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December 30, 2020

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Andrew Del Monte

As always, these entries make up an incredible resource for which I am extremely grateful.

I think the only overlap for me is that I also read The Blue Flowers this year, and it was one of the most fun novels I've read in a long time. I'm interested if you read the novel in French or English; I read English and I'd be interested to know how much of Queneau is lost in translation.

Re: I'm Thinking of Ending Things, I thought the film was just decent, but I might be estimating it that way relative to the book, which I read in preparation for the film and... it's one of the shittiest books I've ever read. Hard to think of a reading experience which offered less.

Chris L.

As someone who cherished Eternal Sunshine more than most American-made films of its decade (though I haven't watched it in several years now), I do hope the Ebert folks, or another distinguished outlet, will soon pony up for the lowdown on this retroactive mass devaluation. Maybe that film could even be chalked up as an outlier for its playful romanticism, and thus exempt? I've also yet to watch Ending Things, but can definitely see how the first two movies he directed might lead anyone to the conclusion you've reached. (Still recall Kent Jones's year-end appraisal of Synecdoche: "Disappears up itself almost the moment it begins.")

Sorry if I've diverted a book post with vague special pleading, but this kind of epiphany (if that's the word) is something that fascinates me greatly in film criticism - canons built to be demolished and remade for sometimes-unforeseen reasons. In any event, wishing a blessed New Year to you and yours!

Moose

It's Stella Gibbons not Stella Gibson -- the latter being Gillian Anderson's character on "The Fall"

Glenn Kenny

Moose: Fixed.

Thanks Andrew. Short version of my complaint, which is not unrelated to Kent's (and which I already put in a Facebook comment): "I'm Thinking of Ending Things" definitively laid bare Kaufman's snide contempt for everything not germane to Kaufman and his genius. Every single sultural reference had a singular subtext: "This, which was not created by Charlie Kaufman, is shit."

I don't know how I'll feel about "Eternal Sunshine" if I ever watch it again.

George

"'The Galton Case' Ross Macdonald"

Rediscovering the Lew Archer novels, which I devoured in college, has given me a lot of reading pleasure this year.

And after reading Geoffrey O'Brien's "Hardboiled America," I need to track down all the other noir authors from Macdonald's era.

Phil

How did you enjoy Cops and Robbers, and The Overstory? Two books I've acquired but haven't read yet.

Glenn Kenny

"Cops and Robbers" was fun, not quite God-level Westlake but enjoyable. "The Overstory" began dragging on me after a while. It's worthy and provocative but it keeps reiterating its central point in a way that's tiresome despite your knowledge of the fact that the point needs endless iteration.

Gene

Do you really think the brief discussion of D. F. Wallace conveys the subtext that Wallace is shit?? I don't. I also get the impression that Kaufman thinks quite highly of Rodgers & Hammerstein.

Glenn Kenny

Yeah, I do — I wouldn’t say so if I did not. And lest you think I’m taking things personally or anything, it’s not just the Wallace reference — as I also said, it’s every reference. Including the Rodgers and Hammerstein, maybe especially the Rodgers and Hammerstein; that sequence pretty plainly sneers at the duo’s aspirations in “Oklahoma!”

Gene

I find that interpretation baseless and delusional! The film is suffused with love.

Glenn Kenny

Love for Charlie Kaufman, sure.

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