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Fay Grim Is Once Bitten, Twice Shy

Parker Posey shines in Hal Hartley’s sequel to Henry Fool.

Greetings and salutations* film nerds and nerdettes

After surviving a nasty case of Writer’s Block brought on by a delirious week spent aboard Errol Flynn’s yacht, me and my milquetoast book editor are in the final throws of completing my 7,000 page autobiography which, according to my publisher Judith Regan, will make the profound oeuvre of Marcel Proust read like a vapid stack of Dr. Seuss leaflets …

This means, you guessed it, Poppa H is already stacking his riches and has no time, no time!* to wax irreverent on the nature of The Biz. … But, for those faithfully undaunted cinephiles out there who’ve clung to every plaintive oink from this Cinematic Master of Disaster, I offer you this …

Hal “Jelly Droll” Hartley
Tired of Spider Stew? Had enough of his nibs, the Jolly Green Giant (Shrek 3)? Then get your Punk Rock Asses down to the Embarcadero Cinema this weekend and try on the latest from a Indy director whose pictures always seem to help me transcend writer’s block, his name: Hal “Jelly Droll” Hartley. Best known for Henry Fool (1998), an intense, anthem-like literary gem of a film, Hartley made ripples at last week’s San Francisco International Film Festival with the screening of his wildly ambitious, seven-years-in-the-making, globetrotting sequel to Henry Fool: Fay Grim (2006).


Parker Posey in Fay Grim; courtesy of halhartley.com

Fay Grim
I know the title alone sounds like the film equivalent of a root canal, but oh contraire nerdsters. I’m talking Parker Posey, Black Comedy Queen of the Damned in the titular title role of Sister Grim. Who wants Peter Parker when you’ve got the widow peaked O.G.P.P. dropping a Geraldine Chaplin meets Louise Lasser-like performance on us that’s so fantastically real, poignant, hilarious and yes, deliciously droll, it falls into the “cool as shit category” on the Discriminating Hipster Zeitgeist Meter?

Still don’t believe me?? Good Lawdy, who’s the film-geek here anyway? 7x7sf.com tells me I am so listen up, buttercups: forget Spidey and the Shreckster; that’s all film filler. This weekend, if you wanna be cool like me, fill up on a salient scoop of comedic stylings from Hal Hartley; it’s sardonic food for the modern soul. …Then call Magnolia Pictures and ask them why it took a year for Fay Grim to see the light of day … zing!

Remember, Grim is only playing for one week, so snap to it cinephiles. If you like what you see from Hartley and Parker, rent Henry Fool and prepare to be inspired, disturbed and blown away. Until next time, this is Murph the Surf signing off. Be bad and get into trouble, baby …*



“Hip Happenings” Round Town
•    Away from Her (2007), Dir. Polley - Embarcadero
•    Black Book (2007), Dir. Verhoeven - Lumiere
•    Year of the Dog (2007), Dir. White – Embarcadero
•    The Namesake (2007), Dir. Nair – Embarcadero
•    Naked Lunch (1991), Dir. Cronenberg – Clay (Midnight Show!)

Volume 9 Footnotes
•    “Greetings and salutations.” – Heathers (1991): Christian Slater (channeling Jack Nicholson) to Winona Ryder.
•    “I ain’t got no time…no time!” – Nashville (1975): a harried Alan Garfield (as Barnett) to anyone seeking audience with his wife Barbara Jean, the Loretta Lynn inspired Queen O’ Nashville.
•    “Let’s get into trouble, baby.” – Tapeheads (1988): Soul Train host Don Cornelius (as Hollywood Producer Mo Fuzz) to upstart filmmakers Tim Robbins and John Cusack.