Brain Cloud, First Wednesday of October 2010: New Story, Coen Brothers Re-Make of “True Grit,” Planting

Yesterday, self began writing a new story.  Today, she decided to confide the plot to hubby.  As she began recounting for hubby’s benefit the (to her) altogether fascinating details, hubby grew very quiet.  Before too long, he said the story was making him depressed.


Okey-dokey!  Time to change channels.

Several weeks ago, self began hearing snippets about the new Coen brothers movie, an adaptation of the Charles Portis novel True Grit.  How did this one slip past her ever-alert antennae?  (And by the way, Portis’ IMDB starmeter is up 322 % this week)

Naturally, self remembers the John Wayne movie (which was nothing at all like the novel, dear blog readers.  Self knows this because she read the novel, finally, a few years ago.  She read it in a year —  2006 —  that was remarkable primarily because it was the year she discovered memoirists Tamim Ansary, Francois Bizot and Isadora Tattlin. But, once again, self digresses).

Today, after an entire day spent in gardening exertions, self decided to browse the web.  Her first stop was Chris Laverty’s altogether addictive blog, Clothes on Film.  The day’s featured article was the Coen brothers’ upcoming adaptation of “True Grit.”

Woo-hoo!  Self knew that Jeff Bridges was the star, but today she learned that Josh Brolin (who she just saw yesterday in Woody Allen’s latest) plays the bad guy, and that Matt Damon is part of the cast.  The 14-year-old girl is played by an unfamiliar name:  Hailee Steinfeld.

*   Spoiler Alert  *

Self can hardly wait.  She only hopes that the Coen brothers don’t make “True Grit” into just another version of “No Country for Old Men,” which in self’s humble opinion was 3/4 of a great movie.  That is, self liked the movie as long as Josh Brolin was still in it.  Self feels it is OK to say that, since everyone who was going to see the movie has probably seen it already.  After he disappeared, what was left was Tommy Lee Jones ruminating.  And the haircut of Javier Bardem.  And a conversation with a young woman which self found frustratingly inconclusive.  And another one of those blank endings that are somehow meant to be profound (People, have you never heard of closure?  After yesterday’s Woody Allen movie, not to mention “A Serious Man,” self hates this tendency towards non-endings.  Even “The American” had one of these.  A butterfly flew up into some trees and it was —  OK, yeah, self gets it.  Mr. Butterfly has flown.  But would it have hurt to give the audience just one last shot of George Clooney?)

Now, back to planting (and taking pictures of her garden).  Today, self planted an origanum laevigatum “Hopley’s” and three eriogonum latifolium.  The latter plant has silvery leaves, which have become something of a mania for self.  She this year planted three helichrysum petiolare variegatum, all in her front yard.  Self is so pleased with the plants (mostly perennials) she put in this year:  the ones she planted in late winter exploded in the spring and summer and are still blooming.

Here’s a picture of an oregano bush that is growing rampant in self’s backyard:


Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

Naomi Watts, Thou Shalt Not Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger

Self had quite an interesting afternoon, dear blog readers.  Self wended her way to Menlo Park, and there in the theater where only last week she had watched Patricia Clarkson in “Cairo Time” (Four stars!), she watched another of her favorite actresses, Naomi Watts, in Woody Allen’s latest, “You Will Meet a Tall, Dark Stranger.”

In this movie, Allen seemed to be channeling Neil La Butte, so acrid was the movie’s tone (Self fondly remembers Woody Allen’s Ingmar Bergman phase.  Then he managed to do the clever mystery thing without channeling Hitchcock, and now self doesn’t know what phase he is in, exactly) There was a slovenly writer named Josh Brolin who is pushed to the very brink of desperation (despite being married to long-suffering Naomi Watts) by the niggling conviction that he has no talent.  There is a beautiful woman across the way, played by an absolutely radiant Freida Pinto (of “Slumdog Millionaire”).  There was also Antonio Banderas sporting a Roman haircut and looking not bad for his age.

The last Woody Allen movie self liked was “Vicky Cristina Barcelona,” which introduced Rebecca Hall to the world (Self liked Hall’s character so much better than Scar-Jo’s, and was so happy she got to partake of the carnal delights of Javier Bardem!).

*   Spoiler Alert!   *

In this one, self loved the characters (particularly Anthony Hopkins, as a millionaire hell-bent on recapturing his youth), and she always loves Naomi Watts, in whatever role she plays.  Watts plays almost saintly, but does a 180-degree turn in her very last scene.  In the meantime, her husband (played by Josh Brolin) successfully negotiates the entire movie while managing to avoid mentioning his wife’s name, not even once.  He does play the narcissistic writer well:  one of self’s favorite scenes in the movie has Brolin charging out of his apartment with his shirt unbuttoned, exposing a fantastic beer belly, and then seeing beautiful Ms. Pinto on the sidewalk with her very blonde, slim English boyfriend.

Self could not believe the movie ended without bringing closure to any of the characters, especially since Watts’ last scene was so fiery.  Well, perhaps one of the characters did find closure of sorts:  Naomi Watts’ mother, who alone among all the characters (with perhaps the exception of Ms. Pinto’s) seems to be completely un-troubled by financial constraints of any sort.  Life just isn’t fair.  Neither is this movie.  When self was presented with the black screen, she sat unmoving in her seat for a couple of moments, completely stunned and aching to know:  What happens to Sally?  What happens to Sally?  What in the heck happens to Sally?

Stay tuned, dear blog readers.  Stay tuned.

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