Monday, November 09, 2009
I learned two things the hard way this Halloween: Parent's didn't appreciate my "naked french guy" costume, and dressing up as a dog does not give you licence to pee on the lawn and bark at your neighbors. Hey! It's blogging by numbers time!!!!
1 - Remember the day you discovered that underneath Robert Penn Warren's breathtaking prose and beautiful writing lies...well, nothing? Today was that day for me. I flipped through my cherished 1st edition hard cover of World Enough and Time (a treasured gift from my wife), and realized that Warren was very much like the big Hollywood directors of today.
Think of Pan's Labyrinth or There Will Be Blood. Fantastic movies - hypnotic, really. They are masterpieces of cinematography and soundtrack, but beneath the shiny surface layers they have very little to say, and fail miserably when they try. In Pan's Labyrinth, Guillermo Del Toro uses neo-realism and existentialist trickery to weave a convoluted tale about Franco's Spain and father-son relationships. It may seem oh so very clever to the hordes of pseudo-intellectuals who buy into such nonsense, but it's audio/visual wizardry that really wins the day - and that is no small feat. It is nearly impossible to tear your eyes and ears away from the astonishing beauty of his camera work, or the sheer perfection of Javier Navarrete's score.
I guess it's the price we pay for living in the age of fancy doodads and whatchamacallits. We can all take comfort in the fact that, every so often, a movie like The Royal Tannenbaums, The Aura, or In Bruges comes along to remind us that there are still a few directors out there who are true masters of their craft. Well, almost - The Aura's young director Fabian Bielinsky died after making only two movies.
2 - Message to the Cohen Brothers - You've lost it. There used to be two types of Cohen Brother movies: Simple morality tales (Fargo), or flashy show pieces with snappy dialogue (The Hudsucker Proxy). Now there is only one type of Cohen Brother movie - overrated nihilism with a few good lines (No Country for Old Men). Take a break guys. It was annoying enough when you started to make movies whose only goal was to showcase your rapidly declining cleverness. Now you're just boring. Go for an ego check and come see us in 2 years.
3 - Spraying cheap vanilla-scented air freshener in the washroom after you've taken a crap makes everything smell like you took a dump in a gingerbread house.
4 - What's on deck? I just finished a piece, which will be the last in a series of articles dealing with this weird sort of cross-pollination I'm seeing that's blurring the lines between reality and cyberspace, a direct result of social networking sites, message boards and texting. It should be up in less than a week.
5 - My wife is more than a decade younger than I am. We actually met during a filming of "To Catch a Predator" - just kidding. She once recounted that when she was in high school, her English assignments sometimes consisted of dissecting songs from the 1960's. One such assignment was to write an essay about the meaning of Simon and Garfunkel's The Sound of Silence. Here's a warning to any current or aspiring teachers: Claire and I have decided that when we have children, if one of our spawn ever comes home with an assignment that involves writing an essay about anti-war nonsense by useless counter-culture icons (or even rock stars from this decade), I swear by the beard of Zeus I will become your worst nightmare. There is not a principal or superintendent who will not burst into tears from an incessant campaign to prevent you from infecting our children with your mindless drivel. Keats, Shelley, Burns, and Chaucer were put on this earth for a reason. Consider yourself warned.
Posted by Joe Leger at 6:30 PM