Monday, December 20, 2004

The Terminal and Chronicles

Saw The Terminal the other night. Y'know, honestly, Stephen Spielberg has never really made a bad movie. He's just made some that you'd never want to watch again. For all of its good intentions, Amistad is one of those movies. Thus, a review of a Spielberg film is more for the longrun view of the film, and not so much a warning to avoid it or to directive to see it. Of course you should see each and every Spielberg film eventually. You will be entertained.

The Terminal is entertaining, and initially moving, but it hits the implausibility barrier quickly which dooms your utter enjoyment of it.

[SNIP!]

I was gonna lay all of those out before it dawned on me that would just be a string of spoilers, and fellow movie lovers, if they haven't seen it yet, will eventually see it, and I don't wanna ruin it for them. For those of you who just want to know, go to the Movie Spoiler and read up.

Read Chronicles, Vol. 1 by Bob Dylan. At first, I was impressed that he could write decent prose. Most talented people are talented in one specific way, and not others. And, the more immense the talent in the one area, typically the less there is in other areas of expression. Dylan, in particular, has not been much of a revelation when he's ventured away from songwriting and performing. Thus, I was reading more to pierce the enigma than anything else. I expected verbal drudgery.

Well, Dylan can write prose, even if he's given to filling entire paragraphs with listings of authors he's read or other songwriters he admires. And, I simply think he's being cagey when he does that. You learn a lot about someone through what they admire.

My overall impression is that Dylan is pretty much a normal guy, if not somewhat curmudgeonly, who wanted to be a minor star in the folk music world, but got strapped into a rocket ride of fame and admiration that mystifies even him, to some extent. He didn't want to be Jesus, he wanted to be Johnny Cash.

If you're a fan, of course you'll read Chronicles. The rest of you can skip it, as there is nothing here that will change your life. If you want revelation, then give a good listen to Blood on the Tracks, still one of the most beautiful expressions of pain and loss ever committed to the ages.

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