Archive | Film Matters

The Ultimate Fool’s Errand

Only once has someone broken up with me in a way that I immediately and completely accepted. Really, this was quite an achievement, because historically I date people off and on forever unless they reveal themselves to be complete sociopaths or get married. (Although my aversion to marriage is well-documented, I am not in the business of making third parties miserable.)

But though this beau was neither married nor a complete sociopath, his breakup line was so effective that we never spoke again once he uttered it. In a low, caressing voice he said: “It seems this is not what we had hoped.”

In point of fact, he was absolutely right. We’d been dating for four months, which is exactly how long it takes for sexual chemistry to wear off when there’s no other glue in place. I won’t bog you down with the details (he did too much coke and considered me too much of a prude) but as I write this I can assure you that, 20 years later, the only real memory I have of that relationship are those nine magic words. Continue Reading →

Carl Reiner Told the Truth (1922-2020)

I’m so so so sad Carl Reiner has passed over. His impact on TV, film, and comedy was legion and it was legendary. He worked with everyone from Neil SImon to Lily Tomlin to Steve Martin to Ruth Gordon and made them all funnier–better, really. His CV included Your Show of Shows, All of Me, and Where’s Poppa?–tons and tons of waggish staples. Even in his 90s he was still showing up on screen in the Ocean’s 11 franchise and on page as an author. Even yesterday he still shone such a bright light that he was tweeting what we all thought about 45. Not to mention that Mel Brooks will feel SO ALONE.

Their model of male love–their decades-long commitment to each other and to laughter–hurt my heart in the greatest way. They represented the very best of my tribe (the Jews!) by understanding that being tough and smart didn’t preclude being silly, soft-hearted, and socially just. Really, I wanted Mel and Carl to become the 2,000 Year Old Men. Or at least to live to see Trump leave the White House in handcuffs. (If you’ve never listened to The 2,000 Year Old Man, do yourself a favor and download it. Growing up I listened to it every day after school and it never failed to crack my shit up.)

In work he joyously played second fiddle–even in his masterwork, the Dick Van Dyke Show, modeled after his own family life in New Rochelle, he ceded the central role to Van Dyke whom he generously deemed a “better actor.” Top billing never mattered as much to him as top form because he knew to love long and love well. Thus he remained happily married to the brilliant Estelle from 1948 until her 2008 death. Thus he spawned the brilliant Rob Reiner and a long line of other comical, kind humans. Thus he died at 98 in top form, true to form.

Carl Reiner was a mensch. He was a mitzvah. He will be missed.

The Longest Sentence, the Creature Comforts

Five Ruby Intuition readings today and now I’m sprawled in a grateful slump across my divan with a certain permakitten’s limbs akimbo, watching Soderbergh’s sunshine noir The Limey while mawing my favorite secret single meal– a blue bowl of fettuccine with home-made mint-ramp-basil-parsley pesto, zest lemon, and greenmarket pea shoots, romaine, and spinach with melted mozzarella, grated parmesan, and fancy Fairway tuna shared, of course, with Grace.

Do not ask me why the bowl has to be blue but my delight plummets when it is not. And tonight I require creature-comfort delight because I’m not feeling great. A member of my family died this week, I’m making big changes behind the curtain I rarely draw back on this platform, and my body is registering all these shifts. Complaining, if you want to know the truth.

So I’m just taking it easy, basking in Terrence Stamp’s cockney rhyming slang and my pregnantladypalate. And of course the sweet soft stripes of Grace’s supermodel paws. The sky is steel, the wind too. Even Soderbergh’s Stamp is melancholy steel. But here in this moment my familiar and I are happily ensconced if not exactly happy.

And thus kicks off what promises to be one of the most oddbot Memorial Day Weekends ever. Not unpleasant, I’m guessing. Just: oddbot. Fitting for a middle-aged medium poised at the beginning of the end.

Also the end of the beginning.

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