Friday, June 13, 2008

What I've Watched thus Far

OK, so I have been negligent in my film watching and blogging. I know, I know!! It's only the second week, and I should be way more on top of this, but I'm just not. Sorry.

I have only watched two movies so far...Harold and Kumar go to White Castle and Logan's Run, both of which I got from my favorite rental place - Hugo Boffo's Hall of Film (umm, a.k.a, my brother's film collection!)

I asked HB to lend me 5 movies because I already had two of his I still need to watch. So he loaned me 7. sigh. Anyway, here are some small insights on Harold and Kumar and Logan's Run -

Harold and Kumar:
Super fun hero's journey story about two friends with the munchies on a quest for White Castle, and, by extension, the American Dream (of cheap food...). I really enjoyed this and laughed a lot, though I don't know if all the jokes would be as appreciated by some of my more straight laced readers.

I have some issues with the portrayal of women in the film, but after watching the interview with the screenwriters in the special features, I can't say I'm surprised. All in all though, it is pretty fantastic that we have a mainstream film out there about two average American stoner guys who just happen to be Indian and Asian.

Logan's Run:
Before I watched this, HB suggested I compare it with Star Wars, which came out a year later (because of the vast difference in how the film makers choose to do a Sci-Fi film). Well, I did that, and it is true - very different techniques! Still, my mind kept wandering to compare it with Soylent Green with Charlton Heston. The biggest difference is the ending, but otherwise, they are ridiculously similar, right down to the empty warehouse-like-treatment facility. In a way, I thought the LR acting was better and some of the cinematography. The friends I watched it with loved the miniature set that was used for overhead shots of the futuristic society, and I was partial to the old cat man who introduces Logan and his Lady to the concept of "family". The other big difference between LR and SG is that LR seems to have a stronger underlying moral. The hedonistic people of the city are so totally obsessed with sex, beauty and youth that they are fooled into thinking they get reborn at age 30, when in fact they just get killed in a bizarre ritual.

"Hello? 1973? Yeah, I have reality on the line for you, I'm patching it through..."

I think this is a very thinly veiled attempt at commenting on the late sixties, early seventies pop culture in America - the whole sex, love, and rock and roll movement - saying that all that is fine for a while, but at some point you need to wake up, grow up and start a real family.

OK, that's all I have for now. I plan on watching 5 more movies this weekend, so stay tuned!


Auntie Knickers said...

Your comments sound good to me, although it's hard for me to judge as I haven't seen any of the movies (except Star Wars -- and that was a long, long time ago, so long ago that OHP and I went separately, switching off caring for Hugo Boffo.)

Niels said...

My point about Logan's Run vs. Star Wars was intended to be more about their respective formal qualities. The art direction (of course), but also the rest of the mise-en-scene, and the general philosophical underpinnings of those elements. You are correct that LR has a great deal in common with Soylent Green in terms of plot elements and set pieces. Going back a little further into the literature of science fiction, it also references Yevgeny Zamyatin's novel We which could almost be the template for the totality of 20th century science fiction, if you exclude some of the outlying and revisionist stuff.

Harold and Kumar qualifies, I think, as difficult satire. Certainly there's nothing in it that should be unfamiliar or inaccessible to viewers of Spike Lee's Bamboozled or Robert Downey's Putney Swope. At least since the publication of Huckleberry Finn however, it should have been apparent to everyone that satire which intersects with the issue of race in the US is always going to be fraught. Throughout the film, the characters make fairly standard assumptions about race and class and gender. Those assumptions are almost always wrong, and if the audience allows itself to be gulled along with the characters, it too deserves its comeuppance. What's more, the film's ostensible political point -- that members of historically oppressed groups can find in their solidarity a real and viable culture of resistance to patriarchy and white supremacy -- is something that doesn't show up in too many Hollywood movies.

-Hugo Boffo

Auntie Knickers said...

Now Zamyatin's WE, or Mbl (my attempt at typing Russian letters in English) is something I read -- many many years ago in college -- I know I did. I was supposed to, and it was short, and in English, for a course called Soviet Literature in Translation. But I'll be hornswoggled if I can remember it. Must be getting old. Da, me and all my starry droogies. (Ever seen A Clockwork Orange?)

Onkel Hankie Pants said...

Yup, it is a good thing to have ". . . a mainstream film out there about two average American stoner guys who just happen to be Indian and Asian."

But, wait a minute, oh no, it's one of those flashbacks! No, stop! Stop! Aarrrggh . . . . . . .

"Its Dave man! Will you open up, I got the stuff with me!"