Wednesday, January 22, 2014

Moving Pictures For Spring & That Awful J.D. Salinger Character

Wes Anderson and Jim Jarmusch photographed while enjoying each other's company
I recently saw the Wes Anderson short, Castello Cavalcanti, and thought I'd post it along with a  parody of Anderson's style in anticipation of his new film The Grand Budapest Hotel, due out in March, 2014.  I can understand why some viewers have grown tired of Anderson's films, but I still find them enjoyable, and it's not like they come out more than once every couple of years. I think he's actually been on a bit of an uptick since Darjeeling Limited, which I love (despite Natalie Portman, who I can't abide), though I seem to be in the minority on that one.

In other movie related news, Jim Jarmusch, my favorite, still active, director also has a new film, Only Lovers Left Alive, due out in April of 2014. It's a vampire film, and although I'm not a fan of this genre, if anyone can do something interesting with it, it will be Jarmusch. Trailers for both The Grand Budapest Hotel and Only Lovers Left Alive follow Castello Cavalcanti and the Anderson/Star Wars parody below.

In other news I tried to watch PBS's showing of Salinger but found myself bored and disgusted after about 30 or 40 minutes. What I did see confirmed all I had suspected about Salinger after rereading him as an adult, in short that he was a conceited creep who nursed an adolescent superiority complex and a contempt for his fellow man that comes through clearly in all of his fictional characters. Catcher in the Rye is the kind of book that when you read it at 15 seems right on but when you revisit it as an adult, you can't help noticing what a whiny spoiled prick the main character is- contemptuous of everyone around him and bereft of empathy. The book celebrates all the worst traits of adolescence. This article from the Nation does a good job exploring the problems with the man and his fiction and also ties in its ongoing fascination for killers like Chapman, Hinckley and Bardo.

But to Chapman, the nobody was Lennon. Chapman later reportedly said that in the week before the assassination he’d been listening to John Lennon/Plastic Ono Band, the raw and abrasive 1970 record on which Lennon purged his music of the gorgeous harmonies and studio lushness of the Beatles. And yet for everything that was stripped down about the record, it is, like the music it turned its back on, magisterial. The penultimate track, “God,” builds to a close with Lennon’s rising list of denunciations: “I don’t believe in Bible … I don’t believe in Jesus … I don’t believe in Beatles.” “Who does he think he is,” Chapman remembered thinking, “saying these things about God and heaven and the Beatles? 
“I kept wanting to kill whoever’d written it…. I kept picturing myself catching him at it, and how I’d smash his head on the stone steps till he was good and goddam dead and bloody.” That’s not Chapman talking, though he had wished that it was. The voice belongs to Holden Caulfield, the name that Chapman signed in the paperback copy of The Catcher in the Ryethat he was carrying with him when he shot Lennon. The signature appeared under the words “This is my statement.”

In the months and years after Lennon’s murder, it was as if the secret life of The Catcher in the Rye came aboveground for the first time since the book’s publication in 1951. It was found in Hinckley’s hotel room after he was arrested, and in 1989 Robert John Bardo had a copy of it on him when he murdered the actress Rebecca Schaeffer. The next year, in John Guare’s play Six Degrees of Separation, the con man protagonist holds forth on the book’s attraction to the violently disturbed, quoting Holden’s remark that his ever-present red hat is a “people-shooting hat.”

I hope to have a new mix up before the end of the month, if life doesn't get in the way.

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