Book: Yeah, I’m in the guy’s workshop, but we’re all adults here, or pretending to be, so I’m going to go ahead and recommend Big Dogs and Flyboys by Sam Michel while it’s still fresh in my mind. The book has got truth written all over it. The central character, Adam Oney, has a beautiful, whimsical voice that is equal parts sage and innocent. Here’s a little taste of the part where Adam gets fat:
“Mars Bar, a Butterfinger, a bag of Cool Ranch Doritos. Brave foods, unafraid of health and smeary-lipped nutritionists, fads in anti-caloric dining. Foods whose expiration dates would indicate they were practically immortal. I wanted not to die. I waked up thinking maybe I could die, but here now life was good. Flavors, absolutely. Sights and sounds. I liked life as it landed my way by the senses. I liked the sound of wrappers. I liked calories. Memories, too, I liked, the anticipation of senses in the abstract. Some part of me must always pine for brisket.”
In the last year, I’ve developed an appreciation for writing that is tuned into all the senses. Mike Young was saying the other day that The Road made him want to eat canned food, and I think the “Adam gets fat” part of the book made me want to have a junk food binge, or at least I had some compelling arguments for how it could be done. But what I love best about the book is Adam’s hopeless optimism. It breaks my heart, the way he holds on to his friendship with childhood best friends long after the friend has forcibly removed himself from Adam’s life.
Movies: “No Country For Old Men” and “There Will Be Blood” made me want to go see more Coens and Anderson. So first I watched “Hudsucker Proxy” and it was just alright. But then I saw both “Miller’s Crossing” and “Boogie Nights” this week, and both of those were great films, especially the writing. I listened to a little bit of Boogie Nights commentary and Anderson was saying that his whole directorial philosophy was to write a good script, get actors who are good at interpreting scripts (Julianne Moore, William H. Macy, John C. Reilly), then shoot to the script. Ah, so that’s how you kept artistic vision intact a collaboration.