Thursday, February 04, 2010

Thanks, but, ah, no....

So most of the "best of" lists for the last decade have Synecdoche, New York in there somewhere. And, hey!, it was written and directed by Charlie Kaufman, whose movies I have loved so far, and it stars Phillip Seymour Hoffman, an actor I really dig (perhaps the only one besides DeNiro and Pacino who can play an icky character as well as an awesome one and have you believe both).

Well, it started off with a lot of promise. It was note-perfect for the start of a busy day with kids and the kind of conversations you have. I love being a parent, and would still choose to be one (though I'd've started earlier so I could have more), but if I'd known how many conversations I've have about poop, it might've given me the briefest pause.

Anyway, then things started getting darker and darker, and I just don't have the time or patience to sit through an utter bummer anymore. Just don't care to. At this age, there is enough to worry about and feel bad about where I don't need to invite more in through entertainment. Leave the (realistic) tragedy for the young, the worry-free, the perpetually buoyant.

Though it was one of my favorite movies, I simply couldn't tolerate Sophie's Choice at this age. Yes, I would miss a great story had I not seen it when I had the stomach for it, but in the grand scheme of things, it would've been a small loss.

And I say "(realistic)" because I still dig myself some adventure / sci-fi tragedy stuff. (Thinking of a couple of events in Avatar and my fave movie of all time John Carpenter's The Thing.) The once-removed reality renders the bitter pill nothing but a placebo.

Anyway anyway, when the Phillip Seymour Hoffman starts digging in his own poop and announces he has blood in his stool, I hit fast-forward. This is a trick I use with novels that have just put me off and made me wonder if I should bail. I skip forward in the story and see if anything intrigues; if it does, I back up and pick it up. I could pretty much glean the plot of the movie by watching it at 16x normal speed, and I'm SOOOOO glad I bailed. I could tell it was pretty much a work of genius, like all of Kaufman's works are, but it truly did continue in a death spiral. Literally.

Glad I missed it.

In other "not for me" entertainment news, I finally got ahold of Bob Dylan's Christmas album - Christmas in the Heart - and by the third song I was overtaken by the giggles.

Dear Lord it's a horror.

Now constant readers will know I love Bob Dylan. I was one of those who in my younger years could NOT understand how the guy had any sort of career at all, let alone the fame and adulation he has. Well, a fateful listen of Blood on the Tracks after a recent and rending breakup ripped the scales from my eyes, and since I've been a diehard.

That does not mean, though, that I'm not unaware of Mr. Dylan's challenges as a vocalist. Sometimes he's the perfect voice for the song (believe it or not), other times - like a Christmas album for instance - it's just painful.

If you're looking for a new comedy album or something that'll clear the party at 2:00 AM, this is your disc. Otherwise, get a copy of Blood on the Tracks, if you've never had the pleasure.


Jim Janknegt said...

I concur about Synecdoche, New York. I watched the first 1-1/2 hours and just couldn't take it any more. I stopped the film went over to Wikipedia to see if it was going where I thought it was and turned the film off. Ebert says it is the film of the decade as it shows how people really live their lives. REALLY?? Just put a gun to your head then.

yahmdallah said...

I think it hits some notes that are true to life, but typically life isn't as grindingly dismal as this movie makes it out to be. A pain and a chore at times - even tragic - but the main character truly lives in some sort of hell.

(Unfairly judging from just the portion I watched.)