Review: Small Crimes (2017)

My review of Small Crimes is now up at Rogerebert.com.

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Ebertfest Dispatches

A couple of different critics wrote up the jam-packed days of Ebertfest for Rogerebert.com. If you’re interested, here are the posts:

Ebertfest 2017: Day 1, by Sam Fragoso

Ebertfest 2017: Day 2, by Matt Fagerholm

Ebertfest 2017: Day 3, by Peter Sobczynski

Ebertfest 2017: Day 4, by Sam Fragoso

Ebertfest 2017: Day 5, by Matt Fagerholm

Ebertfest is so much fun – and it was so much fun this year because it was a great mix of films I had never seen and dearly beloved films (which I had never seen on a big screen) but won’t lie: it’s exhausting!

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Bette and Joan

My 8 re-caps of Feud for the Times are here. It was such a fun assignment. Sorry to see it end.

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Ebertfest Snapshots


Introducing “July and Half of August” before the screening

— Chatting with Hugh Dancy before the panel we both participated in. That was the panel where I said, in regards to rom-coms, “I would LOVE to be chased by Cary Grant with a butterfly net.” I made Hugh laugh, so now my life is complete. Later, after the screening of Hysteria, Matt Seitz and I moderated the post-screening QA with Hugh and director Tanya Wexler, which was a lot of fun.

— Robert Townsend introducing Charles Burnett’s gorgeous film To Sleep with Anger. Townsend bounced out onto the stage early, before Chaz had introduced him, soaked up some applause, and then “re-wound” himself offstage, moving in reverse. It was hilarious. He interviewed Burnett afterwards and it was a beautiful conversation.

— Isabelle Huppert hanging out at the party on Friday night. She went and took a short nap in one of the offices.

— 4 of my students from Hawaii were there! It was so good to see them again and actually get a chance to hang out. They’re all doing great!

— Riding with Chicago Tribune film critic Michael Phillips to the opening night reception at the University of Illinois’ President’s house. He had CDs lying on the front seat of his rental car and he said, “Oh God you’re gonna love this,” and popped in David Raskin’s recording of his scores for The Bad and the Beautiful, Laura and Forever Amber with the New Philharmonic Orchestra. Meant to be blasted.

— All of the people who came up to me throughout the festival wanting to talk about July and Half of August. It’s not so much the compliments I care about – although those were wonderful – especially for Brandeaux’s direction (the use of cut-aways to the pool table) and Peter Mosiman’s gorgeous black-and-white cinematography, which so many people remarked on – but what I really loved was people telling me the specifics of what got to them, and also how it made them think of something in their own lives – because in those moments there is a human connection, based on the story that was told. This has happened to me after every reading of the thing, plus every screening. People come up and tell me about themselves. It’s amazing. One woman in her 60s told me about her son, who is 38, who just bought a house, who is still single and really wants a partner and kids – and how Neve’s description of how buying a house made her “feel real” – made this woman wonder if that was how her son felt. I had an in-depth discussion with three college students, and one of them observed that Jack had a “savior complex” – “He will risk his marriage to try to save and protect this woman. He can’t help himself.” – which I thought was extremely insightful. One college student – a young man – said he appreciated that the male character had self-awareness, especially in the moment where he said he didn’t “mean to sound sexist.” He appreciated that. There were many such conversations and it made me realize that people had really LISTENED to my script. (Ebertfest audiences are remarkable that way.)

— Nick Allen, an associate editor at Rogerebert.com, and I had a gigantic in-depth and lengthy conversation (and hilarious conversation) at the Friday night party (while Isabelle Huppert napped in the room across the hall. I mean, you can’t make this up) – and the topics we covered were Eminem and Pauly Shore. Neither one has anything to do with the other, but I’m obsessed with Eminem and he’s obsessed with Pauly Shore, and so we just took it from there. It was hilarious and so much fun. I have never had a conversation with him before, although we interact all the time online, and I just love that THAT was what we chose to talk about. Later in the night, when the band sampled Eminem’s “The Way I Am” Nick jumped up in the crowd to find me and shout in excitement, as though I had written the song. Beautiful.

— Great conversations with so many people, many of whom I only see at Ebertfest: Anne Lukeman, Matt Fagerholm, Brian Tallerico, Sam Fragoso, Eric Pierson, Nell Minow, many many more. I enjoy all of these people so much.

