(Snowed in and bored, so here’s something completely silly!)
Movie my brothers got taken to see while my mother was giving birth to me:
Return of the Jedi
First movie I can remember seeing in a theater (the library screening room, IIRC):
The Fox and the Hound
Movie I fiercely fought back tears at, because I was a tough girl at the ripe old age of 6:
All Dogs Go to Heaven
Movies that, embarrassingly, can always make me cry:
Tomorrow is Forever
Movies I can quote every single line of dialogue to because we rented them repeatedly and/or taped them off TV:
Follow That Bird
Bon Voyage, Charlie Brown
What About Bob?
Movie we got to watch if it rained at recess:
The Neverending Story Part 2
Movies that my crazy childhood best friend would watch only certain scenes of, over and over:
The Wizard of Oz (flying monkeys)
Return of the Jedi (Ewoks dancing)
Meet Me in St. Louis (throwing flour in people’s faces)
She might have been insane, it appears:
Movies that were always on HBO when we would get the free trial:
Movies that my family members quoted until the lines lost all meaning:
Dirty Rotten Scoundrels
This one terrible TV movie about Charles and Diana’s divorce that unfortunately is not available anywhere Stateside
Movie my parents bought because the dog liked to watch it, even though no one else did:
Movies that informed my notions of romantic relationships:
The Cutting Edge
Wild Hearts Can’t Be Broken
A Far Off Place
Movies I watched chiefly because of the hotness of the actors therein:
Little Women (1994)
Eight Men Out
That one where Bon Jovi is on a submarine with Matthew McConaughey
Movies that made me feel smart as a nerdy teen:
The Truman Show
Romeo + Juliet
10 Things I Hate About You
Movies I was so desperate to see I bought illegal, edited DVDs:
Movies I watch when I’m sick:
Can’t Hardly Wait
She’s All That
Movies that shaped my sense of style and aesthetics, to the present day:
Troop Beverly Hills
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Movies I have watched way, way, way too many times:
Breakfast at Tiffany’s
Pride and Prejudice (1995)
Movies with comically bad Russian dialogue and/or accents:
The Hunt for Red October
The Bourne movies (Лштшфум Ащьф)
Movies I saw on awkward dates/group outings/group dates:
A Beautiful Mind
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Movie I slept through in a theater:
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer
Sequels I’ve seen without having seen the first film:
Fantastic 4: Rise of the Silver Surfer (well sort of)
Toy Story 2
The Incredibles 2 (in Russian no less)
Return to the Blue Lagoon
Indie movie I saw on an early date with my husband:
Children of Invention
Movies my husband made me watch before we could get engaged:
The Empire Strikes Back
Return of the Jedi
Those other three ones
Movies I made my husband watch after he put a ring on it:
Roger & Me
Escanaba in da Moonlight
Love Actually (see above)
Movies I don’t understand why everyone loves:
Movies I didn’t see until later in life and now regret all those years not knowing:
In the Mood for Love
Movie I have no intention of ever seeing:
Movie my husband cannot believe I’ve never seen:
The Shawshank Redemption
Possibly the best gift I have ever received:
Eddie & the Cruisers parts 1 & 2 DVD set
Movie I watched once in the middle of the night and told everyone was awesome for the next decade and then rewatched and was so embarrassed:
Thank God It’s Friday
Movie I’ve seen the first 15 minutes of, over and over, on an overseas flight:
V for Vendetta
Movie I watched in a hotel room in Denmark because it was literally the only thing on TV that wasn’t porn:
Hotel for Dogs
Movies I will sit down and watch every time they’re on TV regardless of how many times I’ve seen them/how good or bad they are:
The Breakfast Club
Sleepless in Seattle
A Few Good Men
Dumb and Dumber
Movies I think are dumb but I will hate-watch if I am in the right mood and have a potent potable:
The Jane Austen Book Club
The Last Song
The Lincoln Lawyer
Movies I hate so much I can’t speak about them coherently for very long without just starting to make noises:
Dan in Real Life
Movies in which I root for the “bad guy”:
The Sound of Music (Baroness Shraeder is awesome.)
Return of the Jedi (The Emperor)
Swing Kids (Christian Bale, that is, not, you know, Hitler)
Armageddon (the asteroid)
Movie I should have seen in a theater:
The Perfect Storm
Last movie I saw in the theater:
Next movie I will see in a theater:
Casablanca, if I can drag the mister
Ty, którego nie mogłem ocalić,
Zrozum tę mowę prostą, bo wstydzę się innej.
Przysięgam, nie ma we mnie czarodziejstwa słów.
Mówię do ciebie milcząc, jak obłok czy drzewo.
To, co wzmacniało mnie, dla ciebie było śmiertelne.
Żegnanie epoki brałeś za początek nowej,
Natchnienie nienawiści za piękno liryczne,
Siłę ślepą za dokonany kształt.
Oto dolina płytkich polskich rzek. I most ogromny
Idący w białą mgłę. Oto miasto złamane
I wiatr skwirami mew obrzuca twój grób,
Kiedy rozmawiam z tobą.
Czym jest poezja, która nie ocala
Narodów ani ludzi?
Wspólnictwem urzędowych kłamstw,
Piosenką pijaków, którym ktoś za chwilę poderżnie gardła,
Czytanką z panieńskiego pokoju.
