Wednesday, December 22, 2010
There are a couple of days until xmas comes around again. I'm drinking borrowed wine.
But I'm not miserable despite the expectations of some. I've spent the day writing cards to some family and watching two films: Chaplin and The Wonder Boys. The link? Robert Downey Jr. of course.
What a phenom. I hadn't seen Chaplin in quite a few years. It's hurried along in some ways. The manner in which films were made during Chaplin's rise is a fascinating start to an ubiquitous industry. Downey honors Chaplin in performance and complexity. It seems he was not garrulous offscreen, either. Quarrelsome, devout to the point of stubborn, and absolutely a workaholic.
It's xmas, I'm out of Pittsburgh, but if and when I need to visit and cannot afford to (and I almost never can) I elect to watch Wonder Boys. It is set in my former modest city of former glory. They were smart enough to film it there, too. It honors the place so well. The rooms, the light, the cramped misery of architecture, the suffocating feeling of clumsy inward terror... All of that adds up to charm. The film gets it and makes me miss it. Sewickly and Braddock are both mentioned. These two neighborhoods could't be more diametrically opposed.
It isn't to say that Wonder Boys is so close to my heart because of any of that, though. It's a fantastic film on its own merit. Michael Douglas, Rob Downey Jr., Rip Torn, Frances McDormand; this cast is marvelous.
Chaplin makes me wish I were a performer. Wonder Boy makes me wish I were a writer. But my ability to write is just a performance, my desire to perform not worth writing about.
Anyway, I miss you in your own way, Pittsburgh. Your cheap drinks. Your choked lungs. Your insulated sense of the world...