— What a treat it was to have Mum and my sister Jean there too. Mum has been with me almost every year, it’s become a tradition which I think is so awesome. Jean was the wild card! Jean has three children under the age of 7 at home and a busy career as a middle-school teacher. But this happened to be her spring break, so she worked it out and got herself there. Thanks to Nell Minow for passing on her extra VIP pass which would have gone unused! I NEVER travel alone with my sister. The last time was when she and I went to visit Siobhan, who was in college in Dublin, years ago. So it was amazing. Plus, to come and do this exciting random thing, like attend 4 movies in one day. It’s strangely exhausting. The three of us would come back to our gorgeous hotel room and crash. Three O’Malley women in one room. It was so so special to be there with my family, to have their support in my own participation, to discuss the films afterwards, to have them be there for my own wee triumph. (Mum and Jean had bought me flowers behind my back, and basically convinced the ushers at the theatre to let them into the empty theatre beforehand, so they could place them on my chair where I would discover them.) Very very special time with my family. So much laughter. Tears too.

— Had very nice conversations with many of the film-makers there. We were all staying at the same hotel. Mum had a great conversation with cinematographer Caleb Deschanel (father of Zooey), who was there presenting the brilliant Being There (which he shot). I spoke with him a little bit too. I had a nice bonding moment with Charles Burnett, where I got to pass on regards from a friend of mine who had interviewed him for GQ 15 years ago. Charles remembered. He also was eager to talk about MY film, which was so flattering, can’t even tell you. He wanted to know what camera we used, he was so impressed with the LOOK of it (so thank you again, Peter Mosiman.)

— I got to meet Isabelle Huppert which was overwhelming.

— At one point, something amusing happened during one of the film introductions and my phone lit up with a snarky text from Matt Seitz, who was seated 5 rows behind me. Hilarious.

— So many good movies screened. Pleasantville, which is a masterpiece. I’m not sure its masterpiece status was quite perceived on its first release. It’s an extraordinary film. Director Gary Ross was there. Being There. Hysteria! These movies knocked me out. (I’ve seen them all before, but none on the big screen, with a gigantic audience.) There were two extraordinary documentaries: They Call Us Monsters (which Jean was interested in especially, because she teaches writing to middle-schoolers), and Mind/Game, focusing on an athlete with a bipolar diagnosis, and our stories were nearly identical (except I’m not a famous basketball player). Great panel afterwards about mental illness, especially in connection with athletes and how difficult it is – even more so – for athletes to admit “weakness” and seek help. De-Lovely screened on the last day, with legendary producer/director Irwin Winkler present (as well as his son Charles, also a producer). That movie DESTROYED me and Mum. We walked back to the hotel, holding onto each other, crying. It killed us. A beautiful film. Norman Lear was there for the presentation of the documentary about him, and it was great because They Call Us Monsters was directed by Lear’s son, Ben Lear. It was rather overwhelming being in the presence of Norman Lear. A man who helped CREATE our culture. A college kid said to me at dinner, “He is so before my time.” And I said, old geezer that I am, “He CREATED our time.” Then the kid said, “I feel like I just discovered my childhood hero, even though he wasn’t present at all in my own childhood” – which I thought was a beautiful comment.

— I was totally not expecting to receive a “Golden Thumb,” the statue Chaz Ebert and Nate Kohn give out to every film-maker and guest (it’s an actual cast of Roger’s thumb). When Chaz brought it out, I feel like my reaction must have been reminiscent of the cover for Hole’s “Live Through This.”

I just wasn’t expecting it. The little stand is engraved with my name, the name of “my” film (it’s not really mine, it was a collaboration), and “Ebertfest 2017.”

I was so touched. A great day for me.

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For the NY Times: ‘Feud: Bette and Joan’ Episode 8 Recap: “You Mean All This Time We Could Have Been Friends?”

My re-cap of the emotional finale of Feud for the New York Times. I’ve been pretty clear all along with my reservations about the point of view of a lot of this series, but I’ve also been extremely interested in Murphy’s TAKE on all of this, as well as his sympathetic approach. It’s been quite an experience.

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Happy Birthday, Library of Congress

As the daughter of a librarian, I had to write a post in tribute. This post is for him.

