What It Is: 6/15/09

What I’m reading: Finished Tatsumi’s Good-Bye collection, and holy crap did he turn dark in 1971-2! Also, started Plutarch’s life of Timoleon.

What I’m listening to: My iTunes library, on shuffle. I’ve been working at home a lot (keeping an eye on Rufus), so I haven’t been driving much. Hence, not much music.

What I’m watching: Adam’s Rib, Solaris (Soderbergh, not Tarkovsky), and Hellboy II: The Golden Army.

What I’m drinking: Miller’s & Q Tonic, and Bardolino Chiaretto 2007 rosé.

What Rufus is up to: Recovering faster than we could’ve hoped, and back to his full (1- to 1.5-mile) walks! If he gets his endurance up by next weekend, we’ll take him out for a Sunday grey-hike!

Where I’m going: Nowhere. It’s a thrilling life, I tellsya.

What I’m happy about: That my wife, half-watching this trailer on Robert Wilonsky’s Ultimate Trailer Show (which really should have its own website), perked up after a few seconds and said, “Oh, it’s the other guy from that Peter Riegert movie!” Which would be Local Hero. Which would be yet another reason why I love her so.

Also, we took one look at this movie —

— and she said, “It’s your boyfriend, Sam Rockwell!” Oh, and she took care of Rufus for a few hours on Saturday while I went out, ran some errands, and had a little time alone.

What I’m sad about: That Timoleon had to let his friends kill his brother Timophanes. (Seriously: Plutarch’s story of his life is just amazing, especially when he gets to the segment about Dionysus the younger’s post-tyrant life in Corinth.)

What I’m worried about: That I’ll go ever stir-crazier, working at home.

What I’m pondering: Whether Mickael Pietrus is lying about being French and is actually from Rapa Nui.

Apart, the Hole

I saw Synecdoche, New York on Friday afternoon and I’ve spent this weekend trying to parse what I saw, heard and felt. I’ve even been struggling with the metaphor of how it’s affected me; I don’t want to ape the ongoingly-dying lead character by saying it’s infected me like a virus. I think it’s more like ink in water, gently dispersing, ever obscuring.

I don’t feel bad that I can’t come up with the right words. Roger Ebert and Manohla Dargis both loved the movie, but neither of them seem to have the vocabulary to approach it. Ebert comes closer in this blog-post about it, but he’s still barking at cats. Robert Wilonsky named it his favorite movie of 2008, but didn’t review it for his paper. He did get in a good interview with writer/director Charlie Kaufman. (Rex Reed’s negative review is pretty funny, in its way.)

I watched Adaptation on Saturday night, in hopes that it would provide some clues into Synecdoche, since it seemed to be the most thematically similar of Mr. Kaufman’s previous screenplays. I was completely wrong, of course. Adaptation is about a man who can’t start, and Synecdoche is about a man who can’t stop. Also, Synecdoche isn’t about writing, but dying. It’s also a million times funnier than Adaptation, and the women are amazing. (Like Ebert, I won’t write about the actors or their performances.) Unfortunately, I caught a 1 p.m. screening, so the other dozen audience members were generally elderly people. They didn’t find it as humorous as I did.

For all the difficulties in the movie, I never felt like I was being sneered at by Mr. Kaufman. It felt more like he was struggling to convey the ineffable, knowing it’s ineffable. I still don’t get why Samantha Morton’s house was on fire, but this isn’t the sort of movie where misreading a symbol will derail your entire experience with it. At least, it wasn’t for me.

I almost drove back into NYC on Saturday to watch it again, but the DVD is coming out on March 10, so I preordered it. I have a feeling that I’ll ramble more about this movie in the next few months.