The New Yorker, 2 December 2013
Apologies, dear blog readers. Self knows there’s a new science fiction movie out, one that’s starring Shailene Woodley and Theo James. She’s excited to see it, just hasn’t had a chance yet.
The Pile of Stuff is truly — enormous.
This morning, she reaches in, pulls out a New Yorker, and settles down to read the movie reviews. Just to show you how old this issue is, the movie being reviewed is The Hunger Games: Catching Fire.
It’s very interesting: Denby writes that teenagers tend to view the gladiatorial fights-to-the-death literally, while their “elders” think about them metaphorically (“as a metaphor for capitalism, with its terrifying job market . . . ” or “as a satiric exaggeration of talent-show ruthlessness”)
“Distraction,” Denby writes, “is supposed to work miracles.”
(Well, it does, David. It does. What can self say? Distraction is, in fact, a most excellent and potent tool. Just ask parents of recalcitrant toddlers, beleaguered office managers, conniving politicians, crafty taxi drivers and military strategists, thieves and other people up to no good, magicians, low-lifes, jerks both run-of-the-mill and spectacular etc etc etc)
While the first Hunger Games movie was “an embarrassment,” Denby calls “the first forty-five minutes or so” of Catching Fire “impressive.”
An excerpt from the review:
For Katniss, the pleasure of victory never arrives. At the very beginning of the movie, we see her in silhouette, crouching at the edge of a pond, a huntress poised to uncoil. She hates being a celebrity, and she certainly has no desire to lead a revolution. Jennifer Lawrence’s gray-green eyes and her formidable concentration dominate the camera. She resembles a storybook Indian princess and she projects the kind of strength that Katharine Hepburn had . . .
As for the rest of the characters, Denby assigns one adjective (more or less) for each: Peeta is “doleful” and Gale is “faithful.” Caesar Flickerman is “unctuous and hostile.”
Woody Harrelson gets a little something extra: As Haymitch, he is a “hard-drinking realist” who nevertheless “guides Katniss through every terror” and “is the core of intelligence in the movie . . . his glare and his acid voice cut through the meaningless fashion show.”
And that is about all self can squeeze out for now. Oh Pile of Stuff.
P.S. Can self share a secret with dear blog readers? She longs, longs for the filmed version of Mockingjay, knows it’s not arriving until Nov. 21 this year, and has already decided to clear her November calendar. Yup, that’s right: no travels, no workshops, no classes, even NO WRITING (if that’s even possible). Most of all: No angst, no domestic crisis, no recriminations, no regrets over things said or unsaid, no self-doubt, no dithering, no envy of others getting NEAs or Guggenheims or MacDowell acceptances, no wringing of the hands, no mundane distractions, no remodeling projects, no Tweets, no literary contests, no reading of book reviews, no compiling of “Best of 2014” lists, no planting, no housecleaning, no shopping whether for essentials or non-essentials (even food), no entertaining of mysterious knocks on the front door or of phone calls from solicitors, no bewailing of personal imperfections, no exaggerations, no facials, no massages, no Vinyasa Flow classes, no research in Green or Hoover libraries etc etc etc etc etc etc etc etc
Stay tuned, dear blog readers. Stay tuned.