Lynn Barber’s memoir is a quick read – I read it in an afternoon. I’ll admit, the only reason I bought this was because I had heard good things about the movie, but Barber’s voice makes it a must. She is succinct, but knows when to dab an extra bit of description.
The movie, “An Education,” is based on an article published in “Granta,” which Barber later expanded into the book. Her memoir starts with her earliest memories and continues into 2009. She has led a fascinating life.
Barber worked for “Penthouse” and published the revolutionary book “How to Improve Your Man in Bed.” She also worked for “Vanity Fair” and wrote “The Heyday of Natural History” chronicling how Darwinism affected Victorian natural history books. Barber is a dryly witty Scheherazade, an incredibly versatile new journalist and all this young writer could ever hope to be. Gay Talese step aside, this writing major has a new idol.
The cover of this book by Julie Klausner first caught my eye, the title made me pick it up, and the endorsement quote by the ever funny Rachel Dratch convinced me to buy it. Like I expected, it is a humorous look at a series of failed relationships. However, I was totally unprepared for it’s detours into psychoanalysis.
Klausner’s funny, but I don’t need the explanation that, unlike most girls who “drift toward the more unsavory characters in the dating pool,” she and her dad had a great relationship. When she leaves the action to analyze her motives, my attention leaves too. If you don’t mind a book that is half “laugh at my life” and half “this is why I’m crying,” then this is the book for you.
BTW, and this is probably the writing major in me talking, “I don’t care about your band” could use one more good copy edit. I’m talking multiple words that are missing a letter or misspelled, plus some awkward phrasing that slows the read.
If aliens from Mars crash-landed in my backyard (assuming I had a backyard), I would make them watch these movies before taking them to my leader (assuming they didn’t kill me first).
“Thank You for Smoking” to show the weird way our government works.
“Breakfast at Tiffany’s” for appreciation of glamour, love and all else that Audrey Hepburn embodies.
“Singing in the Rain” to illustrate the wonderfulness that is random breaking into song.
“Heathers” because even Martians should be afraid of teenagers.
Update: I removed “Mars Attacks” from this list after a Martian told me it was an inaccurate and offensive depiction of the species, “We look much more like that cute little boy from ‘Martian Child’ than we look like those big-brained fiends.” My deepest apologies to any offended aliens.
From repossessed organs to vampiric Shakespeare, from dark comedies to tearjerker dramas, these are the movies I’m excited to see this spring:
Repo Men March 19
The Greatest April 2
The Joneses April 16
Kick Ass April 16
The Good Heart April 30
I Love You Philip Morris April 30
“Twitterature” is a new book by nineteen-year-old University of Chicago students Alexander Aciman (left) and Emmett Rensin (right) with the goal of reducing more than eighty pieces of literature into less than twenty tweets, “to its purest, pithiest essence.”
You may doubt the purity of its abridgments, but “Twitterature” is undeniably pithy. My only complaint is that I didn’t think of it first.
The USA show ended it’s season last night with the FBI’s resident con, Neal Caffrey (Matt Bomer) discovering the location of a music box he can to trade to free his hostage girlfriend. No spoilers here, but I will say the last 90 seconds are a guaranteed surprise. You can catch the last episode now on hulu.
Even if you don’t regularly watch the show, this episode is a must for Matt Bomer fans (think skinny dipping and shirtless sculpting). If this episode leaves you all hot and bothered, don’t worry. “White Collar” will return this summer.
I’m uber-excited that I got this book in the mail. Watch the author, D. C. Pierson, explain his writing tips, and you’ll want to read it too.
Hosted by Alec Baldwin and Steve Martin, the 82nd Oscars air tonight at 8:30 on ABC. I listed the nominees for some of the categories below. The ones I think will win are underlined, and the ones I think should win are italicized.
