PTA and AS and EW

Went to a screening of Punch Drunk Love two weeks ago at the amazing Cinerama, and who showed up to promote the film but Paul Thomas Anderson (P. T. Anderson to his friends, thank you very much) and Adam Sandler themselves.
Quirky modern romance film. I didn't love it, but I loved lots of its components. Great performances from Adam Sandler, Emily Watson and Philip Seymour Hoffman, three actors I love to watch. I have a dream. In it, I would be able to spend one long day in their company, walking around a city, sightseeing, grabbing lunch and dinner, taking in the sights, shooting the shit. There are many ways to divide up the people in the world, but one of my favorite is to divide people into those I would love to spend a carefree day with, and those who'd drive me nuts or bore me silly after fifteen minutes. Seriously, try this out. Doesn't everyone fall on one side or the other? They do for me.
Adam Sandler is a very natural actor. He is what he is, a nice guy, kinda shy, the odd neighborhood geek, prone to sudden and unexpected outbursts of anger. He was fairly quiet and didn't try to overwhelm the audience with histrionics the way I imagine someone like Jim Carrey would. His character in this film has the same type of personality, and it should answer any who doubt his screen presence. He's the gentle comedian who injects happiness in your soul.
Emily Watson has the same initials as I do. That alone rates high marks in my book. Oh yeah. She's also as brave an actress as there is, a sweet and dedicated professional, and the type of inspiring, nurturing artist friend we all need in our lives. And she has that lovely accent.
Philip Seymour Hoffman is the mad comic genius who says the things you wish you were honest enough to say, and some things you didn't. I don't think I've ever seen him give a bad performance. Have you? He'd do something bold and obnoxious in public that would embarass you while at the same time making you feel like the part of the most interesting group out that day. Certainly the group having the most fun.
P.T. Anderson is the type of self-confident, pretentious, self-important director people love to hate. But he's also a talented, talented director with an exquisite aesthetic sensibility, and I loved the scope of the ambition in his first three movies (Hard Eight, Boogie Nights, and Magnolia). Punch-Drunk Love contains such natural performances, but the plot that frames them is just the opposite. Everything from the strange accident that opens the movie to the fact that Sandler's character Barry discovers a loophole in a frequent flier mile giveaway and buys hundreds of packs of pudding to take advantage of it to the fact that Barry sells novelty bathroom plungers to the idea that he's supposed to have seven was such a deliberate setup it was distracting. True, the story of the guy who found the frequent flier mile loophole is a true story, but I would have preferred a more organic story built around the actors' performances. They're wonderful, but they all seem to be pushing out against P.T.A's calculated plot ideas.
Seeing Sandler put the evening over the top, though. Quite a treat. Happy Gilmore, Billy Madison, The Wedding Singer...there's a reason all his movie titles refer to his character in the movie.


It's that time of year when writer friends pressure me to sign up for Nanowrimo again. It stands for National Novel Writing Month. Across the globe, hordes of over-eager Eggers wannabees invade coffee houses near you and spend the month of November trying to crank out a 50,000 word (175 page) novel. Last year I started that brutal sprint, and then along came a brutal week of work, and it was as if I turned my head and ran headlong into a street sign and knocked myself unconscious.
The idea is a good one, though. If you want to be a writer, you have to treat it like you would any other job. Spend several hours each day writing. No breaks except those of the bathroom variety. Those who can't hack it aren't writers at heart. I know plenty.
Am I one? I don't know. I suspect if I were one I wouldn't need to enter Nanowrimo to prove anything to myself.
Friends say, "Time to write."
Blinking cursor stares me down.
It doesn't look good.


Everyone who saw me after my bike accident and who've seen me in the past day or two are shocked by how quickly my face healed up. I received my fair share of "that must be your mutant power" comments.
Unfortunately, I was also starting to look like Wolverine. I was waiting on a haircut because of my facial wound, and finally last night I couldn't hold out any longer. Two thoughts arose as I sat there at Rudy's watching my hair fall in front of my face. One, is it rude to not make small talk with the person cutting your hair? Does that make their life more interesting, or more painful? I tried to read my snipper. She looked like an alternative chick with no particular interest in hearing anything I had to say. I kept quiet.
Second, why do barbershops still stock their shelves with all these adult magazines? Isn't that a legacy of old school barbershops that only catered to men? I've never seen anyone with the brass tacks to read an issue. And even if you did, is a haircut really the time to be flipping through something like that?