Monday, January 02, 2006

Big Dreams for 2006

Happy New Year to All! New Year's Day is still my favorite holiday, or at least my favorite that has nothing to do with AMPAS or the HFPA. The whole year feels so full of possibility, and it's a remarkably personal holiday: on Christmas, the Fourth of July, even Thanksgiving or Valentine's Day, the way I'm feeling is always shaped for better and for worse by ritual, expectation, convention. New Year's Day has nothing publicly ceremonial about it, or at least it never has for me, except at the literal first second. After that wonderful moment (and yes, I always watch the ball lower over Times Square, on TV), I always experience the whole day as a free-flowing, flushed, excited, but almost totally quiet reflection on what's been going on with me and the people I know, where it's all going, and what I'm hoping for, or committed to, or planning on, or hoping to be surprised by. Yesterday, I did yard work for my Mom, ate some simple but delicious meals, and not much more. I always write a long diary entry, none of which I have ever re-read.

And as y'all know, because I never stop flapping my jaws about it, I make my silly lists of films to watch and of plays and books to read in the next 12 months. I never finish them, or even half of them, but if Walter Benjamin can defend the sentiment that it's crucially important to anticipate, even to own more books than you'll ever actually read... well, what's good enough for Walter is 500% good enough for me. I've just posted 2006's revised film itineraries, two-thirds of which will be instantly recognizable as holdovers from last year that I never caught up with. But since I've come to enjoy writing up plays and books and scholarship on this blog, too, and since I *love* hearing impressions and recommendations and conversations from you all, this year I'm posting all of my lists. If there's anything you'd be excited to read or watch together, let me know, and we'll beat Oprah at her own game.... it'd be fun to have a Nick's Flick Picks Book Club (or Film Club, or Play Club) with an agreed text each month, but I'd rather one of you regular lot pick it than me. Pipe up if you see something you like!

All this, and more soon. Life is still intervening (though, for those of you in the know, Mom is recently doing much better). Regular entries and more conversation will follow shortly. Suffice to say for now that in a week of moviegoing, Brokeback Mountain was pleasurable but, I thought, rather gauzy and unspecific; Munich was, like so much recent Spielberg, better at sequences than at sustained wholes, but it's still a wowzer of a story and I admired good stretches of it quite a bit; King Kong lost a little luster for me on second viewing, with secondary characters and psychological pretexts seeming a little wobblier, but I'm still quite impressed on the whole; and the stark, somewhat hermetic, but bravely principled and sturdily made Wolf Creek was my favorite of the lot. (Oh, and Wild Iris, a Showtime movie that won Laura Linney an Emmy and Gena Rowlands a nomination a few years ago, is utter dispiriting dreck—now showing, natch, on Lifetime. Treat like hemlock, asbestos, or similar.)


Ace in the Hole/The Big Carnival, Billy Wilder, 1951
The Crowd, King Vidor, 1928
Crumb, Terry Zwigoff, 1994
Drylongso, Cauleen Smith, 1998
F for Fake, Orson Welles, 1974
Fast Company, David Cronenberg, 1979
I Am a Fugitive from a Chain Gang, Mervyn LeRoy, 1934
Jubilee, Derek Jarman, 1977
The Killing of a Chinese Bookie, John Cassavetes, 1976
The Killing of Sister George, Robert Aldrich, 1968
Lost Highway, David Lynch, 1997
Monsieur Verdoux, Charlie Chaplin, 1947
The More the Merrier, George Stevens, 1943
Mrs. Miniver, William Wyler, 1942
Out of the Past, Jacques Tourneur, 1947
Parting Glances, Bill Sherwood, 1986
Performance, Roeg/Cammell, 1970
Salesman, Maysles/Maysles/Zwerin, 1969
7 Women, John Ford, 1966
The Steel Helmet, Samuel Fuller, 1951
The Tarnished Angels, Douglas Sirk, 1958
Thieves Like Us, Robert Altman, 1974
Thirty-Two Short Films about Glenn Gould, François Girard, 1993
To Each His Own, Mitchell Leisen, 1946

