Monday, September 20, 2010

Three Beautiful Things 09/19/10: Pacino/Carlito's Way, Grace Again, Our Dean and the Dead

1. I'm working at getting a more complete sense of Al Pacino as an actor. Toward that end, today I watched "Carlito's Way", a movie I saw in a theater about seventeen years ago when it came out. When I saw it back then, I wasn't in the right mind set to appreciate Sean Penn's brilliant work as Carlito's lawyer. Today I was. Astonishing. I wasn't prepared before to understand what a complicated character Pacino creates in his portrayal of Carlito Brigante. Carlito's street smarts and criminal experience, his toughness, is complemented by his longing to be clean, to do things right, and by his tenderness. Pacino plays this combination of apparently contradicting qualities superbly; I enjoyed how he played Sonny in "Dog Day Afternoon" in much the same way: a bit crazy, desperate, possibly capable of violence, but, tender, caring, concerned for others.

2. When I went over to Jeff's to give him a ride to an open house to welcome Siskanna as a new member of our English faculty, lo and behold, Grace was seated on the porch, talking with Jeff. The last time I saw Grace was over near 8th and Blair and I was out trying to sweeten my attitude about living in Eugene by taking pictures in the neighborhood I live in. Seeing Grace that day sweetened my day more than the picture taking did, and, once again, talking to Grace this evening cheered me, made me happy.

3. The open house was a cheery event. Those attending enjoyed one another's company. We found out our dean enjoys the Grateful Dead and even was in attendance back in January 1971 (is that right? did the Dead play only once at LCC?) when the Dead played the Lane Community College gymnasium. That was a fun thing to learn about our boss.

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