jarrodwhaley.com

I make films. I'm also a nerd.

Posts in culture:

A Quick Word on SPRING BREAKERS

Harmony Korine | 2012

I realize I’m arriving at this party particularly late, but it still seems prudent to make a brief appearance. You’ll have to excuse me for not delving into the depths of the ‘party’ metaphor here; trust me, it required some restraint.

I’d simply like to point out that the extent of the outrage and befuddlement over this film is, itself, rather befuddling. I’ll largely leave aside the “you debased My Sweet Disney™ Princess” narrative, because it’s boring, stupid, and ignorant (“You mean young actresses want to seem grown up? This has never happened before!“). The far stranger phenomenon is in the outrage from those who ought to know better. Yes, the film is to a great extent a withering mockery of the trashy, solipsistic decadence in which most of the Western world seems so desperate to wallow. No, the film does not have to avoid making you uncomfortable along the way (pop culture has no compunctions about making me uncomfortable, after all). No, not every film has to evince the narrative sophistication of a children’s picture book (the vast majority of modern filmmaking notwithstanding). No, not every film has to be read as a neat, unconflicted little allegory about The American Experiment (just ask anyone from Europe).

Maybe a film can just have a point to make, and can try to make that point in an artfully subject-appropriate formal style. I thought we’d all learned these things pretty indelibly by the early 1960’s, but I’d forgotten that our cultural celebration of fetid garbage has liquified our brains.

This will always be my favorite memory of Roger Ebert.

If there were any kind of great beyond, Roger and Gene would probably already be going at it. That’s how I imagine it, anyway. Sleep well, Mr. Ebert.

Why Am I So Fascinated With Losers?

It might be fair to say that both of my features have taken failure-prone individuals as their protagonists. As I prepare to begin work on a third feature-length film–the protagonist of which can arguably be called as big a failure, if not a bigger one, than those of the first two films–it occurs to me that it might be a good time to ask myself what I find so compelling about people who try feebly and fail in a spectacular fashion.

more »

Information Wants To Be Free

R.U. Sirius on the tension between the ease of getting things for free and the fact that people who make things still need money. It’s a hugely important issue, and there may be no solution.

Alabama Is For Cannibals

This is the South for you (Dothan, AL). Seriously, how creepy are these guys? Aren’t they just a little too happy about “serving” your corpse?

20120924-011816.jpg

What Eduardo Saverin Owes America (Hint: Nearly Everything)

It’s like a dine-and-dash, only far, far bigger.

Behind the Mask

Here, revealed for the first time–well, okay, not really, I found this video over at Dangerous Minds–are the dirty secrets of professional wrestlers. Use this information wisely.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=c0m3MHmw7Go&w=420&h=315]

Imagine You Have No Arms

Imagine for a moment that you have no arms. You can’t do so, because you definitely have arms. You might think about not having arms for a minute, and pity the armless, and then you pick up your glass of lemonade without realizing the armless do not have such capacity. You might even see an armless man ask someone for a straw, and you might be the one to provide the straw. He’ll thank you. He needed it. He appreciates it. And then you’ll go home and make yourself a sandwich, thinking about how you helped that armless man drink his lemonade. You’ll rightfully feel as though you helped him. Meanwhile, he will lack a sandwich.

He’ll thank you for the lemonade, but will still need the sandwich after you’ve left. He won’t hold your relative resourcefulness against you, necessarily. He’ll just wish he were able to put meat on bread and lift it to his lips.

He can imagine making a sandwich. He can imagine eating it, tasting it, feeling normal.

You’ll never even realize how good your sandwich tastes.

Le déplaisir du texte

The “beautiful plastic bag” scene from American Beauty has become one of those cultural moments with which we post-millennial cynics bludgeon the bloated corpse of our (former) zest for life. I suspect we mock it not because it has some essentially childlike earnestness in it, but because we sense in it the same kind of calculated self-mockery we all so love to wallow in. It’s an infinitely recursive, intentionally unfunny in-joke. It’s the cultural equivalent of a self-loathing fat kid puking upon his own myriad reflections in a funhouse full of shattered mirrors.

Here again, for your mocking “pleasure”:

Star Maidens

Speaking of retro-futurism, check this shit out.

[youtube http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=4jUPhF0ENjA&w=420&h=315]