I watched Starting Out in the Evening on DVD downstairs last night while my wife, #3, and #4 watched No Reservations upstairs. Any serious flick about a novelist gets bonus points from me. Funnily enough, the film starred Frank Langella as a mostly-forgotten, self-absorbed writer living in an apartment on the Upper West Side. (Of course, the place looks great. Real estate porn.) Into his life waltzes a grad student who wants to resuscitate his reputation as a way to make hers. Why funnily enough? Because the first movie I remember Mr. Langella in was Diary of a Mad Housewife where he again played a self-absorbed writer. Somewhere in the 37 years between the two films he moved from dashing to decrepit. Anyway the verdict on the movie? Intelligent and thought-provoking. See it for what it has to say about aging and the writer's compulsion. I'm going to track down the novel by Brian Morton that the movie's based on.
As a sidelight, I laughed when Langella's character approached an editor he had known. The editor tells him that no one prints literary fiction anymore. In real life, my manuscript was turned down by an editor at a very large publisher who told my agent I'd written "a gripping book that kept me turning pages from the very start," but that what I'd written was "too firmly rooted in the genre world" for her house. Can't win nowadays.