All Dark Places

Since the director, Nick Reiner, recommended it, I spent the evening first finding All Dark Places in the bowels of Comcast’s On Demand menu and then watching it.

Let me answer the questions I know are on your mind.

1. Is it going to make your unabashed enjoyment of the Captain Morgan commercials a little more abashed? Yes. There are some things in this movie that you can’t unsee. It’s not the weird stuff or the creepy stuff. It’s that Josh Burrow’s character, Christian, is the kind of small douche you will recognize from college. He probably married your friend. Hopefully, by now, they are divorced. Perhaps you are related to him, in which case, I hope you don’t have to see him often. However you know him, you will recognize him. You will say, oh my god, how can this fucking Sigma Chi douche from Barrington have such a cool ancestor as Captain Morgan? Note: They never say Christian is a Sigma Chi douche from Barrington, but he’s obviously got some kind of similar backstory. He’s the kind of guy who has season tickets to the Cubs, so he thinks he’s not lying when he tells people he’s from Chicago. And he’s so angry because he never made it as a rock star, even though he has a lovely wife and an adorable kid and a good life and fine-ass shoulders.

2. Is it scary? Yes, but I would put it more in the category of a slow creep. It’s scary but you keep hoping that the bad guy will just start the inevitable because the suspense is killing you.

3. How’s the kid? I know you’re ashamed to even ask this question, but it’s cool. An independent film with a small cast and a kid who’s got to carry a lot of narrative weight? It could be terrible. But I thought the kid was really good. He had a natural rapport with the adults and he’s sufficiently creepy and sweet. And he seems like an actual kid.

I liked it. It looks a little low-budget, but, oddly, the world inside the movie didn’t feel low budget. The movie’s world seemed large and real. I don’t know. I can’t really explain it. But you know how some movies, like The Hamiltons (which I adore), start to feel like the characters aren’t out in their world as much as they should be, because the filmmakers couldn’t afford to put the actors out in our world? All Dark Places does not suffer from that.

And there are some really, really nice things. There’s great use of shadows–a couple of really nice shots from the exterior of the house where we see a hint of action that I thought was nicely scary. There are a lot of scenes where Christian’s pants are noticeably too big and he’s not wearing a belt, which really serves to subtly reinforce that he’s not very mature without making a big deal about it. And there’s this moment where Christian is in the van and Burrow’s face goes through this transformation that is the most purely terrifying moment in the film.

Lastly, I think I can say, without giving too much away that the clown both does the tradition of creepy fucking terrifying clowns good AND clowns the world over would probably rather you think of this guy than the clown from It.

Oh, and the therapist is awesome. But never, ever take acid like that without having a good supply of orange juice. He should have warned them about that.

The Pitch, Part 2

I think I have a better rough draft of the pitch. It’s still a little clunky, but at least it makes it sound like Sue is central to the book. The working title is still Remind Me of the Dreaming Dead.

At the end of the 19th century, the most coveted invitation in town was to 125 South Spruce Street for one of Sue Allen’s twice-weekly seances. Nashville’s most-well-to-do all wanted to see and be seen holding hands around her stately dining room table while Sue Allen reached into the spirit world and brought back messages from the dead.

Sue Allen came from a long line of strange people. One of her great-grandmothers trapped the Devil under the family Bible. Her mother could smell a lie on your breath. Her dead brother liked to take an evening cigarette on the front porch. Her sister, Sarah, could read omens. And Sue was, and perhaps still is, the most powerful medium Nashville has ever seen.

But Sue has a secret–only she knows why her mentor, Lee Overton, disappeared. Only she knows where he went. And, when he returns, only she sees the true horror in what he’s figured out how to do. Sue must stop her old friend from recreating Confederate Nashville, even though she, too, would like someone to wait on her hand and foot. Can Sue Allen learn the importance of getting her own damn tea before it’s too late?

Edited to add: Spoiler alert: no.

Governor Baby Talks Higher Ed

I’m dying to read the stories on Governor Baby’s Higher Ed summit because, from Twitter, it doesn’t look like he had anyone actually involved in higher ed at the summit. But what I’m really curious about, but can’t quite figure out how to find, is how much, in actual dollars we have spend per year for, say, the last decade, on higher ed in this state.

I have found a bunch of stories about cuts after cuts after cuts. I’d just like to see in actual numbers what that looks like.

But I do take a kind of perverse pleasure in watching a political party so uncomfortable with people learning things struggling with the realization that an uneducated populace isn’t going to be prepared to take all the jobs the politicians desperately want to attract.

I don’t know. Maybe it will end up that the bigwigs at all the state institutions were there, but man, Haslam never wants to go out and talk to the regular folks who might have insight, does he?

We Turned Back

Mrs. W. and I set out on our walk, but we turned back in the AT&T yard when it started to thunder.

Typed there, it looks like a metaphor, but I guess it’s not.

We got a good rain here last night again, but the ground is still hard and the spot under the Butcher’s car was dry when we came home.