Archive for December, 2011

Deep End

December 10, 2011

Disclaimer: there are SPOILERS here, so don’t be a fool.

 

 

1. Motherfucker

This is The Deep End.  Mike is a 15 year old that gets a job at a bath house and gets trained by a sexy 22 year old named Susan.  For some reason Wikipedia has it written that she’s 10, which blew my mind until I found a more credible plot summary.  She’s a fully formed early adult; 10 years old would be patently untrue.

Anyway, Mike’s parents stop by and they’re both totally normal.  Susan doesn’t like Mike’s mom because Mike’s mom is present and alive, in contrast to Susan’s mom who is neither.  (I don’t think dad is ever mentioned, but I’ll leave that omission to my dawgs on Psychoanalysis Blvd)

There are causal connections or correlation writer/director Jerzy Skolimowski makes, consciously or no (I would not believe him if he said “no”) out of these motherly circumstances.  Turns out Mike is the Blessed Virgin Prude and Susan is actually the Whore Of Babylon.

2. Maker’s Mark

I know nothing about writer/director Jerzy Skolimowski.  But I’m going to assume that the author of his Wikipedia page (perhaps him, perhaps his publicist, perhaps some English-speaking Polski) isn’t misinformed to claim that Jerzy saw some atrocities of World War II.  That he was rescued from a bombed out building.  Or that his father was executed by Nazis.  Or that his mother harbored Jews in the safety of her home, and that he was there for the whole thing.

His father died and his mother survived, and from the descriptions of her actions, she sounds highly virtuous (hell, they both do, but dad’s gone, so mom’s the word).  Given these things, which I assume based on gullibility to be true, I would think it abnormal for Jerzy not to have a deep connection with mother.  Mother would have had a lot of influence in his life as the one parent, being the singular life-giving force guiding him in any way she could.  And therein probably existed a lot of pressure.

 

 

3. Bachmann-Palin Overdrive

Mike slowly comes to find just how “loose” Susan is.  Loose, of course, relative to the mores of A Good Society With Good Values, or: articulated relevantly – The Society That Raised Mike, or: stretching it well beyond the realistic boundaries of my knowledge – The Mother That Raised Jerzy.  Eh, I can’t go there, I don’t know anything about it.  But anyway, about Susan and her promiscuity: Mike still loves her, her still he loves, lo despite all these sexy revelations that make him so sick to his stomach, he loves her still.

And so his attraction becomes two-pronged:  he wants to possess her, and he wants to be her.  Maybe more accurately, he wants to possess her so that he can be her.   He wants to know what it’s like to live the life she does by inserting himself into it, in a way that’s just as much physical as emotional.

4. Some Would Rather Feel Nothing

The film is forwarded by emotion, many of the actions being symbolic for the emotion of the Yearn.  Because of this, an action’s consequence is occasionally slight and occasionally severe, even though the boot doesn’t always fit the foot that demands it.

For example: Mike sexually harasses Susan in a porno theatre with her “fiance” heel sitting right next to her transfixed by a number of tits that aren’t his lovers.  One might assume that this would end badly.  Probably would in real life.  But it actually ends quite well, because it’s not a literal thing.

The real consequences are on the emotional realm – this groping action forwards the plot by upping the ante.  Mike wants that sweet thing more now, having licked Bark of Tree of Knowledge.  As in any young relationship, once a certain base is reached, the steps to reach the next base are ever bolder.  (…I guess I can only speak for men on that.)

Skipping to the final example: the emotional jizz bucket you can’t mop up once you’ve kicked it over.  Somebody has to die in consequence for the “indiscretion” of having sex.  In a way both of them actually do.  Jerzy — I mean Mike cries out for his mother.  He’s betrayed her; all that virtue for nothing.  All that pressure to do the right thing, and his humanity cracks him, and he doesn’t mean to swing a large, potentially-lethal object at Susan, but he sort of does mean to, and he does do it, and now I assume he pays his sin of sexing: serving hard time in a clink.  Oh, and he’s probably going to burn in Hell.

