|. . . Balseros|
|. . . 2003-10-28|
Movie comment: Balseros
This patient and splendidly constructed documentary glommed onto a group of Cuban rafters in 1994 and had the good fortune to not let go.
As the rafters struggle to exchange the hopeless claustrophobia of community for the glorious promise of acquisitive isolationism, their story touches on the deadpan fish-out-of-water picaresque, the ensemble-decay saga, and the post-industrial engineering suspense film (e.g., Flight of the Phoenix).
Its most unique genre success, though, may be as a survey of the American Dream, where to my eye it bests such ponderous competition as Elia Kazan, Michael Cimino, and Francis Ford Coppola. Despite the small sample size, the Dream's most familiar manifestations are covered: lotteries, cab driving, drug dealing, whoring (subcategory: marriage), rednecks and blue collars, religious mania.... And the ambitious viewer can even gather some notion as to which path might be best to follow.
(Not to spoil anything, but the spirit of proletariat solidarity needn't feel betrayed. Hee yah!)
|. . . 2003-12-31|
Movie Mop-Up: 2003
Given how much I enjoy early 1930s product, I'm not quite ready to call for a reinstated Production Code, but reviewing my recent first-release experiences, I'm struck by how many of the satisfactory ones were "family-friendly" -- Lilo & Stitch, Holes, Pirates of the Caribbean, Spirited Away, School of Rock.... The best adult-oriented "film" I saw in 2003 was videotaped by Spanish TV reporters. The most tolerable R or NC-17 rater I remember was Y Tu Mama Tambien, and even it was just Beavis-&-Butthead plus Godardian voiceovers and yet another of those scenes which will someday lead historians to conclude that our era enaged in male homosexuality solely as an emetic.
Of course, the early 1930s had a hyperactive studio system and no film schools, whereas contemporary Hollywood careers don't usually allow time to learn about grown-up stuff before production starts. Why fake it? Let overgrown children make overgrown children's films.
From what Earl Jackson Jr. says, I should be attending Korean film instead. I'd only be able to attend it on DVD, which seems like an admission of defeat, but hey, what wouldn't be?
+ + +Any year starting with a "2" will end with a mucilaginous stack of "If only"s clogging soul's gorge. Here's one small enough to dislodge:
If only Bill Murray wasn't so irritatingly ambivalent about working and Sofia Coppola hadn't so much opportunity to practice her "But I want you to buy me an Oompa-Loompa now!" routine, we might have ended the year with Murray's Bad Santa and Billy Bob Thornton's Lost in Translation.
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All other material: Copyright 2015 Ray Davis.