Saturday, July 27, 2013

Modern Movies

My knees are almost totally ruined so I've been watching movies instead of walking. Someone showed me a website where every movie under the sun is available to stream. Once you wade through some pop up jungles you watch anything. I'd post the link here but I don't want to encourage illegal streaming.

I watched Spring Breakers, by Harmony Korine, and while you'd think it would be for the bikini girls, it's not. I like Harmony Korine's approach to his modern reality. Bully, Gummo, Julian Donkey Boy...Kids...he gives me hope that someone actually will risk being unpopular and starving but will make movies that are true to his creative ideal. Because the story line of Breakers veers into insanity, a Spike Lee film with skinny white girls, I can't say I liked it. The scenes don't add up...and the characters seem to be developed on the spot.
I totally get that some 19 year old girls will go to St. Petersburg, Florida to "go wild" and show their ass and snort coke. So what? I already knew that. I'm a bit puzzled that this is true but I'm an anti-social loser so that's understandable. I wonder why a girl would grow up today and suddenly decide getting drunk and stoned and oil wrestling another nude girl while a bunch of men pretend to piss beer into their mouths is cool. When did that become cool? Korine has absolutely no answer, but he seemed to be entranced with the ritual results. The directing and editing was titillating. But I'm not sure what Korine was making a statement about. I really don't. The bleak amorality of Spring Break, or the life and death decisions of gold-toothed gangbangers? Because I don't think there was a case made that they are equivalent. For a minute it seemed that Korine had become a director of a higher budget "Girls Gone Wild" video, which would make him artistic dirt in my judgmental eyes. Like he was standing behind the camera saying, "Now, give the gun barrel a blow job..." and the actresses obeyed and Korine was thinking he was capturing something enigmatic when in reality he was merely manipulating girls who wanted to get paid...which is what Girls Gone Wild does.
There's a scene in "Apocalypse Now" when a Playboy Bunny does a dance routine for the Vietnam grunts. It's classic and the use of Suzie Q makes my mouth water.

But no one is going to confuse Apocalypse Now with a tit flick. Call me crazy, but Spring Breakers actually has a shadow of Apocalypse Now but gets lost on the way to the finish line.
What was missing was a line like..."Charlie's idea of R&R was cold rice and a little rat meat..."
Hey, Harmony Korine, GET THE FUCK OFF MY LAWN!

The other film was On The Road, a reenactment of Dean and Sal in 1949. Like Into The Wild, This didn't work at all for me. Narrating with the words of Kerouac was like my initial draft of my Thoreau script, using his own words to dramatize events. All it did was simplify the material so any asshole who can hear would understand. I wrote a better Thoreau script but it's the kind of good that can never be produced. (Imagine a single chair in a small room for 90 minutes) So I fucked up again. Then I decided the best Thoreau script would be NO Thoreau script, that would be the truest homage. And that's when I went to Mexico and lay on the beaches, stoned, dead certain that humanity had gone off the rails. The ship is sinking and people are polishing the silverware.

But the demonstration and the dramatization, the characterizations of On The Road were never developed. Maybe it's a bad piece of material to adapt in the first place because the characters really were unremarkable. I've definitely met more interesting people...and I feel that Dean was not accurately portrayed. People say he's unlikable because he's irresponsible. I say he wasn't irresponsible enough. The book is Kerouac's trademark but it's not visual, it's his attempt to verbalize Jazz improvisation. THEY EVEN LEFT OUT THE PART THAT KEROUAC HAD ALREADY FOUND A PUBLISHER FOR THE SUPERIOR THE TOWN AND THE CITY. And they left out my absolute favorite part where Dean has a broken thumb (from punching his wife's head) and Sal works at a shipyard as a watchman. And like life On The Road is a series of incidents and every philistine tells me to write a book, but I'm trying to write a book, not a recollection of events that amount to self-gossip. This blog is gossip. I wouldn't stoop to call it writing. In fact, the stuff I'm proudest of is totally ignored. And don't think I'll compromise to be commercial. There's a synthesis of event and vocabulary that I'm aiming for...a new essay approach that is part Gonzo and part Gide. And the times when I've seen it come to life haven't been appreciated. So not only will it never make a good movie, but it will never even make a good book. It's a sickness that my bruised knees will endure in fat roll sadness, lurching out of bed at 2am to piss pork scented urine into the plastic milk jug near my cot. I fast forwarded through much of this movie but will someone tell me if they had Kerouac really reading out loud from a Thomas Wolfe book? Because Wolfe completely MADE Kerouac who he became. You can't have Beethoven without Mozart and you can't have Kerouac without Wolfe. It's pure fantasy if they left out Wolfe...more than Dean or Ginsberg. Wolfe is THE BEST but that doesn't mean they'll make a good movie out of his life.

“Child, child, have patience and belief, for life is many days, and each present hour will pass away. Son, son, you have been mad and drunken, furious and wild, filled with hatred and despair, and all the dark confusions of the soul - but so have we. You found the earth too great for your one life, you found your brain and sinew smaller than the hunger and desire that fed on them - but it has been this way with all men. You have stumbled on in darkness, you have been pulled in opposite directions, you have faltered, you have missed the way, but, child, this is the chronicle of the earth. And now, because you have known madness and despair, and because you will grow desperate again before you come to evening, we who have stormed the ramparts of the furious earth and been hurled back, we who have been maddened by the unknowable and bitter mystery of love, we who have hungered after fame and savored all of life, the tumult, pain, and frenzy, and now sit quietly by our windows watching all that henceforth never more shall touch us - we call upon you to take heart, for we can swear to you that these things pass.”
Thomas Wolfe, You Can't Go Home Again
 Published a decade before Kerouac even learned to type. It's beautiful, obviously, rare, incredible, deep, but HOW IS THAT GOING TO MAKE A GOOD MOVIE? I'm sure some asshole in West L.A. is trying to find a producer who will find out.

Kerouac's life was interesting, no doubt, but unless a filmmaker wants to write a script that gets rejected by every studio then it will never translate because that's what happened to Kerouac's manuscript. So, they produced a softball movie that diminishes the source...but it got produced and faded away like nothing. That's the difference. No one wants to take a chance on being the one on the road with nothing but dreams, lonely, drinking, arrested, jobless. No one wants to put it all on the line for we get derivative shit. Let's make a forgettable movie about an iconic book. Why? To keep people entertained? Fuck the people. They're entertained by gerbils on piano keyboards. It's a whore's world with used car ethics. Trade-in morality on a gold plated fast food menu. Wolfe never compromised.

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Man in the Van by Oggy Bleacher is licensed under a Creative Commons Attribution-NonCommercial 3.0 Unported License.