AND… IN THEIR ONLY LIVE APPEARANCE EVER…
THE TWO WISEST, CRANKIEST GUYS ON TWITTER…
PETER STEVENSON AND JIM WINDOLF
Happy Ending, 9/17, 8pm
WHY YES THIS IS the most fascinating thing I’ve read.
So because I couldn’t see the Todd Solondz movie or the Pat Tillman documentary (and because I got, too late, a hot tip that The Switch (yes, the second genetic rape movie of the year (after Splice)) was weirdly and unexpectedly delightful, which, ?), I went at last to see Eat Pray Love.
(First can I note that the best thing in theaters right now is still…. the trailer for The Social Network? Man. Second best trailer ever?*)
Ryan Murphy’s first film, Running with Scissors was, more or less, a monster bomb? It didn’t even get released overseas, and pretty much no one saw it in America, and somehow I quite liked it despite some weird faults (also it had a terrible epilogue and was a little too “quirkily” shot), and even though I’m “against” the book. It was a great Alec Baldwin movie and it had a great Gabrielle Union part, which, Team Gabrielle Union.
And in Eat Pray Love I feel like the way Murphy shoots has really evolved and gotten sophisticated and is a lot strange and great. While the stuff in Rome is a little bit movie-Rome, the way Bali and New York and most of India is shot is unusual and fantastic-looking and not-cliched and the way he shoots actors is really odd and extended and leisurely. I like the way he makes men look a little ugly!
And I didn’t have those quibbles that other people seem to have had. There’s stuff they don’t bother to tell you, because why should they—the whole marriage isn’t sketched out, and you have to take her word on the divorce, largely, but also this might be a movie that makes a bit more sense to people who are older and have been divorced. Divorce can sneak up on you, I’ll tell ya.
(The thing that I don’t like about this whole EPL thing is the mind of the person who will come back and make a narrative out of it. (That person is surely a narcissist, and, to my mind, there’s probably not much “true” about the story.) I don’t trust memoirs much, and I don’t trust people’s accounts of themselves very often. So I have no problem looking at this movie as fiction, which it undoubtedly is, given the tale’s trip through more than one writer at this point, a game of telephone. When regarded as fiction, it makes absolute sense to me and it doesn’t trouble me in the slightest, not even politically, really. I mean guess what, here I am typing on my Tumblr while people are probably starving down the street.)
I also think that people rebel against spending a long time on a woman’s examining of herself (err, sorry, that sounds weird!). But I think that’s something new and honestly I think we’ve never really been exposed historically to the idea of a woman piloting a narrative that has to do with working out what she wants.
One thing I liked about EPL is that it contains an oppositely-expressed but shared viewpoint of And the Heart Says Whatever, which is a memoir that stubbornly sticks to the truth of “I don’t know why I wanted that.” (“Whatever.”) And there’s a tiny place where Eat Pray Love and and Emily’s book overlap, which occurs in far more hyper-dramatic form with Julia Robert (obviously), where she’s beating her chest and crying “I don’t know why I feel cold inside” basically, whereas in Emily’s book, this feeling of blockage and confusion about why one does or wants what one wants or what have you is matter-of-factly and appropriately brought out, shown and dispatched (and kept real). But I like that this experience is brought forward in both of these, because it’s an important moment in people’s lives! The feeling of I can’t connect, because (I project from my own experience here) the emotional broadband is all jammed up, like when you’re trying to read the Times online and you forgot you were illegally downloading a bunch of new albums.
Maybe there are a few things that help me enjoy this movie and see something valuable even (or at least “relatable”) in it. I’m not a person who feels a spiritual void, I did most of my angst and searching and finding pretty early on and I’m comfortable with whatever void remains.
And also I know both a lot of people who’ve gone overseas exploring (it’s cheap, by the way! I’ve said it before, but if I have to do unexpected unemployment all over again, I’ll take my tiny bit of savings and immediately flee the country for somewhere where the dollar goes a long way).
And I’ve known a lot of very wealthy people. (This is relevant, as the wealth of Liz Gilbert, to whatever degree she is “actually” wealthy, hangs over the film.) Some of them are narcissists or troubled or myopic (I have had millionaires complain to me about their money problems! While I was, you know, getting evicted! And then they’ve split the dinner bill with me!) but in the end I don’t think I really believe that rich people are any different than anyone else. They get faced with the emptiness of consumption and choice in a way that people can’t handle, and they fail to be good people often. What would you do if you didn’t have to work, or didn’t have to worry about money? Answering that question, or not even recognizing it is a question, goes really wrong for a lot of people, which is why we think the rich as a class are terrible. (Yes. They often act terribly). It’s not something people are equipped to do. (See also: lottery winners.) This is one of the reasons that I think capitalism as we know it doesn’t work; the human mind is often literally incapable of handling the hoarding of wealth, and it’s bad for everyone—particularly, you know, the people the wealth is hoarded from. Also people can shove their $60,000 fishtanks in their asses, seriously.
But that’s what I mean about the mental illness of money. If you have it, even a little bit of it, 999 times out of 1000 you absolutely will spend it wrong.
But in the end, I just don’t believe people are that different from each other.
People just aren’t that empathetic or thoughtful or intentional. After the movie (and at the end, of course I thought “Well I look forward to their three-month relationship and eventual breakup,” though that apparently did not happen in “real life,” wherever that is from here) we went for a burger and there were these terrible little people who were all in a tizzy because someone had touched this girl’s purse and then the girl had slapped the purse-toucher or something and they were all agitated and trying to decide if they were going to get into a rumble about it or walk away and “be cool” and go off to a bar. They were basically like animals, pacing in a cage. And these other young people were going to go out to a bar. “But you don’t want to sweat out your beer,” one girl said to another girl. And I was like, “God, these people are so much worse than Julia Roberts in that movie.”
Then when we got home, Party Monster was on TV (in which Chloe Sevigny looks radiant (and then distinctly not at all radiant)). What a great look at how people got famous (or micro-famous! Snarf!) before the Internet became an easier, lamer route. People don’t even have to put on crazy outfits any more.
I just wanted to someplace to mention that I had all of the feelings today. Including the eight “advanced emotions.” (I think that includes “nervous hunger”?) Or did I? WikiAnswers says: “There are over 1000 feelings in the world everyone has atleast 25 feelings a day1.” Yahoo! Answers India says:
And that is marked as a best answer, so.
“Due to individual differnces,diffrnt peple feel diff. amount of certain emotions r diff. bt all r part of- happins sadns jealous infriority love hate etc„„„,”