The weekend’s movies included “A Late Quartet,” which intrigued me with the trailer and sold me with the cast — Philip Seymour Hoffman, Catherine Keener, Christopher Walken. Plus, for a $4.99 rental via iTunes, it’s hard to go wrong.
And the film, while not perfect, was good enough. Too long by a tad, a little too much blah-blah, but these are people who deal with their problems via blah-blah, so hey, verisimilitude. It’s the story of a long-running, successful string quartet at a crisis point when their eldest member, the cellist, gets a Parkinson’s diagnosis. Artists are easy to caricature onscreen, but these people weren’t, and maybe one of the reasons I liked this is, I felt fully immersed in the classical-strings part of professional musicianship. They have money, but not a ton of it; they work very hard; they get on one another’s nerves. A lot like your job, maybe.
Kate’s bass teacher had an upright for sale for some time, a nice instrument he’d rescued and put a lot of work into restoring. Priced around $5,000, it was too rich for us, but at one point a concert player from Boston was interested, and sent a friend from the Detroit symphony to take it for a test-drive. The Bostonian passed, and decided to spend that sum on a bow instead. A $5,000 bow! I remember thinking at the time, but in this film you watch one of the characters build one from scratch, driving to a horse farm to buy hair imported from Siberia, and well — a $5,000 bow seems pretty reasonable.
If it floats by your on-demand menu, I think you’ll like it. Roger did.
I wish I had a more exciting report from my weekend, but eh. I spent much of Saturday feeling overall punky, not bad enough to be sick-sick but not good enough to do anything other than watch an iTunes movie and watch the snow fly outside the window. Didn’t even make it to the market.
Let’s hope for a better week ahead. In the meantime, some bloggage:
Because of the New York Times’ publication schedule, everyone was reading and commenting on the magazine cover story last week, but I didn’t read it until Sunday. It’s about the GOP’s continuing inability to hear what the world keeps trying to tell it. Here’s an account of a focus group in Columbus, Ohio:
When Anderson then wrote “Republican,” the outburst was immediate and vehement: “Corporate greed.”“Old.”“Middle-aged white men.” “Rich.” “Religious.” “Conservative.” “Hypocritical.” “Military retirees.” “Narrow-minded.” “Rigid.” “Not progressive.” “Polarizing.” “Stuck in their ways.” “Farmers.”
Anderson concluded the group on a somewhat beseeching note. “Let’s talk about Republicans,” she said. “What if anything could they do to earn your vote?”
A self-identified anti-abortion, “very conservative” 27-year-old Obama voter named Gretchen replied: “Don’t be so right wing! You know, on abortion, they’re so out there. That all-or-nothing type of thing, that’s the way Romney came across. And you know, come up with ways to compromise.”
“What would be the sign to you that the Republican Party is moving in the right direction?” Anderson asked them.
“Maybe actually pass something?” suggested a 28-year-old schoolteacher named Courtney, who also identified herself as conservative.
I know lots of Republicans who think gridlock is good, because it stops the Democrats from their onward march toward Marxism. Hmm.
The best story you’ll read about the end of the Jeopardy Teen Tournament. Olive long-sleeve!
We have black squirrels in Grosse Pointe. I’d like to send a delegation to Olney, Ill., so we can have a fully integrated squirrel civil-rights movement. And I’d like this guy to write a new song about it:
Take me there, I want to see the squirrels / Yeah, take me there, I hear they’re white as South Sea pearls…
Sooner or later Gawker will find this, but you heard it here first.