L'Âge d'or, Luis Buñuel, Spain, 1930
Alexandria...Why?, Youssef Chahine, Egypt, 1978
Bandit Queen, Shekhar Kapur, India, 1994
Céline and Julie Go Boating, Jacques Rivette, France, 1974
Code Unknown, Michael Haneke, France/Austria, 2000
Dakan, Mohamed Camara, Guinea, 1997
Faat Kiné, Ousmane Sembene, Senegal, 2000
Gertrud, Carl-Theodor Dreyer, Denmark, 1964
Ivan the Terrible, Sergei Eisenstein, USSR, 1944-46
Knife in the Water, Roman Polanski, Poland, 1962
Landscape in the Mist, Theo Angelopoulos, Greece, 1988
The Leopard, Luchino Visconti, Italy, 1963
The Marriage of Maria Braun, R.W. Fassbinder, West Germany, 1979
Matador, Pedro Almodóvar, Spain, 1985
Open City, Roberto Rossellini, Italy, 1945
Orpheus, Jean Cocteau, France, 1950
Pandora's Box, G.W. Pabst, Germany, 1928
Raise the Red Lantern, Zhang Yimou, Hong Kong, 1991
La Ronde, Max Ophüls, France, 1950
Sansho the Bailiff, Kenji Mizoguchi, Japan, 1954
Scenes from a Marriage, Ingmar Bergman, Sweden, 1973
The Spirit of the Beehive, Victor Erice, Spain, 1973
That Obscure Object of Desire, Luis Buñuel, France/Spain, 1977
Three Days, Sharunas Bartas, Lithuania, 1991

Blood Knot, Athol Fugard
Blood Wedding, Federico García Lorca
The Conduct of Life, Maria Irene Fornès
The Destiny of Me, Larry Kramer
A Doll's House, Henrik Ibsen
Intimate Apparel, Lynn Nottage
Life Is a Dream, Pedro Calderón de la Barca
Loot, Joe Orton
Never Land, Phyllis Nagy
Old Times, Harold Pinter
Phèdre, Jean Racine
Porcelain, Chay Yew
The Potting Shed, Graham Greene
Pygmalion, George Bernard Shaw
Radio Golf, August Wilson
The Saint Plays, Erik Ehn
The Skin of Our Teeth, Thornton Wilder
Softcops, Caryl Churchill
The Three Sisters, Anton Chekhov
Timon of Athens, William Shakespeare
A Touch of the Poet, Eugene O'Neill
The Way of the World, William Congreve
We Righteous Bombers, Kingsley B. Bass, Jr. (aka Ed Bullins)
A Woman of No Importance, Oscar Wilde

The Ambassadors, Henry James
The Autobiography of an Ex-Colored Man, James Weldon Johnson
Between the Acts, Virginia Woolf
Brave New World, Aldous Huxley
The Bridge, Hart Crane
For Whom the Bell Tolls, Ernest Hemingway
The Good Soldier, Ford Madox Ford
Great Expectations, Charles Dickens
In Dubious Battle, John Steinbeck
Jude the Obscure, Thomas Hardy
Look Homeward, Angel, Thomas Wolfe
Maggie, A Woman of the Streets, Stephen Crane
Mansfield Park, Jane Austen
Mosses from an Old Manse, Nathaniel Hawthorne
My Ántonia, Willa Cather
Our Nig, Harriet Wilson
Pudd'nhead Wilson, Mark Twain
Quicksand, Nella Larsen
Silas Marner, George Eliot
Swann's Way, Marcel Proust
Tender Is the Night, F. Scott Fitzgerald
The Trial, Franz Kafka
Wieland, Charles Brockden Brown
Women in Love, D.H. Lawrence

Alias Grace, Margaret Atwood
American Pastoral, Philip Roth
The Autobiography of My Mother, Jamaica Kincaid
Brown Girl, Brownstones, Paule Marshall
Days Between Stations, Steve Erickson
Desire, Frank Bidart
Disgrace, J.M Coetzee
A Fable, William Faulkner
Flaming Iguanas, Erika Lopez
Funeral Rites, Jean Genet
Juneteenth, Ralph Ellison
Just Above My Head, James Baldwin
Native Speaker, Chang-Rae Lee
Nervous Conditions, Tsitsi Dangarembga
Never Let Me Go, Kazuo Ishiguro
On Beauty, Zadie Smith
Pale Fire, Vladimir Nabokov
Parable of the Sower, Octavia Butler
See Under: Love, David Grossman
The Story of a New Zealand River, Jane Mander
The Swimming Pool Library, Alan Hollinghurst
Thereafter Johnnie, Carolivia Herron
Those Bones Are Not My Child, Toni Cade Bambara
Wise Blood, Flannery O'Connor

(Wherein I read past key chapters and finally finish the books!)

Black, White, and In Color, Hortense Spillers
The Body in Pain, Elaine Scarry
A Cinema of Loneliness, Robert Kolker
Disidentifications, José Esteban Muñoz
Empire, Michael Hardt & Antonio Negri
Enjoy Your Symptom!, Slavoj Žižek
Fear of a Queer Planet, Michael Warner, ed.
Female Perversions: The Temptations of Emma Bovary, Louise J. Kaplan
Lesbian Rule, Amy Villarejo
Libidinal Currents, Joseph Allen Boone
Male Subjectivity at the Margins, Kaja Silverman
Mimesis, Erich Auerbach
Movie-Made America, Robert Sklar
One Hundred Years of Homosexuality, David Halperin
The Practice of Love, Teresa de Lauretis
The Rise of the Novel, Ian Watt
S/Z, Roland Barthes
Strategies of Deviance, Earl Jackson
Tendencies, Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick
Thinking through the Body, Jane Gallop
This Sex Which Is Not One, Luce Irigaray
A Thousand Plateaus, Gilles Deleuze & Félix Guattari
Unmaking Mimesis, Elin Diamond
The Use of Pleasure, Michel Foucault

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Blogger tim r said...

