Thursday, April 17, 2008

Count Me Down

Shh!  Don’t tell anyone, but I don’t have a job right now.

Wait.  You knew that.

Anyway, I’ve spent many days at home alone.  I beat some video games, lazed around doing now a whole hell of a lot, and didn’t leave the house very much.  It’s not been good times.

After a while, I decided to do something other than apply for a few jobs that I know no one will call me back for.  Whatever I was doing, I needed some background noise.  Since all my music is on an external hard drive that requires my computer to be in a specific place that is not very conducive to me doing anything with the computer other than listening to music.  Consequently, I put on movies.

Using cinema for background noise is a delicate art.  When you’re listening to music and a song comes on that you really want to listen to, you stop to listen to it.  When a song comes on that you don’t want to hear, you ignore it.  Either way, that’s losing four minutes of noise.  Not a huge interruption; in fact, it could even be thought to be a good thing, a little break.

With a movie, you have to think a lot harder about what you want.  It has to be something with which you have enough familiarity that you won’t get sucked in completely, but also something that you won’t completely tune out and therefore defeat the purpose.

I believe that this conundrum rather neatly illustrates the differences between the four-minute masterpieces that good pop music can be and the ninety-minute opuses that every film aspires to be.  Unless, you know, they’re not ninety minutes long.  Or four minutes.  Whatever.

Our society has evolved.  We are all consumers now, and art is a commodity.  Sometimes, we have to turn that commodity into noise so that we can stay sane.

posted by origami at 11:55 pm  

Monday, October 15, 2007

Dance Dance Dance Dance Dance to the Radio

Anton Corbijn is one of the key image-makers from the post-punk era, so obviously, when I heard that he was directing a movie based on the life of Ian Curtis, I had to see it.

Here’s the part where I speak–again–about how awesome it is to live in New York, where the movie is playing at the Film Forum.

Control is crushing.  The movie tells the story you need to know, even without a familiarity with Joy Division.  Curtis is not a sympathetic protagonist, but he’ll still break your heart.

posted by origami at 8:06 pm  

Monday, October 1, 2007

Just Let Me Down Easy

I saw The Darjeeling Limited on Saturday.

To start with, things like this are among the reasons I love living in New York City. Knowing that a huge number of good movies will open here long before they open elsewhere–if they open at all–is very gratifying to me.

The movie itself was quite good. It fits well into Wes Anderson’s oeuvre of dysfunctional family stories. It comes across as a bit strange, though, compared to the intensive melancholy that has increasingly become the focus over Anderson’s career. It’s much more manic than The Life Aquatic, and this is probably a good thing.

In short, I’m still not clear, exactly, on how I feel about it. The themes are the same as usual, but it’s so wildly different in how it goes about addressing them that it strikes as a bit weird. Nevertheless, it comes recommended, as does its prologue/part 1, Hotel Chevalier.

posted by origami at 11:10 pm  

Friday, August 17, 2007

And I Will Not Pay

My brother starred in a movie called Metal Gear Retarded while he was in Japan. I’ve seen a rough cut, and needless to say, it’s totally awesome.

Given the marathon of problems that I’ve incurred lately, it should come as no surprise that I’ve still yet to buy the Canon HV-20 that I finally managed to settle on. I want to get it so I can make a damn movie.

Not that I’d have time anyway. I’ve subsisted through unemployment so far by doing odd jobs and contract work. The problem with that is that, while they do take care of the short-term problem, they also take up time that I would prefer to be using applying for more permanent positions. Throw that on top of the natural stress, plus the fact that I don’t know where I’m going to be living in two weeks, and it comes pretty clear that I haven’t been able to do anything creative all summer.

It could always be worse, though. A friend has had a real nightmare of a summer. Personal tragedy is a lot worse than not having a job.

And hey, at least I don’t have VD.

posted by origami at 5:37 pm  

Wednesday, July 11, 2007

Fight Test

I ride my bicycle around New York a lot. It is often faster than any other form of transportation and always more fun, plus it makes me feel a lot better about the fact that I don’t get any exercise, primarily because it’s, you know, exercise.

On Monday, I went to see Paprika, which was simultaneously excellent and bizarre beyond explanation. I rode my bike to the theater, which is stupid for several reasons: it was 85°F that day; I rode into Manhattan at midday; and I had to leave my bike chained up outside for a few hours. Nevertheless, I persevered. And my bike didn’t get stolen.

After the movie finished, which left me riding home in the middle of rush hour, I pedaled off down 2nd Avenue. When the city planners deign to put a bike lane on a one-way street (which they did in this case), that lane is on the left. I was riding on the right because I had a right turn upcoming, and not even a New York City cab driver would be crazy enough to take a right turn from the left lane. Wait, yes, he would.

This one, however, committed a far more egregious sin. Cabbies often cut me off to make turns or perform a passenger pickup or dropoff. This is normal behavior, but one could say that familiarity breeds contempt, because cab drivers are my enemies. However, this particular cabbie did more than just cut me off. He did it on purpose, for no greater reason. He cut me off for its own sake.

I pulled around him, yelling “Thanks!” (sarcastically, duh) at him as I rolled by. He pulled out, or tried to at any rate, but I was taking too much of the lane for him to get out until I passed. For vengeance, you know.

He finally got around me and yelled, “Why do you think they put the bike lanes on the left?” I have a sneaking suspicion that my response (“To protect us [cyclists] from cabbies, motherfucker!”) may have angered him, because he immediately cut me off again. I rolled past, again. He responded with, “My name’s not motherfucker. I’ll run you down!”

Now, the obvious response to that is to get away from the crazy man quickly. Which, thanks for a confluence of my self-preservation instincts and friendly traffic lights that made him stop while I kept going, I did. Still, I think it’s needless to say that within a few blocks I had come up with several to many witty comebacks to his defense/threat. The lesser of these involved either some form of violence against his car or insult to his manhood vis-à-vis threatening a cyclist with a car (obviously, the car would win. Thank you for your kind explanation, sir). However, the cleverer, and meaner, and more likely to result in my not getting hired by any potential employer that discovers this blog, were thus:

“I’m sorry, I couldn’t read your name card, Mr. Shithead.”
“Oh, right, I was the one fucking your mother.”

The moral of this story is that cab drivers have finally come out into the open with their previously barely-concealed desire to kill me. Which isn’t really a “moral” so much as maybe a “theme” or an “observation” or something. But I didn’t study literature at college, so I don’t really know. Anyway, the point is that they are more like Travis Bickle than I can be comfortable with.

posted by origami at 10:39 pm  

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