They shoot horses, don't they?

November 28, 2011

One of the reasons I stopped blogging here for a while was because I was finding it so hard to think of something to say after I watched a really good film. I'd know it was good, I'd feel completely moved and I'd want to share my feelings here, but I wouldn't have the words. That happened to me again today after watching They Shoot Horses, Don't They?

I don't even know how to describe it. It was so incredibly sad and heart-wrenching. The acting was beyond good. I'm a big fan of Jane Fonda and Susannah York, and I've seen quite a lot of their films, but I've never been more impressed with their acting than I was today. They were so raw, but not over the top. They were just so REAL. Here are two actresses that are very familiar to me as stars and personalities, and they were so engrossed in their roles, so accurate in their portrayals of tired, exhausted and desperate women, that I completely forgot they were acting.

If you don't like depressing movies, definitely avoid this one. But otherwise, I highly encourage you to check it out. Although I don't recommend watching it when you're feeling particularly down in the dumps... it is seriously downbeat, and after watching it I felt pretty mopey for a good couple hours! Incredibly in awe of what I had just seen and overwhelmed by the amazing acting, but mopey nonetheless.

Celluloid and Canvas - James Mason

November 27, 2011

As part of my lifelong mission to convince the world that James Mason was a lovable sweetheart in real life, and not at all like the creeps he portrayed in movies such as Lolita and Georgy Girl, I present this fact: James Mason loved cats. So much so that he wrote a book about them with his wife. (Cue simultaneous aww's!) "The Cats in Our Lives" is a little tribute to all of the cats that Mason & his wife, Pamela Kellino, had known. Mason actually illustrated the book, as well!

It's been out of print for some time, and sat on my amazon wishlist for years without ever ending up in my shopping cart. Its rarity seemed to always go hand in hand with a pretty steep price. So I was absolutely over-the-moon with excitement when my brother gifted me a copy for my birthday this month!! I didn't even know until I opened the book that Mason had illustrated it! As soon as I saw all of the beautiful pen & ink drawings of furry felines, I blurted out "I have to scan this for my blog!"

And so here they are, all of the illustrations in "The Cats in Our Lives" by James Mason! If this doesn't convince you that he was a sweet old chap, I don't know what will! ;)

fanatic guilt

November 18, 2011

As I walk by my record collection I can see his eyes peering up at me, hypnotizing me, calling me to pick up his record and listen. I shift my focus to avoid eye contact, grab my Marianne Faithfull Broken English album and quickly, guiltily, place it over his. I can't stand to look at him right now.

Such is the anguish of fanatic guilt; when you spend months, years (or in my case almost a decade) obsessed with a celebrity to the point of embarrassment, only to have that obsession start to fade. There was a time when I listened to nothing --and I mean, nothing-- but Frank Sinatra. Dean Martin's voice would only seep out of my speakers if it was accompanied by Frank's in a duet. The only way that a David Bowie song would reach my eardrums is if his music was playing in a supermarket or my parents had popped in one of his cds in the car and I could not escape. I was the most fanatic of fans, to the point that his face was plastered around my room, screen-printed on my t-shirts and taped to my first cell phone as a make-shift case.

Every year on December 12th my family and I would celebrate his birthday by watching a double feature of his movies and a concert while eating pasta topped with sauce that I made using Sinatra's recipe. For every Christmas from 2000 to about 2009, my presents were entirely Sinatra-themed. I relished Christmas shopping because it was the one time of year when I could hear his voice loftily floating through the air without having put it there myself.

And so I felt a bit of a sting the other day when my mom recalled an event from a few years ago and added "that was during your Sinatra phase."

Was it really a phase? And was it really over? I sulked a bit and marched up to my bedroom. As I sat on my bed I noticed a Pogues record on my turntable. A quick glance at the art adorning my walls would prove that I'm a fan of Anna Karina, Giulietta Masina, Louise Brooks, Sunday in New York, Dirk Bogarde and Jane Fonda but you'd never guess that I like Sinatra. The only presence he maintains in my bedroom is a magnet on my bulletin board, tucked under a photo of my cat, and a pile of records that haven't been touched in years.

I can see his eyes peering up at me, hypnotizing me, calling me to pick up his album and listen. But, wracked with the guilt of a fan who has let her interest slip away, I can't stand to look at him right now.