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.


  1. yosef said,

    April 25, 2009 at 11:12 am

    Have you read “The Dying Animal” by Philip Roth, the book on which “elegy” is adapted? It is well worth a read.

  2. April 25, 2009 at 2:01 pm

    RE: “Elegy,” (which turns out to be a different movie than the one I saw yesterday on The Sundance Channel, my bad) — That’s right, I knew the movie was based on a short story by Philip Roth, but I’d forgotten the title! Yes, I will read it. The movie (with Ben Kingsley and Penelope Cruz) was just so incredible.

    The one I saw yesterday afternoon was “Starting Out in the Evening.” Did a little research: it’s based on a novel of the same name, by Brian Morton.

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