Tuesday, September 14, 2004

David Denby, Republican 

Sorry for the recent lack of posts--I've been on vacation in California for the past week and am now returned.

One highlight, so to speak, of my vacation was a trip to L.A.'s NuArt Cinema to view Vincent Gallo's new feature, "The Brown Bunny." Now, this is what New Yorker critic David Denby has to say:
"This loner [Gallo's "character" Bud Clay] is enshrouded in the mystery of his suffering and self-denial."
He is not. We don't care about either his suffering or his "self-denial," partly because he is so boring but mainly because he ("Bud Clay") is not a character by any stretch of the imagination.
"The movie was shot on sixteen-millimetre film, which, when blown up to thirty-five millimetres, yields a slightly soft-focus look, a punk-lyrical aesthetic of beauty struggling to emerge from the chrysalis of ugliness....the bluesy visions, half monotonous, half mesmerizing, of an insomniac driving beyond need, or reason, into the sunset. The movie, in its surly way, casts a spell.
If by "half monotonous, half mesmerizing," you mean "wholly monotonous," then yes. If the "spell" is of the same sort cast by the Sand Man, then yes, it does.
"For the record, the blow job is too distanced and oddly framed to be pornographic..."
a) It is not: it is pornographic. It's a dude getting blown in a motel room.
"...and, placed at the end of the movie as it is, it actually makes dramatic sense."
b) It does not: unless by "dramatic sense" Denby means "me horny."
"'The Brown Bunny' is one of those movies that work retrospectively: the final scene pulls the film together"
It does not. Unless, of course, by "pulls the film together" Denby means "gets me off."
"In brief, 'The Brown Bunny,' however antagonistic and borderline tedious, is an art work of sorts, and Gallo himself, though an egomaniac of staggering solemnity—a priest of art longing for a cult—is not a fake. An obsessed filmmaker like this is faintly reminiscent, at least in temperament, of such figures as Rimbaud and van Gogh and the hero-martyrs of sixties underground filmmaking."
I'll spare you the wretching and gagging noises. Suffice it to say that while I have no inkling of David Denby's political persuasion (Gallo--get this--is a Republican! How crazy is this guy? Whoa!), the fact that he appears to actually think these things--particularly his claim about the last scene pulling the film together, and then the comparing Gallo ("at least in temperament," whatever the fuck that means) with Rimbaud (!?) and van Gogh (!?!?)--indicates that either

a) He's insane

b) He's really stupid

c) He's capable being suckered by the worst kind of asshole poseur

d) He's foisting some kind of joke on his readers out of deliberate disrespect.

To me, that combination of qualities makes him at least an honorary Republican.



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