Wednesday, April 8, 2009

Well, I was going to write a eulogy ... and CHASING AMY (75)

I cried today over a dead cat. A fake dead cat.

My mother wrote me an email around two or three to announce that the cat I had pretty much grown up with had been sick on Monday, and then upon her return from the vet, had disappeared and my mom was certain that she had crawled away to die. I'm not much of a crier but when it comes to childhood pets and death, the waterworks come on and I'm a puddle of sad.

I spent an hour or so today cradled against Alex's chest snorfing and sniffling about a feline I believed had bitten the dust. It wasn't just the cat dying, it the pressing imposition of the passing of time, and the fear that with the death of animals comes the speedy dissolution of my childhood, and this made me cry.

Hours later, I called my mother to console her about the death of our beloved kitten, and she curtly informed me that the cat had not only returned, but was as healthy as ever. My tears, wasted. Real tears for a fake dead cat. And I can only wish that this was the first time that my mother had reported an animal on the verge of death, I cried, and then my mother informed me that her news was incorrect. I also wish that when the cat actually does die, or that my mother informs me again that she's about to pass that I won't sob against Alex's chest, but I can't, because I know I will. What can I say? I'm sensitive.

Chasing Amy (75) was the first Criterion film I ever owned. It was a movie that I loved and loved and loved when I was growing up, a film that I spent hours watching on repeat, a film that I had sandwiched in to my top ten favorite films. This was a film I truly loved.

Thus, when I decided to watch it again in pursuit of the quest, I knew that my former opinion might be shown flawed in a fairly harsh light. This is Kevin Smith's third movie, a sort of middle ground between the voraciously hated Mallrats and the indie darling that was Clerks. It was Smith's response to hatred for his last movie, and a painfully biographical tale about a relationship from his past. I've watched the first two-thirds of the film and this is what I've realized:

1. This is the most dated film I've ever seen. It was shot in the mid-90s and the soundtrack and the colors and style are abysmal. This isn't helped by the fact that ...

2. Kevin Smith has the worst visual eye I've ever seen. This film honestly looks like it was shot by a drunken ninth grader who's favorite television series was Degrassi Junior High. I counted two tracking shots in the film (TWO), more than enough shots where parts of the body were cut awkwardly cut off, one scene where you could actually see a camera man, and enough poorly composed images to make one want to think that any monkey with a camera could hit it big in Hollywood.

3. Jason Lee is the real star of this film. Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams are almost painful to watch in every scene, but alone or paired, Jason Lee is hilarious. He brings a sort of casual, stoner-humor to the mix that makes me smile everytime. He knocks the stilted conversation of Adams and Affleck to the side in every scene he's featured in, and I really only found myself still enjoying this film when he was a part of it.

4. This film was a breeding ground for some of today's biggest actors. Matt Damon is in this film, Casey Affleck makes an appearance, and I'm sure I missed out on at least a few when I was plugging my ears and covering my eyes in attempt to staunch the pain of this movie.

5. I still love this movie, but it's a love fostered in nostalgia. I'll give my full thoughts on it tomorrow when it's finished.

Hopefully I'm back on track now.

Thursday: Chasing Amy (75)

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