I woke up and felt that I really didn’t want to go to work. I ordered a copy of the Blu-ray edition of “Downhill Racer,” and then I left. We still had a lot of chocolate in the workroom. I spent an extra hour standing around before it was time to leave. I took the bus into Emeryville, where I went to the store that sold calendars. I got two Beatles calendars, and then I walked over to Uniqlo, where I bought one of their Star Wars T-shirts. At Barnes and Noble, I bought Robert Hilburn’s biography of Johnny Cash. I took the bus back to shop for some groceries at Trader Joe’s. Back at home, I watched “Bound for Glory” again. It was because of Haskell Wexler’s death that I was motivated to see this movie. David Carradine played the role of Woody Guthrie, and I thought he was quite good, although even today I can’t separate him from his Kung Fu character. There are connections between this movie and “The Grapes of Wrath.” Melinda Dillon played Woody’s wife, and I found that I had so much sympathy for her. How can a woman be married to a man who wants to wander the country, who barely seems interested in his marriage? Haskell Wexler won an Oscar for the cinematography, which included the first use of the Steadicam. Bakersfield and Stockton were two of the filming locations. I did like the photography, although I’m not sure that this was one of the two best films for Wexler. He won his first Oscar for “Who’s Afraid of Virginia Woolf?” Ronny Cox had a big role in “Bound for Glory.” I liked him, although I thought he was really unforgettable in “Deliverance.” Seeing this movie again, it’s hard to look past Guthrie’s poor treatment of women. Some of the shots of the trains are reminiscent of “Days of Heaven.” The man who was not committed to women reminded me of Warren Beatty in “Shampoo.” Hal Ashby was a remarkable director during those years from “Harold and Maude” through “Being There.” Wexler was one of the greatest of all cinematographers. His presence is missed because of all the horrible-looking movie that are released this year of recent times.
Some of the people who died on December 29 include Rainer Maria Rilke (1926), Tim Hardin (1980), and Freddie Hubbard (2008). Today is a birthday for Patricia Clarkson (56), Ted Danson (68), Jon Voight (77), and Mary Tyler Moore (79).