Friday, February 01, 2008

Friday Grab-bag Blogging


It's Friday.

Damn, that was a long week.

It didn't help that the weather here in Portland has been about like sitting down to a breakfast of cold pea soup and herring tartare; wet, heavy and generally miserable. I'm fighting the headcold that Mojo is just getting over, the Peeper is going though some sort of "kiss my ass, you hairy old Daddy bastard" stage (he knows he can get my goat by calling me "John", so he does. Constantly. And I used to wonder why my parents called each other "mommy" and "daddy" in front of us. Canny parents!) and Missy...well, if Missy would just sleep through the night, she'd be a Perfect Girl.

She is very sweet - I'm going to have to post some "before and after" pictures, because she's so much happier, rounder, sleeker and more toddler-ish. She's lost that lean, frightened orphanage look. She gurgles with laughter - a LOT. She loves her new home, and her family.

I just wish she'd sleep better!

So, while I know that Friday's supposed to be my opportunity to meander on about the big stuff: war, peace, life, death and politics, I just haven't the heart today. I'm cold, tired, want to sleep, the wars in central Asia drag on, my guy John Edwards has given up...I just want to curl up on our lumpy feather couch (did you know that anyone even MADE those anymore?) and watch a good movie.

Instead, what I got was "The Bride Came C.O.D." on TCM late Wednesday.

I can't add much to what the Siren has to say - she's the Diva, the Goddess of Studio Celluloid, and trying to top her would be like fighting with the Jolly Green Giant over frozen peas - except;

1. Jimmy Cageny owned the tough guy role so throughly that I always forget what a terrific actor he was. Here he's given an impossible role: the old chestnut "lovable rogue", trying to top over that ultimate in over-the-top divas, Bette Davis, plus the writing is just awful...and he almost pulls it off. Plus he was a song-and-dance man...there were a lot of things wrong with the old studio system, but you can't deny that it produced some of the most astonishing players to ever chew a scene.
2. Then there's Bette Davis. When I think of Bette, unfortunately I always think of Scary Bette of "Baby Jane" or monumental Bette of "Elizabeth and Essex", or heroic Bette of her fight for her own rights against the studio. Esther Williams, in her ghosted autobio, tells a semi-funny story about herself, Bette, and her and Bette's drunken husbands that makes La Davis look like a bitchy priss (of course, Esther herself comes out of her own story as sort of cluelessly selfabsorbed egotist, so maybe it's a POV thing...) With all those Bettes it's easy to forget that the woman was both sexy as hell AND a great actress.

No one could make the "falling-in-love-in-the-last-desperate-hours-trapped-in-the-mine" scene from TBC C.O.D. work. But, man, does she give it her shot. The expression on Bette's face as she breaks off her kiss, realizing that Cagney's been stuffing his gob while pretending to be trapped there with her, is pure perfection, as is her ferocious rant in which she calls him a "dirty, rotten liar" in an utterly furious voice (when she's just used it as an endearment moments before finding out that he's not married with children so they can be lovers...). Whether it's falling ass-first into a cactus, or being tossed, smacked or shot in the backside with a slingshot...she's a hell of a gorgeous woman - smart, funny, attractive. If I didn't have the perfect wife already and Bette dead, besides...

3. And who the hell, even in Hollywood in 1941, thought that taking two big stars and writing them into a story where they beat hell out of each other, bitch and fight in a truly unlikeable way would be "fun"..?


So the whole C.O.D. Bride is a bit of a whoops. Only if you're really sleepless.

But speaking of magnificent women, if you get the chance try and find "Persepolis" in your local art film house...

This little movie is the film version of the comic (I really hate the term "graphic novel" - it's a fucking comic book; let's not be snooty. It's a comic, a great one, and I like comic books...) written by Marjane Satrapi, about growing up in Iran during the middle of the 20th Century.

Marjane is a lot of things: confused, angry, hopeful, loving, talented, smart...but what she is to the mullahs in Tehran is a woman; source of all things Evil and tempting. So she covers her head with a veil and her dreams with secrecy and tries to find a way to grow up to be the biggest person she can find within herself.
But the book - and the movie - is about more than a little girl becoming a woman. It's about how we all are, and can be, devil and angel both, often within moments of each other. How simple it is to forget that, and see the devilish act and impose the devil on another person - as simple as the person labelling. Satrapi said: "The real war is not between the West and the East. The real war is between intelligent and stupid people." I wish I'd said that.

But I wish I'd drawn "Persepolis". Try and find it, try and see it.

Joe Bob says: check it out.

1 comment:

Meghan H said...

You must have seen Mariane Satrapi's "intelligent people / stupid people" comment in CulturePulp in the A&E section of last week's paper. (online at

I love CulturePulp, if only for the way that it makes Portland look even wackier than it is in real life. Which is tough. Plus, I love a reporter than can tell a story through art.