Carol

I had some chicken soup to go with my tuna sandwich, and I went out to take the bus to the Grand Lake Theatre. I was there to see “The Hateful Eight” again. I did get a little more out of it seeing it a second time. What I really wondered about was what happened to the cat. I also wondered if Christoph Waltz was too busy being in the new James Bond movie to be in this one. I would say that I appreciated Ennio Morricone’s score a bit more this time around. Even though watching this movie drained me, I wanted to take in one last movie before 2015 came to an end, so I took the 57 and the 72R buses out to Albany to see “Carol.” I got to the theatre just before the show time, not early enough to avoid getting stuck with a bad seat off to the side. I thought that Cate Blanchett showed more of her acting skill, and I thought that Rooney Mara looked rather like an Audrey Hepburn or a Leslie Caron. I didn’t see how Therese could look out at Carol and feel any kind of instant attraction. The department store made me think of one of the Diana Rigg episodes of The Avengers. It took me a while to place the time period of the film because I didn’t know the models of the cars that were going through the streets. It seemed that Eisenhower had just been elected president, and a license plate indicated that it was 1952. We actually see a glimpse of Billy Wilder’s “Sunset Blvd.” However, that movie was released in 1950. Carol is going through a difficult divorce, and Therese has a pushy and presumptuous boyfriend. Therese is a young photographer instead of a writer, as Patricia Highsmith was. I think you can still feel some of the autobiographical content of the story by Highsmith. I didn’t really see why Carol should be drawn to Therese, who was still trying to move up from the toy department. Therese was an aspiring photographer, and it would have been difficult for her to go anywhere like the New York Times. “Blue is the Warmest Color” covered some of the same ground as this film, only without the restraint. Apparently, Highsmith in real life went to a psychotherapist, just as Carol does. This movie has received a great deal of praise, and I think it’s a good movie, although it has certain shortcomings of all movies that deal with internal emotions. Much of it doesn’t come across on film. One movie I thought of was “Bright Star,” which a lot of critics also liked, but which seemed rather flat. I kept thinking that we weren’t seeing enough of Carol’s daughter, who seems like a central character to everyone’s emotions. Therese boyfriend was played by the same person we saw in “Love the Coopers,” which I thought was rather funny. I thought about how movies have come a long way since John Sayles made “Lianna” years ago. “Carol” does bring to mind current issues of same-sex couples. It does make 1952 seem very distant. There is some suspense to the ending, which leaves us wondering what happens. One woman in the audience said that she thought everything would turn out well in a happily ever after scenario. If it was based on Highsmith’s real life, I wouldn’t be so optimistic. Highsmith was the author of “Strangers on a Train,” which Alfred Hitchcock turned into a classic movie. Highsmith would die in 1985 at age 74. Reportedly, it took 12 years for “Carol” to be made. I wouldn’t have waited for 12 years to see this movie. I would rank it above something like “Brokeback Mountain.” I liked “Mad Max: Fury Road” more than I liked “Carol.” The movie was largely photographed in Cincinnati, which was annoying because it was taking place in New York. One of the songs used in the movie was “Silver Bells.” The strongest impression this movie makes is through Cate Blanchett’s acting. In that sense, it was like a lot of Meryl Streep’s films. As I left the theatre, I overheard some conversations about Cate Blanchett. Everybody was raving about her performance. I do think she was one of the best actresses in movies today. I was glad that I took the extra time to see this film. I wondered what happened to the toy train set that began the entire story. I noticed Carrie Brownstein of the Portlandia television series in one scene. It was cold outside as I waited for a bus. The extra leather jacket I wore made it easier to wait. I got back home in time to watch The Big Bang Theory. I was a bit disappointed that Fat Slice had closed early, because I craved a slice of pizza. I didn’t feel much like watching “The Mentalist” on television. I heard the news that Wayne Rogers had died. Besides his big role as Trapper John on television, I liked seeing him in “Cool Hand Luke,” “Once in Paris,” and “The Gig.” His name is going to live on for a long time because of Me TV. I think that I am going to miss him. Rumors of Robert Redford’s death were untrue, although he is an old man. Coincidentally, “The Way We Were” was on television last night. He and Barbra Streisand were so full of life in that movie. It’s hard for me to believe that those years are now long gone. Did something happen to Barbra Streisand between “The Way We Were” and “A Star is Born”? I couldn’t like her in “The Main Event” or “Yentl,” and I couldn’t like her hit records, either. Sharon Stone was on the Stephen Colbert show. Sandra Bullock and Rod Stewart were on the Jimmy Fallon show. I didn’t understand why Dick Clark’s name is still attached to the New Year’s Rockin’ Eve show. I was ready to go to sleep immediately after midnight. The late news showed that people were setting off illegal fireworks in Oakland. People are really crazy doing these things. I’m going to have to start getting serious about my plans to go to the Super Bowl in Santa Clara. Am I going to be seeing the Panthers and the Patriots? I saw as many movies during 2015 as my schedule would allow, so I don’t think I’ll top that number in 2016. I have an aging family, and a lot of things could go wrong there during this new year. Some of the people who died on January 1 include Hank Williams (1953), Maurice Chevalier (1972), Beulah Bondi (1981), Victor Buono (1982), Cesar Romero (1994), Townes Van Zandt (1997), Ray Walston (2001), and Shirley Chisholm (2005). Today is a birthday for Grandmaster Flash (58). According to the Brandon Brooks Rewind radio segment for January 1, Johnny Cash played his first concert for inmates at San Quentin in 1960, with Merle Haggard in the audience serving time for burglary. In 1962, The Beatles failed an audition for Decca Records. In 1994, Rod Stewart performed in front of 3.5 million people in Rio de Janeiro.

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