Wednesday, July 25, 2012

I Just Read A Clockwork Orange

And, oh my brothers, what a real horrorshow book. All about how like the starry old vecks in govt are real cally types.

Also, Your Humble Narrator visited the Spanoakres. There the sun did burn as thou wouldst not believe. My pletchoes and litso and rot are all red and throbbing wump wump wump like as if I'd taken a lot of tolchocks all over.

But that's quite enough of that, my droogs.


What a week, what a week.

Nothing particular to report save an anxious knot in my gut and an insatiable appetite for media of nearly every ilk.

Also, very much looking forward to watching Rushmore for the first time on Sunday.

Friday, July 20, 2012

I Have No Class

I am drafting a Marxist critique of The Dark Knight Rises,
and I just played the most crazy game of "Do, Marry, Kill."

Friday, July 13, 2012

On this spot, I will fight no more forever

Hello friends.

I went and saw Moonrise Kingdom again last night. When I first saw it, circumstances were wonderful, and I thoroughly enjoyed it -- more for the moment it created than the movie itself.

So I went and saw it last night to really watch it as a movie. And I enjoyed it more than I did the first time.

[This is a post where I will extoll Wes Anderson in general, in addition to Moonrise Kingdom.]

Something that Anderson is really good at is making theme match depiction. All of his movies are rated R (with the exception of The Fantastic Mr. Fox and Moonrise) because they are movies for adults. In all cases, if I'm not mistaken, the films received the R rating solely for language. But it goes far beyond that. Anderson's films -- while full to the brim with artifice and surreality -- are about disillusionment. The people in Wes Anderson films are dysfunctional. The are depressive, narcissistic, oblivious, discontent, disturbed. And they are always trying to figure out how family and relationships can mean anything at all when they are composed of people who can't make sense of themselves. It's like Kurt Vonnegut says in Slaughterhouse 5: we fail because everything we do, everything we create, is something done or created by a pillar of salt. It has to fail. But that's why we love them; because they are so human.

Anyway. Back to theme/depiction synchronicity. Wes Anderson makes movies that deal with the failures of humanity; the things that don't work. And they're all rated R because they're dealing with things that real human adults deal with: divorce, depression, love, and miscommunication. The Fantastic Mr. Fox is so interesting because it steps outside of that. There are certainly issues being addressed, but they are children's issues from a children's book portrayed in a children's medium. A troubled marriage is hinted at [Mr. and Mrs. Fox, I mean], but it is not the focus. The focus is on being . . . "different." It's about fitting in. Or loving how you stand out. It's a kid story, and a kid portrayal. You know?

So now we come to Moonrise Kingdom. It has gotten a lot of grief for its awkwardness, for its insecurity, for making an effort to be quirky for the sake of being quirky, and for its fakeness [for lack of a better term]. And while there are some fair points [okay Edward Norton's neckerchief, okay], I think that people are failing to give Anderson credit where credit is due. Allow me a comparison: Moonrise is not an adult novel; it is a piece of YA fiction. It's a story about adolescents caught between childhood and adulthood, and that's where the film itself is, too. It's awkward because adolescents are awkward. It's insecure for the same reason. It's really quirky because A of all, that's Anderson's style, and B of all because teenagers are exaggerated and affected. And it looks fake because, like the YA novels that Suzy brings along, there are elements of the surreal in these kinds of stories. Sure, they're losing their childlike magic; you can tell that the fire in the tent is fake, or that the lightening scene is stretching. But you can't really let it go quite yet. This is still a film about disillusionment, but in a different sort of way.

I was once told that I should look into writing YA fiction. I was insulted and taken aback. YA has always felt cheap - something that was trying and not quite making it. But that is completely wrong headed. C. S. Lewis had it right: there's very rarely a bad text; more often than not it's a bad reading. And I am guilty of reading really poorly sometimes. YA is a genre that really does have a lot to offer. It has lots of really solid "coming of age" stories, and it [sometimes] allows for more questioning and exploratory narratives because the social stigmas of adulthood don't press down so hard.

So, what I'm trying to say, is that once I stopped worrying about the piece being perfect, and instead focused on what the pillar of salt writing was trying to tell the pillar of salt reading [or watching], things got a lot better. Moonrise Kingdom is a beautiful work of art because it isn't perfect. It's good because it's dealing with a really delicate [and so so imperfect] point in life. There's deep adult stuff going on in the periphery. None of the adults really know how to have a healthy relationship. But they're not stupid caricatures. They're real people who don't know how to fix their own problems, let alone the problems of their children. And the kids themselves are starting to become aware of that. It's sort of a sad revelation, in a way: to realize that things don't get easier, that you can see the falsity of fairytales even though you still want to believe.

We need more works that explain that period of transition, because it makes adult faith [in anything, be it God or love or humanity] so much more meaningful.So rather than seeing Scout Master Ward or Captain Sharp as ultimate authorities and protectors, we see them for the sad and imperfect men they are - people clinging to roles that they cannot ever really fulfill. But we love them anyway, the same way we love Sam and Suzy for their innocence and the loss thereof. We love them because they are earnest and flawed. Because they are trying. Oh how they are trying.

I sometimes have difficulty in accepting the childlike. I get wrapped up in the disillusionment - write off the "magic" as immaturity. And I've lost a lot of good things because of it - things that could have been really wonderful and transcendent. But I'm appreciating more and more that there's a difference between childlike and childish. The childlike is something worthy of emulation, of acceptance. And while I can't go back and amend my disdain for the romanticism of the past [oh that nostalgia could bear me that practical fruit!], I can certainly try harder to not miss opportunities in the future.

So, when I was a child, I spake as a child, I understood as a child, I thought as a child. Now that I am grown, I am choosing to believe what I once knew so simply.