Archive | Age Matters

The Cinematic Melancholy of St. Joan Didion

Eighty-three today, Joan Didion is inarguably old. But even in photos of the writer as a much younger woman, you can see something ancient and knowing that juxtaposes sharply with the youth culture of mid-twentieth century America. It’s a quality that distinguishes her work as much as her uncluttered, unflappable prose, and it makes her, to date, cinema’s most untapped natural resource.

It’s surprising that more of Didion’s books haven’t been adapted to screen, especially since she has worked many times as a screenwriter, usually with her husband, the late author and journalist John Gregory Dunne. All in all, Didion and Dunne co-wrote at least eight screenplays – more, if you count the ones they reportedly massaged without credit. In 1972, they adapted her own book, Play It as It Lays, though she has said in interviews she wishes the resulting film were better. (Few disagree.) There also was the 1971’s druggie romance “Panic in Needle Park”; the extremely furry 1976 reboot of 1954’s “Star Is Born” (itself a reboot of a 1937 classic); and the 1996 Robert Redford-Michelle Pheiffer journalist romance “Up Close & Personal,” loosely based on the life and death of TV reporter Jessica Savitch. What’s most surprising is this filmography’s soapiness. With few exceptions, the story arcs go along the lines of: Couple falls in love, life caves in on couple. Continue Reading →

Space Crone Vs. the Mercury Retrograde MTA

I was racing to the subway and forgot my headphones because it’d been a while since I had to block out my immediate surroundings, which is to say I’d been blissfully living in the country. So I got on the L and immediately felt like weeping because I was bombarded with vocal frye club prattle. Then a boy danced onto my car and announced he was selling a pair of iPhone headphones for $10. Well, you just knew they were used and nasty but it gave me an idea so I bought them (for $5, there’s no wet behind my ears) and before heading to my destination scooted over to the Apple Store to trade them in for ones that worked. I mean, in all my years in this city no one’s ever sold headphones on a car I’ve been on before so what are the odds it happened today? But that’s the NYC shuffle, isn’t it? Everything’s a struggle but there’s magic thrown in to lighten your load. I just wish I still was as sure I was as a young woman that this hard-won magic is worth it.

Born in Flames, Baby

If you are a grownup feminist, you’ve been aware for a long time that you’re consuming culture and art made by predators. If you’re a grownup feminist, you’ve been called the little girl who cried wolf the whole time you’ve been a woman (trans or cis), not a girl. If you’re a grownup feminist, you’re ready for someone else to take these cockacrats’ place, not elegizing their legacy. If you’re a grownup feminist, you have no time for meta-narcissism anywhere, ever–not in Lena Dunham nor 45. If you’re a grownup feminist, you make it about intersectionality for real. And if you’re a grownup feminist, nothing surprises you except for the possibility that these patriarchal structures finally may be burning. It’s time to embrace the phoenix rising.

"All, everything I understand, I understand only because I love."
― Leo Tolstoy