In which Maria Bustillos and David Roth venture to the movies to see the latest by Terrence Malick. It is called To the Wonder and it is 113 minutes long.
David Roth: There's a thing that happens to me watching Terrence Malick movies. I marvel at the way they look—which I know is a novel response, but I'm a unique dude—and kind of chuckle to myself at the involuted, ponderous what-if-God-was-one-of-us philosophical stuff. And then I walk outside secure in my sophistication and am instantly struck by how THE WORLD IS SO RICH AND BEAUTIFUL HOLY SHIT.
Maria Bustillos: Yes, first things first: I nearly died of the BEAUTY. Every [...]
David Roth: So, tell me again, please, how you found this novel, The Last Western? I know how I found it, which was by you giving me a copy and telling me it was important that I read it.
David Roth: It was like Natalie Portman's "The Shins will change your life" moment in Garden State, except you are shorter, smarter and less pointy than she is, and I am marginally less grumbly-sad than Zach Braff, and you were right and also The Shins couldn't conceivably really change anyone's life.
Maria Bustillos: A guy named Mark Harris went all crazy over it on this listserv I was on back [...]
Maria Bustillos: I'm trying to parse all these Metacritic reviews of The Master. Mainly they seem to be saying, "I hate it, but I think I'm supposed to. A masterpiece."
David Roth: David Thomson, in the New Republic, had a great first line. Which was "Well, at least it's pretentious."
MB: Yay? I'll say this, whoever reconstructed M. Phoenix's shoulders deserves a special Oscar. His bod is all Cubist, suddenly.
DR: It seems to me like this: a fine director made a mostly perfect-looking film, with an interesting musical score and fine performances. Except that it is also totally inert, with no real characters one can or could [...]
Here is a tweet that Gawker writer Max Read retweeted a few days ago.
— max read (@max_read) May 23, 2012
So, sort of a backstory, to begin. Last week brought us two Internet rumpuses regarding and/or demonstrating an especially privileged kind of blindness/obliviousness/ridiculousness. One was TED curator Chris Anderson's flabbergasting decision to withdraw a TED speech about wealth inequality on the grounds that it was "too political." The other, John Scalzi's head-patting essays on Kotaku, comparing [...]
David: So, had your mind blown in a very understated way by any octogenarian restaurant critics lately?
Maria: Yes, and marveled at their sangfroid, also.
David: If we will all remember this past week as the one in which Marilyn Hagerty, elderly journalist in Grand Forks, North Dakota, became famous for a very factual review of a new Olive Garden—and was then punished for it by having to talk to Piers Morgan on CNN, as she will be tonight—it's still a little unclear how she and we got here. That is, I'm still trying to figure out what The Internet thought about all this. It had some [...]
David: I need a haircut, Maria. I look like a duckling right now.
Maria: And a stiff drink, if you listened to that radio interview with Caitlin Flanagan, like we were supposed to. Evidently the women of America had calmed down too much since her last book, To Hell With All That, caused such a ruckus over what was widely perceived as the author's throwback and essentialist anti-feminist ideology. So not content to get people in a stir with Atlantic Monthly and New Yorker appearances, she's written a new one, Girl Land. Even the cover of which is pretty provoking.
All these moms are fine [...]
David Roth: A film about Sigmund Freud and Carl Jung and ostensibly weird sex, from a director who has spent his career making films about how terrified/fascinated/aroused/disgusted/disgusto-roused humans are by their bodies and what they do and the horrible things that come out of them. So why, Maria Bustillos, would the two things I remember most from A Dangerous Method be 1) how cruel my female friends were about Keira Knightley's breasts and 2) the nagging question of whether David Cronenberg is trying to make interesting movies anymore?
Maria Bustillos: A film worth seeing, I thought—though not one worth talking about until after, so I'm glad we waited. I [...]
David Roth: Let's talk about how Adam Gopnik feels about French food.
Maria Bustillos: OMG HE REALLY LIKES IT.
DR: Which is perhaps the least surprising thing one could learn about Adam Gopnik. I guess if it were somehow to be revealed that he is blown away—to the point where he thinks you might also find it fascinating—by some things his kids said at the Museum of Natural History, that might be less surprising. But I'm kind of with him on this one, to a great extent. Who doesn't like food?
MB: Well, you! That is to say, I have noticed that awful food, at least, exerts a [...]