This is officially my Anxiety Summer, as it’s the first time in my life that I have to worry about unemployment, paying rent, and buying food. Adulthood FTW! (That glamorous logo you see above was designed by Miles of The Daily Robot.) But thankfully, there’s more to my summer ’11 than just hunger and creative stagnancy. I’ve also been reading lots of sharp, funny, and insightful film writing online…
First of all, we have David Bordwell, the guy who wrote the book on movies. He’s one of my heroes, as well as one of the best, clearest film writers out there. So it stands to reason that he’d add a very valuable two cents to that whole “cultural vegetables” discussion I talked about a few weeks back. His piece “Good and good for you” is essential reading, addressing trends in filmmaking and reception that have led viewers like Dan Kois to give up on austere art films. Bordwell writes:
Why shouldn’t people follow Kois in giving up their vegetables? No reason, except that they’re missing some worthwhile cinematic experiences.
Then he illustrates that contention with visual examples from Ozu, Béla Tarr, and more. This is why he’s awesome. It’s a fine defense of movies that may be resolutely unconventional or inaccessible, but great nonetheless—movies that I’m dying to see more of. Not just as “aspirational viewing,” as Kois calls it, but because these movies are pleasurable, if in a different and difficult way.
If any movie I watch this summer can give me a pleasure matching the end of Stalker, the color palette of Floating Weeds, or the entirety of Uncle Boonmee Who Can Recall His Past Lives, I will be all the happier for it.
It’s hard to follow up David Bordwell, but I got a dual pleasure from these two reviews of Cars 2: “It’s a CAR-TASTROPHE” by Alex of Film Forager and another review by Bryce Wilson of Things That Don’t Suck. Alex, covering both films, ponders the inconsistencies and bizarre logic of the Cars universe; Bryce points out the many appealing qualities of Cars 2 that make its Larry the Cable Guy-centric writing that much more tragic. I haven’t seen a second of either Cars movie, but I enjoyed every word of these reviews.
Finally, Jeffrey Sconce of Ludic Despair gives us the “Zookeeper Checklist.” Genius. You owe it to yourself to read it.