Saturday, October 8, 2016

2 Movies: "Things are happening in a place that you ignore."

I saw two movies this week in which children instruct their parents on Internet social media:
Birdman or (The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance) (2014, dir. Alejandro G. Iñárritu) and Chef (2014, dir. Jon Favreau).

1. In Birdman, Sam (Emma Stone) lights into her forgotten-action-hero father (Michael Keaton) for his narcissistic attempt to be relevant by putting on a Broadway play based on Raymond Carver's What We Talk About When We Talk About Love, which Sam scorns as "a book that was written sixty years ago for a thousand rich old white people."

She's wrong: What We Talk About was published in 1981, only 33 years earlier. Her mistake is a brilliant bit of writing: the book's so irrelevant to her, the correct date doesn't matter; 
but if you're one of those "old white people" (like me) who know it's a mistake, you are implicated in her rant ––and yet you also get the pleasure of recognizing that Sam herself could be a character in a Carver story.

She goes on and says something I feel like saying to people my age who sneer at Internet culture (e.g. fandom):
"You want to be relevant... Well, guess what? There's an entire world out there where people fight to be relevant every single day;  things are happening in a place that you ignore…"

I'm not a fan of either Carver or Iñárritu. 
I actually only watched Birdman because I'd recently rewatched  Tim Burton's two Batman movies and admired Keaton as a perfect Bruce Wayne/Batman, so I was curious. 
The more recent Batmans (currently, Ben Affleck) are not like anyone you'd ever know, but Keaton plays him as an everyday awkward broken person––with expensive high-tech toys and a weirder obsessions than most, yeah, but otherwise much like the broken people we know, or are.

Birdman is a little too *KA-POW* packed with profundity for me.
I prefer the excellent Batman Returns (1992, sixty years ago!).
It's actually pretty interesting on weirdness and even gender stuff--while Batman's costume is a traditional male military fantasy, for instance, Michelle Pfeiffer's Catwoman sews her own costume, like moms used to. Like a Halloween costume from hell, her claws are sewing machine attachments:

2. Oh, damn. Blogger was changing the font size on me (why?!?!), so I was cutting and repasting the text back in and lost what I'd written about Chef.
Luckily, like the movie, it was simple:
the ten-year-old son kindly instructs his father (and by extension, viewers his gengeration, like me) in Twitter and Vine use. The father's ineptitude is played for gentle laughs, and he, a chef, offers something that never goes out of style:
good food.

The movie is a predictable and--unless you're vegetarian--pleasant food-porn and family reconciliation fantasy. 
No profundity, no complexity involved. Its mistakes are just that: mistakes.
Having worked as a cook, for instance I thought it was unbelievable that the dad would let his ten-year-old work in his food truck. (Also, it's illegal--for great reasons.)
Second, Sofia Vergara (love her!) needs to wear a hairnet. Imagine as you're eating your Cuban sandwich getting one of those long hairs caught in your throat...


ArtSparker said...

Sofia Vergara totally out of the league of Jon Favreu, add to the fantasy element of this little confection.

Fresca said...

SPARKER: Yeah, I noticed that too, but, you know, it wouldn't bother me if we EVER saw it the other way around: some hot guy crazy in love with a not-Hollywood-standard woman.

Like, in Identity Theft, Melissa McCarthy drives across country with Jason Bateman, and the idea that there's any sexual tension between them is played totally for laughs, even when she gets a makeover and looks totally gorgeous (tho still fat, of course).
Plus, it seemed like she (Ms Inventive) would've be a lot more fun in bed than he (Mr Uptight) would.