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7/25/2005

Titularly Oriented, I Promise

I came back from Virginia and proceeded to watch no less than three movies: Rockers, Boyz n the Hood, and Twin Peaks: Fire Walk With Me. The first two I hadn't seen, and thought that Rockers was probably cooler than The Harder They Come as far as stylized and basically plotless movies seemingly designed for viewers to watch hip Jamaican people in the 70's simply exist go; the strength of the patois alone was almost enough (there were subtitles!). Also, great cameos/appearances by Gregory Isaacs, Burning Spear, Jack Ruby, and a bunch of others in that crowd. Actually, a very beautiful scene of Burning Spear singing a capella on the beach, too.

Boyz n the Hood was good, but I probably should've seen it before the whole narrative and every type was irrevocably assimilated and subsumed into the general cultural conversation about "The Hood." Maybe its familiarity is just a testament to its quality, I dunno. The fall guy with the pacifier almost seemed to anticipate parodies like Don't Be a Menace to South Central While Drinking Your Juice in the Hood, whose particular brand of cheeky, relaxed racism is one of those phases of american cinema that has passed on to bigger, better, more subliminal things. (Sadly, cheeky, relaxed racism isn't the only variety there is to deal with. Case in point, the recent oh-my-god "tribal dance" visual analogy in the otherwise decent Rize.)

Fire Walk With Me is a distaster (and I knew that), but I love Twin Peaks too much to have resisted watching it. I won't bore you with my thoughts otherwise.

Not much in the way of words around the hut today. About to watch another movie (I need a break from music, but not a break from cultural consumption), but HERE>>> is the part where I say "listen to 'The Boy With Bosoms' by Harvey Milk." It is yawning and wonderful: 7 inch Black Sabbath played at 33 RPM (for real), mixed with Bach counterpoint drowning in cough syrup, a stumbling baroque-core. Bedhead's Transaction De Novo is the only other thing I can think of that does what this song does, all sinewy bass pings and ridiculously skeletal harmonics, but Bedhead didn't really do the fuzz thing all that convincingly. "The Boy With Bosoms" just does it, a monolithic quasi-yuletide colossus. Thanks to Robbie Mackey for the initial exposure and the recent reminder.

Also, big up to Brad Shoup for a really nice personal history (I guess?) about Contemporary Christian Music on Stylus.

2 Comments:

Blogger Brad said...

I really ought to watch both Rockers and The Harder They Come. It'd be neat to see some Burning Spear video - I just have a disc.

about Bonnie Prince Billy... yeah, I listened to it for the first time. I'd never seen it used before, although I own both Guarapero and Days in the Wake, and the preview spin in the store was okay but not great.

There are albums where if I don't like them on the first couple listens, I figure I'm right. But this album is so highly regarded that I have to try it again soon.

Thanks for the note!

11:21 AM  
Blogger Quizmox said...

it's weird to think that people have seen "don't be a menace..." and NOT "boyz n the hood." once you get past how unique the latter felt when it first came out (new jack city was the same year, but "boyz" succeeds on how very different and specific its atmosphere/aura is), it's simply (to me) a Quality Drama, in the whole rubber-ball pit of Quality Dramas that every film award sponsors and promotes. i'd be interested in reading more about the film's legacy within the specific community it sought to document.

the tribal-dance scene in "rize" didn't bug me that much at first, as i thought to myself, "i bet a lot of the people in this movie are perfectly comfortable seeing themselves in this analogy." which is an unfounded assumption, but i bet (another unevidenced assumption) a lot of subsubcultural movements are eager to find in themselves some mythic primacy or timelessness, whether for stability or legitimacy's sake. of course, this sort of thought only thickens the racism involved, and it wasn't until initially talking to you that i slapped myself for my willful ignorance.

yet i still think to myself -- and for this i am somewhat grateful for the scene's inclusion in the film (i'd rather see a movie with weird ragged edges than with efficient curves) -- about whether the characters in the film would be happy about the filmic analogy (so. central dance vs. "african" dance), and if so, how curious that phenomenon always is.

"fire walk with me" may be a disaster, but it is the kind of disaster i am thankful for. (just like "dune"?) the strobe-red-nightclub-orgy scene is still one of my favorite scenes in all of narrative feature film.

i just watched "f for fake" for the 1 & 1/2 time and it's goofy and great.

5:01 PM  

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