Molly dear, don’t you shed a tear
“Are you going to make it?” I raised my voice so I wouldn’t have to repeat the question.
“I’ve got to,” he yelled back. “No use in me slipping away now.” He turned around and eyed Molly. She stared back, an unblinking Medusa, her Lord & Taylor scarf fluttering in the breeze.
What a pair, I thought. Better be nice, though: I’d just been crowned as his successor to the ‘coveted position’ of Number One film critic on the Village Voice. Mr. Sarris had held that chair for years but was about to embark onto greener pastures. Molly Haskell, his wife, followed him about like Yoko. I couldn’t figure them out, nor why we’d landed in Greece.
“Isn’t this where Angelopoulos shot Ulysses’ Gaze?” I asked, waving a hand over the scrubby shoreline. Would anyone else have noticed? Or cared?
“Touché!” he yelled back. “But don’t let it go to your head. All the great directors are gone. I don’t envy your position.” Molly gave an icy smile.
Surely I could prove myself, I thought. My words must be worth something. But did I have enough ideas to bring to the table? Or were my opinions as empty and wrongheaded as some had already suggested? Sarris didn’t care: in the trunk of the car were his new set of golf clubs. He could use the sun.
“When I was starting out,” he said, “all the great American filmmakers were slowing down, and all the post-War Europeans were starting up. It was easy to write, there were tons of things to write about. Even a dachshund could handle the job.
“But now,” he continued as he sat on a rock, “you’ve really got to reach. That’s why so many critics are writing about cinephilia. Once the well runs dry, you’re left standing around staring at one another. Do you really want to be a film critic who writes about film criticism or the social climate? That crap would kill me.”
The prospect of the post was beginning to sour. How much adulation could I extend to… what? Most everything was derivative of the stuff that came out forty or fifty years ago. I looked over at her, perhaps seeking an answer, but Molly couldn’t give a rat’s ass.
“But I wanted to be a movie critic!” I yelled, my voice breaking in faux emotion. “I want to be taken seriously! No one on the internet likes me!” I tried to muster up a crocodile tear.
“What are you,” he snapped back, “a fucking six-year-old? Jesus, dude, grow a pair and get on with it.”
Finally, Molly piped up. “You know sweetie,” she said, “I used to eat bull testicles in Spain.” She pointed a bony finger out toward the ocean, as a dolphin danced atop the waves. At which point the alarm went off and I shuffled into the kitchen for morning coffee.
Labels: Une affaire de Flickhead