Friday, 24 August 2012


 First Part: Why I’m obsessed with things ‘working’

Second Part: I love HIGH FIDELITY. No one is surprised.

Third Part: Judge you by your stuff.

One of the things I like babbling about the most is what makes a film WORK or NOT WORK. I realize that many may balk at such reductive claims, but at the end of the day a film exists to perform certain functions that are born out of its creation: To entertain, sadden, enrage and so on and so forth. If goals (conscious or subconscious) are set out to be reached in the final product then I can judge the film based on its ability to meet those goals. This is not an iron clad system, because quite a bit of comes down to the creator’s intent, or lack therefore, so a lot of my musings are made up of trying to puzzle out exactly what was going down in their mind when they made it (Not enough support, not enough money, not enough time, they just really love bunnies) and trying to figure out if they succeeded. It may be blasphemy to equate WORKS OF ART under such seemingly restrictive terms, but this is one person’s opinion (THAT’S ME!), and I can only speak from my personal world perspective. At the same time something WORKING and NOT WORKING can fall under about a million different sub-categories so it’s not as limiting as you think. I have films that I wholeheartedly love, some I respect but don’t like, some I’m fascinated with but can’t recommend, and others that I LOVE LOVE LOVE, but for all the wrong reasons. Criticism for film is often boiled down to the question of IS IT GOOD OR NOT!? and I’d say that word ‘Good’ is even more restricting then ‘Yes, it works for what it sets out to do.’ You may find something bad, but feel that it works in it intent, and at the end of the day, that’s one of the things that makes film discussion interesting for me.

Top 3 Zombie movies – Without counting any of the EVIL DEAD FILMS which really aren’t ‘zombies’ at all but should be classified under the category of demonic procession/monsters.

  1. DAWN OF THE DEAD (1978) - Often cited as my favorite film EVER
  2. DEAD ALIVE/ BRAIN DEAD (If you want to show off) – No one has ever done splatter comedy as successful (or in such a mass quantity)
  3. THE BEYOND – Barely a Zombie film, but this always sneaks on to people’s list and you’ll be hard pressed to find a more hypnotic collection of horror set pieces with that Italian Exploitation shine that just can’t be recreated.

Last night my girlfriend put on HIGH FIDELITY before bed, so I sat down and watched a film that I whole heartedly love from top to bottom. John Cusak is charming in it, Director Stephen Frears translates the book with ease into cinematic form without losing any of its playfulness, and Jack Black gives one of his most rock solid character performances. It’s the kind of movie that almost everyone that loves music/movies/statues can relate too, so it’s easy fodder for someone like me to talk about.

For all its pop-culture savvy and cinematic stylistic tricks, one the most interesting part of HIGH FIDELITY is that it makes no bones about making its main character a self-absorbed nitwit with zero interest in anyone but himself…so it’s exactly like me/you/that person that’s sitting beside you on the bus! The trick of having someone that’s a terrible person be the centre of attention in a film is to get the audience to sympathize with their plight by getting an actor with an affable screen presence – and there’s no more suited to that role then the rumpled charm of John Cusak. As I talked about in the last article I wrote about GROSSE POINT BLANK Cusak works because the audience brings its own baggage to the table in their perception of him. Sure, he’s flawed, but he’s kind of a FUN GUY, he’s self-aware, and he’s actively looking to figure out where his spot in life is. It would have been easy to make him more ‘likable’ or ‘friendly’, but by sticking him in a mindset that allows him to react realistically dour to the situations we can more easily say “Hey! That’s what I would have done too.

At one point John Cusak/Nick Hornby/The Projection of Every Self Centered Pop Culture Obsessed Person Ever say something along the lines of “I know it’s shallow, but you have to judge people by the stuff they own” It’s interesting to reach your mid-twenties, because that’s a period in people’s lives where the STUFF THEY LIKE and the STUFF THEY HATE have pretty much solidified. Sure, new elements and obsessions can be discovered, but there are a certain number of walls that rise up to narrow interests into what you TRULY love.  In my personal experience, if someone loves movies, then they will continue to love movies (unless someone mentally stamps it out), and if it’s been nothing but a mere trifling distraction for the first twenty some years of someone’s life, and then it will continue to be something they put on in the background to drown out the dullness of life. People CAN still fall in love with new things, but these new things will often fall into broad categories of things they already do love.  You can have things fall into your field of vision, but you rarely go out and hunt them down.

Which begs the classic question (which I really haven’t built up to at all, but SO WHAT!?) - Can you date someone that doesn’t like the same things as you? Some would respond with a resound NO, but I don’t think it can be summed up that easily. Music,as well as film, reflect your personality in certain specific aspects. The classic episodes of THE SIMPSONS trades on a very specific brand of comedy that I feel defines about 85% of what I do and say, so it’s hard to imagine dating someone that does not respect it as a comedy milestone (and I have). I believe that the person you are dating needs to RESPECT the things that you enjoy. They don’t have to love them, or even particularly enjoy them, but they need to open to your passion for them. This openness can translate into a number of ways: Listening to you rant about it without rolling their eyes, going to events with you related to the things, or dressing up as a character and participating in lewd sexual acts. (Oh. Maybe not that last one.) This openness and respect is the most important part of all when you are OBSESSED with something that doesn’t particular interest the other person. If an accord, one that isn’t born out of forced bitterness, can be reached, then a relationship can blossom if personalities are compatible.

Enough of that! Let’s talk about MONKEYS next time! Hilarious Monkeys who run their own complex steam train based economy. THEY LOVE BANANAS AND DELIVERING THE MAIL ON TIME!

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