Monday, May 23, 2005
Some More Of The Blah Blah Blah

Gosh, it's been a while since I posted last, eh? The simple fact of the matter is, I've gotten spoiled by broadband. After two months of high-speed college-sponsored internet access, this pokey little dial-up connection is almost painful, and much of my net-based activites are being neglected in favor of, like, y'know actual human interaction. And stuff.

I'm getting tense being back here; it didn't take long for the Bush-heads to get to me. Everywhere I go I see those fucking "W" stickers and they piss me off. Assholes in their SUVs with their fucking ribbon magnets -- but do they send their kids to sign up for the military, or go enlist themselves? Fuck no; let somebody else do the bleeding and dying. They've got their "support the troops" magnet, isn't that sacrifice enough? Isn't nominal support and maybe the intimidation of a few queers and liberals sufficient service to their nation? Jeez, are they expected to actually back their shit up or something? Dubya has yet to send Jenna and Not-Jenna away to donate a couple of limbs to the war, so why should they send their sons and daughters? And hell, they can afford the $100 fill-ups, so what the fuck do they care how many people die? Leave that for the farm kids and immigrants, that's what the lower classes are for.

I hate Bush republicans. I really do. I said to someone yesterday, I'm sure the half dozen Bushies in our little hippie paradise up north feel much the way I do down here, but then my companion helpfully pointed out that they should feel that way, they deserve every bit of social discomfort they get. We can hope in time their support becomes a great deal more uncomfortable. If there were any justice, it would be the pro-Bush people who'd feel afraid of voicing their allegiances, not me.

Anyway... I've seen two movies in the last two days, so I thought I'd mention 'em. Everybody else has.

Star Wars Episode III: Revenge of the Sith: Lucas is a marketing genius; this film is a coup. It was a bold strategy -- make the first two of the three films so rancid that the audience's expectations fall through the floor, and the third is guaranteed to seem magnificent by comparison -- but hell if it didn't work. I'm being a bit harsh (it's the residual bitterness from the last two), as the film's actually pretty decent... in fact, I'd go so far as to say it's the second-best of the six; The Empire Strikes Back will always be #1. Darth Vader's always been the most compelling character in the series, so it's good to have a film devoted entirely to him; I'm not quite sure that I buy Anakin's transformation into James Earl Jones, but I guess he was sufficiently mangled towards the end to make the case that there wasn't much left of ol' Ani by the time the helmet went on. Hayden Christensen was terrible, but I think in a good way... given that Mark Hamill was equally as terrible, the parent-child link between the characters actually feels pretty solid. I'm always a little disappointed to see Ewan MacGregor in a film where he doesn't whip it out -- his genitalia flapping in the breeze is his whole shtick, how can they just leave it out? -- but I think he does a pretty convincing impersonation of Alec Guinness.

And George Lucas remains the all-time worst writer of dialogue in the history of cinema. His dialogue was so bad he even rendered Samuel L. Jackson helpless in the face of its soul-sucking badness. Lucas' dialogue is so bad you could "Who's Afraid of Virginia Wolfe?" in the same room with it, and George and Martha's wittiness would actually be drained away by lines like:

Anakin: "You're so beautiful."
Padme: "It's only because I'm so in love."
Anakin: "No, it's because I'm so in love with you."

Barf barf barf.

And yeah, I know, Lucas claims that since he wrote this story during the Nixon administration, it can't possibly be about Bush -- nudge, wink. We all know what's what, though, don't we? And I say this as someone who uniformly discounts the idea that popular films make direct statements on specific political events... but there were some moments in this film that were just too blatant not to be assumed to be references to (ahem) our current state of affairs. But that's cool; it's good to know that, as dreadful a writer as Lucas is, he's our dreadful writer.

It's surely the most deserving Star Wars film in decades, and actually does a pretty good job of returning to the feel of the first trilogy. I wouldn't say that it completely makes up for the pair of dog's breakfasts that were the previous two films, but it's nice that he ended the whole thing on a high note.

Palindromes: Good ol' Todd Solondz, he's so misunderstood. People hate his films -- and not just the "sensitive," but the too-earnest as well -- but only because they can't understand that we're only hurt by the things we love, and that sometimes our only recourse is to laugh off the pain. This isn't Solondz' easiest film, and it's not easily pinned down -- I don't think it actually has much to do with its most obvious potential subject, and instead has much more to do with provoking the audience to consider its collective assumptions and attitudes. Like all of his work, the understanding only comes with time and consideration, and ideally in discussion with other people. Solondz films are like cinematic Rorschach blots; you can tell a lot about what other people think (and what you think yourself) by what they see in them. They're some of the most deeply layered films in American cinema, always encouraging you to make new connections, see new patterns, strange little references shared between films, echoes of previous characters and situations. I'd even venture to suggest that taken as a body of work, Solondz' films are almost Joycean in scope; there's a lot more going on here than you'd ever notice at first glance. Definitely worth seeing, provided you're willing to play along.
11:07 PM ::
Amy :: permalink