Sunday, March 12, 2006

The Trim Bin #18

- After spring break, I'll be hosting a three-week screening series on Tuesday and Wednesday nights in the library viewing room. The theme is comic adaptations. I've figured out five of the six movies I'm going to show, but I'm uncertain about the sixth slot. I could use the help of my loyal readers, so I've listed the options I'm kicking around in my head, along with their pros and cons:

Pros: It's a great, great movie and a smashingly successful adaptation.
Cons: I'm afraid of overwhelming the scheduele with superhero movies; I'm also honestly not sure how much there is to discuss apart from "This is so awesome." The design elements, perhaps?

From Hell
Pros: Alan Moore is the king of the genre, and he's disavowed adaptations of his work. It could be intriguing to use From Hell as a springboard to discuss why Moore feels so strongly about the inability of moviemakers to capture the essence of his work.
Cons: From Hell is a mixed bag, absolutely stunning in some scenes and sort of aimless in others. It certainly doesn't measure up to the novel; I find that flawed films can make for the most interesting discussions, but it depends on the group. When I brought it up in class, I was met with indifference except for the suggestion that we watch LXG instead.

The Crow
Pros: To me, this is the most unheralded adaptation; it really captures the undiluted grief that makes James O'Barr's comic so potent. Plus, the DVD has a fascinating, strange interview with O'Barr where he discusses his process.
Cons: The superhero thing; also, apprehension about the kind of Crow fans that might attend.

American Splendor
Pros: It's inarguably great.
Cons: It's sort of familiar around these parts, especially after the MoCA screening.

I look forward to hearing what you guys think.

- Speaking of Alan Moore, check out this interview with the man himself from BBC2's Culture (1, 2, 3, 4, 5, 6). Moore speaks about his books, his influences, and movie versions of his work. He comes off as sharp-witted, acidic, and a bit of a prick; in other words, just the way he should be. Plus, best beard ever.

- Just got a 35mm trailer of Freddy's Dead: The Final Nightmare from eBay; played it at work the other night, and it's a beaut. Trailers are one of my most beloved forms of cinematic ephemera; I think I feel as strongly about faded 35mm as the folks behind Samurai Dreams do about VHS. But then, both formats are part of the larger state of film, aren't they? A film no longer exists as a singular work of art; each release sends waves of peripheral cultural artifacts - posters, tv spots, making-ofs, billboards, fast food tie-ins, novelizations, soundtracks, video games, toys - through our collective consciousness. These things become inextricably linked with experience; when I watch the Freddy's Dead trailer, I remember how very badly I wanted to see the film but, thwarted by my horror-fearing dad, was forced to content myself with the 3-D special issue of Fangoria (wish I still had that around). Similarly, when I saw the Children of the Corn trailer at Cinemark a few weeks ago, I reflected on how Corn was released when I was still a baby, and I was sitting there having an experience identical to one that I couldn't have possibly had when it was culturally relevant twenty-two years ago (!). It's a very potent form of nostalgia, to be sure; it's also a powerful gateway, like Proust's madeliene or Tony Soprano's capicola.

Question: Were people always nostalgic? Did people in the 1460s fondly remember the way things were in the 1430s? Or is this a new development in human experience?


Dr. Criddle said...

I suggest Creepshow.

Anonymous said...

I say that people will always be nostalgic, we all long for the times where we feel like there was a time where we had a better lot in life and a grip on things. (Or at least so we think)

Adults still enjoy reading comic books and watching cartoons from time to time because it takes them back to the time of youth when they didn't have all sorts of duties. The great irony here is that in doing so one also forgets the newfound freedoms that have come with the passage of time.

Andrew Bemis said...

Jack -

Way ahead of you; that'll definitely be a part of the series.

Doug -

Interesting thoughts. The lack of baggage you mention might have a lot to do with why childhood experiences of art (comics, cartoons, etc.) are so potent; we weren't analytical or distracted yet, we were just feeling things out.