4. Nice Guys Finish – Not Last – But rather… oh no, not yet…! ngh! i’m sorry! oh.. oh god… shhh, it’s ok… happens to all guys

But that’s another story.  This one is about the Yearn, or, if you hold your breath while driving through tunnels like I do, the emotion of the Wish.  It’s the build-up to whatever you want to view the next stage as, whether it’s the clink, or Manhood, or the ability to run for President.  It’s just that teenage wish.  It’s a masturbation fantasy, and I would say that it’s one of the best representations of one in a medium that’s nauseatingly full of them.  It’s honest, shamelessly depicting a shame that’s prevalent in The Good Society Built On Family Values – whose biggest proponents are people I find to be of the most disgusting, hypocritical, vomitous kind, and who will never disappear.

Would I include among that filth a woman who saved Jews from Nazis, whose husband was murdered, who raised her son the best she could?  How could I?  I don’t know her.  So no.  All I can reckon about her is in some bold acts of virtue.  And often the strain of The Good Society does add some kind of a strain to acting virtuously, i.e. that it is inhuman or not in human nature; that it requires going well out of the way or against desire.  I don’t believe it does in actuality, but I mean: sometimes it’s hard to act virtuously when you believe, even / especially if it’s subconsciously, that the pinnacle of virtue revolves around plain and simple intercourse with someone you’re attracted to.  To say nothing of marriage, chastity, abstinence, sexual orientation, sleeping with a “whore,” and all that great stuff.

I don’t know much.  Maybe a good portion of Deep End really happened to Jerzy Skolimowski.  I don’t believe he killed anyone because his Wikipedia doesn’t mention it, but I’d buy it wholesale that he spent all night outside of a “brothel” blowing zloty on sausage with mustard just because he was “in love” with a “hooker” who was being “warm” inside.  I’m sure plenty of Jerzy’s superb masturbation fantasies aren’t about a man yearning for “sluts,” but rather about the “sluts” themselves.

 

Some Thanksgiving Moods

December 3, 2011

Now I Have A Voice Too! (Melancholia con’t)

December 3, 2011

1. And Note The Irony:

It could be misconstrued that I hated Melancholia based on titling a post “Hot Air Of Melancholia.”  That Melancholia movie was just a bunch of hot air!  I’m speaking to the high ideals of objective art analysis and criticism!  Except the content of the post was just a bunch of hot air, coincidentally making it identical to the review it’s poking.  (P.S. I liked Melancholia very much)

 

 

Disclaimer: Spoilers of all kinds, for those who care like I do.

The review of the previous post (don’t click that link) and its author David Edelstein confuse me.  Granted, this is a common affliction in my day-to-day thing, but seriously.  It’s an article that LITERALLY  gives away entire movie.   It describes the events of the plot, beginning, middle, and end, with some attempt to describe the emotion.. or some extra-ostensible qualia that non-sociopath types can deduce.

Are reviews meant to a) give the entire movie?  Aren’t they commonly read by movie patrons before seeing the movie?  b) be more than just a quick exposition on the events of the movie?  Perhaps this review is more than that.  Let’s find out.

HEADLINE

FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS”

I already went into this last time, except what I didn’t touch on much (having not read the article) is that wealth barely comes up in the body of the piece.  Why is this the title?  Clearly, a cheeky, superior New York Dude poking fun at morose Lars Von Trier, who we assume is a frothing egotist, misanthrope, suicidal Nazi (probably all true, though I didn’t research if Lars is “suicidal” and he’s only a “Nazi” by his own admission).  That amazing reason aside, is this the title of the review for a real reason?  Hey, comedy above all else (where good writing, journalistic accountability, and the like fall under “all else”).

SUBHEAD

Lars Von Trier’s Melancholia is madly overblown — and, despite itself, better for it.

