Sunday, April 5, 2009

Collective Brain Fart

I feel it too dB. I really do. Everytime I sit to write or think about what i'm doing, especially when it comes to school. But I'm making an honest effort to get back on the train, read everyday, audit a class, etc.

On the other hand I've rarely been so happy in between my moments of school freak outs. My knitting needles are full (I'd show you but that lack of camera thing occasion does affect my life), I'm reading and watching what I want, and I have a boy I'm silly crazy about (I'm thinking about knitting him another hat--not that he really needs one, but I like seeing him in things I've made. On the flip side of that, color choice has been killing me. You have an opinion on this?Too light and girly? I love the mossy color but what do I know? I'll wear almost anything and he does dress better than I do).

Also work husband sent me this and this and they make me very happy indeed. What's better than British spoofs of two of my favorite movies? And then there's the music. I don't think I've listened to so much since I was djing. I sort of fell out of the habit when I moved to Chicago and it's a very good feeling to be surrounding myself with all sorts of sounds, whether they be new, old, or anything in between, again.

As far as the work goes, I've been thinking about what I really like about the program I'm in. I think coming from a rhetoric department where "subjectivity" is the catchphrase, I've been trying to distance myself and get into more concrete subjects. But the rub is that I'm interested in some very technical things which I may not be smart enough to really understand. Am I doomed to the vague platitude spouting I derail all the time? My harshest criticism of film theory in other fields is their lack of understanding of the actual film (the most obvious example being the wholesale endorsement of Blade Runner by postmodernists when the film is actually very conventional while films with actual structural anomalies--like say horror--get the shrift). However my own lack of understanding about film, especially the digital and peripheral film practices i'm interested in, not to mention the technologies portrayed in film that I love (does anyone know anything about VR besides what we learn in movies?) leaves me very very worried.

Also I need to learn French stat. Back on the train.


  1. Did you ever read that urban myth about the class who would train their psych professor while learning about behaviorism? I think you should knit him a bright pink hat with rainbows on it and you and I could try that on him.

    Or not...

    But I do think the green would be a nice one.

    I always hated how Blade Runner got blown up to be more than it is. I like the movie quite a bit, but it seems that every time a Science Fiction film has more to it than aliens and lasers, the critics have to blow it up to be more than what it is in a vain attempt to legitimize the film... or to draw it out of the science fiction realm and legitimize their own criticism of it. This happens with books too. Jonathan Lethem was just a "Sci-Fi" author until he wrote a straight literary book (which was actually a humorous noir book). Then it became okay to look at his science fiction books as something worth analyzing.

    I wouldn't call Blade Runner conventional in relation to the other films released at the same time. It took its time and had several levels to it. Those levels may have consisted of conventional elements like the noir archetypes and whatnot, but until Blade Runner came out, there really wasn't anything (correct me if I'm wrong) in the big-budget American mainstream that took its time telling a story like that.

    I also like Blade Runner because I think it is everything a movie adaptation should be. Scott never read the entire novel and deviated significantly from the screenplay when he developed the film so that the film is simply an impression of the book and each incarnation of the story lends something to the other. You can't say that about many book-to-film adaptations.

  2. Ha. That is something I would totally try if all the pink yarn in my stash were not already earmarked for me, babies, and my bunny co-conspirator.

    I should preface, that I like Blade Runner--the quality of that film is not really at issue for me. Rather that a) people conflate plot with the film and b) I wholeheartedly agree with you. The constant need for legitimization in film studies (and everyone else in academia who uses film for "illustrations") lead to a need to contextualize in sometimes stupid ways and feeds a need to choose prestige works.

    The careful storytelling of Blade Runner is fantastic but is actually a detriment to a postmodernist argument. Isn't the ridiculous space mapping of a horror film (Freddy can be both behind you and behind the all too skinny lamp post) or the unbelievable time compression of pretty much every other Riddley Scott film in conjunction to the fast editing better at describing that aesthetic? I think people are so tied up in the futuristic disutopian plot that those elements (you know--the filmic ones) fall to the wayside. Also, a high toned philosophy prof wouldn't be caught dead watching Nightmare on Elm Street.

    Instead BR is like the new Batman movies, a popcorn flick with excellent storytelling elements and a nod to "big ideas."

    As for big budget Hollywood of the era, I'll point out it came out the year before I was born, but if forced to name some names, anything by Robert Altman has as much scope, levels of narration, and really bucks the trends (though around that time he was in a 80's slump, including a terrible Popeye's film) but only a couple years before he put out Nashville. That's a musical but there are westerns and I would even put Close Encounters up there. The uber blockbuster I think was just starting to make a return after years of relatively smaller films. (Isn't it perverse/wrong to think of Hitchcock and Chinatown as anyway smaller than Star Wars, Jaws or Passion of the Christ?)