Wednesday, February 27, 2008

No Country, Michael Clayton, & Bon Iver

No, I did not watch the Oscars this weekend. No, I do not feel bad about it. And, no, I did not like No Country for Old Men when I finally saw it about a week and a half ago. It's not even an active dislike. I actually felt profoundly indifferent to it, which means that, yes, it probably is the defining film of '07, just in a different way than the Academy meant. I found it fairly vapid, even tedious, which, if I give it too much credit, I could conceivably believe it meant as The Point. But, I think it's more a case of emperor-has-no-clothes. Motivation-less evil holds no interest for me in film right now, especially, in Chicago, mere days after the NIU shooting. I almost could have wept for the waste of Javier Bardem as Chigurh; you could just feel the stoppage of life force in him, and for what? To make some inane point that bad people exist and do bad things sometimes for little apparent reason? Whatevs. I'll take a pass on this one. I did kind of like Woody Harrelson in it, though, and Josh Brolin really had quite a year, didn't he?

Michael Clayton, though, I liked. Quite a lot, actually; way more than I thought I would. I liked especially how, post-Erin Brockovich, it didn't really even pretend to be "about" the ethical issues raised in the lawsuit, that at its base, it was really just saying, mostly through the Clayton character, "this is what it feels like to be an adult. You've got a lot of shit hanging over your head, every day, and the moment you make a choice in one direction or another, whether it's the 'right' choice or not, it will inevitably affect about sixteen other things going on in your life, mostly in ways that your family and friends won't understand or probably like." It feels right. Wilkinson I love and it was certainly the flashy role, but I'm glad Tilda Swinton won the Oscar. People often talk about an actor's lack of vanity, but I think the notion couldn't be truer of her performance here (much more so than something broadly creepy/gross like Charlize Theron in Monster). Between her sweaty pit stains in that early scene in the bathroom and the almost imperceptibly slight roll of pudge bulging out over the line of her pantyhose when she's getting dressed for the day, this is the true face of evil in the drag of incredible banality.

All I want to listen to right now is Bon Iver's For Emma, Forever Ago. I think I listened to it four or five times in a row on Monday. I can't even rave about it properly; it's so good that all I can really do is state its goodness like fact. It is a very good album. Listen to it now before it gets co-opted by soundtrack supervisors who will borrow its magic for dubious marketing aims.

Did everybody catch Bill Hader's incredible DDL/Daniel Plainview impression this weekend in SNL's inevitable Food Network spoof [link updated] "I Drink Your Milkshake"? The conceit is obvious, and I'm pretty much over the catchphrase-aliciousness of the whole thing at this point, but the way he yelps "I'veabandonedmychild! I'veabandonedmyboy!" (at minute 2:19 1:50) like it's all one word fucking killed me. Great stuff.


Michael O'D said...

Dude, you called "I drink your milkshake" back before DDL even grew his moustache. Nieece.

allison said...

Ha! Well, it wasn't really me; I just read about it in New York magazine as it was starting to gain steam.