17 days ago, I jetted from the SW corner to NE corner of the U.S. -- in search of comforting adventure or adventurous comfort. For the most part, I found what I sought -- yet am now very ready to return to my usual routines (& continue improving routines!). Routines will improve in some leaps & bounds once divingpsyche arrives at the end of May -- for good this time!
I've made a ton of one-line notes for expansion as effort permits. Here's what feels most important to expand now:
I devoured The Rules of Attraction again this week. It holds up well in a living room, but there's no substitute for seeing this one from an up-close theater row. The lighting & music combinations really reward big equipment. ;)
The Rules of Attraction is about stealthily seeking what you crave from a hostilely indifferent world. The script's most climactic line, You can't ever know anyone else, follows the main theme of my 2nd favorite movie of all time, Miller's Crossing: Nobody knows anyone. Not that well.
Both movies center on private passionate pursuits that merely appear obvious or superficial. In both, central characters sometimes feel compelled to honestly reach out -- to declare their real selves -- but that accomplishes less than zero! Miller's: Tom Reagan felt compelled to let Bernie live, and so Bernie lived to exploit Tom further -- hammering the exact weakness Tom showed at that honest moment. Tom felt compelled to tell Leo about Verna -- and so got beaten & thrown out of the gang. Tom felt compelled to pay his own gambling debts -- and again got beaten. Verna was honest with her lover about many things -- and it cost her most of what she loved. Even Drop Johnson got tortured for his honest simplicity! Rules: Sean admits his infatuation for Lauren. Paul confesses his desire to know Sean. Lauren's encounter with Eric Stoltz's cameo turns sour the instant she gets real. Mitchell tries to get drugs. Even Mimi lost all control of her son Dick by showing how she cares. Lara looks ridiculous every time she indicates she wants someone.
In these filmic worlds, honestly admitting feelings & truths at best cripples yourself to maybe help others -- and often just gets people killed. Direct communication never does what you hope -- never benefits the brave speaker. Wonderful as they are, these films are anti-confessional propaganda!
The films are lush -- beautiful settings -- yet their worlds are fundamentally hostile to any strong passion involving human connection. If you can see the strong passions in the characters and care about them (which many viewers do not, at least at first, in Rules), then they are majestic tragedies. Pure tragedy is a strong noble desire failing precisely due to its nobility: so moving!
These films appeal to strange market segments. They really are about deep passion & direct confessions -- though those stay 98% under-the-surface. In MB personality typing terms, the films can be enjoyed (or, more often, despised) at an S (sensory surfaces) level -- but they go aesthetically wild from a strongly N (internally driven) perspective. If you're willing to assume that these 'shallow'-looking people are usually calculatedly pursuing what they rather carefully think they want, then these can become powerful films. Yet, there are certainly other -- probably more subculturally specific -- factors at play, because I know many solid NT's (Rob leaps to mind) whom I can barely imagine loving Rules! Scofflaw (strongly passions-over-civic-virtues) & dramatic (at least privately: often seeking moments of great passion even through dangerous means) definitely would make someone more likely to love these films.
The Talented Mr. Ripley deserves discussion here too, as might The Good Girl. Matt Damon's Tom and Aniston's Justine are very much in this mold; neither can realize their deep passions in the hostilely indifferent world. When either temporarily forgets -- confesses to a hoped soulmate -- tries to connect deeper than they can realistically hope -- their lives crash & fall apart. Tom Ripley confesses his drive to be more real with, Don't you ever just want to lock some things in a basement and just throw away the key? Then, when you meet somebody, you just want to throw them the key. But you can't, because it's dark in there, and it has demons. I keep wanting to do that...to open the door and let the light shine in and clean everything out...
Personal: I've now downloaded & read all e-mail, but haven't replied to any in the last week. When I do send outgoing mail, some will express deep appreciation to Kevin & Eszter for an incredibly wonderful two-days-and-nights visit!! Everyone should passionately pursue Hungarian breakfast!
Also, I'm thinking about going to Flipside next month. (a friend reserved a ticket months ago...)