I agree, on a linguistic level, i.e. most movies that are “overblown” are better for it.  No one would give a fucking shit about Transformers if it wasn’t overblown.  But we the audience aren’t necessarily better for it.  This same sort of logic can and does apply to other bullshit critic keywords like “Artsy,” “Over-The-Top,” etc.  But what does David Edelstein mean when he says it about Melancholia?  Boy, I can’t wait to find out.

A PHOTO OF THE TWO LEADS, WITH THE SUBTITLE:

Kirsten Dunst and Charlotte Gainsbourg in Melancholia.”

This is the most correct, inarguable, uncontroversial part of the article.  But it’s just reminded me…  Titles and subtitles are sometimes not by the author of the article itself, but rather some other person, who usually happens to be a fucking idiot (maybe they’ll hire me), and who only knows if it’s supposed to be positive or negative (or whatever).  And they often can’t even get that right.  This might account for how “First World Problems” has nothing to do with the article.

Very noteworthy: there is also another review attached: for J. Edgar.  I’m not going to bother with that, except to say that if David Edelstein thinks that repressed homosexuality, political corruption, and the abuse of power are “First World Problems,” then I hope anyone that ever taught him ANYTHING gets socked right in the face before this day is over.  Err– I mean, whoever wrote the headline.  Ah, hell, that idiot didn’t know what J. Edgar was about!  Everyone’s off the hook for the headline!

PARAGRAPH 1

Only an egomaniac like Lars von Trier could turn the notion of a planet on a collision course with Earth into a metaphor for his own depression, and only a mad genius could make it sing.  Melancholia, which is also the name of the party-crashing planet, is a lyrical ode to the end of the world—a world Von Trier plainly loathes, in which family can’t protect you, marriage is a sham, and capitalism poisons all. The vision is as hateful as it is hate-filled, but the fusion of form and content is so perfect that it borders on the sublime.”

Starting out the review with an insult, Dave wastes little time getting to the heart of his–  Ohh, wait he’s a mad genius, a flawed luminescence.  Von Trier is like the sun with a retarded child holding a nugget of shit up to it – the brightest light known to earth, but blotted partially by immature night soil.  Why did I say it was “unresearched” that Lars is “suicidal”??  David Edelstein is telling me he is right here!  Lars is hateful, hate-filled, but he makes his movie perfect and sublime because of it.  Sounds pretty fucking good to me; and I’m not really that much of a sad wreck in my day-to-day thing.  “Capitalism poisons all” = one reference back to the article’s headline.  Somewhere further on: “Keifer is rich!” or something.  Count two total references.

PARAGRAPH 2

The film is two large acts and a stunning, slow-motion prologue scored to Wagner’s Tristan und Isolde, before Von Trier repeats the same bars so often they wear out their welcome. Birds drop, one after another, from the sky. A bride (Kirsten Dunst) emerges from a forest trailing leaves and vines. A mother (Charlotte Gainsbourg) runs with–” blah blah explain what we see on screen inanely end paragraph with: “How can Von Trier follow that?  

Aside from the music that is apparently so tiresome (for David; I can’t say I agree), what he describes sounds great.  But hey, David, listen.  The beginning is amazing.  I wouldn’t describe the whole thing, because the element of surprise will probably bolster the opening’s inherent quality– oh, what?   What’s that you say?

PARAGRAPH 3

With a wedding. The film’s first section, a flashback, is called ‘Justine’ after its bride (Dunst), a palpably depressed ad copywriter engaged to a palpably uninteresting but handsome man (Alexander Skarsgård). They’re getting hitched on a lavish country estate courtesy of John (Kiefer Sutherland), the wealthy husband of” BLAH BLAH BLAH.  Something about almost every ostensible event of the first act.  “Justine explodes her world before our eyes—as a prelude to the world itself exploding.

What a deep analysis, David!  I’m pretty sure in the approx. 220 word paragraph, the only thing that isn’t a rote description of events is: “For a while, Melancholia plays like one of those nightmares in which time stretches maddeningly out and nothing is ever consummated, the vibe not just bad but rank.”  That’s an opinion… I think.  I don’t agree with it, because I’m a contrarian, and I’m rich.  I hope Dave never sees Come And See.  “Third World Problems!  During The Korean War!  In 1871!  Right?!”

