Saturday, April 27, 2013

Jason goes to SFIFF--Day 2

The first full day of the SF International begins, and with it the first big weekend. On Friday I snuck out of work early, checked into my hotel for the weekend, grabbed my press badge, sucked down a couple of the free beers (cheers to Grolsch, the official beer of the festival. Lighter than my usual tastes, but for the next two weeks it's officially my favorite beer) and headed off to my first of three movies.

First up was THE KINGS OF SUMMER, a really cool and very funny coming-of-age comedy. Joe (Nick Robinson) and Patrick (Gabriel Basso) are best friends, and both hate their family. In Joe's case, that's his acerbic, sarcastic, lonely, widower father Frank (Nick Offerman). In Patrick's case, it's his clueless, chipper, must-appear-perfect parents (Megan Mulally and Marc Evan Jackson). And so, at the end of their freshman year in high school, they decide to run away and live on their own in the woods. Joe has found the perfect hidden spot, and they'll just build a house themselves (the quality of craftsmanship is foreshadowed by the crappy birdhouse he turns in--late--for a class assignment). They're joined by a super-weird kid Biaggio (Moises Arias, who steals the show) and things start off great. They actually cobble together something kinda cool out of stolen pieces from construction sites (best site gag--their front door is stolen from an outhouse.) But, like all idyllic male-only paradises, things turn bad when a girl enters the mix. Specifically, cute Kelly (Erin Moriarty) who pretty quickly creates love-triangle tension. They learn a lot in their month in the woods, and perhaps nothing more important than the delicate balance of bros vs. hos. Actually...I don't want to end on that note, so let me say instead they learn a lot about being men and when (SPOILER ALERT: they do return to society their respective families treat them with a bit more respect.)

Next up was certainly the best titled film of the festival, THE PERVERT'S GUIDE TO IDEOLOGY. Philosopher/cineaste Slavoj Žižek and director Sophie Fiennes team up to a follow up to their PERVERT'S GUIDE TO CINEMA (which I haven't seen, but I've now ordered from the Pervert's Guide site.) We open with a shot from the classic THEY LIVE, and then Slavoj inserts himself into the movie set and starts discussing it as one of the best Hollywood movies about ideology (and noting that the act of putting on glasses to see the truth behind ideology is backwards from how we normally think--usually it's the act of removing the glasses of ideology where we finally see truth.) He continues to take us on a mind-spinning excursion through several movies--A CLOCKWORK ORANGE, FULL METAL JACKET (apparently Kubrick had some insights into ideology, or maybe Slavoj is just a fan--and who can blame him?), THE SOUND OF MUSIC, TITANIC, THE SEARCHERS, THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST, as well as some more obscure movies, Soviet propaganda, footage of 9/11, etc. It's more than enough to make my head spin, and I consider myself a pretty clever guy. And some of Slavoj's personal tics can wear on you (he sniffs and rubs his nose way too much). But then there are ideas that stick in my mind and won't let go, like his explication (set to THE LAST TEMPTATION OF CHRIST) about how Christianity is actually more atheistic than Atheism (I simply can't do his argument justice, so if you're intrigued you should just watch it yourself.) Definitely worth a second look (after THE PERVERT'S GUIDE TO CINEMA) to study his philosophy more. Or better yet, it's worth a second third Nth look at THEY LIVE. I love that movie!

Oh yeah, and what did any of that have to do with perverts? Fuck if I know.

And finally, instead of just going to bed early I stayed up for the abysmally boring OUTRAGE BEYOND. I like Beat Takeshi, and I liked OUTRAGE, even when I couldn't completely follow all the twists. But this follow up just went too far. Not too far in the violence (I have a pretty high threshold for that) just too far in having nothing but violence with brief interruptions for some opaque dialogue setting up the next spate of violence. The only way I can possibly appreciate this film (oh yeah, and the film didn't come so we watched a watermarked DVD screener instead) is on a philosophical meta-critical level. A constant criticism of action flicks is that by making violence entertaining it robs violence of the ability to shock and horrify us. Well, Takeshi has made the logical counterpoint, robbing violence of it's ability to entertain.

Either that or I was too tired to appreciate it. But I swear I didn't really feel that tired until this movie started.

Total Running Time: 349 minutes
My Total Minutes: 324,728

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