I’m a essentially a very upbeat/positive person, but like everybody else — sometimes it all just overwhelms me. Or, perhaps sometimes, it even underwhelming me. This has been a particularly bad week. In addition to my own challenges I am finding that my mother is dealing with something that is still a bit unknown. To say I am worried would be an understatement, but I think if things could just run a bit smoother for just a little while I would be able to better think through so many of these feelilngs. Instead, I find myself escaping into music and movies. …the old standby’s for me. It can be so hard. Where is the break? When will the shoes stop falling down? Did I come to the right place? All these questions/concerns pull at me 24/7 right now.

It’s not all gloom and doom. Things come to us for a reason. And, in the end, it all works out. And to allow yourself to sink into self-pity is just a trap and a total waste of time. On top of that, it is boring and tiresome to your friends. Who wants to be around a sad sack?!?! So you take a deep breath, form a smile and you march on. …and wait. …for that elusive “break” or “good news”

Oddly, darker art seems to provide me with the best sense of relief. One would think I would be looking to laugh, but focusing on the pain of fictional characters can put it all in perspective without having to exploit the tragedy of real people who are dealing with far worse. Even as a child, I was much happier when I was left at the cinema showing the darker stuff. Spare me the Disney.

This might be one of the reasons that I so fell into love with the writing of the entity we refer to as “JT LeRoy” — the first book I read was “Harold’s End” which has become one of my favorite works. I then moved on to “his” other works, “Sarah” and “The Heart Is Deceitful Above All Things” —- A couple of years ago one of my fave people, Asia Argento, set out to bring the second book to the screen. She did so with a low budget and the subject matter alone made it next to impossible to find distribution.

However, after 2 years the film will be getting a limited release to the arthouse cinemas later in the next month or two. I had the chance to view the French version/release yesterday.

I loved Argento’s first attempt at directing. A sort of self-confessional film called SCARLET DIVA filled with interesting visuals, music and free-from transgressions of anger and sexuality. A sort of confused mess of a movie, but it worked and showed that Argento has a great deal of promise as a filmmaker. And, this feeling of worry and self-destruction to which her work and words hinge make it an interesting ride for sure.

I am still trying to decide what I think of her adaptation of LeRoy’s Deceitful Heart (no pun intended) — quite flawed, but it works. What works about the film is the interesting way we need to love our parents no matter how horrible they are to us or to themselves. The need to love the one who gave you life is stronger than any horror that that person can bestow upon you.

Unless one has “been there” it is hard to understand. Tho, clearly JT LeRoy was never really there as “he” is not even real. However, who ever wrote those books seemed to be able to get into the skin of the abused — and the abuser. The fact that Argento played the role of the mother makes it all the more impressive that the film makes one understand the connection between the child and parent. Her performance is clearly inspired by Courtney Love mixed with total white southern trash.

Unafraid to go the distance — she makes the viewer both angry and empathetic at once.

Her choices in the casting of the children who portray the son are exceptional. And, her dedication to the text of the book is clear. As a woman who survived what one can only guess was a total nightmare of a childhood she clearly did not want to put the child actors in some of the situations that had to be depicted. She came up with some incredibly creative ways to get these scenes in the film without bringing those kids too far into the scenes. …something which Solondz and Araki didn’t really seem to be too concerned with – tho, in fairness, editing is a wonderful tool. But, even still, it is hard to imagine that their child actors didn’t get a strong sense of what was being filmed. Argento clearly protects her little actors and gets some great performances from them.

One of the biggest problems with the film is Argento’s intended confusion of the first novel, “Sarah” with the second one which she is filming. I think there is too much information provided from the mother’s perspective which fails to serve any clear purpose. Her performance captures the pain/horrors of Sarah — we don’t need guided audio/visual flashbacks that are provided as the narrative of the first book.

The other problem with the film is one of the factors which has helped it get a release and backers. Argento is a total “playa” and she seems to be so well connected with all the cool, beautiful and perceived dangerous artists out there. But, the casting of Lydia Lunch as a nurse with one line is a mistake. Sure, Lunch does fine with her one line but you are immediately taken back by the appearance of this fringe icon. Now, I’ve always thought that there was a certain similarity in facial features between Lunch and Argento. If only she had cast her as her character’s mother. That might have worked. But, to cast her in a cameo just seems exploitive and silly.

When Winona Ryder appears as the manic and uncaring trauma counselor all I could think of was, “Oh, it’s Winona Ryder trying to be edgy” …not sure if this her fault or the fact that her casting has nothing to do with her look or talent — she is a name. She looks nothing like a trauma counselor. Far too pressed, manicured, pretty and wearing high fashion. It makes no sense. Maryilyn Manson is actually quite good and it is his talent that saves his casting. He captures the character and you do not even realize it is him until later. Which should be the point of any casting.

And, some of the symbolism is over-played. Animated vultures pecking away flesh, arms falling off for the prey of these birds, surreal brooding clouds and rose petals flying thru the air — all too heavy handed.

But, somehow, Argento captures the pain, sadness, grief and the very sick/twisted bond between the mother and her son. It almost works. It is well worth seeing — I still think this beautiful and talented actress is going to end up a good filmmaker. There is too much talent and drive there. But, for now, I think she is an interesting director with an underdeveloped scope of vision. But the vision is so oddly beautiful and creative one can’t help but look.

And, of course, I think the Bible is correct. The heart is deceitful above all things which is what makes it so hard in decisions and choices. …and understanding.

Well, the late Ofra Haza is singing with Iggy Pop so it is probably time I check the laundry and get ready for this afternoon’s interview!!! Fingers-crossed!!! And, please, no more shoes from the sky!!! No time to check for spelling or errors! Be kind to the mistakes!!!

January 26, 2006. Uncategorized.


  1. Dessie replied:

    Shoes from the sky?

    Hang in there babe, life has brought you this far, something else is surely in store for you. Warm hugs and big kisses from a bloody freezing night in London.

  2. Robert replied:

    I hope you’ll hear some good news from your mother, and that she feels better real soon.

    …and like you said, “In the end, it all works out.” Take care my friend. Breath in, breath out.

  3. Tim replied:

    Matt, I’ve got so much respect for you; you’ve got a brilliant attitude. I really hope you get some good news on the job front soon, you certainly deserve it. Chin up old boy!

  4. Hot Toddy replied:

    You’re loved by many! Hang in there. (Can’t comment on your very well-written review due to my ignorance of the subject matter!)

  5. ing replied:

    I know exactly what you mean about those damn shoes. And they never fit! But I have a feeling that not only is there a job in your immediate future, but Prince Charming has a glass slipper in just your size.

    I’m so sorry to hear about your mom! Call me if you start to feel down. I don’t mind a little sad-sacking. Honest, I don’t. If you smile too much it starts to hurt.

    Oh, did you hear the big news? JT Leroy is Carol Channing!

  6. matt replied:

    You guys are so sweet! Thank you. I’m fine. Just felt like a bit of a vent! My pal, Thomas, just emailed that Prada loafers are due to drop from the sky at any minute!

    Ing – Oh, thank you! Actually, I tried to call you cuz i’m so excited about Disco Madness tomorrow night! I’ll call you at your office tomorrow afternoon. My phone has died. It is re-charging. And, YES — I saw that Carol Channing was JT after all! It was in the Chronicle! You know, I the thought did cross my mind when she did that last tour of HELLO DOLLY, but I just couldn’t believe it! Go figure!

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