Thursday, July 4, 2013

Midnight in Paris

I don't know how I felt about Midnight in Paris. A nice-looking movie. Gil is a Hollywood screenwriter hanging around Paris with his wealthy fiancee. He likes the idea of moving to Paris way too much and she doesn't like it at all. Then he finds himself going back in time and hanging around writers in Paris in the 1920s who, for some reason, are happy to hang around with him even though they have no idea who he is.

Gil finds it demeaning to be a successful screenwriter in Hollywood. He wants to be a literary writer.

It makes me think of Allen's first "serious" movie, Interiors. Diane Keaton plays a celebrity poet. Her sister is out of work and is offered a job at a big New York ad agency even though she's never worked in advertising,  but she won't take it because advertising is beneath her.

There is no such thing as a celebrity poet. You can't earn a living as a poet. You write poems for years then you finally get one published and you get paid about ten bucks. Literally ten bucks.

And how easy does Allen think it is to get a job on Madison Avenue? One might reasonably look down on that profession, but that doesn't mean the jobs are easy to come by or that just anyone is qualified to do it.

I've written this before----Allen is like Bill Cosby. On The Cosby Show, he's a doctor and his wife is a lawyer, but, somehow, neither one shows any sign of having any medical or legal knowledge and their professions never prevent them from getting home at 5:30 and never, in any way shape or form, intrude on any aspect of their lives. It's a stand-up comedian's idea of being a professional.

Woody Allen doesn't have a clue.

I watched a documentary on William S Burroughs. Made while he was still living. His son, William Burroughs, Jr, visits. I'm not sure if the son had published anything at that point, but he was a writer himself. He died during the making of the documentary.

Burroughs mentions to his son that there's a restaurant nearby that's looking for a dishwasher. His son says that they would never hire him because they knew him back when he was on drugs.

If it were a Woody Allen movie, he would have said, "Really, father! I have no intention of working in advertising! Even if it means being only upper-middle-class, I still prefer life as a poet!"

Contrast Midnight in Paris to John Fante's short novel, My Dog Stupid published in his book West of Rome.

Arturo Bandini (based on Fante himself) is a screenwriter between jobs. He dreams of giving it all up and moving to Rome. His plan is to sell his Porsche, scrape together several thousand dollars, fly to Rome, rent a small room, and earn small amounts of money sweeping sidewalks.

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