Thursday, June 25, 2015

"Three Movies - One Somewhat Extended Observation And Two Shorties"

Dr. M went to Chicago for a family “simcha” (celebration) that I skipped.  I took the opportunity of her absence to see three movies she would most likely have nixed. 

The following, therefore, is entirely my fault.

Love & Mercy – Winston Churchill once said about democracy that it was the worst form of government except for all the other ones.  In other words, democracy could legitimately boast of being the acknowledged least terrible form of government.

In a similar fashion, Love & Mercy is the least terrible “bio-pic” of a musical genius I have ever seen.

And that’s it.

They go deeper.  But do they get any closer to explaining “The Miracle of Creation”?

It did not appear to me that they did.

In their defense, it is very difficult to portray “The Creative Process” on the screen.  Wait.  Being more accurate:

It is impossible to portray “The Creative Process” on the screen. 

‘The Creative Process” is simply “doing stuff.”  If you’re a musical genius – or an artistic genius of any kind – you just do it better.

A person’s painting a fence.  Picasso’s painting a fence.  They both finish.  You say to the first person, “Nice job.”  You look at Picasso’s fence and you can’t take your eyes off of it.

In terms of behavior, however – what is up there on the screen – it’s just two people, painting a fence.

Still, as impossible as the creative process is to portray, moviemakers continue to make efforts to portray it.  And they invariably get to.


The superficial explanation:

FILMMAKER:  “I want to make a movie about Brian Wilson and ‘The Beach Boys.’”

STUDIO BOSS:  “Will it have that spectacular ‘Beach Boys’ music in it?”

FIILMMAKER:  “Vo’ den?”  (A Yiddish colloquialism for “Of course!”)

STUDIO BOSS:  “Green light!”

(Meaning, “I am approving the making of this movie.”)

Substantially because of the built-in marketing advantage of the music.

This explanation, however, excludes the always-popular “tortured artist” component of the movie.  To whom is it “always popular”?  I am getting ahead of myself here, but, for me, this is the real explanation for why filmmakers are inexorably drawn to “creative process/slash/tortured artist” genre of movie.

Listen to this.  This is a great line.

In the movie Charlie Bubbles (1967), a successful but troubled writer runs into a working class acquaintance of his father’s, who asks him,

“Are you still working, Sir, or do you just do the writing now?”

This is the unspoken agony of all “creatives.”  That the world at large does not actually believe that they do anything.  At least not anything that is demonstrably worthwhile.

As a “creative” him or her self, the filmmaker harbors this torturous concern.  And what is their proactive response?  They make movies demonstrating how uniquely difficult “The Creative Process” is, including the price, in terms of personal carnage, that is paid by the participants.

FAKE PSYCHOANALYST EARL:  Hungry for their approval, the filmmakers are subliminally telling their fathers,

I work hard too!”

To make it palatable, they channel their filial plea for acceptance through a paralleling third party which, in this case, is Brian Wilson.

Love & Mercy may not hit the bulls-eye, but it comes closer than other “tortured artist” movies I have been required to sit through. 

And as a bonus, you get to hear some really memorable “Beach Boys” tunes.
AlohaA word that now has three meanings – “Hello.”  “Goodbye.”  And “An agonizing mess of a movie by a formerly admirable writer-director who seems to have unfortunately lost his way.”  When a movie with “A-List” aspirations has a “Running Time” of just a hundred-and-five minutes, you get the feeling that large chunks of it have been strategically cut out, causing you to leave the theater unhappy about the movie, but yet grateful that you were not subjected to the longer version.
SpyExtremely popular with the audience I saw it with, but not with me.  Lemme ask you something.

Why is it that “crudeness” demonstrated by men becomes “empowerment” when demonstrated by women?
Dr. M is returning home today.  The woman has “Movie Taste.” 

Now things will definitely pick up.


Galen said...

In an almost relative aside, I rented a Jimi Hendrix biopic in January, starring the talented Andre Benjamin. Just before I rec'd the disc, however, I read in the paper that the Hendrix family (his sister) had refused to license Jimi's music for the film because they were not included in the production. Seemed rather pointless to make the film but they did it anyway, using covers he'd done in the 66-67 time frame that the movie was about. I have since learned that he'd had 3 major singles and one album in that time period. Was an interesting flick but once I'd read about the no music clause, I was sure it would be a let down.

As a Beach Boys fan from day one, I'm looking forward to the movie's release on Netflix.

Did you get to see Estrada pitch against the Rays yesterday? Thought we might have a perfecto. I was getting anxious too, just as I was when Max Scherzer was perfect through 8 2/3 innings on Sat. Or Sunday.

Wendy M. Grossman said...

Because for men crudeness is just attention-getting behavior and for women it's breaking out of centuries of limitations placed on them. Go back 50 years and women were supposed to be ladies. Women are still bursting out of the burden of that.

That said, there's crude and there's crude. TWO BROKE GIRLS makes crass comments that are joke-shaped but not funny. INSIDE AMY SCHUMER uses raunch and satire to make very well-aimed points about society and tell (often but not solely feminist) stories women haven't really told before. The FRIDAY NIGHT LIGHTS spoof in the first episode of this season is genius.