Thursday, January 15, 2004

My friend Matt Eckel just sent me an e-mail. I know Matt from college; he moved to Los Angeles right after graduating, and he runs a zine there called Beg, Borrow or Steal. I wrote something for his first issue, and I've been meaning to write more, but I haven't because I'm a chump. Anyway, Matt's e-mail was like two sentences long, and the only thing it really said was that all his friends should see All the Pretty Girls. I saw All the Pretty Girls. It was OK. But I sent back an e-mail that All the Pretty Girls could not fuck with Freddy vs. Jason.

It's funny; I haven't seen Matt since we graduated from college almost two years ago. Maybe two years ago I would have loved All the Pretty Girls. It's pretty and well-written and all that stuff. But lately I have no patience for slow, talky movies with lots of meaningful silences and lyricism and whatnot. I just can't deal. I get bored and fidgety and want to turn off the movie and see if maybe Cribs is on. The one big exception I can think of is Lost in Translation, my favorite movie of last year, which was slow and moving and lyrical and basically eventless - I have to conclude that I loved it because it has cool songs on the soundtrack and Scarlet Johanssen is hott and Bill Murray is funny and there are lots of big, pretty, shiny lights. I must've become some sort of philistine who can't appreciate a good story unless it's got a whole lot of whizjets attached.

A couple of years ago, Nick Hornby wrote a review of Kid A for the New Yorker where he said that adults didn't have time for Kid A because it was all fractured and dissonant and vague and adults have jobs and bills and don't have time for that shit. He said it was, essentially, an album for teenage boys with lots of time on their hands. (I don't think I ever read this review, but that's what I've heard/read about it, anyway.) Now, I like Kid A. I'm totally cool with music that doesn't have a lot of immediacy. Books, too. Lately I've really been enjoying Cat Power's You Are Free and Jhumpa Lahiri's The Namesake, both of which are relatively free of pyrotechnics. But movies feel different for me. I've just lost my patience. I've got a job and bills and stuff, and I just don't have time for all those symbolic gazes and cryptic dialogues. When I'm watching something on TV, I need Jason twisting some dude's head around backwards or Jon Stewart making funny faces. If Kid A were a movie, I'd probably hate it.

Now, a couple of years ago, there were a lot of things that I liked (emo) or tolerated (not having sex) that I just could not deal with today if they were part of my life, which thankfully they aren't. But I kinda wish I could still like unassuming movies. A couple of nights ago, Bridget and I watched Before Sunrise on cable, and I was totally surprised to love it. In a lot of ways, it reminded me of Lost in Translation; it had the benefit of pretty people and a pretty location and one of those desperate-romantic wistful love stories that always seem to get me. But why was I surprised to like it? What's my problem?