Friday, September 22, 2006

Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt

Be Here to Love Me: A Film About Townes Van Zandt (Margaret Brown, 2004) [6]
Townes Van Zandt has always been considered a cult figure, someone not well known but with a influential and extremely loyal fanbase. My first exposure to Van Zandt came from his cover of the Stones' "Dead Flowers" that played over the closing credits of The Big Lebowski and have been a fan since. Margaret Brown has made a fan's film obviously, as the film helps solidify the genius reputation that many have given Van Zandt but doesn't add that much more. The film has a wealth of archival footage and interviews which give an interesting portrait of Van Zandt the troubled individual as well as respected singer/songwriter. Van Zandt is shown as a person that is reckless and self-destructive, but still able to craft flawless songs. I'm not sure that I buy into him as a complete genius, but he was definitely a fantastic sonwriter. And throught the film, I always had the feeling that I wanted more information about Van Zandt the person other than he drank too much and was a fantastic songwriter. Also, there was a lot of Van Zandt's songs, some of my favorites like "Loretta" and "Colorado Girl" that aren't featured in the film, which is understandable seeing that Van Zandt's records were out of print for years and there has always been conflicts over who has rights to certain songs. But it seems a fitting analogy for a man who was filled with conflicts and appreciated by more after it was too late.

Wednesday, September 20, 2006

Short Cuts

Short Cuts (Robert Altman, 1993) [10]
I like the stories of Raymond Carver, what little of them I've read, and I know that Altman isn't 100% faithful in crafting this film, but what a tremendous film it is. Altman takes Carver's stories, which really could exist anywhere, move them to Los Angeles, and make something while still having elements of Carver's work, the particular attention to specific moments, and create something Altmanesque for lack of a better word. The film is a loose connection of stories where the characters are tied together through their actions. Magnolia, one of my favorite films, is clearly based on this, but here, there is no greater connecting feature. Altman lets the various characters come and go, with no knowledge that these interactions have any significance. A lot of characters have no idea what has occured in the other's story, which emphasize this feeling of isolation or feeling a lack of connection in a sprawling city. This easily could have been a complete confusing mess but Altman has such focus in his direction that all the transistions are seemless. After seeing this, it replaced The Long Goodbye as my favorite Altman film and is easily on of my top 10 favorite films of all time.

Useless Film Snob Version 2.0

I'm going to try to start up again and keep updating occasionally. My school and work schedule isn't going to allow me to watch a lot of films, besides being able to sit down and write a crappy review for anything. All this means that I'll probably give only short reviews, which makes this site even more useless. But what does it matter? Nobody's been here for a couple of months or so...