Saturday, January 08, 2005

On themes within films

I've racked up a lot of hours in front of my brand spanking new DVD player in the last couple of weeks.

There's a few reasons for this: its Summer but its wet out, miserable in fact. Plus I'm mostly working nites and thus have become something of a zombie, a quasi-nocturnal beast who rises after noon each day to eat cereal, eventually leaving the house at about 6pm, just when most people are arriving home amidst a quiet cacophany of sound: car keys jangling, the TV in the background and one long exhalation that says, "the day is done and I'm home" but also "I have to go back tomorrow".

But enough with the excuses, what have I been watching?

In the last few days I've seen three relatively old flicks, that were new to my eyes. All three used mental illness in their narratives and two dealt with time travel.

When it first came out, I was disinclined to see Fight Club, imagining that it would be little more than two hours of macho gratuitous violence. I've never had much of a stomach for violent flicks (or for Brad Pitt, for that matter, despite the countless attempts of others to explain his appeal to me). But in Fight Club I was pleasantly surprised. Seduced by the notion of a man who is disenfranchised from his own magazine-style life (a cliche, perhaps), but who chooses unique ways to escape it, joining support groups to cry with strangers just so he can feel something. Edward Norton's character seeks out increasingly dangerous and subversive ways to break out of his monotonous existence and the twist is killer. I'm still not sold on the ending tho. Something else I discovered? Its the psychological aspects of violence, rather than the physical, that get to me. Domination and assertions of superiority, like racial violence or violence against women. Like Norton's chilling but brilliant portrayal of a neo-Nazi in American History X. The act of violence which lands his character in jail makes me sick to my stomach, just thinking about it. In Fight Club, tho, the violence was dealt and received by consenting adults. There were rules. It was not about domination, etc. It was about waking up, breaking out. It actually got me thinking -- maybe oddly -- of Garden State; a completely different film but another in which the main character emerges as if from a coma to and wakes up to life -- its pleasure and pain.

Hm. I saw (and loved) Donnie Darko and endured Ashton Kucher in The Butterfly Effect, too. But they'll have to wait for another day. Dusk will fall soon and it will be time for the undead to walk the earth (trans: for me to go to work)...


5 Comments:

Blogger transience said...

ah, FIGHT CLUB. i wish my life was like that movie. mischief, mayhem, soap. yum, really.

Mon. Jan. 10, 02:28:00 pm 2005  
Blogger Calaloola said...

I wish my life was *symbolically* like that movie, maybe... I dunno if I could handle spitting teeth into the basin while I was brushing each night! But the stuff you can do with soap is cool, for sure... :)

Wed. Jan. 12, 10:37:00 am 2005  
Blogger transience said...

soap. lather. oooh, bubbles!

Wed. Jan. 12, 05:12:00 pm 2005  
Blogger Calaloola said...

hehe, that too ;) but this is becoming a dicussion for an earlier post: soap, bubbles, lather... rock stars ;)

Thu. Jan. 13, 08:30:00 pm 2005  
Blogger transience said...

damn those rock stars. they keep popping up! hehe.

Thu. Jan. 13, 09:39:00 pm 2005  

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