Monday, October 03, 2005

I need to update this site

I'm currently bogged down with an increasingly frustrating and hopeless job search (though I haven't regretted quitting the old one) and writing essays for a grad school application, but I do want to pick up a little slack on this site and do some more things with it. I don't think I'll go back to writing about every movie I watch, mostly because I watch too many goddamn movies and some are a lot better than others, but, for the time-starved present and near-future, I'll keep it simple. Every week, I'll mention the movies I watched during the week that meant something to me, that I would watch again, that do more than just pleasantly pass the time. Maybe some weeks I'll have nothing. This week was a particularly good one. I have five. Three on the big screen, two on video.
I got to see Au Hasard Balthazar (Robert Bresson) again, this time on the big screen. What a great experience. It's nice to forget about what a fucking mess I've made of the part of my life that makes a living and spend a couple hours seeing a great piece of art the way it was intended. It was a beautiful, sparklingly clear 35mm print, and no one in the audience showed up late, talked during the screening, or forgot to turn their cell phones off. Thanks, thoughtful citizens. (I blame our current, and, unfortunately, probably permanent, cell phone culture for the frightening increase in loudmouthery during live concerts and movies. Shut the fuck up, everybody. You're boring. It can wait. Why did you buy a ticket to this event? Etc. Too much talking and not enough listening. The world's an amazing place when you close your mouth and look at it. I'm not a Luddite. I thank the gods every day for the Internet, file-sharing, computers, cruise control, etc. I just hate cell phones, and I wish they had never been invented. A phone doesn't belong outdoors. I will always believe this. Even if I'm caught in a bear trap with nowhere else to turn. {I'm caught in a bear trap, and I can't walk out, because I love you too much, baby.} Hopefully, everyone gets brain cancer in twenty years. That'll make them shut up.)
A History of Violence (David Cronenberg). This is such a deceptively simple film. I don't even want to talk about this movie, because the reactions it caused in me are such personal ones that I want to keep them to myself. You should have plenty of your own if you watch it with the openness it demands. How does this film do so many contradictory things at once? I need to see this again, in a year or two. Then again, a few years after that.
Yi Yi (Edward Yang). Three hours and not a second is wasted, stretched, padded, labored. A lot of morons have convinced a lot of casual moviegoers that foreign films are pretentious, boring, and high-falutin' just because they're subtitled. A lot of morons on the other side of the spectrum pretend to love foreign films (and world music CDs) as a kind of high-culture affectation, a fetishization of novelty objects and a robotic display of politically correct, multi-culturalist attitudes currently fashionable among people who manage to convince a lot of other people (including their own real selves) that they're smart without having to go through all the bother of independent thought. The casual moviegoers are victims of our country's culturally isolationist entertainment distribution systems and their own ignorance. This can be overcome. The high-culture nitwits are dangerous, however, because they have good intentions. They truly believe they're enlightened, open-minded, artistically savvy, and non-racist. However, all their multicultural horseshit reduces individuals to boring group types. Instead of being a book by James Baldwin-individual, artist, and damn good writer, it's a book by James Baldwin-African American homosexual. Instead of being a book by Henry James-individual, artist, and damn good writer, it's a book by Henry James-dead, white male of European ancestry. Art is bypassed, and worse, ignored, by this affected group-lump of multiculturalism. If any of these people approached the art on its own terms--its style, form, and content-- instead of the important but not all-encompassing sociologic makeup of its creator, maybe something new would happen in their brains each day instead of wasteful atrophy. Whoah, I'm getting way off-topic here. I don't think I've even read anything about "Yi Yi" that takes that approach. I just get tired of all the good films getting wasted on pretentious douchebags, all the ceremony and reverence and self-congratulation and silly symbolic interpretation involved with the "art film" crowd, when real art films should belong to open, intelligent, living, humorous, non-affected people. Art is not a dirty word. It doesn't need to be delivered on a silver tray. It doesn't need to be respected. You can treat it rough, slap the shit out of it, laugh at and with it, live with it, put it in a headlock, give it a handjob. It likes that. Art is alive, comes from life. It's not good if it doesn't. It's not going to church. It's not an intellectual dinner party conversation starter. It's about human beings trying to connect with each other. Drop the self-important bullshit and let it connect. I just wanted to say "Yi Yi" is a great movie. To me, anyway. Maybe not to you, whoever the hell it is I'm writing to. Maybe it won't connect with you. Maybe you have valid reasons for that. I just hope you get a chance to see it. I hate how the guys with the money decided that most Americans are only worthy of shit like "Deuce Bigalow: European Gigolo" without taking the time to ask any of us. Jesus, this paragraph was incoherent.

Oh yeah, I also got a lot out of Ratcatcher (Lynne Ramsay) and Nanook of the North (Robert Flaherty).


kristykay said...

We did see some really good movies this week -- I keep thinking about History of Violence and Yi Yi and Ratcatcher especially. Of course we also watched Fright Night and Space Cowboys, so we did have some fun but not deeply affective or artistic guys in there too. But vampires! and astronauts!

I'm going to go give Art a hand job now...

Krouchdog said...

I saw History of Violence on Friday and it knocked the bottom of my ass out. I think the movie actually ruined my entire Friday night. I say that in a good way because I was like a zombie for the rest of the evening with that movie bouncing around my brain.
Mary and I saw it at the huge, ugly Lincoln Grand Theater and I felt that the majority of the audience enjoyed the movie as an exciting action/thriller/revenge movie and that is what is so great about Cronenberg. He's so good at tricking the audience into watching something really thought provoking.

p.s. Have you seen the movie "Oldboy"?

Krouchdog said...

I forgot to mention that I thought it was really ironic that they had a preview for Tony Scott's new movie "Domino" before "A History of Violence". You see a skinny, blonde, super-model type killing a room full of tough-guys with dual machine guns and wearing designer sunglasses and a four-hundred dollar haircut, and then you see "A History of Violence" and you think that the actual experience of killing a bunch of dudes probably isn't that sexy.

Mr. Krauter said...

Yeah, they showed a preview of Domino before the showing we saw, too. If you could just watch Christopher Walken's scenes, it might be okay. Somebody needs to compile a DVD of Christopher Walken scenes from otherwise shitty movies that he has a small part in.

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