Thursday, February 11, 2010

February 12

For the first and probably last time, I have found common ground with conservative columnist Jonah Goldberg, who is nonplussed by the inanity of Hollywood romantic comedies such as Valentine's Day, opening today and featuring a couple of dozen mainly gorgeous actors and actresses:

[The movies] work on the assumption that super-successful, funny, kind, well-adjusted, and hot-as-magma women can't find dates....these movies [also] assume that absurdly handsome, super-sensitive rich and successful dudes, who love their dogs and mothers, do carpentry for orphans in their spare time but who're still manly enough to punch out jerks who threaten the honor of women, have a really hard time in the dating department, too.

Manohla Dargis hates the movie, denigrating it as a lame rip-off of Love Actually, "neither romantic nor remotely comedic":

I love this tag at the end of the review:

“Valentine’s Day” is rated PG-13 (Parents strongly cautioned). Everyone is strongly cautioned.

The Literateur, a website new to me, has a smashing interview with scholar and T.S. Eliot editor Sir Christopher Ricks:

The Auteurs pointed me to two offbeat film series in progress, one of 70s exploitation films screened by The Cinefamily at the Silent Movie Theatre in Los Angeles:

The other of sexploitation films of the same era, at doc films at the University of Chicago:

The film descriptions in both calendars are well worth reading.

Film director Barry Levinson offers some cogent observations on our reality TV star culture at HuffPo:

A reality TV star lives in some strange vacuum. A shield that seemingly protects them from any rational discourse. Nothing can be said that rivals their TV glow. They burn brightly, and their light fascinates and captivates. And oddly enough, just as you can't explain their sudden rise to fame, you can't explain their fade into oblivion. And when we are asked why we cared, we can't remember. To a reality TV star, their only enemy is time.

I think that's exactly right: We can't remember why we cared. Anyone recall the fuss about the little Cuban boy Elian Gonzalez, which occurred exactly ten years ago? It was huge at the time, believe me. Does anyone care about Elian now? Levinson's theory covers the rise of an essentially arational politician such as Sarah Palin; if we are lucky and she is unlucky, by 2012 we may not remember why we cared.

(I like this Wiktionary definition of "arational": Having no rational characteristics; having no capacity to reason. Not within the domain of what can be understood or analyzed by reason; outside the competence of the rules of reason. That's our Sarah!)

Among notables born on this date are President Abraham Lincoln, scientist Charles Darwin, composer/poet Thomas Campion, ballerina Anna Pavlova, saxophonist Tex Beneke, German painter Max Beckmann, French architect Etienne-Louis Boullee, novelists George Meredith, R.F. Delderfield, Friedrich de la Motte Fouque (Germany), and Lou Andreas-Salome (Germany), Dutch crime novelist Janwillem van de Wetering, Polish poet Kazimierz Tetmajer, Doors keyboardist Ray Manzarek, film directors Franco Zeffirelli and Darren Aronofsky, and actors Josh Brolin and Christina Ricci. There is no doubt that Lou Andreas-Salome is better known for her "relationships" (variously defined) with Nietzsche, Freud, and Rilke than she is for her own writings. As a magnet for celebrated males of culture, she is only bested in her era by the ubiquitous Alma Mahler, who married or had affairs with Gustav Klimt, Alexander von Zemlinsky, Gustav Mahler, Walter Gropius, Oskar Kokoschka, and Franz Werfel. In both cases, the men are such a heady parade of egos, it's exhausting even to think about. Alma Mahler's adventurous life inspired an interactive drama -- Tony n' Tina's Wedding for culture vultures!

In 1996, Israeli writer
Joshua Sobol and Austrian director Paulus Manker created the polydrama Alma. It has been playing in Vienna for six successive seasons, and toured to Venice, Lisbon, Los Angeles, Petronell, Berlin and Semmering — all places where Mahler-Werfel had lived. The scenes of Mahler-Werfel's life were performed simultaneously on all floors and in all rooms of a special building. The guests were invited to abandon the immobilized position of a spectator in a conventional drama, replace it with the mobile activity of a traveller, and watch a "theatrical journey". They had to choose the events, the path, and the person to follow after each event, thus constructing her or his personal version of the "Polydrama."

No comments: