Monday, March 23, 2009

I watch a lot of movies. It isn't the most intellectual hobby, nor is it the most productive, and more often than not I am a little ashamed of it, but I love it. I find the need to defend it. I have come up with a lot of pretty good reasons in my defensiveness, though I hadn't stopped to really examine it until recently. With the introduction of hulu and netflix watch instantly to my life, I have been given access to more movies of dubious quality than ever before. And I watch them. I will watch almost anything, it seems, if it is free and streaming over the Internet. It has been interesting to see, in this overload of stories, which moments stand out. I have found some beautiful, poignant, haunting moments nestled in some of the worst, most incoherent, and wandering of movies.
I like to collect stories. I love to read and will read almost anything (lately especially), and I think that same concept of story telling, of life-truth represented through myth, through the tale, is here in these terrible films.

For example: I watched a movie called Birds of America which came out sometime last year, with Matthew Perry. It is a confusing, somewhat angry story. However, there is this subplot with his sister, who is beautiful, promiscuous and flighty, her ex-boyfriend, who is in a wheelchair after an accident he had while driving drunk because she left him, and his new fiance, who is a kind, bubbly, overweight person who you only meet really briefly. For some reason this story line, a minor one in the movie, stuck with me and was all I could think about for a couple of days.

There was another movie, And Then She Found Me, with Helen Hunt, in which a woman who was adopted as a baby loses her mother and is left by her husband within twenty four hours. It's a sort of convoluted, slightly unbelievable story as she finds love, of sorts, and is reunited with her birth mother, and then single mindedly attempts to have a baby. However, the movie revolves really strongly around the Judaism of its main character, building to a scene where she is prompted by her birth mother to pray before they attempt to artificially inseminated her. She refuses, saying something about being angry with God. She changes her mind in the last minute, and proceeds to pray beautifully. "Baruch Atah Adonai Eloheinu, Adonai Echad." The Lord our God is one. She then explains it to her birth mother. "The God of hope. The God of fear. The Lord our God is one." Which made me weep.

Things I think about.

We are moving soon. There is a certain delicious stress to moving. It is a sense of unknowing, of hoping, of stretching and planting and beginning again. You get to unmake what it is you do not like and make anew things which bring you joy. I do not enjoy the sorting, cleaning, and throwing away that of necessity accompanies this, but it is as everything else in life. The good comes with the bad. I am stock piling boxes.


Doc said...

"I will watch almost anything, it seems, if it is free and streaming over the Internet."

I feel that...and pretty much the whole rest of the post. I haven't seen either flick tho. If you were to recommend one or the other to a total stranger, which would you suggest?

Doc said...

Comparing notes on Birds of America sounds like a brilliant plan to me--and I'm now officially looking forward to the bit about washing machines.

Doc said...

ok, so birds of america notes:

1) first thought -- if Dr. Frankenstein somehow revivified the "Boy Meets World" brain in the body of "American Beauty."

wait, scratch that analogy. i don't know what it's supposed to mean.

2) the hitchhiker guy (10ish-something minute mark) looks a little bit too much like my friend Tim.

3) not sure i made sense of anything that was said or done except the whole "you don't get to choose what rules other people obey or not" bit at the end. so Birds of America reminds me an awful lot of Adaptation in some respects.

4) my take on the washer/dryer rant: Head Injury's question misses the mark because his arbitrary prohibitions deny the necessity of work. so Lorelai's point wins by default, as long as she sticks to the part about the role machines play in improving the quality/quantity of certain kinds of repetitive work. lucky for her, nobody in the Birds of America universe seems to have even the slightest clue that work can be a meaningful (even enjoyable!) activity.

5) ok, about half of my notes are now face-up on the table, so please, compare away. i have questions to ask, but i ought to get some sleep. feel free to use the link on my blog to email me.