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The Lonely Witness in Germany and France

The Lonely Witness came out in Germany from Polar Verlag this month. It’s beautiful. Thanks especially to my publisher Wolfgang Franßen and my translator Andrea Stumpf. Thanks also to Hanspeter Eggenberger for choosing it as Crime Novel of the Week in Zurich’s German-language national daily newspaper, Tages-Anzeiger!

The Lonely Witness also came out in paperback from Gallmeister in France. I love this cover from Mathieu Persan so much.

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Film

1999

Been thinking about 1999 for a lot of reasons. What a year for movies. Here’s a list of my favorites from ’99, as well as a list of my favorites from ’99 in ’19. Some crossover. Lots I was disappointed by in ’99 that I love now (Eyes Wide Shut, Bringing Out the Dead, and Magnolia) and some I just hadn’t seen then. Lots I liked in ’99 that I don’t like now. Lots I haven’t revisited or given much thought to. Lots I still need to see and/or revisit.

My favorite movies of 1999 in 1999:
Ghost Dog
The Straight Story
The Limey
Three Kings
eXistenZ
Being John Malcovich
Ravenous
Office Space
The Blair Witch Project
The Talented Mr. Ripley
Princess Mononoke
The End of the Affair
Topsy-Turvy
Sweet and Lowdown
Jesus’ Son
Cookie’s Fortune
The Ninth Gate
Girl, Interrupted
Election
The Virgin Suicides
Boys Don’t Cry
The Cider House Rules
But I’m a Cheerleader
Man on the Moon
Sleepy Hollow
Ride with the Devil
American Movie
Dogma
GalaxyQuest
Mystery Men
Payback
Run Lola Run
A Walk on the Moon
For Love of the Game


My favorite movies of 1999 in 2019
:
The Virgin Suicides
Ratcatcher
Bringing Out the Dead
Eyes Wide Shut
Ghost Dog
The Straight Story
The Limey
The Insider
Limbo
Magnolia
Rosetta
The Florentine
eXistenZ
Topsy-Turvy
Felicia’s Journey
Ravenous
Princess Mononoke
Cookie’s Fortune
The Matrix
Office Space
Being John Malcovich
The Iron Giant
Election
The Sixth Sense
The End of the Affair

American Movie

Notable movies left off: American Beauty, which was always terrible & is even more terrible now; Toy Story 2, which I’ve only seen in the last few years and is fine.


Need to watch/rewatch:
Time Regained
Titus
Life
To the Mission
Bowfinger
Summer of Sam
All About My Mother
Beau Travail
Julien Donkey-Boy
Wisconsin Death Trip
Holy Smoke
The Muse
The Loss of Sexual Innocence
8mm
Any Given Sunday
Audition
Wonderland
The Wood
10 Things I Hate About You
Drop Dead Gorgeous
Following
The 13th Floor
A Moment of Innocence
The Dreamlife of Angels
The Wind Will Carry Us
Humanité
The Green Mile
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My Favorite Films of 2018

Lots to still catch up on, but here are my favorite films of the year so far.

FIRST REFORMED (Paul Schrader)
YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE (Lynne Ramsay)
THE RIDER (Chloé Zhao)
THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS (The Coen Brothers)
SUPPORT THE GIRLS (Andrew Bujalski)
THUNDER ROAD (Jim Cummings)
LEAVE NO TRACE (Debra Granik)
OUTSIDE IN (Lynn Shelton)
RAY MEETS HELEN (Alan Rudolph)
NANCY (Christina Choe)
LEAN ON PETE (Andrew Haigh)
MANDY (Panos Cosmatos)
MISSION: IMPOSSIBLE – FALLOUT (Christopher McQuarrie)
THE OTHER SIDE OF THE WIND (Orson Welles)
THE MULE and THE 15:17 TO PARIS (Clint Eastwood)
SHIRKERS (Sandi Tan)
BLACKKKLANSMAN (Spike Lee)
REVENGE (Coralie Fargeat)
CAM (Isa Mazzei & Daniel Goldhaber)

Other films I liked:
SOLLERS POINT (Matthew Porterfield)
PRIVATE LIFE (Tamara Jenkins)
THE DEATH OF STALIN (Armando Iannucci)
GEMINI (Aaron Katz)
ANNIHILATION (Alex Garland)
ISLE OF DOGS (Wes Anderson)
BLACK PANTHER (Ryan Coogler)
BLOCKERS (Kay Cannon)
PADDINGTON 2 (Paul King)
SPIDER-MAN: INTO THE SPIDER VERSE (Bob Persichetti, Peter Ramsey, Rodney Rothman)

