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Pick of the Month

August Pick:
"Old Joy" by Jon Raymond (from the collection Livability)
Old Joy (2006) directed by Kelly Reichardt


It's a familiar narrative: the road story, the buddy/bro story. Two old friends set out on a trip together. The question here, though, is not so much What happens next? but What is that feeling?


The journey takes place in the Pacific Northwest. It begins with the gong of a meditation bell. There is talk of community gardens and the shape of the universe. Forests and streams are lushly described/gorgeously photographed. Dreams are recounted. In short, this is an earthy-crunchy reunion. Director Kelly Reichardt has described the film's conflict as "competitive openness"—a zen-off, if you will. But there's a more universal layer (a bit more pronounced in the film): The need to justify one's life choices—reluctantly, maybe even a little passive-aggressively—to an important, albeit distant, old friend.  I ached with recognition.




July 5-fer Pick:

Recently, I revisited with pleasure some stories that have been adapted and reimagined again and again. These stories touch on Russia (Chekhov), our peculiarly American desire to burn it all down (Faulkner), and death (Joyce). (Yes, I've been in a dark frame of mind.) I enjoyed it so much I've decided to post a story/movie pick every month. This July, in the following link, you get a five-fer ...