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  • Interests
    Literature. Film. Music. The theater. Philosophy. Theology.

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  • Occupation
    Lecturer in American Literature, Huazhong University of Science and Technology
  • Favorite movies
    Top Ten (descending order):The Third Man (Reed, 1949) Mulholland Drive (Lynch, 2001) 2046 (Wong, 2004) Vertigo (Hitchcock, 1958) Zodiac (Fincher, 2007) Citizen Kane (Welles, 1941) There Will Be Blood (Anderson, 2007) Raiders of the Lost Ark (Spielberg, 1981) Once Upon a Time in the West (Leone, 1968) The Thin Man (Van Dyke, 1934)
  • Favorite music
    Top Ten (descending order):Bob Dylan,David Bowie,Nick Cave,Brandi Carlile,Josh Ritter,Bill Mallonee,Robert Johnson,Willie Nelson,Van Morrison,The Beatles,
  • Favorite creative writing
    Top Ten (descending order): Tristram Shandy,    The Idiot,    Absalom Absalom!,    Winesburg, Ohio,    Leaves of Grass,    The Adventures of Sherlock Holmes,    Calamity Town,    Our Man in Havana,    Kings Row,    A Sentimental Journey

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  1. NBooth

    Howl (2010)

    I have a somewhat kinder opinion of Kill Your Darlings than you do, but I agree that Howl is better (partly precisely because it leans so far in the "documentary" direction--there's no need to make it fit a traditional narrative arc). The bit where Franco/Ginsberg walks through the choice of words "screamed with joy" is probably one of my favorite moments of on-screen textual analysis ever.
  2. NBooth

    Howl (2010)

    I saw Kill Your Darlings two nights ago and decided to watch Howl last night. Shockingly, Franco is good in this. And he reads the poem very well, mostly because he's committing a note-perfect impersonation of Ginsberg's reading style. I didn't expect the movie to feel so much like a documentary, but it works on that level (my understanding--perhaps incorrect--is that much of this thing is based on interviews and transcripts of events for which there's presumably no film existing).
  3. I need to think some more about it, but I believe that The New Pope is at least as good as its predecessor. Malkovich has a speech in episode 9 that brought tears to my eyes.
  4. Definitely! One of the three times I read the book last year was in audiobook format and it was an amazing experience.
  5. It’s streaming on Amazon in the US, which is where I saw it. It’s also on DVD there.
  6. The movie is much better than its trailer. Tonally, it’s about halfway between the comedy of Dickinson and the stagey propriety of A Quiet Passion, which is a pretty sweet spot to be in. Ultimately, it’s less about Sapphic Revelations (though it’s a very Sapphic movie) than it is about problems of authority—who gets to construct an author’s persona and why. It’s also very funny. I laughed out loud and had to pause the stream several times.
  7. I found that decision troubling as well, though I rather think we’re supposed to. Certainly, this new season (series?) seems to be suggesting that this course of action is unsatisfactory.
  8. I’m rather proud of this piece I wrote for Rise Up Daily.
  9. NBooth

    The Lighthouse

    This was actually a movie (like 2018's The Favourite) that I was pretty sure I would love based on the look and various things I had read about it. Well, I finally got to it and--yep, I really love this movie. I'm less captivated by the horror aspects than by the relationship between the two characters and the Promethean stuff--there's something to be said (I'm not quite sure what, yet) about the way the ideas of lighthouses, keepers of flames, etc, plays into the not-erotic-but-erotically-charged May-December relationship between Dafoe and Pattinson (the characters' respective names would play into this as well...). I need to collect my thoughts first, though.
  10. My list. Usual caveats about time read. Yes, I count audiobooks. Nonfiction bold. January Buccola, Nicholas. The Fire is upon Us: James Baldwin, William F. Buckley, Jr., and the Debate over Race in America. Vidal, Gore. Julian.
  11. I finally got around to this show in 2019 and am, perhaps, a little obsessed with it. I'm not sure it's good, most of the time (it's had some really good episodes), but it sucked me in enough that I picked up the books and read the first one. I liked it, too, though I've had trouble getting into the sequel (the first chapter of which has what strikes me as some genuinely bad writing). Brightbills definitely doesn't feel like graduate school, though--at least, not one with which I'm familiar. Not enough angsting over publications and the disappearing job market.
  12. Any Kindle-users out there should note that GV's books are regularly discounted, at least in the US store. Right now, Julian is 5.99. I picked it up a while back and have been struggling to find the time to read it. Now that the semester is over, I'm finally able to concentrate. It's really good, I think, and intersects with Myra Breckinridge in unexpected (to me) ways.
  13. Here's an old video that just crawled across my YouTube recommendations.
  14. Incidentally, it's occurred to me that--if Star Trek 09 can be thought of as Abrams' audition for Star Wars, then this movie is arguably an audition for Indiana Jones. It steals a whole plot-hole, more or less, from Raiders and it borrows a notably iconic bit from Last Crusade. And Poe has a particularly Indiana Jones-ish look to him. EDIT: Ken, you posted just when I did, so I didn't see your inquiry. I'll try to develop some thoughts, but for now my take is that I-VI represent the idiosyncratic vision of a single man with a number of identifiable obsessions (Campbell, yes, but also Freud--the whole Prequel Trilogy is steeped in pop-Freudianism), while the Disney movies aren't. Of the Disney movies, one is the work of a filmmaker who knows how to create interesting visuals and push characters in unexpected directions, while the other two are directed by a man who relentlessly shoots even the biggest vistas like they're small rooms. But, like, I'm at the point where I consider the Lucas Star Wars to be one thing and the Disney Star Wars to be another, separate, wholly ignorable thing. I'm glad The Last Jedi exists, but I don't care about anything else Disney does with the property for the foreseeable future (though I might check out the Obi-Wan miniseries).
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