Please… Chest burn. Need ice cold beer on the burn. Thursday I had my chest painted with a substance that smelled like fried rubber, you know, the way trucks smell as they descend from Tahoe or Berthoud Pass. Cripes! Sunbathe at your own risk, ladies – and I’m dark-skinned. This itch is hellacious! I’m tempted to attack my skin with a rusty saw. Remember the good old days when we slathered on the baby oil and baked? All gone.
Um-kay – the ‘Niners won. Watching this football game between New Orleans and the Forty-Niners was like watching The Terminator. The ‘Niners just kept… coming… back. Unbelievable game. At long last I can say with all sincerity, Alex Smith is a damn good quarterback.
So, not to change the subject, but we watched Midnight In Paris, Woody Allen’s latest, starring Owen Wilson and Rachel McAdams. It’s not my favorite Woody Allen movie, but it is classic Woody Allen. Existential angst. Fear of death. Neuroses. Characters who talk at each other. Annoying pedantic know-it-all professors. Mismatched lovers, too passive to search for real love until they have no other choice…
Rachel McAdams (Inez) is outstanding as a spoiled, shallow, self-absorbed, Californicated, materialistic bee-yotch engaged to:
Owen Wilson (Gil), who channels a forty-ish Woody Allen, an all around nebish and wannabe writer visiting Paris. Befuddled. Passive. Depressed. A romantic dreamer trying to write a novel about a nostalgia shop, who doesn’t have the self-confidence to be anything other than a successful hack. That kinda bugged me because I don’t think of good screenwriters as hacks. In this movie, Gil was a very successful hack. He’s a wealthy, award-winning screenwriter who thinks all his screenplays are shit and hates Hollywood. He longs for the golden age of Paris, when a community of creative ex-pats resided there, artists, writers, young filmmakers. Gertrude Stein, Alice B. Toklas, Cole Porter, Ernest Hemingway, Scott and Zelda Fitzgerald, Pablo Picasso… Like casual name-dropping, Woody manages to magically fit them, and many more characters, into the film, in addition to Toulouse Lautrec and Paul Gauguin – but that’s another story (earlier time – L’ belle epoch).
My favorite was Hemingway – he was so pugnacious. Reminded me of my dog. “Anybody wanna fight?”
Here’s what I think… The first third of the movie bored me. Why? It was like watching Woody Allen try to recapture an earlier period in his long and glorious career via Owen Wilson’s character. I found myself irritated. Half-way through the movie, I realized that was the point. The larger theme is this – everybody wants to live in the past – somehow the past was better than the now. And the truth is, maybe it was. But like Gil, ala Allen, says… There aren’t any antibiotics and there’s no Novacaine.
Here’s a good comparison – Woodstock. And Woodstock was actually the swan song. Can you remember a time when rock and roll (and Motown) was better than, say, between the years 1965-1967? A confluence of greats. Maybe you could stretch it to 1969, but my husband says no. I’ll defer to him because he’s older than me and with age comes wisdom. Just kidding honey… about the wisdom part, I mean.
That was Paris in the Twenties. A confluence of greats.
Our kids will look back fondly upon their own golden age. At least I hope so. Probably Lady Gaga and Steve Jobs. You know what I think my son will view as the golden age? Saturday Night Live reruns – the original, and The Simpsons. And maybe Dawn of the Dead.
The one sad truth is this, Woody dates himself with this movie. Writers no longer have to go to Paris to write a novel. They just hit the keyboard running and click upload. But then Midnight In Paris is a fantasy from start to finish so I should be more understanding and expect magic, not miracles.
In the end, the movie was fun. My husband liked it more than I did. But I must admit, I do love Paris.