Friday, August 5, 2011


A. Topkapi — Old heist film that is probably most enjoyable to people using hallucinogens. It opens with a pointlessly psychedelic monologue and has weird kinky undertones, though nothing sexual happens. This is the source not only for the classic Tom Cruise almost-hitting-the-floor stunt in Mission: Impossible (3), but also several of the plot details of Ocean's 11 (3).* It reminds one as well of How to Steal a Million (3) with Audrey Hepburn. On the whole, not a terrible movie, but not that great. I prefer Ocean's 11, which is basically the same movie but with much better characters. However, the woman who plays the ringleader has a fantastic accent and personality. The end didn't have the semi-clever twist I expected. Instead there was no twist at all. (3)

B. Arthur — Rich guy who never grew up wanders around drunk, being told he's cute a lot by prostitutes and Liza Minelli. They decide to get married at the end, but it's unclear how this is going to improve anyone's lot in life, though the tone of the film makes us think that everyone's problems have been solved. The best part of the movie is John Gielgud's bitter sarcasm, as Arthur's butler. Also features Jerry's dad from Seinfeld, playing Liza's father. (2)

C. Some Russian novel endings (spoilers, obviously):
  1. Anna jumps under a train.
  2. Pierre marries Natasha.
  3. Smerdyakov did it, though Ivan feels guilty.
  4. Raskolnikov turns himself in.
  5. Shatov is murdered; Kirilov, Stavrogin and the other major characters commit suicide or get caught, but Pyotr Stepanovich gets away.
  6. Nerzhin gets sent back to hard labor, without his boots if I remember correctly.

[* I realized later that this is not actually true.  The original Ocean's 11 was made a few years earlier.  I had forgotten that the Clooney version (which I have seen) was a remake.]


    1. I can't believe it took you until 78th to post C haha.

    2. Also, I went through the 20 second process of making an account just so I could post on your blog! I betcha *that* doesn't show up on Google Analytics! :)

    3. I play to people's (mis)conceptions of me. This means that people who aren't very sharp will tend to end up with exaggerated views of my tastes or habits. One person I know very well was shocked after a year of close acquaintance to find that I like Wagner. This is because I had downplayed my appreciation for Wagner and hidden it behind comments about how overdone his music is and what a horrible person he is. Kant, you know, is dry and idiotic (I've loved Kant like few other authors I've read. He's brilliant.) Heidegger is just a purveyor of trumped up jargon masquerading as something more than common sense. These criticisms aren't false, and I do accept them to an extent. That is to say, I'm not lying when I treat things I like with sarcasm and disdain. I have the (valuable) ability to see a thing's faults and still love it. I also have the (perhaps unhealthy) habit of trying to play to people where they are. So when a person has questionable taste in music and I've got nothing more prosaic to offer than Mahler Brahms and Wagner, I focus on their faults so as not to seem like the obnoxious classical music snob. Being sympathetic to other people's thoughts and feelings helps things go smoothely, and it helps you get to know them better. Of course, it's a dangerous game because it can potentially turn all social interaction into a kind of self-sacrificial sing-along.

    4. Which is, in the end, very lonely.

    5. Well it's not very nice to insist on putting your conversation partner on quicksand! It might make cocktail party conversations easier, but it can't be healthy for friendships.

      I am, of course, quite as guilty of this as you are. In fact, this sort of behavior ruined a couple of my friendships with people up here.

    6. Bah. Who's insisting? I'm with Zooey Glass.