This is the best novel I’ve read in a very long time. The story is both epic and intimate. The writing is flawless. It is truly one of those Great American Novels that could, just possibly, save the world one reader at a time.
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91 entries have been written about this.
If you’re at all susceptible to a cathartic washing-over of suburban malaise and ennui, as I am, strangely, then this is your album.
I can’t get enough of the song “Strange Overtones.”
A story about "Paris, Texas" — 5 years ago
I’ve seen this movie perhaps five times. The first time was on the Bravo channel way back in 1985 or 86. It changed my young life. I was blown away by the mood, the photography, the music. I began watching more European films after that. It was an awakening.
A few years later I saw it on the big screen. It was way better. I then saw it on VHS once or twice after that just to keep it fresh in my mind. Those vast Texan landscapes just killed me. The color of each image captivated me. By this time I was hooked.
And then last week I watched it again after about a 15 year hiatus. It was different this time. Those landscapes are still amazing and the photography is still gorgeous (even on TV), but this time it was the story that got to me. It’s a story (written by Sam Shepard) that can positively devastate you. Anyone with a little life experience under the belt will feel it. It’s beautifully heartbreaking in every detail.
How "The Nature of Photographs" changed my life — 5 years ago
The title of this entry really should be “If Only I’d Known.” I’m not certain when the first edition of this book was published, but if it was before the winter of 1986, and I had read it along with Shore’s Uncommon Places and American Surfaces at the tender age of 17 while planning the next four years of my life, I think it would have changed the direction of the rest of my life.
Or maybe not. Maybe I would have been too young to appreciate it. But I hope not.
At any rate, I now know so much more about what photography means to me than I did before, and the kind of photography that speaks to me, and the photographs that I am looking to capture from the world around me.
A story about "The Holiday" — 5 years ago
I have the solution to the problem of why this movie doesn’t work: take out Jack Black’s character completely and you have a better than average film. His part is totally superfluous and adds, roughly, 15 minutes to the total runtime. Cut him and you’re under 120 minutes and the film makes a little more sense.
However, there are more problems with the film, such as Kate Winslet. Now, I will sit through any movie no matter how bad just to watch Kate Winslet but in this movie she is required to be, well, funny on occassion, and she just isn’t funny. It’s almost as painful watching her try to be funny as it is watching Jack Black try not to be funny.
And how long can we sit through close up after close up of Jude Law and Cameron Diaz, no matter how beautiful their chiseled visages may be, before we start to get bored? By my reckoning they could have cut another 15 minutes of Jude/Cameron close ups and then we might have had a movie on our hands.
But in the final analysis it really seems like something went horribly wrong in the editing room, and that is a shame.
A story about "Enchanted" — 5 years ago
Disney parodies itself to rather hilarious effect. I laughed many times out loud. It’s a girly flick to be sure; the theater was filled with women and girls, including mine, and we all laughed out loud together, a lot. It was fun.
I will never again look at a black cat the same.
Seriously, after a long hiatus, getting back into this novel was pure pleasure. I came at it from a slightly lazy approach, choosing to not get hung up by my own ignorance of the subtext. (Despite the thorough end notes and fascinating introduction I’m certain I missed a lot of meaning.) And the translation is so good. It reads like a perfect English-language novel.
Brevity is for the weak — 6 years ago
What reader can resist fiction with footnotes? Strike that. What could be better than a book so dense it inflicts physical pain upon the reader (in the form of carpal tunnel syndrome)? Strike that.
You know you’re in for an epic when the titular hero is introduced on page 200, by which time you’re likely already in it for the long haul. Yes, indeed, brevity is for the weak and Johnathan Strange & Mr. Norrell is anything but brief. It is a genre-bending romp, a careering yarn, a lucid dream of a book.
Unexpectedly fascinating — 6 years ago
Three films, all very good in their own way
First, an entertaining look at the 1962 Tour de France. The focus is on the fans, bystanders, and “stragglers” who refuse to give up until they collapse by the side of the road. It’s not about winning, in fact you don’t even learn who won. It’s about the racing and the anonymous people who love it. Amazing to watch the guys on the motorcycles who follow the riders, their passengers taking pictures, eating, even sleeping.
Second, a very quiet, somber presentation of assembly line workers at a Citroen factory in 1973. Many of the workers know they are being filmed, but almost none of them smile or show any interest. They look fairly glum. The camera follows their repetitious movements, creating a kind of poetry of man and machine. After nearly an hour you start to feel this is a horrendous way to earn a living. There is a brief middle section that takes place at an auto show, and we get to see and hear customers interacting with salesmen. Of course, the cars we were just watching get assembled are there on the showroom floor. You get the feeling that the people assembling the cars are very different from the people buying the cars. Without any voice-over narration, you are left to your own interpretation.
And the third film is both funny and sad, as Malle and his crew of eight buzz about a busy street in a working-class Paris neighborhood and ask people what they are doing and if they are happy with their lives and many of them answer in what seems to be quite open ways. Many are not from Paris, some are immigrants, almost none of them have jobs—either they’re pensioners or on disability. Most seem to be just passing the time out amongst the people. It’s a fascinating glimpse of the time and place in which it was filmed.
Flawed — 6 years ago
The characters are more like charicatures and there is a totally unnecessary sub-plot, but any movie starring Kate Winslet is worth watching.