Will I ever forget the month of July 2021? It won’t be for what I read or viewed.
— Patrick Leigh Fermor, Abducting a General: The Kreipe Operation in Crete, Ch. 5-6
— Galileo Galilei, Dialogue Concerning The Two Chief World Systems, 15 pp.
— Point Blank (1967), 30 minutes
— Abducting, Ch. 7
— Patrick Leigh Fermor, Abducting a General: The Kreipe Operation in Crete, Ch. 8
— Abducting, Ch. 9
— Greyhound (2020): Stars Tom Hanks, others. Directed by someone. About the maiden voyage of a destroyer captain leading a convoy of ships across the Atlantic, during the second World War. Pretends to be about a little more than that: Hanks’ character’s love for Elizabeth Shue’s character; Hank’s character’s Christian zeal. But that never develops.
— Shop Around the Corner (1940): I watched You’ve Got Mail (1998) many times before I ever saw this Ernest Lubitsch classic, so much so that I’d even developed a reputation among my snobby intellectual friends that I liked a popular culture film! The indignity!
Two things stand out on this viewing: (1) I cannot fail to notice how Kralik is mercilessly toying with Klara, despite the fact that he loves her. It’s really funny and I think emotionally acceptable because of the way that she eviscerates him when they “accidentally” meet in the cafe. But still.
(2) Klara eviscerates Kralik. Maybe that work is not strong enough: vivisections? Doesn’t roll off the tongue. She’s really brutal. And even Meg Ryan’s character version doesn’t achieve the same effect.
— Abducting, Ch. 9
— Dialogue, 5 pp.
— Philip Roth, Portnoy’s Complaint, 10 pp.: My thinking being, you know, I haven’t read much by Roth (only Indignation and not this novel, which I’m told is important). And it’s so bawdy that this is rather hilarious.
— I Think You Should Leave With Tim Robinson (2021), #1.1-5: It seems like it’s a lot of embarrassment humor (where a character persists in doing something that is visibly embarrassing to all of the rest of the characters, despite their efforts to ignore it, as well as to the viewer), but there is always this point at which, just when the trajectory of the humor seems clear, it turns left.
Like in the episode with the opinion sample group, where an old man who is at first unintelligible starts harping on another member of the group for not being man enough. Instead of everyone being uncomfortable with the old man, the rest of the group joins in.
— Portnoy’s Complaint, 10 pp.
— NYRB on The Book of Charlatans and Jhumpa Lahira’s newest Italian novel
— Point Blank (1967), remainder: The more you look at Lee Marvin, the more you wonder how anyone could find him attractive. I suspect Angie Dickinson was holding her nose in the two scenes in which she was first with Mal (John Vernon) and then Walter (Marvin).
— Portnoy’s Complaint, 10 pp.
— NYRB on James Merrill, gun violence
— The Glory Stompers (1967): It’s hard to say if Dennis Hopper plays the most important role in the film, but he’s undoubtedly the biggest name in this film. It also stars Jody McCrea, who is the son of the famous film star Joel McCrea. McCrea will always be remembered for his character in Sullivan’s Travels (1941) (I’m probably more partial to The Palm Beach Story, but for reasons that do not reflect the importance or aesthetic value of the film). His son will not be remembered for his role in Glory Stompers. Which is to his benefit.
— Finished Abducting
— The Conversation (1975). Directed by Francis Ford Coppola. Stars Gene Hackman, others. A tremendous film.
— John Wick (2014). Directed by Chad Stahelski. Stars Keanu Reeves, Michael Nyquist, Ian McShane, and Willem Dafoe. Is John Wick just cool?
— Dialogue, 20 pp.
— Portnoy’s Complaint, 20 pp.
— Dialogue, 30 pp.
— James M. Cain, Love’s Lovely Counterfeit, 10 pp.
— The Hot Rock (1975). Directed by Peter Yates. Stars Robert Redford, George Segal, and others. A picaresque comedy-drama.
— Full Metal Jacket (1987). Directed by Stanley Kubrick. Stars Matthew Modine, Vincent D’Onofrio. Vincent D’Onofrio was incredible. Watching this film was an important moment in my film education. I wouldn’t have seen it in the theaters, but I probably saw it on VHS within the next four or five years.
— Iron Eagle (1986), last hour. Directed by someone whose name cannot deserve being associated with it. Stars Jason Gedrick, Louis Gossett Jr. The gods of good film have cursed all involved in this film.
— NYRB on Julius Hemphill, Christine Smallwood’s The Life of the Mind
— NYRB on JFK, Eula Biss
— Love’s Lovely Counterfeit, 25 pp.
— Friedrich Schiller, The Robbers and Wallenstein, Introduction
— The Hit (1984). Directed by Stephen Frears. Stars Terrence Stamp, John Hurt, Tim Roth. Everyone is quite good. Terence Stamp seems like the primary protagonist of the film, but in fact Tim Roth and John Hurt are quite good. A sort of road movie.
— Dialogue, 10 pp.
— Love’s Lovely Counterfeit, 35 pp.
— Marnie (1964), first hour. Directed by Alfred Hitchcock. Stars Tippi Hedren, Sean Connery, Diane Baker. The recent book I read on Vertigo repeatedly referred to this film, which I’d seen before but largely discounted. Mainly, I think I feel the same: underwhelmed.
— Marnie, finished
— NYRB on the Tiruvaymoli, strongmen, 200 years of The Guardian, Chips Channon
— Cain, 15 pp.