On Memorial Day weekend Brad and I usually sit outside with binoculars trying to spot early forest fires caused by careless barbecuing activity in Eldorado Canyon State Park which borders our property. Since we’ve had to evacuate for fire three times, once in the “just grab the family photos and the dogs and go” mode, it’s not just idle paranoia on our part. However, this weekend we’ve imported our weather from Seattle and have had steady drizzle, then heavy rain, then fog, then some more drizzle — so fire danger is low and we’re hunkered down inside watching movies. We’ve had the same three Netflix movies since before I left for Paris on the Ides of March, and decided to watch them. Netflix has definitely made money on us in the last 2 1/2 months. We watched The Skulls (which wasn’t as bad as I was afraid it would be, but just barely) and started Skulls 2 (guess which movies are Brad’s rentals?!?) before realizing after about 7 minutes that it was just like The Skulls and stopping. Then we watched The Virgin Suicides, which is Sofia Coppola’s first movie. I loved loved loved Lost in Translation and like to imagine it’s the kind of movie I’d make myself. It has some of the dreamy, episodic things I’m trying to do in my writing in The North Side of Trees. I had read The Virgin Suicides as part of my First Novels campaign, and hadn’t really loved the book — I liked its quirkiness, but felt there was a semi-misogynistic streak that repelled me. I hoped that Brad wouldn’t exert his veto power over Chick Flicks and that Sofia’s deft touch for dark and quirky was developed here. And indeed it was — very dark, indeed. I told Brad I could teach a Media Studies course called “The Other Side of the Picket Fence” that would start with American Beauty and Blue Velvet, and would definitely include The Virgin Suicides. Brad just kept saying, “Well, that was disturbing.” I love a disturbing movie.