Best Motion Picture of the Year Nominees:
Avatar (2009): James Cameron, Jon Landau
The Blind Side (2009): Gil Netter, Andrew A. Kosove, Broderick Johnson
District 9 (2009): Peter Jackson, Carolynne Cunningham
An Education (2009): Finola Dwyer, Amanda Posey
The Hurt Locker (2008): Kathryn Bigelow, Mark Boal, Nicolas Chartier, Greg Shapiro
Inglourious Basterds (2009): Lawrence Bender
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Lee Daniels, Sarah Siegel-Magness, Gary Magness
A Serious Man (2009): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Up (2009): Jonas Rivera
Up in the Air (2009/I): Daniel Dubiecki, Ivan Reitman, Jason Reitman
Best Performance by an Actress in a Leading Role Nominees:
Sandra Bullock for The Blind Side (2009)
Helen Mirren for The Last Station (2009)
Carey Mulligan for An Education (2009)
Gabourey Sidibe for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
Meryl Streep for Julie & Julia (2009)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Leading Role Nominees:
Jeff Bridges for Crazy Heart (2009)
George Clooney for Up in the Air (2009/I)
Colin Firth for A Single Man (2009)
Morgan Freeman for Invictus (2009)
Jeremy Renner for The Hurt Locker (2008)
Best Performance by an Actor in a Supporting Role Nominees:
Matt Damon for Invictus (2009)
Woody Harrelson for The Messenger (2009/I)
Christopher Plummer for The Last Station (2009)
Stanley Tucci for The Lovely Bones (2009)
Christoph Waltz for Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Best Performance by an Actress in a Supporting Role Nominees:
Penélope Cruz for Nine (2009)
Vera Farmiga for Up in the Air (2009/I)
Maggie Gyllenhaal for Crazy Heart (2009)
Anna Kendrick for Up in the Air (2009/I)
Mo’Nique for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
Best Achievement in Directing Nominees:
Kathryn Bigelow for The Hurt Locker (2008)
James Cameron for Avatar (2009)
Lee Daniels for Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009)
Jason Reitman for Up in the Air (2009/I)
Quentin Tarantino for Inglourious Basterds (2009)
Best Writing, Screenplay Written Directly for the Screen Nominees:
The Hurt Locker (2008): Mark Boal
Inglourious Basterds (2009): Quentin Tarantino
The Messenger (2009/I): Alessandro Camon, Oren Moverman
A Serious Man (2009): Joel Coen, Ethan Coen
Up (2009): Bob Peterson, Pete Docter, Thomas McCarthy
Best Writing, Screenplay Based on Material Previously Produced or Published Nominees:
District 9 (2009): Neill Blomkamp, Terri Tatchell
An Education (2009): Nick Hornby
In the Loop (2009): Jesse Armstrong, Simon Blackwell, Armando Iannucci, Tony Roche
Precious: Based on the Novel Push by Sapphire (2009): Geoffrey Fletcher
Up in the Air (2009/I): Jason Reitman, Sheldon Turner
Best Animated Feature Film of the Year Nominees:
Coraline (2009): Henry Selick
Fantastic Mr. Fox (2009): Wes Anderson
The Princess and the Frog (2009): John Musker, Ron Clements
The Secret of Kells (2009): Tomm Moore
Up (2009): Pete Docter
The American pilot features “Sex in the City” alum Sarah Jessica Parker as the first of “seven of the world’s most beloved celebrities” — Brooke Shields, Emmet Smith, Susan Sarandon, Matthew Broderick, Lisa Kudrow, Spike Lee and SJP.
Not exactly my most beloved celebrities, but I can see the desire to expand the list past deep-eyed Jew boys and manic pixie dream girls.
My favorite part of the show was SJP’s dramatic overacting. After “buckets of questions” she discovered the family she assumed were boring German immigrants (“no way they let our ancestors on the Mayflower”) actually traced back to the gold rush (Oh, no — I’m a relative of a dreamer; I’m a relative of a fool”), Salem witch trials (“I can’t imagine the courage it would take to be accused, to have everyone around pointing at you.”) and 1630s Connecticut (“I know I have now historical roots; I have family, ancestral roots here”).
Her conclusion: “I believed in America. I believed in, you know, the things I loved about being American. But I never felt that I was really American. What I’ve learned is that I have real stock in this country and real roots. I have belonging. I have, you know, I’m an American, I’m actually an American.”
Because she wasn’t American if her family immigrated after the 1700s. As SJP said, “Oh. My. God. Un-be-lievable. It’s absolutely crazy. It’s crazy time.”