He was also apparently quite the scholar. His demise is attended by a pretty nurse Juliette Binoche whose ignorance is the perfect foil to his genius, which, unlike his face, remains intact.
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The movie seemed very clearly bad. There I was sitting next to Sam, watching this movie that sucked in exactly every way I expected it to and then some. Imagine my horror when it seemed to me that he liked it. This was unfathomable, but we generally passed the time in bad movies whispering snide comments to each other, and he was just watching the movie. Sam leaned toward me. My review of The English Patient was not really a review.
One was the chance to see Naveen Andrews, who I had liked so much in The Buddha of Suburbia , which I spent a paragraph praising, and which, I stressed, had a good story and was actually about something—unlike The English Patient , which was about British people fucking in their colonies, and not nearly often enough to be any fun. I pretended to read the paper as Jennifer read my review.
I waited for her to start giggling and making appreciative sounds. But she was silent. When she finally turned to speak to me her face was white. She was pretty mad. She listed a bunch of people she obviously thought were not idiots who liked it.
I knew who, like, two of them were. The moment now strikes me as so incredibly East Coast—this notion of consensus—which I would later run away from, and then, in a strange way, miss. She rolled her eyes at me.
Blue Film Woman | Film | The Guardian
This was not a good thing to say. The word adolescent was used. Winding down, Jennifer said that she had a section to put out, had already spent too much time talking to me as it was, and that she was going to get someone else to review it, and she had to find them fast. I could see the wheels turning in her mind.
She was mad, but she also needed this problem to be solved, and it was better for her if I solved this problem right now than if she spent all day on it. Her expression and tone reminded me of someone remembering the combination to a long-locked safe.
I just—I just really feel that we need to take it seriously. I was not wrong, but I was wrong about how. I was going to have to see the stupid movie again. Once I started thinking it was dumb I had stopped taking notes. This could be my epitaph. The only screening left was at night, way out in the suburbs. And that Ralph Fiennes—what a dreamboat! I sat through the movie again and took real notes with a lighted pen. I read the book on the train, there and back.
The first page let me know what I was in for. It featured the word aubergine where purple would have done, and went on like this. The English Patient is probably not a bad book, but its ostentatious sensuality was extremely not my thing. For one night and a whole long day I choked down its perfumed gruel. Then I began my new review, which took three entire days and nights. I had never committed such a sustained lie to paper and it was a weird process. I may have praised the cinematography and the performances.
I probably used cartography metaphors, because Liver Tongue Fiennes was a cartographer, and cartography is Culture. I probably said that the movie could not hope to equal the lyricism of the book, which everyone else would see as a compliment, and which I, with private knowledge of my personal dislike of lyricism, clung to as a moment of resistance. I would wake up early, excited, and pick up my paper from the yellow box on the corner of my block. I did not do that the day my review of The English Patient came out.
I never looked at it.
The Movie Assassin
Every time I thought about the fact that other people all over the city were reading it, I would shake my head and try to think about something else. When I walked by the theater and saw people in line to see it, I felt sick. But then two weeks passed, and the check arrived. I wept, but at this point, it was because I was actually proud of myself. I felt I had learned something about how adults take care of themselves. A few weeks later I brought up to Jennifer the idea of getting on staff.
It was to be understood. Something miraculous had happened. They took me out to lunch in SoHo.
It was Prada. I fingered the label to see if it was sewn in, but the stitching was tight. They told me they wanted me to write a sex column and I said I would. I had no particular interest in writing about sex and in fact found it embarrassing. I moved to New York, and rented a nice apartment, and had a lot of nice clothes. I ate out whenever I wanted. I assumed this was what I was supposed to be doing. Nothing had ever felt better.
I went to Europe for the first time ever. I bought a house, and I felt like it was enough to call myself a writer and to dress like I was interesting and to then therefore be interesting, but I was just a checking account with shoes and bookshelves. Then , starting one week in , and moving rapidly from there, I lost my house, print died, and my life as I had known it was over. I was 40 and poor.
The only sense I had of mattering involved being asked to write things and being paid for them , and now that was gone. I thought a lot about my lying review of that racist, boring, laughable, pseudo-intellectual movie. That one decision had led to a lot of other similar ones and had eventually ended up as an agreement with myself to spend over 10 years of my life being a different person than the one I had planned on being and feeling smug about being good at writing crap and then even actually starting to think the crap was good because of the money I was given to produce it.
I look at all the people in tech who are convinced they are saving the world, that what they do matters.
When the money goes, and it will, that feeling will go with it. If you write thousands of sentences that have absolutely nothing to do with what you think or feel those sentences are still what you will become. You can turn yourself into another person. I turned myself into another person. That person was very sure she understood the way the world worked.
She thought about killing herself all the time. I used to think I thought the right way, like, who cares if everyone does bad things, because bad things are just what important people have to do. Since my life was a fantasy, I had no trouble inhabiting a larger one. It often strikes me that it is considered immature to be unable to believe bullshit. Think about the word globalization. It means access to new markets and especially access to cheap labor so rich people can make more money.
That is all it means. If you happen to gain from side effects see fusion cuisine, above you might want to notice what everyone else, including you, is losing.