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Not That Downey Jr.

June 28th, 2013 § Leave a Comment

Vitriolic is probably the first word that come to mind.

I was but a wee lad during Downey Jr.’s late 80s television career, and I’ve gone all these years up till now unaware of his existence. A flash in the pan of TV careers, but its effects are still felt today. I certainly was raised by a father who listens to conservative talk radio programs (Hannity, Limbaugh, etc), so I’m no stranger to over-the-top talk show hosts. Watching footage from the show, especially later during the show’s lifespan, it made me think more of Jerry Springer than anything. Just the sheer bustling energy of people yelling and the absurdity of the guests, though Jerry doesn’t yell at and insult his guests.

It’s all show business though, and I appreciate the honest depiction of created persona. It’s a little more obvious to educated audiences nowadays, with the winking satire of Stephen Colbert on four nights a week, but listening to Morton Downey Jr.’s fans gush about him being “real” and “the only one telling the truth,” maybe we’re not that much past that era. I know I lose respect for people when they claim an on air personality as genuine and the only correct viewpoint.

For chrissakes, pretty much all cable news is just shouted opinion nowadays!

Anywho, see where it all started this film. Where it all started on TV for real anyway, I couldn’t help but think about NETWORK while watching.

"I'm mad as hell, and I'm not going to take it anymore!"

“I’m mad as hell, and I’m not going to take it anymore!”

—informed and aware, dan

Utterly Simplistic in Its Beauty

June 22nd, 2013 § Leave a Comment

It is a splendid thing to see such a profoundly personal and autobiographical film that elevates its author to the universal everyman. Anyone who was ever unlucky in love can identify with Terence Nance, the man who deftly weaves his admittedly transparent love letter of a short film to the Girl (whose name is blurred out in the titles and letters, but who is blatantly named in all the credits in chapter title cards) into his newer filmic musing on all his past relationships to create a feature length film-within-a-film.

The different music (including a favorite of mine, Flying Lotus), animation sequences, voice overs, and other cinematic tools and techniques don’t feel cliched or contrived. There is no hint of a disgenuine use of anything. The aural and visual collage becomes less cinema and more Def Poetry Jam or stage monologue. Truly an arthouse film experience, but almost not a film at all, much to Terence’s credit.

Get it, falling in love?

Get it, falling in love?

I wouldn’t really say this is hip-hop cinema (I think we’ve already seen what that looks like, RZA), cinematic jazz, or any number of other African American cultural art form metaphors. As much as I hate to admit it, Charles Mudede is on to something when he says it “may be the first feature film that successfully expresses a cinematic black aesthetic.” Damn you Mudede for making me say you were right!

See this film. It is not a narrative film, not a documetnary nor an experimental film, it may be the start of a brand new cinematic movement: a new African American cultural touchstone. Watch out, Spike Lee.

—good to be back, dan

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