Monday, April 26, 2010

Crash Woes Update

It's not that I haven't seen any films recently. I'll try not to go into huge (read: boring) details, but two things of note before I dive into a couple of quick reviews.

Many of the films I've seen haven't been worth writing about. Having recently trashed Greenberg and Chloe, I'm not yet ready to once again cock back and hammer a few more. I guess that's point number one.

Point number two is a bit of a story. It goes something like this:

Our main Internet friendly computer crashed last week and is slowly in the process of being put back together. Honestly, this is a bit of a Humpty Dumpty tale, it seems there are problems with many of the cracked pieces and half the battle is simply choosing which parts to repair first. Poor old Humpty will probably end up in a landfill next time around. (Unless we figure out a more environmentally sound way to deal with it by then.)

About a week before that crash, I had another crash that was even more severe. My iPod, which was bought around the first time you ever heard the word "iPod," which has had its OS repaired many times over the years, decided it was time to fully crash the original hard drive and call life quits for good. Experts have used words like, "unrepairable," "a goner," "it's had it." I hate the word dead for this little device has been with me since the beginning of iPod chronology. It's slept with me, it's travelled with me, it's eaten with me, it has been a true friend.

Alas, I need a new friend. I can live without a phone, I've proven it recently. I can live without a car. In case of a hard drive crash I can even live without a computer, at least as long as it takes to get to a library and find something suitable for a quick fix. However, I cannot live without Arcade Fire, Iron & Wine, Bon Iver, Beirut, Radiohead, Blonde Redhead, Coldplay, Starflyer 59, Black Rebel Motorcycle Club (etc etc., see the column to the right for more details)... and an overabundance of various teachings from the years from Rob Bell at Mars Hill.

In searching for my new friend, by the way, did you know they make these things these days with video!? And you can simply touch the screen with your fingers and magical things happen. It goes wherever you want -- whatever your little mind desires, it can have. Reminds me of Clint Eastwood in Firefox, but this is reality. Whatever the mind of man can conceive and believe, the iPod Touch can achieve...

So I've got this new 32 gig Touchy Feely little-little device and it just so happens I'm taking quite a few trains between Chicago and Grand Rapids at the moment. It occurred to me that maybe I could watch a movie on the 3-1/2" screen. But really. Who would do that? A movie? On that little thing? Why? It is an affront to moviedom in general. The entire global and social structure of fine arts involves a certain way a film is supposed to be seen. It involves community and large-ish-ness... And wonder and enrapture. Things that would never happen on a little screen on train tracks, right?

But, oh -- I didn't consider that one kind of movie that might actually be both suitable and perfect for a moment such as this. There's this thing, it is called a "documentary." It's not quite like other films. It's more about a relaying of information than it is a film experience in general, and the information is typically more important than the movie-going traditions.


Look, I'm not going to watch the latest Haneke or Claire Denis or Coen or Dardenne brothers on a 3-1/2" screen. That's just not going to happen. And I can't think of anyone that would think it'd be cool to watch Avatar or The Hurt Locker or the latest Emmerich like 2012 or the upcoming Robin Hood on such a little device with ear buds. A few of those I can barely handle in the theater as is. (I'm talking to you, Emmerich.)

But a well done doc can sometimes be more like a good college class with a funloving professor -- usually leftist -- it relays itself with great visual information, the "information" part being much more important than the "visual," except in rare cases maybe like Bus 174 or Touching the Void.

So I tried it, on the train. And it was a wonderful learning experience for me. (I'm really beginning to like the train again, btw. Especially now that you can watch movies -- errr, documentaries -- and you don't have to worry about a steering wheel.)

I've used this method on two docs so far. Later today I'll be posting on Collapse, a conspiracy-"fact"-as-opposed-to-conspiracy-"theory" film in which Michael Ruppert is allowed to speak at us for 82 straight minutes -- and he's actually quite interesting to give ear to for that amount of time.

And then tomorrow I'll post some sort of venting or scathing reaction to Fall From Grace, a film which I am still burning about.

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