Doodad Kind of Town

"Doodad Kind of Town" Celebrates a Birthday!
March 12, 2008, 12:16 am
Filed under: Uncategorized

It was one year ago this week that Doodad Kind of Town debuted in the blogosphere.

Although it was inspired by a line from one of my favorite movies (see my banner above), it was not initially a movie blog. It started as a collection of assorted musings and observations on everything from designer shoes and makeup to television news and Fourth of July parades.

But even when the posts started about something else, they tended to come back to movies. (See the parade post above – it started out being about the fourth of July and wound up as a review of “Sicko.”)

It became clear that what I really wanted to blog about was movies – movies I loved, movies I hated, movies that meant something to me or disappointed me. And I wanted to write about them in a very personal way.

So, in November, Doodad Kind of Town officially found its niche.

Movies were the first thing I ever really wanted to write about. As a young teenager, I used to sit at our kitchen table after the dinner dishes were cleared away and pound out reviews on my mom’s old, battered manual typewriter. No one else much read them, but I loved putting my impressions into words, and I dreamed that someday I’d be read. (My idols were Gene Siskel and Pauline Kael. Really.)

Sometimes when I write this blog, I feel like I am still that same movie-crazed kid pounding on the typewriter. Except, now, when I write reviews, they actually get read by other like-minded movie lovers. And, best of all, those movie lovers share their thoughts and enthusiasms with me in return. Being part of a movie-blogging community is a great, fun, rewarding experience I could never have imagined in my pre-internet adolescence.

So.. what do I have to offer the community today?

I blush to tell you that I have not seen an entire movie this week. I have been unable to finish watching two movies that I rented (for very different reasons), and fallen asleep for a good 15 minutes in the middle of another. (I blame that on having to get up too early on the first day of Daylight Savings Time.) So here are some “partial” reviews:

“The Duchess of Langeias”: Not only did I stop watching this movie after about an hour, I managed to fall asleep twice during the hour I was watching – maybe three times, I lost count. And this was several days before we set the clocks forward. It’s from French director, Jacques Rivette, none of whose films I have seen before, although I can identify his as part of the French “New Wave” movement of the 50s and early 60s.

Gilliaume Depardieu plays an 19th century French soldier who falls into obsessive love with a noblewoman who frankly doesn’t merit the intensity of his obsession. As played by Jeanne Balibar, Deparidieu’s love object is neither pretty nor interesting, but rather an ordinary looking, chilly, snippy bitch. There are lots of scenes with a broody, gloomy Depardieu sitting beside Balibar and telling her stories in which she feigns interest before dismissing him coldly. I’m no slouch at reading subtitles, but I could never figure out what the hell his stories were about. There was ZERO chemistry between them, and I had no stake whatsoever in the outcome of their relationship. It was a very easy movie to turn off, even after paying $6.99 for it through OnDemand. From what I’ve read online, audiences have walked out of theaters showing this film in droves, so I feel vindicated in my complete disregard for it. I may have missed something, but I’m not going back to find out.

Henry, Portrait of a Serial Killer: My brother has been telling me about this one for years. “It’s really disturbing, but they don’t really show any violence,” is what he told me.

Well, bro’ must have a faulty memory, ’cause there is some violence in this film, although what I saw, admittedly, wasn’t too graphic. But then, I turned it off just before the one-hour mark, when Henry and his pal are initiating the murder of an entire family and capturing it all on video tape. That’s when it all got too creepy and awful for me. (Disclosure: When it comes to violent movies, I’m a total wuss; e.g. -during most of the shower room fight in “Eastern Promises,” I was holding my coat over my eyes.)

“Henry…” is actually a very good movie, and – as my brother will tell you – most of its creepiness is in what it withholds rather than what it shows. For example, you see Henry finishing his lunch at a diner and walking away – then there is an abrupt cut to a shot of a murdered waitress and cook draped over the counter. Michael Rooker, looking very much like the young John Savage, plays Henry in a understated, unspectacular way- with no apparent intensity or craziness- and he’s all the more terrifying for it. Some day, I may steel myself for watching the last half-hour.

Miss Pettigrew Lives for a Day: Few things are as grating to me as watching a contemporary actress try to pull off a 30’s screwball comedienne role. I love Amy Adams, but even she can’t quite get into that Carole Lombard/Katherine Hepburn/Irene Dunne madcap groove, although she tries with all her might. Her forced giddiness in the first 20 minutes of so of “Miss Pettigrew…” wore me out, so much so that I escaped into a nap.

I don’t honestly know how long I was asleep. All I can tell you is it was daytime in the story when I first nodded off, and by the time I came to, Frances McDormand and Adams were dressed in evening gowns and heading out to a swanky nightclub. Interestingly, though, I was able to follow the plot from that point on without so much as a moment’s confusion – which tells me that beneath the film’s Art Deco’d, jazz-scored frenzy, not much was really going on. But not to be overly uncharitable: what I also woke up to was a considerably toned-down and touching Adams, plus some beautiful work by McDormand and Ciran Hinds. I definitely will get around to seeing the middle of “Miss Pettigrew…” someday.


9 Comments so far
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Congrats! An important milestone, to be sure.

Comment by Fletch

About The Duchess of Langeias, so falling asleep in it is a negative review, right?A Year of blogging! Congrats!Rick

Comment by Rick Olson

HAPPY BLOG BIRTHDAY DEAR P!!!!!I hope you are doing great.Hugs!

Comment by Parisjasmal

Happy 1 Year! I’m almost there too.

Comment by Mrs. Thuro

Happy Blog Day!

Comment by Marilyn

Congrats! I hope to see Miss Pettigrew so I’ll let you know how the middle turns out.

Comment by Jess

Congrats! Way to go, Ms Pat!

Comment by Nayana Anthony

Wow, thanks to everyone for your kind comments. I really enjoy sharing thoughts, rants and comments with all of you – and I’m looking forward to another year of spirited movie discussions!

Comment by Pat

Cheers to you! I hope I’m still going at your age – your blog age, I mean!

Comment by Daniel G.

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