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 →
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.
Shoes—shoes lost, shoes gained, shoes lost. I’ve lost my own and don’t have another pair with which to safely exit this terrible claustrophobic party thrown by a celeb hostess in a gentrified section of Brooklyn. Others (the hostess’s assistant!) keep stealing my original pair, bringing me five more pairs that are impeccably beautiful and whisking them away as soon I get ensnared in another vapid starfucker conversation. We’re talking perfectly soft and shined loafers and boots by Prada, Miu Miu, Marc Jacobs, Louboutin—God, labels seem so pre-Covid. I find myself longing for such refined empty luxury.
Vanessa Redgrave—even longer and blonder and more displeased than she seems on screen—turns out to be the hostess. Grand-dame sociopathy masquerading as cool calm collection. She sweeps and droops around, getting drunker and drunker on perfectly rendered martinis–lemon not olive–as her guests wax and wane. At one point there are people crammed into every corner of her too-white house. Someone does the math and declares it 2012 guests, which is a 1:1 ratio for every square inch of the living room. White furniture white rugs white walls white chandeliers. Her house is hoarder-stuffed but with the most beautiful things: Chagall paintings and Brancusi sculptures and 70s Dior so it’s hard to register the same disdain as if it were plastic angels from Home Shopping Club. More a mixture of envy and disgust and judgment that I meta-judge within myself. I feel as if I’m a poor kid in Newton again. I’m stuck because, oy, no shoes so end up sleeping on a very white couch, my red lipstick leaving a crime scene on a cushion. Continue Reading →