Still need to see/looking forward to:
THE MISEDUCATION OF CAMERON POST; SWEET COUNTRY; THE HOUSE THAT JACK BUILT; LET THE CORPSES TAN; ONE CUT OF THE DEAD; DOUBLE LOVER; THE GREEN FOG; HAPPY AS LAZZARO; ROMA; DESTROYER; ZAMA; HALE COUNTY THIS MORNING, THIS EVENING; NEVER GOIN’ BACK; EIGHTH GRADE; SHOPLIFTERS; IF BEALE STREET COULD TALK; LET THE SUNSHINE IN; FIRST MAN; GLORIA BELL; THE FAVOURITE; FATAL PULSE; TRANSIT; THE COMMUTER; WIDOWS; BLAZE; CAN YOU EVER FORGIVE ME?; SUSPIRIA; UNSANE; MADELINE’S MADELINE; CREED 2; SORRY TO BOTHER YOU; THE SISTERS BROTHERS; HALLOWEEN; THE OLD MAN & THE GUN; WHERE IS KYRA?; HOLD THE DARK; MOM AND DAD; JEANNETTE: THE CHILDHOOD OF JOAN OF ARC; SEARCHING; BURNING; POSSUM; A BREAD FACTORY

Favorite performances:
Regina Hall, Haley Lu Richardson, and Shayna McHayle, SUPPORT THE GIRLS
Harry Melling, Tom Waits, and Zoe Kazan, THE BALLAD OF BUSTER SCRUGGS
Joaquin Phoenix, YOU WERE NEVER REALLY HERE
Jim Cummings, THUNDER ROAD
Thomasin McKenzie, LEAVE NO TRACE
Edie Falco, OUTSIDE IN
Ethan Hawke and Amanda Seyfried, FIRST REFORMED
Steve Buscemi, THE DEATH OF STALIN
Andrea Riseborough, NANCY, MANDY, and THE DEATH OF STALIN
Nicolas Cage, MANDY
Charlie Plummer, LEAN ON PETE
Kathryn Hahn, PRIVATE LIFE

My favorite first-time viewings of the year (of films not released in 2018):
PERSONAL PROBLEMS (Bill Gunn, 1980)
MOONRISE (Frank Borzage, 1948)
CLUNY BROWN (Ernst Lubitsch, 1946)
TEA AND SYMPATHY (Vincente Minnelli, 1956)
CHOOSE ME (Alan Rudolph, 1984)
A NEW LEAF (Elaine May, 1971)
WILD BOYS OF THE ROAD (William A. Wellman, 1933)
SMITHEREENS (Susan Seidelman, 1982)
LOVE AND BASKETBALL (Gina Prince-Bythewood, 2000)
THE UNKNOWN (Tod Browning, 1927)

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My Favorite Music of 2018

 

My Favorite Records of 2018:
Teardrop City – IT’S LATER THAN YOU THINK
Alejandro Escovedo w/ Don Antonio – THE CROSSING
Courtney Marie Andrews – MAY YOUR KINDNESS REMAIN
John Prine – THE TREE OF FORGIVENESS
Mount Eerie – NOW ONLY
Cat Power – WANDERER
Emma Ruth Rundle – ON DARK HORSES
Andrew Bryant – AIN’T IT LIKE THE COSMOS
Charles Bradley – BLACK VELVET
Courtney Barnett – TELL ME HOW YOU REALLY FEEL

Other records I really liked:
Erin Rae – PUTTING ON AIRS; Eric Bachmann – NO RECOVER; Phosphorescent – C’EST LA VIE; Damien Jurado – THE HORIZON JUST LAUGHED; Hop Along – BARK YOUR HEAD OFF, DOG; Lucy Dacus – HISTORIAN; Low – DOUBLE NEGATIVE; J Mascis – ELASTIC DAYS; Advance Base – ANIMAL COMPANIONSHIP; Soccer Mommy – CLEAN; Mitski – BE THE COWBOY; Kell Kellum – ADDING TO THE ASHES; Swamp Dogg – LOVE, LOSS, & AUTO-TUNE; Lonnie Holley – MITH; The Gunshy – UNDEFEATED; Neko Case – HELL-ON; Okkervil River – IN THE RAINBOW RAIN; Janelle Monáe – DIRTY COMPUTER; Haley Heynderickx – I NEED TO START A GARDEN; Rhett Miller – THE MESSENGER; H.C. McEntire – LIONHEART; The Rock*A*Teens – SIXTH HOUSE; Wussy – WHAT HEAVEN IS LIKE; Marie/Lepanto – TENKILLER; First Aid Kit – RUINS; Lindi Ortega – LIBERTY; The Great Dying – BLOODY NOSES & ROSES; Anne Freeman – DAYS GO BY; Molly Burch – FIRST FLOWER; Charles Lloyd & The Marvels + Lucinda Williams, VANISHED GARDENS; The Breeders, ALL NERVE; Ruby Boots – DON’T TALK ABOUT IT; Swearin’ – FALL INTO THE SUN; Marianne Faithfull – NEGATIVE CAPABILITY; Cody Rogers – MY HEART IS THE MOST LONESOME RODEO; Richard Swift – THE HEX; Laura Jane Grace and the Devouring Mothers – BOUGHT TO ROT; Jeff Tweedy – WARM; Nathan Salsburg – THIRD; Kamasi Washington – HEAVEN & EARTH; Elephant Micah – Genericana

