The English Patient vs The English Patient vs The English Patient

“There are stories the man recites quietly into the room which slip from level to level like a hawk…She entered the story knowing she would emerge from it feeling she had been immersed in the lives of others, in plots that stretched back twenty years, her body full of sentences and moments, as if awaking from sleep with heaviness caused by unremembered dreams.” – Michael Ondaatje, The English Patient

The desert of the mind is a seductive place.

The desert of the mind is a seductive place.

At age sixteen he was just beginning to learn of the world. There were things beyond…art houses in the city where stories from foreign lands and birthed in independence flickered in the animated darkness before communities of the willing. Amongst the suburban sprawl of his homeland across the river, the purveyors of these urban establishments spawned a megaplex like no other where established fare mingled with independent films and cross continental tongues whispered hotly in the darkness of small air-conditioned screening rooms smartly furnished. It was here his parents took him one night to see The English Patient.

Closing in on his 34th year on this earth and looking back (somehow having circled back to this suburban sprawl now naming a spot his adjacent to that very megaplex which has passed through as many hands as he has homes), he longs for those innocent days…that wonder of experiencing something on-screen he had never experienced before – a painterly, carefully constructed, flawed and blistering work of art splashed across a silver screen. A romance with the cinema was born then as he watched the elliptical tale of human frailty and survival against the backdrop of the world’s greatest war.

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Word Up/Word Down v2.0

The new development team.

The new development team.

If I extolled upon you, dear readers, everything I see, say, think or do, you’d probably put a collective hit out on my life (funded through Kickstarter no doubt) to end your misery of being subjected to such insanity.  And let’s be honest, I could tweet about some of it, but sometimes 140 characters is too much!  So our crack team of developers (not to be confused with the former development team on crack) have devised a new recurring feature to capture those things that have fallen through the cracks at The Spin and render them down from tweetable status to pure unadulterated one-word twittery.

Think of them as flash reviews.  Quick Quips.  Free association.  Word Up/Word Down.

So, here we go:

Word Up/Word Down v2.0

  • Netflix original series, Orange is the New Black – Wear
  • HBO Films’ Clear History – Hilarevengious
  • Elysium – Lazy
  • Amy Adams and Jennifer Lawrence in the trailers for American Hustle – Holy or Hotchee
  • Cameron Diaz and Penelope Cruz in the trailer for The Counselor – Moly! or Motchee!
  • Charlie Manuel – Out
  • Ryne Sandberg – In
  • The Philadelphia Phillies’ season – Over
  • The Lobster House in Cape May, NJ – Tradition
  • A Bojangles above the Mason-Dixon Line in Reading, PA – Y’all!
  • Tanger Outlets in Lancaster, PA – Deals!
  • Amish Country – Traffic?

Share your own one word reviews of stuff you’ve recently seen or read or done or ate (or if you’re Southern, done seen or done read or done did or done ate) in the comments field.

The Two Faces of Cate Blanchett and Woody Allen in Blue Jasmine

Blue Jasmine 2

Happy Jasmine

Blue Jasmine

Blue Jasmine

In Woody Allen’s last dramatic mini-masterpiece, Match Point, his protagonist showed that with a bit of hard work, and a bit of good luck, a person could get away with anything…even murder.  But maybe the old Woodster really wasn’t that cynical, and maybe he wanted to atone for that message.  Allen has plenty to atone for.  And so does Wall Street.  His latest, Blue Jasmine, shares a bit thematically with Match Point in its depiction of charades and human beings willing to do anything (even start Ponzi schemes) to hold onto the good life, but it also shows that bad luck is just as easy to conjure as good luck.  Here, Allen’s culprit (Alec Baldwin) gets caught, and Allen depicts the aftershocks of a Madoff-like scandal through the eyes of the criminal’s fractured wife.  With its bi-coastal setting hopscotching timeframes between New York and San Francisco, Allen seems to be atoning for all the time he spent in Europe, and perhaps communally for Wall Street’s dirty deeds…for the gilded life he’s lived for so long in New York alongside those financial schemers…for the snobbery…for the elitism…the casually charming arrogance of it all.  Every good thing comes to an end…right?  And all we need to get through it is a little vodka and Xanax. Continue reading