Shot Of Rhythm

[ Thursday, February 26, 2004 ]

 

Peter, I can see your house from here

Went to see MONSTER with Mr. C tonight. (Of course, Mr. C's bad experience with a Subway sandwich means that he didn't see much of the movie...so don't bother him about it.) First and foremost, it's a powerful piece of work, with an absolutely astonishing performance from Charlize Theron. She's gonna have to go a long way to top this one (as will co-star Christina Ricci, who isn't really getting any good press for an extremely well-done role). This is the kind of acting that's so great because it seems so real, almost as though the filmmakers stumbled onto a non-fiction situation while making a fictional film. It's really something, and the ending sequence is a stunner.

Anyway, not what I wanted to talk about. Also playing in the multiplex was, that's right you guessed it, THE PASSION OF THE CHRIST. The big movie of the moment, packing houses around the country with its apparently ultraviolent, possibly anti-Semitic retelling of Jesus' last 12 hours. Now, as somebody who's not wont to step on people's beliefs, I honestly don't want to mock or disparage the people who lined up for this film, nor make any cheap jokes (like the one referenced in the title of this post). I won't even get too much of a tizzy about Mel Gibson, whose interview with Diane Sawyer last week made him look more like a multi-millionaire mental patient than anything else.

What I will say is what my first thought was: WOW, LOOK AT THE PEOPLE LINED UP FOR THIS FUCKING MOVIE. Marching into the theatre like automatons (actually, my first thought was pretty tasteless, but nevertheless accurate...they looked like Holocaust victims being marched into the gas chambers), for a movie that they must've heard by now is extremely gory, a movie for which they already know the ending, and a movie with no big stars or flashy hype. It impressed me, since this is clearly a movie that people WANT to see (there's a rarity), but it also angered me a little. Especially since a lot of these folks are the SAME people who rail against the violence in other films, violence that usually doesn't come anywhere NEAR to the graphic-ness of just the CLIPS I've seen on the news. Now, I'm not out to censor anybody (for real), but it strikes me as a little convenient that the same Focus On The Family motherfuckers are singing the praises of such a film.

I also don't like the fact that what made Jesus, son of God or not, such a cool guy - the Jesus of "Let's cast the money-lenders from the temple, and then go drink some wine in the garden" - is apparently not to be seen in this. (Also, he's once again characterized as looking most like Dennis Wilson. Nothing against the fallen Beach Boy, but does that really make much sense?)

Anyway, I suppose I should see it before judging it. Let him without sin cast the first stone...

On the box right now: Ivan Neville, SCRAPE. Not a great record, but there are three tracks near the end that kick ass.

Peace...

Dove With Claws [8:31 PM]

[ Tuesday, February 24, 2004 ]

 

Irony and elitism, or Why I Like Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys But not The Rev. Horton Heat

So I saw a nice, unpretentious little country/rockabilly show tonight at an area casino, featuring Big Sandy and the Fly-Rite Boys. These guys are like a time warp from 1957; now, I know that's a cliche, but I REALLY mean it. In the sense that they look just ugly and unhip enough to be an actual country ensemble from the period, while representing the sounds of Ray Price, Rick Nelson and Johnny Burnette (among other sonic forebears that I picked up over the course of the evening) in ways that are both faithful and not entirely reverent.

As I listened and watched this pleasantly rocking show, I realized how much I dislike those in the neo-rockabilly (psychobilly) community who approach the music with a strange sort of romantic detachment, at once assigning unreasonably fantastic implications onto the music and culture while also smirking at it in a way that smacks of hipster elitism. The Rev. Horton Heat is the example in the title, and there are things I like about the Reverend, but he may be the best example (at least since the Stray Cats went out of business; like the Cats, they seem like nice guys who enjoy the music) of the sort of super-fast, hyped-up, look-at-my-pink-suit fetishism that manages to pull an odd double-whammy, both removing the music from its cultural contexts while also forever damning it to fringe-cult status. Not that the music should be totally serious, of course, but a lot of people get into rockabilly as a mythos, rather than the exciting cultural moment it is...

For my money, and these thoughts are both quick and incomplete (so further discussion, as always, is welcom), I'll take Big Sandy (or BR5-49, or The Blasters, or Rosie Flores etc.) over the super-hair costume party of psychobilly any day. Irony shall only get you so far, and boogie will get you way farther...

On the box right now: Kanye West, THE COLLEGE DROPOUT. I really, really like this record...

Peace...

Dove With Claws [10:23 PM]