Favorite EPs:
Tony Molina – KILL THE LIGHTS
boygenius – S/T
Waxahatchee – GREAT THUNDER
Grouper – GRID OF POINTS
Sera Cahoone – THE FLORA STRING SESSIONS
Liz Brasher – OUTCAST

Favorite Reissues/Live Albums, etc:
Bob Dylan – MORE BLOOD, MORE TRACKS
Songs: Ohia – LOVE & WORK: THE LIONESS SESSIONS
Various – BASEMENT BEEHIVE: THE GIRL GROUP UNDERGROUND
Various – BURIED COUNTRY
Various – ALL OF THIS GOES TOO/LOVE YOU SAVE/THE TRUTH IS A LIE: AMERICAN SOUL MUSIC 1955-1972
Neil Young – ROXY: TONIGHT’S THE NIGHT LIVE and SONGS FOR JUDY
James Booker – THE LOST PARAMOUNT TAPES
Prince – PIANO & A MICROPHONE
The Paranoid Style – ROCK & ROLL JUST CAN’T RECALL + 3
Lee Bains III and Glory Fires – LIVE AT THE NICK
Jason Isbell and the 400 Unit – LIVE FROM THE RYMAN
Bobbie Gentry – THE GIRL FROM CHICKASAW COUNTY and LIVE AT THE BBC
Mount Eerie – (AFTER)

Here’s a playlist I made with some of my favorite songs of the year. (Teardrop City isn’t on Spotify, but you can find their album here.)

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Yo, Ray Boy

The Pegasus Crime reissue of Gravesend is the lead review in Marilyn Stasio’s New York Times crime column today.

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Last Sunday, the great George Pelecanos mentioned that he was reading The Lonely Witness in his New York Times By the Book feature. Pelecanos has been one of my biggest writing heroes for a while now, and it’s such a big honor to see The Lonely Witness mentioned here, especially alongside all the other incredible books he’s talking about. When I was in my early twenties, I found a copy of The Big Blowdown at a library sale in Poughkeepsie. I read it and was knocked clean out. I tracked down every other Pelecanos book–at that point, it was the Nick Stefanos series, Shoedog, the rest of the D.C. Quartet, and Right as Rain. I bought every new book after that as it came out. I loved his writing for The Wire. I read every interview with him I could find and sought out the authors he recommended. The first I ever heard of Megan Abbott was because George Pelecanos recommended her books. Same goes for Vicki Hendricks, Willy Vlautin, Don Carpenter, and Newton Thornburg. He’s also great on music and movies. I can’t even start to list the stuff I listened to because he put it on a playlist or watched because he mentioned it.

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Here’s a thoughtful-as-hell review of Gravesend by Thomas Pluck over at Criminal Element. This one means a lot. Other than older books by John Fante, Salvatore La Puma, and Pietro di Donato, I never found much about the Italian-American experience that hit me the right way, and it was important to write the book I wanted to see and to get all that right. To be mentioned in the same space as Price’s The Wanderers and Season 2 of The Wire knocks me out.

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When I was 13, David Lynch’s Wild at Heart came out. I saw it and loved it and got it on VHS as soon as I could. I also tracked down the book by Barry Gifford, and it blew me away. I didn’t really know at that point that books could be like that. I’ve got lots of favorite writers, but Gifford’s been a consistent for over twenty-five years—his bio on Jack Kerouac, his film noir essays, his novels and poems and plays, his work with David Lynch, and (maybe above all) his Black Lizard line of books, which introduced me to Willeford and Goodis and furthered my love of Thompson. Anyhow, the first blurb for my new novel, A Friend is a Gift You Give Yourself, is in, and I’m goddamn floored:

“One thing to appreciate about William Boyle’s process is that, not unlike the late, great Charles Willeford, he takes his time, he doesn’t rush the reader. This is a significant trait, more important than it sounds, the method of a confident writer. He builds his characters patiently, allowing them to adjust to one another, not merely throw lines to titillate the reader. In A Friend is a Gift You Give Yourself, Wolfie Wolfstein is as comfortably intact a creature as any crime writer of recent vintage has put together. I gleefully anticipate the coming of a movie or better yet a TV series in her name.” —Barry Gifford, author of Sailor & Lula: The Complete Novels and The Cuban Club

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I now have an entry at the Mississippi Writers & Musicians page.

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Got to talk about dream casts for movie versions of Gravesend and The Lonely Witness over at My Book, the Movie.

 

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