Thursday, October 27, 2005


Speaking of spooky things, M. Night Shyamalan’s latest film, Lady In The Water, is currently “lensing,” as we say in the trade, here in Philadelphia and nearby Bristol Township.

Paul Giamatti co-stars with Bryce Dallas Howard in a story about, well, go look it up on the IMDB if you’re interested. Does sound interesting, though. And I bet it has a twist at the end. Just a hunch.

I think Giamatti’s great, though. He’s been seen here and there in the area, buying jazz CD’s and going for walks with the family. I wouldn’t mind bumping into him so I could tell how much I’ve enjoyed his performances. I only just got around to seeing Sideways, in fact, which I thought probably represented his finest hour yet.

Giamatti’s Miles is his finest, most nuanced loser yet, his greatest achievement in carving out the ultimate schlub. They might as well have named him Schlubby McSchlub. Everything that could go wrong with his life has gone wrong. He’s bottomed out completely and is reduced to stealing money from his mother to keep going while he waits to hear from his agent for the latest rejection of his novel.

He’d make a good mascot for this site, in fact. We should put a little headshot of him up at the top.

In the meantime, he’s intent on showing his best friend Jack a good time the week before his wedding. Where Miles worries every little thing to death, Jack has no conscience. Where Miles has no luck with women, or at least refuses to act on his feelings, Jack is the consummate babe magnet, acting on every impulse even though he’s about to be married.

I’ll stop here, as most of you are probably a little more current in the timestream than I am and have, in all likelihood, seen the picture ages ago. This all hit a little too close to home for me, though, as I was an active partner in such a relationship. For a good while, I was half of a male friendship that involved doing many things together and acting as a team. One of us was terribly shy and reserved and had no idea how to approach women while the other was virtually catnip to them and had no problem at all in relating to the opposite sex.

Guess which one I was?

You don’t win anything for guessing correctly.

My friend was the active one, always driving us to parties where there were plenty of attractive women. Once we arrived I would seek out a chair and sit there sullenly until it was time to leave. In the meantime, he busied himself collecting phone numbers and striking up conversations with every woman in the room.

I, of course, partly envied him this ability, but at the same time, I was a little annoyed at the zeal with which he so single-mindedly pursued his goal. It struck me as a little callous and superficial.

And while women naturally gravitated towards him, I was stumped as to why they didn’t want to have anything to do with the pouting figure in the chair with his eyes cast down to his shoes. Was there something unattractive about me?

Inevitably, there were evenings where I was jettisoned for some new romance, which I understood completely. There was one time, though, where this kind of thing reached an almost farcical level.

We had dropped a woman friend of his off at her apartment and saw her upstairs. After some mysterious whispering between the two, my friend asked me if I wouldn’t mind staying the night, as he wanted to, er, renew his acquaintance with her. I could have the couch and then he’d drive me to work in the morning.

I agreed, as I had no choice, and watched as they prepared their bed of love with fresh linens. I was handed a pillow and shown the couch. Good night! they chirped, as the door closed before the felicitation had a chance to finish.

Now I was aware that there was a kitten on the premises, but didn’t think it would constitute a problem of any kind. But as soon as I began to drift off, the kitten, claws extended, would jump on my head.

It wanted to play.

This game continued for an hour or so. Drift, claws, drift, claws, drift, claws. Finally, I got up and quietly left. Walking up Broad Street in the early morning hours, I picked a subway stop and got on. This was where I belonged, I decided, with all the rest of the scratched-up detritus that’s lost its value. The kittens would never let any of us rest, not until we had to beg for food like they did.

I transferred to the bus and rode up to my job at the fabric outlet, where women would ask me to cut lengths of fabric for them and our lesbian security guard had “love” and “hate” written on her knuckles. The job was merely an excuse to have the money to buy records, which…

But, that’s another story.


Anonymous Anonymous said...

Yeah Giamatti is the best around at acting these days, I still mourn Brando and Dean but for quirkiness I will go for Paul and yes you are correct when you say Sideways is his finest hour


Wednesday, July 05, 2006 3:20:00 AM  

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