i’ll believe it when i see it (and i really want to see it)

In possibly-upcoming movie news: “Hollywood Ending Near for Orson Welles’s Last Film

After nearly 75 years, I guess we have to accept the fact that nobody is going to suddenly stumble upon the lost (destroyed) footage from The Magnificent Ambersons, so this is pretty much the most exciting Welles news I could imagine.

In other movie news (less exciting, but more likely to actually happen):

‘Captain Marvel’ Writer Kelly Sue DeConnick on New Film Plans: ‘I Feel So Proud of Her’

I’ve written about Captain Marvel before.

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saying goodbye, siri, and guns

1) There’s a pretty good piece about Robert Altman last movie here: Robert Altman waved goodbye with a film about waving goodbye

I had a great advantage in coming to this movie in that I was only slightly familiar with the radio program. So, rather than whining about how Guy Noir is so different than he is on the radio, I could just sit back and enjoy all the schtick that Kevin Kline works into his performance.

There’s a lot of debate in the comments about whether this movie belongs in Altman’s all-time top ten. I just did a quick survey and it ended up as #12 or #13 for me, but that’s still pretty good.

Oh, and I think Lindsay Lohan is just fine in the picture. Some people see her performance in the light of what’s come since, but she’s actually quite good.

I’ve never reviewed A Prairie Home Companion (the movie), but I did write about it here.

2. Showing that technology often has effects that we didn’t anticipate, sometimes bad and sometimes good: “To Siri, With Love.”

3. At the other end of the technology spectrum, here’s a reminder that if you’re going to write about guns, you’d better do your research: “NaNoWriMo: Know Your Weapons!

Which of course applies more generally, too. Other than Almost Famous, pretty much every movie I’ve ever seen about a rock band has got something wrong (and some of them get everything wrong :-) ).

And yes, once I read this I did a search to make sure I’d never written anout a “clip” in a gun.


4. I seem to have crossed a threshhold with my phone. The other day I saw a typo on my blog and to fix it I reached for my phone.

I was at home, so I could have gone for a computer, or a tablet, but my instinct was to reach for my phone.

On the other hand, it still does give me the creeps that when I turn my phone on it says: “GPS needs to be on and set to high accuracy mode in order to detect your location and activity.”

Ah, no thanks.

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taking the 777 challenge

This seems to be making the rounds, and I can see why. T.S. and Kristan have already taken it, and it’s been fun to read their selections,

Here’s mine:

Dorm life wasn’t really an option for me, so my parents had rented me a tiny apartment — basically just a room in a rooming house. It wasn’t on campus, but it was just a couple of blocks away.

“I hope you don’t think I lured you up here for immoral purposes,” I said, attempting a joke as I closed the door behind us.

She smiled pleasantly. “That would be fine,” she said. She reached down and took the hem of her sweater in both hands, pulling it up over her head. Under it she wore some sort of feminine undershirt thing (it may have been a “chemise,” but I’m not completely sure), which she also removed, laying it carefully on the back of a chair, next to the sweater.

Her skin seemed more and more improbable the more of it was revealed.

That’s from my current story, which starts here. I’m pretty pleased with it so far.

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i just had a thought…

When PT Anderson was starting to work on the movie of Inherent Vice, the first thing he did, based on what I’ve read, was to turn the novel into a screenplay — the whole thing — because that’s the form he’s used to working in.

It’s obvious even from the trailer that the film will be a very tight adaptation of the novel. As I said, for pretty much every frame of the trailer I know exactly which scene it’s based on.

But I imagine it’s possible that Anderson’s devotion to the text itself might not have precluded some additional research. One obvious place to do such research would have been the Pynchon wiki, where there is page-by-page (and sometimes line-by-line) commentary on the book.

A bunch of which was provided by me.

So, it is actually possible that the upcoming movie Inherent Vice will be, in some tiny way, influenced by my thoughts on the book.


Some days, this World Wide Web thing is pretty cool. :-)

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I just saw the word prolepsis in a book review, and it made me think. Narrowly defined, it means stating a thing as true before it actually is (“dead man walking” would be a classic example), but more generally it refers to foreshadowing.

You know, like reading a novel that starts “It was the summer that changed my life.”

This struck me, because I never do this, which was certainly not a conscious decision.

Also, I just did do it in what I posted a few minutes ago. So, encountering this word made me think.

