Friday, May 30, 2008

In Love Again

Over the past couple of months I've strayed from my original love, cinema. The whore that is TV has become more attractive lately. In the past few months, K. and I watched the final seasons of The Wire and Curb Your Enthusiasm, watched all of Deadwood, Freaks & Geeks and Tom Goes to the Mayor, and then got caught up on Weeds and Dexter. We decided to wait for season three of Weeds to come out on DVD, rather than downloading it. That gave us a few weeks to kill, since it's not due out until June 3.

The break has been a good thing. It forced me to reevaluate my relationship with the whore. She's a firecracker in bed, sure, but like Chris Rock said, "new pussy can't read!" She is, in short, not my true love. This is where the metaphor ends, of course. In the real world, if I returned to my wife, carrying the stink of cigarettes, whisky & whore, I'd be thrown out without so much as a counseling session or a goodbye. Fortunately, the world of metaphor is more forgiving, and cinema took me back with open arms.

On Monday, K. & I celebrated the death of US veterans (wait... that doesn't sound right) by watching Forgetting Sarah Marshall. A good friend of mine sums up Judd Apatow quite well: "Making misogyny hip again." He's not far off. The women of Apatow's world are really unfortunate. They are, for the most part, pretty, so they have that going for them. But they are also ultimately subject to the judgment and whims of the men, in whose world they just happen to inhabit. For a while, I thought FSM would be a bit different in this regard. Early on the lead character is exposed as unenviable and pathetic, and completely oblivious to his ex-girlfriend's attempts to improve their relationship. Granted, she leaves him for a vacuous rock star ... but, in the scheme of things, pairing up with the rock-star/sex-god at least makes sense. Pretty, professional women don't normally stick with doughy losers who do nothing but sit at home in their sleep clothes and watch TV (note to self, keep a divorce lawyer on retainer). And yet, by the end of it, she has become the villain, mostly for reasons that elude me. After realizing she does in fact still love (or at least miss) her old boyfriend, Sarah Marshall is referred to as "Hitler," and "the Devil" by the ex. Worse still, she never gets in a word otherwise, and is ultimately lampooned in the credits. What began as the most hopeful of the Apatow projects, in terms of its view of women, is finally its most harsh. Other than that, the movie is pretty hilarious. Seriously. I did enjoy it.

After that, I had to make amends for a glaring oversight. Somehow, I'd never seen The Hustler. I didn't even have a full grasp of its plot, and thus had no expectation of how pitch-black dark it is. Yikes. This is not, it turns out, the Rocky of pool. Can anybody play the super-talented but desperately flawed character better than Paul Newman? He thrives in these roles. The message is simple and plain: win or lose, your reward for participating in the rat-race is destruction. Have fun, though!

Last night was the best of all. K. didn't get much out Blast of Silence, but my God it blew me away. It was like watching a fully Americanized version of Godard's Breathless -- and, indeed, better than Breathless. In fact, by all rights, it should have heralded a New Wave contemporary to that in France. Now, that could've been interesting. Anyway, short assessment, it's really hard to go wrong with assassins during Christmas. Throw in the existential anxiety of wanting a silence one can never have, from one's first to final breath, and you have a great movie. Plus, a guy gets killed with an ax.

Tonight ... it's Kiss of Death. I've nearly forgotten the whore entirely.