Check out the animated show Bat out of Hell on Kickstarter!

What Are The Odds?

A trailer for a film entitled The Squid and the Whale (that’s one post referenced) which includes a discussion of the meaning of “philistine” – a twofer!


  1. Mark Lickona says:

    Don’t think I didn’t catch that. And I can’t wait for this film (and not just because it uses the word p———). Noah and Wes A. are tight, of course (co-writing The Life Aquatic), so it’s not surprising that this film has been tagged as an “Ordinary People for the Rushmore set.” Actually, The Royal Tenenbaums was sort of like that, too (except we come in on the kids when they’re older). Which film is dearer to me than any film I’ve ever seen; it’s exactly the sort of film I dream of writing (am trying to write, actually): wry, wistful, drenched in character, quietly heart-breaking while keeping the smile on your face, if not making you laugh out loud. (Yeah right I’m gonna write a film like this.)

    So yeah, the promise of a “successor” to RT (not to mention Ordinary People)? I’m thrilled.

    Noah Bumbach trivia: He worked on the script for The Squid and the Whale (these are the warring spouses, fighting for the childrens’ hearts, right?) at Yaddo, that famous artists’ retreat in upstate New York (homeland cheer)–where Truman Capote also spent some of his early days. (Now there’s a film that will need its own post, particularly on this writers’ blog that is Godsbody. That writer being Matt, of course.)

  2. Mark Lickona says:


    Truman Capote was twenty-one and working on his first novel when he sought an invitation to Yaddo in 1946. In a recommendation letter on Capote’s behalf, George Davis, Fiction Editor of Mademoiselle, wrote: “Among young American fiction writers, he is among those few whose work is steadfastly serious and truly creative in approach and accomplishment. . . . I find that Mr. Capote’s stories are unforgettable, and even stronger in re-reading. He is, quite simply, a writer.”

    Reminds me of when Capote’s high-society friends, to a man (and woman, esp. Babe Paley, wife of CBS Head William Paley, Capote’s very favorite), turned against him for Answered Prayers, in which they were only thinly-disguised and most unflatteringly portrayed–to which rejection Capote responded by pleading: “What did they expect? I’m a writer.”

    I think he was right: He couldn’t help it. Writers need truth. They can’t write without it. It reminds me of when Philip Marlow (a writer whose moniker is one letter shy of Hammett’s famous P.I. and which has seemingly determined his publishing destiny) says in The Singing Detective (the original BBC six-parter): “You just don’t know writers. They’ll use anything, anybody. They’ll eat their own young.”

  3. Mark Lickona says:

    Noah BAUMBACH. No bum, he.

    Good grief.

    Mea culpa.

  4. Matt, I saw this film at Sundance in January. It did have some great moments, but as a whole, I felt the movie had a despairing view of the human person, in the end. In short, I felt the film told the truth about one boy’s experience, while at the same time lying to us about the human condition. The subtitle should be, “Life is Not Beautiful.” Some directors need to know when to see a therapist, and when to make a movie. See my blog for more details.

  5. Matthew Lickona says:

    Thanks, Clayton! Though I know some people who might say when you’re treating divorce, there’s a lot of room for broken bleakness. But I haven’t seen the film, and you have, so I’ll leave it at that. And I’ll check the blog. I liked “Kicking and Screaming,” though, and this was just too perfect a webfind.

  6. Mark Lickona says:

    RT was bleak too in the end (even as it pretended not to be). But I still think it was a masterpiece.

    I think we shouldn’t be surprised when an author’s subjective experience colors the world we see on screen. If a man grows up looking at the world through shit-colored glasses, the world he shows you is going to look like shit. But we who “have eyes to see” can separate the wheat from the chaff, and discern the genius.

  7. Three cheers for Mark L. for his relentless pimping of RTs, also my favorite movie. Criminally overlooked by the academy. The two best movies of that year were definitely RTs and Memento. Neither were nominated for best picture. Does anyone know what won that year?

  8. Mark Lickona says:

    It’s A Beautiful Mind. Just to complete the geekery, the other nominees were Moulin Rouge, The Fellowship of the Ring, In The Bedroom (which deserved to be nominated), and Gosford Park.

    RT also lost to Gosford Park for Best Original Screenplay. You could see Gwen Paltrow’s face fall. What a snow job. Everyone loves a movie with a zillion intertwining plots. It’s amazingly dextrous writing, but leaves no time for characters, only deft caricatures. RT, on the other hand, was resplendent with characters.

    I do sound rather pimpy, don’t I?

Speak Your Mind