Sunday, September 30, 2007

The Mayor of Casterbridge Movie: Thanks, A & E

You know how some movies that are made from books make you think, "Wow, they really skipped over a lot of this book!" But then you forgive the film maker because he had time constraints and really it was so beautiful anyway and it evoked all of the emotion of the book, even if it skipped over some scenes?

This movie wasn't like that. The director, working for the visionary and cutting edge Arts and Entertainment channel, put in everything he could find in the book, and possibly more. Every scene change was marked with a schmaltzy swell of orchestral music, thundering through the same part of theme music from the bleak, obvious score. And there were many scenes. The number of scenes was: maximum.

The actor who played Michael Henchard reminded me a lot of Chris Cooper. You know him. He's been in various things as Lt. This and Col. That, most recently in "Breach" as that CIA guy. He has one of those mouths that looks like a gash you cut with a kitchen knife in a spaghetti squash, down on both sides. Know what I mean? No? He also has hooded eyelids which he uses to peer into a middle distance when considering manly things. Yet doesn't look like he's ever had stubble.

The long and short of it was that we couldn't even make it through disc 1. Oops! I think I'll wait until Hollywood turns it into a movie with Keira Knightley as Elizabeth-Jane and they cut out most of it and give it an adult contemporary soundtrack. Then I can bitch with the rest of you that they cut out the scene in the granary, but at least I'll make it to the end of the movie.

Thursday, September 27, 2007

The Mayor of Casterbridge by Thomas Hardy

A man walks into a bar, gets drunk, sells his longsuffering wife and infant daughter to a stranger for five smackers. POW! What a hook. What a first chapter. The next day, he wakes up sober, repents, and walks to the nearest church. At the altar, he swears off drink for the next 21 years. He looks for his wife, but it's too late; she's gone. WHAT WILL HAPPEN!?

If I'd had a seat, I would have been on the edge of it. Fortunately I was sitting on the floor, watching the children in the tub. But I was riveted to the point that the children were in danger of hypothermia. That's a hook, my friend, worthy of a high concept Hollywood road movie starring Vince Vaughn and and Benicio del Toro. What, you don't think they would be good together? They would be GREAT together.

The Hollywood movie would then switch over to the wife with her new husband, see how they're getting on, and then switch back to the original husband, etc. Not this book. Instead, Hardy takes 19 years out of the story, brings us back to the wife returning to look for the original husband, daughter in tow. Okay. Now he's the mayor of a fine big town and one of the big time corn dealers as well. Rich, famous, well-respected, and still not drinking. From there, things go downhill, as you might expect from a Thomas Hardy novel. You will not be surprised to learn that the couple did not quietly reunite and live out the rest of their days happily and without notice. They were noticed.

Another thing I have come to expect about a Thomas Hardy novel is a female main character whose virtue or position is compromised in public court of opinion through no real fault of her own, but just because she was following a logical course of action, or acting under impulses we today would find quite normal. Tess, Sue, Elfride, all are caught both by cultural circumstances and mistakes that we all can see they should not make. The bad ends to which they come are both brought on by their own bad choices and dictated by the restraints of Victorian society, both high and low.

In this novel, there is no such character. Lucetta comes close to this, but isn't really central enough, or independent enough, to fit. I realized only when I was near the end that the main character was actually the man, or the men, the two men who share the title "Mayor of Casterbridge" during the span of the book. Then it all became clear. The main character, Michael Henchard, the man who originally sold his wife, is the one whose impulsive, passionate character and rotten choices seal his tragic failure -- he has more in common with Tess, actually, than the other women do -- uneducated, irrational, earthy, but bizarrely driven by good intentions. Donald Farfrae, the other mayor, has much in common with Bathsheba from Far from the Madding Crowd, as he also gets his final quiet happy ending, with the one he should have had all along.

It made more sense once I figured out I wasn't supposed to really like the females, because I didn't. I love the way Hardy writes women, particularly Sue Bridehead. Particularly the incomparable Tess. But the women in this book were unsatisfying. Maybe he just hadn't got there yet -- Sue and Tess were to come later. Bathsheba was ten years previous.

People who are not fans of Thomas Hardy are permitted to skip the previous three paragraphs. Oh, should I have mentioned this before you slogged through all that? Woops.

