Increasingly I have begun to understand why so many people from my hometown choose to stay there and start checking items off the list that somehow gets planted in your brain during your adolescent years: new truck/college education (usually one or the other), decent job, spouse, house, kid, dog, kid, kid.
At a certain point you put childish things behind you and start working too much and buy a riding lawn mower and take your kids to the Great Wolf Lodge one weekend a year and then you send them to Christian school and cook dinner for the soccer team and then you’re 50 and if your house is nice enough you put it on the Christmas Home Tour and you vote Republican and talk openly with your friends and family about the Obama-driven war on Christmas.
It’s not a bad life in some ways, I suppose, but back home, it’s the right life, and if I’ve learned anything about that community, it’s that they value being right. Being gay isn’t right. Divorce isn’t right. Walking away from fundamentalism isn’t right. Being yourself isn’t right. So be straight and white and middle-class and conservative and Christian and you’re set. Do the best you can.
I’m thankful for the crazy journey of the last year and a half because it’s helped me begin to walk away from being right. I can only try and be myself. That’s more of a struggle than I ever thought it could be. Sometimes I’m not convinced it’s worth the pain and confusion. But then there are the days where life seems more possible than it ever has, and those times are enough. Well, for now.
Today was sort of a disaster, so I am sitting on my floor at 10 PM finishing a bottle of pinot noir and giggling uncontrollably. I have shit to do, people, but I’m watching yet another candle haul video and I just want to give this kid the biggest hug.
Director Alexander Payne (Nebraska, The Descendants, Sideways) also directed the last short film in the anthology Paris je t’aime, where each arrondissement (district) of the city has its own narrative. Payne’s short is for the 14th arr starring Margo Martindale. In her interview with Fresh Air she explains what she was thinking about that allowed her to give such an emotionally honest performance.
Today Payne talks about directing that moment:
You see in that clip that she has very ready access to emotion… I think we did 4 or 5 takes and she was equally good in all of them it was just a matter of making sure the camera was right and the timing with the voice-over and so forth. I clearly remember having 3 or 4 takes to deal with. The good ones could keep it going, it’s not just one take where they really hit that emotion, well, maybe, but, “Let’s try it again, the cameraman missed it.” … We all have to understand that film is technical as well as emotional.
Bought it for $5 on a post-Black Friday special and just re-watched it. Such a remarkable short.