Tuesday, September 13, 2005

sept 12 New Yorker, David Denby gets laid . . .

Or so concludes my partner in crime, who read the movie reviews for me again this week. He read aloud,

"The movie leaves us with the grateful realization that, for a man, love and trouble are worth having more than anything, and it ends with a triumphant double coda that brings the sexual jokes down to earth with a touch of sexual realism (nicely put, Denby) and then sends them off again with a flight of lyrical fancy." (103)

This after last week's abject sexual bitterness! Granted, they are different movies, but . . . this is Denby reviewing Judd Apatow's 40-Year Old Virgin. Hmmm . . . .

The man lets his identification with the cinema take the foreground. And, after all, that's a nice, honest way to expose the ideological position from which you are writing, which is what I am, recently, asking Acocella to do too. Again, see the very insightful comment to my July post "I'm not particularly hot . . ." We've been watching the TV show Freaks & Geeks here and director Apatow is quite genius with uncomfortable, klutzy romance. That scene where Nick sings to Lindsay . . . ow, that hurts.

As for Denby's approval of Luc Jacquet's March of the Penguins, I myself dislike anthropomorphic readings of nature films. [I also don't like people's relationships to their pets. But that is because I live near Frick Park, and if I try to take a little run or walk after a day of work people's leash-less dogs come up to me and sniff my crotch. And the people yell to the dog, and I want to scream at them, your dog does not understand language! At least not at this moment . . . Besides, no matter how much these people identify with or overfeed their pets, the dogs will always be faster than them and able to approach my crotch without restraint, unless they wear a leash, as obligated by law. But these people are too lazy to walk the extra few yards to the enclosed leash free area. I used to think communities were nice, but there is a community consensus that people with dogs can use the park in this way and I find it intimidating. Enough.] Back to polar love. Again, Denby praises the film's warm fuzzy moments, and identifies with the romance of the birds as he places himself right in the middle of the romantic drama, when the penguins,

"find a partner, they stand with heads bowed before each other in what appears to be silent adoration. If we are moved, are we experiencing what they are feeling or what we are feeling?" (103)

Awwwww . . . .

On another rant, am I the only person in the world who found the last blockbuster French bird doc, Jacques Perrin's Winged Migration to be nationalistic? What with the birds dying in post-Soviet industrial waste, or mowed down by tractors in the US and then finding timeless bird paradise in the French countryside, where a little boy in peasant dress and a HUGE GOLD CROSS SPARKLING IN THE SUN runs through an idyllic meadow?

Finally, Red Eye, directed by Wes Craven. I think I'll try to see this. I love movies that place in very enclosed spaces. And I love scary movies and these categories overlap quite a bit to create my very favorite movies.

Note the irony. If you click on my Frick Park link, after a long intro, you will see the quote, "Parks are the most Democratic spaces in society." Mob rule is more like!!!

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Blogger Alex said...

You know, I hate Denby a hell of a lot.

Anyway -- first half of "Red Eye" is claustrophobic and tense, second half is just a big ridiculous "what's around that corner!?" Wes Craven exercise. If you like that sort of thing too, it almost works. But suspend the hell out of your disbelief.

7:58 PM  
Blogger anna said...

I also thought the review of March of the Penguins was lame. I mean, come on, the cutesy story basically un-animaled the penguins. I read a good review blasting MoftP, but of course can't remember anything relevant to tell you except that the director got the distance wrong by a huge amount.

12:26 AM  
Blogger Straight 8 said...

Anthropomorphic bird movies, crotch-sniffing dogs, nationalistic, heavy-handed propaganda films disguised as National Geographic features...you're my kind of animal lover, I guess. Just think of the money you could make if you could learn to speak dog, and start a Dog Language school.

You probably wouldn't have to even learn dog. Just make something up. People would shell out big time for it.

9:54 AM  
Blogger Sylvana said...

I haven't seen Winged Migration yet, but now I'm very much intrigued! Hidden political messages using an animal documentary as a front, what a fantastic way to impress the young!

11:11 AM  
Blogger zp said...

Welcome, Birdwatchers! And Alex.

Speaking of birdwatching, I also dislike Jonathan Franzen, who wrote an unreadable article on the topic in the NYer. Sometimes, I'll be reading a perfectly nice New Yorker article and the author seems to become obsessed with his own biography instead of the ostensible subject of the piece and I check the author and its Franzen.

Also, that "fiction" he wrote about the TV writers this past spring was just a bitter rehash of some really lame stereotypes. Why do it?

11:21 AM  
Blogger Chitney said...

I say blame Disney for anthropomorphization of animals. Romantic penguins? Russian-speaking dogs? Of course! Just look at how well that deer Bambi spoke. Man, that guy was GOOD!

LOL. Funny post btw!

6:22 PM  
Blogger zp said...

I don't care who started it . . . I don't like it.

But to be fair, I don't think we can blame Disney for this. It's been a literary trope for awhile, and in a wide range of cultural contexts.

12:06 PM  
Blogger Chitney said...

Yeah but I like to blame big bad media giant Disney, ok?

4:57 PM  
Blogger MW said...

I agree that March of the Penguins is overly anthropomorphized, but the fault lies with the scripted voiceover, not the footage. Any bird that can waddle 70 frickin' miles several times a year in freezing blizzards to breed makes for a fairly compelling subject and I was fascinated watching them huddle up on the Antarctic plain.

I could listen to Morgan Freeman talk all day, but his lines were just waaaaaaaaay too heavy handed and, imho, are what took the "animals have emotions just like me" thing over the edge.

11:26 PM  

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