Here's a writerly note: The opening scenes of the novel are really an *excellent* example of how the pros used to do third person objective point of view, you know, just the human witness, no insights into anyone's thoughts or feelings, motives or past. The opening of the book was really SO amazing. I do so love Thomas Hardy. Just look at him there, with his moustache. You could just eat him.

I think now I have read all the Thomas Hardy I need to read. I've read five of his novels, including all the famous ones and one of the romances. It makes me a little sad. I remember when I first read his poem, "Neutral Tones," and I initially thought, what a dull little plop that was, but it really stayed with me, okay, I know this makes me sound like a SUPERFOOL, but I always remember that first reading of it. Here it is:


by: Thomas Hardy (1840-1928)

We stood by a pond that winter day,
And the sun was white, as though chidden of God,
And a few leaves lay on the starving sod,
--They had fallen from an ash, and were gray.

Your eyes on me were as eyes that rove
Over tedious riddles solved years ago;
And some words played between us to and fro--
On which lost the more by our love.

The smile on your mouth was the deadest thing
Alive enough to have strength to die;
And a grin of bitterness swept thereby
Like an ominous bird a-wing….

Since then, keen lessons that love deceives,
And wrings with wrong, have shaped to me
Your face, and the God-curst sun, and a tree,
And a pond edged with grayish leaves.

Yeah! Makes you want to go out and write a bunch of valentines doesn't it! That's Thomas Hardy for you. Writer most likely to make you feel like rolling under the bed and rotting already. Bless his grey little heart.

Saturday, September 22, 2007

The Dogs of Babel by Carolyn Parkhurst

When Joshilyn gave me this book, a long time ago, she said that it was really two books mashed into one, and she felt sure I'd like one of them. I know I liked the second half much more than the first. So much did I not like the first half that I actually put the book down for more than a year. I liked the present sections more than the past, the dog sections more than the human. Which were the two books? I'm not sure. I picked it up again because I finally succumbed to the hook, and had to know how it ended.

In The Dogs of Babel, linguist professor and first person narrator Paul Iverson tries to teach his dog, Lorelei, to talk. He wants to figure out what happened on the day that his wife, Lexy, fell or jumped out of their backyard apple tree and died on the ground. Even though the book hovers on the edge of magical realism, including some invented facts and history of talking dogs, and a secret society that mutilates dogs to get them to talk, it never fully dives into that world, and Paul Iverson's dog never gives him an account, in English, of Lexy's last day. The dog-talking aspect of the book, much emphasized in the press surrounding it, was actually just a way to show Paul's character, how derailed he had become after Lexy's death. The dog-talking aspect, though, was very interesting while it lasted.

What turned me off, in the first half of the book, was how Lexy was built as a character. A beloved character is one of those Drew Barrymore characters, who is so beautiful, so funny, so mad, so inspired, such a free thinker, such a life-liver, she can take you for a ride past death's condo and leave you panting for more. No flaws. All her flaws are charming. She's a little crazy but also very, very wise. Beloved characters frequently die or kill themselves, but not before they've had a chance to teach someone how to live. Someone uptight and bored like a linguistics professor. The problem with the beloved character is that it's excrutiatingly hard to portray such a character on the page, without sounding gushing and ridiculous. You have a character with a dangerous glow around them -- how do you show that?

Parkhurst's answer was to put the book in first person, so the husband Paul speaks all these words of love, and at the beginning of the book, when his grief is still very fresh, it is pure love. Toward the end, we start to see some of Lexy's darker side -- her depression, anger, irrational behavior, etc. She's an artist -- she makes masks. So in the second half of the book, Lexy loses some of her glow, and becomes more interesting, more layered, more true. I wonder how the book would have read if the entire thing had been in third person. Would it have been better to get a more true picture from the beginning, of both Lexy and Paul, or was the gradual shift toward a real portrayal more effective at illuminating their relationship? Definitely in third person, the parts in the past that I didn't like (the glowy, gauzy, beloved parts) would have been less emphasized and the dog-talking, obsessive, philosophical parts (which I liked) would have been more important. I wanted more secret clues, more rearranging letters, more ideas about communicating and what is truth.

The book switches back from the present time, when Paul is grieving and working with the dog, to the past, to tell about their relationship when she was alive. The storyline in the past starts on the day they met and eventually, by the end of the book, catches up with the present. There are twists, I won't reveal them, but I will say that Lexy had profound doubts about her ability to raise children properly, without ruining them. She worried she would not be a good mother because of her personality -- the rages, the neuroses, the depression, etc.

