Sunday, July 24, 2005

Where did we lose our way?

Tim beat me to it and beautifully summed up Gus Van Sant's Last Days. Just wanted to add a couple things / beat a dead horse:
I'm in awe of the way Gus Van Sant creates these zoned-out, free-form films that are entirely stripped of "movie conventions," where it all feels so improvised and spontaneous and sparse, and yet nearly everything on the screen is infused with rich subtext.

I'm thinking specifically of the scene where the stoned Blake/Kurt listens to a pitch about success in advertising from a misguided Yellow Pages Salesman. Or, better yet, the scene where one of the leeches in Blake's life listens to two Mormon brothers evangelize, while, elsewhere in the mansion, Blake nods off in front of a video for Boyz II Men's "On Bended Knee." Van Sant cuts between the two locations and ends the scene by holding on the final minute and a half of the video.

Of course, the entire hipster audience I was with laughed the second the video hit the screen. Fine, I'll accept initial tittering, especially in a film where there's so little to cling to. But they laughed for the entire minute and a half that Van Sant held on the TV screen. I wanted to kill as I found the montage incredibly sad and moving. In one part of the house, there's discussion of redemption, forgiveness, and crucifixion. In another, MTV is broadcasting the other mega-platinum band of the early '90s (and the polar opposite of Nirvana's aesthetic) wherein they sing about fucking up and being lost and beg for a "normal" life. But forget about that because it's not Clap Your Hands Say Yeah, it's just a bunch of kitschy blacks singing dated R&B, so who cares? Right?

Sorry, rant over, go see Last Days and tell me if I'm being an over-achieving eighth grader who just learned about symbolism.


At 8:03 PM, Blogger D. Greene said...

I hate hipsters and Clap Your Hands Say Yeah is SO overrated.

At 11:08 PM, Blogger Joshua said...

Boyz II Men is one of my mom's top three bands of all time.

At 7:48 PM, Anonymous Anonymous said...

I think you're right on track and not many people are willing to admit that they share your views. grace mrs.caloway maggie lucky jack is an AWESOME place to discuss LOST.


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