Allow me now to comment on a movie two months late. I went in thinking I was gonna love it. I am a huge Bob Dylan fan. There was no doubt I’m Not There would end up in my DVD collection. But I wasn’t blown away. Disappointed even. It was fun, Cate Blanchett was awesome, the music was fuckin’ great, but it just felt disjointed. It felt devoid of any center. Like a child’s version of a Pollack painting, my son’s splattered dresser.
But, then afterwards, a few days later, something clicked. Now I think about I’m Not There all the time. And I think about Dylan in a whole new way. We all have a life, but we are different people throughout. And that’s okay. Dylan makes it ok. Dylan makes the changes in me seem minor. Always performing, he took it to an extreme, and created many worlds for himself. Who know’s what’s real (who cares). It all has value and purpose. Each of us lived and died. I am not the person I was ten years ago (ten minutes ago?).
I point you again to two radio interviews. Both of Todd Haynes, one from Terry Gross at Fresh Air (who’s ugly face lived at the top of this blog for too many months as I avoided writing) the other from Kurt Anderson on Studio 360. Both hit on what I’m talking about here, and what the film delivered. It’s okay to change. It’s okay to be a different person than who you were. In fact it’s what make life livable. So accept the you have changed and quit living in regret.
A note on the soundtrack: It’s great. The Ramblin’ Jack Elliot version of Just Like Tom Thumbs Blues is a masterpiece in understated distance; Tweedy acts like Dylan and changes a bunch of lyrics (and makes it work) on Simple Twist of Fate, and you’ve gotta hear this Antony & the Johnsons knockin, the aching drips like spilled honey.
My wife told me that I am happier when I am writing this blog.
Now I don’t necessarily think that happiness should be the goal of existence In fact I think it’s over rated, and happy people aren’t paying attention or aren’t that intelligent. But, I could use a little more happiness, and it being the new year and all, I am gonna give this thing another go.
This is the way my mind works. I want to write a blog post. I have an idea, some photos, and everything, but I prefer to procrastinate. I’ll do it tomorrow. Tomorrow turns into tomorrow turns into next week, and pretty soon I start thinking, well I can’t post now it has been too long. I’ll look stupid. Better not to. And W is right. I am happier when I act, not avoid.
Avoidance is my sabotaging my happiness.
Anyway, I’m back. Two or three posts a week. I’ll do the best I can to let you know what I’m up to.
I’ve seen two movies in this fall/winter where I immediately went to a bookstore (coincidentally the same BN at Union Square) and bought the original book. First was Into the Wild, for a re-read, and the second was yesterday when I bought The Diving Bell and the Butterfly after seeing that one.
Perhaps more to come on both. Perhaps something about my diet (which started today). Our upcoming trip to Y-town. My cool new bike. Job-hunting. Reading lists. Obama. My anger at my iPhone. Explaining to a five year old that his favorite music teacher died un-expectantly. . . I’ve got plenty to write about.
In reference to my Rescue Dawn post last week, here are one, two interesting interviews with Werner Herzog on public radio. Terry Gross is absolutely masterful in her knowledge and questioning, in comparison Kurt Anderson sounds like a college radio DJ (Kurt’s radio show Studio 360 is, however, one of my favorites: you MUST check out the Moby-Dick episode, it is pure genius).Recently the “long wait” turned into a “very long wait” for “Little Dieter Needs to Fly” on Netflix. What gives? Get more copies of the movie, you jerks…
I snuck off to the movies the other day and ended up seeing Rescue Dawn because it was the one that was starting as I arrived at the Angelica Film Center. What a cool movie. It’s a true story about a Navy pilot during the Vietnam War called Dieter Dengler who gets shot down over Laos and ends up being captured, tortured, and imprisoned. He leads an escape and then finds himself trapped again in the deep jungle. He’s finally rescued just after catching and eating half of a big grey snake. It’s a film by Werner Herzog that stars Christian Bale as Dengler (and evidently he really ate the maggots). Herzog made another movie about Dengler called Little Dieter Needs to Fly that is now number one in my Netflix queue, and Dengler wrote a book called Escape From Laos that is out of print and only available for $168 on AbeBooks. You’d think they would reprint the book on the release of this movie. Hello Random House? It is the kind of real-life survival story that reminds me of Ernest Shackleton’s adventure on the Endurance, or the book Papillon that is one of my all time favorites and a huge inspiration to me when I was a kid. They always make me wonder how I would react to a life-and-death, seemingly hopeless situation. I mean come on, I am sweating like a pig and suffering in the heat of the subway station on the way home from work…
UPDATE: Some of the family members have started a website because they are upset about Herzog’s portrayal of Dengler as the only real hero of the story despite the fact that the prisoners acted as a team. This seems particularly true in the case of Eugene DeBruin who is portrayed in the movie as a psycho who has gone crazy and lost the will to live. (Exactly how I am afraid I would act…).