In which a group of graying eternal amateurs discuss their passions, interests and obsessions, among them: movies, art, politics, evolutionary biology, taxes, writing, computers, these kids these days, and lousy educations.

E-Mail Donald
Demographer, recovering sociologist, and arts buff

E-Mail Fenster
College administrator and arts buff

E-Mail Francis
Architectural historian and arts buff

E-Mail Friedrich
Entrepreneur and arts buff
E-Mail Michael
Media flunky and arts buff

We assume it's OK to quote emailers by name.

Try Advanced Search

  1. Kubrick Rerereredux
  2. Kubrick re-re-redux

Sasha Castel
AC Douglas
Out of Lascaux
The Ambler
Modern Art Notes
Cranky Professor
Mike Snider on Poetry
Silliman on Poetry
Felix Salmon
Polly Frost
Polly and Ray's Forum
Stumbling Tongue
Brian's Culture Blog
Banana Oil
Scourge of Modernism
Visible Darkness
Thomas Hobbs
Blog Lodge
Leibman Theory
Goliard Dream
Third Level Digression
Here Inside
My Stupid Dog
W.J. Duquette

Politics, Education, and Economics Blogs
Andrew Sullivan
The Corner at National Review
Steve Sailer
Joanne Jacobs
Natalie Solent
A Libertarian Parent in the Countryside
Rational Parenting
Colby Cosh
View from the Right
Pejman Pundit
God of the Machine
One Good Turn
Liberty Log
Daily Pundit
Catallaxy Files
Greatest Jeneration
Glenn Frazier
Jane Galt
Jim Miller
Limbic Nutrition
Innocents Abroad
Chicago Boyz
James Lileks
Cybrarian at Large
Hello Bloggy!
Setting the World to Rights
Travelling Shoes

Redwood Dragon
The Invisible Hand
Daze Reader
Lynn Sislo
The Fat Guy
Jon Walz


Our Last 50 Referrers

Wednesday, August 7, 2002

Kubrick Rerereredux
Michael -- I rented "Eyes Wide Shut" and hit the eject button about 20 minutes into it. What a snore. Kubrick managed to direct some interesting movies up to about 1972. "Dr. Strangelove" and "Lolita" are genuinely interesting. "2001," "Clockwork Orange," "Paths of Glory and "Spartacus" have their moments. But as far as I'm concerned, he could have been struck by an asteroid at that point and I wouldn't have missed anything. Frankly, other than fondly remembering Nicole Kidman's bottom as she walked away from the camera in a long, flowing dress and high heels, my rememberance is that "Eyes Wide Shut" was laughably bad. Kubrick, Altman and Woody Allen all seem, on some level, to be of greater interest as cases of how to be a "movie virus" than as artists -- that is, their life stories show how to infect the defense mechanisms of the movie industry and turn them against themselves (like HIV), so that studios helplessly produce their films. As regards "Y Tu Mama," what I was objecting to was the reductionism. I felt the story was reduced to a political cartoon by the ending. Other than that, it was fun. Question: What is the proper mix of reality and fantasy in movies? Can you say that the "journalistic" component of a piece of narrative art has ever taught you anything meaningful about life? (I will grant you that meditating on "MacBeth" taught me some practical lessons about growing up in my family, but it has no discernable sense of "real" time or place, unlike, say, "Madame Bovary," which is loaded with "journalism" but which I can't say has had any discernable impact on my life.) What do you think about this? Cheers, Friedrich... posted by Friedrich at August 7, 2002 | perma-link | (2) comments

Monday, August 5, 2002

Kubrick re-re-redux
Friedrich -- Sherman? I dimly recall from the two books I ever read about the Civil War (a kiddie picture book, and Bruce Catton's one-volume history) -- no, I recall almost nothing about him, dimly or not. Atlanta, burning, Southerners hating him... A bad guy? I don't think I've I've ever identified with a military figure, at least since I was a "war"-playing kid. But I was surprised how much I enjoyed, and how much I was moved by, two adult ventures in reading about war -- Paul Fussell's "Wartime" and John Keegan's "A History of Warfare," both of them terrif. Fussell's book mentions and praises many war memoirs -- "With the Old Breed on Peliliu" is one such, about WWII in the Pacific. Have you read it? Looking back on our earlier exchanges, I notice that I was unfair to Kubrick, who I described as intellectually-driven. I think he was (do you?), but I was using the description as though it automatically implied a negative judgment -- "intellectually-driven"=bad. My failing. Even if I do tend not to enjoy most intellectually-driven art, grumble grumble. But of course there's some such I do enjoy, De Palma, for instance. Have you seen "Mission to Mars"? Many flaws, but also some beauty, brains and humanity. Plus a childlike sense of wonder (from De Palma!) that reminded me of how I felt as a kid looking at those charts of the solar system so many Boomer boys had tacked to their walls. When I wrote something online praising "Mission to Mars," I got tons of angry emails denouncing me, often viciously . It took me a while to understand who my correspondents were -- sci-fi geeks for whom "2001" is the gospel. And it took me a while to figure out why they so hated "Mission to Mars." It was because the movie had some human and poetic qualities. They like the I-am-a-computer quality of most sci-fi. They're geeks because life inside the machine and the mind makes more sense to them than does life in the body and the world. Or so I surmise. I should simply have said at some point that "Mission to Mars" was a sci-fi movie for people who don't usually like sci-fi movies. (Though I do wonder if the outraged geeks would have been less abusive if I had. What a badly-socialized lot they are!) There were certainly many reasons to not enjoy "Mission to Mars" -- some not-great writing, some flubbed acting. But it did have some poetry and some (perhaps over-earnest) emotionality. Sweetness, tenderness, innocence -- imagine that. Have you seen it? As for Kubrick -- what's wrong with creating a vivid picture of the "cage of intellect"? If indeed that's what he's doing, it's an achievement, whether I enjoy it or not. I don't know how you reacted to "Eyes Wide Shut." When I saw it at a screening, I found it amazingly bad. Thinking back on the movie now, I'm fascinated to find that... posted by Michael at August 5, 2002 | perma-link | (0) comments