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Sunday, December 31, 2006

I was never very good with puzzles of any type. I've always found it interesting that puzzles are often viewed as a sort of therapy that can lead to relaxation and clear thoughts. Puzzles just confuse me and often leave me feeling stupid.

Don't get me wrong --- some fan-fucking-tastic things happened for me this year. The most important and key happening this year was my meeting "B" and this building of a life together is a true blessing. And, I had a lot of fun with people whom I love. It was, in many ways a great year for personal growth.

On a global level, 2006 was the real puzzle. For me, when viewed from both the national and international level, 2006 was like a big puzzle from Hell. Like one of those cubes that I ended up tossing from a speeding car in the late 80's. No sense in writing about it. Most of us lived through it. Even still, I felt that there was a good degree of hope to be found in 2006: the possible promise of change thanks to the results of the US election results, we seem to be gaining some insight into what we've been doing to our environment and how we might be able to turn some of that around.

"B" is going thru hell with the health of some very important people in his family. He had to leave for Canada the other day to take care of some things and will be ringing in the New Year sitting next to a hospital bed holding the hand of a much loved relative. This makes me sad. I wish I could be there with him, but family circumstances prevent that.

I never really cared much for New Year's Eve. I stopped going to parties a couple of years ago. I would always end up standing there thinking, "Okay. Now what? Is that it? What did I miss?" and then that horribly sad song would end up being played somewhere. Tonight, I've got lots of unhealthy foods, Diet Coke and some DVD's. I'm all set to ring in 2007! I also continued my now 3 year old habit of playing the Lotto on New Year's Eve. I figure if one is ever to win -- one needs to play at least once a year. I limit it to $20 a year. Kind of nutty considering that I've managed to be unemployed for the last two New Year's Eve's. But, ya never know. Anyway, this year I purchased $20 worth of scratch tickets. Tonight could be the night I become rich! Or, not. Most likely not. But, a boy can dream.

And, ugh. I turned 40 this year. Last month. Can I still call myself a "boy" ???? Yes. I just decided. I can.

For the most part this was a crap year for movies. Not much came out that was really worth seeing. But there were a few gems. These were my personal favorite releases of 2006 (and I am referring to the US film release year) --- there is no particular order other than this list.
GABRIELLE. ...for my money, Patrice Chereau's film adaptation of Joseph Conrad's story, "The Return" was the best film I saw in 2006. Delivered with an operatic flair -- this study into the darker side of relationship is unforgettable, disturbing and beautifully filmed. I am a devoted Isabelle Huppert fan, but this actor can say more with a glance than most actors can say with a page of dialog. Almost perfect if you ask me.
OLD JOY. Another almost perfect film. I guess this is the "second best" movie I saw this year. A film about male friendship and the stunted evolution of the American man-boy. The movie's director, Kelly Reichardt, has created a stunningly beautiful and eloquent film. In a year filled with rather middle-of-the-road movies, it is so cool that two great films came from female directors! I can't wait to see what she does next! See this if you've not yet done so!
LITTLE MISS SUNSHINE. This film just works so well. I loved it. It made me smile and the performance by Abigail Breslin was just amazing. I think of this as the little movie that just could. ...and did.
DRAWING RESTRAINT 9. Matthew Barney's fantasy on ritual and environmental evolution. Maybe? Magical and strange. And, didn't we always know that if you were to hack the limbs off of Bjork she would most likely be a dolphin? I did.
THE HOST. Bong Joon-ho has created a movie which is both funny and horrific! A classic monster movie with wit, style and it will give you the creeps. This was such fun to watch with a sold out audience. And, I am still having the same nightmare inspired by this film -- me under a bridge, the grey water turbulent and that awful thud approaching faster than I can run. See it! I think it opens nationwide in February.
SHORTBUS. A beautiful, funny, happy -- but, ultimately somehow sad study on the need for us all to connect not only with others but to ourselves. No one can ever accuse John Cameron Mitchell of playing it safe with his art. Tip of the hat!
MRS. PALFREY AT THE CLAREMONT. Okay. Make fun of me if you must, but this little film from the UK is a sweet look into the heart of loneliness, love and the families we choose to make. ...And, about getting old. Also, any film that closes with Rosemary Clooney singing "For All We Know" is far smarter than we deserve. Oh, and Joan Plowright kicks ass.
FRIENDS WITH MONEY. Nicole Holofcener continues to make "little" movies about very "big" things. Great performances from all, but Jennifer Aniston broke my heart. I think it was at the mid-point of this movie that it stuck me that she was playing a female version of me. Oy! If only the ending had not been so tidy I think this movie might have come close to totally winning me over. Still, it is more than worth your time to see it. And, for any of us who have found ourselves trying to start our lives over as our friends think we are nuts --- this IS your movie be you man, woman, straight, gay or whatever. Doing what you need to do is not nearly as easy as it sounds. Too bad about that ending, tho.

