Hal Hartley Says Trust in Henry Fool


Greetings and salutations,* my pretties ...

Since it’s Indy Thursday here at Hooker’s Reel, Poppa H thinks it wise to spend a white hot minute suggesting you spend the weekend in a galaxy far away from the Movieplex where (currently) the stories are limp, the superheroes are flabby and the buttered popcorn? Merely lukewarm …

If you’re not into Spidey Stew and Shrek 2, I mean, ahem, Shrek THREE, then don’t be coerced into dropping hard-earned duckets on a Blockbustin’ Bronco from CGI hell. We’re all adults, right…right? Well then, why not slap on your wire rim glasses and try a Hal Hartley double feature on for size: Fay Grim, starting tomorrow at the Embarcadero Cinema and Henry Fool on DVD.

photography courtesy of halhartley.com

Henry Fool
“Blows A Hole Through the World’s Idea of Itself”

Henry Fool is a beat-inspired literary gem about a meek garbage collector named Simon Grim (James Urbaniak) who encounters a Faustian drifter (Thomas Jay Ryan) who prods him into putting pencil to his unexpressed thoughts while concurrently boasting of having (himself) written a revolutionary masterpiece that will "blow a hole right through the world's idea of itself.”

Henry’s Magnum Opus, his “Confession … is a philosophy … a poetics, a politics, if you will,” says Fool. “It’s a literature of protest, a novel of ideas. A pornographic magazine of truly comic-book proportions." A bombastically sage wanker, Henry’s passion turns a seismic switch in Simon to breath life into his own epic masterpiece of revolutionary poetry.

Through the magic of the Internet, Simon’s epic poem becomes a media fueled global phenomenon with seemingly transcendent powers: We see right-wing zealots morph into beatniks, a mute neighborhood girl reads a line and bursts into song and, when the local School Board proclaims Simon's poem is scatological, Simon and Henry shake hands …

"Your poem brought on my period a week and a half early so just shut up!" Parker Posey, as Simon’s sister, carps after transcribing his masterpiece. Henry Fool is about a lot of things: the tenuous line between “winners” and “losers,” the impact of art on society … fate, fame and the price of loyalty. You can’t find a more profoundly entertaining segue into the Ironic World of Hal Hartley … so do yourself a favor and check the Fool out.

If you’re like me, you’ll absorb it like a modern parable then bolt inspired from your apartment into the night, smiling triumphant, sprinting through the streets below … or not.
Until next week, 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!)

DVD Picks to Click
•    Trust (1990), Dir. Hartley – Underrated Gen X love story about a rebel (Martin Donovan), a preggers teenager (Adrienne Shelley, R.I.P.) and a hand grenade.
•    Best in Show (2000), Dir. Guest – Riotously funny take on Show Dog Competitions. Parker Posey’s frantic search for a Busy Bee is the stuff of legends.
•    Dazed and Confused (1993), Dir. Linklater – Parker Posey (as Darla Marks) has never been hotter onscreen, “Air Raid you little freshman bitches!”

Volume 10 Footnotes
•    “Greetings and salutations.” – Heathers (1991): Christian Slater (channeling Jack Nicholson) to Winona Ryder.
•    “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.

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