Things I Like

1. Paul Simon’s new Christmas song, which I heard on Lightning 100 this morning. Yes, I know, multi-millionaires singing about angst only goes so far, but I think Simon is at his best as a songwriter in that space between hope and worry. No, I don’t know what it’s called. But keep an ear open for it.

2. Tracy Moore has made possibly my whole week by reminding folks that Belmont University was likely founded by lesbians. Hard to imagine why else one would need to block your bedroom door with a couch while you and your dear friend took your daily afternoon naps. I would recommend to anyone who wants to believe that the past was a simpler time to keep in mind that the past was as strange and scary as the present, with people doing all manners of things other people worked hard to pretend weren’t happening. And I have to give props to Hood and Heron for daily afternoon “naps.” That is one way to keep hot Nashville afternoons from weighing you down.

3.  The Wolfman. Lord, this movie is terrible. I don’t even know where to begin with how terrible it is. The Butcher and I were discussing it this morning and he’s of the opinion that you can’t turn away from it because you keep waiting for a better movie to break out. But, people! Who even knew there were Billy Bob Thorton impersonators? And who knew they could get work? And Gollum? Haven’t you wondered what he’s been up to since Lord of the Rings? I thought it was good to see him. And I know it’s kind of canon that you have to have Gypsies in your Wolfman movie, but I felt like it was kind of… like… oh, well, there has to be some mysterious Other who explains this shit and it can’t be the random Sikh guy, though I’m not sure why not, and I know there had to be some nod to how we would see the dad as… problematic… with his world-conquesting and shooting things and such. But at some point, you can just see that Anthony Hopkins said, “Aw, fuck it. Let’s just be as evil as possible!” I think it’s about when he goes to visit his son in the asylum but it’s like a switch flips and suddenly, Hopkins is in another, knowingly cheesier movie that exists side by side with the movie you’re being forced to watch. In that movie, he’s probably strutting around the English countryside naked all the time, wolf or not, doing evil things. And did they ever address how ooky it was that Del Toro’s character was pretty much instantly in love with his dead brother’s fiancee? No, they did not.

But my god, I thought it was beautifully shot. I don’t know who Shelly Johnson is, but the moving looks amazing, just rich and dreamlike every step of the way. And the set construction was exactly right, too. If the director had had more of Guillermo del Toro’s sensibility, if you really got that he knew he was playing with these really archetypal places and states, made the movie deliberately more dreamlike, it could have been really amazing, I think.

But it’s a beautiful and hilariously terrible movie.