Wednesday, February 20, 2008

Heroes, pt 2; 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days

In a world saturated with the bad kinds of bad attitudes, Mark Bittman's bad attitude serves as an exemplar, a how-to guide for maintaining a bad attitude in the best way. He scorns this and turns his nose up at that, but concludes with gentle affirmations: I'm so against these nerds who say vinaigrette's got tricks, so against them; making vinaigrette's actually so goddamn easy I'm going to do it, and guess what, you can too.

There's a part in 4 Months, 3 Weeks, and 2 Days when the protagonist scurries through a grim sector of a city in the middle of the night, the camera hovering over her left shoulder like a zombie-cam in a horror movie. Patches of the city appear in the shots' margins and you see the most indescribable, unexpected colors--a blurred grey-brown, a hazy purple-orange--and you sense the character's panic and displacement so sharply.

The film has one near-insurmountable problem. One of the main characters elicits incredible empathy, while the other--the person whose not-unsympathetic predicament sets everything in motion--is basically a psycho hose beast, a cowardly, thoughtless, simpering ingrate. I'm unsure whether the other character's depth compensates for this other lady's obnoxiousness. I wonder if having the antagonistic woman (the one who needs the abortion) be the person with whom one's sympathies would naturally lie represents an attempt to challenge the audience, or if the director spent himself while layering the other character with complexities?

One conversation in this movie between the protagonist, Otilia, and her boyfriend, just does not relent and probably will remind you of something you've thought and experienced yourself if you've ever cared about anyone, that is about one thing very specifically but more generally describes pressing against the limits of your love and trust for someone and discovering the indistinct but extant point at which you must care about yourself more than you do about him or her.

So, way to go, Cannes jury, I guess, this was a really good movie. It also did that trick with sound effects editing (cf. No Country For Old Men, um Last Days, a lot of other recent stuff), where everything sounds incredibly clear and present; a ball kicked against a car like a gun going off, a cigarette inhaled so deeply your throat hurts.

Monday, February 04, 2008

stupor bowl!

On consumption, briefly: I find high-life-type shopping fraught; whereas at H&M, say, you just have to confirm with yourself that you like and look decent in a thing and assess the odds that someone you know already owns it, at whatever Williamsburg joint with enticingly small SALE sign, you must answer all these questions and then determine to what extent in buying X thing for Y money, you'd have to consider yourself your own class enemy, and then work out weird equations where ZP.B.R.s + Qbags of lentils / NGreyhounds + Cdelicious hockey puck-sized chocolate chip cookies from the bakery near job = Dress G - the square root of cell phone bill or whatever.

Alas, and anyway, my love for lentils will never die. But anyway again, did you watch the GODDAMN SUPER BOWL?

I only saw half, or rather, I saw the last 2 minutes/25 minutes of the first half, the dullish Tom Petty halftime biz, and the second half. I spent the first half, to be fair, at the New Museum and eating a next-level good bougie Mexican sandwich that contained the exact same ingredients as Madeleine's 7-layer dip, which I consequently had to exempt myself from eating. The New Museum's exterior leaves no surprises for the innards: it's yeah, three big concrete spaces atop each other. Most of the pieces in the current exhibit left little impression, although I found myself stealth-affected by Martha Rosler's collages that merge pictures of models and interior design magazines with pictures from the war; they're so obvious that when you find yourself struck by them it's kind of a double blow. But I digress.
At one point during the game, my friend Alex asked me if I'd fallen asleep since I'd been pretty quiet for a while and of course not, I was literally biting my nails. When I watch the Mets, I often grow quiet and nervous and all, but that's got a context, right, an allegiance. This game, though, proved its worth. I care nothing about the sport, feel similarly dispassionate about the two teams--though I sure wish no well for Robert Kraft--but the hometown boys' balancing of ineptitude and luck with skill and tenacity proved gripping. Gripping! Football! It is amazing how sports viewership works the same way as one's own little life: that you have to try not to hope too hard for things lest an excess of wishing fuck with your fortunes.
In other news, I saw a fantastic psuedo-ethnographic silent movie from the 1920s called Chang, d. by the same guys who made King Kong which featured the slaughter of about 5 leopards, 2 tigers, and 2 goats and the abuse of countless other mammals, human and otherwise, and in spite/cos of that, was totally fascinating, both the things it showed and how it showed em.