Friday, February 27, 2009

ALL THE BEST PEOPLE HAVE BAD CHESTS AND BONE DISEASES. IT'S ALL FRIGHTFULLY ROMANTIC: The year was 1994 -- maybe 1995 at that point -- and I was visiting my friend Charlie in Baltimore, both of us in our first year of graduate school. We went out to see a movie I didn't know much about in advance, Heavenly Creatures, and we were both absolutely blown away by the tale of obsession, delusion and murder, and especially by the performance of an unknown actress named Kate Winslet. I remember our spending hours thereafter rescripting and reconceptualizing the movie -- what if Quentin Tarantino had directed it? Richard Linklater? Spike Lee? Woody Allen?

But thank goodness Peter Jackson did, claymation and all, using all his tools to make vivid the emotional lives of these troubled teenagers. It's a haunting film that chilled me so much I haven't tried to watch it again since that first viewing, but I might this weekend, as the AV Club's Scott Tobias inducts Heavenly Creatures into the New Cult Canon.

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