Sunday, November 26, 2006
Tree Of Life
As I get older, I learn wisdom, perspective, self-awareness and some really bitchin' joint locks in my ninja classes down at the Y. What I know now that I didn't know when I was 22 is that if you wait patiently enough, life is not necessarily an unbroken parade of cruelty and disappointment that chips away at your dreams until the last spark of hope is smothered by the weight of your imploding soul and all is creeping, gray nihilism as you wait with barely maintainable disinterest for the sweet release of death. Sometimes good things happen, even unexpectedly.

Also, I learned how to kill a guy with a look. It's a difficult martial arts concept to explain, but it does involve a gun-sight.

I guess what I'm saying is that even if a lot of bad-to-indifferent things happen to you over the course of many, many years with nary a pause, it is possible to survive. In college I learned a lot about 16th century Welsh religious history. Only slightly more useful, I learned that when life gives you herpes, make herpes-ade.

So the wife and I, totally unexpectedly, found ourselves kid-free, standing outside a multiplex cinema in the greater Riverside area on Saturday night. Mind you, this is LESS THAN A FULL WEEK after we'd been out to see the latest James Bond movie. We were perplexed. We were stunned. Mostly we were confused by the raging levels of endorphins in our brains released by the ecstacy of close-spaced episodes of kid-free-itude.

We couldn't figure out what to see. We saw a movie so recently that I figured we were done for the year. I stopped reading reviews after that. Plus, strangely enough, nothing of any kind of interest had come out over the Thanksgiving weekend. With no Harry Potter this year, I was stuck with a bunch of less-than-thrilling choices. We had to be careful lest we accidentally end up watching Matthew Broderick and Danny DeVito re-playing Christmas Vacation almost line for line. I could barely take it the first time, but then I am clinically proven to be allergic to Chevy Chase.

When stumped for what to do, I made the usual suggestion, that we go home and totally do it. Then she reminded me that's where the kids were, so that was a non-starter.

So we did the next best thing and chose a movie to see that co-starred people we would both like to sleep with, should the occasion arise. That's how we ended up seeing the Hugh Jackman-Rachel Weisz epic The Fountain.

I also like Hugh Jackman, despite the fact that my wife wants very badly to crawl on top of him and make kitty sounds. Mostly I appreciate the fact that he gave us all the beautiful option of referring to our genitalia as an ackman. As in: I've got huge ackman. Hahahahahaha! Man, I miss 8th grade. I remember how I could make childish dick jokes and nobody batted an eye when I ogled the 8th grade girls. Now I'm older and it's all eye-rolls and electronic tracker anklets.

I went into The Fountain cold. No idea what it was about. Just some stills I saw once of Rachel Weisz in a fancy Spanish 16th century queeny dress. Hott.

Know what it's about? Turns out it's all a 90-minute sci-fi rumination on life, spirituality and death. Also, there are monkeys. Less fun than it sounds.

I appreciate what it was Darren Aronofsky was trying to do (he wrote and directed the thing), but I can tell you that on almost every level he failed to do it. Once I saw the silhouette of Hugh Jackman doing tai-chi against a starfield backdrop, it lost me. And that was about 10 minutes into the film.

The parts that are supposed to be structurally meaningful just come across and repetitive and tiresome. The deep questions about faith and meaning are all kind of obvious and unchanged from the first frame to the last. Dude lives like a thousand years and never actually learns anything. He just kind of runs out of time. Also, no Aston-Martin or assassinations or trapped hotties inside a sinking building in Venice. So James Bond also kicked its ass in those ways.

I guess I should just say I don't really recommend The Fountain. But I do recommend highly 2 hours away from your kids. Always good for whatever ails you.

Despite my disaffection for this particular film, I am a huge Darren Aronofsky fan. I've never seen any of his other work, but I do know he is having regular sex with Rachel Weisz. Admirable in and of itself, yes, but Mr. Aronofsky is an American and Ms. Weisz is British. Finally, the first counterstrike in the long campaign. Too long have we weathered the storm of dumpy looking English dudes scooping up American hotties and whisking away to Blighty. Guy Ritchie and Madonna, Coldplay's Chris Martin and Gwyneth Paltrow, Gwen Stefani and that dude from that band Bush and--most egregious of all--yellow-haired stick-man Paul Bettany and the incomparable Jennifer Connelly. All acts of war, in my opinion.

But we've got Darren Aronofsky planting Old Glory in Rachel Weisz. We had that rich dude knocking up Elizabeth Hurley, but that didn't really count. She has like 15 years of Hugh Grant taint to work off before we dare claim her.

For that reason alone, I can slightly recommend The Fountain. If the movie bombs and he fails to find work, there's a real chance she'll get sick of supporting the unemployed loser and dump him. Trust me, the threat is real. If anyone knows about the dangers of that domestic peril, it's me.

This post on the Narcissus Scale: 9.9



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