Depressed in spite of good entertainment.
Saw "Ghost World", directed by Terry Zwigoff (finally). I was surprised by how much I liked it. I'd read the Daniel Clowes book on which it was based, and, frankly, hated it because I hated the main character, Enid (portrayed in the film by Thora Birch). In the film, she's more humanized-she's not just constantly mean to everyone. And it's Birch's performance that really sells the whole thing-she's absolutely terrific as Enid. Steve Buscemi is on hand, too, playing the twitchy guy (OK, that was unfair). Buscemi plays Seymour, someone who comes into Enid's life through her cruelty, but who ultimately ends up playing a major role for her because he's so genuine. Zwigoff, making his fiction-movie debut (he had previously done a pair of documentaries, including 1994's "Crumb") proves himself quite adept with working with actors.
Then I had the experience that depressed me. For only the second time in my life (as far as I can remember) I had a meal in a restaurant by myself. It was wholly disheartening-not the restaurant, it was one of the T.G.I. Bennigan's-types-but the company. (Yes, that is the chorus of "How Soon Is Now?" you hear starting in the background.)
Anyway, went back to the theatre afterward to see "The Last Castle", directed by Rod Lurie. Watching it, I realized that, except for a bit of "Sneakers" on broadcast, I'd never seen a Robert Redford movie. This one isn't bad. There are a few holes, to be sure-Robin Wright Penn is pretty much wasted in a one-scene cameo-but it's otherwise all right, with moments of cheering, booing and excitement. Additionally, it may be the only prison movie in recent memory where the omnipresent spectre of rape isn't a major factor. Lurie, a West Point graduate, former film critic, and director of last year's "The Contender", hits all his marks well and makes the film look good, but ultimately it's a bit empty. See it, but don't rush.
Today's Link Of The Day is "Wait Wait…Don't Tell Me!" a news quiz show on NPR produced out of WBEZ in Chicago. "Wait Wait…" is a bit odd. Journalists, writers, and other bits of intellectual effluvium (John McCain has been a guest more than once) answer the rather comical current events questions created by the show's host, Peter Segal. It's usually a really fun time. http://www.npr.org/programs/waitwait/
10/21/2001 4:30 AM