Monday, October 30, 2006

Running with Scissors, Post Party

I wrote this yesterday morning and still can't post it. Let me try again...

This morning I am high on the memory of last night's party, at which a guy flirted with me. I know that sounds pitiful, but it's the first time in a long time that someone I had just met selected me out of a room full of people to talk and flirt with. And it felt good.

I was home by 1:30 and after changing out of my costume (went with the midnight blue velvet cocktail party dress, elbow-length black gloves, rhinestone jewelry, peacock feather mask), brushing my teeth, and washing off my makeup, I was in bed just before 2. And then the cable box time went back to 1. Another hour of sleep! And yet I, in my constant and desperate attempt to sleep as late as possible, took it as a personal affront. It's not how many hours, it's what the clock says, and this morning I woke when the cable box and computer clocks said 7:30 but my bedside alarm said 8:30 - how lovely to have slept until 8:30! Oh, my brain is twisted. You'd think I drank too much last night, but I had one strong vodka drink followed by one weak vodka drink followed by six or seven club sodas, all over a span of 5 hours.

* * *

Yesterday, after the morning wind and rain, the sun came out, bright and strong. I was surprised, but not as much as a few hours later when out of nowhere the sky darkened and ran slammed down. I was inside a store, watching people run by, soaked. By the time I left, the sun was out again but it had started to sprinkle, which is always an otherworldly combination. I, and many of my neighbors, figured a movie theater was the way to bypass the decision of what to wear (raincoat? sunglasses? rubber boots?) and besides, who can beat matinee prices?

So for a mere $6 I saw "Running with Scissors." Now, I really loved Augusten Burroughs's book. I've subsequently read everything else he's written. "Dry" is my friend's favorite, but in my mind, there are thousands of addiction/recovery memoirs out there, and I don't think this is one of the best (although not one of the worst, either.) My friend, who is gay and has many heavy-drinking friends (and, to be fair, not a generally voracious reader), really felt it spoke to him and his own experience. Together we saw Augusten do a reading of his third memoir, "Magical Thinking," which was fun. He mentioned visiting the set of "Running with Scissors," and this was last summer (2005), which seems really long ago, but maybe that is how long it takes for post production on a film? I don't know, but part of me wonders. The movie's reviews aren't very good - okay, they're almost universally bad, with the general response being the film dulled too much of the book's powerful moments while attempting to make them black comedy. I found the book had a comic edge, though, so I can appreciate that urge. It's hard to do that without falling into farce, which others felt it did.

Why am I summarizing the thoughts of other people and not my own? I guess because I can't get my mind around my experience yet. I desperately wanted to love this film, because I loved the book. And I didn't. It's disappointing, especially when the actors include favorites like Evan Rachel Wood, Annette Benning, Jill Clayburgh (where has she been? her last film was in 2002), and Joseph Fiennes (turning in a particularly bad performance.) (I'm not a Gwyenth Paltrow fan so it doesn't matter to me that she also basically sucked.) The movie picked out some of the more disturbing moments in the book but strung them together in a way without context or emotional connection. Even a black comedy needs some kind of human thread or it's just a series of skits. Let's play with dad's electroshock therapy machine! Let's break down the kitchen ceiling! Let's have mom eat dog kibble! (C'mon, all three of those were in the trailers, I'm giving nothing away.)

Hopefully this will inspire new readers for the book, but otherwise, it's just too bad.

* * *

For a reverse experience, I want to try to see "Little Children" today. (It's not playing in my local theater, so I have to look for it.) I really disliked that book, but it's been getting great reviews, so maybe what doesn't work on the page comes off better on the screen. I'm not too confident, though, as Entertainment Weekly included it in one of their "See the movie or read the book?" round-ups, and recommended reading the book. Hmmm...


Blogger Pynchon said...

I'll be seeing "Little Children" this weekend. It's getting universally good reviews over here, and most commentators are saying that it will finally win Kate Winslet an Oscar.

2:35 AM  
Blogger medusa said...

looking forward to hearing what you think of it

1:20 PM  

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