On this day, in 1800, President John Adams approved legislation that appropriated $5,900 to purchase the books that would create the Library of Congress. The bill also approved the moving of the capitol from Philadelphia to Washington, and to create a “reference library” with “such books as may be necessary for the use of Congress — and for putting up a suitable apartment for containing them therein …”

libraryofcongress.jpg

(This image isn’t from that time; the building itself was constructed at the end of the 1800s and first opened to the public in 1897.)

Books were acquired from all over the world for this reference library.

Thomas Jefferson, during his time as President (1801 to 1809) took a huge interest in the Library (no surprise there: the guy went into massive lifelong debt because of his book-buying addiction, which was actually more like a compulsion. I relate.). His own personal library at Monticello was known as the greatest in the country.

During the War of 1812, the British invaded Washington and burned the joint to the ground, causing Dolly Madison (wife of the President) to flee the White House into the night (but not before she had the presence of mind to grab the famous portrait of George Washington by Gilbert Stuart, cutting it out of its frame, and taking it with her, so that it would not be destroyed. Smart thinking, Dolly).

In 1814, the British burned the 3,000 volumes that then made up the Library of Congress. (I love the anecdote about Tony Blair’s visit to Washington following 9/11, and he and President Bush were walking through the White House. Blair made some admiring comment about one of the rooms, and Bush joked, “You guys burned this room down.” There was a brief pause, and Blair replied, dryly, “My apologies.”)

When the Library was burned in 1814, Jefferson was no longer President, and was living in retirement at Monticello. Jefferson offered to sell Congress his private library (almost 6,500 books) as a starting point to building up the Library of Congress collection again. The original Library of Congress had a narrow focus: law, economics, and history. With the new books from Jefferson, the national collection had much more breadth and depth: architecture, botany, geography, literature, science. The Jefferson collection sat in a reading room in Congress for most of the 19th century, until 1871 when plans were approved to build a separate building for the Library of Congress. The project was approved by Congress in 1886, and construction began. At the time, it was the largest (and costliest) library building in the world.

This makes me think of my sister Jean’s “monument project” that she does with her students.

It also makes me think of one of my favorite letters that Thomas Jefferson wrote. In 1771, a friend, Robert Skip, asked Jefferson to come up with a catalog of books that every “gentleman” should have in his library. Methinks Mr. Skip may have gotten more than he bargained for in Jefferson’s reply, but thankfully we still have the letter. (One observation: please notice the category under which Jefferson places the Bible.)

Thomas Jefferson to Robert Skip with a List of Books, Aug. 3, 1771

I sat down with a design of executing your request to form a catalogue of books to the amount of about 50 lib. sterl. But could by no means satisfy myself with any partial choice I could make. Thinking therefore it might be as agreeable to you I have framed such a general collection as I think you would wish and might in time find convenient to procure. Out of this you will chuse for yourself to the amount you mentioned for the present year and may hereafter as shall be convenient proceed in completing the whole. A view of the second column in this catalogue would I suppose extort a smile from the face of gravity. Peace to its wisdom! Let me not awaken it. A little attention however to the nature of the human mind evinces that the entertainments of fiction are useful as well as pleasant. That they are pleasant when well written every person feels who reads. But wherein is its utility asks the reverend sage, big with the notion that nothing can be useful but the learned lumber of Greek and Roman reading with which his head is stored?

