On The Sundance Channel

By self knows not what stroke of fate or luck, she landed on the Sundance Channel this afternoon, while she was as usual multi-tasking by:  a) cleaning the kitchen and b) revising an old story.  And, after a series of immensely interesting cinema verité shorts (most with affectless teen protagonists during which self discovered that long hair for boys is apparently coming back in style), there was a showing of “Starting Out in the Evening” (which earlier self mixed up with another great indy movie, “Elegy” — that one had Ben Kingsley, another re-inventing actor, and Penelope Cruz). Self remembers watching “Starting Out . . . ” a few years ago. It stars the great Frank Langella.

Has any actor ever had such a re-birth in old age?  Wasn’t this the guy who first resurrected himself as Dracula on Broadway, and then went on to show he could act, really act, in movies?

Movie also stars Lauren Ambrose and Lili Taylor, who were excellent.  Self loves the part towards the end where Lili’s boyfriend brings her Dad (Langella/Leonard Schiller/Famous Old Author) to the hospital for an appointment, and afterwards asks “How’d it go?”  In response, Langella sighs.  “Don’t grow old,” he says.  “That’s my advice.”

In the next scene, Langella’s character is making his painful way along a sidewalk, assisted by daughter’s boyfriend, when he says, “It’s time to die.”  The boyfriend replies:  “Leonard, it’s not time to die.  It’s time to find a restroom so you can pee.”

HA.  HA.  HA.  HA.

Following this movie  —  self on such a roll —  she watched the following:  “Leaving Las Vegas” (Nic Cage’s retching scenes with the gallons of orange juice are the best!); “The Last of the Mohicans” (Oh, Daniel Day-Lewis, with your long, flowing back locks!  Oh Wes Studi, gallant protector of Madeline Stowe’s younger sister!  Michael Mann, you are genius!); and, after hubby came home, execrable Schwarzenegger movie called “Collateral Damage.”

Towards midnight she got seized with the writing bug.  You know what comes next.  Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

Oh, George Saunders

You broke self’s heart, especially with your story “The Wavemaker Falters” (from the collection CivilWarLand in Bad Decline), which was the last thing self read before falling asleep (and sleeping for the next seven hours —  yahay!):  your touching story of the husband who lies in wait behind a soda machine while the love of his life emerges from a manager’s office “looking flushed and happy.”  But even better was what happened afterwards, when your narrator confronted his wife and she said she was “going to continue no matter what,” and he then ran away to somewhere he could look at “starving pronghorns” coming down from the hills to “lick salt from the headstones” of a cemetery.  And the ending literally, literally had self crying and cheering simultaneously.

The only thing self didn’t like was the title, for she wishes it could have been simply “The Wavemaker” instead of “The Wavemaker Falters.”

The other stories (“Isabelle” and “CivilWarLand in Bad Decline”) have been pretty funny, too, and now self is reading something with a 400-pound narrator.  Naturally the story begins with an episode of epic humiliation  (Did self just write that?  Episode and Epic?  And to think she never thought she was much good at onomatopeia!)

Page 52:

Up in the sky are wild clouds that make me think of Tahiti and courageous sailors on big sinking wooden ships.  Meanwhile here’s me, a grown man with a joystick-burn on his thumb.

Stay tuned, dear blog readers, stay tuned.

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