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Random thoughts on a hump day

What dreams may come
Last night, I had a dream that I was visiting the United Kingdom for some kind of event (I'm not really quite sure what), and while I was there, I met latexiron and kjersti. Why them? I have no idea. I don't know either one of them.

I sometimes dream about people on LiveJournal I've never met, in contexts like maurading dragons or purple gumballs. I wonder if it's because a forum such as LiveJournal can create the illusion that you know someone, or that you share something with someone, when the reality is nothing of the sort.

Clearly, those parts of our brains which are responsible for our social drives, the parts that create a sense of familiarity and connection with other people has not evolved rapidly enough to keep up with changes in communication.

Movies
Underworld
Eye candy. No doubt about it.

This movie owes its stylistic sense to The Matrix and Dark City. Every frame is gorgeous, and no doubt about it, vampires have the best wardrobes. It's hard to complain about a hot chick in a rubber bodysuit and a corset.

Still, it's nothing but fluff. The plot is muddled, the dialog rarely rises above so-so, the characters are all about style but are hardly believable. It's the Goth answer to action-adventure flicks--good, mindless fun, and it certainly is pretty.

The Secretary
Can someone please explain to me just why the hell everyone thought this movie was so awesome?

Watching this movie is like watching the most boring parts of "9 1/2 Weeks," only with more neurotic characters. It has all the charm of a Victoria's Secret TV ad with none of the sexiness. I've seen more believable plots in Spider-Man comic books. There's a couple hours of my life I'll never get back...

The Last unicorn
This is an old animated movie that's one of Shelly's all-time favorites. She watched it with us last week.

The animation is terrible. No getting around it, the animation is just plain bad.

But once you get past that, it's a very, very, very good movie. It's the perfect antidote to Disney and harry potter; it shows that a movie written for children does not have to be childish.

We've come to expect certain things from children's stories: simple morals, a cartoonish sense of good and evil, clearly-defined heros and villains.

The adversarial characters in The Last unicorn are deeply wounded, but they are not evil. The philosophical ideas in the movie are surprisingly sophisticated. The animation may be poor, but the movie has things that most modern children's movies lack: complexity, nuance, and substance. Hey, Disney, you paying attention? Movies made for children do not have to be drivel!

American Pie
I am, I think, one of the few people left in the world who's never seen American Pie, at least until last week. Now, I am no longer a cultural pariah; I have seen American Pie.

Yay.

How this movie got to be such a cultural touchstone is quite beyond me. It's a "frustrated teenagers trying to get laid" flick. We've all seen a hundred of these, and they're all the same. There's always the Big Prom, at which at least one character is utterly humiliated by an Embarrassing Revelation, and hilarity ensues. There's always the Horny Teenager who is caught at an Awkward Moment, and hilarity ensues. *Yawn*

It may have revitalized the "teen flick" formula, but make no mistake: it's still formula.

feardotcom
lamedotcom. I've seen scarier things in my breakfast cereal.


Comments

( 13 comments — Leave a comment )
ucertola
Sep. 24th, 2003 03:11 pm (UTC)
dito
You and I share the same thoughts when it comes to The Secretary. Geesh! If film makers are going to put out a movie on BDSM, then do it right damn it!!!
tacit
Sep. 25th, 2003 06:42 pm (UTC)
Re: dito
A film "done right" would probably be incomprehensible to a large percentage of the viewing public...
wilson_lizard
Sep. 24th, 2003 03:32 pm (UTC)
The Last Unicorn is an even more wonderful book than the movie based on it. The psychology goes a lot deeper.
(Deleted comment)
wilson_lizard
Sep. 25th, 2003 12:37 am (UTC)
That's very cool of you!
tacit
Sep. 25th, 2003 06:43 pm (UTC)
At some point, I'd like to read the book. Fnding the time is a problem, though. These days, I just skim Newsweek, because I find I don't have time to read the whole blasted thing...
wilson_lizard
Sep. 26th, 2003 04:52 pm (UTC)
It's so hard to find time to read paper these days, tho I'm not unhappy with the trade-off. :)
greendreams
Sep. 24th, 2003 04:00 pm (UTC)
The Last Unicorn is one of my favorites from childhood. I own the VHS (it's in terrible condition now).
chipotle
Sep. 24th, 2003 08:16 pm (UTC)
I didn't think The Last Unicorn was animated terribly, but that may only mean I've been subjected to worse animation than you have.

