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Not with a whimper, but with a bang.

Yesterday, I wrote 1,340 words on Chapter Three of The Red Tree. A good writing day, and I hope it's going in the right direction.

I do not yet have my finalized schedule for Readercon, as I've asked to be taken off a panel. But I'll get it up here as soon as possible. Perhaps tomorrow.

I want to go to the ocean, but the tourists have come, like a swarm. It won't be so bad next week, and maybe we can sneak down one evening and find a tourist-free place. Still feel like I'm sleeping much more than usual, except at night, when I should be sleeping. But, hey, no more fits. I don't think I left the house yesterday, which is unusual these days. Spooky made stir fry for dinner. I got some reading done. There was some Second Life rp (thanks to Artemisia, Cerdwin, Joah, et al.), but my infatuation with SL continues to wane. Best Toy Ever? I thought that once. Maybe if the world were ready for it, which it clearly isn't. Perhaps it never shall be. Something I hear a lot about SL, and in particular about SL rp, that you get out of it what you bring to it, or what you put in, or something like that. I think the problem here is that very few arrive inworld with more than a desire for a sort of chatroom visual interface, or a new MMORPG, or free virtual sex, or an fps experience, or perhaps the hope that actual money can be made with this thing. Very few come bearing the imagination, skill, and ingenuity to take advantage of the potential inherent in SL. Any world imaginable. Anyone imaginable. Any story. Any vision. But visionaries are a rare commodity in SL, and it seems to me that, more often than not, they are looked upon (if recognized at all) with suspicion and annoyance. I think I'm learning that, in SL, genuine creativity must confine itself to marginal, unexploited niches, if it is to survive. Anyway...

Last night, we watched Richard Kelly's Southland Tales (2005/2006), but I'm putting all my thoughts behind a cut, to avoid spoilers:



What amazes me the most is that after this box-office and critical disaster, Kelly was still able to raise in excess of 30 million dollars for The Box (2009), his forthcoming adaptation of Richard Matheson's "Button, Button." On the one hand, yes, Southland Tales is a gargantuan mess, and it manages to do very little that wasn't done far, far better in Donnie Darko (2001). Indeed, this film is pretty much Donnie Darko tarted up as a great, gaudy, long-winded variety show of apocalyptic proportions, devoid of the essential spark and compassion that I think made Donnie Darko work. And yet, I simply could not look away. It is, undeniably, a spectacle, and as a spectacle, I have to applaud it. I think I may even have to sit through the blasted thing a second time, just to be sure it was actually as fucked up as I think it was. It's not a brilliant film. It might not even be a very good film, but it's...well, a spectacle. Then again, so was Tammy Faye Baker/Messner. We saw the 144-minute cut, the only one that I'm aware is available on DVD. And it's at least half an hour too long, maybe more. I think Moby's score was probably the best bit, with a few inspired performances strewn here and there. Now and then, the film clicks, for just a moment or two, and you can glimpse what it might have been — such as Justin Timberlake's musical number, or the opening scenes of the nuclear attacks in Texas. And, I'll admit, the last forty-five minutes had me staring in slack-jawed bewilderment at the sheer strangeness and audacity. But, in the end, strangeness and audacity aren't enough, and the film's rather simple premise folds in upon itself like the cataclysmic time warp portrayed in its final moments. This is not a complex story requiring complex story-telling devices, but a very, very simple one burdened with excess baggage, along with the director's desire to say everything at once using far too many characters. Still, I think it's a must-see. I hope Kelly recovers from this fiasco, because, if nothing else, his screenplay for Tony Scott's Domino (2005) proves he has stories to tell that are not merely bloated rehashes of his first success.



And now...I have this day to deal with.

Comments

robyn_ma
Jul. 13th, 2008 11:47 pm (UTC)
I've read the Southland Tales prelude graphic novel, but have not yet seen the movie despite the DVD's being in my house for months. I think I'm waiting for an uninterrupted block of time to watch it, as I did with Inland Empire.

I think it's the type of movie I will adore and pat on its sweaty, pointy little head just for trying so strenuously to be something original.
greygirlbeast
Jul. 14th, 2008 12:13 am (UTC)

I think it's the type of movie I will adore and pat on its sweaty, pointy little head just for trying so strenuously to be something original.

I think I may become fascinated with it, for it's sheer, unmitigated audacity.
robyn_ma
Jul. 14th, 2008 12:45 am (UTC)
*nods* If there's one thing a lifelong fascination with truly weird movies has taught me, it's that if you finish a movie and say 'That was fucking terrible and I think I need to watch it again immediately,' you've got a winner.

Incidentally, not to self-pimp, but if you or Spooky haven't noticed, I compiled a bunch of YouTube links compiling the entirety of Urgh! A Music War, although my guess is that Spooky has that film memorized. Also with links to Cramps madness.