Stormy weather

While parts of Atlantic Canada (and the eastern U.S.) are getting walloped with snow, we here in southeast Texas had a rough day with heavy winds, hail in some parts, the odd tornado or two, and a bunch of rain. It was a cold front that saw the temperatures drop from the eighties on Sunday (sit in the driveway with a glass of wine and watch the sun go down) to the upper forties overnight (I don’t think we’ll be dining on the restaurant’s patio tonight, alas).

I’ve been reading Fried Green Tomatoes at the Whistle Stop Cafe to my wife, so we decided to revisit the movie this weekend. It doesn’t hold up quite as well as I might have liked, but it still has some fine moments. It’s funny, though—in my memory of the film I had Mary Stuart Masterson and Mary-Louise Parker’s characters inverted, and I think that if I was casting the movie today, that’s they way I would have gone.

During dinner on Saturday, we listened to an Alison Krauss and Union Station live album, and “Man of Constant Sorrow” inspired us to watch O Brother, Where Art Thou? again (Dan Tyminski of Union Station is the vocalist to whom George Clooney lip-syncs). It holds up a little better than Fried Green Tomatoes. There’s plenty of mugging and over-acting, but it’s still watchable.

Then we were tempted by a trailer for an Australian film called The Dressmaker about a young woman (Kate Winslet) who returns to her tiny hometown after a couple of decades abroad. When she was ten, she was suspected of breaking the neck of a boy and she was effectively banished from the community. She has no recollection of the events of that day, so she’s come back to find out if she is, in fact, a murderer. Her mother has declined in the intervening years (the locals call her Mad Molly), but she perks up again after her daughter’s return. Liam Hemsworth is the love interest and Hugo Weaving is the cross-dressing local constabulary who bowed to pressure and spearheaded her banishment all those years ago. It’s a bit of a revenge tale, and once it starts going down that track it derails a bit. Characters behave uncharacteristically, merely so we feel like they deserve what happens to them. It has the out-of-kilter feel of a Wes Anderson movie, but it’s not quite quirky enough to be that and doesn’t play it straight enough to be taken seriously. Plus there’s an unearned death at the 2/3 point that just felt arbitrary and unnecessary to me.

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