Wednesday, August 17, 2005

The Underground Breakfast Sandwich Railroad

So yeah, I smuggled an Egg McMuffin away from it's oppresive stay in the main office. Given to me by my contact on the inside (the secretary), she had acquired the stray Muffin from the vile Quality Assurance Manager. She insisted I save the sandwich by smuggling it within my pants to the greener pastures of the Parts Room. Always an adventure at Otech.

I'm a regular Harriet Tubman up in this piece.

I watched The Man Who Wasn't There on Sunday. Amazing. Simply, freaking, amazing. Neo-noir is like good punk rock. Most punk bands who started the punk movement were terrible musicians, I wouldn't even call anyone in the Ramones a 'musician' since they are just so bad. But, all the kids who grew up on a healthy diet of bad punk, the ones who wanted to learn how to play music, wanted to emulate their idols; but invariably, they had more of the musical 'chops' and ushered in an era of punk that's not only fast and energetic, but well composed and more intricate than the three power chord crap that was so popular to early punk (still is). Even bands like The Mr. T Experience and Screeching Weasel, who sought to emulate the Ramones, sound better. It's like they just can't help not sucking as bad.

And now that I've carried the neo-noir as punk rock analogy waaaaaaay too far, it's time to reel it in. I don't have a tremendous amount of respect for many early films. Static camera techniques, mediocre writing, and not to mention the terrible acting. I have no love for, to use a comic book phrase, the Golden Age of film. Granted the medium was new, and there are many gems, the majority are just bad. Take the early Hitchcock noir film Shadow of a Doubt. A sophmoric conception of the psychology of a serial killer coupled with Hitchcock not fully realizing his ability to create suspense, it's just plain bad. And it had so much going for it....

Man, I am just in a tangental mood today.

Back to The Man Who Wasn't There, it's the Coen brothers rehashing the classic black and white film-noir style, with their filmic 'chops' front and center. Any film shot in the fifties doesn't have to place itself in time if it is 'contemporary', at least not in obvious ways, not to mention the limitations on what filmmakers could get away with back then. The Coen brothers use obvious historical cues to place you in time, and it serves to paint an interesting picture of the time, the observer looking back. The camera work is absolutely wonderful. I read somewhere, maybe IMDB, that they shot the film in color, and de-colorized the film. Dunno if that's true, but the film certainly looks vibrant. Great use of shadow (it's called noir for a reason), the film has it's share of starkly lighted scenes, yet some scenes manage to use many middle grays. Billy Bob Thornton is wonderful as the barber drifting through the American Dream. I cannot say enough good things about it.

Sometimes the homage can be more significant than the original piece one is paying homage to.

Neo-Noir is so punk rawk.

1 comment:

Anonymous said...

neo-noir? buzzzzzzzzzzzzzword.... :p
i kid. i'll be sure to check out the movie when the world is back together. anyway.. have you ever watched the deer hunter (a tangent on the subject of films)? i actually watched it two days ago, and i must say it was pretty good.

this is fil.