Thursday, January 8, 2009

Happy New Year/ baby's first blog

Whilst watching The Curious Case of Benjamin Button I aged fifty painful years, became delirious and nasty with dementia and then began an aching, laborious regression. By the time the insipid narrative drew to a harrowing finale I was a very tired infant, which is why I can be excused for the temper tantrum in which I shat myself and puked at the same time. I now need a support group for survivors of cinematic-emotional date rape. I can not get clean. Not even six slasher movies and two hundred bucks worth of biker meth could undo the damage that has been done.
The cunning plot (based on the SHORT story by F Scott Fitzgerald) sold me the ticket. In the film, Brad pit is born at physical age eighty and grows younger. He’s abandoned by his father at the doorstep of a childless southern mammy who takes the hideous bub to her breast like a good (black) Christian should. At around physical age seventy/mental age ten Pitt meets his true love, a disturbing seven year old red head with the voice of Cate Blanchett. This epic love affair is the boner around which the skeleton of the story snuggles. Other than mooning over girl-child rack, Brad Pitt gets into the real stuff of life i.e. fighting in wars, riding motorbikes, being ushered into the lobby of love by older women and learning eternal truths - like that life is fleeting, death is inevitable and blah blah live for the moment Dead Poets Society Forest Gump bird metaphor sigh sniff…
Tired clich├ęs are modified somewhat for the female characters who are permitted to live for the moment only until such time as they ripen into stunning, selfless mothers who live for their spawn. Father’s may abandon their children, the story tells, if they feel they are not emotionally able to provide for said child in the natural, effortless, uncomplicated way that the female of the species embodies. Such a decision is not easy to make, and should not incur blame. For if men did not live, who would pen adventure stories and love letters? Abandoning fathers with golden hearts can be separated from the pack of dead-beat-dad’s by their financial contribution and the postcards they send annually.
I see some link between this message and that worrying regular of recent film – the cool Gen X dude who loves post-punk and used to skate/play sick guitar before his hormonally possessed woman badgered him into the suburbs, systematically broke his spirit and made him give up everything he loved (Juno, Knocked Up).
But I am not merely out on a feminist revenge rant. There are bigger ideological fish to fry right now. In the coming attractions shown before I was beaten with the trite stick by Benjamin Button, a very disturbing trend emerges. Shorts showed takes from Yes, a film were by Jim Carey is a Negative Nelly until he opens his heart to the possibilities of life and love by saying yes to everything that presents, Revolution Road, a more serious film in which Kate Winslet and Leonardo Decaprio realize they are not self actualized in their hum drum suburban existence and must hold on to the passion of their initial youthful love in order to challenge the staus quo and Seven Pounds where Will Smith, Jesus like, gives away his possessions to random strangers only to learn that receiving an unexpected gift from a stranger (the gift of love that is) can be the hardest thing you’ll ever do.
Do we seriously want to watch this stuff? I’m glad that everyone took time of from writing affirmations, getting nose jobs and reading chicken soup for the soul to make it down to the cinema but surely we can do better than this.
I was so aggravated after my assault by the Curious Benjamin Butthead that I sat on the verandah fuming, chain smoking and calling late night friends to rant. A bestie helpfully talked me down by drawing my attention to the fact that it is the New Year, and everyone, especially Hollywood, is in a turning over a new leaf kind of mood. I hope this is true and it will all wash away like crap poetry written in sand, but I do feel, if this is the holiday message being pushed celluloid then I must offer another perspective.
Sometimes the silver lining around the cloud is the toxic residue from years of pumping industrial filth into the air in order to manufacture Care Bears, sometimes love is just comforting and short term, sometimes a plastic bag floating down the street is completely forgettable and that’s okay. Let’s make our new year’s resolution to not loose control of our critical faculties every time two good looking people look at a sunset. There is work to be done, things to dislike, arguments to have. Getting older is not necessarily the accruing of wisdom but we have to do it anyway so hone your bullshit metre and work out exactly what will and will not make you feel good, bad or indifferent. Don’t let the pittblanchetcareysmith machine bully you into seizing anything. Oh yeah and don’t become mummies and daddies unless you really want to.



2 comments:

  1. Your John Buttler rant is right on the money! In fact, your argument for the 'interchange-ability' of "music you can dance to" is so well put I am tempted to accuse you of putting poetry in your blog.

    The buttlers and buttler fans of this world should be called the "imagination impaired". It's usually not cool to hate on people who are something-impaired. We don't hate on athletes in the para-olympics. We honour them for making the effort, notwithstanding their set backs.
    The difference is that the olympics draws a bigger crowd, and is taken as the main event above the para-olympics. In the music industry, however, it is reversed: the imagination-impaired draw a huge crowed and a huge pay-check. the Healthy imaginations who make challenging music, are the smaller para-event. This, i propose, is where our anger and hating comes from.

    I think perhaps the feminist crap about benjamin button, however, is crap. They were individual characters, not archetypes for sex role behavior. I agree, however, that hollywood blows every great opportunity by turning everything into a love story though. "Wow you are the only human ever to grow younger? Should we get some scientists in on this perhaps? No? Okay, whatever." they did the same thing with Stranger Than Fiction. It's probably what sells tickets though.
    Then again i haven't yet read the Fitzgerald.

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  2. I would love it if everyone thought of John Butler as 'impaired'. Then we could say things like "it's astounding how well he manages, considering". Oprah would probably have him on her show and all the old ladies could sigh, applaud and then check under their seats for free moisturiser.

    Yeah, that thing in stranger than fiction, was er, strange. I'd like to see the directors cut where they start experimenting on Will Farrell and making him do dumb things (oh wait, maybe mind control is unnecessary in his case). Perhaps the government would get control of the 'emma thompson narrative cotrol method' and use it to narrate us all into super soldiers, x files style.

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