remembering the overlooked and underrated

“Do you think I’m just anybody? Do you?” Lawrence of Arabia Returns

In Motion Pictures on September 4, 2012 at 9:42 pm

One of my favorite moments in Ridley Scott’s Prometheus (2012) happens early on in the film. The android David, played by Michael Fassbender, is watching a movie and studying closely the voice and manner of the man on screen, even repeating lines until he has perfectly mimicked the actor’s delivery. Shortly thereafter, David dyes his hair blonde to look more like the man in the movie. That man is Peter O’Toole. The movie is Lawrence of Arabia (1962).

I couldn’t help but laugh when I saw this, not because I thought it was silly, but because a) few actors besides Michael Fassbender are pretty enough to come anywhere close to looking like O’Toole, and b) it was a wonderfully sly way of hinting at the troubles to come. It’s only a hint, of course, if you’re familiar with Lawrence — in which case you know that if the android’s role model is this fictional version of T. E. Lawrence, then the android is definitely not to be trusted. But if you’re not familiar with director David Lean’s masterpiece, then I have good news for you: it isn’t too late.

Remembering Places That Have Never Existed

In Art, Items of Singular Interest, Letters, Places on August 17, 2012 at 2:05 am

It’s settled: I need to visit the island of Menorca. Located in the Mediterranean Sea and belonging to Spain, this gorgeous island is home to about 94,000 people, three ancient megalithic monuments, one of my favorite wines, and the always delicious cow’s milk cheese called Mahon. All of which is more than reason enough to visit. But what has cemented it for me is that I just discovered there’s a hotel there inspired by — gasp! — one of my most beloved books, Italo Calvino’s Invisible Cities

How Ryan Gosling Drove Out the Black Bile of August

In Items of Singular Interest, Motion Pictures on August 16, 2012 at 2:31 am

I want to tell you about Drive. But I can’t do that without first telling you a bit about my bile. See, lately I’ve been feeling melancholy. Or at least that’s what I thought I was feeling. On a whim, I checked the Merriam-Webster definition.

An abnormal state attributed to an excess of black bile and characterized by irascibility and depression.

Obviously I had misdiagnosed myself. I’m proud to say that my black bile level has been fine since this past January, and I expect it to remain so.

Laurence Olivier as the Melancholy Prince

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