I'll be at the Society for Cinema and Media Studies conference in Montreal this week, presenting a paper during the decidedly not prime time slot of Sunday morning at 9 a.m.Yes, the last day of the conference at an hour when most people will be sleeping in, heading to brunch hungover, or packing to leave.
So far I have a powerpoint with far too many clips for a 20-minute talk and a title--The Authentic Selfie: The Poor Image in Sofia Coppola's The Bling Ring--because I've never met a pun I didn't like. Oh, and approximately 10 pages of incoherent garbage and quotes from other people I need to somehow wrangle into something cogent because I don't have an argument. Also, I shot a Vine and learned how to download it to include in my powerpoint, but it doesn't loop. Still, it's like 17 layers of poor image. I am a little proud of that.
Why do I do this to myself? There are no professional advantages to be gained: I'm not looking for a job and I don't have a terminal degree, anyway. Hell, I could stage a bum fight during my panel. Or have Tony Clifton deliver my talk. IT DOESN'T MATTER.
If you see me in Montreal, buy me a beer or an order of poutine.
Walking and Talking: My life in the 90s. I'm a brunette, just like Catherine Keener. The resemblance ends there.
Alice: I watched this Svankmajer film on VHS. Because I am that old,
Small Soldiers: I bet to hell this holds up. (Kirsten Dunst--universal solvent.) Saw it at the late, lamented Nickelodeon.
The Conformist: Shit, I probably saw this first on Swank 16mm. Like hell I'm not gonna watch this again. Those venetian blind shadows....
Waking Life: Saw this one at the Brattle with my once-estranged friend Leigh. Once we reconciled ourselves that the rotoscope was never gonna resolve into live action, it was magical. Thinking about teaching a Linklater (or Linklater/Soderbergh) course next year, so, yeah, duh.
Like I said, it's time to get real with my Netflix hoarding in 2015.
Johnny Suede: Did I dream this? Plus, baby Catherine Keener and all the Living in Oblivion feels.
Mansfield Park: OK, two things. Frances O'Connor looks like my dad's Irish twin, Patty. I've seen the actual Love and Other Disasters, which seemed so promising (although we opted instead for Chasing Amy when my friend Tommy was visiting me during a conference in Manhattan. At the Angelica, yet! What heady times!)
Smoke: In the late 90s I smoked with Paul Auster at the Casablanca bar. That is all.
The Best of Youth: I remember watching all six glorious hours over two nights and wanting to live there forever.
Heavenly Creatures: There was a claymation Orson Welles, yes? I'd like to see that again.
Little Voice: How fucking great is Jane Horrocks--plus a live-action "One Froggy Evening"? I mean, really.
Monument Ave.: Mostly morbid curiosity about shared DNA with the recent slate of Bahstahn movies. Plus, Ted Demme's "Bigga Man" is a keeper. Bless.
3 Women: I saw this in the 90s at the Harvard Film Archive with Gerry Perry. Oh, Sissy and Shelley! Is it as arid as I recall?
As Tears Go By / Days of Being Wild: I own both of these on DVD, but I'm REALLY lazy. Actually, one of my most magical movie-viewing experiences ever was seeing Days of Being Wild at Film Forum the day before Thanskgiving after having been up and in the drizzle since 5 a.m. that day helping my brother-in-law in the Union Square farmers market from 5 a.m. on. Say what you will about Film Forum--it was so dry, so warm.
A Time for Drunken Horses: I saw a lot of Bahman Gobadi movies one summer at the Flaherty Seminar. Amazing. And he was denied a passport (from Iran, as a Kurd, no less) so joined us via Skype with his radiant girlfriend (later imprisoned in Evin prison) Roxana Saberi.
Beautiful Girls: Don't judge. C'mon--apps, snow plows, heads in freezers, Elle McPherson the dog. And I remember some event hosted by the late, lamented Boston Film and Video where I learned they shot the MA-set story in Minnesota (same year as Fargo) for the snow in a year when MA was clobbered and MN was snow-free. Plus, best dressing of MA townie bar ever--Pope John XXII, Bobby Orr, and Kennedy--which, duh.
Goodbye, First Love--Oh, Mia Hansen-Love! Oh, Lola Creton! Someday, I will ache like you ache.
A Life Less Ordinary: That blue! I dream about it. And the angel couture!
So, Netflix is mostly TV? I find I use my queues the way I use my Amazon wishlist--as an external memory of things I mean to see or revisit. But when it comes to Netflix streaming, I turn into a hoarder, a behavior I date back to working at a video store in the late 90s and being able to take home WHATEVER I WANT. Which means watching, um, nothing a lot of the time. Or else The Philadelphia Story, The Lady Eve, His Girl Friday, and North By Northwest, all of which I DVR every goddamn time they play on TCM because I know rewatching them is never wasted time.
But a reckoning is overdue, so forthwith a list of movies on my Netflix streaming queue that I've seen before, each with a half-assed explanation, as I then giddily axe them. Come, walk with me!
Laurence Anyways: You know what, guys, I'm gonna keep this, the first Xavier Dolan movie I ever saw, projected or otherwise. He has another three or so on Instant, which I want to binge on in all their lavish, excess, Quebequois glory some low-functioning weekend.
The Adventures of Baron Munchausen: Wow, I suck at this because I really wanna revisit Uma on the half shell and wee Sarah Polley.
Two Girls and a Guy: I remember liking Natasha Wagner's 90s hair, but what really sticks is a comeback-the-first (like, pre-"River" on "Ally McBeal") song--"You Don't Know Me" a la Ray Charles circa Country and Western Music--sung by Robert Downey, Jr.
We Are The Best! One of my faves of 2014. Don't make me zap it.
Harriet the Spy: I get this confused with the Danny DeVito-directed Matilda. Ultimately, I don't think the divine Eartha Kitt as the dozy bedridden blonde makes up for Rosie O'Donnell as Ole Golly. Gone.
Computer Chess: I guess I just wonder if it's as fucked up as I remember while watching it at the Brattle with a house full of Bujalski's friends and well-meaning family. Oh, yeah, and Gerry is hilarious.
Big Star: Nothing Can Hurt Me: Another where I saw it at the Brattle but think the Gurgling Cod might also enjoy. True story: We once saw Alex Chilton play as part of a trio at the Bon Temp's free oyster night in NOLA.
The Heroic Trio: Is it as awesome as I remember or even as alluded to in Irma Vep?
Hugo: I saw this in Seattle the same trip I caught that Tintin movie and the Fincher Girl with the Dragon Tattoo (in Cinerama! Thank you, Microsoft money!). Love Scorsese and Melies, but preternaturally mature Chloe gives me the yips.
The Dark Crystal: I remember reading about this movie in Newsweek as a kid. Maybe one of my earliest forays into film journalism?
Citizen Ruth: Laura Dern as a huffer would go a long way to explaining her Blue Velvet cry face. Right?
This semester has been a shitshow. I have no time for anything, especially the seventh art. This morning on my way to campus, while I was scanning terrestrial radio (perhaps the last human to do so), Three Degrees suddenly struggled to the surface, battling for frequency dominance with a Spanish talk station and some generic posturing hip-hop.
It reminded the cinetrix of the summer, and of Hito Steyerl's amazing work, and of the post-Flaherty Seminar buzz of feeling smart and engaged and part of a community of likeminded souls.
I miss that feeling, and all of you, out there in the dark.