Saturday, December 14, 2013

Jason goes to Holehead--Day 14

Thursday I worked a little bit late, and struggled to make it to the city in time for the 7:00 movie. It was too late for me to take public transit, and traffic was a mess. I was monitoring my progress with Google navigation on my phone, comparing the estimated time remaining to the time remaining until 7:00. I watched as that ticked down from "you'll be there with a half hour to spare" to 20 minutes...15 minutes...10 minutes...5 minutes...and I almost gave up. So few of the Holehead movies are good, and maybe it would be better to just turn around, head home, and get a reasonable night's sleep. That's what I thought to myself. But it held steady at 5 minutes. With parking and running to the theater, it was more like 5 seconds. And I ended up seeing my favorite film of the festival so far.

FOUND opens with a bit of a shock. Our narrator is Marty, a mostly well-behaved 5th grader. And the first words of narration are "My brother keeps a severed head in his closet." See, Marty knows everybody's secrets in his family. His mom keeps old letters from a previous boyfriend under her bed. Dad keeps a stash of porno mags in the garage. And his big brother Steve is a killer. Marty likes horror films, and is fascinated by the heads that occasionally show up in Steve's bowling ball bag. He's not exactly afraid of Steve. He's afraid of what he'd do if he found out that Marty knew, but Steve has always been a good big brother to him, giving him life advice and protecting him in his own way. Marty is far too gentle to take anyone's life. Heck, he's far too gentle for 5th grade, and he's the constant target of bullies. And Steve...well he takes care of that. But that's just the beginning. What I loved about this movie (which was made on a shoestring $8,000 budget, but looks fantastic) is that it is 100% uncompromising. In the Q&A producer Shane Beasley (who plays a killer in a movie-within-the-movie) said that they did their best to make a faithful adaptation of Todd Rigney's original novel. And I can't speak to the novel but there are things in here you can get away with on the written page that you...just don't do in a movie. I love that it did them. I can't say anymore because I'll reveal too many spoilers, but the movie is fantastic. And I love that the killer is portrayed sympathetically not because some past trauma or some vengeance ethos justifies his actions. He's shown sympathetically because he's seen through the eyes of an adoring little brother.

The book that FOUND is adapted from is available here.

And then it was time for THE SHINING FORWARDS AND BACKWARDS. Back when I saw ROOM 237 it mentioned this idea--that if you watch THE SHINING will projecting the movie backwards on top of itself...something will happen. Secrets revealed, or something. My statement at the time was:
...the experiment of playing it overlaid forwards and backwards to see what lines up just illustrates how much Kubrick framed his characters in the center of the screen.
And...my opinion is unchanged. Sure, a few things line up ("Come play with us Danny" become "Come play with us Daddy" when Jack Nicholson's face is on the screen.) There are eerie coincidences, but they're still all just coincidences. And the midpoint, where the forwards and backwards version meets, that's kind of cool. But it doesn't imbue the scene (Scatman Crothers in Florida watching TV with pictures of topless black women with huge afros on the wall) with any magical significance. I really don't think Kubrick put that scene in the exact center of the film for any reason other than that's the point in the narrative where it belonged.

Now, with that said--that there's nothing magical about watching THE SHINING (or any movie) this way--there are some cool effects. In general, watching the early scenes where everything is fine and seeing the foreshadowed violence is interesting. And vice-versa when you're seeing Jack go on a murderous rampage and you're seeing shadows of the quiet peaceful life they used to have. So it's an interesting experiment, but I saw nothing in there other than a few coincidences.

Total Running Time: 196 minutes
My Total Minutes: 346,256
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