier City, Louisiana, which is just across the river from me, and for whatever reason I found myself swayed to his cause.
I will never understand the internet: despite all my hilarious and/or thoughtful posts, what gets the most play on tumblr? This post about Smokey And The Bandit, which at this point has over 300 likes or reblogs. None of which actually reblog the content of said post. People just love Smokey And The Bandit. More than anyone would ever guess, I guess.