Thursday, October 19, 2006

Before and after.

In talking to a friend about The Departed, which I thought was just terrific, our conversation turned to the Scorsese oeuvre in general (he wanted to know if it was like GoodFellas--quite different, in my estimation, particularly in its tone and visual style). I realized that it was two Scorsese films that changed forever the way I looked at movies.

Before, it was mostly story, theme, character. After seeing The Color of Money (minor Scorsese, I know, but one of my favorites) and Taxi Driver, I found myself mesmerized by the image. You know the way Scorsese will sometimes cut away from a shot of the main action to linger on a particular detail (in both these films, it happened to be shots of hands--Travis Bickle making an expansive gesture over the desk of the Cybill Shepherd character, or the title shots, I think it was, in The Color of Money)? These moments irrevocably changed the way I saw movies.

I had a similar experience in high school with literary reading--when my English teacher pointed out how the frame narration in Heart of Darkness worked. I would like to know from my readers if they have had similar moments, where a light went on and you suddenly had new tools for apprehending things.

Update: Runner's World. Running son ran in the State XC meet yesterday. Despite having had some bad garlic bread ("It was more bread-garlic, Mom," he told me; "I'm afraid to burp") at the team pasta dinner the night before, and therefore being afflicted with a dire digestive tract situation, he came in 34th in a large field, with a time of 17:01. (For the sake of comparison, last year he ran the same course at about 17:45, coming in about 60th.) He ran a terrific first mile again, though I don't have an exact time to report. We all feel he could have taken 20 seconds off that time had he been feeling better. I will report periodically on his winter running--he'll be training all year round now.


  1. I've always liked Scorcese movies--even the ones that seem overly ponderous (like Gangs of New York). I haven't seen, however, his Edith Wharton adaptation. I don't know why. It seemed wrong.

  2. I think Hal Hartley changed the way I watched film. I liked the way I became aware that film didn't have to be straight realism. I'm not sure when I had that revelation about literature, but it might have been when I first read "Lost in the Funhouse."
    Re: the first line, "For whom is the funhouse fun?"
    I think Vonnegut also had a huge impact on my reading psyche. As did, (I am almost ashamed to admit) John Irving. But I still remember reading "Waiting for Godot" my junior year of high school, and also _Catch 22_. I wrote a great paper about the prostitutes in the novel. I was cutting edge, even then.

  3. An excellent prompt hightouchmegastore. One off the top of my head.

    The discovery of the metaphorical conceit in Dr. Geisler's course on Early Modern lit at WWU, especially when reading Donne's Holy Sonnet 14. I've been a metaphor-head since.



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