8/6 -- Heaven Knows I'm Miserable Now
Hail President George Washington Seagullhead

I don't know why birds love to sit on George Washington's hat so much. But they do. And it makes poor George look damn undignified.

On a miserably hot and humid August Sunday, I dragged Bill up to Dupont Circle to catch "Ghost World." Hey -- it had two bitchy, geeky teens as the main characters and Steve Buscemi as some kind of weird love interest. I figured it had to be great. When I watched the opening credits and saw that John Malkovich was a co-producer, I started mentally composing the rave review I knew I'd be posting here later tonight. How could it not absolutely rock?

I really, really wanted to love this movie. You have no idea. I haven't wanted to love a movie this much since "The Phantom Menace." And at first, I did love it. Thora Birch and Steve Buscemi were both brilliant. It's going to be hard for me to watch Birch playing any other character after this. Her Enid is one of the only cinematic teenagers that I've found even remotely three-dimensional and realistic. She's a crazy salad of cockiness and insecurity and need and self-superiority and self-hatred and angst. She isn't always likeable but she's very real. The movie got her just right.

And I loved Steve Buscemi's Seymour. It's so refreshing to see a film featuring a dork who knows he's a dork. He's so used to being a dork that he's honestly shocked that anyone could find him interesting.

But then the movie took these characters I'd come to like so much and made them miserable. And that ended up blowing the movie for me. It's not that I want every film to be "The Happy Huggy Adventures of Forrest Gump and Jiminy Cricket." But I'm just getting bone weary of movies in which life's outcasts, people already living lives of not-so-quiet desperation, get their faces ground in the dirt again and again.

Why am I supposed to want to watch this? What message am I supposed to take away from it? "Life sucks. It's always going to suck. Nothing you can do will make it stop sucking. And whatever you do, for chrissakes don't ever try to better your lot -- you'll just fuck it up and end up even worse off than you were before."

That's why I didn't join the choruses of holy hallelujahs that greeted "Happiness" and "Requiem For a Dream." I think I've had my lifetime fill of movies that want to depress the living shit out of me. I've got real problems now. I'm not keen on wallowing in someone else's misery.

"Ghost World" isn't an utterly irredeemable waste of film by any means. But past a certain point, I just felt as if I'd already seen this movie and didn't want to sit through it again.

It could be that I'm not being entirely fair. Part of me still wants to see this movie again when I'm in a better frame of mind. I usually love Dupont Circle, but it lacked a lot of its usual charm on Sunday. We were hot, and then we went to a restaurant that was cramped and crowded, and then we went to Second Story Books and I fantasized about beating the snooty, rude staffers to death with one of their laughably overpriced first editions. The aisles there are narrow and they're made narrower by the piles and stacks of books left carelessly all over the floor, and you cannot so much as pause to look for a book without one of the staffers practically running you down. I don't know where the hell they're running or what they're doing once they get there, because the store is a disaster area and nothing there's ever put away as much as it is piled up or jammed somewhere. But these people sure want you to get out of their way.

And then there were some of the customers. I headed to the paperback fiction section to look for Tim O'Brien's Going After Cacciato. A woman was sitting on the floor right in front of the O'B section. Yes, on the floor. And she really didn't want to move her ass. I think I can blame this mentality on Borders and Barnes and Noble. People have gotten so used to giant MegaLoMart bookstores where you can grab a book and settle into a big comfy chair for hours that when they're in a bookstore with no seats, they're going to sit anyhow. They've come to see it as a constitutional right. They don't understand why there isn't a coffee bar, either.

Or I could just blame it on the fact that she was an inconsiderate bitch. I leaned right over her shoulder and bumped her repeatedly as I went after Cacciato (har) and finally she packed up her stuff and huffed away, no doubt muttering about those rude DC people interrupting her nice quiet reading time. Hmpf.

So I was already prone to be irritable by the time I saw the movie, and maybe I'm being too hard on it.

I got some collateral entertainment from an oaf sitting behind us who was gifted with the stupidest laugh I've ever heard. I mean "stupidest laugh" as in "a laugh that made him sound incredibly stupid. We're talking Big Sack O' Hammers stupid." I could feel my IQ dropping every time he let out a moronic low-pitched "Huhhuhhuhuhuhuh."

The doofus damn near busted a gut during a preview for "40 Days and 40 Nights," all about some 20-something guy who's giving up all forms of sex for Lent. Oh, the hilarity. Oh, the "Huhhuhuhuhuhhh"s. The trailer for "Silent Bob and Jay Strike Back" (I think that's the title but I'd be lying if I said I really cared, so feel free to not correct me) also elicited lots of neanderthalic laughter.

I'm happy to report that "Ghost World" clobbered him into complete silence. He probably heard that it was a movie about two teenage girls and headed to the theater expecting to see Sarah Michelle Gellar and Mena Suvari jiggling around for two hours. Sucker. Instead he got a movie about a bitchy, green-haired geek who makes fun of people like him. I only heard "Huhuhhhuhuhs" from him when people in the movie said "homos" or "tits." Eventually, I think he got so bored that even a big fart joke close to the movie's end didn't elicit one dumb laugh.

Oh well. Another weekend shot. A sweltering hot week coming up. Yee haw.

Dupont Circle South metro station

The long, narrow escalator down into the Dupont Circle South Metro station. It's so long and dark that I always feel like I'm on the escalator down to Hell.

Indulging my inner hit slut

(Okay, so I'm not giving up just yet. Clix, please?)

The next entry.

Previously, in Insomniaville ...

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