We missed Jackass Number Two this weekend, as the only theater on the trajectory of our Saturday morning errand-run was showing it at an inopportune time. So we’ll have to catch it later on. I will laugh a bunch if it’s showing in Paris when we arrive next week. During my last trip there, I caught Minority Report in a theater in Montparnasse. The audience stood and applauded at the end of the movie. Between that and the sugar-coated popcorn, I became convinced that the French are actually aliens. With bad taste.
So, instead of Jackass, I treated Amy to another of the bizarre mini-classics of ’90s cinema last night: Funny Bones. She’s an Oliver Platt fan, and may be on her way to becoming a Lee Evans fan (not that there are many movies to build one’s fandom upon, but his work in this, There’s Something About Mary and, to a lesser extent, The Ladies’ Man, is pretty solid). Funny Bones a magical little movie (albeit 20 minutes too long), and we were happy to bail on the ponderousness of The Ice Harvest to get to it.
Most of the movie takes place in Blackpool, England (as Morrissey put it, “a coastal town that they forgot to close down.”), where virtually everyone is a comedy performer. When I first saw the flick in 1996 or so, it put me in mind of Dylan Horrocks’ sublime comic book Hicksville, about a little town in NZ where everyone is an expert on some variety of comics.
In addition to great jobs by Platt & Evans, there are plenty of supporting actors who put in terrific work in this one: Jerry Lewis, Leslie Caron, Oliver Reed (briefly), Richard Griffiths (whom we KNEW we’d seen recently, but couldn’t remember where; it turned out to be Withnail & I), the late George Carl and Freddie Davies (whose roles are mixed up in the IMDB entry for the movie).
Interestingly, it got an R rating, for “a scene of tragic violence,” which is a great term. I’m not sure which scene it’s referring to, since there are two violent scenes and each could be taken as tragic. Anyway, it’s a quirky flick (tragic violence aside), but it was a million times better than that Ice Harvest, I’m telling you.
Now, the funny thing about “I’m telling you” is that I tend to tell people to see, read, or listen to a lot of stuff. If I like a book, I’ll buy extra copies to give out (Richard Flanagan should buy me a drink, if we cross paths in Tasmania). But for some reason, I find it pretty difficult to get around to listening to CDs, watching DVDs, or reading books that are lent to me. On the face of it, I would guess it’s simply because I’m an egotistical prig who doesn’t believe that other people’s recommendations are worthwhile.
But, because I’m always trying to compensate for those tendencies, I’m inclined to believe that it’s due to something even more messed up and insidious. I’ve become pretty good at forcing myself to do stuff that my undermind is trying to keep me from doing, but I still “for some reason” never get around to other people’s suggestions or loans.
Fortunately, I’m making a little progress. This weekend, I broke out a book that one of my dear readers (and best friends) sent me as a birthday gift a few years ago: a collection of nonfiction by Bruce Jay Friedman called Even the Rhinos Were Nymphos. I can’t tell you why I didn’t get to it sooner, especially since this buddy of mine has great taste in writing. I can’t tell you why I finally took it off the shelf this weekend, except perhaps because I wanted to read two consecutive books that were blurbed by Steve Martin.
But I can tell you that I’m a retard for not getting to this book earlier. Friedman’s style (at least in his early 1990s writing) is similar to my best work, but a million times better. I feel like I’m learning plenty from the book (not that I’m demonstrating that here), while enjoying the heck out of it.
Throw in some NFL-viewing and some time rearranging my freshly painted home office, and that’s about it for my weekend.