Archive | Film Matters

Breakfast’s on Me, Mr. Reiner

Not everyone realizes that our astrology remains active after our deaths—so much so that departed public figures often surge back into the limelight during important transits in their charts. I mention this because I woke Saturday morning flashing on the great director, writer, comedian, and activist Carl Reiner, who died last summer at age 98—only a day after after his last big-hearted, big-brained Tweet and only a few months before Biden beat Trump, whom he loathed as much as he loved Mel Brooks. Before beginning the day’s vernal equinox intuition readings, I turned on Reiner’s HBO documentary—the brilliantly titled If You’re Not in the Obit, Eat Breakfast—and was immediately drawn into its overall message: “To stay alive, you must stay in love.” The whole film—really, his whole life—was about how finding and committing to passions was the way to survive and thrive. As I read for clients that day, I could sense Reiner’s delighted laugh and sharp gaze, and it added old-school razzmatazz to our sessions. Of course when I looked up his solar return, it was March 20—that very day. With that old soul and beginner’s mind, he was a true king of the Pisces-Aries cusp. Happy belated birthday, Mr. Reiner. We’re still learning from your love.

Last Thursday of November Notes

1. My favorite Thanksgiving movie is The Morning After (1986), not only because it’s the darkest take on the holiday ever but because of a bloodshot Jane Fonda’s frosted tips and braying incredulity; Jeff Bridge’s DIY duh-hickey cop; Raul Julia’s aviator-sporting, weasely hetero hairdresser; 80s West Coast style (neon pastels and triangles, what ho!); and old school New Yorker Sidney Lumet’s sendup of LA drivers. Continue Reading →

Grasshoppers in the Refracted Green Light

Does anyone remember a 1983 film called Independence Day? It costars an impossibly lanky and fresh-faced Diane Wiest as an abused wife in a dinky New Mexican town, and I’ve been trying to find it online for days. Scenes from it have been surfacing in my mind’s eye like a half-buried trauma, and I keep thinking if I could rewatch the whole film maybe I’d better understand why. All I remember is that I saw it when divorce had just been finalized for C, my mother’s best friend–a tall brassy woman with big plastic glasses and an unflattering short permanent. In an effort to cheer her up, my mom had taken her, her daughter K, and me out for a night on the town–first sundaes and lime rickeys at Brigham’s, then the West Newton Cinema for this very aptly named film. Only the plot grew darker and darker until its ending, resulted–I think?–in murder and suicide. The credits rolled, and K and I sat shocked, my mother gnawed at her thumb, and C, who usually radiated this aggressive, weirdly hostile cheer, remained motionless in her seat, huge tears shining in the refracted light of the screen.

Boy o boy do I wish I could see that movie again, because something in that moment sealed my pubescent self’s determination to never become a wife; no never, thank you very much. I was 12, so it took another 30 years for people to believe me, maybe five more for me to believe myself. But why am I remembering that moment now, o why? There’s something about grasshopper cocktails and burning houses that just keeps flashing fast. I think I’m digging into this mostly to better understand the 12-year-old girl who saw it, but if you have any memory of the film itself I’d be grateful. Even the online reviews are scant.

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