The last couple of weeks (including the recently passed holiday weekend) have completely thrown me off my rhythm—to say nothing of the way the interwebs positively exploded in the wake of the Isla Vista murders. Sometimes, given the heated and impulsive and cheaply reductive nature of the online discourse surrounding these kinds of events, discretion is the better part of valor, and as much as you find yourself wanting to chime in and add your two cents’ worth (literally, I’d say) right away to the click-baiting chaos, this time maybe it was best just to sit back and let all the overly interested factions vent their spleen about how the event was clearly and very specifically: all about men, all about guns, all about videogames, all about Hollywood, all about being a child of privilege, all about being a child of divorce, all about denying one’s secret gay urges…the circus is noisy. And predictable.
This is Bring Your Own Movie Blog, though, so you’d obviously be more than welcome to contribute to the question of whether or not Judd Apatow and Seth Rogen bear any serious degree of responsibility for that maniac’s killing spree, or whether the now-deceased killer’s remarked-upon similarity to Christian Bale’s Patrick Bateman character in American Psycho legitimately represents an indictment of that film, or the filmmakers, or the Bret Easton Ellis book from which it came—rather than representing the fundamental inability of some critical wags to correctly “read” that work as a prediction of, and a reflection of, and a savagely critical satire of just his strain of overly entitled, misogynist sickness…not an endorsement of it. Oh well, I guess I just waded in a little too deeply, didn’t I?
Independent filmmaker Anna Biller has a seriously brilliant blog article (published back in January, long before this topic became trendy again) that offers an extensive and educated look at how the “male gaze” informs “mad slasher” movies’ perspectives on women and the degree to which certain films might mistakenly be regarded as “feminist.” Read it here; just be aware that before you get to the fascinating passage about Ann Sothern and her “Maisie” character, there is a bloody still from Herschell Gordon Lewis’ Blood Feast right at the outset, and one photograph included towards the end of the post that is absolutely NSFW.
OK, that’s enough of profiling a tragedy already brought too far into the film world; I’m using the rest of my space here in BYOMB to offer my updated movie lover’s “profile.” I’m drinking coffee rather than scotch as I write, so I’ll maybe change up some of the expected categories of interest.
Home: Philadelphia and thereabouts, PA
Age: I was born the year Night of the Living Dead and 2001: A Space Odyssey came out. You do the math.
Profession: Writing, and producing video.
Hobbies: Maybe someday.
Last Movie Watched at Home: Sorcerer
(No, that is not the “reveal” of the title that won the poll at Help Me Build My Home Video Collection. That’s yet to come. Go vote if you haven’t! But, just as a side note, Friedkin’s Sorcerer is fantastic. It’s one of those dirty, sweaty, desperate men attempting the dangerously impossible movies. And, for as much as it may have initially tanked because people saw the title “Sorcerer” and expected something along the lines of The Exorcist? I will say this: Even before the hallucinogenic climax, throughout the film there lurks a kind of macabre charge, a kind of truly uncanny vibe that fate and chance are playing a nasty game with each other. There is also something, I’m not sure exactly what, to that first sequence of a truck making its unsteady way across a shaky rope-bridge that truly unsettles. Some kind of eerie feeling that went beyond the nail-biting suspense. I got a little creeped out during that scene without exactly knowing why. It could be the soundtrack; I wouldn’t be surprised if Friedkin had his people plant some strange demon noises or ghost wails or godknowswhat deep in the mix of the howling wind and torrential rain FX.)
Last Movie Bought: Bright Star (see my review of it here)
Last Movie Seen in the Movie Theater: X-Men: Days of Future Past (*and The Dance of Reality)
My bite-size review of what seems to be the bazillionth movie starring Marvel Comics’ mutants—far more fresh, engaging, and full of genuine heart than I’d expected it to be—will be to riff on the irony concerning what Kirk said of Spock at the end of The Wrath of Khan, which is to say:
Of the effects-laden blockbusters I have encountered in my travels this year, this one has the most humanity.
*LATE-BREAKING UPDATE: In between the time I put this piece to bed and the time of publication, I was lucky enough to see 85-year-old, Chilean-born cult movie icon Alejandro Jodorowsky’s new film (his first in 23 years!), the semi-autobiographical The Dance of Reality. This movie is an act of pure creative joy, and should be seen as a gauntlet that has been thrown down to moviemakers everywhere to cultivate more audacity and imagination in their work. Jodorowsky explodes the screen with one unexpected image/moment/symbol after another, and the sheer poetry of it all is staggering.
Unafraid of venturing into the deepest deep, Jodorowsky’s bold dream of a film in which he ruminates on life, death, innocence, and suffering through memories of his difficult childhood and his relationship with his parents is also revelatory in a spiritual way—and tenderly makes its case for the experience of the divine in ways that utterly expose small-minded and viciously reactionary tripe like God’s Not Dead.
The Dance of Reality is making its way across the country. Go here to see if it’s coming near you, and if it appears in a movie theater nearby: See it. If you are fortunate enough to have the opportunity, you should not wait for it to appear on video or TV to see it for the first time. Instead, experience the movie in its proper scale, so that it can swallow you up in the company of others who will be as smoked by it as you will be.
I made this to embody my reaction to the big-deal announcement of the title now attached to the next Superman movie: Batman v Superman: Dawn of Justice. That subtitle just struck me as funny, and as something The Tick would definitely say.
This forum is now yours! Take to the comments below to further the conversation on any of the above, and/or tell us what you’ve watched, bought, thought about, argued about, loved, loathed, or just wanted to discuss here out in the open when it comes to the magnificent world of the movies.