To, że chciałem dobrej poezji, nie umiejąc,
To, że późno pojąłem jej wybawczy cel,
To jest i tylko to jest ocalenie.
Sypano na mogiły proso albo mak
Żywiąc zlatujących się umarłych – ptaki.
Tę książkę kładę tu dla ciebie, o dawny,
Abyś nas odtąd nie nawiedzał więcej.
(tr. by Czesław Miłosz)
You whom I could not save
Listen to me.
Try to understand this simple speech as I would be ashamed of another.
I swear, there is in me no wizardry of words.
I speak to you with silence like a cloud or a tree.
What strengthened me, for you was lethal.
You mixed up farewell to an epoch with the beginning of a new one,
Inspiration of hatred with lyrical beauty;
Blind force with accomplished shape.
Here is a valley of shallow Polish rivers. And an immense bridge
Going into white fog. Here is a broken city;
And the wind throws the screams of gulls on your grave
When I am talking with you.
What is poetry which does not save
Nations or people?
A connivance with official lies,
A song of drunkards whose throats will be cut in a moment,
Readings for sophomore girls.
That I wanted good poetry without knowing it,
That I discovered, late, its salutary aim,
In this and only this I find salvation.
They used to pour millet on graves or poppy seeds
To feed the dead who would come disguised as birds.
I put this book here for you, who once lived
So that you should visit us no more.
* As Clare Cavanagh points out, the English translation loses something very important: the singular you. This is not an address to all the victims of the war, but to one person.
Na wszystko przyjdzie pora
Ale nie przyjdzie czas wskrzeszenia pierwszych nadziei
i pierwszych miłości
ani utrwalenia w słowach tego co przebiega ci przez głowę jak wiatr
i bywa przeczuciem jakiejś ważnej prawdy
lecz umyka tak szybko jakoby swawoliło
Przychodzi jednak nieodwołalnie pora
kiedy po kolei tracić zaczynasz wszystko co kochałeś
i wszystkich którzy odchodząc stąd
nie wyjawiają ci czy odchodzą zawiedzeni
Przychodzi ten czas
a ty przyjmujesz go bez wstydu i pokory
ot tak po prostu
by George Santayana
by Dana Gioia
And in the end, all that is really left
Is a feeling—strong and unavoidable—
That somehow we deserved something better.
That somewhere along the line things
Got fouled up. And that letter from whoever’s
In charge, which certainly would have set
Everything straight between us and the world,
Never reached us. Got lost somewhere.
Possibly mislaid in some provincial station.
Or sent by mistake to an old address
Whose new tenant put it on her dresser
With the curlers and the hairspray forgetting
To give it to the landlord to forward.
And we still wait like children who have sent
Two weeks’ allowance far away
To answer an enticing advertisement
From a crumbling, yellow magazine,
Watching through years as long as a childhood summer,
Checking the postbox with impatient faith
Even on days when mail is never brought.
Lines Lost among Trees
These are not the lines that came to me
while walking in the woods
with no pen
and nothing to write on anyway.
They are gone forever,
a handful of coins
dropped through the grate of memory,
along with the ingenious mnemonic
I devised to hold them in place-
all gone and forgotten
before I had returned to the clearing of lawn
in back of our quiet house
with its jars jammed with pens,
its notebooks and reams of blank paper,
its desk and soft lamp,
its table and the light from its windows.
So this is my elegy for them,
those six or eight exhalations,
the braided rope of syntax,
the jazz of the timing,
and the little insight at the end
wagging like the short tail
of a perfectly obedient spaniel
sitting by the door.
This is my envoy to nothing
where I say Go, little poem-
not out into the world of strangers’ eyes,
but off to some airy limbo,
home to lost epics,
and fugitive dreams
such as the one I had last night,
which, like a fantastic city in pencil,
in the bright morning air
just as I was waking up.
Man Carrying Thing
The poem must resist the intelligence
Almost successfully. Illustration:
A brune figure in winter evening resists
Identity. The thing he carries resists
The most necessitous sense. Accept them, then,
As secondary (parts not quite perceived
Of the obvious whole, uncertain particles
Of the certain solid, the primary free from doubt,
Things floating like the first hundred flakes of snow
Out of a storm we must endure all night,
Out of a storm of secondary things),
A horror of thoughts that suddenly are real.
We must endure our thoughts all night, until
The bright obvious stands motionless in cold.
From Transport to Summer, 1947.
–Taha Muhammad Ali
fame, nor wealth,
not even poetry itself,
could provide consolation
for life’s brevity,
or the fact that King Lear
is a mere eighty pages long and comes to an end,
and for the thought that one might suffer greatly
on account of a rebellious child.
My love for you
is what’s magnificent,
but I, you, and the others,
are ordinary people.
goes beyond poetry
beyond the realm of women.
it has taken me
all of sixty years
that water is the finest drink,
and bread the most delicious food,
and that art is worthless
unless it plants
a measure of splendor in people’s hearts.
After we die
and the weary heart
has lowered its final eyelid
on all that we’ve done,
and on all that we’ve longed for,
on all that we’ve dreamt of,
all we’ve desired
hate will be
the first thing
Translated by Peter Cole, Yahya Hijazi, and Gabriel Levin.