Cor! This is quite a list of New Year resolutions. One thing, though: Thieves Like Us rather than California Split? What's that about?!

Can we please please do a day-and-date simulwatch of La Ronde? You're just going to love it. (Did I just invent a word there?)

Also, we may need to have a chat about Wolf Creek...

5:52 AM, January 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Wowza! Your lists are awesome. My New Year's Readsolutions involve reading at least one chicklitty fun book and one classic each month--this past year pleasure reading got lost in the dissertation/teaching grind. I've already read 2 chicklitty books since the new year has started. So next I'm taking my chicklit exploration old school and reading Edith Wharton's The Age of Innocence, which looks like it's gonna have some mad drama.

I also want to read lots more Faulkner just because. This month I'm reading Sound and the Fury because I lost my mind for a second in Dec. and decided to teach that this spring. And then I want to read Sanctuary. We should get together on Fable and try to read that together.

In a perfect world where being a grad student would mean that I actually had time to read the books I want to read, I'd be into reading Alias Grace, The Ambassadors, and Jude the Obscure with you. If you get around to these books, let me know and we can see where I am.

You will love Quicksand (girlfriend is Crrrrazzzzyy!!) and Wieland totally blew my mind. In fact, I would start with Wieland; you won't be disappointed, I promise!

And as for movie/plays, I don't know if you've seen/read Heights, but I thought that was pretty good. I love HOT! people doing bad things. Speaking of which, we're only 17 days from Match Point. Yay!

Ok, enough babble from me. Talk to you soon!!

~~lady shazizzle

PS~~I watched Eyes Wide Shut cause 'tis the season, and am happy to report that the Cruise alien is still watchable in that movie. I was afraid all his TomKat shannigans would ruin it for me.

9:06 AM, January 03, 2006  
Blogger Dr. S said...

Okay, since Lady S. just said that she'd be up for a reading of Alias Grace and I was just about to say that I'd read it with you, I think you've got your first candidate for a simulread (thanks for the word, Tim!). I've been meaning to read AG for years, since it's actually about my dissertation--even set in the right period. And did you know that one of the prime movers in that book is the woman who took dictation on The History of Mary Prince?

Also, I still have not ever read Body in Pain and would be happy to chew it over with you, bit by bit. You know, in my spare time. Ah, winter break is so full of optimism. I remain so convinced that I'll be able to keep pulling daily blog posts, and similar.

9:58 AM, January 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...


I'd be happy to simulwatch (m)any of your picks that I haven't seen. There are too many to list here, but if you'd like to coordinate something, let me know.

11:43 AM, January 03, 2006  
Blogger keep showing up said...

You know which books i'm thrilled to see on your list Theeere's Thereafter Johnnie! BTW: Have you checked with your eyes about this new year's resolution? Since I've joined the MP3 nation, I've resolved to mix lit intake up a bit, and try an ITunes Audiobook in 2006. Reckon Audiobooks make excellent commuting companions. FYI: Alias Grace (although abridged), Pygmalion, and a few other titles on your list are available for iTunes download. Now, ya won't see me plunking down $44.95 to download the unabridged Moby Dick special; however, crazylengthy Melville and similar great-novels-that-I've-never read-but-shoulda fall on my list.

P.S. Lady S., "Sound and the Fury" been iTuned for about $14.95. iTuned is a verb too, right? Gives new possibility to future simulread

P.P.S. Pass on another huge hug and well wishes to your mom from me.

1:23 PM, January 03, 2006  
Anonymous Anonymous said...

Great lists!

I've been meaning to watch La Ronde for a while now--ever since I got hooked the same year on Ophuls, after watching The Reckless Moment, and on Anton Wallbrook after seeing The Red Shoes--so I would be up for a simulwatch of it too.

And I'd never heard of the Mitchell Leisen movie. Must check that out.

4:04 PM, January 03, 2006  
Blogger Dr. S said...

I really love A Woman of No Importance, by the way. It might be my favorite Wilde, because its ending is pretty uncompromising.

11:28 PM, January 03, 2006  
Blogger Dr. S said...

I hope that you're just really busy getting ready for second semester, guy! We miss you, if I may speak for everyone else here for a moment. And when have I not been known to speak for everyone else.

10:03 PM, January 11, 2006  

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