March 03, 2006

Yeah. Fine.

I've just finished watching Garden State. I feel like I should now take the DVD case and beat myself over the head with it, since the movie stopped short of that point but only just barely.

Honestly, what is this? I'm the troglodyte mass, the audience that demands happy endings, love stories, and no ambiguity. "Spell it out for me," I beg of the screen on a regular basis, "cut out this subtlety crap and just tell me exactly what the characters are feeling and learning right now." Now, as in any good cliched tale, I've gotten my wish and it's turned out monstrous. I cringed every time a character explained that you have to live in the present and take life as is. I rolled my eyes and scowled as the ending credits scrolled to a song with the lyrics, "let go, jump in, what are you waiting for?" I wondered if the person whose movie idea this was couldn't have been persuaded to go out and do something instead of making a movie about how you have to go out and do something. I've got a brilliant idea for a drinking game in which you drink every time Zach Braff learns a heart-warming lesson about spontaneity from Natalie Portman, but I'm afraid to publicize it for fear that a wave of alcohol-poisoning deaths would follow.

It's the world's least charitable nutshell review: put down the bong, go take a cold shower, and come back when you have something to say that isn't a self-important platitude.

I'm feeling mean today, if you can't tell. I grumped my way through class and work this morning, grumped my way through lunch with Jacob, snapped at a meek fellow in the post office who thought I might know the answer to a question, stomped home, and then grumped my way through one movie, one cup of chocolate chips, one cup of tea, and one 30-second hailstorm without any lightening of my mood. I think my only hope at this point is to sit down and finish reading Franny and Zooey, because at least in Salinger I can be sure of not finding any redemption or sweet spontaneity. Or true love, or earnest attempts to improve my life for me. My life is improved when I have something to glower about. Now get lost, mister, I've got a lot of bitchy to be.

Edit: Oh, all right. It'll spoil the entire mood of this post, but I can't resist. Go read today's Penny Arcade. It's a thing of beauty and a joy forever.

Posted by dianna at March 3, 2006 06:38 PM

Ahhh, I'm so glad someone else hated this movie. I don't understand what everyone sees in this thing. It's a vanity project of the worst kind, bankrolled by "Scrubs."

And that Shins song isn't that good, either.

Posted by: holohan at March 3, 2006 07:22 PM

Which, the "gold teeth and a curse for this town" one? I like it pretty well, actually, but my question is this. If it's such a great song that it'll change your life, then why does he take off the headphones and stop listening to it after fifteen seconds? It even fades out so the viewer doesn't get to hear the rest of it. Don't they want our lives to be changed too?

Posted by: Dianna at March 4, 2006 07:28 PM

McDonald's bought the rights to "New Slang" for a commercial, apparently not noticing the line about "the dirt in your fries".

Posted by: sean at March 5, 2006 01:04 AM

Eh. Companies/Organizations do that all the time. They just edit out uncomfortable lines. During the 2000 presidential campaign, the Bush folks used the Hendrix version of "American Woman" as one of their introductory songs for Laura Bush. They edited out the lines

"I don't need your war machines,
I don't need your ghetto scenes."

People who know the song will find the missing lyrics silly and ironic, but it probably won't keep them away. If anything, it makes the ad more memorable. And it's moot for everyone who doesn't know the lyrics, which I'm guessing is the majority of McDonald's target demographic in this case.

Posted by: Zach S. at March 5, 2006 07:54 AM

You're right, Zach S. They didn't play the entire four-minute song in the McDonald's ad. Corporations, man.

Posted by: sean at March 5, 2006 08:07 AM

Wait, wait. Is this the same "American Woman" that Lenny Kravitz covered? American woman, stay away from me, American woman, mama let me be? Isn't the entire song about how much he doesn't want her around? What could possibly have been left for them to use in the campaign?

And isn't it also McDonald's that's using the Iron & Wine song "Such Great Heights" in a commercial? Sheesh, they must have just bought the whole soundtrack.

Sean: nod.

Posted by: Dianna at March 5, 2006 09:44 AM

M&M's I believe, Dianna. I was wondering what that version was from. Guess it's the original, from the original band. I'm partial to the Postal Service rendition myself.

As for New Slang, I give it a thumbs up. I could see it being slower with a slightly spookier, more minimalist arrangement, but it's pretty quality as-is. I'm usually a lyrics junkie, but even without being able to parse most of them, I'm impressed by the melodies and chord progressions and the important syllables (the ones I can make out.)

Posted by: poot at March 5, 2006 11:26 PM