I answer, everything is useful which contributes to fix in the principles and practices of virtue. When any original act of charity or of gratitude, for instance, is presented either to our sight or imagination, we are deeply impressed with its beauty and feel a strong desire in ourselves of doing charitable and grateful acts also. On the contrary when we see or read of any atrocious deed, we are disgusted with it’s deformity, and conceive an abhorence of vice. Now every emotion of this kind is an exercise of our virtuous dispositions, and dispositions of the mind, like limbs of the body acquire strength by exercise. But exercise produces habit, and in the instance of which we speak the exercise being of the moral feelings produces a habit of thinking and acting virtuously. We never reflect whether the story we read be truth or fiction. If the painting be lively, and a tolerable picture of nature, we are thrown into a reverie, from which if we awaken it is the fault of the writer. I appeal to every reader of feeling and sentiment whether the fictitious murther of Duncan by Macbeth in Shakespeare does not excite in him as great a horror of villany, as the real one of Henry IV. by Ravaillac as related by Davila? And whether the fidelity of Nelson and generosity of Blandford in Marmontel do not dilate his breast and elevate his sentiments as much as any similar incident which real history can furnish? Does he not in fact feel himself a better man while reading them, and privately covenant to copy the fair example? We neither know nor care whether Lawrence Sterne really went to France, whether he was there accosted by the Franciscan, at first rebuked him unkindly, and then gave him a peace offering: or whether the whole be not fiction. In either case we equally are sorrowful at the rebuke, and secretly resolve we will never do so: we are pleased with the subsequent atonement, and view with emulation a soul candidly acknowleging it’s fault and making a just reparation. Considering history as a moral exercise, her lessons would be too infrequent if confined to real life. Of those recorded by historians few incidents have been attended with such circumstances as to excite in any high degree this sympathetic emotion of virtue. We are therefore wisely framed to be as warmly interested for a fictitious as for a real personage. The field of imagination is thus laid open to our use and lessons may be formed to illustrate and carry home to the heart every moral rule of life. Thus a lively and lasting sense of filial duty is more effectually impressed on the mind of a son or daughter by reading King Lear, than by all the dry volumes of ethics, and divinity that ever were written. This is my idea of well written Romance, of Tragedy, Comedy and Epic poetry. — If you are fond of speculation the books under the head of Criticism will afford you much pleasure. Of Politics and Trade I have given you a few only of the best books, as you would probably chuse to be not unacquainted with those commercial principles which bring wealth into our country, and the constitutional security we have for the enjoiment ofthat wealth. In Law I mention a few systematical books, as a knowledge of the minutiae of that science is not neces-sary for a private gentleman. In Religion, History, Natural philosophy, I have followed the same plan in general, — But whence the necessity of this collection? Come to the new Rowanty, from which you may reach your hand to a library formed on a more extensive plan. Separated from each other but a few paces the possessions of each would be open to the other. A spring centrically situated might be the scene of every evening’s joy. There we should talk over the lessons of the day, or lose them in music, chess or the merriments of our family companions. The heart thus lightened our pillows would be soft, and health and long life would attend the happy scene. Come then and bring our dear Tibby with you, the first in your affections, and second in mine. Offer prayers for me too at that shrine to which tho’ absent I pray continual devotions. In every scheme of happiness she is placed in the foreground of the picture, as the princi-pal figure. Take that away, and it is no picture for me. Bear my affections to Wintipock clothed in the warmest expressions of sincerity; and to yourself be every human felicity.

Adieu.

FINE ARTS.

Observations on gardening. Payne. 5/
Webb’s essay on painting. 12mo 3/
Pope’s Iliad. 18/
——- Odyssey. 15/
Dryden’s Virgil. 12mo. 12/
Milton’s works. 2 v. 8vo. Donaldson. Edinburgh 1762. 10/
Hoole’s Tasso. 12mo. 5/
Ossian with Blair’s criticisms. 2 v. 8vo. 10/
Telemachus by Dodsley. 6/
Capell’s Shakespear. 12mo. 30/
Dryden’s plays. 6v. 12mo. 18/
Addison’s plays. 12mo. 3/
Otway’s plays. 3 v. 12mo. 9/
Rowe’s works. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Thompson’s works. 4 v. 12mo. 12/
Young’s works. 4 v. 12mo. 12/
Home’s plays. 12mo. 3/
Mallet’s works. 3 v. 12mo. 9/
Mason’s poetical works. 5/
Terence. Eng. 3/
Moliere. Eng. 15/
Farquhar’s plays. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Vanbrugh’s plays. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Steele’s plays. 3/
Congreve’s works. 3 v. 12mo. 9/
Garric’s dramatic works. 2 v. 8vo. 10/
Foote’s dramatic works. 2 v. 8vo. 10/
Rousseau’s Eloisa. Eng. 4 v. 12mo. 12/
—– Emilius and Sophia. Eng. 4 v. 12mo. 12/
Marmontel’s moral tales. Eng. 2 v. 12mo. 12/
Gil Blas. by Smollett. 6/
Don Quixot. by Smollett 4 v. 12mo. 12/
David Simple. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Roderic Random. 2 v. 12mo. 6/ these are written by Smollett
Peregrine Pickle. 4 v. 12mo. 12/
Launcelot Graves. 6/
Adventures of a guinea. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Pamela. 4 v. 12mo. 12/ these are by Richardson.
Clarissa. 8 v. 12mo. 24/
Grandison. 7 v. 12mo. 9/
Fool of quality. 3 v. 12mo. 9/
Feilding’s works. 12 v. 12mo. pound 1.16
Constantia. 2 v. 12mo. 6/ by Langhorne.
Solyman and Almena. 12mo. 3/
Belle assemblee. 4 v. 12mo. 12/
Vicar of Wakefeild. 2 v. 12mo. 6/. by Dr. Goldsmith
Sidney Bidulph. 5 v. 12mo. 15/
Lady Julia Mandeville. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Almoran and Hamet. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Tristam Shandy. 9 v. 12mo. pound 1.7
Sentimental journey. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Fragments of antient poetry. Edinburgh. 2/
Percy’s Runic poems. 3/
Percy’s reliques of antient English poetry. 3 v. 12mo. 9/
Percy’s Han Kiou Chouan. 4 v. 12mo. 12/
Percy’s Miscellaneous Chinese peices. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Chaucer. 10/
Spencer. 6 v. 12mo. 15/
Waller’s poems. 12mo. 3/
Dodsley’s collection of poems. 6 v. 12mo. 18/
Pearch’s collection of poems. 4 v. 12mo. 12/
Gray’s works. 5/
Ogilvie’s poems. 5/
Prior’s poems. 2 v. 12mo. Foulis. 6/
Gay’s works. 12mo. Foulis. 3/
Shenstone’s works. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Dryden’s works. 4 v. 12mo. Foulis. 12/
Pope’s works. by Warburton. 12mo. pound 1.4
Churchill’s poems. 4 v. 12mo. 12/
Hudibrass. 3/
Swift’s works. 21 v. small 8vo. pound 3.3
Swift’s literary correspondence. 3 v. 9/
Spectator. 9 v. 12mo. pound 1.7
Tatler. 5 v. 12mo. 15/
Guardian. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Freeholder. 12mo. 3/
Ld. Lyttleton’s Persian letters. 12mo. 3/

