Around 1940, New Yorker staff writer Joe Mitchell meets Joe Gould, a Greenwich Village character who cadges meals, drinks, and contributions to the Joe Gould Fund and who is writing a ... See full summary »
Around 1940, New Yorker staff writer Joe Mitchell meets Joe Gould, a Greenwich Village character who cadges meals, drinks, and contributions to the Joe Gould Fund and who is writing a voluminous Oral History of the World, a record of 20,000 conversations he's overheard. Mitchell is fascinated with this Harvard grad and writes a 1942 piece about him, "Professor Seagull," bringing Gould some celebrity and an invitation to join the Greenwich Village Ravens, a poetry club he's often crashed. Gould's touchy, querulous personality and his frequent dropping in on Mitchell for hours of chat lead to a breakup, but the two Joes stay in touch until Gould's death and Mitchell's unveiling of the secret. Written by
In my home town, I never felt at home. In New York, New York City, in Greenwich Village, down among the cranks, and the misfits, and the one runners, and the has-beens, and the might-have-beens, and the would-bes, and the never-wills, and the God-knows-whats, I have always felt at home.
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This is one of those marvelous movies where almost nothing happens. Noone dies, noone gets blasted by aliens, noone get mushed by Bruce Willis or Harrison Ford. Just a quiet movie about an interesting guy (damn, Ian Holm is good) who doesn't do much. The scenography is awesome, and the details of the surroundings are pretty good. Anyone with an understanding of the pre-beat scene in NYC (or curiosity, ferchristssake) will love this quiet, interesting movie. Some of the characters could have been painted with a little more color. One becomes curious about the photographer-wife, the beat-artist (Saranden), and the sleazy publisher (Steve Martin, ferchristssake), but our questions remain questions.
If you like quiet movies, thoughtful movies, you'll thoroughly enjoy this one. Rent it.
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