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Intellectual House o' Pancakes Webdiary

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2007-04-15 - 9:53 p.m.

This has been a banner year for baby zoo animals being rejected by their mothers but loved by their public. First Knut, then the tiger and orangutan love quadrangle, and now Sweden's baby bamboo lemur, Bilbo.

Good lord, it's REO Speedwagon, back with a new album. I'm not gonna say it's good, but it's not the worst thing I've ever heard.

Struggling a little with the Jane Smiley book...She is a wonderful writer, everything she describes becomes true and golden, but the people she writes about here are--what? Not uninteresting in general, or even unsympathetic, just not appealing to me. I have no use for them, and resent having to spend time with them.

The good news is, it has inspired me to go to seek out the original source it is based on.

Saw Mike White's new film, Year of the Dog.

It's the kind of movie that may not sparkle on the screen, and in fact is uncomfortably slow, but it doesn't leave your head for days. Molly Shannon and Peter Sarsgaard are perfect in their roles as dog-lovers who demonstrate varying degrees of commitment to saving animals.

Although White uses a gently mocking tone, he seems to have respect or at least affection for his characters, and he lets this weird tale unfold at an unhurried pace. It reminded me a little of Safe in both its earnestness and its underlying tension.

Something rare for a film: there's an extended passage about the very real grief a person feels when her beloved dog dies.

I can't remember another movie that shows an adult sobbing over the death of a pet in a way that isn't meant to be pathetic or comical. I was sniffling myself, as were all the viewers in my row.

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