PARAGRAPH 4

The second section, ‘Claire,’ has much less drama, being a long wait for the end in which John stares into a telescope and insists that Melancholia will pass by Earth, Claire becomes increasingly agitated, and Justine feels her heart beginning to lighten. It’s as if the sisters were trading pla

Very good, interrupt the exposition with a well-crafted simile.  I’ll just paraphrase his continued simile.  Those who long for death welcome it, those who cling to life fear death.  Wait a minute!  That isn’t an original simile at all, that’s basically still a description of the movie!  Though he does nicely compare Charlotte Gainsbourg to a dog: ” Gainsbourg, having been broken in by Von Trier on Antichrist…”  I guess the apt term if you’ve seen Antichrist would be “bitch.”

Despite her caninity, Edelstein praises Charlotte’s performance, I think – he mostly just describes it sort of neutrally as being effective.  He says Sutherland is the best actor in it, but doesn’t.. really.. explain why.. without just briefly summing up how his character is.. and including a spoiler.  I disagree with this too, Dunst is better.  Sutherland’s good, works his part well, but Dunst has a more complex part to play and she fills each complexity with words, expressions, movements, and all that good stuff.  Hey look at me!

PARAGRAPH 5

In which David Edelstein moves along in the events to the end of the movie, and which I won’t bother copying here.  He doesn’t quite say “the world ends and everyone dies” in that strictly technical way, but he does say it in just about every other way.  “It’s a cruel but strangely comforting climax.”  Oh!  So you do agree with Lars Von Trier?  Who has the so-called “First World Problem” now, my dear Edelstein?

PARAGRAPH 6…

…Which I’ll break up a little, then wrap this up.

Cackle, I guess. People did at my screening…”  Sounds like you were in a room full of assholes.  I’m glad I wasn’t there with you.  From your cheeky headline, and starting out calling Von Trier an egotist, surely you guffawed along with your mouth-breathing fellow-gawkers.

Believe me, I wanted to join in. But Von Trier’s vision is too fully realized to laugh off. Having moved with Antichrist out of his kindergarten-Brecht formalist stage, he’s back to rough textures and open frames, but with a new control.”

Wait, you learned Brecht in Kindergarten, but you think that political corruption only happens in the First World?  Or did you mean Lars learned Brecht in Kindergarten?  Ohh, you’re calling Lars stupid again.  No, wait, Brecht isn’t stupid, and neither are Kindergartners that know about him!

“Melancholia is a raw psychodrama … unnerving drone … angst giving birth to the ultimate cosmic correlative …  a great, awful movie … a nihilist masterwork.”  Okay, so I now know what happens beginning to end.  But did you like it or not?  Its great and awful?  What the fuck.

2. Judge MY Voice For Yourself

It’s just my opinion, man.

 

 

I’m just giving my man Dave over here a hard time.  I don’t really know him, anything else he’s done, what he looks like, where he lives, who he loves, other things he does in the world, what he knows (hopefully more than this piece of shit he wrote lets on), and all that.  He’s not the culprit, at least not any more than I am.  I’m sure I’ve tried to tear him down, but I haven’t come close because I can’t.  He’s a mystery to me, so I can only make superficial comments based on what I have that I don’t like (it could also be done in a neutral or positive manner, couldn’t it, David?).

I’ve got a chip on my shoulder.  When Antichrist came out, Aaron Mesh reviewed it in the Willamette Week and put gory details right in the headline.  And I think in the subhead.  And the first few paragraphs.  And most of the rest of it.  In other cases, he’s actually more useful and skilled with his thoughtfulness, his analyses, and his criticisms than a lot of other critics – especially David Edelstein, say I, based on this one review.  But he did there what David Edelstein does here, and worse, and that makes him a piece of shit.

