Saturday, May 30, 2009


I sold my car! I'm going to miss old Joaquin, but I'm really happy to scratch something off my mid-term to-do list, which remains otherwise unscratched. (Happy, also, to have the extra cash and stop paying for insurance.) Among other to-do items, I want to finalize acceptances for the next issue of Absent within a month or so if possible. I'm looking for about five more selections before I close submissions; I've got a lot of maybes and some still unread stuff.


Last night we saw Orphans, the "feature film debut" of a young filmmaker named Ry Russo-Young (younger than me, anyway; I pretty much consider anyone born post-1980 to be a child). It's about two sisters with a fraught relationship; the younger, artsy, city-dwelling one, Rosie, goes out to visit the older sister, Sonya, in the country for her birthday. Sonya lives in the house they inherited from their parents.

It's a really interesting movie for the most part, psychologically because of their complex/fucked-up dynamic and visually because of saturated colors against big snowy Midwestern skies. (Except apparently they were upstate NY skies.) Also the two leads are appealing/charismatic actresses. But Orphans' fatal flaw is its lack of ambiguity. The director takes clear sides on two issues: 1) it's very anti-alcohol, in a sensationalist, driving-school kind of way (there are actually slow-mo shots of crash-test dummies cut in during the opening sequence) (and yet, the rampant smoking and unexplained pill-taking are not similarly condemned) and 2) by the end we're obviously supposed to throw our sympathies in with Rosie, who kind of hates Sonya; to see her as morally superior to her in some way. But I found Sonya more sympathetic. It ends up feeling really judgmental and mean. (See: Rosie staring with disgust as Sonya eats a whole smoked fish with relish. (As in, enjoyment, not the condiment.))

There were a couple other heavy-handed moments, like when Rosie smashes their childhood dollhouse. We get it, geez, shattered dreams. Overall though, worth seeing. But I'm always extra-affected by sibling movies (e.g., Hilary and Jackie, You Can Count on Me), because my relations with my own sib have their share of fraught.


We're off to a house-warming party. I'm pleased that proper pre-summer weather has returned to greater Boston. Tomorrow: thoughts on Susan Boyle? Maybe.


  1. Yeah, the way they introduce the idea that the sisters' parents died in a drunk-driving accident (an old Carol Burnett clip) struck me as wry and fun at first. Then they repeated the clip again. And then they zoomed on her saying the word "alcoholic." At that point I was like, "tell your own movie, man, don't expect Carol Burnett to do all the work."

  2. Elisa, just catching up with all this; i haven't had Internet at home for the past month or so. I was reading this Bernhard novel-thing, and there was this passage that i thought would be a nice Anti-blogging quote, or a Shame as Poetics quote: "the fact is that what we say, what we write down, is ten times moree foolish than what we think, nevertheless, like the great writers, we permit ourselves to be perceived as much more foolish than we are, and commit the absurdity of saying things, writing things down, expressing an opinion, espousing a point of view, defending an idea..." So even though i permitted myself to write this stupid thing down, what i was thinking was, I miss you, and love you. Talk to you soon,

  3. Sam! I love the idea of anti-blogging, and want to aspire to it ... I miss-love you too.