CRITICISM ON THE FINE ARTS.

Ld. Kaim’s elements of criticism. 2 v. 8vo. 10/
Burke on the sublime and beautiful. 8vo. 5/
Hogarth’s analysis of beauty. 4to. pound 1.1
Reid on the human mind. 8vo. 5/
Smith’s theory of moral sentiments. 8vo. 5/
Johnson’s dictionary. 2 v. fol. pound 3
Capell’s prolusions. 12mo. 3/

POLITICKS, TRADE.

Montesquieu’s spirit of the laws. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Locke on government. 8vo. 5/
Sidney on government. 4to. 15/
Marmontel’s Belisarius. 12mo. Eng. 3/
Ld. Bolingbroke’s political works. 5 v. 8vo. pound 1.5
Montesquieu’s rise & fall of the Roman governmt. 12mo. 3/
Steuart’s Political oeconomy. 2 v. 4to. pound 1.10
Petty’s Political arithmetic. 8vo. 5/

RELIGION.

Locke’s conduct of the mind in search of truth. 12mo. 3/
Xenophon’s memoirs of Socrates. by Feilding. 8vo. 5/
Epictetus. by Mrs. Carter. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Antoninus by Collins. 3/
Seneca. by L’Estrange. 8vo. 5/
Cicero’s Offices. by Guthrie. 8vo. 5/
Cicero’s Tusculan questions. Eng. 3/
Ld. Bolingbroke’s Philosophical works. 5 v. 8vo. pound 1.5
Hume’s essays. 4 v. 12mo. 12/
Ld. Kaim’s Natural religion. 8vo. 6/
Philosophical survey of Nature. 3/
Oeconomy of human life. 2/
Sterne’s sermons. 7 v. 12mo. pound 1.1
Sherlock on death. 8vo. 5/
Sherlock on a future state. 5/

LAW.

Ld. Kaim’s Principles of equity. fol. pound 1.1
Blackstone’s Commentaries. 4 v. 4to. pound 4.4
Cuningham’s Law dictionary. 2 v. fol. pound 3

HISTORY. ANTIENT.

Bible. 6/
Rollin’s Antient history. Eng. 13 v. 12mo. pound 1.19
Stanyan’s Graecian history. 2 v. 8vo. 10/
Livy. (the late translation). 12/
Sallust by Gordon. 12mo. 12/
Tacitus by Gordon. 12mo. 15/
Caesar by Bladen. 8vo. 5/
Josephus. Eng. 1.0
Vertot’s Revolutions of Rome. Eng. 9/
Plutarch’s lives. by Langhorne. 6 v. 8vo. pound 1.10
Bayle’s Dictionary. 5 v. fol. pound 7.10.
Jeffery’s Historical & Chronological chart. 15/

HISTORY. MODERN.

