Thursday, March 6, 2003
JayceLand's Weekly Rochester Events #217: Watch Yourself, Dick--Don't Go All William King On Our AssBefore I spiral into despair (see below) I'm going to totally sell out on my company's employee referral program. I work for Synopsys (yes, it's misspelled, but at least it's better than the old company name, Avant!, pronounced "avanti") whose local office is in Victor. They make design software for the semiconductor industry ... schematic capture, semiconductor layout, and IC packaging. Anyway, send me an e-mail at firstname.lastname@example.org and I'll see what I can do. My conscience will only let me submit people who I already know, so the rest of you need to take the outside track through the website.
My spiral of despair is because I keep thinking about how America is gone. I mean, I remember only a few years ago being proud to live in a country where you needed to be charged with a crime before you were detained, and that you had the right to assemble peacefully, and that you could speak whatever you wanted. Now I see we've got secret trials going on (over 500 hits searching for "secret trials" and "patriot act") people in New York protests are being beaten and jailed, and at this point, I pretty much expect that if I were to actually publish something that more than the ten of you read, that I would mysteriously go missing.
We're on the brink of war with Iraq, and our president is pissing off Europe so much I wouldn't be surprised if we were at war with them next. I wouldn't doubt he goes to North Korea at some point and gives Kim Jong-il a solid ass-kicking--Texas style--rather than go the "boring" route of thinking and talking. Ugh.
Unless things change, I think this is pretty much goodbye, America.
Anyway, let's see if I can turn this around ... well, I wanted also to talk about my "hatred of everything." I've had this come up a couple times with people that I despise all movies, music, or television shows. That's not entirely true, but nor is it entirely false. Let me put a finer point on it.
I actually like to hear what someone else has to say. An expert storyteller--be it in person, on film or screen, or through music or art in general--is a real treat. I really like to see such works. However, almost all mainstream production is engineered for the audience. By that, I mean it is not a message but a product. I read an article on the making of the movie trailer for the movie Signs where every split-second of screen time was honed to capture the largest possible audience. I can't come up with the article, but there was talk about the number of seconds that the army guys appear because with too few, it'll seem like a single-dad chick flick, but with too many, it'll seem like an action shoot-em-up guy movie.
I also know that movies are changed in the same way. Extending from the Hollywood happy ending syndrome, stories are diluted to fill seats. How come Kirsten Dunst's character in Spider-Man was wearing a thin low-cut top when it was supposed to rain that day? Didn't she check the weather? The answer is, it doesn't matter--the movie was engineered to have that scene so I'd tell all my guy friends about the scene with Kirsten Dunst's nipples poking through her wet top and they'd gladly shell out $8 for a peek too. Actually, they all told me ... I got the screen grab off the Internet, but ended up seeing the movie because people otherwise said it was pretty good (and, best of all, avoided the Hollywood happy ending.)
However, consider The Blair Witch Project. It tells a story. It's what the directors wanted to make ... they explored the boundaries of film, reality, and marketing. I think it worked. Now, the Hollywood-ized version of the movie would have _of course_ had a river bathing scene in it. Either that, or Heather and Josh would have had a gratuitous second-base-nearing make-out scene the night before he got lost because that would have "added depth to their relationship." Perhaps throw in some more characters ... maybe a couple Goth chicks or something. (Oh wait, that's Book of Shadows: Blair Witch 2.)
I do still go see Hollywood movies and other commercial entities, it's just that they have to be perfectly marketed to me: all the explosions and stunts to have plausible physics (nobody can outrun a fireball, bullets have mass, and gravity affects everything) and there's got to be at least two 22-27 year old sexy actresses who have intelligent characters and show off their breasts. While I'm at it: Hollywood, if you're listening, I'd like to see a movie where a bisexual Winona Ryder helps two bisexual women (played by Rachel Leigh Cook and Kate Hudson) come to terms with the homosexual side of their long-time friendship ... and all three end up in a hot tub together at least once. Oh, and I play the twins who Rachel and Kate are dating ... and the older cousin who's with Winona.
Uhh ... (give me a minute to get back to reality-land) ... On the other hand, I almost always like to hear a well-told story. Consider Acts of Worship, which is a movie I would never see in a million years if it was done Hollywood-style. I mean, it was simply the story of a woman at the end of her heroin addiction. That's it. No cars exploding ... no saintly figure who drags her out. Just a woman being raped by her own demons. I really got something out of that.
Heck, I saw it a year and a half ago and it's still like yesterday. I checked back and the last commercial movie I saw was Die Another Day which wasn't bad, but I get that "oh yeah..." reaction when I think about it. Something about diamonds and an ice hotel or something ... it was fun to watch, I guess.
By the way, I should probably go back and change the phrases "chick flick" and "guy movie" so they're not so skewed in their respective connotations, but too fucking bad: it's my essay.
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On this day ... March 6
Rochester Music Coalition
Rochester Goes Out (D&C)
Rochester Punk Rock
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