JONESTOWN: THE LIFE AND DEATH OF PEOPLES TEMPLE. ...Stanley Nelson's powerful documentary provides both insight into what lead so many people to follow such a sad and sick man. I saw this movie with a near capacity audience in downtown San Francisco. This movie made me cry. I don't want to ever see it again but to deny it as a great film would be wrong. And, it is so important that we never forget.

NOTES ON A SCANDAL. I think I was thinking I might get a bit more from a new film by Richard Eyre. You know, something of substance and importance. Instead I got a film so absolutely filthy I needed a power shower upon reaching home after viewing it -- but, man-o-man! This is a guilty pleasure built for fun! As I watched it, I kept thinking I should not like it . I should just get up and leave. Why should I support such trash? ...but, I was having the best time! Interestingly, I read a great review after I saw it from The Boston Globe which summed up the Judi Dench/Kate Blanchett excursion into trashy transgression as follows, "You'll want to take a shower after Notes on a Scandal, but you'll be glad you got dirty." ...Can I get an Amen in The House!?!?! I smell Oscar! More fun than - well, I won't go any further.

Oh, let's see --- I saw VOLVER (I didn't see the big deal and if I had to hear one more kiss or fart I was going to scream!) and I saw DREAMGIRLS (one great scene. just like the play from the 80's. ...and Miss Ross gets off way too easy! Once again, what's the big deal?) I also saw Guillermo Del Toro's PAN'S LABYRINTH (I "got" it, but did it need to be so horribly violent? And, I don't like to see children abused or hurt. I found it to be artsy sadism. My thumb is down.) I also saw THREE TIMES and I was bored out of my mind.

I did not see Clint Eastwood's two anti-war films. I also did not see BABEL. I have opted to not see THE GOOD GERMAN or THE GOOD SHEPHERD or THE PAINTED VEIL or CURSE OF THE GOLDEN FLOWER. You know what? I'm tired of war. I am sure these films are all quite good but I don't want to see any more war. I know it is wrong, real and horrible. War is over if you want it. I want it. Let it be over.

I want to see the new David Lynch film but he is walking it around the country and I think the SF screening has been sold out for a couple of weeks. Some day.

And, hey! Happy New Year! Sending out many good thoughts and positive vibes to all of you!!! Let's make 2007 the best year yet! ...and, if anyone can land me a job -- please do drop me a line.



Blogger Joshua said...

Happy New Year!
Enjoy your life!
Anything can Happen! :)

5:30 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Joshua! Happy New Year to you!!!! And, yes! I agree!
Big hug!

6:23 PM  
Blogger Topher said...

Happy New Year Matt! Wishing you a great year ahead.

And thanks for the movie list, now I know which ones to check out soon. Out of those, I only got to see two of them. I really loved Mrs Palfrey at the Claremont and I'll admit I cried in the theaters when I watched it. Took a gamble since I was bored one day and looked up what was playing at this one independent theater in Norfolk. It was one of those movies that just made me smile as bittersweet as it was.

12:47 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Kris! Happy New Year to you!!!! LOL! Take that listing for what it is worth!!! Be warned! MRS PALFREY caught me by surprise, too. It played in SF for over 2 months! It was a good film! And, it made me feel comforted too.

1:06 PM  
Blogger Me said...

Have I told you yet this year that I adore you? I adore you. My condolences to poor B. I hope he's home to you soon.
I too had a sober and solitary New Years and I loved it.
So, it's another year. Hmmm, what kind of trouble can I get into this year?

4:32 PM  
Blogger matty said...

Lovely Meredith! Thank you! The feeling is mutual!!

B is back tomorrow!!! Yay!!! I can't wait!

And, I hope that 2007 brings you many fun adventures filled with only the best kind of "trouble" for you to get into!!!

8:31 PM  
Blogger hot-lunch said...

sorry to hear about B's new year's eve... hopefully 2007 will bring nothing but goodness to you both!

Shortbus is by far my favourite movie of 2006 !

10:03 AM  

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