Recap: 27 July 2009

My quasi-vacation from writing concluded on Friday, and I got back in the saddle Saturday morning.  I managed to read through my first draft of TDPU in one sitting, which struck me as a good sign.  It usually takes me a few sittings to get through a script, even when it’s my own, mostly because my brain skews a tiny bit ADD.  It felt less jumbled reading it than it did whilst writing it, so that was a nice surprise.  Anyway, the first round of edits is going pretty smoothly so far, but I haven’t gotten to the parts where I actually have to add some things.  Still, I’m hoping to have a new draft to send out to my alpha readers by this weekend.

In other news, I’ve come to the conclusion that I should probably write a treatment for MUTE.  I’ve never written a treatment before, though I think I have a handle on the concept/purpose.  My main qualm with this task is it means I actually need to read MUTE again.  And, frankly, that sort of freaks me right on out.  That script is the most personal thing I’ve ever written; it’s not autobiographical in any way shape or form, but that script overtook my brain and heart for the better part of a year.  So, the thought of opening it back up again and trying to get inside it again scares me because I don’t want to lose focus on my other projects.  I also don’t want to read it again and have the epiphany that it’s total and complete dreck.  But it has to be done, so I think I’ll tackle it while TDPU is in the hands of my benevolent friends/readers.  So that’s the bent my writerly angst is taking these days.

Now, onto something more fun!  Movies!

What I Watched

  • The Apartment (3½ stars): This 1960 classic drama, starring Jack Lemmon and Shirley MacClaine, tackles some pretty dark and controversial material.  Basically, it’s about a guy trying to move up the corporate ladder who gets ahead by letting the higher-ups use his apartment for affairs.  It starts out sort of screwball, so I was surprised when it took a turn toward the dark side in Act Two.  It’s a compelling story, and the performances are great (Lemmon & MacClaine were both Oscar-nommed), but the film as a whole never truly grabbed me in a memorable way.  I have a hard time on first viewing with films that walk the line between comedy and drama tonally (Exhibit 1: In Bruges, which I now adore), so I may warm up to it later.
  • Sixteen Candles (3 stars): Can I be honest? I was really disappointed in this one. After being so delighted by the lesser-known Some Kind of Wonderful, I was expecting something really special from another John Hughes offering. It wasn’t bad, mind you.  There were some charming moments, some funny ones, etc.  It just didn’t have as much heart as some of his other works from the ’80s.
  • Wife vs Secretary (3½ stars): Clark Gable, Myrna Loy and Jean Harlow: hard to go wrong, right?  Add in Jimmy Stewart in one of his first roles?  Come on.  While it veers a little toward overly serious at the end, I still had a great time watching.  There’s not a whole lot to say about this, to be honest.  It’s a story of a wife who mistakenly thinks her husband is having an affair with his secretary.  It’s funny, and it’s sad, and it’s hopeful, and, in a lot of ways, it’s very real.
  • New Shoes [short] (3½ stars):  This was a quirky little musical on the Wife vs. Secretary DVD about two people falling in love from the point of view of their shoes.  It was overly long, but the music was so catchy that I went to iTunes to try and find it afterwards.  Sadly, no luck.  Anywho, I usually find these things sort of boring, but I actually thought this one was pretty fun.  So, if you happen to rent the DVD, check this out, too.
  • Sleepless in Seattle (3½ stars): I hadn’t seen this rom-com classic in a lot of years, and it had sort of become a little meh in my memory.  But I was charmed by it (or really by Tom Hanks, if I’m being honest) upon viewing again.  It’s a sweet movie, and it knows what it is and makes fun of itself a bit.  The scene where Tom Hanks and Victor Garber make fun of Rita Wilson for dissolving into a gibbering ball of tears while trying to explain why An Affair to Remember is so great is probably my favorite of the entire movie.  You could probably argue that this is not a “good film,” but honestly, who cares?  It’s enjoyable, and it made me feel happy, and sometimes that’s all you need.
  • O’Horten (3½ stars): I think I will really enjoy this film at a later stage in life. It’s the story of a career train conductor who has no idea what to do with himself after retirement. It meanders through various misadventures, all of which have the effect of buoying him and then going drolly wrong.  It’s a Norwegian film, so I’m chalking up some of the things I didn’t get to cultural differences (e.g., finding a guy sleeping on the sidewalk, engaging him in conversation, buying him a cab to take him home, and then going with him and hanging out with him).  The humor is also very, very, very dry for the most part.  Still, I could tell that it was a charming movie, and I’m already feeling warmer toward it.  I’ll have to give it another shot in 5 or 10 years and see how it affects me then.
  • Last Chance Harvey (3½ stars): I will watch anything with Dustin Hoffman, and I will watch anything with Emma Thompson.  My sister and I actually tried to catch this in theatres twice only to have it sold out both times.  It was worth the wait, though.  It’s a very simple story about two people who are sort of lost and stagnant, but, somehow, they click and are able to make each other feel less lost and more able to move again.  The performances are as lovely as you would expect from these two, and they work very well together on screen.  This is the sort of movie I’d like to sit down with on a cold day in November with a cup of hot chocolate, perhaps when I’m feeling sort of depressed about life, knowing that 93 minutes later I’d feel warm and hopeful in a realistic sort of way.

Oh, and I also finished reading both The Sugar Queen and Bird by Bird.  I really enjoyed The Sugar Queen; it was whimsical and fluffy but not empty.  Bird by Bird wasn’t so much a how-to-write book as it was a “hey, I understand how this writing thing goes; here’s how I get through it” book, which is perhaps even better.

And that’s it.  This week’s word of advice: Look up or out or sideways and see what’s there.  Have a good one, folks!

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One thought on “Recap: 27 July 2009

  1. I need to go rent Last Chance Harvey immediately. i’ve wanted to see it for ages, but keep forgetting about it! thanks for the reminder.

    and p.s. i adore sleepless in seattle for Tom Hanks. he is amazing, and really does make the movie.

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