Singer, Songwriter slash Mom
20th Aug 2011 Posted in: Reviews 1

Okay, so it was clearly going to be a silly romantic comedy, but Crazy, Stupid, Love. seemed different enough – and not just for its unusually punctuated title – from the recent string of indistinguishable semi-raunchy wedding-related films in the Heigl/Bateman/Aniston/Kutcher oeuvre that I actually went and saw it.

Well, I loved it. I mean I really loved it.  Why did I love it so much?

Okay, well, yes.

But I am an intellectual, highly perceptive songwriter, so Ryan Gosling with his shirt off really has no effect on me. It’s really the mind of a man that…okay, that’s bullshit. Ryan Gosling is impossibly hot, and this movie makes epic use of that fact.

But stay with me for a second for a bizarre comparison. Last fall, I went to see Biutiful. I expected it to be intense, but it was excruciating, because – even with its strange magical sequences – it was so relentlessly real. The script, the direction, every performance – it all rang so true to human nature, so utterly raw and honest, that at the end of it I was numb and exhausted. But I’m so glad I saw it, because I felt…I guess the word would be elevated. Staggering out of the theater, I was overwhelmed by the fragile beauty in the world.

Crazy, Stupid, Love. is almost exactly the opposite. It’s essentially a big budget Hollywood Rom-Com, which means it’s glossy and unrealistic and occasionally loses its insight and devolves into silly cliches, and yet…when it was over I was crying, and I felt elevated.

Let me try to figure this out. Really, Crazy, Stupid, Love. is a fairy tale. But it takes that role seriously. As such, it uses a classic kind of story to navigate the persistent challenges of being human. And it’s an adult fairy tale, in that I can report from a twenty-three year marriage that – in the midst of the requisite hilarity – it accurately captures the disappointment and frustration as well as the abiding passion and enduring sweetness of longterm love.

Julianne Moore holds the market on funny, wounded, plucky, wise female characters – from 30 Rock to The Kids Are Alright to A Single Man – who simply cannot be jaded, no matter what life throws at them. Steve Carell has a knack for revealing his essential humanity through – not just in spite of – the ridiculous scenarios in which he always exists, and the fact that he routinely surrounds himself with complex adult women – from Catherine Keener on – doesn’t hurt.

But the heart of the film belongs to the characters played by Ryan Gosling and Emma Stone, who are young and exuberant but not naive. They are both on the precipice of resigning themselves to the reality that life is going to be a little less rewarding than they once thought it would be. And then – yes, hijinks ensue – but somehow, through them, the movie affirms that no, it doesn’t have to be like that. You can meet someone when you least expect to who really sees you. You can find a way to reconnect when you’ve gone off-track with someone you’ve loved for a long time.

Life can be really effing hard – not as hard in this silly little movie as in the epic Biutiful by a long shot – but Crazy, Stupid, Love. – through Ryan Gosling’s relentless candor, through  Josh Groban’s awesome lawyer hair, through Julianne Moore’s embarrassingly true-to-life mom-isms, through the brother!, through the hokey denouement – this movie sincerely swears to us that grace really can happen, or, to twist Tennessee Williams: “sometimes there’s love, so quickly.”

So, basically, it got me. I loved it. Oh, and you know, this kind of thing was okay too:

3rd Jun 2011 Posted in: Reviews Comments Off

I’m so excited to post this. I saw it at the Alamo Drafthouse on S. Lamar in Austin and just found it on YouTube. This is not a review so much as an appreciation:

17th Mar 2007 Posted in: Blog Posts, Momhood, Reviews, Road Diaries Comments Off

A Letter to Tom Morello (of Rage Against the Machine, Audioslave, and now The Nightwatchman):

Hi, Tom – I attended your panel discussion yesterday, and I want to thank you for your enthusiasm and positivity. I got so frustrated with the moderator’s cool, detached cynicism, and I’m sorry, but I wanted to strangle her when she said that walking down Sixth Street made her want to grab 90% of the bands playing and tell them to give up. Your response–that it depends how you define success–was exactly right.

