Thursday night a few of the trainees held a Pool tournament which, technically I won. I’m happy to let Rob take a deserved moral victory however as a) it was a technicality, he fouled on potting the black; and b) my second game was absolutely shocking. I had forgotten the degree to which my pool playing reflects that of my opponent. It is bizarre to see how when playing someone with a modicum of talent I can pull off some pretty impressive shots, while when playing someone lacking any ability whatsoever, perhaps because my heart is not really in the game, I can barely shoot straight.
The weekend was quieter so I finally had a chance to start unpacking everything which, clothes aside, has remained in boxes all week. Kirsten coming over to spend Friday and Sunday nights with us. On our third attempt we finally managed to finish watching Shopgirl. Based on a novella (a wonderfully indefinite term for something longer than a short story but briefer than a novel, generally accepted as around 20,000-40,000 words) by Steve Martin, it chronicles the relationships between the titular shopgirl, Clare Danes, and the two men with whom she becomes romantically attached. Many will find its slow pacing off-putting, though it is pensive and beautifully shot, with a similarly bittersweet vibe to that of Lost in Translation.
However it suffers from a thoroughly unnecessary voice-over that adds nothing to the proceedings at all. Modern film students scoff at the rudimentary voice-over as being indicative of poor screenwriting. Despite their pretentions, they are largely right, for the audience should be able to infer these thoughts and feelings from the visual cues and dialogue. Thus it now only achieves a purpose where it does something new, being quirky or at least inventive, as in The Opposite of Sex or Kiss Kiss Bang Bang. Here it was simply a distracting filler, compensating for the fact that modern audiences detest silences. They seem to find it incredibly uncomfortable which is, at the very least, sad, considering it was one of the aforementioned Lost in Translation’s real strengths.