On Thursday night September 30, 1982, the pilot episode of Cheers aired and almost no one watched it. The first scene was of an empty basement bar and a 35-year-old Ted Danson sauntering through the back hallway with a box of coffee mugs to restock. Watching it today, the last vestiges of the 70's are … Continue reading The Tragicomedy of Sam Malone, Part 1
1. Sometimes I go to the bookstore if the day is getting long at work. Does my boss know this? No, but he wouldn’t mind if he did know. I get my work done. But I keep these visits to myself is because it’s nice to have something to keep to myself; I pick … Continue reading My Secret Life in Used Bookstores
MOST OF WILLIAM EGGLESTON'S photographs are untitled, so I play a game sometimes and give them titles of my own. What you see above is officially called Untitled, 1974 (Biloxi, Mississippi), also sometimes unofficially called Red-Haired Girl, but I call it Girl Paying for Something at Concession Stand. I don’t know. It’s just what came to … Continue reading Two Ways of Seeing: William Eggleston & Philippe Halsman
“Joy” is the first anthologized story in Modern Library’s Early Short Stories of Anton Chekhov and is a good example of how the genius writer came to find his chops. Published in 1883 when he was young and writing satirical newspaper blurbs about daily life, “Joy” is short, blurblike, and funny but also has a … Continue reading How Reading Chekhov Can Make You a Better Writer
TRAVELS WITH CHARLEY is the “non-fictional” account of Steinbeck’s road trip across America in 1960. (I put the word “non-fictional” in quotes because although Steinbeck portrayed his journey as a cut-and-dry retelling of actual events, much scrutiny has been put to its authenticity in recent years.) Steinbeck’s son has said in interviews about the book, … Continue reading John Steinbeck’s Search for America
IF THE SIGNIFICANCE OF Mr. Fox’s journey is exhumed during his confrontation with the wolf, everything leading up to it takes on a relatable form. The opening scene particularly becomes more than just a piece of information that moves the story along: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Efp1jidXWXA This scene is the prototypical nightmare for any modern person fearing the trappings … Continue reading Fantastic Mr. Fox is the Best Wes Anderson Film, Part 2: Who am I, Kylie?
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ELqdLvz60zA I WANT TO TREAT this scene as a first stepping stone in a series of reflections. I have an uphill battle to fight: I want to make case that Fantastic Mr. Fox—often overlooked or dismissed as a kid’s movie—is actually Wes Anderson’s best film, and is one of the most important films of the … Continue reading Fantastic Mr. Fox is the Best Wes Anderson Film, Part 1: I Have a Phobia of Wolves