Good People Go On Permanent Vacations

April 24, 2011

Two dispatches from the cultural desk, should you be so inclined to take a gander. First up, I saw a play this weekend that knocked my socks off. Pardon the hyperbole, but I honestly thought Good People was that um, good. Starring Frances McDormand of Fargo/Almost Famous fame, the play presented a fly-on-the-wall look at the lives of several blue collar folks from Southie, the famed Boston neighborhood dramatized in everything from Good Will Hunting to Mystic River to The Departed. The dialogue was so sharp and true-to-life that it really felt like you were in the kitchen sharing coffee and cigarettes (we’ll get to Jim Jarmusch in a sec) with the characters on stage. Frances McDormand was lights out, lending her character an acerbic wit and a vindictive edge that leaves you wondering whether she really is “Good People.” Getting to the theater can be tough because of the prices, but the Manhattan Theater Club is offering $30 tickets for people under 30…so if you fit the description, take advantage. You’ll be thinking about it hours, maybe even days after the final curtain falls.

Moving from the stage to the screen, I also checked out Permanent Vacation, the first feature by Jim Jarmusch. It’s an unsettling movie—16 year old Allie meanders about bombed out downtown Manhattan streets encountering various vagabonds and eccentric characters while pondering the meaning of life: his schizo mother, a junkie, a Vietnam Vet and a car thief, among others. Pretty cool to see where Jarmusch first started to develop his aesthetic and even cooler to try to emulate dance moves like the ones above.

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