I have mixed feelings about this because I can really relate -- when I was pregnant with my first child I had no idea how I was going to transform myself into something resembling a mother. I was convinced my child would rather be raised by someone who knew how to bake from scratch, who read romance novels at the beach, who wore matching cardigan sets. I think we all have those worries. Reading this book made me deeply glad that I went ahead and subjected the children to my eccentric personality, that I was able to bend my personality enough to meet the needs of my children, that we all find each other interesting -- I felt very grateful for the life I have, with my husband and kids.

At one point in the book, Paul Iverson says he shouldn't have to apologize for wanting what everyone wants -- a family. He wanted a baby and she did not. It's funny, looking at Lexy's life -- her basement workshop, her open days of freedom, hours to work on her art, no one asking for peanut butter or needing to be taken to ballet -- it's easy to feel a little envious. Every writer/artist/musician/whatever who is also a parent knows what I am talking about. Sometimes you think, what would I be doing right now, if I was alone right now? And I suppose for most of us, the answer is this: Wishing I had my kids to pester me.

Maybe the choice to put the novel in first person was correct, because as it is now, the husband is really the main character. Maybe any other method would put Lexy right into the spotlight, like every other book about a beautiful madwoman. Maybe this is Wuthering Heights from the point of view of Edgar Linton... focusing on a character who typically falls into the background. The one who appreciates the wild horse but can't really handle it. The one who lives to tell the tale.

Visit The Dogs of Babel on

Thursday, September 20, 2007

Freelance Editor, Book Doctor, Manuscript Consultant -- What are the Kids Calling it These Days?

One of the awesome clients of my book doctor service posted about the experience on her writing blog. She compares the writing of a first draft with birthing a baby, and the editing of that draft with watching the baby get surgery. I can understand that feeling, but I guess I've always seen writing a draft like birthing, and editing like brushing the kid's hair and straightening its tie.

If it has to be surgery, then let's remember that *we* are the surgeons. We don't have to sit in the waiting room wringing our hands -- we are not *only the* surgeons, we are *the only* surgeons who can possibly perform the operation. We are uniquely qualified, highly specialized surgeons who know every corner of the insides of that kid, and while we do get consultants to tell us where to cut and where to splice, only we can do it.

Surgery is supposed to be kind of exciting. Reportedly, it even makes you feel like a god. Maybe editing can feel that energized too, if we realize we're in control.

Another thing -- not every baby needs surgery -- most babies spring out of the womb fully grown and perfect and healthy. However, every first draft needs surgery. So, you're not alone in that operating room, there are lots of other people going after their drafts with scalpels and clamps flying, biting their lips, refocusing their lights, and hacking away.

Critiquing people's novels is, in some ways, not a hard job. You don't have to haul around buckets or wear a uniform or get up early or go to meetings. However, you do have to stand up and honestly tell people that their books need surgery. Being a good consultant means telling them exactly what tools to use, at what angles to approach, how deep to go, to make what you feel will be a better story. And then you wait in the waiting room, anticipating the results of their labor. :)

Monday, September 17, 2007

How Script Frenzy Saved My Novel

I will confess to you now that I am not entirely of sound mind, when it comes to writing my own fiction. There was a point, and I only tell you this because we are very close friends, where I was almost paralyzed in my fiction by weird little habits and the writing ticks that I had developed.

I was very concerned about the way things looked on the page. I needed the paragraphs to appear in a certain way, very rectangular, all approximately the same size, and I didn't want words hanging down, no strange line breaks. I felt compelled to write my novel in small sections, not really chapters, but three page sections, and each of the three page sections had to be exactly three pages. Exactly. So, when I took out a sentence here, I had to add one there. When I added a sentence there, and it started hanging onto another page, I had to take out that sentence and add a different one.

It was like math, kind of. It was very engrossing. I told myself that the form was being dictated by the very structured mind of the character, by the nature of the book, that I could always go back and change it later. Except, as the book progressed, I was not going back to change anything, and it was increasingly becoming this awful, hard little nut of overworked prose. With no dialogue. Did I mention that? We can't have dialogue spreading out all over the place and messing up our lovely juicy paragraphs, can we precious? No, precious, we can't. You get the idea. What started out with a mild compulsion turned into a book-crushing mania. I have known some famous and clever postmodernists who do this kind of thing with grace and dignity. I, however, was doing it with teeth-gnashing and forehead-clasping. Not the same.

