Hey, everyone. "Moriarty" here with some Rumblings From The Lab.
Sounds like Vern got cheated out of a screening of BATTLE ROYALE, and maybe that's a good thing. He's a reformed man after being a guest of the state, but who knows what'll happen when you lay bare the blackest heart of man against man. I'd much rather be in a theater with Vern during a warped little character flick like GHOST WORLD, Terry (CRUMB) Zwigoff's adaptation of the Daniel Clowes comics. I can't wait to see this, and thanks to the always-appreciated efforts of Vern, we're getting a little early peek...
This is a story about an individual named Vern who is standing in an alley outside of the Egyptian theater in Seattle, Washington where the world premiere of a movie is about to take place. There is a line around the building and I'm standing next to this dumpster that smells like piss and I'm thinking, this must be the line for Battle Royale. Battle Royale is this movie everybody's talking about. It's this week's Chopper.
So I bought an extra ticket off a fella but it turns out the movie is Ghost World. Ghost World is not Battle Royale. Battle Royale is about Japanese teenagers forced to live on an island where they must kill each other until there is only one survivor, otherwise they will be executed on television. Ghost World is about teenage girls talking about how they are growing up and what not.
Oh jesus my ass is gonna be sore after this movie, I'm thinking.
Actually, I gotta admit this coming of age type drama is a good one. The story centers around Enid and her friend Rebecca who have just graduated high school. Their hobbies include irony and spying. They like to watch comedians they don't like and go to bad restaraunts and especially follow around people they think are hilariously weird. The plot really gets going when Enid plays a cruel prank an Seymour (Reservoir Dogs) who is a bug eyed old creep who obsessively collects ragtime 78s. (an obvious stand in for director Terry Zwigoff of I directed the movie Crumb fame.)
By the way there are no ghosts in this movie, it is only some type of poetic metaphor, etc.
Enid is obviously a very personal character for the Writer of the piece, a comic book author of some type. Enid is not sure how she wants to live her life and instead lives through the people she watches, drawing them in her sketchbook. At first they are just kitsch to her, people whose lives she enjoys in an ironical type fashion instead of as actual friends. Then she gets to know Seymour and starts to see that her suspects actually have feelings and personal lives and what not. whoops.
I have to admit I am the same way, as a Writer it is important to observe and what not. Like when I was coming in I observed this incident where the star Thora Birch came in with the comic book guy author and some other guys. But the usher stopped one of the guys cause he didn't have a ticket. "I'm with him," he says pointing at comic book guy. "He's with me," says comic book guy. But the usher doesn't know who the fuck the guy is. Crowds of people are waving their tickets around but the usher blocks them by spreading his arms and yells "Who's in charge here?"
The whole time I'm watching this I'm standing next to a girl in glamorous makeup and gown - young Thora Birch, star of Ghost World and American Beauty. All I can think is, there was a discussion on a movie newsgroup a couple years back where this guy who was really into Superman insisted that Thora Birch's breasts in American Beauty were created by computers in a secret conspiracy orchestrated by Steven Spielberg. At that exact moment I remembered why I stopped reading newsgroups and started hanging out in alleyes next to dumpsters that smell like piss.
Anyway I entertained myself before the picture started by eavesdropping on a couple of jackasses in the balcony. Anyone who was in attendance will know them as the yahoos who yelled during the question and answer session, "Is there gonna be a Dungeons and Dragons 2 Thora?" You know, because of irony. One of them was talking about how he had just now opened his Criterion edition dvd of Hard Boiled (best non-Die Hard action movie of the 20th century) because he realized it was no longer worth as much because it got re-released. The other guy says, "Dude, those still go for $250 on e-bay!" "Shit."
See, I like to spy on above-it-all, age-of-irony youngsters as they discuss their craft of hording away out of print dvds that real men and independent women like you and I would actually watch. It was only my sense of honor as a Writer and observer that kept me from grabbing the little bitch by the ear and making him lead me to the glass case he keeps his movies in. I mean I HATE these fuckers. They're the dumber versions of Enid, with less interesting taste. But what I learned from the movie is you can't really understand someone like this just by observing them in their habitat. YOu have to actually get in there and interact. If I went and hung out with these retards they would probaly turn out to have some hidden dimension somewhere that made me understand them as people and appreciate them as human beings, etc.
I'd still make them give me the fucking dvd though.
Then late at night I got an e-mail from Howard Jenkins, a dude from my Wednesday night Writing class.
(it is excerpted here)
at the Egyptian tonight. I was surprised to see you attending the gala screening at SIFF. I did not know you were such a cinephile! I would be interested to
(blah blah blah)
in fact abandons the plot of the comics stories in favor of an entirely new one, compositing themes from other Clowes pieces such as 'Caricature' and 'Art School Confidential'. The film captures the look and texture of typical Clowes characters in its incidentals such as the man with the nunchukas and the Boz-cut. Ironically, these characters seem more realistic as cartoon drawings, and play more as broad comedy when seen in live action. My complaint about the movie is the same as with X-Men - why can't the movie capture the exact dialogue and plot of the comic? For example, on page 23
Yeah yeah Howard keep Writing. I remember that script you Wrote for class about dragons in space, keep working on that one bud. Did you hear there is a new hobbit movie coming out too.
Anyway from what Howard said about the comic strips I think the movie must've captured the good parts pretty well. I don't know what it feels like to be a teenage girl but jesus can I relate to Seymour. I can't think of a better movie about feeling like you're living on the wrong planet. It's not just that Enid and Seymour think almost everyone around them is dumb or weird. They realize that they're just as dumb and weird to everybody else. I think Seymour knows he's blowing it as soon as he tries to explain the distinction between ragtime and blues to the woman at the bar. But then, why should he even bother to hit on somebody that is going to be turned off by his passion for that music. It's the same way with me, if a gal can't appreciate a funny prison riot anecdote then obviously that chemistry isn't there in my opinion.
Now if you go in expecting Capser or the Exorcist or something, you might be disappointed. But this is a good picture that will really appeal to alot of people whose world view hasn't really made it to film before. It is for people who remember struggling to escape that purgatory between school and real life. But more than that is for people who feel misunderstood and socially awkward because they have some freaky hobby like sniffing panties, wearing diapers, or reading comic strips as a grown adult.
Not that you guys sniff panties necessarily but I think harry and moriarty will like this one. If you do sniff panties that's no skin off my balls I am not judgmental