Day of the Woman (Thanks, Erin)

My head and back are in full pain mode.  Just finished a movie a co-worker lent me, and it made me want to write something.  Little Children is not the type of film I would normally watch, but since she watched I Stand Alone on my recommendation I figured it was the least I can do.  I was not disappointed, and my co-worker's taste in movies is now without suspect, though I still would not have seen this on my own.

I tend to like movies, books, music and comic books that make me think.  I'm not a huge fan of mindless entertainment, but I've been known to engage in it from time to time.  I figure I have only so much time on Earth, a lot of things I want to learn about (including myself), so I don't really want to spend that time reading Danielle Steele or watching a Tyler Perry movie.  Not that there is anything wrong with those things on their own, but a steady diet of them will turn you into a moron.

Of course, a steady diet of Dogme 95 films will make you a pretentious jerk.

Hey, I like Stephen King, Uncanny X-Men and I Spit on Your Grave, so I am not immune to entertainment for entertainment's sake.  (Though how entertaining Meir Zarchi's film is definitely depends upon your mindset.)  What I really like, though, is something that moves me.  It makes me sit back and say, "Wow!"  It makes me think.  It inspires me.  It taps into something deep inside me that causes my brain cells to start firing.  Most things that are pure entertainment don't really do that for me.  Hell, I'll take GG Allin over Kayne West any day.  West is obviously the more talented of the two, but Allin was real.  He represented the ego running at  full speed.  He set out to make rock dangerous again and did so.  I admire that.  West interrupts award shows.

Now the reason I'm writing about all of this here and not on The Last Picture Blog is because it is only inspired by Little Children and not about that.  It's not even about film, really.  It's about the little inspirations we can find every day through art and entertainment.  Star Wars is far from art, but you can't argue it isn't inspirational.  The Shining made me want to be a writer.  Is it art?  No.

A friend once asked why I liked depressing things.  I asked for clarification.  She pointed out that I like things such as Lone Wolf and Cub, I Stand Alone  and The Devil's Rejects.  She said these all had highly depressing elements to them.  I argued that they were really quite inspirational as all of them made me want to be a better writer.  They handled subject matter that was sometimes unpleasant, but did so in a way that was nothing short of brilliant.  It's not something I could get from, say, Sleepy Hollow, which I enjoyed for the Hammer cameos, but did not find to be inspirational in the least.

People get their inspiration from different sources.  Religion.  Nature.  Poetry.  Economics. (That one is sad, but true.)  What I find truly appalling is when people aren't inspired by anything at all.  I can't imagine going through a day like that, where I take no real deep joy from anything I read, watch or listen to.  Where all my pleasures are surface pleasures and nothing ever makes me think too deeply lest I disturb myself.  To me (and I may be in a minority here), that sounds like Hell.

The co-worker who lent me the movie thought I would like it.  I did (though at one part I was able to correctly guess the dialogue well before I heard it for several lines).  I imagine she doesn't recommend it to everyone (which is exactly how I approach I Stand Alone), which makes the recommendation very personal and very appreciated.  It got me thinking about how the actions of adults (which are as self-centered as the desires of children, but far more destructive) end up affecting not only the people they love the most, but the lives of those around them.  It made me mad at myself and things that have transpired in my past, and it made me think about things I'm going through now.  It made me look at the idea of relationships and what they really are about, and it made me contemplate the morality of vigilante justice.

I'm fairly sure nobody ever took those things from The Firm

Far too many people want their choices in entertainment/art to be instantly forgettable, unremarkable and interchangeable.  They want comfort in repetition and a limited amount of interpersonal interaction.  That's the only thing I can take from the choices they make.  Not everybody, of course, and not every time ... but enough people doing it often enough to make it apparent.

"The most beautiful thing we can experience is the mysterious. It is the source of all art and science. He to whom this emotion is a stranger, who can no longer pause to wonder and stand rapt in awe, is as good as dead ... his eyes are closed."  -- Albert Einstein


drj v2010 said...

that's one of my all time favorite einstein quotes.

-Doug Brunell "America's Favorite Son" said...

It's a great quote. You know, this post stirred up a bunch of angry feelings from at least three people. I looked back through it and I don't get it. I throw my hands up.

drj v2010 said...

this is just an opinion of course but you seem to know some highly sensitive (critical?) people who don't seem to know how to let you have an opinion without getting emotional about it. i think i need to reread the post. i didn't catch anything to be angry about the first time.

-Doug Brunell "America's Favorite Son" said...

I can't figure it out, either. You know, I think we may be starting to see the results of a system that doesn't value debate or opinions that are outside the norm. That's the only thing I can think of. People don't know how to react when confronted with something that questions their values, I guess.

It wasn't meant to be anything other than my opinion. People question my choices all the time and I never take it personally. It's part of the debate. It's part of the intellectual stimulation I value so much.

And, quite honestly, I'm tired of it and frustrated by it. I can write all kinds of stuff on politics and social issues and don't hear a peep out of people, but as soon as I hit up the entertainment versus art argument people get all up in arms. Take what you will from that, but I know what it says to me.

Nikki said...

You seriously got nasty emails based on this? Really? I thought it was by far your LEAST pretentious explanation of why you prefer the movies that you do. Not saying the others are pretentious, but this one was far from it. The part about wanting to learn more, not having enough time to learn everything you want, and therefore choosing movies that take you closer to your goal of educating yourself is the best and least "offensive" explanation of your choice in movies that I've ever seen in writing from you.

As someone who has found some of your "entertainment related" posts vaguely condescending in the past, I have to say that this one actually made me understand and respect your opinion a lot more. Perhaps the writers of the hate mail should actually take a little time to read what you write and think about it before making assumptions and calling you pretentious. But I'm guessing with some people, you'll never be able to win, so don't even worry about it.

Anonymous said...


I didn't send you a hate-filled email about this post because I didn't want to be one of "them."

Instead, I went out and stomped on a stray dog and imagined it was you. "What do you think of art now, Doug? Huh?" *stomp stomp* *yelp yelp* "I'll watch White Chicks as many times as I want! It holds the secrets of the universe!" *squish squish*

"God! No! You were such a cute puppy! This is Doug's fault! I didn't mean to!"

Hate you.