Robertson’s History of Charles the Vth. 3 v. 4to. pound 3.3
Bossuet’s history of France. 4 v. 12mo. 12/
Davila. by Farneworth. 2 v. 4to. pound 1.10.
Hume’s history of England. 8 v. 8vo. pound 2.8.
Clarendon’s history of the rebellion. 6 v. 8vo. pound 1.10.
Robertson’s history of Scotland. 2 v. 8vo. 12/
Keith’s history of Virginia. 4to. 12/
Stith’s history of Virginia. 6/

NATURAL PHILOSOPHY. NATURAL HISTORY &c.

Nature displayed. Eng. 7 v. 12mo.
Franklin on Electricity. 4to. 10/
Macqueer’s elements of Chemistry. 2 v. 8vo. 10/
Home’s principles of agriculture. 8vo. 5/
Tull’s horse-hoeing husbandry. 8vo. 5/
Duhamel’s husbandry. 4to. 15/
Millar’s Gardener’s diet. fol. pound 2.10.
Buffon’s natural history. Eng. pound 2.10.
A compendium of Physic & Surgery. Nourse. 12mo. 1765. 3/
Addison’s travels. 12mo. 3/
Anson’s voiage. 8vo. 6/
Thompson’s travels. 2 v. 12mo. 6/
Lady M. W. Montague’s letters. 3 v. 12mo. 9/

MISCELLANEOUS.

Ld. Lyttleton’s dialogues of the dead. 8vo. 5/
Fenelon’s dialogues of the dead. Eng. 12mo. 3/
Voltaire’s works. Eng. pound 4.
Locke on Education. 12mo. 3/
Owen’s Dict. of arts & sciences 4 v. 8vo. pound 2.

Here’s my wonderful sister Siobhan singing the song she wrote about my Dad, called “The Books”, from her LP “Let’s Get Ahead of Ourselves, Baby! (available on iTunes).

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Review: Burn Motherfucker, Burn! (2017)

I reviewed the documentary premiering on Showtime, Burn Motherfucker, Burn! for Rogerebert.com.

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Ebertfest: Day 1

It’s wonderful to be here in Champaign-Urbana. This is my 4th year coming to Ebertfest. My mother and one of my sisters both flew in for Ebertfest and for the screening of my film July and Half of August, which is so exciting, because when do we ever go on a vacation (sort of), just us?

Here’s the page in the program for the film I wrote. It’s 12 minutes long. Ebertfest is held in the Virginia Theatre, a movie palace that seats 1,500 or something like that. The screen is built for … Gone With the Wind or something, so it’ll be overwhelming to see my small 12-minute short, with the beautiful actors – Annika Marks and Robert Baker – with two-story tall faces.

Happy and grateful. And proud too.

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On Elia Kazan’s East of Eden: for Library of America

Recently, I wrote a small piece which could be given a High School English class title: What James Dean and East of Eden meant to me. When I wrote it, I was deep in research for a huge piece which finally went live. It’s for the new film site, part of The Library of America, The Moviegoer. It’s been up for a year and already has an impressive archive, written by an illustrious roster of writers. I can’t tell you how proud I am to be included in such company. (Also, the Library of America! I mean, look at this bookshelf of mine.) The idea is: writers write about film adaptations of books in the Library of America catalog. When the editor, Michael Sragow, reached out to me, he asked for a bunch of pitches, books I was interested in covering. I went through the catalog, and picked out a bunch of possibilities. He immediately asked me to write about East of Eden. The thought of my personal history with that film made his choice so exciting, so daunting to me. Bonus was that, unbelievably, I had never written about the film before in any in-depth way. Probably BECAUSE the history is so personal. Now, finally, I got the chance.

Here’s the essay:

Unforgettable lonely boy James Dean carries East of Eden on his narrow shoulders

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For the NY Times: ‘Feud: Bette and Joan’ Episode 7 Recap: Feminism 101

My re-cap of the 7th episode of Feud: Bette and Joan is now up at the New York Times. One more episode to go!

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