Nocturnal Animals

I bought some items at Dollar Tree, Pegasus Books, and Staples before I headed to the theatre to see “Nocturnal Animals.”  It was in interesting film that had elements of “Deliverance” in it.  Amy Adams is the woman who gets a copy of her ex-husband’s novel, and it seems to be a personal statement about overcoming perceptions of being weak, as well as a venting of emotion over the failed marriage.  Jake Gyllenhaal is both the ex-husband and the character in the book.  He goes all out in his acting performance to the point of being deeply disturbing.  Gyllenhaal certainly goes for unusual roles.  The movie shows how we have a violent and amoral culture.  It’s frightening to watch these hoodlums terrorizing the family on the highway.  You just have to stay away from these troublemakers.  You can’t get anywhere near them.  They push their obnoxious behavior and wreck the lives of decent people.  The movie is chilling on different levels.  The novel within the movie is hypnotic in its terror, sort of in the vein of Steven Spielberg’s “Duel.”  The wife is reading the story, and so she must have felt a chill at how the character based on her was treated.  The movie is awful but powerful.  It seems to lose its way a bit when the cop gets involved.  He is Michael Shannon, who seems to be in every movie released nowadays.  Michael Sheen is also in the cast, and I was waiting for the day when Isla Fisher and Amy Adams were in the same movie.  The story shifts from present time to fiction to flashback, and I didn’t like these shifts after a while.  I didn’t like how this story seemed to be about the process of creating fiction.  We could question whether the entire larger structure was simply a fiction as the novel within the film was supposed to be.  Amy Adams’ character was supposed to be another of those well-educated woman, just like her character in “Arrival.”  Laura Linney played her mother, and it took me a few moments to recognize her.  I thought she was convincing in her role.  It was rather depressing to think she might be right in saying that her daughter was going to turn into her mother in a few years.  The endings of the novel and the movie were both unsatisfying.  This is a movie that puts you through the wringer.  One old man in the theatre walked out in the middle of it.  I didn’t see the point of seeing this movie since I had already seen “Deliverance.”  It did create more tension than any other movie I’ve seen during 2016 other than “Don’t Breathe.”  I made me think about whether or not I could survive such an ordeal, and which of my friends could help me survive.  I don’t anyone’s judgment.  This is a movie that you can’t recommend to too many people, rather like “Elle.”  I would say it’s more worth your time to watch “Deliverance” again.  I stopped to get frozen yogurt before I went home.  I bought two Beatles shirts that were marked down because of stains on them.  “Daddy Long Legs” was on television, and I thought about whether any of the women who danced with Fred Astaire in the movies were still alive.  I could name only one.  A movie called “Lifeguard” was on television, too.  It had Sam Elliott as the lifeguard named Rick, thinking about his age and his career after he gets a notice about his 15 year high school reunion.  Kathleen Quinlan is the teenager who likes him, and Anne Archer is the old high school girlfriend.  Parker Stevenson is the college student who has a summer job next to Rick.  Everyone tells Rick that he’s getting old for his job, and he does get the chance to sell cars at a Porsche dealership.  He sure doesn’t seem like the type of man who sell cars, however.  I could relate to him, because even now I wonder if I’m doing anything substantial with my work and my life.  I teach math to students who are mostly mediocre with their academic work.  There was a song by Paul Williams on the soundtrack.  Sam Elliott was miles away from the parts he played in “The Big Lebowski” or “Up in the Air.”  I thought the movie was engaging and meaningful for such a low budget project.  It made me miss the 1970s to a certain extent.  One of the commercials showed that “Brian’s Song” was going to be on the air.  I think that one is a classic.  I heard the news all day that the 49ers fired their general manager and their coach.  USC managed to defeat Penn State in the Rose Bowl game.  Some of the people who died on January 4 include Albert Camus (1960), T.S. Eliot (1965) Phil Lynott (1986), Iron Eyes Cody (1999), and Gerry Rafferty (2011).  Today is a birthday for Michael Stipe (57) and Dyan Cannon (80).

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