07 February 2015

Filler post just to keep in practice

I have nothing to say here, but I’m writing anyway, because I fear that if we Humans of the Internet remain silent when there’s nothing worthwhile to impart, then our cascade of trifles might give way to thoughtful tranquility, which, in turn, might lead to healthy social revolutions. So here is an image of a map:

Let me now remind myself what I’ve been working on lately, so that I can know what task has stolen all my free time and caused me to neglect this online paradise. I’ve been trying to staple together the entirety of my previous postings from the social networks – my goal is to edit them into a big stupid book. I’m attracted by the absurdity of this enterprise. And I call this enterprise absurd because it seems to me that almost nobody reads big stupid books—at least not big stupid books by living authors. And by big and stupid I guess I mean frankly strange.

But if you are a detective who’s been hired to trail me today, I’ll help you out. Here’s my schedule:

I’ll spend the next 30 minutes writing this non-monetized blog post. Then I’ll work on some boring tasks during the afternoon, because the contractors pay me in bacon. So if you’re planning on slaying me, this afternoon would be the ideal time to do so, because I dislike the work that I’ll be doing. Yes, as long as it releases me from the obligation of performing my labors, a good slaying would be much appreciated.

I’ll reveal my plans for the rest of this day after I share an image of four buttons that I found on my drum machine.

(My day, cont.)

QUESTION: In the event that I remain unslain, where shall I go after noontide?
ANSWER: You can follow me at a discreet distance to my mom’s house, where I have promised to help her calculate her taxes.

My mother would love to pay the government whatever amount it wants; but, in order to find out what that amount actually is, a number of complex forms must be filled out properly. That’s the problem – and that is also why she summoned my presence: to help finalize tax forms. And what do I know about tax forms? Nothing at all. So I guess I’m just there for moral support.

I wish that the government would simply tell my mother how much tax money they need from her this year, instead of requiring her to navigate legal documents. Just name a figure: she’ll pay it! You wouldn’t even have to send armed guards to her doorstep to demand the loot – a simple monochrome photograph of a detective wearing a trench coat with a fedora would serve fine for a collector, because my mom wants to pay; she’s only fazed by the tax code.

Now I’ll share a picture of an icon that I found on the tag of a scarf, and then I’ll name a couple movies that I recently watched.

The rest of this entry I’ll fill with simple reminiscences about the movies that I screened over the last few nights; so, if you hate movies, tune out... NOW!!!

My natural taste is for poetic and personal films, but sometimes I like to turn my attention to the popular movies: the blockbusters of the past and present. So, out of the blue, I decided to watch the 1975 movie Jaws. This was my first time seeing it. I liked it: I thought it was pretty good – it was a nice change of pace from the text that I had been editing during the day. But if I ever get the urge to watch something like this again, I’ll just re-watch the 1971 movie Duel. I think Duel is at once similar and better.

Also, regarding Jaws, I think that the character Quint (the professional shark hunter) should have been played by Sterling Hayden. I mean, Robert Shaw is fine in the role; but, for me, Hayden would’ve made the movie irresistible instead of just passable.

Surprised that I could tolerate and even enjoy a popular Spielberg picture, I decided to press my luck and try another. So, after Jaws, I checked out Minority Report (2002). Let me say something about this movie. I hated this movie. I hated it with my whole heart. Although I don’t doubt that equally abhorrent movies exist, I can’t recall any other film that has annoyed me so thoroughly – it’s as if every detail was designed to get my goat. However, let me say something in praise of a few of its actors: I love Tom Cruise in Magnolia (1999); I love Max von Sydow in Through a Glass Darkly (1961); and I love Samantha Morton in Synecdoche, New York (2008).

At this point, I need to break up the text with an image whose file on my computer is named “shiny paper detail color”:

Next, I watched a film called The Comedy, which was directed by Rick Alverson and released in 2012. This is the first movie I’ve seen by Alverson, and it really makes me want to see his other work. Tim Heidecker plays a character named Swanson. The film fascinated me – I saw it as a challenge or some sort of wake-up call (instead of call, maybe I should have said: wake-up affront). Provocation, as long as it’s genuine, is more important to me than common entertainment.

