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sensible / inexplicable

one of my great pleasures is being able to relate my own experiences of something with someone else's. like watching the town and having actually been the places where it takes place. but even better to have shared sensibilities with regard to shared experiences. i was reading a collection of douglas adams' writing and in particular a short piece based on some time he spent in new mexico, and he said that though there were many things he could say to describe the sort of place new mexico is, "the best thing is just to mention a traffic sign on the freeway from albuquerque. it says, in large letters, GUSTY WINDS, and in smaller letters MAY EXIST." i was thrilled not only that i had been there and seen those signs for myself, but also that i had a similar response, had also found the sign noteworthy.

he also points out that if you've never spent time in new mexico, you're a complete idiot. so i'm glad not to be a complete idiot anymore.

so then it's always disappointing how incomplete shared sensibilities are.

i watched laura (1944) because it's supposed to have influenced twin peaks, with the glaring similarity that they're both about young women named laura who've been murdered in a gruesome fashion. but i was disappointed in how remarkably pedestrian the film is. somehow it's been so overhyped that it's among the only 550 films in the national film registry. and i can't say that it was a waste to watch it, because i'm a fan of vincent price, but i'm baffled that so many people find it laudable. and so i was very disappointed that roger ebert, whose sensibility i usually share, admired it. this despite the fact that he pointed out some of its many flaws:

"the hero and heroine are cardboard." one of the leading male love interests for laura has absolutely no chemistry with her and "never for a moment seems heterosexual." "the movie basically consists of well-dressed rich people standing in luxury flats and talking to a cop." "the passion is unevenly distributed." "[a second male love interest] and laura never seem to have much heat between them." the police detective lets one of the suspects tag along on his interviews with other suspects, which is "useful from a screenplay point of view, since otherwise [the detective] would be mostly alone," but certainly not plausible.

he goes on to say "all of these absurdities and improbabilities somehow do not diminish the film's appeal." it's that somehow of his i don't get. because they certainly do diminish the film's appeal.

it turns out that the cast is essentially the only redeeming feature for him, since he admits they're working with "the materials of a b-grade crime potboiler". but even if he likes this one feature (he didn't give the film a grade, just said he liked it), it doesn't go far towards explaining the oscar nominations, the glowing reviews from other sources, and the film registry nod.

***

and then there are the recognitions one can't connect. bythos gave me the cool, cool river by paul simon, with the below lyric, and you know how memories have a contextual flavor? i remember this stretch of lyric, and though i know it's not from listening to the song itself, i can't remember the context i encountered them in. so i wish someone could tell me who says:

hard times?
i’m used to them
the speeding planet burns
i’m used to that
my life’s so common
it disappears
and sometimes even music
cannot substitute for tears

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