Sunday, May 24, 2009

"The Slings and Arrows of Outrageous Fortune"

Last night I dreamt I was at a combination hotel/high school populated mostly by young gangsters. I was in gym class when I had to use the bathroom--as I was walking up to a urinal, a gangster about my age stood between me and folded his arms saying, "I'm going to use that urinal. Use another one."

For some reason, I still very much wanted to use that particular urinal, so I tried to walk around him. I knew this was kind of a challenging gesture, but I didn't like being told what to do.

As I was trying to walk around him, he brought out a steel tomahawk and threw it at me. Somehow I caught it by the handle.

"Oh, so now you have a weapon, bigshot!" he said. "You wanna fight, then?" He brought out a knife and waited just a second before he threw it at me.

I caught the knife by the handle as well.

"Well, fuck you, I don't need a weapon!" he said and rushed at me. I'm not sure what happened, but somehow I soon had a circular saw and I was slowly cutting through his neck. I thought it would be prudent to stop before I completely decapitated him, deciding blood might still possibly flow between his head and body normally, maybe after a little while. I removed the upper shoulders and head from the body to hide them until they finished healing, at which point the head turned purple, its eyes bulged, its lips peeled back from the teeth, and it grew a collar of bright green leaves.

Before I could hide it, another gangster came in and saw me. He told me I would be forgiven if I started referring to gay people as "faggots"--naturally, the school was full of homophobes. I refused, so I was imprisoned with a bunch of other people in a windowless penthouse of one of the place's hotel sections.

The walls were all bright white, like a Stanley Kubrick movie, with leafy patterned gold trim and the floor was dark burgundy carpet. I wanted to try to escape, but everyone else was afraid, except for a pale girl about my age. Together, we found our way somehow though locked red doors and white cubicle mazes until we were back at the dirt and asphalt field where the gym class I'd left was being conducted. No-one acknowledged our presence and I could tell it was because everyone was too afraid to contemplate the possibility that people might escape from the penthouse.

It was a hot, cloudless day and felt concerned the pale girl might get sunburned since she was only wearing a two piece swimsuit.

Here are my tweets from last night;

Lights aren't real 'til they streak across the screen.
Another harvest goes to Yoghurt Mill.
No midget or dwarf is full from a bean.
I should like to talk via Lynch's Lil.

I went to see Star Trek again yesterday with my sister, who hadn't seen it yet. As I was watching, I thought about this post in Jim Emerson's blog wherein Emerson gripes at length about the excessive lens flares in the movie. Last night I kept more conscious track of how constant they are, especially onboard the Enterprise--white lines constantly shoot across the screen, sometimes the image is completely overwhelmed in stray flashes.

I don't hate it as much as Emerson. I certainly don't think they do the film any service, but like the shaky exterior camera for cgi space sequences in this, Battlestar Galactica, and Firefly, I feel more sadness for the calloused imagination in the audiences of to-day that requires these things. We've come a long way from the footage of a train coming at the camera causing viewers to panic--everyone's aware of the camera now and no one likes to be told the camera's not there. If shit's going down, we'd damn well better perceive some distress on the cameraman's part, and if people are having a tense discussion, you can't expect anyone to invest in it if we insist on some polite fiction about the camera not being there.

But the ironic thing is, in the cgi sequences, the camera's not there. A camera's presence has to be announced not for conscious thought, but the subliminal need of the incredulous viewer who's terrified of being caught unaware of the fact he's watching fictional occurrences.

I see this as a side effect of proliferation of reality TV and VH1 style interview shows. It's all part of the general consciousness' retreat from plain fantasy, never suspecting as it does that it's backing into another, but more stilted, stratum of fantasy.

Something else I thought about as I watched the movie is its large quantity of close-up shots. Very often, a character's chin is at the bottom of the screen while his or her forehead is at the top. I remember Ian McKellen in The Fellowship of the Ring commentary talking about how extreme close-ups on Elrond and the human warriors in the opening sequence prevented it from seeming too Monty Python--it's all part of a modern trend that combats the reflexive retreat from investment with fantasy by smashing actors' expressions right into the camera. It's almost like the parlance of modern filmmaking is trying to find the clitoris of the human soul through a flack diaper of cynicism. Audiences have lost the courage to remove their flack diapers before entering a movie theatre.

Actually, I kind of like all the close-up shots. They allow actors to use all kinds of tiny muscles on their faces to create nuances of expression. So not all the devices used to reach our psychologically repressed culture are, in my opinion, bad.

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