The Directrice Goes to the Movies

Happy New Year, dolls!
Looking back over 2017, I realized that there were a number of things that I had planned — but failed — to do. I didn’t entertain as often as I intended to, failed to make trips to California and Minnesota to have cozy visits with friends who’ve moved away from D.C., and I only managed to see one movie — ONE — in a movie theater.
I decided to set things to rights during the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day.

Of course, the week between Christmas and New Year’s Day is a bad time to throw impromptu dinner parties and visit people who aren’t expecting you, so I focused on the one thing that was within my control and likely to be successful: I went to the movies.
To the pictures!
To the pictures!

To the BioScope!
In case you are wondering about the difference between making it to four and seeing three, one screening (The Post) was sold out! You could have knocked me over with a feather
I aimed to see five movies, made it to four, and actually saw three: Lady Bird, The Disaster Artist, and The Last Jedi.*

But the point of this post is not reporting-out my vacation accomplishments, but rather this: You know how I am always telling you to buy little sleeveless tops for work to wear under jackets? They also look cute with a cardigan, sloppy khakis, and penny loafers on the weekend.
To the cinema!
Multi-purpose top goes to the movies

This top combines stretchy lace and silk. The lace is particularly charming — figured in these roly-poly shapes (are they continents? cells?) edged with black thread.
To the theater!
Could they be dollops of whipped cream?

In addition to the movies I saw in theaters, I watched four more at home — Dunkirk, Rebecca, To Kill a Mockingbird, and Get Out.
For those who are curious, I wore a sweater, leggings, and my James Webb Space Telescope skirt for the viewings at home.
To the movies!
The Directrice (Heart) Movies

Top: Marissa Webb from The Outnet (still available); Sweater: JCrew; Pants: Banana Republic; Shoes: Carlo Pazolini from YOOX

And now, my micro-reviews. If you want erudite, detailed reviews, read the NYT or The Atlantic.

Lady Bird: The film captures a girl’s senior year of high school in Sacramento, California, opening with a quote from Joan Didion, “Anybody who talks about California hedonism has never spent a Christmas in Sacramento.” It’s a beautiful film, and every character is beautifully acted. If your teen years were filled with angst (mine were not) or you had a fractious relationship with your mother (I did not), you will have one of two reactions: pain or catharsis. I guess you could have both simultaneously, or in rapid succession. Even without the personal resonance, it was almost too poignant for me. But really wonderful!

The Disaster Artist: I think this one is best-described as a cult film about a cult film and its appeal is probably going to be limited to a small number of people who might find perverse delight in a very good film about the making of a truly terrible film. That falls squarely in my wheelhouse! It was, however, more poignant and delicate than I expected (a reaction that may reflect my mood more than than anything else).

The Last Jedi: The Photographer and I agreed this would have been a much better movie if it had been 45 minutes shorter. The Photographer — science fiction connoisseur and futurist — said that he felt like he’d been beaten to death with special effects. But I did find the intense relationship between Rey and Kylo Ren (a name I confuse with Rilo Kiley, which I often mistakenly call Kilo Riley) very affecting and romantic and, on balance, worth sitting through the bombardment of CGI tomfoolery. I also found Luke Skywalker’s ruminations about failure very poignant. See discussions of poignancy above. We liked Rogue One better and if you haven’t seen that movie, you should.

Dunkirk: This one wasn’t at all what I expected. I thought (hoped) it would focus on the scale and emotion of the evacuation effort (particularly the civilian effort) and end on a tremendous high, but it did not. Fair enough! I also imagined it would have . . . running dialogue. Instead the film was an almost entirely atmospheric (visuals and symphonic music) series of really bad turns. With adjusted expectations, I can say that it was a beautiful film, but not one that I’ll watch again.

Rebecca is one of my all-time favorites and The Photographer had never seen it, so it was a treat to watch it with him. The scene in the cottage . . . when Maxim finally tells his young bride about Rebecca . . .

To Kill a Mockingbird: I hadn’t seen it in 25 years and The Photographer — inexplicably — had never seen the movie or read the book. He read the book before Christmas and suggested we watch the film together. It’s a beautiful movie that has held up. I was worried that it would be too sad to enjoy, but actually found it moving and ultimately uplifting at the end.

