Wednesday, November 25, 2009

We got a big opening day here with three high expectation movies hitting the big screen at the same time: Werner Herzog's The Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Wes Anderson's Fantastic Mr. Fox and John Hillcoat's take on Cormac McCarthy's The Road. Pretty amazing. I can't remember a more ancipated opening day tbh. Speaking of Mr. McCarthy, here is an excellent conversation with the man, courtesy of the Wall Street Journal. Like myself he's not a big fan of interviews but loves good converation. Two quotes which help to illuminate the brilliance of this guy's creative soul:

CM: ...I have a great sympathy for the spiritual view of life, and I think that it's meaningful. But am I a spiritual person? I would like to be. Not that I am thinking about some afterlife that I want to go to, but just in terms of being a better person. I have friends at the Institute. They're just really bright guys who do really difficult work solving difficult problems, who say, "It's really more important to be good than it is to be smart." And I agree it is more important to be good than it is to be smart. That is all I can offer you.

CM: I'm not interested in writing short stories. Anything that doesn't take years of your life and drive you to suicide hardly seems worth doing.

I also want to mention A Serious Man, one of the most profound and truly oddball cultural opuses to ever emanate from The Coen brothers's creative wellspring. Finally they skewer themselves and their own unique origins, and in the process reveal a work that is at once ridiculously Jewish, overtly American and undeniably Universal in what it says about any group that has ever tried its best simply to be itself in a strange land - in this case suburban Minnesota. It's basically a gut-busting old testament freakout, and even Jefferson Airplane is a character! Rock.

This season's Curb Your Enthusiasm/Seinfeld Reunion show was among the most brilliant, hilarious, laugh out loud inducing home viewing experiences I've ever enjoyed. So many great quotes; so many wonderful surprises. Lines I'll keep with me always: "E for effort! F for favor! C for Coffee!"... "You couldn't get to him. It was a Ponzi scheme!"... "Do you respect wood?" ...and of course, "George is very upset!" Oy vey. Love it.

Off to see The Road now. Happy Thanksgiving to those who observe it!


P.Somniferum said...

I went to see A Serious Man with a friend of mine from the UK and we both quite enjoyed it. He asked me what I thought the significance of the dybbuk tale at the beginning of the movie was, and the only parallel I could come up with is that the dybbuk was perceived as both alive and dead--much like the protagonist of the main narrative. The Coens are incredibly gifted at evoking empathy in their characters, and the way I read Larry Gopnik was as a sort of dybbuk himself: he got no respect from any of the peripheral characters. His was a very existential tale.

The other film I saw this week which struck me on many levels was Antichrist, which I'm sure I'll find myself at odds with a lot of people. Let me know if you've seen it.

I'll probably go see The Road this week. The book was, as most McCarthy books, incredible--and a little different from most of his work. The trailer looks like it's going to be good. We'll see.

Lee said...

Great observation about the dybbuk, Kelly. Gopnik is both alive and dead.


Even at the end his very mortality is at steak. Get's the call to go see his Doc, cuts to a literal storm in the horizon, cuts to black. It's heavy stuff for a comedy. Rivals Synecdoche, NY in terms existential monotony and a sense of inevitable doom exacerbated by a feeling of no end in sight.

P.Somniferum said...

The Coens do it again! Are there any better American filmmakers? If there are, I can't think of any. Even their lighter material smokes many of their competition. The only other person I can think of off the top of my head is Spike and that has a lot to do with his working with Charlie and other quality writers. Cheers to the Coens!

Lee said...

I can think of a few rivals...better? Probably not.

P.Somniferum said...

Yeah, I'm a big fan of the superlative and over-arching commentary. There are other great American filmmakers. I just can't think of any of who have put together as strong a string of films over the years as have they.

I'd also have to qualify that statement by saying filmmakers from 1980-forward. I believe Blood Simple was from '81, but I'm not certain.

Lee said...

Oh MR. P. Blood Simple was '85.

Lee said...

One of my favorite younger (though he's probably over 40 now) American filmmakers is Todd Field. Last I heard he was working on Blood Meridian. I'm excited by this because all of his previous films (all two of them) have NOTHING to do with the old West or violent catharsis or cowboys n' indians. They're great movies though.

P.Somniferum said...

(Chews imaginary shit in mouth) yeaer, (chews), ererermmmmmm '85, eh, okay, (chews) sheeit, I'm gettin old. I done thought it was '85.

Field. Hm. I won't cheat. I dunno if I've ever seen anything such since such a narm.