Secret Pop

Apr 8, 2004

Six Double Five Three Two One

As we were leaving the Arclight tonight, I said to Zach that I am so grateful for this theater, and he said how it makes him feel so lucky to be living in Los Angeles, and I completely agree. There are many things that people dismiss about proximity to the soulless world of entertainers and their entertainment, but my brain requires this sort of addling and plenty of it.

The Arclight is doing an AFI tribute series, and many great flicks are being revived. Tonight, it was A Clockwork Orange, one of my all-time favorite films. Perhaps in the top two. Certainly in the top three. I even wrote a paper on it in a college writing class. I'm sure I would be embarrassed by that paper today, but the point is, I was keen on the film and had been to way back. I'm one of those few people of my age who read the book before seeing the movie. It was a book I bought on a whim in the college bookstore, as I used to do. That's how I read Crime and Punishment, as well. I was never one to require the assignment. Anyway, I was fortunate to have that experience of struggling with the language and then realizing that you can actually learn a language contextually. And right quick, too. But seeing the film after the fact was also a treat. I felt as if I had earned it in a way.

It seems to me that the characters in this film are all being viewed in funhouse mirrors. Kubrick pinches and punches them, distorts them in so many surprising and ingenious ways. Even the good guys are bizarre. Perhaps especially the good guys. So little of it rings true, and yet all of it does. The violence is sexy. As is the sex. It just makes you wonder if you might be harboring some shameful proclivity, too. And I am nothing if not absolute putty in the hands of the Ninth. Putty, I tell you. I love how fixed and functional the world looks in this movie. And yet how it is obviously coursing out of control. I wonder if Jeremy Piven liked it as much as I did. He was there, you know. He looked nervous. When I saw Luke Wilson at the Grove, he had the same jitters on him. I think that certain actors, when out in the wild, actually look as if they are afraid they are about to be assassinated. I wonder if that's anything at all like what they are thinking.

There are forces in the world that have strived to ruin this film for me. Have endeavored to fill my head with referential malignance. Have wanted to spoil my every favorite moment of it. Have wanted to take it from me in its favoriteness. But I felt some triumph over them tonight. I was afraid I wouldn't enjoy myself, and that simply was not the case. It was a brilliant picture before I ever saw it. And it will be brilliant long after my eyes have rotted in their sockets. It is not great as a function of me. It's just great. And that is a relief.

I want to marry a lighthouse keeper. Won't that be okay?

Anyway, I've got loads of work to do. I should feel shame at that, and I do.

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