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In this week’s bonus movie Frotcast, Francesca Fiorentini from The Bitchuation Room and The Young Turks joins us to discuss the year’s most talked about film, Marriage Story. Boy, people sure do love middlebrow dreck about sexless intellectuals, don’t they? Starring Adam Driver and Scarlet Johansson, Noah Baumbach’s latest is yet another work to remind me of John Dolan’s takedown of Jonathan Franzen:
Yes, it’s time someone said it outright: Manhattanites are the new hicks. The mall kids are generations ahead of them. Things that are stale jokes to the mall kids strike the NY publishing world as fresh and hilarious. Maybe they just don’t watch enough TV, or they spend too much time drinking cocktails with F. Scott Fitzgerald’s ghost — whatever the reason, the Manhattanites have lost it completely. The scriptwriters of Christmas Vacation are Flaubertian chroniclers of provincial mores next to Franzen. When you compare Franzen with really talented observers of Minnesota life, like the Coens in Fargo, or even Garrison Keillor in Lake Wobegon Days, his incompetence stands out even more sharply.
And if one were to compare him with the great novelist of “pelagic America,” Charles Portis… no, it would be an insult to Portis even to compare a hack like Franzen with him. And yet Portis is all but unknown, while Franzen is everybody’s darling…. Agh, ya buncha idiots!
Now just re-read this passage so that it’s about Brooklynites, Marriage Story, and Mrs. Fletcher (which is kind of like Marriage Story only much better). Yes, unfortunately (or fortunately?), none of your Frot pals liked this movie so much — which is kind of weird, since Francesca is divorced, Matt and I are both dating divorceés, and all three of us work in the arts and/or entertainment. We should be the target audience (Francesca and I even lived in Brooklyn!). As Matt puts it, their fights are like a montage of every relationship argument in a play you’ve ever seen. I contend that this movie is either about a couple where a person is too cowardly to admit that they don’t love the other person anymore, or a couple who still loves each other but whose relationship couldn’t survive them wanting slightly different careers. Oy. No more stories about sexless New York intellectuals, please.
We finish things off reading about the Topanga tea ceremony and listen to your weird voicemails. You guys are sick, truly. Frot on, and you’ll never be lonely when you have the Frotcast.