Wednesday, January 2, 2013

Film Reviews and More Galore

I’m taking a break from pissing in the wind posting my novella Yesteryou (an adventure and a love story) to piss in the wind giving my opinions on movies and songs I’ve recently consumed.  Anyone who knows me knows that I love to watch movies and read books all day every day; I guess it’s my version of having a short attention span, though I consider it a tiny bit better than other people’s short attention spans (who doesn’t find their own habits a bit superior?) because at least I’m not screwing around on a smartphone all day like the rest of the world (old lady rant).  After I read something or see something, though, I always wish I could talk about it with someone, so here are some unsystematically recorded thoughts.


The last 5 years or so, I think I listen to Hip-Hop more than any other type of music, which I constantly amaze myself over, because it is definitely not in keeping with my sense of aesthetics.  I like things to be tender and in favor of the underdog (and my “real” favorite music is punk like Bikini Kill, rock like Bruce Springsteen, avante garde like Velvet Underground, and folk like Marianne Faithful) while most of the hiphop I end up listening to is this beyond-disturbing Darwinian bullshit about seriously hurting anyone weaker than oneself.  I know there is a sociological reason for this cruelty, and that it’s not intended for me as its audience, but that’s a lot to get into, as far as white guilt vs. my anger as a feminist over how horrible the black woman character is treated in the narrative of most of the hiphop I listen to (I know there is politically correct/ smart hiphop, but I don’t like how it sounds!), and I won’t digress into all that, since that wasn’t the main thing I was thinking about this morning as I thought about how weird it was that I listen to so much hiphop this morning as I drove into work.  I was listening to this Wu Tang song as I pulled in to my office building, and I turned it up really loud as I was driving into the parking lot.  Here is a sample of the lyrics (I'm using the verses with the least n-words in them):   
 "Wu-Tang: 7th Chamber"

[Verse One: Raekwon the Chef]

Champion gear that I rock, you get your boots knocked
Then attack you like a pit that lock shit DOWN
As I come and freaks the sound, hardcore
but giving you more and more, like ding!
Nah shorty, get you open like six packs
Killer Bees attack, flippin what, murder one, phat tracks
A'ight? I kick it like a Night Flite!
Word life, I get that ass while I'm fulla spite!
Check the method from Bedrock, cause I rock ya head to bed
Just like rockin what? Twin glocks!
Shake the ground while my beats just break you down
Raw sound, we going to war right now

So, yo, bombin
We Usually Take All Niggaz Garments
Save ya breath before I bomb it

[Verse Two: Method Man]

I be that insane nigga from the psycho ward
I'm on the trigger, plus I got the Wu-Tang sword
So how you figure that you can even fuck with mine?
Hey, yo, RZA! Hit me with that shit one time!
And pull a foul, niggaz save the beef on the cow
I'm milkin this ho, this is MY show, tical
The FUCK you wanna do? More than Spike Lee's Do
I'm like a sniper, hyper off the ginseng root
PLO style, buddha monks with the owls
So who's the fucking man? Meth-Tical
On the chessbox

[Verse Six: Ol Dirty Bastard]

Are you, uh, ah, uh
Are you a warrior? Killer? Slicin shit like a samurah
The Ol' Dirty Bastard VUNDABAH
Ol' Dirty clan of terrorists
Comin atcha ass like a sorceress, shootin' that PISS!
Niggaz be gettin on my fuckin nerves
Rhymes they be kickin make me wanna kick they fuckin ass to the curb
I got funky fresh, like the old specialist
A carrier, messenger, bury ya
This experience is for the whole experience
Let it be applied, and THEN DROP THAT SCIENCE

Obviously, this wasn’t written to appeal to me or even to have anything to do with me, and objectively, I know it is ridiculous that I listen to this song, and I even feel a little ashamed, both for being a part of the exploitation of black culture as well as for liking something so violent and ugly, but it made me feel better about the upcoming day, and it’s because I feel sad at work, and the anger in this song and many of my other favorite hiphop songs really speaks to me.  I know I could be listening to some punk song about hating work or being angry at this Christian, capitalist, sexist, classist, bullshit society of ours, but nope, for whatever reason (the purity of the anger?) Wu Tang really says it all for me some mornings.   Besides externalizing my anger, hiphop hits other emotional chords of mine at times, like these few Tupac songs that make me cry sometimes because they make me miss a Tupac-idolizing high school friend that died, but this is equally ridiculous ... just imagine me with my whiteness and my buck teeth and scrappy Corolla with my cute baby in the back seat and the window rolled down bumping Tupac's Life Goes On and weeping.  

ANYWAY, on to some passing thoughts on the dvd’s I’ve viewed in the past few days:

Adventures of Baron Munchausen

This used to be one of my favorite movies, and I still remember going to see it at the Rialto in South Pasadena like it was yesterday.  My sister-in-law gave it to my husband for Xmas and when we were watching it the other night I was telling my husband about how much I used to love the little girl who plays Sally Salt, who also played Ramona Quimby in the series Ramona on PBS, and guess what? – I realized that little girl was Sarah Polley.  I can’t believe I never knew that before.  Sarah Polley is so great as a young woman in Dawn of the Dead, The Sweet Hereafter and Go, and I never even realized that she had a career when she was so young and that she was the little girl that little girl me related to so much. 

Seeking a Friend for the End of the World:  


This film wasn’t very popular and I can see why:  it’s too sad to be even a Black Comedy and too glib to be a drama.  It’s actually pretty good as a Romance though, and as a Romance I was really touched by it.  The whole time I was watching it though I kept wondering if it was an intentional homage to the 1988 film Miracle Mile or if it was an accidental rip-off of it.  Miracle Mile is also a romance that takes place around the end of the world, and has the added bonus (to me) of being an amazing Los Angeles movie.  I’d highly recommend Miracle Mile, which is surreal and painful, and is partially shot inside of Johnie’s, one of my personal favorite L.A. landmarks (and I have a hunch it’s a favorite of many Angelenos).

I am running out of steam now that my coffee is wearing off so about the two other films I saw over the weekend I”ll just say:

Broadway Danny Rose

A sweet and underappreciated Woody Allen movie!  Woody Allen and Mia Farrow are so fantastic together in this film that it’s hard to believe how bad things turned.  Woody Allen you genius asshole.

Hanna Takes the Stairs

A perfect movie for anyone with a crush on Greta Gerwig.   I suppose it’s pretty good even if you don’t have one, but I get irritated by the generalized ennui-caused laziness of the characters in Mumblecore films, so if not for how good Gerwig was in this movie, I probably wouldn’t have liked it too much.

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