Saw "I Heart Huckabees" and "The Life Aquatic." This is what happens when you try your hand at screenwriting after smoking too much pot or maybe taking ecstasy. Not that I didn’t like the movies, but there’s a kind of ultra-dry humor that can only be understood by someone who’s high, or someone who’s overly convinced of his own genius.
Both movies take all the most ridiculous parts of earlier movies and multiply them by a thousand. Wes Anderson’s "The Royal Tannenbaums" actually pissed me off quite a bit, up there with the new "Star Wars" movies. It’s unreality was an irritant, it seemed smug. How do you touch on any kind of truth when everything is more than slightly false? The soundtrack felt like Wes Anderson was showing off his music collection. It felt like a mix tape rather than adding anything meaningful. And I don’t think it’s all that funny for one of the characters to always be listening to The Clash.
I liked "The Life Aquatic" more once I realized that it was supposed to have no relation to reality whatsoever. It’s a little too obsessed with being unique and creative and original. It’s absurd but strangely rigid at the same time.
Interesting that "I Heart Huckabees" should come out at the same time because it has the same problems. I had always thought that David Russell might be an acid-head. The parents at the end of "Flirting with Disaster" turn out to be LSD dealers, and the freneticness of the movie seemed to be written under some kind of influence. I’ve known people who smoke pot and write screenplays and they tend not to make any sense. Huckabees makes enough sense. "I Heart Huckabees" takes all the extremes of "Flirting with Disaster" and multiplies them--a lot like "The Life Aquatic." I liked Huckabees more, mainly because it watched like an absurdist Celestine Prophecy.
Also saw "The Incredibles." Anyone who says this is neo-fascist and Ayn Rand-inspired needs to lighten up. I think that line of criticism might have been the last gasp of the election. People just wanted something to attack. It’s a superhero movie, a fantasy. I think Harry Potter might be more dangerous. In the first movie, he’s already famous for doing nothing. He’s also a superhero, but he’s worshipped in a different way than any Marvel Comics hero.
Even though all of these movies are highly talented and well made, there’s something sort of restrained about them, mechanical. I’ve always thought that music was getting less interesting because people were taking more ecstasy than LSD. Granted, I haven’t taken either in quite a while, but I’ve still got opinions. Ecstasy is a superficial drug, very uncerebral, unlike acid. It’s more about the skin than the mind. I look at a band like Radiohead which sees their version of "Sgt. Pepper" progress as becoming more machine-like, more computerized. I think Radiohead are amazing but for some reason I don’t listen to them very often. Something about his voice--like he’s cooler than his audience. I come back to "The Bends" and "Kid A." All these artists may be taking the wrong drugs, or using the right drugs wrong. To me, sixties psychedelia and the reality of seventies movies are more human and moving.
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