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About NBooth

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  • Gender
  • Location
    Hanceville, Al
  • Interests
    Literature. Film. Music. The theater. Philosophy. Theology.

Previous Fields

  • 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. Everything moves too fast these days. Here we are, nearly March, and no Film Club selection. So I'll throw out a couple of suggestions. I'm thinking that after a run of more-or-less dramatic flicks we should try something different; keep in mind, I've seen none of them: 1. A Touch of Zen (King Hu): just got a Criterion release recently and I have been planning on watching but just haven't gotten to it. 2. The Killer (John Woo): on Neflix 3. Compulsion (Richard Fleischer): on Netflix. With Orson Welles. Based on Leopold and Loeb. There are more options, of course, but I figured these would be good to at least get discussion going. If we decide on any of them, I'll be happy to take point.
  2. Ok, getting this in under the wire, but--my primary thought process here is that Existentialism largely developed in the form it did as a response to the destruction in Europe (and the, um, existential threat of the Bomb). I might be mixing my Mailer in here a bit much, which is never wise, but the idea is that the post-War world made possible, made inevitable, a certain amount of despair regarding the possibility of human meaning (Faulkner: the only question with which authors now deal is 'when will I be blown up'). So the Existentialist must act meaningfully in the face of meaninglessness, a meaninglessness typified by the Bomb and by the camps. Nothing shows that human life is meaningless as much as the systematic destruction of innocents. Of course, even though WWII was a tremendous psychic break, there have been other mass die-offs in the past, including the plague. But I'm assuming that Monsieur Vincent is back-projecting here; the plague and the destruction it brings is a symbolic stand-in for the destruction brought about by WWII. Which is to say that Vincent is concerned with precisely that same condition of human meaninglessness that obsessed the Existentialists. It's not just the brokenness of the world, in the abstract, that interests this movie but the brokenness of a world that has seen the camps and the Bomb--a world seemingly wholly evacuated of meaning itself. As far as how their responses differ--that would require far more expertise in Existentialism than I have. A couple of possibilities suggest themselves, though. First, Existentialism values self-validation in the face of meaninglessness; the courage of Sisyphus comes when he chooses freely to accomplish his fated task. Similarly, in Tillich-style Christian Existentialism, the Courage to Be manifests in the fact that Being takes non-Being into itself--it embraces the grounds of its own negation, embraces--ultimately--even meaninglessness itself, and so is able to transcend that meaninglessness and reach what Tillich considered to be the God beyond the God of Scripture. Vincent, it seems to me, does not go that direction, though it does not reject it. The protagonist, feeling the despair of a meaningless world, still doesn't accept it as meaningless. The despair is entirely internalized; if he cannot see meaning, if he cannot see hope, it is because he is not doing enough. And so he pours himself out more and more, trying to fill that precise void. He does not make the Existentialist move of affirming that, yes, all of his work is meaningless but nevertheless he will give it meaning. Ultimately, I guess what's interesting to me here is not so much a matter of similarity as it is the fact that both responses seem equally tinged with despair. Whether the lack is in the world itself (meaningless, and therefore demanding to be given meaning) or the actor (incapable of doing enough), there's a definite sadness that I think is a particularly, though not uniquely, post-War phenomenon.
  3. Graham, again:
  4. Bates Motel is back! The new season is actually set a couple of years after the previous one, so the characters are a bit farther along than they were. Nothing really special to add, except that Vera Farmiga is definitely still the MVP here, though Highmore is (of course) very good.
  5. I finally watched the first episode. I'm pretty sure it's not good, but I'm really loving it for its pure flashy/trashiness. It's definitely the Betty and Veronica show, though. In some ways, though, this feels like what would happen if you took all small-town fiction in American history and boiled it for weeks before serving up the concentrate. Then again, I've been living with this stuff for a couple of years now, so everything seems hyper-referential.
  6. There's an adaptation of Richard Wright's Native Son on the way: The story mentions the 1986 movie version with Oprah Winfrey, but there was also a 1951 version with Richard Wright as Bigger Thomas. Both are on YouTube, though I am doubtful of the legality of either upload. Here's a trailer for the 1951 version:
  7. I thought of the same movie, but (since I haven't seen it) didn't want to mention it without knowing exactly how watchable it is.
  8. Angela Lansbury is the Balloon Lady
  9. Jack Graham argues that the movie is actually less ambiguous, in some ways, than the previous movies:
  10. Nonfiction in bold January Green, Daniel. Beyond the Blurb: On Critics and Criticism February Aciman, André. Call Me By Your Name Collett, Nigel. Firelight of a Different Colour: The Life and Times of Leslie Cheung Kwok-Wing Kenner, Hugh. A Homemade World: The American Modernist Writers.
  11. Ignatiy Vishnevetsky:
  12. After that finale, it's safe to say that I genuinely love this show. I'm almost sad there's going to be a second season, because these ten episodes seem to more or less cover all the ground they need to. I would worry about a second season taking the show into House of Cardinals territory, though of course I suppose I should have more faith in the director. Jude Law, though--wow. He's absolutely mesmerizing. I've never really rated him one way or the other--I mean, I've liked some of his stuff, but I've never been in awe of any performance of his the way I am of this, his portrayal of Lenny Belardo/Pope Pius XIII (I should have searched later and seen that there was a "real" American Pope named Pius XIII, a schismatic one, who responded to the Second Vatican Council in a way that reminds me of Lenny). So, yeah. A great show--slantwise and ambiguous in several ways, with a far lighter touch at characterization than one would expect. Lovely to look at, too.
  13. This movie is delightful. In retrospect, the first movie was my favorite in-theater experience of 2014 (combination of being in L.A. and being totally surprised by how fantastic the movie actually is), so I was doubtful that this one could really stick the landing. As it turns out, John Wick Chapter 2 is less surprising but no less entertaining than the first movie. The last big action scene owes an awful lot to a certain Orson Welles movie (let's say Welles-by-way-of-Roger-Moore-Bond) and it's lots of fun. Ruby Rose as the mute assassin is fun. Laurence FIshburne is funny in a way that I didn't quite expect. The rest of the cast is good. And there's a gag where a bit of music I assumed to be non-diegetic turns out to be diegetic, which is fun. You'll know it when you see it. Really, there's no way to spin this into a Deep Consideration of Serious Themes (though that last action scene does invite it); it's a well-built, incredibly fun movie. I'm a fan.