Actually it is available here … but it’s a VHS rip.
If you like What Happened Was please see The Wife as well. It is also an amazing film.
And, if you have the means (illicit of course :)), please check out a short by Noonan that Yuki Aditya just alerted me to, it’s called Bone Daddy and it’s very good.
Any idea why he stopped directing/writing?
Not a definitive idea. He filmed a third feature, Wang Dang, on video in 1999. He couldn’t find much distribution interest and he also wasn’t happy with the look of the film. Since then he’s continued to write and direct stage productions with his theater group.
I’d looove to blame the industry but I have to consider the possibility that he simply isn’t interested in film direction anymore.
The whole purpose of these Cinema 21 threads was to eventually lead to an interview with the subject, which I wrote and submitted questions for. It doesn’t appear that the interview is going to happen anytime soon but I know your question is one of the ones I submitted.
The Wife is excellent as well. It’s a different film altogether, packing a great sense of humor.
“And, if you have the means (illicit of course :)), please check out a short by Noonan that Yuki Aditya just alerted me to, it’s called Bone Daddy and it’s very good.”
Woh, I didn’t know Noonan had anything else out. I guess Wang Dang must be somewhere as well, but there are no copies of it anywhere but a few clips on Noonan’s site.
In other news, I wonder how many of these people visit the forums :)
There’s one I can guess at least …
This is playing on Netflix. This may be old “news,” but I had to make sure anyone who hasn’t seen it and cares to knows about it, especially since it never came out on DVD.
The Wife is on there as well.
Hey stranger! Coincidentally, I just noticed that both films were streaming and started to watch The Wife. But does this mean you’ll be around to discuss the film, hear complaints, etc. :)
If you have Netflix you should see these films while they are available. truly great and represent the entire directorial output of Tom Noonan, who really should make more films.
“But does this mean you’ll be around to discuss the film, hear complaints, etc. :)”
Sadly, no. Too much going on and I can’t lose focus. I always respond to any private message, however. I realize that may take up too much of your time since you have discussions on the forum you have to keep up with but that’s the best I can do right now.
Hey, HOL. I hope all is well.
Your participation would have been welcomed, but I guess directing my complaints at HoL will be enjoyable enough. And if that doesn’t work, I can always PM you. :)
I just saw this.
I’m not sure I have a good grasp of the characters or the film as a whole, but I enjoyed the film. Some thoughts and questions off the top of my head:
>My sense is that you have two people who are on completely different wavelengths—especially in terms of expectations of each other. Michael lack of social skills and the differences in educational background probably contributes to this as well.
>However, they both seemed lonely and in a bit of rut—Jackie’s social life drying up, just when she finds herself and Michael so deep in a hole that he can’t get out. I really liked the poignancy of both their situations.
>The shot of that older gray building outside of Jackie’s apartment seems significant. (They show it at the beginning, and it’s the very last shot of the film.) Anybody have thoughts about the meaning and significance of the building.
>What do people make of the scene where Michael hears starts hearing children’s voices and seeings movement in the doll house? Has he had too much to drink? Does this signify that Michael is mentally unstable? (I think it does suggest the latter—perhaps stemming from living alone and being “broken” as he mentions at the end.)
>Does anyone have thoughts about what we see from the apartments next door and the fact that Jackie sleeps in an area where everyone can see her?
I think the shots outside the building are “simply” reminders of the “otherness” of others which is related to the predicament the main characters are in. After all, all of our world views are pretty different since we are all the embodiment of all our separate experiences.
I think Michael is just rattled by the nature of the story and finds himself uncomfortably entering into it during the scene when he sees figures in the dollhouse. Mostly though I don’t think that scene is meant to be literal. It is only there to make you think and feel. Everything doesn’t have to have a literal meaning to be important. The lack of literality can be important as well. I definitely see no indication of insanity from this scene.
I definitely see no indication of insanity from this scene.
To me, one can be mentally unstable without being insane, and Michael doesn’t seem to so stable—not that he’s abnormal. He’s gone through some rough times, and he seems socially isolate as well. I would imagine that can lead to some degree of instability.
I also didn’t necessarily think he literally heard and saw those things. The film could have put those things in there to suggest Michael’s interior state—which includes the instability aspect.
I must say that it’s hard to remember the specific details of the film at this point. I do know that I preferred this to The Wife (and I think I commented about that one, too), and I also really liked the story the story Jackie wrote.
Tom Noonan is a great filmmaker… he also teaches or used to teach a wonderful class that I had the pleasure of auditing a couple of times a few years back. I wish this guy made more films. the acting is about as good as it gets. not sure if it’s still there but saw a few snippets from wang dang on his web site that also look pretty interesting. I told him I thought the wife was top notch and he sort stammered “yeah…well that was before I started drinking heavily” made me laugh
I try not to analyze the kind of film where the acting is so nuanced, detailed and locked in but I don’t think the stuff in the dollhouse points to any kind of insanity beyond that fact that the story she reads is sort of intimate and points towards another person with problems trying to express something to him perhaps in a lot more forthright and unabashed manner. he’s a guy who seems like because of some blows to the ego…or who knows…just the sort of demeaning rigamarole of everyday or big city life has sort of propped up an role in his mind for himself as a misunderstood writer of some merit…and is also at times…though the way it’s done is very moving…mildly condescending at times and here she is after ten minutes of him coming over reading him this thing…which good or bad (brilliant that you’re not really sure) is saying something that obviously has something to it. a lot of his behavior after that seems even less assured…especially regarding what he’s writing or working on…or at least it’s importance in contrast to the opportunity to connect with her on some level…but more importantly the piece seemed really at one with the person who made it and is a subtle but amazing acheivement
i think i read noonan just added those touches in the scene and other flourishes to inhance the emotional nature of the scene and intended them to be almost subliminal
the wife is also a stunning film and the woman who plays arlie gives one of the best performances that i recall having seen in any film anywhere
another touch i really like in the film is all the tall buildings and windows you can see from her apartment through out most of the film
I can’t remember in the film if they were offices or apartment windows but it sort of enhances emotionally in my memory some of the stuff they were talking about in the office and either the feeling of annonymity or just the sense they’re in when he’s there a very different setting with more possibility
it also made me really wonder about some of the indignities they both seem to have been taking in the office…but that seem to have bothered him more…what it would be like if in fact they do hook up or have something together…if it will be that much more unbearable or better
I agree with Mike S (although writing that sentence is weirding me out:)) that the scene works to cut into the little self-assurance Noonan has displayed up to that point. I also agree that it works better if you don’t analyze it too much. This may seem like a cop out but there is plenty of room in this films for ambiguity. All we can be sure of, because of Noonan’s reaction is that he thinks he sees something move and the filmmaker shows us something move.
Mike S, I checked a few weeks ago and the site was still up and still had the Wang Dang clip. I have said before that I don’t get too worked up about directors not working often because there are so many other films, books, etc. to worry about that it doesn’t matter. Noonan (and Charles Burnett in a different way) are exceptions for me. Noonan disappearing from the film world is a huge loss.
boy i’m really go on here…
but i think i remember somewhere in the film she also kind of intimates that she may or may not have had the hints of a romance or something with someone else in the office as well at one time…maybe i’m remembering wrong…i think it’s kind of touched on briefly and unobtrusively…but must be a strange and somewhat daunting thing for a guy who kind of expresses what he does…especially in regards to his position in the office to contemplate especially in conjunct with everything else that goes on. i think she also seems to think his position is a lot more lofty than he does towards the beginning of the film…
“Noonan (and Charles Burnett in a different way) are exceptions for me. Noonan disappearing from the film world is a huge loss.”
agreed and then some