Attempt #1 to watch High and Low:  Long day at work, followed by returning to campus for Ben Yagoda‘s lecture about the “truthiness” of memoirs.  Yagoda lambastes what he terms “schtick lit,” which he traces to Julie Powell’s Julie and Julia.  These memoirs feature an author who document his attempts a certain feat for himself (for example, live according to the Bible for a year, become an environmental douchebag) over a certain time frame.  I squirm uncomfortably and later steal a wedge of brie from the reception afterward.  At home, I pop the movie into the player, get 15 minutes in, and decide to close my eyes — for a little while, I tell myself.  I wake just in time to stop a missile of drool from hitting the couch and officially go to bed.  Matthew is shocked that I come to bed before midnight.

Attempt #2:  Wake up in the afternoon, then lunch at Costco.  Hey — even Julia Child liked their hot dogs.  Pay my phone bill, walk around Christiana Mall.  Later, dinner at a friend’s house to celebrate Matthew’s tenure and promotion.  Matthew has a glass of brandy (not cognac, my friend insists, since it didn’t come from the cognac region), and I take a sip off of his.  We watch the season finale of Spartacus: Blood and Sand, and, after hearing so much hype about it, I’m disappointed there aren’t more penises.  Get home, too tired to concentrate on Akira Kurosawa.  So instead, I watch Carved: The Slit-Mouthed Woman.  My cat head-butts my mouth.

Attempt #3:  A warm day that turns cold.  I stop into by a store for Independent Record Store Day and pick up my limited edition 4AD 12″.  I’m unable to secure, however, a copy of the Mountain Goats DVD, so I console myself by going to the Video Americain closing sale in Newark, where I pick up 4 Krzysztof Kieslowski films for myself and 4 Merchant-Ivory films for Matthew.  Then off to a pizza party with Matthew’s colleagues.  After two slices of pizza and a large piece of Carvel’s ice cream cake, I feel soporific, but still go to a beer-tasting, at which I taste no beer.  We arrive back home at 8 p.m., and I promptly and uncharacteristically go straight to sleep.

Attempt #4:  High and Low!  Its viewing remains somewhat in doubt throughout the day:  an afternoon in Philadelphia, a dinner of hand-drawn noodles in Chinatown.  At home, Matthew wants to watch Hullabaloo Over Georgie and Bonnie’s Pictures, and knowing his love of Merchant-Ivory, we do.  But I still have energy for a film about child kidnapping, heroin overdoses, seedy Yokohama alleys, and bars that cater to shore-leave sailors and dope smugglers.

If nothing else, High and Low introduces what I now call the “Mifune” test:  a pair of shoes must be “comfortable, durable, yet stylish.”  And if they don’t pass muster, Toshiro will tear them apart in with his bare hands.  The Japanese — they have that quality control thing down to a science.