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« Qualia, Neuroscience and Art | Main | Worst Movies »

June 30, 2003

Weekend Update


Just a few items that cropped up over the weekend:

Re my posting on Fathers, Sons and the Hulk, there is a lengthy and interesting profile of the film's director Ang Lee entitled “Becoming the Hulk,” in the June 30 issue of The New Yorker.

Re your post on Surfin' Ignominy, I thought you'd like to know that my 12-year old daughter went to her first day of surf camp in Malibu on Friday, where she managed to get up on her board and rode a wave at least 5 times. Kind of reminds me of that scene in "Personal Best" where the male coach sits in the bleachers drinking beer while his Olympic-level female athlete is training on the track, during which she passes an anonymous guy out jogging; the coach yells "You got passed by a girrrlllllll!" One of the great scenes in modern cinema.

Re my career as a weekend painter, I packed up my new foldable French easel and headed off into a canyon for a spot of plein-air painting, only to be attacked by a swarm of carnivorous insects. I tried to ignore them while creating a masterpiece; but I regret to announce the final outcome was Art 0, Insects 1. They even chased me back to my car and then buzzed around the windows making a noise that sounded like “…and don’t come back, punk.” I've had plenty of time to contemplate my humiliation while I dab my hundreds of insect bites with calomine lotion.

Re nothing in particular, I managed to dodge going to Lily Tomlin’s one-woman play, “The Search for Intelligent Life” by convincing my wife to take her girlfriend as a birthday present. While chortling evilly to myself at my cleverness, I then ended up having to take my daughter to “Charlie’s Angels: Full Throttle.” This was a bit too much good-girl sexiness—which has nothing to do with real-life sex, you understand—for me to take in a mere two hours. The situation was made worse by a weird coincidence—in twenty years of living in Los Angeles, I never saw such a collection of attractive women as were at that particular movie showing. All this goes to show that despite rumors to the contrary, there is a God, and that trying to take the easy way out is apparently an efficient way to piss him off.



posted by Friedrich at June 30, 2003


How'd you react to the "Charlies Angels" movie? How'd your daughter? With the pretence of "keeping up with pop culture," The Wife and I saw it this weekend too. Sellout audience, mostly girls. I'm only guessing, but they didn't seem to enjoy it much. I thought it was much much worse than the first one, which I thought was plenty terrible, but it's not like I've got any feel for this kind of thing or like my opinion about this kind of thing should be of the least interest to anyone. I guess I was mildly fascinated by a few things. One was how hard the new, David Lachapelle hyperbright poppy cinematography is on people's faces when it's projected up on a great big movie screen. No face can stand up to that, not even a supercute one. Like the rest of the audience, I was thoroughly confused by the plot, and by the fact that Lucy Liu's father was played by the very Anglo John Cleese. "Huh? What was with that?" said an Asian girl teen leaving the theater ahead of us. I guess I think the idea of the franchise is brilliant -- why not have some campy, girly (but dynamic!) fun with the action-adventure format? Kick ass! And look good! But this one especially was like a greatest-video-hits collection that got thrown in a blender -- I've never seen a movie that was so clearly thought up as a series of two-minute, video-esque highlights that all just happen to star the same three actresses. Hmm, what else floated across my brain? Mostly I was wincing -- it's so bright, so crude, so loud. And so charmless. I found the first one charmless too, and I'm still wondering about this lack of charmlessness, especially given how much I sometimes enjoy the three Angel actresses. How did you and your daughter take the sexual stuff? Bigcity boho that I am, or sometimes pretend to be, I was still a little startled by what the movie was peddling to its presumably 10-year-old-girl audience -- pole dancing! Lots of butt-crack shots? Endless unfunny double-entendres? I walked out thinking, not for the first time, I guess "inhibitedness" can't be thought of as much of a problem anymore...

Posted by: Michael Blowhard on July 1, 2003 4:26 AM

Hmmm, I notice you didn't have anything to say about the surfing.

Letting that slide, my daughter (to the extent I could determine her feelings on the walk to the car) thought dressing up in cool costumes and kicking the asses of rotten evil men was quite intriguing. I think she thought large portions of the film couldn't be taken seriously on any level, but to her, this is just a normal aspect of commercial movies. I can't say as I can argue with her in that regard. (And, yeah, that whole thing with John Cleese was very puzzling; to me it just signalled that the film-makers had abandoned any attempt at coherence and were trying to let us know not to expect any.) The part that blew my mind, however, was the notion of "good girl" sexiness, which seems to be what the film is predicated on but which ends up seeming utterly un-sexy, utterly unconnected to the girl's personality or inner qualities. Very weird and unsettling to me; the film ended up feeling like I had been captured by Nazis and they had brought out Helga the She-Devil to lapdance my secrets out of me. A bit nightmarish, if I'm making myself at all clear.

Posted by: Friedrich von Blowhard on July 1, 2003 9:51 AM

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