You’re On An Airplane: A Self-Mythologizing Memoir
Blue Rider Press
In the 1990s Parker Posey started appearing in movies; quirky films, funny films. She was savage or sexy or cheeky or some combination of those things – she was weird and wonderful, a little odd and a lot of wonderful. She was a different character every time and her commitment to character was remarkable. She was the cool girl, the mean girl, the funny girl, the shy girl. She was all things to all people too – an actor that always transcended the role. The films piling up behind her as she walked on through so many projects.
She was arthouse but she’d turn up in some big budget smash or some god-awful dreck. It just didn’t matter – because it was work and she did the work.
Then to TV and guest appearances, cameos in movies and lead roles but never quite the leading lady because she was never that ideal.
In her memoir which is pitched and, er, posed as a conversation on an airplane – as if you happened to be sitting next to her by accident on a plane and just got to chatting – Parker Posey takes you through her life and career. She’s every bit as quirky and interesting as the characters she’s played. Whilst also being nothing quite like any of them.
Conversations start and then wander off – the thread is picked up again by Posey several pages later. She shares recipes and pet stories. She reminisces about favourite films to work on, talks about tough shoots and strange failures; opens up about insecurities and disappointments; considers her loses, counts the blessings.
And if you’re nostalgic for the Parker Posey films of the mid-90 and into the early-00s, well, guess what? So is she!
The discussion of Christopher Guest movies should be enough to get anyone interested in reading this. The charming mix of gauzy memories and giddy fandom – she’s as into these films as her readers, she’s as on board with these roles, co-stars and directors as the people that watch the movies. It’s refreshing. And real.
And instead of having her HashTagMeToo moment – and there’ll be plenty that won’t agree with this I’m sure – she chooses to discuss her time spent on set with both Woody Allen and Louis CK. She doesn’t apologise for them, nor for working with them. She’s not here to criticise, point fingers, speculate or make jokes. She mentions them because she had genuine experiences working with these people. She assesses her time with two auteurs, two influential comedians. It’s her story. And she knows it. It’s not yours, not mine, not anyone else’s – so her version is correct. For her. And it’s refreshing in this day and age that someone is prepared to simply tell their version of events without concern around it being an endorsement or condemnation.
Well, even if you don’t agree with that take there’s plenty here to recommend about the book – including Parker’s sheer work-rate almost guaranteeing she’s done something you’ve seen and loved.
And she writes candidly, with humour and with the same oddball-timing, genuine quirk and mix of anxiety and stability that has informed her finest acting work.
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