burn before watching

I dedicate this photo to the Coen brothers’ useless, spiteful (and a little bit funny) movie.

In my grand tradition of simultaneously loving and hating The New Yorker Magazine, here are a few rants and raves:

The rave, it’s a big one: sometimes the NYer is so fuckin’ right on that entire years of irritation are mitigated by one single movie review.

The other night I came home from seeing the new Coen brothers movie, Burn After Reading, and all I could think was “I’M DONE.” I can’t ever see another Coen brothers movie. IT’S OVER. My friend Nelson had warned me that I wouldn’t like it, and I went to see it anyway – people in my snotty little socioeconomic group are supposed to like the Coen brothers, you know? I figured I’d give it a chance.

Aside from a scene near the end that made me truly and literally sick because of an event in my past (Stupid spoiler alert about a stupid scene: The Coen brothers couldn’t have known that I had a friend who was killed with a hammer, but I still blame them for the hours of deep black misery I suffered after leaving the theater.), there was nothing bad about the movie, and parts of it were funny and it was all well done, well lit, intelligent, intellectual, great acting (I have a serious crush on Tilda Swinton), casting, costumes, sets, all the rest. They are pros, perfectionists, all that. But they make such profoundly useless movies, and I’m not going to waste any more of my life watching them.

But I’ll let David Denby tell you what I truly think about this movie, because I am convinced he got into my heart and head and brought out into words my exact thoughts on it (magically he did this before I even saw the movie).

On to the rant: In other NYer news, the September 22, 2008 issue appears to be written by 11 men and 2 women. I’m just saying.

Ending with a rave: I don’t think I’ve laughed at a Shouts & Murmurs (the part of the magazine that white dudes wearing loafers are supposed to think is funny) since I was twelve and didn’t understand a word but laughed because I wanted so badly to be a New York sophisticate. Once in a great while they are archly witty, that’s the most I’ll grant them. I have never cracked the tiniest smile at anything Jack Handey has ever written, that’s for damn sure. Maybe they are funny to some people somewhere (the Upper East Side of Manhattan, perhaps? Certainly not the Upper West Side, home of many Lagusta’s Luscious clients!). 

But George Saunders’s “My Gal” – oh my god. Aside from that profile of the fruit detective (David Karp!) that I’ve already linked to about a zillion times, it might just be the very best thing I’ve ever read in the NYer! My pal John mentioned to me last week that the Dreaded SP spoke in “weird clauses,” and, not being one to subject myself to the horrors of her visage by watching the debates, I wasn’t all that sure what he meant. But since then I’ve watched a lot of clips (and a lot of Tina Fey), and, George Saunders, all I have to say is: YES.

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