Wednesday, June 29, 2005

Of Bill Murray, the New TV, & the End of W@W

First things first: Last night Middlebrow and I watched "The Life Aquatic with Steve Zissou." Despite the fact that it included, in addition to Bill Murray, my other favorites Owen Wilson and Willem DaFoe, the movie was not good. It wasn't bad, but it wasn't good either. It was incoherent. I didn't care about any of the characters, despite being predisposed to love Bill Murray in just about anything. It was visually stunning at times, but about halfway through it underwent a bizarre genre shift to action/adventure. The highlight, I have to say, was the Portugese versions of David Bowie songs.
Second things: Middlebrow gave in to my hysterical whining and purchased a new TV this morning so that I could watch Wimbeldon coverage. Our old TV (which we bought just months after moving to SLC, once we got bored of drinking margaritas and playing Spite and Malice, because we were the only people we knew in SLC. I can't remember the first movie we watched on it, but that was seven years ago) mysteriously "broke" this morning after we let Son do some unsupervised TV viewing, because he woke up at 5 a.m. Why, you ask, did he wake up at 5 a.m.? It seems that, unbeknownst to MB and DW, who were watching the movie, last night Son got out of bed and changed out of his pull-up and back into his underwear. Around 5 a.m. his bladder gave out, prompting him to undress in the middle of the kitchen and then run into our bedroom proclaiming, "I pooped in my pants!" I didn't know about the furtive wardrobe change, but found the pull-up wedged between his closet and his small dresser. Ah, children! The joys, etc!
Let me just say that the new TV is so worth it. I got to watch a fantastic match between Roddick and Grosjean (whose first name is Sebastian, btw). And now I can watch the matches between Venus and Sharapova (go Venus! I have to root for Venus. It's her comeback!), and between Davenport and Mauresmo (I will most likely root for Lindsay, because she's American, but I really don't care who wins. It will be a fantastic match, I predict.)
And in Writers at Work wrap-up: The final reading was quite good, with Michael Downing my absolute favorite. His reading from Breakfast with Scot was funny and touching. Pam Houston's reading was fine, but a little fast. I'd already read the book, so I knew what was coming. I had to leave the reading early so I could help arrange the fabulous food: bruschetta from Martine, salmon from Wild Oats, salads from Noodles & Co, wine from a box. What could be better? Oh, and desserts from The Paris (I especially love the pecan/chocolate pie thing). See how the readings get one line and the food gets three? I have my priorities straight. Kevin McIlvoy is overall my favorite person. Ever. Without reading any of my novel, he gave me many ideas to get me restarted. So I'm indebted to him. And my favorite reading was the Young Writers. Some amazing, amazing stuff. Very impressive. Richard Frost was a close second, mostly because he was so surprising. He seemed like a very mild mannered sweetheart (which he is) but his poems were funny and shocking and great. See his "For My Brother" if you need some proof.
Next year (so far) we have lined up Suzanne Paola (for nonfiction) and Bruce Beasley (for poetry). We also hope to bring FC2 (publisher/editor) and someone from a poetry press, like Graywolf. We are also bringing Susan Strayed for the Young Writers.
I'm enjoying the perfect weather and the fact that I have no obligations for the next week or so. My mother and her husband arrive Friday and we will be spending some time with them in Park City over the next week. Then we head up to Island Park next week to see my dad, and my sister and her kids who are flying in from Michigan. Family mania!


Lisa B. said...

Two things: I urge you to watch The Life Aquatic again, because it improves upon reviewing. Second, I too will be in Island Park--maybe I'll see you there!

Okay, three things. Food is more important than reading, unless the reading is spectacular, and even then, it's probably a dead heat.

Paulk said...

I had mixed feelings about the film, myself, but I think it's one of those cases where it's so completely its own thing. The more I've thought about it, the more I liked it, though.

Concerning FC/2, are you talking about Ralph Berry? Because he was on my M.A. committee at FSU and and is a very good friend of mine. I could give the faculty committee a little boost, if it would help. (I've been needing to talk to him anyway.)

And, yes, food is vital. But good reading before food makes it all the sweeter.

Nik said...

Also, Bret Lott is coming--as a novelist and editor of Southern Review!

Sleepy E said...

I agree, Doctor. "Life Aquatic" sucked. It's making me start to think of "Tenenbaums" more negatively. "Aquatic" came out around the same time as "I Heart Huckabees" that instead! Hilarious...

Granted, I hold Wes Anderson to an impossibly high standard, but still "Life Aquatic" was pretty lame. He gives it his all, though, and one can't really accuse him of lazy filmmaking. Even though "Aquatic" is a failure, it's a spectacular failure and filled with shining moments. But he's definitely on a downhill skid since "Rushmore."

lis said...

after hearing your description of the post-reading food, I'm thinking maybe I should have stayed. you don't need your voice to eat, right?

theorris said...

I am not really sure what I thought of Life Aquatic. The obscure construction of fatherhood in it didn't make any sense to me, although I can see that the Bill Murray character seemed to be desiring and detesting the role. In many ways he seemed to be a watered-down Royal Tennenbaum. I guess I just don't get the point. What is it about? Abandonment? Having no father? Seeking adventure? A ten-year old boy's fantasy life come true? (Replete with people carrying guns and all). I'm going to riff on that idea for a while, I think. The whole movie was a kid's fantasy; maybe that is why it is so incoherent.

One question, however, why was it made patently obvious that SZ could not be Owen Wilson's character's father? (Remeber the conversation between the two women: "He shoots blanks"--a result of too many years of diving.) Is Anderson just hitting on that need to be a part of something theme again?

Man, I feel incoherent just thinking about the movie.

Tim said...

In all honesty, I never connected to any of Wes Anderson's movies. Everyone kept telling me how hilarious Rushmore was. So I watched it, and found myself just staring at the screen thinking "everyone" must be nuts. Then everyone kept telling me how funny Tenebaums was, and again I found myself looking blankly at the screen, this time wondering if I was actually the idiot or nuts or both. No one told me that Life Aquatic was funny, and my expectation of it was impossibly low. As you might expect, I sort of found it amusing :)