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What’s with these young prize-winning actresses? I’ve been mad for Saoirse Ronan for a half a year now: caught up on a half-dozen of her movies, have loved and admired all but one. Yesterday a new DVD arrived, Winter’s Bone, and Jan and I become aware of Jennifer Lawrence as well. Good cast, good performances: characters, a culture Jan and I had had little contact with before this movie: hardscrabble hillbillies cooking crank in the Ozarks, murdering each other, and so forth.
But now that I think of it, maybe I have met a few people like these characters: in jail: particularly in FDC Miami, FDC Tallahassee … Jesup GA … And now that I think further, maybe we’ve been surrounded by them right here in Sebring FL, unwittingly. I heard several years ago that Wauchula, next town west of here, is and has been the nation’s chief meth lab. Everyone apparetnly is involved in the trade, and manufacture. The cops open their hand, avert their eyes. There’s one of those conspicuous in Winter’s Bone. (In FDC Miami I played chess with a guy, a jailed lawyer (mayor of Key West actually) who was said to run the drug traffic to and from the Keys.) (What was he arrested for? I don’t know) (what was I arrested for? the pretend reason is irrelevant to the real reason) (Do you think those convictions are going to stand once God gets involved? Do you think Jesus really worries about being “proved” guilty of sedition?). Apparently Mr. Mayor’s real reason was that a rival drug gang planted some “evidence” about him, knocked him temporarily out of the traffic.) (He apparently paid the right people, got whisked back to his former role.) (I liked him, he played wicked Scrabble, embarrassed the rest of us, but I could beat him three out of four at chess.)
My favorite meth con I met in Jesup: I’d exercise with him, run laps, walk endlessly: and talk. Talk, talk. (Plan to reunite to unify our revenge!) (Except that I hadn’t really done what they said, or, I had, but it didn’t mean what they said it meant: it meant the opposite of what they said it meant, but the kleptocrats cooked their brains away long long ago, even before they became actively such crooks. Anyway: Jack. Jack was a big strapping guy. Was getting himself in great shape, spent time on the track and also time in the weight room (which I visited for mere minutes, only every other hour: curled a five pound iron five times: muscle wasn’t the main thing I was working on). Dig it: Jack told me that he’d shrunk to 80 pounds when they arrested him for cooking crystal! said the fed did him a favor to arrest him, get him out of his habits, break his connections. Still, as usual, they’d done it all wrong, forsaken any credit they might otherwise have claimed. Jack wasn’t fooling when he said he wanted to dynamite every fucking fed once he got out. He’d call me, and we’d plot. (I don’t think I ever made it quite clear to him that weaponry was a rhetorical device with me, a Swiftian irony, a noir joke: not literal: however much I did (and do) wish I could destroy every last kleptocrat. But I leave the strong arm stuff to God: and don’t really approve of God either in that capacity!
2014 02 23 I now know a bit more than I did yesterday: I see that Jennifer Lawrence starred in something called Hunger Games: which turns out to be a rehash of a set of science fiction stories I read in the 7th grade: c. 1950: the society sponsored a game of combat to the death: raise excitement, trim population: all societies do this on occasion, few call it by any rightful names. I checked a bit of Hunger Games last evening: Immejiately, Jennifer Lawrence is shown going off into the woods with arrows and a bow: Immejiately Jennifer Lawrence tracks a deer, tricks the deer into turning sideways, is ready to shoot: that’s for a 2012 release …
And instantly I recall Saoirse Ronan, in Hanna, tracking a deer with her bow and arrows (for release in 2011): that was in deep snow, Jennifer Lawrence tracks in deep woods (woods illegal for her to be in! gee, just like Robin Hood!) Of course the Hunger Games novel was published in 2008: and I recall a cartoon girl with red hair and a bow in something called Brave (2012) … (Women!? with bows!? Sure women can do archery, long have, the god Diana hunted with a bow; but not a long bow: long bows aren’t just for men, they’re for big men, men with big shoulders who’ve been practicing, strengthening themselves for that hard draw since they were children.)
