Sunday, February 01, 2009

We look at each other in the eye, and it's no use.

If you thought Walk The Line pussied out on hard living, see this movie. The only real problem I had with it was the ending: just about all of Maury Dann's real-life Outlaw counterparts made it to their sixties and beyond. You couldn't have expected the filmmakers to guess that in '73, though. Or that Rip Torn would outlive them.

Paths Of Glory
It's startling and touching to see Stanley Kubrick wrestling with man's inhumanity to man after watching his later films, which quickly devolved from sardonic giggles over the subject to droll resignation. His treatment of horror is already unflinching and almost sadistic (the climax is practically politicized torture porn), but he hadn't settled on the "man is beast" thesis that underlines the last thirty years of his work. It shouldn't surprise that Kirk Douglas' speeches and the commoner-pitying coda don't quite soothe. They didn't soothe Kubrick either.

The Craft
It's hard to tell what the moral is of this teen witch melodrama. Is it wrong to take revenge on violent assholes? Does absolute power only corrupt those with class resentments? Despite the vague Gump subtext, the movie's still worth it for Fairuza Balk (her day will come) and Skeet Ulrich, whose dimbulb Depp has never been better utilized.

The Tao Of Steve
A life of tragically little sexual conquest has left me with a soft-spot for burlesque cocksmen, from Greg Dulli to LL Cool J to Henry Miller. Which is why I forgive myself for not being revolted by a sitcom indie about a lardass hook-up guru starring Donal Logue.

I'll take it on faith that there may have been a time when Hollywood did not give time to the young, stylish and amoral - and I can believe that the French got there first. I almost even buy that it was fresh to hear characters blathering "all women..."/"all men..." generalizations. But I won't pretend that this movie's influence on American cinema hasn't made everything but its Frenchiness incredibly familiar.

The Big Chill
Now-familiar white boomers dance to then-familiar black music and discuss how weird it is that they all grew up to be rich despite their ideals. I'm guessing the John Sayles version is significantly less devoted to telling boomers that they're still lovable.

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