Day of the Woman (Thanks, Erin)
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