Ticking Things Off the To-Do List

I’m having something of a catch-up evening this evening. One of those nights where long un-answered email is finally responded to and long ignored tasks finally get ticked off the to-do list. On tonight’s list: book flights to Melbourne in two weeks; write up an invoice or two that needs to get mailed out; write a blog post. Two of three are done, and once I click post I get to parade around the house in triumph, confident in the fact that I have rocked the kasbah.

Sadly, the presence of my flatmate means I’m no longer being literal when I say that.

Still to do: respond to unanswered email; line up places to stay while in Melbourne; crit things; write things that are not blog posts. It’s a busy, ramshackle kind of evening, but it’s been a ramshackle kind of month thus far, so all things considered that makes a kind of sense.

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I watched Midnight in Paris yesterday.

Only, that isn’t really the best way to start.

Lets try this: I run very hot and cold on Woody Allen films, but the ones I tend to enjoy the most are the ones where he plays with genre, particularly genres with a very distinct sense of time. Purple Rose of Cairo, for example, or The Curse of the Jade Scorpion. They aren’t perfect films, not by a long shot, but for all his faults Allen seems to have a knack for evoking a sense of nostalgia and deconstructing it a little.

Midnight in Paris isn’t like the previous two films I’ve mentioned, but it shares a kind of subtext with them and showcases all the things I like in Woody Allen films. It is, after all, a film that’s entirely about nostalgia and why we feel it and how it shapes us. It’s also a film about leaving that sense of nostalgia behind, although I’m not sure this part of it works, if only ’cause it’s so overt. The acting is solid through, the digressive dialogue works better here than it usually does in other Allen films, and some of the casting is brilliant: Kathy Bates as Gertrude Stein. Corey Stoll as Hemmingway. I would forgive this movie almost anything for those two casting choices alone

It’s not a perfect film, but it’s the Woody Allen film I’ve liked most from the last couple of years, and I expect it’ll be a film I’ll rewatch simply based on the premise and the theme.

It was also a remarkably apropos film to watch at this point. For various reasons, not least of which is the fact that I turn thirty-five next week, I’ve been waxing nostalgic quite a bit of late and it’s nice to have a reminder that maybe I should just stop and get on with things.

 

 

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