Monday, June 15, 2009

Hopping on the anti-smug bandwagon...

...I spent a fair portion of the weekend with The Offspring catching up on pop culture phenoms on DVD. Including:

Twilight, which, though not aimed at the likes of me, is impressively crafted for what it is, basically a swoony teen romance with pasty-faced emo vampires. (Did any of Americxa's esteemeed scribes recognize the huge debt the movie owes to shojo manga and anime? I would guess not.) The only real revelation is the lead acress, Kristen Stewart, whose work was well described by David Edelstein: "[Director Catherine] Hardwicke jacks up the stakes with a swooping camera and a romantic-grunge soundtrack, but the most vivid thing in the film is Kristen Stewart. She was the leggy hobo-camp teen in love with Emile Hirsch in Into the Wild, and she’s better at conveying physical longing than any of the actors playing vampires. She alone suggests how this series was born, in the mind of a young Mormon girl who had to sublimate like mad with thoughts of having her blood sucked." Though snobbism reigns supreme in the critical realm to such an extent that I expect the "discovery" reviews will have to wait for the release of Stewart's next one.

Lost, which, though hardly a discovery, turns out to have a degree of re-watchability that I would not have expected. Nora is working her way through season four, and I watched six of them again, almost two years after the fact, with pleasure -- especially a time-hopping prodigy called "The Constant," surely one of the most potent 40-minute chunks of television ever broadcast.

And a somewhat promising prospect, co-written by the notably un-smug Michael Chabon.


Christian Lindke said...

I have found Kristen to be a wonderful young actress for some time. She was very good as the sister in Zathura.

Zathura is one of the better children's movies, not surprising as it was directed by Jon Favreau who really has a great sense of how to bring heart into his films. His Elf is a perfect example of how to turn what could have been another "let's show mean people at Christmas movie" into a classic.

Stewart was also passable in The Messengers, a pat yet entertaining piece of horror haunting fare.

I hope she is able to hold herself together for some time to come and doesn't get too caught up in celebrity culture.

Tulkinghorn said...


Christian Lindke said...

I agree that Michael Chabon, a writing product of SoCal education, is himself unsmug. He and I share many loves, and his essay on Superman for the NEW YORKER was refreshing.

But he is the "geek sophisticate" of choice of the literary establishment. Literati "love" Chabon because he "elevates" the material. He would make no such claim himself, but these other make it for him.

A literati might say, "It's okay to like John Carter of Mars because Chabon is writing the screenplay."

In a way this implies that it isn't okay to like it if he isn't. This doesn't detract from my expectation of enjoyment, Chabon's Leiber pastiche GENTLEMEN OF THE ROAD was fun, but the fact that so few knew that it was a pastiche bothered me. Add that to the complaints I made here regarding Chabon deserving to be banned from SF/F awards until he takes the literati to task, and you get a sense of how conflicted I am about his involvement in a John Carter property.

Generic said...
This comment has been removed by the author.
Generic said...

Does it really count, though, if it's the Mail and not the Guardian?

Tulkinghorn said...

I am told that Dakota Fanning will play Cherie Currie.

Anonymous said...

Ramesh will be delighted.