Tag Archives: Griffin Dunne

Joan Didion: The Center Will Not Hold

Joan Didion: a woman I have admired and read widely for years and years and years. She’s an amazing writer, a voice of a generation, a literary journalist who went on to write plays, movies, and novels. She always had a different slant, a different take on what the world was consuming. So it was beyond time to produce a documentary that would pay homage to this fascinating, formidable woman. As Barack Obama said when he presented her with the National Medals for Arts & Humanities in 2013, “I thought you already had one of these.”

Anyway, it was about time someone demystified this iconic writer, and who better than her own nephew, Griffin Dunne, to tease the nitty gritty out of her. Having read nearly 09didion-hartman-slide-76MA-jumboevery book attributed to her name, I wasn’t sure that there would be much left for me to discover. But when Dunne asks her what it was like, in the 1960s, to have seen that 5 year old girl she once wrote about, the one tripping on the LSD her mother had given her. There’s a pause, and we mentally fill in the appropriately horrified responses, but instead she quietly says “Let me tell you, it was gold.” And that’s what made her work so riveting, her voice to incisive. She was a serious, ballsy reporter, and in a time when female reporters were rare and journalists of her ilk were unheard of.

Of course the film is a love letter; this is, after all, Dunne’s beloved Aunt Joan. And Aunt Joan is still Joan Didion, a woman notoriously strategic in her confessions. So although every word she drops is precious, it’s not overly revelatory. Her most recent works, A Year of Magical Thinking, and Blue Nights, deal with the deaths of her husband and daughter respectively. They’re a doozie to read, especially if you’re reeling in your own grief as I was a the time. They’re beautiful, gut-punchy, elegiac pieces of writing that are still entirely Joan. This documentary feels a lot like the third in the trilogy: it belongs. And it’s about Joan, inasmuch as Joan can allow it to be.

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The Accidental Husband

A “love doctor” radio host counsels a caller to break up with her fiance. The jilted ex vows revenge on said love doctor. Hilarity ensues?

This plot is so predictable. Jeffrey Dean Morgan plays the fire fighter who gets left in advance of the alter. He doesn’t stop for even a second to ask himself if perhaps his gaping immaturity might be a contributing factor, and instead hatches a plan for vengeance against the well-meaning woman (Uma Thurman) who suggested that a caller follow her own intuition and call off a hastily planned wedding to a guy she’d only known a few months. His plan is to of course humiliate the good doctor in her own love life, making it impossible for her to wed her intended (Colin Firth).

1533_largeIf you’ve seen more than 5 movies, then you already know what’s going to happen: she’s going to hate the hell out of Jeffrey Dean Morgan right up to the moment when she falls madly in love with him. She will ditch her fiance, who is not a bad guy, whose only flaw seems to be believing his girlfriend isn’t a complete whack job.

I loathe this movie. I detest all movies like it. I can’t even decide if it’s more demeaning to women or to men but it’s god-awful and doesn’t even have the courtesy to make sense. Spoiler alert: this movie is for the brainless. If this is your idea of a romantic comedy, you deserve to die alone, your bloated corpse eaten by your cats who never respected you anyway.

The Accidental Husband has a 6% rating on Rotten Tomatoes, and this had made me FURIOUS. Who is the piece of shit 6% who’s ruining it for the rest of us? Well, I was incensed enough to track her down: her name is S. Jhoanna Robledo and she’s the ONLY critic who gave it a fresh rating, and I’m assuming also the only critic to have guzzled the sperm of this movie’s lousy director, Griffin Dunne (who has not been allowed to direct a movie since, thank fuck). Robledo writes for Common Sense Media, a website that – get this! – helps parents decide if a movie is okay for kids to watch. She told parents that The Accidental Husband is “teen-friendly” but forgot to mention the part where it makes monsters and rapists out of boys and pathetic, subservient nincompoops out of girls. Christ Almighty.