Sick girl’s guide to the movies.

I believe I am on the mend! Last night around 2am I got my appetite back. I ate

1. Half a salami
2. A quarter box of Saltines
3. A cucumber
4. Two tomatoes
5. Half a bag of lettuce

in that order. This is my normal noshing style! This morning I am still in discomfort but no longer convinced I am knocking on heaven’s door. Maybe we will get to NYC by Christmas morning after all.

One of the benefits of being a shut-in chez moi is D’s DVD collection. Yesterday, in addition to finishing all existent episodes of Veronica Mars, I finally put into action a long-time Plan of mine: to watch all the movies we own that D has already seen but I have not. There are a LOT of them, so this is one of those lifelong projects that are particularly difficult to kick off. But off it is kicked! First I watched Lynch’s The Elephant Man (1980) which is elegant and sad and, I think, a surprisingly earnest attempt to theorize an ethics of spectacle, and ultimately to find the camera’s capacity for kindness.

Then I watched Cronenberg’s Spider (2002), despite D’s warning that it is really depressing, even compared to The Elephant Man. I was like, look at me, I am being eaten alive by a colony of monsters in my throat, I am already completely miserable. He was like, so you just want to wallow? And I was like, yes. So I watched it, and it is really, really sad, but also shockingly beautiful in a non-Cronenbergian way, by which I suppose I mean without the use of insectoid machinery, genitalia in all the wrong places, and a general aesthetic of insides on the outside. All the insides are on the inside in this one, and they are no less demonic for being invisible. Miranda Richardson’s performance is wonderful and reminded me of Judy Davis’s in Naked Lunch (1991), which was the first Cronenberg film I ever saw, and which my friend Jessica and I went back to the Little Theater in Rochester at least once a week to rewatch for as long as the theater ran it. I know I’ve been scoping too many fashion blogs lately because I was hyper-attuned to “palettes,” like for example there’s this one shot as Ralph Fiennes is creeping around the decrepit halfway house where he’s staying, and the walls are all peeling paint in plum and slate blue, and there are these two unwelcoming vinyl chairs on the left side of the screen in a dark orangey red, and I kept thinking, I would wear this.

I don’t know what’s on the roster for today, but since it certainly isn’t driving over the river and through the woods, there’s a good chance there’s more gorgeous misery coming up. I also need to finish Moby Dick. I finally got around to reading it (I KNOW!) and it is sublime. Did you know Melville is funny? He is funny! It is a revelation.

4 thoughts on “Sick girl’s guide to the movies.

  1. I’m glad you’re on the mend. Always wanted to read Melville. I’ve got a copy of Moby Dick around here somewhere. Maybe after the holidays, I’ll find that box and unpack it…. 🙂

    • Oh, do. It is surprising in all the best ways. Though some of the whale-hunting scenes I do find kind of wrenching—it is a book full of strange, violent love.

  2. I saw Elephant Man in the cinema when it was first released, and I’ve never ever forgotten it. John Hurt. Oh my god. He should have won the Oscar that year instead of De Niro. (Of course, I’ve never seen Raging Bull, so I reserve the right to change my mind.)

  3. I think Moby Dick is a book that rewards the reader in a thousand unpredictable ways, it is sublimely funny in an oblique way and beautifully violent.

    I have to re-read it soon. I wish that I could be reading it for the first time again.

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