Then I decided to do Script Frenzy. Script Frenzy is a month-long nightmare similar to Nanowrimo except that in Script Frenzy you write a screenplay in a month, whereas in Nanowrimo you write a novel in a month. Script Frenzy is in June while Nanowrimo is in November. I had never written a screenplay before, but I thought, hey, why not. It's not like my novel is clipping along at such an alarming rate that I can't take a few weeks off to do something else. I wrote my script. I used CeltX which is a free, downloadable script-writing software. It forces you do format everything correctly. Watching my script pour out of my frantic fingers, it did not occur to me to count lines in a paragraph of scene description, it did not occur to me to be offended by the dialogue straggling down the page, and by the end of the experience, the screenplay format looked very normal and familiar and right. And I finished 20K words and got to the end, which means I won, as you can see by my sparkling icon at the left.
When I returned to work on my novel, two astonishing things had happened.
1. I can now comfortably write dialogue. This shocks me, because all of my life as a writer I have avoided dialogue whenever possible. I would write "He told her go to home." six times before I would write ""Go home," he said." When I picked up Script Frenzy, I felt certain I would go mad because of all the dialogue I would have to write. Somehow, I bullied myself through it, and on the other side of that experience, dialogue is no longer my enemy.
2. I have a much better understanding of how to describe a scene in terms of the physical surroundings. I used to really struggle with this, and found myself skipping over it a lot, or doing it in some sort of truculent, obvious way, because I could never feel relaxed about taking time out of the scene to look around the room and say, "The walls were green. The ceiling was high. On the floor, there was a carpet. On the chair, there was a dog." Writing scene descriptions in the screenplay was different. You're forced to create a very succinct paragraph to describe the setting, and the purpose of it is not to be lovely, but to be functional. So you find the three objects in the room that give it its character, or you find the scope of the exterior landscape you're describing, or the hat the character is wearing, or the empty diet Coke can under the radiator, and you hang the scene on that. Very useful. The skill translates perfectly into novel-writing. It's okay to drape a whole scene over the cut of glass on the chandelier. It all evolves from that. I get that now.
As I was writing my screenplay, I felt very strange writing a document that was not meant to be read. That is, it wasn't the final product. These words, in this screenplay, are not the art. They're instructions for creating the art. So, while the words are still important, obviously, the way they look on the page has no meaning. They're crammed into a standard format, and there's no deviating from it -- it's out of your hands. Working in this form really made me think about the story, the characters, the dialogue... and stop concentrating on the form.
Writing a screenplay made me a better novelist, for sure. When I returned to fiction, it was as if the hobbles had been taken off my horse. I'm glad I made the effort and took the chance on a new format, even though the screenplay itself may never see the light. At this rate, the book possibly will.

Thursday, September 13, 2007

Persuasion by Jane Austen

To: Anne Elliott
CC: Elizabeth Bennett, Emma Woodhouse, Elinor Dashwood
Subject: He loves YOU. YOU are the one he loves.
Attachments: clues.xls

Dear Anne,

It is you that he loves. Obviously. He loves you, only you, and always you, to the end of his days. HOW do you not see this? You spend page after page, heart atwitter. A tiny gasp, a tiny sigh. Is it denial? Is it mental retardation? Or are you actually physically blind and deaf? Has all of your mild, sweet goodness clogged up your aural passages?

I know that you don't like to come right out and say things. I know you prefer to hint around and embroider wainscoating and use your eyelashes to communicate the intricate ticks and giggles of your soul. Your patience, your modesty, they cripple you. You flounder. You languish.

Here's news: If you weren't in a Jane Austen novel, where all comes right in the end, you would never be Mrs. Wentworth. Real men don't pine that much. Real men, if they pay attention to Louisa Musgrove, are doing that because they actually want to get busy with Louisa Musgrove. But you're okay. He's a Jane Austen hero, and that means in spite of all the completely contradictory evidence, he does really love you, you blind, deaf, ignorant fool of a woman. Please, when the truth comes out, take a minute to breathe and weep, and then give yourself a good smack, right on the head, because really, a cocker spaniel could see that he loves you, and only you. Louisa Musgrove? You have got to be freakin' kidding me.


