I’ve never been entirely satisfied by P.T. Anderson’s movies. Yes, I admired them from a technical standpoint — who couldn’t — but I was always left very cold by them. For instance, with Boogie Nights, I felt as if I were watching an especially masterful simulacrum of a Robert Altman movie I’d enjoy much more, a sort of outsized-phallus version of Short Cuts. That’s why I’d always stayed away from There Will Be Blood, despite its praise. That’s fine — sometimes people enjoy different things, and there are plenty of other movies to occupy my time with.
However, I saw the teaser for The Master and felt outright excitement. A Metafilter discussion* prompted by said teaser gave the the prompting I needed to go give There Will Be Blood a fair shot, and I’m very glad I did. It’s a movie that shows a director who has utter confidence in his material, stripping away the superfluous tics that always distracted me and letting an actor and a script tell that story, directly and clearly**.
I found myself thinking and reconsidering bits of the film since I’ve seen it, and I think a great deal of that enjoyment and enchantment comes from the fact I watched it in a relative vacuum, five years after everyone had talked it up so much. Frankly, it’s the way I prefer to watch/read/listen to things — free of the marketing*** and fannish push that can cause me to prejudge material****.
I’m now seriously considering giving Anderson another shot with a bit more perspective on his material. Maybe without someone sobbing and telling me how much Magnolia changed their lives, I’ll be able to buy into it a bit more.
* Right now, Benjamin Birdie is screaming at me through his monitor, telling me that he told me to see the movie a dozen dozen times. The problem is that sometimes clinical detachment from a thing is more of an impetus for me than breathless enthusiasm.
** That said, maybe Anderson’s doing Malick with The Master — after all, There Will be Blood feels very Days of Heaven, isn’t it?
*** Yes, I do know what I do for a living, thank you.
**** You should see me hiding from Prometheus‘s marketing push; it’s comical how quickly I will screech and close a link when I’m blindly fed something.
Lydia and Rick talk about stuff.
Things at the restaurant are back to “normal.”
A romantic moment is interrupted.
A new mix is up on Disco Potential, and you can click here to go listen and download.
In which there is a special bulletin
Those images above will take you to the respective pages for the latest two Five Tracks mixes I’ve made. As the title says, I should probably make an effort to update this page with links when I do these kinds of things, or make sure to at least post the flyers for my new residency at River Gods in Cambridge, which has just been confirmed in an email. We’ll be broadcasting the next one over the internet, probably, so that’ll be nice if you like nu-disco.
The shop gets an after-hours visitor.
In which Captain Meredith is on a new diet, which may include shoe leather.
Some thinking happens.
Adam Yauch taught me that you could be a Jewish Buddhist who made hip-hop records, or that you could be a Jewish rapper who became a Buddhist. Either way.
Adam Yauch taught me you could be interested in many different media and genres and still be the same person, that camp wasn’t the only way to look back on pop culture excess and that when you’ve got a platform, you shouldn’t hold back from using it.
Mostly, he taught me that a middle-aged guy from Brooklyn could be the funkiest man in the room at any given time. I’m very glad that we had the Beastie Boys for as long as we did.