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It was a cold weekend here in Minnesota.  That’s what all the forecasts said, anyway.  I wouldn’t really know because I didn’t go out in it, except to race to the mailbox yesterday to collect the mail.  I wussed out.

What better way to spend a cold Minnesota weekend than to stay indoors blogging and reading and watching movies?  I did all three, but I’ll discuss the movies here.

Husband rented two movies on Friday night – Sordid Lives and Shopgirl.  We first saw Sordid Lives at his sister’s house and fell in love with it.  The subtitle of the movie is “A Black Comedy About White Trash.”  That says it all.  The movie stars Olivia Newton-John.  Remember her in Grease?  When you see Sordid Lives, you’ll realize that her bad girl Sandra Dee character is probably closer to the real Olivia than the good girl version.  Beau Bridges and Delta Burke are also in the movie, plus several actors I wasn’t familiar with, but who were fabulous, including Beth Grant in the role of Sissy Hickey.  The basic premise of the movie is that a character named Peggy has died during a romantic tryst with Beau Bridges’ character, G. W.  She fell over his wooden legs and hit her head on the way to the bathroom.  To complicate matters, G. W. is married to Noleta, who is played by Delta Burke.  The story covers the time leading up to the funeral and the funeral itself.  Poor Sissy, Peggy’s sister, is trying to quit smoking during this trying time and it’s a riot to watch her work through this.  The story also includes the cross-dressing Brother Boy, who has been living in an institution for the past 20-odd years.  Sordid Lives is funny and fabulous and worth a viewing or two, or three.

Hubby rented Shopgirl just for me.  Isn’t he sweet?  The movie is based on Steve Martin’s novella of the same name, one of my favorite books in the world for its writing style.  Steve Martin wrote the screenplay and stars in the movie, so it’s no wonder that the movie transmits the same feeling as the book – one of gentle elegance.  Claire Danes plays Mirabelle, a gal who sells unwanted gloves at Saks Fifth Avenue.  Two men become romantically interested in Mirabelle, Jeremy, played by Jason Schwartzman, and Ray Porter, played by Steve Martin.  They are opposites on the spectrum of lovers in their presentation.  Periodically, throughout the movie, Steve Martin narrates passages from his book.  I was also excited to see a scene that visualized one of my favorite descriptive passages in the book.

“After the food arrives via the smallest car he has ever seen, Ray Porter turns on a small TV in the kitchen and begins channel flipping.  At that moment he becomes Jeremy’s soul mate;  their two hearts beat as one as they eat from a sack and rapidly click their way through the entire broadcast range, with similar timing of the occasional paper rustle and periodic foot shift.  They are nearly indistinguishable as they engage in this rite, except that one man stands in the kitchen of a two-million-dollar house overlooking the city, and the other in a one-room garage apartment that the city overlooked.”

Isn’t that a wonderful description?  I thought it was so good that I had to copy it into a notebook a few years back.  It’s on page 44 of the hardcover edition.  I’ll leave you with one more passage that I copied, which Jason Schwartzman captures to a T in his performance:

“Jeremy arrives thirty minutes later and leans against the wall with a slouch so extreme that he appears to have left his skeleton at home.”  (pg. 17)

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