Jane Austen said that Anne Elliott was too good for her. Jane, Anne Elliott was too good for me too.

Let's face it, Jane Austen novels are not about suspense. There's a man and a woman, or there are two men and two women, and at the end of the novel the church bells will peal, and there will be joy. The pleasure in one of these romantic comedies, like most romantic comedies where the end is predetermined, is watching the characters muddle through, make their mistakes, rush around.

I liked watching Emma, and Elizabeth, and Elinor and Marianne. But not Anne. I didn't like watching Anne. Anne made me impatient and irritated. Maybe it's me. Maybe I'm just a dreadful person, incapable of appreciating the sensitive spirit of Anne. I know this novel is all about the subtle. And most of my friends seem to like it. I, however, was not able to love this book, although I know I should. Anne was too good, Louisa Musgrove was too annoying, and Captain Wentworth was just impossible.

You know what? In the end, they got together. Don't blubber about me spoiling the ending. No one was shocked. I was glad it all ended well, but this time, instead of weeping with joy, like I did for Elinor and Marianne, I snapped the book shut, BAM. Enough already. This time, she took it too far. Bless you, Jane Austen, you do better with sass.

Saturday, September 8, 2007

Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt

Wow. I look at my little children, who refuse to eat half the things I put in front of them just because the whim of the moment dictates that they don't like orange food, or that they would rather have peaches than grapes, or that they really wanted a PB&J instead of spaghetti. And here is this mother, in this book, watching her children literally die of starvation (and disease, and malnutrition, and whatever else is crawling around in the poverty they inhabit), and there is nothing she can do about it. Living in fleas, in filth, in actual unmitigated poverty of the kind I have never seen in this country, she does the very best she can, and you know what? So does the father. He is a scoundrel and a failure, but he is in a category of man with many others, and no matter how I tried, I could not hate him, because I felt he loved his chilren, and he always gave them his share of the food, and even though he drank every cent that ever came into his pocket, he was not to blame for their troubles.
Angela's Ashes is driven by two strong questions. First, I know that Frank McCourt is now a famous author and a much lauded teacher, and so I know that he dragged himself out of it, through the typhoid and the starvation and the infections and rags, and out into a better place in the world. So the first question of the book is, How did that happen? The second question, implied by the title, is that the mother (Angela) will die. So how is that going to happen? That's the second question. The magic of this particular engine, this particular method of making me turn the pages, is that these questions are never overtly stated in the text, there isn't a "Now that I'm a teacher, I remember back when I was an urchin..." and we don't have any foreshadowing of the mother's death, or any foreshadowing of anything. Those questions that drove me insane with curiosity (How could he survive this? How could he?) were just buried in the fact that the book existed at all, and had that title.
The other genius thing about this book is that the story has no "Now that I'm older and wiser and understand the world" type of context. Everything that happens in the story is filtered only through the consciousness of the main character at exactly that age in his life, whether it's that an angel brings babies and lays them on the stairs, or whether it's that the life of a messenger boy is the best he can hope for, or whether it's that devils will poke him with pitchforks for eternity, or whether it's one line of Shakespeare that infiltrates his education, we only see everything from right inside the character's point of view. Never the author, never the character later in life, only in the moment.

Rather than making the facts of the book more palatable, because the character knows no better, this way of narrating the story actually makes it the more horrifying, because there's no author to step in and say, "And that's just how poor we were, that we had to burn the walls of our rooms, how sad, how dreadful." Which leaves the reader to think it. And there's no author to say, "And with that one line of Shakespeare, the whole possibility of language as art was lit up in me," it's left to the reader to discover that connection for himself.

Brilliant writing, I mean, obviously, I have nothing to say that's not worshipful. Amazing, brilliant, fearful, desperate, grand. I'm linking to Amazon in case you want to have a look at that, but I am also going to bookcrossing my copy, so if you bookcrossing, and you'd like me to send it to you, send me an email.

Wednesday, September 5, 2007

Sin by Josephine Hart

Well, this was a silly little book. A book that treats writing like Juliet Binoche treats acting. That is to say, with a lot of insubstantial intensity, and mystic eyes. You can read Sin in a sitting, and get up feeling pensive, taciturn, and violent. Or you can read it in little chunks over a period of weeks, while you're giving your children a bath, like I did, and every time you open the book you have to remember how serious life is, how morbid, how dire, how dramatic. How everyone uses small sentences, and feels things deeply, so deeply.

