Friday, September 29, 2006


I'm bored with the whole syntax of posting here. (Not that I have any real reason to be; I've been mostly absent for the last six months or so.) The process of writing a "movie review," conjuring up some witty verbage to somehow differentiate my writing and/or opinion from the masses, then thinking of how I have to - in turn - update every other ridiculous page (the reviews, the top tens, &c.) becomes, well, such a daunting act of the quotidian that I decide it's time to stop before I even think of it being a grand idea to begin. Eesh.

So, instead - and at least for a little bit - this things gonna' be freeform. That is, I think I'll try just...blogging. Which is strange, because I find that (now "this") format really boring. But, I think & hope, it will keep me writing in some form or another. (Aside: I think my State of the Union posts now outnumber my Cinema-related posts.)

This is all to say, you should check this out. It's a stream of the new The Hold Steady album, Boys and Girls in America. The album comes out Oct. 3, and - amazingly - there has been no leak of it yet. So this is pretty much the only way to hear it until Tuesday. Like their last, Separation Sunday, it's good. Give it a twirl.

Oh, and yeah, real quick: saw Half Nelson and The Devil and Daniel Johnston. Both are worth seeing, the latter moreso than the former. Half Nelson is remarkably adroit, especially considering it's banal premise: hip young teacher wants to make a change, even if it's just one life. And also, he's addicted to crack. Like I said, that it doesn't come off heavy-handed and saccharine is remarkable. Gosling - as I've seen it thus far - deserves an Oscar. And so does Anthony Mackie.

As for D&DJ, the film and those involved are absolutely sure that Daniel Johnston is a genius, and maybe he is, but the fact that the film assumes this fact allows it to - maybe without intention - explore the way in which people respond to "genius" rather than a person who happens to be genius. It's both pathetic and alarming because - first, the obvious - the people around DJ, including the filmmakers, conflate the person and the "genius," both commodifying and objectifying Johnston. Alarming because the viewer is implicated - the phenomenon of Daniel Johnston is so damn interesting that the viewer forgets he's watching a person's life. Nonetheless, the film is limited in scope because, well, how interesting can this be? DJ's a great subject, but also a sort of one trick pony. At least he's treated that way as the subject of this documentary.


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