Friday, May 11, 2012


Brandon's leaving for the weekend, so things are going to be even slower than they have been around here, I suppose. Are the blogs on the way out my friends? I hope not. They are better record keepers for our ideas and conversations than Facebook. Perhaps we just need some new movies to come out so we actually have something to talk about. Old movie talk can only go so far as high-fiving or minor quibbling, and the compulsory viewing picks seem to be losing steam with every new film that is chosen. Are we due for a huge, fractious AVENGERS debate? Maybe. I was interested in seeing it until it came out. Once it dawns on me that I actually have to pay for something, I start to lose all passion for it. That movie doesn't need any more money anyway. But if everyone else around here goes and sees it then I probably will. Capitalistic peer pressure.

I'll probably never see DAMSELS IN DISTRESS. Sorry. The "Johntrarian" in me wants to rebel against all the hype. :)

I wish I had something interesting to add to your horror theory, Jason, but I don't. I like a good horror movie, slasher or any other type. Horror intrigues me. It gets my blood pumping, and I like the anticipation it builds. I was watching THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME from 1932 last night, and for some reason was cutting back-and-forth to HOSTEL PART II because it was on IFC and I never saw it. They both have similar premises, but I obviously preferred the older film. THE MOST DANGEROUS GAME at least has Joel McCrea, while HOSTEL PART II is just fucking stupid. It can't escape its own boneheaded adherence to formula. Even when it's trying to be shocking, it's tired at best. This has nothing to do with the horror theory talk; it was just on my mind. haha.

I never got a chance to get back to you, Brandon, about some of the 1962 things you wrote. Here's some belated responses and a great Faulkner anecdote I have that everyone should read even if they don't care about the rest of this 60s talk:

I absolutely do remember Jesse calling Faulkner the "c" word. haha. In fact, by most accounts, he often was. The best Faulkner story I ever heard was relayed to me by a professor who taught a class on the man. I'll try my best to do it justice:

One night at the Faulkner residence, Faulkner's daughter has some girlfriends over late. His daughter and her friends are chatting in the living room area near the kitchen when Faulkner comes down from the upstairs, completely drunk and completely butt-naked. So, Faulkner starts rummaging in the kitchen, in full view of the girls, until his daughter approaches him to express her embarrassment and ask him to leave. And Faulkner, drunk and naked, looks right at her and says, "No one remembers Shakespeare's daughter."

I think you are right in adding a moral substance to Kubrick's LOLITA. It does do a great job of putting you in the position of Humbert's desires (the book does this even better, which makes it an uncomfortable read). But, it by no means valorizes or champions Humbert's perversions and manipulations. Lolita is degraded by him, but he also degrades himself in the process and is left a broken and despicable wretch. I don't think anyone could come away from LOLITA and think it would be great to have a nymphet obsession (well, I guess except for the people who already have them). It's a repulsive and ill-fated obsession from the beginning.

I was paraphrasing what Bergman said about Tarkovsky, which is maybe why it isn't as clear. It is a nice-sounding sentiment, but what I think he meant was that Tarkovsky had a way of inhabiting a dreamspace like no other. I think IVAN'S CHILDHOOD was the film he was referring to in saying that Tarkovsky really knows how to depict dreams, and I think he's right. Tarkovsky captures dreams the way David Lynch captures nightmares (yep, John I just invoked my boy David Lynch in the same sentence as your boy Tarkovsky).

YOJIMBO and SANJURO are sequels indeed.

You're quite right about TO KILL A MOCKINGBIRD then. I haven't seen it since HS, so I'm not sure how I feel about it now. I liked it back then.

Quick '38 responses:

Wait, just to clear up my confusion, what is this in response to: "As for the misunderstood stride comment I have to watch more early 30s films to either agree or disagree with you" What did I say? haha. I really like what you wrote after that, but I'm trying to figure out what I said that sparked it.

I'm no expert on "Poetic Realism." I don't understand it 100% fully either. My impression of it is that it brings together a gritty or more realistic portrayal of working-class life (or just life on the outskirts of society, à la literary realism) and an unabashedly cinematic or sensationalist portrayal of romance and doom. Basically, its name implies what it tries to meld together; the naturalism of realistic depiction and the poetry of contrived depiction. PORT OF SHADOWS fits this perfectly as it looks and unfolds very cinematically, but it also tries to illuminate sea-side life on the lower-rung of the social ladder. Is that even remotely clear? haha How can I write "Poetic Realism for Dummies" when I am a dummy myself?


Anyway, the last thing I want to mention is how much I love GAME OF THRONES. It's my favorite thing on TV. I'd choose to watch it any night over anything else, and that includes my previous favorite MAD MEN. There is something astonishing about the spell this show casts. It's merciless and methodical, and it doesn't waste a single second dillydallying. It's almost purely plot, but it hits emotional and dramatic heights so effectively that it almost continuously leaves you stunned. It might be a little too good. haha.


  1. I'll probably never see DAMSELS IN DISTRESS. Sorry. The "Johntrarian" in me wants to rebel against all the hype.

    I stopped reading your post after that paragraph.

    1. haha. You didn't miss anything.