Monday, October 20, 2008

Things gained this weekend, AMARCORD (4), and FISHING WITH JOHN (42).

I'm a terrible high school friend, absolutely awful. I've sort of moved past that part of my life, but still live in the same city with most of my friends, and am pretty much continuously caught between feeling remorseful about not hanging with the old crew and relief that I can live the life I've grown accustomed to, sans occasionally jerky-high school friends. Remorse took a back seat this weekend as I dedicated my Friday night to a once close friend and these things happened:

1. Drunko, as we will call him, arrived at my house at exactly 10:01, completely blacked out after an entire day of drinking. He's a big one this Drunko, and as he was booze-reeking wasted, and I was completely sober, it was immediately pretty awkward as he pushed, shoved and kicked his way in to the house (not in like an abusive spouse way, but in sort of jolly bully way).

2. After he rampaged about the house, knocking things over and threatening to throw an exercise ball "in to the street" I convinced him that we should go outside. Once there, he, in a fit of drunken rage about the sorry state of politics, decided that he would throw all of our many political signs in to the street. This is before he picked up said political sign and smashed me in the arm and face with, yelling that I was too "progressive". Turns out Drunko actually has an interesting point about politics, but this was lost in trying to dodge kicks, punches, and political sign swings. I felt sort of like a unintended competitor on some sort of shitty, amateur wrestling program.

3. We finally, after much prodding and convincing that no bartender in their right mind would serve him a drink, we ended up at his GF's coushy apartment in Fremont. Drunko is a beer-snob to no end, so we ended up splitting a bottle of expensive IPA. And by splitting, Drunko had one sip before vomiting on himself, the couch, and the seat of the toilet. I finished the beer, wished old Drunko a merry evening and continued on my way. Pretty much a wasted first half of the evening. And that's why hanging out with high school friends is such a stressful task for me.

Federico Fellini is, for whatever reason, a sort of daunting classic director for those who are just getting in to it. I think it's because every non-film dork in the world will always crack some mean-spirited comment about 8 1/2, Fellini's best known work, if you try to belittle their love of Homeward Bound and Catwoman. The thing is ... Fellini rules. Yeah, he can be completely overloaded with symbolism and non sequitors, but this is one of the top five directors, visually and conceptually ever. Sure, these films will be challenging, but this challenge will be balanced with beauty and humor and a wild surreality, that if you give a chance, will blow your mind. Amarcord, a series of vignettes about Fellini growing up in Fascist Italy, features, in no particular order, a giant talking wreath of flowers that, if I remember correctly, marries a couple; an enormous fat woman, naked from the waist up (this isn't that weird sounding until you've actually seen it) seducing a fourteen year old, and a smoke filled parade of Fascist elders. This all sounds bizarre, but seen through Fellini's lense, it becomes whimsical, a sort of fairytale youth story woven through the slow crushing imposure of the Mussolini and his fascists.

I've started my next film as well, John Lurie's Fishing With John and goddamn if I'm not excited as hell to dig in deeper. It's a collection of episodes of a, yes, fishing show, lounge singer/actor/sometime director/Jim Jarmusch regular John Lurie put together in the late 80s. It features Lurie an avid, if not clueless, fisherman taking his famous friends to various international locales for poorly advised fishing trips. I've only watched two episodes, but any TV show that features the director of Ghost Dog trying to catch a shark with a pistol and slab of cheese, as well as the voiceover "The fisherman awake full of sores and boners" is sure to be pretty amazing.

Tomorrow: The 400 Blows (5) & Fishing With John (42) cont.

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