Notes on a Wednesday
It’s February 26 and I am convinced that film discourse is gonna kill me. I am secretly convinced no one actually watches movies anymore and that they’re just interested in having something cool that can play in the background while they tweet; or maybe they just want to “stan” for characters and project their weird hang ups onto them. Increasingly it feels like every conversation had about anything (not just movies) has to be some referendum on the identity politics you feel the strongest about, and it is EXHAUSTING.
It’s been nearly three months since I’ve written anything worthwhile and the thought of writing is starting to fill me with this unspeakable dread that is threatening to drown me. With all that said here are some things on my mind this particular week that I didn’t or haven’t been able to write a full essay on.
There’s been a good run of excellent records released over the past couple weeks. The crown jewel for me being the latest from Young Nudy. Anyways is a really tough project, which shows Nudy really growing as a fierce MC despite having such a laid back manner and voice. The oddball, spacey production might not work for everyone when talking about an artist that makes really grimy street rap but I find that juxtaposition to be really inspired. There’s only so many times you can listen to everyone rap over similar bass heavy, gloomy sounding instrumentals meant to match the ugliness of the song’s content. Nudy at least allows for a sense of playfulness and wonder that adds new dimension to the music.
Elsewhere, there have been good projects released by Tink, Lil Gotit, Duke Deuce, and Key Glock. Going back a little farther out, Beach Slang—a band no one cares about anymore—also released a pretty good album that is worth listening to. These records all offer something interesting but there’s also an element that’s keeping me at a distance for whatever reason. That may be because with Tink, as much as I like her, she’s been pretty stagnant lyrically or Lil Gotit being too derivative of Thug or Duke Deuce literally just doing Three 6 Mafia again.
Returning to Beach Slang, the trajectory of a rock band in this era is always a bummer. It’s a genre that seems to only be propped up by music writers more and more and these bands have a pretty short shelf life in the critical consciousness, unless they dramatically reinvent themselves. For all the “state of R&B” conversations that are constantly happening, the state of rock music is in way worse shape with people desperately propping up The 1975 (a band I do like) just hoping that it’ll keep the genre relevant somehow.
Ive been watching Jane Campion movies a lot lately since most of them are on the Criterion streaming channel right now. According to IMDB she has a new film possibly arriving next year which is very good news because the streets need her. I liked Top of The Lake just fine but movies are where she shines. The opening to Portrait Of A Lady is one of the more inventive things Ive seen done. Somehow, between her, Celine Sciamma, and Greta Gerwig, Ive become a big fan of costume dramas which I never saw coming. In The Cut is such a poignant, unsettling affair that’s now really getting the love it should be getting. Holy Smoke is just wild as hell and the kind of energy more movies need to have again.
Man it is criminal how much people didn’t appreciate The Master when it came out. Maybe the best performances you’ll ever get from Joaquin Phoenix and definitely my favorite Philip Seymour Hoffman. It’s a movie that can never fully be penetrated but for whatever reason nothing has ever spoken to me like that movie has. There’s something about the human need for connection and the way religion both comforts that desire and exploits it that really gets to me as a lonely drifting kid raised in the church and always wanting to believe in some grand design of the universe to make everything make sense. It’s also a comedy and a good one.
I’m watching a lot of movies about loners and depressed drifters in an effort to both make sense and identify myself as someone going through a period of great flux. Feeling spit out and embarrassed about the way life kicked me in the ass and left me behind as sapped me of all feelings of worth and confidence. Watching movies like The Assassination of Jesse James, The Talented Mr. Ripley, Sweetie, or The Handmaiden have had this strange comfort in helping me imagine a way to live within the cracks of a society that has no place for me. I could be overreacting to the fact that I’m jobless and don’t feel particularly good enough or mentally strong enough to have a job but it’s hard trying to function on a day-to-day basis when regular life feels too hard for you all the damn time. I also know I’m not strong enough to actually be the freewheeling cowboy drifter I’d fantasize over either. I do like the ideas of comfort and security I just really struggle with routine and working. It’s not a good feeling, but at least I have movies with me.