Saturday, September 22, 2007

Death Proof and Exit Ghost

Death Proof's opening credits are superimposed over a shot of two feet propped up on the dashboard of a car speeding down the road. They are sexy things, obviously loved by the director, Tarantino, and throughout the movie there are so many shots of feet, Tarantino's foot fetish coming out in a much more explicit way in this movie, rather than the less explicit thing that people have noticed in Pulp Fiction and Kill Bill, Uma's toes wiggling. Here are long shots of feet hanging out car windows. Here is Kurt Russell staring at a pair of them with all the longing in the world.

I understand the pleasure it was for Tarantino to shoot this film, to shoot these feet. I squirmed because I understood his longing gaze, have shared it, though for men's feet and not his ass-kicking female stars. There were memories of other feet provoked by these shots, my desire for them.

What a pleasure this movie was, a giddy joy that I only get when watching Tarantino films for the first time - his love of seventies cinema, his soundtracks, his references - it always thrills me so much on first viewing.

There is more that I wanted to say, but this hangover, odd thing it is since I don't think I drank that much last night, is getting the better of me, that or the giant thing of ice cream that I just ate, the coffee drank beforehand, and the gas that the combination of the two is giving me. I went out dancing at Sugarland last night, there surprisingly being a lot of people there, people dancing even. I made out with this boy there, a Brian perhaps, and let him take my penis out of pants and stroke it, me enjoying that so much. He wanted to come home with me and I didn't want that, didn't want the stranger in my bed, those moments outside of sex to fill with conversation. I just wanted this moment on the dancefloor and when I realized that by having this moment I was leading him to expect future moments, I had to say goodbye, had to leave the bar, and on my bike I got, biking home, and that ride, aside from the brief hill on Central that I had to ascend drunk, tired, and winded, was such a joyous ride, one of the highlights of my night, the streets empty for the most part, and there was me and this rusting piece of metal going from here to there, being in movement, and feeling like I was accomplishing something I could point to, that my legs had gotten me from this point to that one.

Today, I exchanged Philip Roth's Exit Ghost for Junot Diaz's The Brief Wondrous Life of Oscar Wao. The Roth book, his last with the Nathan Zuckerman alter ego, was lacking. Maybe it was supposed to be and I have been thinking over the book in moments today as I have been walking or riding the trains, wondering about what exactly he was trying to say. Nathan Zuckerman, in the book, admits to senility and having trouble in his advanced age continuing to write, and perhaps this book, Exit Ghost, was supposed to reflect that. It is a bit unfocused and there is very little of the exuberant prose that normally thrills me about Roth's writing. There is Roth defensively critiquing the contemporary practice of reading the author's life into the work of fiction, of seeking out autobiographical details about writers as if that should help reveal the text, and that part, though a bit obvious, I enjoyed a lot, not least because of my sympathies toward Roth's view, coy as it is with his Zuckerman character mirroring his life so closely. However, Roth's digs at feminism (an aged version of it he is still imagining that he is fighting apparently) and at trends toward p.c. selections seem out of place in the novel's setting of 2004. It all seems so nineties, that tension. There is also a lot going with the practice of writing and how one is to do that, what that means. The book is a mixed bag, certainly a good book, but not the great book that I had been hoping for. If just about every critic is to be believed, hopefully this new book I picked up today, the Diaz book, should be fucking amazing!

What a thrill it was to watch Death Proof, to see these ladies so excited about test driving a Dodge Challenger, a 1970 one, what a fucking thrill. If you had only been here next to me on the couch in my new apartment in Bushwick, you would have known; you would have heard be squealing in delight, so full of joy and excitement that I couldn't even process it, could only make shrieking noises of pleasure.

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