The film contains at least a few moments that are directly unpleasant: I assume that it was the director’s intention to make these moments difficult for viewers to endure, but I’m glad that I stuck with it: I watched it through to the end and was captivated. I liked most of the film so much—especially the ending—that my puzzlement over any disturbing material seemed trivial compared to my admiration of the film overall. I like its enigma. And I really love Heidecker’s acting: he’s brilliant and fearless and really intriguing to watch.

You are reading a long and thrilling blog post that holds many surprises. And it’s not over yet: I still have one more movie to tell about. Before I do that, however, I wanted to share a picture of a jungle animal that is cute, fuzzy, and preferably an infant. But I couldn’t find anything like that; so, instead, I’m sharing this image of a magazine fragment taped to a calendar photo:

At last, for the sake of variety, I wanted to check out a film that would be extremely different in tone from that last-mentioned film; and since I have lately become addicted to John Huston movies (I mean those that were directed by him), I decided to watch the 1982 musical Annie. I remember seeing this movie on television when I was a tiny little boy – at that time, I found it repugnant; so I assumed that it’d be almost impossible for me to abide re-watching it, but I wanted to try. Now, since my official opinion on this matter is beyond important, I’ll explain it to you in detail below.

I’m glad that I revisited Annie, and I don’t care if anyone ridicules me for admitting that I loved the film. This time around, I thought it was dandy. But I think that a couple aspects of my personal experience increased my enjoyment: First, like I said, presently I’m deep in the zone of appreciating Huston’s direction; I’ve been watching and re-watching the titles from his filmography, and I’m fascinated at the daring decisions that he makes – I mean, the projects that he tackles are unpredictable and often extreme. This pleases me. Because of their differences, people wonder how the same poet could have written both The Iliad and The Odyssey. Likewise, I wonder how the same individual could have directed both The Maltese Falcon and Annie.

So the first thing that helped me love this manic production is that I’m infatuated with the lifework of its director. And since I had previously seen the film and felt disgust for it, I knew exactly the elements that I needed to overlook in order to appreciate it more. I don’t want to list the things that I hated, however, because I think that negative criticism is mostly a waste of time; my point is not to complain but to express my newfound admiration. I found it easy to look past the parts in this film that previously annoyed me, and, once I did this, I was greatly rewarded. If you try singing some of the movie’s songs aloud to your boss, in fact, they practically force you to feel like a happy ham.

Admittedly I also cannot ever get enough of scenes in movies that depict (in stylized fashion) unkind adults yelling at innocent children – I loved watching Carol Burnett as Miss Agatha Hannigan scolding the orphans, as much as I love watching Mark Burnham as Officer Duke berating various youths (in the 2013 film Wrong Cops). But I want to add that, in order for me to embrace this kind of action, the style and mood of the scene must be slightly unreal: The format of Annie—I mean its musical genre—distances me from the actual cruelty of the action; and the surreal atmosphere of psychological farce does something similar in the movie Wrong Cops. Examples of scenes depicting the mistreatment of children that do NOT delight me but genuinely TERRIFY me are those from the recent movie Boyhood (2014) – I mean the ones with the drunken husbands. Those scenes are masterfully achieved, and I think it’s good that we be made aware of such ugliness, if only to eliminate its recurrence; but I identify with the children, rather than with the adults, in those realistic instances.

In closing, here’s one last image whose file on my computer I saved under the name “Remote A”:

P.S.

Another director whose filmography amuses me because it seems as erratic as John Huston’s is Robert Altman’s. It is by sheer coincidence that the night after I watched Huston’s Annie, I happened to watch Altman’s Popeye (1980). I had no idea that the geneses of these films were, in some way, related. But I’m tired of writing, and I’ve run out of time; so if you care about that latter title, here is a link to an article that does a good job of praising that much-maligned film.

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