Elizabeth Taylor

Friday, January 19, 2007

Notebook: "Mon 9 Oct 2000"

“girlfight” = Raging Cow

Most good independent films are like long short stories. I’m no indie film buff, but I’m surprised how quickly these films vanish.

“Meet the Parents” opened number one at the box office this weekend; so did “Scary Movie” a few months ago. Jon Abrahams has lead roles in both. “Meet the Parents” is a comedy starring Robert De Niro; his comedies aren’t funny. I laughed at “Scary Movie.” I’ll skip “Meet the Parents,” although I was Jon’s temporary step-parent.

Seven years is temporary.

“girlfight” is a portrait of the boxer as a young girl. She falls in love with another boxer named Adrian (an allusion to “Rocky”), but then humiliates him in the ring. The interesting emotion was anger. The language was raw for Ben.

Ben and I also saw “Ed Wood.” Because Tim Burton, the film’s director, also made “Batman” and “Beetlejuice,” I thought Ben would like it. But the hero is a cross-dressing horror-movie director; other characters, e.g. Bela Lugosi played by Martin Landau, are drug addicts; or aspiring transsexuals, e.g. Bill Murray playing someone from the real Ed Woods entourage.

What am I doing? Am I trying to use film to educate my son? Ben is now ten. I lost Jon, born in 1978, in 1988.

Wednesday, January 03, 2007

The Good Shepherd

I have a studio in TriBeCa across the street from Robert De Niro’s longtime residence. Neighbors for 25 years included a CIA couple. I knew them well. Bobby Kennedy would ask him Monday mornings, “Is he dead yet?” Meaning Castro. He had no luck with Castro, but he was station chief in Chile when Allende was assassinated. Then he left the CIA and eventually moved to TriBeCa. They were friends with William Buckley from their days together at Yale.

The wife was much livelier than the husband. She seemed to have accompanied him on his missions, despite children. Robert De Niro has directed a new film about the founding of the CIA, The Good Shepherd, and it so resembles aspects of their lives that I wonder if the actor somehow knew these spies. The last time I talked to the spy intelligently was 11 September 2001. We stood together in the middle of the street watching the World Trade Center burn. He told me before the buildings even collapsed how it was all done.

And then they fell victim to Alzheimer’s. She had it worse than him. Their son moved them away. I inherited their books. Looking for something to read after seeing the film, I happened to pick up a book on Mazzini and secret societies which belonged to him and a book by the naturalist Konrad Lorenz which her son gave her, according to a notation, one hot summer day in 1980.

I picked the Lorenz.