One way of looking at it is that I shouldn’t do it, because I don’t do it — that’s done by writers who are different types of writers than me. This is obviously not a valid basis to make any artistic decisions.

(As always, I take inspiration from Robert Altman, who spent the last chunk of his career in movies deciding which projects to film based on, “Well, I’ve never done that before.”)

And I think the foreshadowing fits here, because this is the first thing I’ve written in decades where the narrator isn’t Marshall or third-person me. And Mike, the narrator, worries very much about the future, and he would tell the story that way.

Or possibly it’s just because I wanted to juice things up a bit, to reassure readers that the torturing of the characters (so often recommended these days by web-based fiction experts) will soon begin.

The story started here. The torturing is coming soon.

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part three

(This story started here.}

“I sort of got into a fight today,” Sharon said quietly.

She had been silent for a few minutes before saying this and I’d started to doze off, but I raised my head to look at her.

I’d been exploring some areas of her body with pretty close attention over the previous hour or two, and I hadn’t seen any bruises.

“Please don’t tell me I have to go out and beat somebody up to defend your honor,” I said.

She examined my face, squinting in the dim light from the window. We’d been together for a few weeks at this point, long enough for her to start to learn some ways of telling when I was trying to be funny.

We were lying in my narrow bed. She was naked, and I was wearing my T-shirt and boxers. It was a warm night, and the sheet was only pulled up to her waist. In the moonlight, her golden skin looked like it was glowing, and her pale eyes seemed to have no pupils at all.

“It wasn’t a real fight, with fists,” she explained seriously. “It was with Professor Potter. He’s had trouble with a student who lives in U-town — she doesn’t always show up for class, hands in her assignments late, that sort of trouble — and he started saying things about U-town, things which aren’t true. I didn’t know whether I should, but I raised my hand and I said that it’s not right for him to generalize in that way, since I live in U-town and I’m always in class and I always do my work.

“He said something about people who live there are all freaks, and I objected to that, too, but then some people started to laugh, so I sat down.”

She looked, for her, really upset. She never cried, but she looked pretty unhappy. I suddenly knew that the next thing which had happened, which she didn’t want to say, was that somebody had mentioned me, in connection with the category “freak.”

“People don’t understand about U-town, I guess — people who haven’t been there.” I shrugged. “I’m curious about it myself.”

“You are?” she said. “You could come and visit, if you want to. Would you like to?”

I nodded. “Yes, absolutely. Whenever is good for me to come.”

“You could come tomorrow, tomorrow night,” she said. That was Friday, when she’d be going home anyway. “Craig will be making his baked fish for dinner — it’s really good.”

“I don’t want to impose–“

She smiled. “He’ll make extra.”

This was typical of us. We could talk frankly about war and peace and psychology and music and everything else, but when it came to each other we always tiptoed, as if the whole thing might turn out to be as fragile as a soap bubble.

Well, our weekend in U-town put an end to that, and to some other things as well.

When I woke up in the morning, with Sharon wrapped around me like a very friendly octopus as usual, I wondered about something.

U-town, quite famously, had no telephones. How was Sharon going to let her brother know that company was coming and he should make more of his excellent baked fish?

After my last class, we walked together to the bridge as we did every week, but this time, instead of giving her a goodbye hug, I started up the bridge with her. She took my hand as we walked up the incline.

We’d never held hands before, and, knowing her, she had thought long and hard about making this move. She might even have drawn a line down the center of a page of looseleaf paper, using a ruler to make sure it was straight, and made a list of pros and cons.

She didn’t look at me as she took my hand, but I was careful to squeeze her hand as we walked, to let her know that this was okay (to say the least) with me.

I suddenly wondered how her brothers were going to feel about us sleeping together in their house. Obviously she was a college student and not a kid, but brothers can be weird about that sort of thing, and I knew they were a very close family.

Well, I’d deal with that if it came up. The important part to me was that she was bringing me to meet her family. She’d never talked about her parents and I’d always had idea that they were dead, so meeting her brothers was a pretty definite statement that I was her boyfriend. And she was my girlfriend.

I squeezed her hand again as we reached the top of the bridge. In the back of my mind, always, was the question of my parents. Thanksgiving break was coming, inevitably, and I know they expected that I would come for a visit, for the long weekend.

Well, that was weeks (fewer and fewer weeks, of course) away, and here I was nearly over the bridge to U-town and I wasn’t even paying attention.

More to come…

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