I used to hold out hope for Disney--I know the conventional wisdom was that Dreamworks would be the big studio that did cutting edge stuff, but they pretty much are Disney of the "Lion King" and "Pocahontas" era. "Lilo and Stitch" was fluffy but really well-done, and despite its flaws, I liked "Atlantis." But Disney has been systematically gutting their own animation division over the last two years, to the point where it seems that they only have one in name only. Next year's release, Brother Bear, looks pretty wince-inducing, and the one after that, whose name escapes me, is supposed to be even worse (not only formulaic but shoddily-made). And after that--nobody knows. There's almost nothing in the pipeline.

The company to watch in America may actually be Sony Pictures Animation, which suddenly materialized a few months ago with five projects already in the pipeline and a business plan which apparently calls for (gasp) being open to outside projects rather than sticking to staff writers; they explicitly don't want a house style. Beyond "Tam Lin," most of their current projects make me dubious, but I'm curious to see what'll come of that one--it's visually based on the art of Brian Froud, with a script by Neil Gaiman.
tacit
Sep. 25th, 2003 06:51 pm (UTC)
Well, to be fair, I just watched Macross recently, and was distinctly underwhelmed by the animation there, as well. But then, i expect very little of anime...
The thing that bothers me most about Disney is it seems to be high skill and technical polish in the service of rubbish. Disney flicks tend to leave me cold, because the charachers--especially the villains--tend to be flat, one-dimensional caricatures. Why did the wicked stepmother do that? Well, because she's evil. The characters lack depth and substance, and the morality is more cartoonish than the animation itself.
The best thing about The Last Unicorn for me was the fact that the adversarial characters were complex and sophisticated, and did what they did for reasons I could understand and relate to, not simply because "they're bad."
I don't think that a children's movie has to be morally simplistic. I don't think it's necessary to say that just because it's aimed at children, it can't present sophisticated and challenging ideas. But in the days of The Lion King and Harry Potter, that seems to be what we expect, and it's a shame.
haikujaguar
Sep. 25th, 2003 06:26 am (UTC)
I think part of the reason why "The Last Unicorn" was such a good movie was that it was adapted from the novel by the author. A lot of the language (such lyrical language!) is verbatim from the book.
alchmst
Sep. 25th, 2003 10:32 am (UTC)
A word about American Pie
What makes American Pie stand out from the crowd is NOT its content *yawn* but its place is mainstream. Up until American Pie, the social content of teenhood was buried in the "R" rating system keyword: "Porky's", however, in the intervening gap of some 15 years, there were no other mainstream movies that dealt directly with sex obsessed teen brainwaves that could be consumed by the masses. American Pie was the breakthrough vehicle that brought the nasty to the "PG-13" rating system and has allowed a further erosin of mores in the sense that now the filthy language and sexual content of cinematic greats can be aired with impunity to a younger crowd.
It's the same shit, just a different day.
Further, American Pie's scriptwriter was surprised by the fact that his PREMIER work was the victim of a bidding war b/t the three big studios that netted him a cool $750,000 in less than 10 hours.
Bottom line is that it was the right movie at the right time and that is the one and only reason it has the status it does. In my opinion, the movie stunk except for the immortal and forever captured thesis which remains, "it's ed.*a vagina* like warm and gooey..um...like an apple pie" from whence the cult phenom sprang.
Now THAT is something I can easily sink my teeth into.

tacit
Sep. 25th, 2003 06:54 pm (UTC)
Re: A word about American Pie
American Pie was the breakthrough vehicle that brought the nasty to the "PG-13" rating system and has allowed a further erosin of mores in the sense that now the filthy language and sexual content of cinematic greats can be aired with impunity to a younger crowd.

Considering that films like American Pie are about the language and mores of the teenage crowd--I was a teenager once, and being a teenager is at least an R-rated experience--I think it's ironic that you can do these things when you're 16, but you can't watch a movie about these things when you're 16.

Unless the movie is PG-13, of course.
( 13 comments — Leave a comment )