Tuesday, February 26, 2008

Be Kind, Rewind

It's been an interesting week. For one thing, really the most thingy thing, Lior showed up. Also I took a career assessment thing... I'm not sure what to do with that, but it brings up an interesting topic sort of.

First, I had thought that Lior had blocked my screen name and basically didn't want anything to do with me anymore. He says he didn't block me, he just ghosts... and while I have my doubts on that score, it doesn't really matter all that much. It was nice to spend time with him again. We went to medieval times. he seems to have lost contact with pretty much everyone, but there's still a part of me that feels he shouldn't have let himself lose contact with me the way we have. but oh well, moving on.

the one thing that came out of the assessment that find interesting, so far, is something I've been saying for a long time now, and thinking for even longer. the night before my parents went over the results, which they did before I did, I had a conversation with Lior about how I basically have no ambition or drive, and he kept saying basically I need to create ambition and drive and I should write more and practice writing and just always be writing. my response was that I don't really like writing. certainly not enough to practice at it and really hone my craft. I've been saying this for years... I'm a good writer. I could probably be a really good writer. but I just don't love it.

oh sure, if I have a great idea and can write a story that I really like, it feels great. but that hardly ever happens, and I don't enjoy the pursuit. writing is something that I would truly like to want to do, but not really something that I, in actuality, want to do. don't get me wrong, my dream job is still writing for television. but not enough to put hours daily into that pursuit and do the things that are necessary to making it a viable possibility. I would also like to win the lottery. if the opportunity arises, I'll jump at it. but in the meantime, I'm not buying tickets.

the interesting thing is that when my parents looked over my career assessment results, they said that the results listed writing as one of my abilities, but not really so much one of my interests. they said that they've known this for years, dating back to high school, and were surprised when I chose it as my major because it was clearly not something I love. I don't recall them actually ever having said this to me, but that's okay. I knew it anyway... I just had to pick a major is all.

switching gears, I saw be kind, rewind yesterday and would like to talk about it. I did not like it, but I find it interesting enough to warrant discussion on why it was not good.

I went into the theater knowing nothing about the movie except that it starred jack black. the last thing I had seen with him was nacho libre, and I was expecting something similar. at least it wasn't that.

this is not a jack black film. it's just a movie that he happens to have a lead role in. he does play his character the same way he would play a school of rock or nacho libre role, but it isn't the focus of the movie.

the movie fails on several levels. for one thing, there is a subplot of the movie about a famous jazz musician that was said to have lived in the small town the movie takes place, and have been born in the building which the titular video rental store occupies. the movie opens with the story of him, and for a good twenty minutes the opening left me confused as to what the movie proper was going to be about. it turns out the jazz musician guy thing was just a very forced plot device to sort of tie the movie together and give it an ending. it was not necessary, and didn't add anything to the greater idea of the movie.

then jack black's character tries to sabotage an electrical plant, and receives an electric shock which lifts him in the air, and holds him there. he, unbelievably, survives. even more unbelievably, he becomes magnetized. this is magical realism. I do not like magical realism, as a rule, and this instance is no exception.

magical realism is generally a forced plot device. if the guy hadn't turned into a bug there would be no metamorphosis. in the case of be kind, rewind, this is the second massively forced plot device. this one is used to destroy the inventory of the vhs rental store. the magnetism is later remedied in a somewhat throwaway scene where jack black takes a massive magnetic piss when the device is no longer needed to propel the plot.

the characters of the movie straddle the space of being realistic and not. often times minor characters will say or do things that are just plain stupid in an obvious attempt to move the plot forward without figuring out a realistic or meaningful way of doing so.

there is also an implied crush/love interest relationship between Morgan freeman's character and one of the minor characters which is never explored.

all of this would be acceptable if the movie was funny. but it isn't. which is made all the more annoying because it really could have been. it creates a lot of opportunities for great comedy, and then just plain falls short. specifically, the entire sequence where they are making their first movie remake of Ghostbusters. that could have been an hilarious (an, not a, before a word beginning with h) sequence. but instead it garners only one or two minor chuckles.

the most frustrating thing about this movie is that the premise has so much potential, and consistently falls short.

the ending of the film is also very forced. forgetting for a moment that it ends with the previously discussed forced plot device of the jazz musician, the final note of the film is the town congregating around the video store watching the last film these guys have made before the store is demolished. this would be a fine final note, except that the rest of the movie was never about bringing the town together. it was about saving this video store through the production of these "sweeded" films. the town coming together in that way doesn't warm the heart like it would in a Disney film ending on a similar note, because that aspect hasn't been introduced before. it's just there as a period to a sentence that was in need of some other sort of punctuation.

so, steer clear of this movie... unless of course the stuff I have to say about it makes it seem endearing in some way. if, for instance, you really like magical realism and clever ideas that try but fail to bridge the gap between just a clever idea and something that is actually funny or interesting.

and just because I didn't mention it, that doesn't mean that Stacy has become any less of a burden to my psyche over the past week. just saying.

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