On van Gogh, and Loving Vincent, a cinematic masterpiece

I finally have an answer for the question, “If you could travel back in time and visit any figure from history, whom would it be?” Vincent van Gogh died the same way he lived, tortured and penniless. Loving Vincent, a cinematic masterpiece, depicted through the paintings of 100 artists, examines the tormented genius’ life and death. It’s a heartbreaker, and it got me thinking (not for the first time) about the tragedy of Vincent’s existence. It galls me that this tremendous man was not only unsung in his own lifetime (selling but a single painting during his entire career) but was also mercilessly ridiculed because of his severe depression.

So were I able to travel back and talk with him, I would like to tell him, “One day, Vincent, you will be the most beloved artist in the world, your paintings will be priceless, and people will finally, truly understand.” I would try to give him some small peace of mind, if I could. I think it’s the least he deserved, in return for what he gave us.

Starry Night

Bug with Michael Shannon and Ashley Judd is outstanding

Bug with Michael Shannon and Ashley Judd is outstandingThis movie was released in 2006 and I just got around to watching it. But better late than never, yes? I stumbled upon it on HBO last night and all I needed to see was Michael Shannon’s (Take Shelter, The Shape of Water, Boardwalk Empire) name to sway me. Not to mention, Ashley Judd (Double Jeopardy, Kiss the Girls).

The story is about a soldier gone AWOL named Peter Evans (Shannon), who ends up living with a lonely woman, Agnes White (Judd), in a shabby Oklahoma motel room.

The plot starts off normal enough, with the only peculiar occurrence being the phone in Agnes’s room ringing relentlessly with no one answering on the other end. But it’s a nice setup for the waking nightmare that follows.

Peter becomes convinced the government has planted living bugs (aphids, to be exact) inside his body as organic tracking devices. What results is his frenzied and paranoid campaign to rid himself, and Agnes, who also becomes infected, of the tiny invaders.

Peter is a fount of knowledge when it comes to conspiracy theories and scientific facts, rattling them off with authority whenever prompted which lends him a certain frightening credibility. So you’re left wondering whether he’s crazy or if his wild claims are in fact true. I’ll leave that up to you to determine.

The film is directed by William Friedkin (The Exorcist, Rampage) and has a killer cast, including Harry Connick, Jr., who does a fantastic job playing Agnes’s abusive ex-husband fresh out of prison.

This film is definitely worth a gander.