Thursday, October 15, 2009

Listless Films

I hope it didn't sound as if I don't like films by energetic young men interested in screwing. I often like them very much, if they're well done. (Mean Streets, for instance, which I quoted from below.)

I just hope--or expect!-- that with the swell of us aging boomers and the advent of technology that makes moviemaking cheap and easy (well... comparatively), we will see more middle-aged or old people's points of view in film to round them out.

I think of what Emma Thompson said in the special features of Last Chance Harvey. She said she is just bored with watching movies about the same old love stories between young people. (Unfortunately, Last Chance Harvey was also the same old love story, just between older people. But the special feature interviews were kind of fun.)
I'm tired of them too, though I used to like them a lot. I even saw Sleepless in Seattle three times when it came out.

What I don't enjoy--and wouldn't have when I was eighteen either--is the many movies in recent years about listless, privileged young people.
Here's the basic plot:
A young man who had been overmedicated/overprotected yet emotionally ignored by his well-meaning elders strikes out in his battered Volvo. He drives long, empty distances accompanied by the mournful music of a lone, lorn singer playing minor chords on an acoustic guitar.
Somewhere along the way he meets a quirky girl. You can tell she's original because her hair or her shoes are funny colors. (Basically she's a film star, but rumpled.) Or else she's an Earth mother. She may even be Earth colored. Or macrobiotic.
She more or less saves him. Or keeps him company anyway.
Maybe there's a dog.
The End.

Now, I don't care what people make movies or draw pictures or write stories and songs about. No matter how listless the subject matter, making art plugs into life energy, and that's a good thing. And I trust that these "wandering Volvo" movies, often beautifully made, speak for a generation of drooping youth.
I just don't want to watch any more of them. I'd rather watch frat boys blow things up. That's just my personal taste, not an aesthetic or moral judgment.
"Sleepy-Time Gal" (1941) from Modern Mechanix blog.


Manfred Allseasons said...

Yes! The Inner Turmoil Road Movie!

And there is usually a quest element - to find the Ffufnagel cactus, which only flowers once a decade, say - but on meeting Mildred (wacky name, wacky gal!) Julian finds that the Ffufnagel cactus inside each and every every one of us. Or something. Cue cover version of eighties song sung by Jewel!


KMH said...

Did you know that the quirky girl has an official (well, Internets official) character type? She's the Manic Pixie Dream Girl. Try googling it

Fresca said...

THANKS, you two!
You gave me today's post.