Thursday, April 9, 2009

My life in SF so far and CHASING AMY (75)

This is my life in SF, so far:

1. I live in The Mission. A big dirty, beautiful section of the city full of restaurants and movie theatres and bookstores and everything you'd ever want from an urban environment. I'm absolutely in love with my neighborhood. It's a complete, at times shocking change from my quiet home in Seattle, but I feel much more a part of something here when I'm inhaling raw sewage and stepping over human feces.

2. I live with my girlfriend Alex in a room in a wee little house we refer to as The Peach. It's small and populated by five of us and weiner dog named Navy Bean, but again, I'm absolutely blown away by how happy I am with the entire situation. Here's my one semi-sappy thought for the week/month/year: if you really love your significant other, living together is absolutely amazing. Waking up next to the person you love on a daily basis is more invigorating than one would think. I'm enjoying the shit out every single moment of it right now, and, for the first time in my life, I highly recommend the option to those who feel ready for it.

3. I work in the Ferry Terminal Building at a place called Blue Bottle. It's high end coffee for true coffee nerds. This isn't Fuel Coffee, this is a bustling, tourist-packed locale more akin to a restaurant than a coffee shop and as of now I'm still struggling to adjust. I love making coffee and I love talking to customers, but as of now I'm barely trained and it's so busy talking to customers is a struggle. Also, tourists suck. They're badly dressed, oft times rude and barely able to muster a nickle for tip. This job has potential, and I think the more I work there the more I'll like it. We'll see.

That's me right now, in a tiny nutshell. You'll hear more, I promise.

As I stated yesterday, I love Chasing Amy (75). Or, I loved Chasing Amy (75) when I was growing up and through college, and as the final credits rolled last night, I couldn't help but think, "I really don't love this movie anymore." It's the crazy thing about film and art and literature and everything we claim to love is that so much of that love is based on where we are and where are knowledge level is when we watch it. I loved Chasing Amy (75) when I was growing in to film love because Kevin Smith was some of the first film I got my hands on. I loved the abrasiveness of his dialogue, the allusions to comic books and other geek-lore, and in general I just didn't mind the sort of broad-faced biography of this film.

Now, almost five years since I last watched this film though, things have changed. I've watched thousands of movies and written about them in various forums, and I've become more analytical, more cynical, and hell, better versed in the true masterpieces of film. Looking at Chasing Amy (75) now I can still feel inklings of love for the film, for the dialogue, for the crudeness of the humor, but there's so much that irks me that I can barely muster the energy to recommend it.

Kevin Smith made a movie that chronicled a painful part of his life, and as much as I'm a proponent for "write what you know" I think Smith went overboard this go-around. I find some of the lines in this film and some of the situations he proposes to be almost embarassingly emotional. Especially stacked against the dick-and-fart humor that races through the film, the emotion comes across as almost melodrama (the scene in the rain in the car? horf).

On top of this, I find Smith's attempt to portray gays and lesbians as almost offensive in some scenes. This film came out in a time when queer cinema was just smashing in to the fringes of the mainstream and though it seemed shocking at the time, now it seems like what it is: a straight white male writing about something he knows nothing about. At times, Alex and I both winced at the lines being spoken, I especially during a scene where four lesbians sit around a table and chat about their lives. Kevin Smith, a portly, geeky fellow from Red Banks, New Jersey, knows nothing about the way lesbians interact, this I promise you.

The final swift kick in the cajones is the fact that Smith isn't a great filmmaker. He's a cheeky, at times great writer, but he can't bring it all together. This movie looks like a school project you filmed on your mom's VHS recorder. It's shittily colored, the editing is amateur, and I even a lot of the sound editing is off. It's fascinating, for geeky old me, to see Criterion getting its footing in these first 100 films, as I think now, Kevin Smith's third movie wouldn't have crossed a single person's mind in terms of inclusion in to the collection.

Sad but true, one of my old favorites is kind of a dud. Well, onwards and upwards.

Friday: Brief Encounter (76)

1 comment:

wescoat said...

I think it still would have made the Criterion collection. I think its subject matter was seminal for the time. It was a widely seen film about a lesbian, and even though I agree it's a shit film (as pretty much all Smith's films are), I think it did open up the cinematic landscape to gay-themed works. It's an important and influential film, and I have no desire to ever watch it again.