April-Showered Reading, Watching

Reading Shakespeare and then Borges and then stories by Walter de la Mare, whose works are inaccessible by the local purveyor of used tomes, Book Haven. Watching, among other things, two films by David Lynch that I’d already seen.

Akrasia is strong with this one.

So much rain, it seemed. But not really. In fact, there was at least a week with practically no rain when I started riding MTB again. So dry that there was a fire warning.

Holes (2003)
A Disney film starring Shia Lebouef (Behold the meat?), Sigourney Weaver, and Jon Voight. Based on a book with the same name that Lucian read for school, and the reason why I borrowed it on DVD from Netflix (yes, I’m one of those people).
An entertaining yarn.

Endeavour (2012-present), S1E1
A PBS Masterpiece Mystery series about an Oxford dropout? that becomes a detective in the same town.

Still from the 1923 Harold Lloyd film "Safety Last!"
Safety Last! (1923): the feckless central character (Harold Lloyd) beginning to scale the side of a building.

Safety Last! (1923)
There are other Harold Lloyd films, I understand.
— Als, “Buddy Ebsen,” “A Pryor Love”
Having watched a half hour of Pryor’s recorded stand up from the 1980s, found on Netflix streaming, now I have some frame of reference thanks to Als. Of course, you know me, now I feel like I need to go back and watch it. The whole thing.

Endeavor, S1E2
— Borges, “Garden of the Forking Path

— Borges, “Funes, The Memorious”

— Borges, “The Shape of the Sword
— Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 1, 15 pp.
Read this last year, but now have found the second edition of the Arden Shakespeare’s Henry IV, Part 2, so I have an excuse to reread it. And it’s glorious.

— Shakespeare, 1H4, 20 pp.

Bill Pullman and Patricia Arquette in a scene in "Lost Highway"
Lost Highway (1997): Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette. Photograph: Lost Highway/Kobal/Shutterstock

Endeavour, S1E3
The Making of Lost Highway (1997)
This and the next being special features added to the Criterion Collection edition of Lost Highway (1997)
David Lynch on Lost Highway (1997)
David Lynch is undoubtedly a weirdo. Thank God for David Lynch.

Promotional image of the central characters of the British television show "Endeavour"
The primary cast members of the early seasons of the television show Endeavour

— Shakespeare, 1H4, 20 pp.

Conflict (1945), last hour
Sydney Greenstreet and Bogart together again, after The Maltese Falcon (1941). This time Bogart is no gumshoe.

A stunning 1936 portrait of Joan Crawford in black and white.
A ravishing Joan Crawford in the 1930s, before her hagsploitation

Strait-Jacket (1964), last hour.
Ax murdering, wacky Joan Crawford, as well as Leif Erickson and a younger George Kennedy (before he’d make his mark with Thunderbolt and Lightfoot [1974] and Cool Hand Luke [1967]) and a lovely Diane Baker.
A strange, surprisingly bloody film with more than a few nods to Hitchcock but ultimately steering a more prosaic course.
Walter de la Mare, “The Almond Tree”, 21 pp.
Author’s discovery grâce à the NYRB. Trying to find things for Lucian to read, among others.
Endeavour, S1E4 Season finale.

Utopia (1950)
One of the later Laurel and Hardy films. I watched it mainly because when I turned it on they were planning — with a few others — how they were going to govern their new little island home. In other words, a little Crusoe-esque natural rights theorizing. You can guess how it ends.
— NYRB on the OLC, the BBC

Endeavour, S2E1–3

Still from the 2006 Peter Jackson film "King Kong" featuring King Kong and a dinosaur profoundly resembling the Tyrannosaurus Rex

King Kong (2005)
After making smaller gonzo horror films and at least one serious film, Peter Jackson was given the keys to the Lord of the Ring kingdom and consequently released that trilogy (2001–3). After he’d concluded those, he made King Kong, a film already remade several times. Jackson’s palimpsest stars Andy Serkis, Naomi Watts, Jack Black, and Adrien Brody.
Would that none of the characters would have ever opened their mouths. This would have been an excellent silent film!
Naomi Watts is quite good here, especially in her scenes with the beast; otherwise, meh. As it should, the real stars are the computer-generated spectacles of King Kong, and T. Rex, and all of the other CGI creatures.

Endeavour, S2E4
— Finished 1H4

— Walter de La Mare, “Miss Duveen”
This is a pretty sad, a little funny story. Boyhood and mad people.
Endeavour, S3E1

Endeavour, S3E2
Lost Highway (1997)
Directed by David Lynch, starring Bill Pullman, Patricia Arquette, Balthazar Getty and Robert Blake.
Do you even need to say it’s campy? It had been one of my favorite Lynch films, perhaps until seeing it this time. This time I appreciated how much nudity there was — and by itself there is nothing wrong with that, I think. But nudity is never simply present. It always has a purpose (even if the purposes are unknown to its authors!).
Watching this film provoked me to scan through Luce Irigaray’s “Women on the Market” although I’m not sure that fits to describe this film. The point there is in part that women are interchangeable and a means of exchange. But in LH there is only one woman. It’s the men that are interchangeable, all inadequate.
Something profoundly untimely about including Robert Blake, who would only a few years later murder his own wife. Or sadly commonplace. Which is your poison: optimism clothed in wonder or cynicism?

Endeavour, S3E3
— Shakespeare, Henry IV, Part 2 (hereafter 2H4), 10 pp.

Endeavour, S3E4

1H4, Appendix of historical sources

Endeavour, S4E1
— Walter Raleigh, “The Passionate Man’s Pilgrimage…” from The Metaphysical Poets (TMP)
— Masters, Spoon River Anthology, 5 pp.

An image by Giovanni Battista Piranesi of a Roman seaport
One of the products of the imagination of Giovanni Battista Piranesi. From the Met’s collection: http://www.metmuseum.org/art/collection/search/338737

— NYRB article by Fintan O’Toole on the Trump freak show trial, Giovanni Battista Piranesi
Robert Southwell, “Marie Magdalens Complaint at Christs Death”, “The Burning Babe”, and “New Heaven, New Warre” from TMP