What would compel someone to not only write out the whole plot, key points and all, not only into the body of the article, but right into the headline?  Clearly, some serious issues with the product they’re reviewing.  Aaron Mesh was trying to divide people between those who like and dislike the gory details of Antichrist by making a billboard of them.  I mean, those details were all over the internet, but you actually have to seek them out.  I sought out Willamette Week, but so does everyone – it’s like the most-read newspaper in Portland – and I guarantee that precisely no one is hoping to open it up and have something fucking ruined for them.  He didn’t like it and wanted to make it as difficult as possible for other people to like it, like a fucking infant.

Aaron Mesh was trying to say “if ya like it then here it is; if ya don’t then steer clear.”  Hey, that’s the job of a critic, isn’t it?  I guess.  But giving a film a thumbs down, and deterring a film’s audience with spoilers (…or even encouraging with spoilers for that matter), are two very different things.  The first one, if you can articulate your point well, and give an intelligent, thoughtful analysis of what the movie is makes you good.  The second one, which I’ll just say is always an asinine, assholish, self-importing exposition of what happens in a movie makes you bad.  It makes you bad at your job, and since you’re negatively impacting other real people’s lives, it makes you a bad person.

I am hurt and offended at the stupidity of stupid people stupidly spoiling movies in their stupid, spoiler-filled movie reviews.

Now that’s a “First World Problem.”

Hot Air Of Melancholia

December 2, 2011

Disclaimer 1: I’m an expert on nothing.

Disclaimer 2: This entry may contain spoilers.

Disclaimer 3: The review linked definitely contains spoilers.*

 

 

I’ve read no reviews, heard little about the plot, I never watched a trailer.  I only saw, on a computer screen a few days ago, for only a moment, a review for Melancholia.  And I read the headline, which was “FIRST WORLD PROBLEMS.”  I finally saw Melancholia on December 1st.  I’m assuming the body of that particular review was negative, referencing the affluent characters and the fact that the whole movie is set on a villa + 18-hole golf course.*

The stupid motherfucker that wrote it has clearly never seen a film about poor people who are depressed.  Or middle class people who are depressed.  Or denizens of the global south of any class who are depressed.  How about you name some and we’ll see!  No, I’m too bloody wealthy to even talk to you.  But if they really don’t exist, then I’ll be damned and I’ll at least write up a treatment for one.  (I just learned how!)

One of the themes of Melancholia (the most prominent one, perhaps) is feelings.  Everybody on Earth has them.  I guess some people are bad when they find themselves in the grip of emotion.  Mental illness is also hinted as being a theme, God forbid you find yourself thinking of writing up a film about a crazy rich person.

In the narrative of Melancholia, women seem to have more feelings than men.  Most of the men are morons, or angry, or posture strength, and would apparently rather die than show weakness, sadness, or despair.  Gender-typing can be bad.  It can be scary when authorities use it, and they do, sometimes with purpose.  It’s often employed, consciously or no, by morons for morons.  I’m of course talking about Hollywood screenwriters, producers, and directors for Category A, and whoever monetarily assisted Transformers in earning two sequels for Category B.

The use of it here wasn’t terribly moronic.  It wasn’t moronic at all.  I say this because Lars Von Trier isn’t a moron.  This is an unabashedly biased, unresearched, 98%-subjective claim of my own conviction that isn’t open for discussion.

The point is that the theme of wealth and feelings / mental illness / DEPRESSION! aren’t really linked.  The movie could have worked in some slum or junkyard in India, with some children struggling for life.  There would surely be differences, but (what I took to be) the primary themes of Melancholia could still have been conveyed.

 

Aha! Err-- no, wait, right... those morons you mentioned... touche.

 

*I’ve just now read the review in question, and it isn’t terribly negative, nor is it terribly positive, nor is it terribly in-between, and matters of class and affluence are hardly brought up at all in it.  I’ll just let my ill-informed fragment of a post be.  And I will rail on empty hot air reviews next.  Stay tune.