Monday, December 15, 2003


There's a new version of "Aunt Dan and Lemon," written by Wallace Shawn, in New York. Go go go go go. The play is genius. Eviscerating. Funny. Truly dangerous.

Friday, December 12, 2003


I just discovered Fox Searchlight's blog. I am a huge admirer of Fox Searchlight. They are a cool ministudio, they make a lot of great movies, and they remind me of the late great Orion. Translation = "when I finish my script, please, you guys, take a look at it."

But a blog? This is in the "great, but why?" category. I love the info on it, and I love the updatedness of it. But weren't blogs really invented for the simple folk who longed to put their poetry up immediately, or leak a hot political rumor immediately, or to complain about a loveless love life? And who will e-mail such an entity? Dimension Films? Mother of Mercy, is this the end of blogging?

Tuesday, December 09, 2003


There's a lot to say about Angels in America, the HBO version. And a lot of it's already been said. What strikes me, now having watched all of hour 1 and most of hour 3 it felt to be in New York City in the 1980s. To move here to have that quintessential New York experience, the struggle and the triumph, and to be swept, as a straight woman with a lot of gay friends, into something much larger and more terrible than your own ambition. To see the people you admired collapse and vanish. It did feel apocalyptic, and Kushner captured it, and Nichols captures it again.

What's so strange now, 18 years later, is how the "AIDS crisis" has now receded from the horizon, because it has spread to Africa, China, and the poor all over. Will of Will and Grace seems never to have volunteered at God's Love We Deliver (please correct me if I'm wrong), and Jack, that narcissist, has become, of all things, a student nurse. Which in the old days, meaning the 80s, would mean that he tended to his sick brothers, as Belize does in Angels. Heh. Imagine a dream sequence where Belize and Jack meet up. What would they have to say to each other?

Monday, December 08, 2003


Anyway, that's my working term for a certain kind of essay that a certain kind of essayist writes about his/her personal life. And because I am a big chicken, I am not mentioning any names, but these kind of essays...they bust out all over the place around the holidays. The short version of the one I most recently read was: "Families can kind of suck. But in the end, aren't they all we have?"

Well, in a word, no. Or, to quote the great Ben Kingsley in a genuinely heartbreaking movie, SEXY BEAST, No no no no no no no no no.

I don't mind this kind of essay when it is written by someone who is traditional and conservative. That is that writer's job. To shore up this structure, to assure us that it, in the end, doesn't need fixing. But it's somehow much worse when it's someone who's crawled away from his or her Crazy, 60s-Drenched Life to hawk a certain kind of feelings porn that numbs us and stops us from questioning.

Can you tell I've been watching Angels in America? Hey, have a Tony Kushner Christmas!

Saturday, December 06, 2003


It's a Saturday morning, right after a little blizzard. I'm listening to Mexican rock'n'roll. It's 6:11 a.m., and after having worked on my Big Fat Ridiculously Capacious Screenplay, I finally felt the urge to blog.

Here's what I'm thinking about: the resemblances between the movie ROMAN HOLIDAY and LOST IN TRANSLATION. Seriously, think about it. And the call and response of THE SWIMMER (nearly naked suburban guy discovers the truth about his life) and AMERICAN BEAUTY (rinse, repeat).

In both cases, I prefer the older movie. ROMAN HOLIDAY by a shade (hard to believe Gregory Peck could EVER do anything wrong, let alone....well, see the movie). THE SWIMMER is just...fucking dark. Whereas you can feel AMERICAN BEAUTY both spewing bile over a variety of American instiutions (marriage, job, military), and yet....struggling for that old whistle in the dark transcendence. The original ending of AB was much darker. Much darker. But the strange thing to me is that our contemporary "dark" movies lack the ice and bite of the movies of the 50s and 60s. And I miss that.