Get Out was the best movie that I saw in 2017: brilliant, thought-provoking, and moving. The movie is in the style of a horror movie, but defies neat categorization. The Hollywood Foreign Press Association, however, mis-stepped by grouping it with comedies, prompting the director, Jordan Peele, to tweet, “Get Out is a documentary.” I highly recommend it. The Photographer suggests two viewings: one for plot, the second to allow the genius of its plot, dialogue, and imagery to sink in.

* My ambitious movie-viewing plan was more time-consuming than I had imagined. I’ll catch The Post when it comes to the Avalon Theater in my neighborhood. The last film on my list, Phantom Thread, is playing at a theater three blocks from my office, so I’ll go one evening after work when I return to the office.

12 thoughts on “The Directrice Goes to the Movies”

  1. I tried to see Shape of Water at two different theaters and was turned away both times. We arrived at the second theatre an hour early! This was the year that everyone embraced online ticket buying, apparently. I am also eager to see Phantom Thread. And I will steal the idea of gingham under a black jacket – that looks very smart indeed. Happy New Year!

    • Roberta, Did you feel disproportionately and unjustifiably irate, as I did? I felt personally betrayed by the sell-out at the ticket counter, which is admittedly a little weird. But then I went home and a dear friend phoned and we had the most delightful two-hour long call to catch up on a bunch of things, which was better than any movie could have been. I do want to see The Shape of Water, too — it looks charming, romantic, and POIGNANT. Happy New Year to you!

      • I was just . . . so surprised. At one showing they had two single seats at opposite ends of the theater, and my son said, “But we WANT to sit together.” Then I wondered if anyone had come on a date and been turned away – how EMBARRASSING. Happy New Year to you, dear Directrice!

  2. Happy new year! Perfect timing for this post for me. I have just been exploring the options for what I was informed are called “extenders” for tops, when a top is too short and hits above the hips. My dear friend Elizabeth (the photographer’s friend who turned me on to your blog) and I have been chatting and texting about the topic this weekend, she in NJ & me in CA. She has termed it “dickie for the hips”, which I love. I recently purchased this: . I see a lot of these extenders for sale just lace which I am not sure what I think of. I really like the Marissa Webb piece you are modeling! I looked and no XS left, which I normally take. How does it run? Elizabeth and I both wondered if you might address the “extender” phenomenon in a future blog? Thank you! As always, I am enjoying your blog!

    • Happy New Year, Wendy and Elizabeth! I love Dickie for the Hips. The concept of the extender is something I fully endorse: making a short top usable by wearing a layer under it. I had no idea that an vibrant extender market — though small — exists. The lace ones look pretty to me (with the caveat that some lace is prettier than other), but I think your hesitation is well-founded because lace won’t be right for every circumstance. I came across a peculiar model of extender that is essentially a half-slip . . . that’s 8 inches long. So, it’s like a little dust ruffle that you wear over your pants but under your too short top — looks a little absurd/disturbing when revealed. Also, I sensed some religious undertones on one of the websites that I found . . . not sure what that’s all about (modesty for religious purposes, I presume) and I did not care to dig too deeply. Experiment — but keep me informed and don’t get sucked into an extender-based cult!

  3. I also tried to see the Shape of Water this weekend, and was turned away due to a sold-out showing (and it seemed like everything was sold out for the next hour and a half). Thanks for the mini reviews–I’ll have to see Get Out and Rebecca (read the book, but have never seen the movie).

  4. Glad you saw “Lady Bird”. When I first saw the title, I thought the movie was about Lady Bird Johnson and couldn’t figure out why the movie photos were focused on a teen aged girl. Then I read the reviews and saw the trailers and realized it was set in Sacramento where I currently reside. I saw the movie and enjoyed it as well as I went to a Catholic girls high school on the east coast. It was cool seeing Sacramento scenes but a bit disappointing the high school was not a local school but somewhere in southern CA.

    Thanks for sharing.

  5. I guess there’s one good thing about living in the sticks (Richmond VA to be exact): I got in to see The Shape of Water the very first time I tried. I highly recommend it if you like Guillermo del Toro movies, as I do. It was very moody and atmospheric. And talk about poignant!

  6. Dickie for the hips is now a phrase I use. All due to this awesome blog.

    Since I work at a Deaf school, I feel I MUST see The Shape of Water since the woman uses ASL to communicate… or at least she does in the trailer. CAN’T WAIT!


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