Monthly Archives: August 2001

Three Movies

Three great movies in three days. On Friday we rented “Bridge on the River Kwai”, a 1957 war movie with almost no bullets – a very psychological, unusual plot. We expected it to be good but weren’t prepared for just how good it would be. Alec Guinness as the corporal of a group of British POWs in a Japanese-run internment camp in Ceylon, who turn their defeat into psychological victory by building this amazing bridge. Won’t spoil the ending, but it’s pretty gripping. Beautifully shot.

Last night went out with Amy, Chris T, and Mike to see Terry Zwigoff (Crumb)’s “Ghost World”, which is quite easily the best movie to come out this summer. One of the only movies about teen angst and disconnection that’s really worth watching. Intensely sardonic. Anyone who spent much of their lives so steeped in hip, ironic detachment that they lost contact with the real world (like Amy and me) will relate to this. Very witty, but also poignant. And fun. The “Zen Guerilla” is a hoot.

I was really excited about this movie because I used to read a lot of Daniel Clowe’s comics when I lived in Boston – Eightball and Velvet Glove Cast in Iron, and they used to have brief Ghost World segments in them. What was amazing was how true this movie was to the comic. I mean, little details that got carried across with total accuracy, like her batgirl mask, and the stuffed weasel enwrapped by snake at Buscemi’s garage sale. We came home and dug out all those comics and read all the old Ghost World episodes together and were just amazed at how perfectly the movie captured the comic.

After Mike and Chris left, we watched Ang Lee’s “The Ice Storm”, about the swirling lostness and discontent of families in the 70s. A very unusual vantage point on family life. What was nice was how most movies set in the 70s play up all kinds of 70s retro stereotypes about decor and fashion; this one didn’t at all. Instead it focused on how weird that decade was in terms of coming down from the revolutionary zeal of the 60s into something that was trying to be normal but was actually pretty f*cked up. Somehow the director managed to make insignificant details really portend larger things. Got kind of boring towards the end though, or at least I thought so (Amy didn’t).. kind of spiralled down into tedium.

Refreshing to take in some quality movies in the midst of the summer void.

Talking about Ghost World later, I realized something about myself: How I’m perfectly prepared to consume trash movies and trash TV on a fairly regular basis. As long as I know I’m sitting down to consume trash, I don’t mind. It’s just a relax and enjoy kind of thing. But I don’t feel the same way at all about music. I have no patience for bad music, feel that world is overflowing with the stuff, get annoyed and frustrated that 90% of the world seems content to consume bad music, and sometimes want to cry that there seems no way out. “Give ‘em a Big Mac and a pair of Nikes and they’re happy” said Steve Buscemi’s character. Exactly. Anyway, I wonder what it is that makes me able to swallow bad movies and just shrug my shoulders, but to get so wound up and angry/sad about the state of music these days. Seems kind of paradoxical.

The Joy of Linux

I’m reading this book The Joy of Linux by Michael Hall and Brian Proffitt. Pretty interesting read, and quite funny in places, but the arrogance and blindness of the authors is astounding to me as well. They use words like “elegant” to describe Linux, and talk about how cohesive the Linux community is. What a joke. They never even mention BeOS once in the whole book, even in the context of “fighting the good fight” etc.

Anyway, it’s nice to read a book about computing culture by otherwise very good writers rather than the usual technical manual type of book.

Hardcover only right now though – I’d say it’s not worth the price of admission unless they do a soft cover.