I Lost It at the Movies | Bleader

I Lost It at the Movies



I doubt I'll ever get around to confirming this personally, but I've been assured by people in a position to know that Sex and the City 2 does not fairly represent the HBO series whence it was spun off, the latter apparently having either gobs of humanity and wit to it or at least some redeeming modicum of those virtues, depending on who you talk to. I certainly hope this is the case, since the TV series has been such a huge and enduring cultural touchstone, and the public health is not well served when these come swimming in liquid pigshit.

The thing that bugged me most about SATC2—bugged me even more than the blasphemous and parasitical references it made to one of the greatest romantic comedies ever made, It Happened One Night—was how it knocked my critical faculties out of true. Within 15 minutes, this bloated, stupid, shallow-to-the-point-of-convexity film had awakened inside me a sleeping freshman neo-Marxist I hadn't heard from in 23 years. An hour later, that insufferable little punk had grown up to be the Unabomber. By the end of the 146-minute ordeal, the Unabomber was intellectually flirting with the anti-Western ideals of Al Qaeda. All told, it was a pretty exhausting evening.

The last thing I did before collapsing into mercifully dreamless sleep that night was send a Facebook message to Tom Bachtell, the Chicago artist whose superb celebrity caricatures appear weekly in the Talk of the Town section of the New Yorker. I wrote: "Just came back from the press screening of Sex and the City 2: Fear Eats the Soul. Therein, Carrie Bradshaw's latest book is slammed by The New Yorker, and the cruel review is accompanied by a weak caricature of a Tom Bachtell caricature. Just thought you'd wanna know."

By the next morning, maestro Bachtell had written back:

"Well, I guess I made the final cut after all. . . . I don't know how to tell you this, but moi did that weak caricature of a Tom Bachtell caricature. Man, I tried to do my best under the circumstances; I got caught somewhere between Hollywood and Condé Nast. . . . I'm even supposed to be listed in the credits. Should I be hiding under my bed?
"A Weak Imitation of Tom Bachtell"

Eight hours later, Bachtell FB'd me again an excerpt from a review by another local film critic who'd assumed that the cartoon in question was brummagem goods. It was considerate of Tom to try to save face for me like that, but I had to decline his offer of help. I wrote back: "Oh Christ, I know I'm in trouble when I start seeing things as [name redacted] does. But I think it speaks well of your rep that people are automatically assuming it can't be a genuine Bachtell."