Wednesday, November 19, 2008

Please Be Great, Bowtie Cinemas

I had the pleasure of seeing some pretty inspiring movies in the last few days: Following Sean, Billy the Kid, and Local Color.

FOLLOWING SEAN is one of those documentaries that felt like a Jóhann Jóhannson composition, slowly building and becoming louder and more complex, until it suddenly ends and you're kind of overwhelmed by this hugeness in front of you. Maybe not all his works, but the best. I didn't know what I was watching at first or where I was going. There are tons of momentum shifts, time shifts, but everything feels right. It's linear a way, but you don't really know how it us or why it is until the end. It's really a film that creeps up from under you. I found it to be ultimately... filmed by someone with a beating heart, for one. A friend who was describing a poet recently said, "It doesn't feel like a human's behind the words; it feels like ghosts." So many poems feel like that, and some on purpose I suppose, but this was the complete opposite. It reminded me a bit of STONE READER in the sense of the quest, and of CAPTURING THE FRIEDMANS for its use of older footage, not originally sought out for use in the film. I felt I was a better person after seeing it. It sounds saccharine but it's true. It's a film that feels silly to even begin to describe, and if you don't get it you may turn it off. But it clicked for me. There's so much I could say about it, but I won't try. See it. Not only that, but I didn't know who Lori McKenna was, and her amazingly beautiful song, "Never Die Young," runs with the credits. Her voice reminds me a bit of Sally Ellyson from Hem, who also has one of the most amazing voices I've ever heard.

BILLY THE KID was a movie I'd seen a trailer for, and it didn't disappoint. It's basically about a kid who's a sophomore in high school and gets followed around by a camera. Again, the reviews were mixed, and I can see why, but ultimately I found it to be completely interesting. You can tell he's borderline genius with the things he says, and there were moments I wanted to be that age again. I think it's essentially a movie about young love, but through some alternate sense of anything most of us have ever known. He's not your average high school sophomore, and you can tell he's something special. It's another oddly inspiring movie by the end. I'm having a lot of trouble making any semblance of a connection with my own words, which is another reason it just needs to be viewed.

LOCAL COLOR, like SNOW ANGELS, is a script that could've been made into a shitty Lifetime movie in the wrong hands, and you may say it is, in fact, pretty much a Lifetime movie. I think despite the possibly maudlin and predictable nature, I found it all to be enjoyable because I seem naturally to compare all art to poetry: painting, music, fiction, everything. I think most poets are biased toward the notion that poetry can be found in everything, but no other art can singularly claim that as far as I'm concerned. I find myself relating to Trevor Morgan's character (who I saw something in in OFF THE BLACK, even though the movie was a watered-down -- with more narrative -- David Gordon Green flick, complete with stolen cinematographer Tim Orr): wanting to learn and knowing it may take a while to realize why I'm doing what I do. The script is predictable, but there's something I like about it so much, for all the reasons I won't be able to explain.

I don't know if this post makes any sense.

But I still feel like I not only have so much to learn, but there's so much I want to learn, before I get older and jaded and bad shit happens to the point where I don't want to think about art in the least. I hope that never happens, but unfortunately it does for some.

I've probably written about it before, but when Phil Levine was here my first semester at VCU a few years ago, he said, about Larry Levis, and I'm paraphrasing: "Even when he was going through awful things in life, he never stopped writing." I remember so much about that moment, even where people were sitting, people who I haven't seen since that hour in that room with no windows open.

I can't say anything else right now without sounding like someone who can't even tell you what time it is.