(1.) My friend Rick, when I was at the Univ. of Chicago (college), being Irish and from Boston, (Catholic too!) and thus having an appreciation for these sorts of things — as well as an early-’90s adolescent male’s “dark” sense of humor” — used to, for some reason (that I found gratifying), tell me: “Tell me again … the story about the kids’ parties,” like it was a bedtime story, or something:
“My relatives, see, all got married and had kids, and they didn’t get to go out much. We had a large family — uncles and uncles and cousins and second cousins — so, any occasion for a party, like a kid’s 8th birthday party, would be occasion to break out the keg, and for the adults to drink. Thing was, though, these people still had unresolved grudges and other sorts of immature nonsense, so, as the day dragged on, ’round about sunset or so, it happened that a couple-three times, fistfights broke out: tables overturned, bloody noses, kids crying, ‘Get inside, get inside the house … ‘”
It was — as the main songwriter of Silkworm
once said in an interview about reading that Elvis Costello had caused trouble in his personal life just to drum up some subject matter — “irretrievably lame.” (Funny how it’s not about shame, or decorum, or anything you could call/ascribe to something like that … it’s just, nakedly: “What the fuck is WRONG with you people?”)
reminded me of that. Obviously.
(2.) Okay, so I went to see Noah … at first, I didn’t know what it was, but then I heard it was an Arronofsky film, so, I’m like, “THAT decision’s made!” Sorry to say, IMHO, his reputation did a 60 to 0 (mph-wise) plummet with this one pic.: “breathtaking,” but in the opposite sense … where to begin? The whole thing’s so monotonous, it stands not just as an allegory for the leadenness of Christian thinking, but the EXPERIENCE of being in the wake/servitude of these dolts (“But … we HAVE to!”). The imagery is all cobbled from Jackon’s Tolkein adaptations, Malick’s “Tree of Life,” and, horror of horrors (and absolutley shamelessly — what, did he not know better?) the very worst of Christian “inspirational” calendars — at times, you feel like you’re looking into a Hallmark™ card store. Save your money — and miss the part where Noah abandons his teenage son’s girlfriend to death, caught in a bear-trap and about to be stomped by thronging minions: one of the most unpleasant moments in Contemporary Cinema I’ve seen.
Grade: F- (for finding a “new way of Failing, by insisting you don’t have to even try!”)
For revisionist Christian mythology, I’d rather watch this:
MEMO TO: DARREN ARONOFSKY
Sorry! I didn’t get this to you in time.
“Decoding this ancient message wedge by cuneiform wedge, Dr. Finke
l discovered where the Babylonians believed the ark came to rest and developed a new explanation of how the old story ultimately found its way into the Bible.”
When Sterling said (in Tomorrow Now
) that there were “known knowns, known unknowns, and unknown unknowns—things we don’t know we don’t know,” I had no idea he was “riffing” on a piece of dipshit. (“Dipshits” produce “dipshit”; “Bullshitters” produce “bullshit”!) Turns out — as we learn from this film — there’s such a thing as “20/20 Resignation”: a cousin/sibling to the better-known “20/20 Hindsight,” this is when you resign yourself to whatever happened, no matter what. (i.e., “It’s over, so … It’s how it had to be! Could’ve been different, I guess … but, it wasn’t!” etc.) Donald Rumsfield practices this “art” (LOL!) so seamlessly in this production by Errol Morris, some people, oddly, are won over; escaping them, apparently, is the sort of creepiness that should, gradually, dawn on one about the party’s blitheness in the face of staggering consequence. (i.e., “Nice fiddlin’, Nero!”) Making the film very NOT boring, however — much more than just a rant or by-evidence slag of a reviled/controversial Public Figure — is the backstory to Rumsfeld’s, um, “career”: more administrations (plenty!) than you’d think this guy’d been involved with. (Hmm…) ¶
“I’m an obsessive person!” the self-effacing Morris exclaims, off-screen, to Rumsfeld, who contains his own manner is, uh, “nuanced”: one of the more “perfect” examples of mental steamrolling these types can participate in perpetuating (i.e., you can do it “externally” if you’re not already doing it “internally,” right? Fuck YER history, America!) ¶
Course, Morris has (recently) described himself (Carefully) as “contributing to the broadening of the possibilities of documentary film,” even though his credits include setting free an innocent man from prison[*], and getting Werner Herzog to eat his own shoe[**]. Go figure! Takes all kinds.