Friday, March 13, 2015

Patrick You Talk Movies Good

Nobody who follows me doesn't follow other people who got to this already, but I was waiting for the whole thing to be done to talk about it and got busy. Here are the parts:

This is all going to come out a bit fever rambly but I've had a shit week, HAVE a splitting fucking head, and want to break my usual trend of mostly not just talking about what other people just talked about to pay what I think is an important compliment. Please forgive me the details I'm gritting through in service of my larger goal. Now:

This stuff is my god damned crack and it's the #1 reason I hate my job, which I actually love and which is some people's dream job, because the usual frame for conversation about films breaks down to one of the following:

"Well at least they stayed true to the comic/I hate that they didn't stay true to the comic." Fuck you that's not the movie, that's not even the film's story, that's complaining that ice isn't water.

"Oh god not another sequel/remake" Fuck you I've known you for four years and you've never talked about a movie that wasn't based on a cartoon or comic book or Star Wars don't start complaining about the bleakness of ideaspace now. Fist the llama, fine, but don't blame the llama.

"The book was better" A colloquial way to phrase something which is sometimes true (this book was a better book than the movie was a movie/what I liked about the book wasn't evidenced or executed well in the movie/I prefer the experience of reading a book to reading a film/I don't read my films) and fine as a statement on those terms but, strictly as phrased, stupid. If I complained that the Rolling Stones don't sound like they do on their albums when they play live or vice versa anybody with a brain in their head would understand we're talking about different methods and tools, different contexts, sometimes different audiences, in short wholly different experiences even though Brown Sugar is still about black pussy. Same with stage acting vs film acting. So why anybody acts like these whole different artforms can be discussed in equivocally compatibile terms - or, to put it more accurately, like "The book was better" is the end of a conversation or a complete statement rather than the beginning of a conversation - simply because many of them share a narrative-centric preoccupation is a sign of sheer madness.

"I hope they make a movie out of that." Fuck this mostly because I only ever hear this from people who say all of the above and usually in the same conversation. I like tea. American wrong tea. (I like real kinds too but people who get all uppity about vegetable garbage water make drinking a Georgia sweet iced tea incredibly satisfying.) I also like water because I'm a living being. If I am at someone's house and they offer me water, and I act very appreciative, but after a few sips ask them if they could take my glass back and brew up some tea with that water, well, that's not that appreciative for the awesome thing I've been given at all, is it? That's me not just disregarding the contributions of the giver a little, even if it's not meant as a slight, it's trivializing the effort that goes into effecting that transition. Again I mostly get man-period over this because this is said a breath away from the above and that laundry list starts sounding an awful lot like "People should make more stuff I like." I like having lots of stuff to like but surely people who make stuff should worry about making stuff THEY like, and to a lesser extent things their bosses like? I'm not even talking about a board of investors, I'm talking Produced by Lucille Ball, Produced by Danny DeVito, Produced by Howard Hawks.

"Spoilers." Yes because we started this conversation about the movie to not talk about the movie. If you worry about this kind of thing maybe don't butt in. We are trying to use grown up words to discuss ideas. Here is a plastic train.

"Raped my childhood." PLASTIC TRAIN OH MY GOD PHILLIP.

Films are discussed in terms of trivia and director's audio commentary insights like "That guy was the key grip" and "The pool flooded that day!" Or my personal favorite, things that did not happen, like Nick Nolte's Han Solo or how ORIGINALLY the movie was going to do THIS and then they did THIS, devoid of any insight into the craft or logic behind these choices. One thing that didn't happen is that Luke and Leia didn't just raw-dog it in the bathroom of the Falcon for twelve minutes, I love Star Wars! This is all fine for its own sake truly but it is not talking about the movie.

I could go on and on about what a bore I am and I'm sure there'll be people out in force to tell me how much I suck at art but I am saying this to say this, and please bear with me because this is all about praising Pat here:

I've done some true reviews in my time but I don't much care for them. Reviews are post-mortems. A thing happened, now it's in the past, now it's dead, let's see how healthy it was. It often amounts largely to that poetry graphing essay from Dead Poets Society, scoring something on a percentile, partial credit for showing your work, and far far too often is about either what the reviewer wanted the movie to be rather than what it is or banging on about whatever (often very important I'll grant) issue the author has a torch for, be it ending sexism or fighting child slavery or stopping trans abuse. This is really a subset of the first problem with reviews, though, I wanted this artist to eliminate sexism and yell at the sexists the way I wanted them to, and that didn't happen so I am SO. MAD. at them for this, for choosing to perpetuate (to CREATE) sexism, that I am getting my pitchfork and I am going to end sexism my bad self with this review and make an example of them!

Reviews are usually, then, buying guides. They are not Juxtapoz, they are Consumer Reports, and Juxtapoz is also Consumer Reports while we're at it.

I do nothing but digress.

What I aspire to, what I try to do, and what I love to read and hear, is critique, the art of seeing what is there, the art of seeing why something is not there. And there's always more to find. There's always more to learn. There's always more about the world, about humanity, to research, to find out from heartbreak and near-death experience, from fuckin', that deepens your understanding of any particular subject (like, say, Patton). More to explore about techniques, what is used and when and why, and,  more than what is being done, what more you can do that no one else has considered yet, or which is thought impossible. It's an illuminating, intimate, personal experience and above all else a LIVING experience, and it's why I'll always prefer to see a bad but interesting movie than a PRETTY GOOD CONSIDERING mediocre ("shitty") movie.

This is what Patrick brings to these videos, something I quite honestly dismissed when I saw it circling the internet at the top of the week because I had other things on my mind like not catching the flu. This is a thought process he brings to most things he writes about, especially those sculpture articles, and it's what he brings to his game material. It's also the reason I can see someone not finding all this very interesting or digging on DCO. A problem you'll hear talked about in academic literature, film festivals, the LA comedy scene, all over the creative world: among a closed system of people who all speak the language and more importantly READ the language your priorities can warp a little until you're speaking only that language, playing only to that crowd. It's at once limiting and liberating, and the conversation is always about finding a balance between making your signal effective even in wide transmission and not compromising the core principles and interests that drove you to this pursuit or this particular cloister in the first place.

What I'm saying is that Patrick looks for what is there. A natural consequence is that when Patrick produces something, a nonfiction article, a poem, a dungeon, he makes sure that there's lots of THERE there, a lot of stuff to be seen if looked for. I can understand the perspective of not liking that very much. I just don't approve of it. Because it's one of the big reasons I'm looking forward to Fire on the Velvet Horizon.

You Talk Movie Good Patrick.