For you, the dress code is casual.

Saturday, August 02, 2008

The Morning Movie Show

I'm into my coffee and watching There Will Be Blood for the first time just now, and I'm deliberately stretching it out. Daniel Day Lewis is getting his first whiff of Eli Sunday and I can see the climax starting as the act breaks and gears start to shift.

Daniel Day Lewis. Now there's an incredible guy, huh? Best actor of his generation, decides he's fed up, walks away, and becomes a shoe cobbler in an Italian village. What?

Actually, I totally get it. I understand that. Just walk away and resume the simple life? Fuck yeah. That'd be my kind of post-Hollywood lifestyle. But I've liked Daniel Day Lewis since the wayyyyy early days -- My Beautiful Laundrette. Yeah, saw that in, what, 1988 on video? I saw it before My Left Foot was released, though.

So, those movies had me as a huge fan long before In the Name of the Father was a movie poster I lived with for three years. :) When he just walked away from everything, god, I was disappointed, but I got it.

But he's back. And, damn, is he still good. Just better and better. Making shoes seems to have agreed with him.

One of these years, I should take a film appreciation class or something. I'm pretty darned knowledgeable about films and old-school cinema, but it's all very rough and unpolished. But maybe that's part of my appeal.

But it's like in Easy Riders, Raging Bulls, that great book about the golden period of American indie cinema, the '70s -- the movies are fantastic, right, but when you put them into the larger context, that's when it's mind-blowing.

Something like Taxi Driver is, was, will always be, brilliant, but when you put it into the "safe and predictable" Hollywood that was only then really being dismantled in favour for a new movie industry -- one where widespread simultaneous movie openings was to become a new model, as opposed to the old system where films went "on tour" for a long time -- and Hollywood was really, literally, beginning to take risks on films... It's amazing it ever got made at all.

Me, I'm a huge old-school Scorcese fan. He's still pretty great, but he's lost his touch with the real people, the real world. Too rich and successful for too long -- too much distance from his Mean Streets, both literally and metaphorically. But Scorcese was also a product of his time -- the incredibly turbulent and raw decade of the '70s.

I've been hoping for a new '70s -- a new time of unrest and surprise and revigoration in Hollywood. I thought that the birth of digital media, the new ease with which movies can be made and distributed, and the viral potential of the internet might be the beginning of a new time in Hollywood.

See, the problem with media and art is, we've never really known what people truly thought about 'em. Now, with the net and the viral voice the population has, we better know what people want than ever.

And they apparently want Little Miss Sunshine and Juno. They apparently want their Mad Men and Breaking Bad and Californication. They like their moral ambiguity. They like their deeply flawed protagonists caught in real times, in real lives, with real challenges. They like their sordid and their murkiness and their off-the-cuff humour that doesn't come laced with grade-four fart jokes and guffaws.

It's almost like this small thread of truth is beginning to unravel in the independent film biz. Like this pulse-of-the-nation has been taken by writers like Dakota Cody and others who are bringing these smart, savvy stories out.

But there's still stupid shit coming out in Hollywood. There's still a failure to realize that most people are smarter than it might seem when one considers for which the media is created by the bigwigs.

Last year had some great movies, though. This year has been all right, too. I guess there'll always need to be crap, won't there? Ahh, well.