All entries for April 2005

April 23, 2005

Addictive Personality

Not sure why I thought this was so funny, but I did, and I thought some people out there might too. It’s an excerpt from an interview with Bill Nighy (the ageing rocker from ‘Love Actually’) in today’s Times. I’m not just laughing at his misfortune, but I can definitely identify with this, and it just made me smile:

“I used to drink and it was terrible. Now I don’t drink and it is fabulous.” He’s been sober for 12 years, but rather than having beaten addiction, it seems merely to have cascaded down to ever weaker substances. He was once a magnificent smoker: “I would rather have smoked than breathed. You couldn’t smoke more than I smoked.” And he is possible the only person to have quit because of vampirism. Filming ‘Underworld’, in which he plays Viktor, king of the immortals, he had to do a fight scene – “and I am not famous for fighting or indeed any kind of physical work” – and he must have thrown his shoulder out, but what he felt was a shooting pain in his chest. He hasn’t smoked since, but transferred his passion to coffee, downed tanks of the stuff. He quit coffee on January 23 this year: “But, by God, have I drunk some tea…”

I’m fascinated by the (by no means universal) trait in human behaviour to find comfort in addiction – is it just repetition of a simple ritual, or is there something more to it than that?


April 16, 2005

Melinda and Melinda

Having avoided blog-ging (for no particular reason) for two terms, I thought I'd take a break from revising Hegel and start now!

I wanted to post something about Melinda and Melinda, the new film written and directed by Woody Allen. I hadn't seen any of Woody Allen's films before, but I went to see this one last week, having read a great review.

This is a fantastic film, the best I've seen all year.

The premise (and don't worry: this isn't going to reveal anything or spoil the film for anybody) is a group of four friends in New York, having dinner and arguing about whether the essence of life is comic or tragic. Two of the friends are playwrights. One writes comedies and the other writes tragedies, and they each have a different view on this subject. Another person at the table tells a story and challenges the two playwrights to tell him whether this story is comic or tragic. The rest of the film unfolds in a Sliding Doors-esque kind of way, where two separate stories are told, both involving the character Melinda. One is comic; one is tragic.

I was hoping that Warwick Student Cinema would show this film during term 3, so that more students would get to see it.

It really is a fantastic film. Very philosophical (which appeals to me!), very cleverly scripted and featuring some terrific performances. I laughed and sympathised, and I had that strange feeling of emotional ambivalence about what I'd just seen when I left the cinema. I think the last film that made me feel like that was Lost In Translation (another terrific film – see it, if you haven't already!)

Has anyone else seen this? I'd like to hear what you think.


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