Sure, most of us have nurtured visions of the kind of success she values, but — at least in my case — we realize that we are on a different path. For me, it’s important to balance my burning desire to write and perform with my burning desire to sit at home and watch videos with my kids. In her worldview, that makes me a big loser.

If success means only one thing, then you’re doomed to never appreciate the small miracles – the moments of artistic connection with people, the great feeling when someone really gets your song and it moves them, the human experience of being just another parent at your kids’ soccer game.

I guess it all comes down to not feeling good enough – not worthy, which is the root of so much darkness in the world. In that respect, I feel bad for people, like your panel’s moderator, who only value the kind of success that is inherently unfulfilling and temporary. So who’s more successful? Who’s happier? Ironically, it’s the guy you referred to in Pacoima with his band in the garage.

So anyway, thanks again. I really appreciated everything you said.

Take care,
Rain Perry

14th Mar 2007 Posted in: Blog Posts, Reviews Comments Off

from Patti Smith:

Op-Ed Contributor
Ain’t It Strange?
Published: March 12, 2007

ON a cold morning in 1955, walking to Sunday school, I was drawn to the voice of Little Richard wailing “Tutti Frutti” from the interior of a local boy’s makeshift clubhouse. So powerful was the connection that I let go of my mother’s hand.

Rock ’n’ roll. It drew me from my path to a sea of possibilities. It sheltered and shattered me, from the end of childhood through a painful adolescence. I had my first altercation with my father when the Rolling Stones made their debut on “The Ed Sullivan Show.” Rock ’n’ roll was mine to defend. It strengthened my hand and gave me a sense of tribe as I boarded a bus from South Jersey to freedom in 1967.

Rock ’n’ roll, at that time, was a fusion of intimacies. Repression bloomed into rapture like raging weeds shooting through cracks in the cement. Our music provided a sense of communal activism. Our artists provoked our ascension into awareness as we ran amok in a frenzied state of grace.

My late husband, Fred Sonic Smith, then of Detroit’s MC5, was a part of the brotherhood instrumental in forging a revolution: seeking to save the world with love and the electric guitar. He created aural autonomy yet did not have the constitution to survive all the complexities of existence.

Before he died, in the winter of 1994, he counseled me to continue working. He believed that one day I would be recognized for my efforts and though I protested, he quietly asked me to accept what was bestowed — gracefully — in his name.

Today I will join R.E.M., the Ronettes, Van Halen and Grandmaster Flash and the Furious Five to be inducted into the Rock and Roll Hall of Fame. On the eve of this event I asked myself many questions. Should an artist working within the revolutionary landscape of rock accept laurels from an institution? Should laurels be offered? Am I a worthy recipient?

I have wrestled with these questions and my conscience leads me back to Fred and those like him — the maverick souls who may never be afforded such honors. Thus in his name I will accept with gratitude. Fred Sonic Smith was of the people, and I am none but him: one who has loved rock ’n’ roll and crawled from the ranks to the stage, to salute history and plant seeds for the erratic magic landscape of the new guard.

Because its members will be the guardians of our cultural voice. The Internet is their CBGB. Their territory is global. They will dictate how they want to create and disseminate their work. They will, in time, make breathless changes in our political process. They have the technology to unite and create a new party, to be vigilant in their choice of candidates, unfettered by corporate pressure. Their potential power to form and reform is unprecedented.

Human history abounds with idealistic movements that rise, then fall in disarray. The children of light. The journey to the East. The summer of love. The season of grunge. But just as we seem to repeat our follies, we also abide.

Rock ’n’ roll drew me from my mother’s hand and led me to experience. In the end it was my neighbors who put everything in perspective. An approving nod from the old Italian woman who sells me pasta. A high five from the postman. An embrace from the notary and his wife. And a shout from the sanitation man driving down my street: “Hey, Patti, Hall of Fame. One for us.”

I just smiled, and I noticed I was proud. One for the neighborhood. My parents. My band. One for Fred. And anybody else who wants to come along.

25th Feb 2007 Posted in: Blog Posts, Reviews Comments Off

Have you seen this? It’s lovely.