Last month I spent a lovely evening in the backyard of good friends in Prague. They were hosting a film night on the big screen with popcorn and the whole shebang. It felt just like Austin; the only thing missing were the cacophonous cicadas.
Our friends’ teenage daughter picked the film for the evening–Gran Torino. Which I’d not yet seen but when everyone says *you must*, right down to a Czech teenager, I know I’m missing something.
Gran Torino is set pretty close to where I grew up and the background subject is the ever-fast-changing racial terrain of the ex-Motor City (did I say ex?). I understood all the background jokes. (Yep, you were an eyesore if you dared drive a Toyota in the 80s. I came from a Ford family and a school full of motor company kids.)
This movie didn’t make it to my top 10 films of the 2000s, but it showed up in the rather long list that I edited down. The thing about making top film/music/whatever lists, especially of recent things, is you just don’t know how these things will wear over time. Garden State was certainly a harbinger of things to come–the quirky indie romance comedy with a dash of realism and lo-fi of-the-moment soundtrack. Read more
This is not exactly the time of year that people do their top 10s, but lately I’ve been taking inventory. Our 8-year anniversary is nearing, our house is turning into a huge potential garage sale, and I’m getting very near 40. No, it’s not a mid-life crisis, but it just so happens that decades line up with my life, having been conceived at the very beginning of the 70s. Naturally, I think in decade patterns: my adolescence in the 70s, my teens in the 80s, my 20s in the 90s.
My romance with Derek started with a film date on my 31st birthday. We’d taken a late train into downtown Prague to catch Amélie in a deserted theater. The posters of that famously pixie-charmed face had been plastered everywhere for a month. She was an odd heroine for an ominous time. The film was released just a few weeks after 9/11. I’d also loved the director’s other films (Delicatessen, City of Lost Children), but they were fairly surreal and obsessed in a gothic way, and this seemed like something new. Read more