I read it before, years ago, and recently somehow via some used book shelf it came back into my life. The same edition too. Page 169 still seems to bear the blush of shame after my shuddering eye-roll. The last few lines:

These questions long engage me. Do you have answers? Please. Please, answer me.
Answer me, as I leave you now.
As I leave you.
As I leave.

The only work of fiction I've seen trying to end on an echo effect, like a power ballad from the 80s. If the ending seems unforgivable, you should know that there are other disastrous lines in the book too. Like this one:

Hours later, Dominick lay on top of me. And whispered love again. And again. Perhaps the music in his own head made him deaf to my silence.

"Deaf to my silence"? That's one of those lines that sounds complex and interesting, but in reality means nothing. Like Juliet Binoche again. She can be thinking of her grocery list, but as long as she fires up her "piercing depths" eye lock, you'd think she was decoding the fate of the world. Hart knows how to ratchet up the drama in the way a scene sounds, even if the plot is really a rather standard soap opera chain of events. Adultery, death, rivalry, hatred, love, etc. The pounding drum in the language, the constant syntactic reminders that This! Is! Dramatic! actually diffuse the drama from her character's troubles, much the way a soap opera's soundtrack can make light afternoon fare out of murder and betrayal.

I am simultaneously reading Angela's Ashes by Frank McCourt, and Sin does not bear up well in contrast, since McCourt's delivery of disaster and wretchedness is at low volume, with no fanfare, no sonorous words, no short sentences drifting off into black. Unfair comparison, maybe, but... still.


Sunday, September 2, 2007

A Very Important List

1. Maybe writing is just lying.

2. I'm cutting out of my writing group again tonight.

3. I've started walking to the art museum to think. During the walk, you know, not at the museum. When we get to the museum, we turn around and go home. Map My Ride tells me it's 3.6 miles round trip. This is about as much as I can do with inappropriate shoes, a stroller, a dog, and another child on a bicycle. We've done it twice:

The thinking must be happening between reminding the boy to watch for driveways and reminding the dog to keep up. The girl doesn't need reminded of anything but she does need to be hydrated.

So far I've had two ideas, both unrelated to the novel. Two ideas in seven miles is a number I'm comfortable with. I'm not crowning myself Pope or anything but I'm satisfied.

4. "The Libertine" was like the opposite of "Shakespeare in Love." Like all opposite pairs, they have some things in common: 17th century London, playwrights, female actors, and a bunch of people scrabbling around in the street. Strangely, in the time between Elizabeth and Charles II, London got a lot dirtier and nastier. John Malkovich was the king with a prosthetic nose. It was almost possible to forget he was John Malkovich. I never forgot Johnny Depp was Johnny Depp but the remarkable thing was that during his performance I never even caught a sniff of Jack Sparrow, or Ichabod Crane, or Willy Wonka, or J.M. Barrie. He's a master.

5. "Deja Vu" was pretty dreadful. The movie requires such a radical suspension of disbelief that I needed a special crane and a permit from the city. On the other hand, it was nice to see that not every time travel movie ends with the lesson of time travel: "Travel to the past all you want, but if you try to stop something from happening, you'll end up causing it." Are you listening, Sandra Bullock?

6. "Pan's Labyrinth" and "Snakes on a Plane" both started out with someone getting their head beaten in. From there, the two movies diverged in pretty much every way possible.

7. Samantha Morton is not Samantha Mathis. Samantha Morton never played Princess Daisy in "Super Mario Brothers." Samantha Mathis did. Therefore, my shock that Samantha Mathis was playing the female lead in "The Libertine" was misplaced.

8. Chloe Sevigny was in "Zodiac" as a dull, smart girlfriend of Jake Gyllenhaal. I liked her in this role. Between this, that, Big Love, and the other thing, I am ready to forgive her for her slouchy, droopy-lidded performance in "The Last Days of Disco." It's been ten years. I'm over it.

9. We couldn't finish watching "Zodiac" because of all the one month later, six weeks later, three days later, two years later. We never found out what happened. Robert Downey Jr. is so awesome though. He is made of awesome.

10. Speaking of Robert Downey Jr., "Fur" was bad. Susannah says the crime was taking Arbus' asthetic fascination with freaks and sexualizing it. I agree, but felt that the biggest problem was Robert Downey Jr. with all that hair on him.