I haven’t been around much lately, I apologize. I’m currently directing a movie, for which our teaser trailer uses the song “Free At Dawn” by Small Black. On that note, I felt in this spare moment of free time, before I have to embark on another long day, (about 24 hours straight of work coming up, from 8am today until hopefully 5am tomorrow, but anyone who knows movies knows that’s bullshit. We’ll be going long.) I’d like to briefly review Small Black’s new album.
Unlike most my reviews, which I try to keep concise and based in elements such as instrumentation, lyrics and overall affect, I find this album requires a different, more personal approach. This by necessity means the review will go a little long but unlike most bands, Small Black seems to take the label “Music Artist”, seriously. Like the theory driven films of Vertov and Fellini, they are more concerned with revealing deep subconscious connection through aesthetic quality. This requires analyzing beyond debating how good the lead guitar riff is on a scale of one to ten, and examining what makes “Limits of Desire” one of the best, most accomplished pieces of art in general to rear it’s head in recent years.
I’ve been a big fan of the band for a while, ever since SPIN Magazine, in their last days of awesomeness (which I say officially ended in December 2011, which unfortunately led to their demise as any sort of respectable publication I care about when they decided to stop being the non-political thinking man’s Rolling Stone and become Pitchfork the Sequel.) turned me on to the song “Photojournalist” off their pretty damn good debut, “New Chain”. That track, along with their songs “Despicable Dogs” and “Search Party” became one of my go-to “Get High and Drive Around” songs a couple summers ago, back when life was fun and weed was still a relevant part of my every day life.
It’s a bit interesting the way things change rather quickly, but gestate for so long.
I no longer produce the student television show I did for the past year. Politics, combined with just getting sick of dealing with an experience that was progressively less gratifying made it inevitable, essentially. In short, it was a “damned if I do, damned if I don’t” situation.
I put so much work and emotional, social effort into this that I’m not really sure how to feel. I suppose I’m a bit pleased about the fact I can now do what I want without dealing with a bureaucratic nightmare every time I make any decision. It’s artistically cramping, but was worth it to have a support base to create content. But I’ve met enough dedicated people who enjoy working with me to be able to strike out on my own. In that sense it was positive.
If you read my original article from last year, you know that I find the definition of greatest fairly arbitrary and meaningless, since there can be no objectively correct list. A consensus is possible, but it’s still irrelevant. Keeping that in mind, please note I find the more important list would be that of one’s favorite films. I have both lists below.
The Greatest Films of All Time:
Anyone who read my muddled list of favorite films knows that “Evil Dead II” is one of my favorite movies. To quote myself: “[it is] is the most awesome shit ever, and that’s about all you need to say.” Yep that sums it up. So naturally when I heard of the newest installment of what is perhaps my favorite franchises, I danced.
It’s important as well to note my relationship with the original film, “The Evil Dead”, of which this new film is a remake. I was originally introduced to the series through “Army of Darkness” and went backwards from there. So, one rainy night I snuggled up all alone in my dark basement, popped in a DVD of “The Evil Dead” and sat in rabid anticipation of what was sure to be another hilarious slapstick horror comedy.
I was caught off guard to say the least. I refuse to re-watch “The Evil Dead” ever again. Not because I’m afraid of it, but because I don’t want to taint the original effect it had on me. I have never been more frightened by a film in my life. The pacing, the originality, and most of all the inventive low budget aesthetic created a terrifying experience. To this day, it is still the only time I can recall a film actually scaring me.
Anyway, on to the remake. I didn’t expect to be scared by it, because the surprise factor of the original was no longer present, nor was the novelty. I did however expect an intense, gory, well made movie that could hopefully stand up to the rest of the series.
So, did the film succeed? Well… yes and no.
Many have said that “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” is a “Breakfast Club” for a new generation. I don’t think that’s necessarily something to aspire to, considering that the John Hughes “classic” is a shallow attempt to validate teen angst and shove children’s book level morals up the audience’s nose.
Still, I understand the comparison. Both try to provide insight into the adolescent mind, and create something relatable for their core audience, while holding a nostalgic relevance to the older generations. “The Perks of Being a Wallflower” seems to be trying to remind me what it was like to be 15 again.
Except here’s the problem. Teen angst isn’t that interesting.
The film centers on Charlie (Logan Lerman) a shy and nervous 14 year old entering his first day of high school. Charlie is the wallflower of the film’s title. He doesn’t raise his hand in class, and has no social life. His only friend blew his brains out the year before.
This last detail brings up a major problem of “Perks” which is it’s use of heavy melodrama, much of which is casually brushed over, rendering it irrelevant. I suppose this wouldn’t be much a problem if the film wasn’t so overtly attempting to be “powerful”.
I directed this!