Gourmet Burgers:Garden Chicken, Italian Chicken, Classic, M&M, Philly, Humpty, Vegetarian, Crunchy Chicken Club.What's Wrong with Yesterday's Menu:Why the fuck can't they say sandwich?
As I get older I understand more and more the necessity for clear and unambiguous writing. Iím not thinking only of the political ramifications of precision and clarity; I simply mean that people begin to hit an age at which the brain no longer has the same powers of concentration, even as your understanding becomes deeper and richer. And to my horror, Iíve discovered that this happens much too soon, and much sooner than I had thought. This loss of focus is not entirely or even necessarily a neurological phenomenon; it may be simply that we have too many damn things to do. Clean the house, finish the project, go get some Polysporin for your ingrown toenail. And of course, as Don DeLillo says, find a way to get out from under the pissant details of your life.
Ripple chips for breakfast, smoked oysters and crackers for lunch, a handful of raisins and an orange for supper.
At the end of Adaptation, Charlie Kaufman pulls out of an underground parking garage, turns right and merges with traffic. The camera pulls up and tracks left, watching Kaufman drive away. We stop at a closeup of daisies as the city traffic whizzes by in the background. Suddenly time begins moving rapidly: the sun rises, sets, rises, the daisies retract and open, retract and open. Cars speed back and forth. Considering that weíve been watching a movie about a man trying to write a movie about exotic flowers, what does it mean to watch a clump of daisies going through their paces on a Los Angeles traffic island?
Early in the film we see the prehistory of Hollywood, from the primordial plains and mountains through to the evolution of life and the recent showing by humans. In relation to that scene, itís pretty easy to view the last shot as an example of how the natural world has adapted to the concrete and glass city, and from there to see it as a handy metaphor for the survival of art in the hostile medium of Hollywood. Yet what we are given is the story of failure, of Kaufmanís eventual inability to do justice to Orleanís original work. The daisies are by contrast a staggering success.
Part of Kaufmanís failure springs from his talent as a writer of generic film scripts. The last act of the film, which slips almost seamlessly from a story of a frustrated writer to a humid thriller in the bayou (reminiscent of the abrupt transformation of story and character in Mulholland Drive), offers us cheap and visceral entertainment even as it crumples up and tosses away the intimate story of Kaufmanís frustrations. Maybe itís a kind of revenge on the audience for quietly endorsing the usual junk that Hollywood releases. Weíre given what we expect from films these days and itís grotesque, mendacious and utterly stupid. It reminds me of the final shots of Ballet Mechanique, in which the movements of a young woman in a garden appear mechanical and contrived after fifteen minutes or so of watching machinery and workers jerk and convulse (at least I think itís the final shots of the film; itís been a while since Film 100).
I havenít heard anybody talk about the stereotypes and thin characterization of the first two thirds of the movie, but that was the least favourite part of the film for me. The Seminole Indians are portrayed as stoic and somehow imbued with a shamanistic wisdom (which turns out to be derived from a fictitious hallucinogen); the New Yorkers are a pretentious cackling lot clad in designer black. Women are flowers, unattainable and beautiful tokens of nature and desire, and to get a flower you have to enter a filthy swamp located in a pristine protected area and find a tiny beautiful item that looks like a cunt. But Iíll bet this is the first movie where someone masturbates to a photo of Meryl Streep.
Retracted on 2003-02-03::8:27 a.m.
parode - exode