The following are reviews of films I either fell asleep to, fast forwarded through, or simply didn’t understand, written in a manner unabashedly ignorant of cases in mention, interspersed with meditations on popcorn.
2001: A Space Odyssey — First there’s apes everywhere and weird music, then an ape goes bizerk and slams the earth with a femur bone. And there’s a large Richard Serra type piece of steel just standing there and I’m like “yup, this is totally Stanley Kubrick,” yup, I’m about to experience three hours of weird slow shit. Then all I remember is a space man talks with a pretty lady like he’s buying a plane ticket. Then he walks through a corridor with bright lights, like the perfume section of Sephora or Macy’s. I end up 20x-60x fast forwarding through it until I’m at this 20 minute long Pink Floyd-type video full of effects or something, again, I can’t remember exactly, only that I was severely annoyed. Then the space man is in bed and there’s a gigantic baby. So I’m thinking that space and amniotic fluid is the same? And like we are apes? In Radiohead’s “No Surprises” video Thom Yorke dressed up as the space man and water filled the mask until he almost drowned, which was also annoying, like his current oily hair look. Kubrick had it wrong. In 2001 the world was still boring like in 1968, but Miley Cyrus didn’t exist, so that’s something.
Synecdoche, New York — I really like Charlie Kaufman. He seems like someone who has difficulty getting laid. I like Philip Seymour Hoffman for the same reasons. So when the two joined forces, I got really excited. I took the bus to the theater, ordered a medium popcorn, and went inside. Watching movies alone in public is a noble act. You are saying to the world “I am single and don’t have any friends,” or if it’s a matinee weekday show, “I am unemployed.” So: shit gets fucked up in this movie. The stage sets of the play in the move, the stage sets of the actual movie representing stage sets in the movie, and the stage sets of the movie representing the objective reality within the movie, get all blurry, like edifice without representative authority. Also, the actors switch around like David Lynch or William Gaddis, such that the means of artifice with which the narrative conceit is conveyed is intentionally exposed, and I guess if you’re on a hot date and she went to a liberal college and gets bags with birds on them from etsy and knows who Baudrillard is, then maybe you want to say “wow, that was utterly brilliant” after the movie is out and you two are walking to your Japanese-made car that beeps when you squeeze an unsqueezable piece of black plastic in your right pocket, but I wasn’t on that date, and that girl seems really annoying, so I just left the building, but not before draining my diet Sprite now yellow down the urinal.
Dr. Doolittle — Somehow Eddie Murphy can hear animals, which doesn’t explain why all the animals of the world follow him. This is irrational. I understand English, but Oasis or Coldplay don’t follow me everywhere. Dr. D attempts to escape the animals by driving to a cabin, but the animals follow him there. I think there was a scene involving a parrot and the making of pancakes from scratch. I was not eating popcorn, but pretzels. A lot of eating has less to do with caloric homeostasis than our oral fixations, the Freudian return to before the world hurt us. Pop, pop, pop, microwave flashing 0:00, popcorn the fireworks of American fields, of independence and mastication. Imagine me sitting on my couch watching Dr. Doolittle without having to tend to my mouth in any way. I would probably try to kill myself. Think of the millions of dollars and hours that were spent CGI-ing the animals and placing them convincingly in space, such that they exuded weight as subtle manifestations, the way Cezanne did his peaches. We live in a horrible world. I fell asleep.
8 1/2 — I think in college my art film friends kept talking about how great the movie was, and Roger Ebert also, and maybe that James Lipton guy, so ‘I just had to’ watch it; I went to the media library and watched the first 3 minutes of it and was so bored I turned it off. I just remember it was in black and white and there was slow stuff happening or something. College is a socioeconomic assertion. People working at Walmart don’t know who Fellini is, but we do. This is somehow important to the fabric of society. Not to punish movies for being made before the invention of color, but still, those movies all suck.
Gummo — I know cool people like hipsters like this movie and Harmony Korine in general, but I don’t get it, or him. To be fair, I didn’t watch the entire movie, just youtubed excerpts out of masochistic self-defeating curiosity, like how I’m constantly trying to acclimate to some fucking hipster sensibility, so when at a bar when the movie is mentioned by people whose faces are lit red by the flickering flame below and I can nod without deceit. All I remember is skinny kids wearing furry hats or masks and riding bikes, in what looked like South Carolina or Virginia, with like violent or sexual overtones. Maybe there were people with Down syndrome inside the camera shots, or maybe that’s just the vibe the movie gave off.
Maid in Manhattan — This was on AMC or TBS one night about five months ago. I made popcorn and doused it in truffle salt. Truffle salt is simply salt infused with truffles — this very fancy mushroom that only grows in England or Washington which only trained hogs can find. They are like $300 a pound. Much of my life is a desperate attempt to “live it up” in an economically realistic way, like a $3M yacht or $3K over-night GFE-escort blows the bank, but I can have truffle salt popcorn while watching a racist movie no problem. The movie is racist because the maid is Hispanic (Jennifer Lopez) and the rich guy played a Nazi in another movie (Ralph Fiennes). I didn’t understand much of the plot, mainly because I was flipping back and forth between it and some VH1 best 100 videos of the 90s or something. It was just really sad that the maid was Hispanic, and that the only reason why Ralph was remotely interested in her was because Hispanic females tend to have pronounced asses.
Hostel II — Basically these very attractive girls vacationing in Europe end up in this castle and all I remember because I couldn’t finish the movie was one girl was hanging upside down from hooks and being skinned alive by some lesbians. I know that Hollywood blood is red dye and corn starch, but what bothered me was how thoughtless the violence was. It’s like in porn when all you see are disembodied pieces of juicy flesh moving, like an alien birth, and what makes it erotic is the story around it that you tell yourself. “That gaping asshole made my latte this morning.” Well, I’m afraid of the story boys tell themselves about the girl hanging there being skinned alive. Horror is not just a genre, it is history. Eli Roth is a douche.
Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind — Yes, I know that you understood it, and that you love the movie, because you are a really smart person who’s had complex and dynamic relationships with smart unhappy people. I get that; and I know that — like The Matrix, Total Recall, and Inception — a lot of what happens isn’t “really” happening, which in the context of fiction I’ve always felt was a lazy conceit, like dream, “another level,” or “all in your head” stuff, but even the dreams or whatever didn’t make sense. To me it was Michel Gondry’s excuse to make a giant sink or table to make Jim Carrey seem small in scale, or to make a library suddenly turn into the beach. Also, Kate Winslet dying her hair pink was soo high school. So basically two people break up and the break-up is so hard that one of them erases their memory? I do remember the look on Jim Carrey’s face when he was lonely on the train, and how looking at that look somehow hurt me. I used to take the train a lot. I know that feeling. I put my buttery fingers deep in my mouth, like a blowjob that flowers into a fist full of popcorn. A kernel stayed in the back of my throat for what seemed like forever, some tiny abrasive hickey felt from the incorrect side of my neck.
Tags: film criticism