Ah, these girls are doing archery, but they ain’t got no long bows (I went off on an irrelevance). Regardless, it’s nice to see pretty girls pretending to do something lethal. And I remind one and all, if you want to see inept bowmanship, look at Ivanhoe: you could attack those bozos in a weather balloon without fear of puncture: they breath while drawn, they drop the point, they wobble … and worst of all, they don’t draw to the full: arrow wouldn’t go ten feet. If that’s how bad the men are (and how bad Hollywood is), how bad should we expect these girls to be? Ah, but not Saoirse Ronan: I believe her hero the way I believe Errol Flynn, the way I believe Sam Spade. Meantime, I’ll check on this Jennifer Lawrence. I certainly liked Winter’s Bone, liked her in it. There ought to be room in my craw for more than one great young actress: room in your craw too.
Out on Bail
I tried watching Hunger Games. I’d watch for a half hour, then for another ten minutes. Finally, half-way through, I bailed. I can’t imagine going back. It seemed to be an exercise in saying, “OK: here’s the What-If situation: now, how bad, how stupid, how improbable can we make it?” A Hollywood exec once said that the formula for generating a drama was to take a guy, kick him in the balls, see what he does. (OK, you want a girl, yank on her tubes, traumatize her ovaries.) Hunger Games imagines a set of situations, then shows us characters who behave in ways no human would in the supposed situation. Self-flattering delusions are approved: edited in; probable behavior is edited out. People in a free-for-all for alliances: OK, maybe, but not those alliances.
2014 12 25 I’m so humiliated, Jan and I watched Winter’s Bone last evening having totally forgotten that we’d seen it (or that we’d liked it). This image seemed familiar to her, that line seemed familiar to me. She finally decided that we’d seen it before, I argued against. Then today I find this article. We saw it only ten months ago! I started publishing my own writing at a time when my belief in the brilliance of my writing was based on evidence; what about now? Humilified. Merry Christmas anyway.
Oh, and a few months back I saw another Jennifer Lawrence vehicle: Silver Linings Playbook. Really loved it, was mesmerized by her. I’ll watch it again to show Jan.
Next day: so I watched Winter’s Bone still again: this time really marveling at its many excellences, fabulous cast, on both sides of the distaff. Great restraint with regard to gender, hail this female director. We see a lot of female ass in grungy hill-jeans, but the movie declines all opportunities to take the girls’ blouse off, the snatch remains behind the filthy denim. Our heroine is forever trudging her famous round-as-round heine up Ozark hills, she raises up little bro & sis, holding up mom, mom’s mind deserted by her crank-stressed life: all the males have deserted all the families to cook meth, blow themselves up, snort their brains away. But Jennifer raises up everybody: she teaches spelling, arithmetic, cooking … gun-safety, marksmanship, prey habits … to her siblings. And the kids get it: seventeen year old supermom who remains utterly human. It’s once in a generation acting, only with Ronan also around, we’re getting it twice!
They cast actresses (and actors) with good looks and then grunged them to the max: grunged and starved. (I exercised with a meth bird in Jesup. Big strapping guy I came to love. Jack. Said he weighed eighty pounds when they arrested him in his lab. He hated the fed, wanted to kill every last bureaucrat: but did concede that jailing him saved his life.
Just the names are fabulous: Teardrop. Thump. Merab.
They got that girl out of the holler but they left the holler in the girl.
Females have an easy up when it comes to attraction, nature made them to be attractive; but evolution fashioned males to have distinctive faces in maturity, to advertise, whether true or false, character. Bette Davis, for all her skill, can never stand level with Bogart. But here’s Lawrence getting beat up like Brando in Waterfront, like Mifune in Yojimbo … Go Girl.
Praising the film for things left out as well as added I realize what I meant to mention last time here. Every one of these ‘Zarkies – male – is in the meth business. Everybody is cooking, selling, using. But every one of them looks as dirt-poor as ever! Wha’d they do with the green?
From the looks of their “civilization” you’d think that the sooner the earth gets rid of them (us) the less diseased the earth will be. Ree visits Uncle/Grandpa Thump, supposedly the local crime boss: yard full of junker trucks, stripped and rusty: trailer trash, yard trash: house full o’ hick women … Wha’d they do with the green?
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