August 20, 2009
As much as I love Anthony Bourdain, No Reservations has really been boring me lately. It's the same (if gorgeously shot) schtick each week. The episodes just sat in our DVR's queue for weeks, until we ran out of more exciting things to watch.
And then we hit this week's Thailand episode. If you've already seen it, you don't need my take on it. You know how magnetic and honest and hysterical it is. If you haven't yet, do so now, if for no other reason that to read the title cards that flash between each mini-segment. Those alone remind you why you started watching in the first place.
The Thailand episode, btw, further advances my theory that Bourdain is the Jessica Fletcher of TV presenters.
I also finally broke down and watched Grey Gardens (the original doc, not the HBO version). While I can understand how it became a cult favorite and can see how Little Edie became a gay icon, I didn't get the appeal of the film itself.
It's like going back and re-reading all of the SF Grand Masters, like Asimov, Heinlein or Campbell. Now, their work feels derivative - then you remember that when they came up with all of the tropes that now feel cliche. The same is true of GG. The rich and famous in graceless decline story is one you can find every time you turn on the television or read the paper. Gardens was so influential that it's impossible to go back and see it without the knowledge of all that it touched.
I had the same response to The Graduate, fwiw. It's not that the films didn't age well; it's more a case of living long enough that the world changed because of them, rendering them stale.
I recently watched Grey Gardens (HBO version) and it was shear torture. It is what my mother is doing and to me it was watching mental illness without actively trying to help. The only person who did help in the HBO version was Jackie K. Even then I felt like it was too much too late. I was pretty sick by the end. I don't know if I could watch the original if I was that shaken by the HBO one.
Posted by: anj | August 24, 2009 at 02:28 PM