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OH, THE GAUL!!!

So — I know that, despite my desire to believe that we humans care about each other and the world, very often when it comes down to the wire — humanity tends to make the wrong choice. Not always, but sometimes it does seem that, more often than naught, we humans are a conflicted bunch who thrive off of power and the insatiable need to be the more important — or, the more desirable than the bloke sitting with us. And, there has always been a lot of anger welling up inside us humans — it would seem.

But, still, I have to hope. I have to believe — that the human heart is not a dark thing. Sure, some have those horrific “dark hearts” — but I still need to believe that those darkest of hearts can be saved because they could not have always been so dark and mean. I want to believe this.

And, yet, as I look at all that is happening on our planet, I see that this might be overly optimistic on my part. I mean, let’s face it — no matter how you want to argue it. A government gets the leadership it either deserves or wants. That doesn’t mean we all agree. It just means that not enough of us care “enough” to effect real global change regarding what is happening. …Fall of the Roman Empire, anyone? The “right to life” or the “pro-life” folks seem to support this war — this blood for oil. And, the “pro-choice” folks, like myself, seem not to support or agree with it — and I guess I should speak for myself here — aside from a few petitions and my vote — I have not done all that much to change the tide of things. I criticize and am angry — but where and how do I funnel that? No where productive from what I can see. And I apologize for such a sweeping generalization. I know that the above does not hold true for eveyone. But, I think you will understand what I am trying to write.

Anyway…

All these questions were going thru my mind as I walked out of a screening of Craig Lucas’ film, THE DYING GAUL. I will not provide any “spoilers” in the event someone reading this plans on seeing it. I really wanted to like this film. I’ve always loved Lucas’ work. And, the three leading actors are brilliant performers. The script is tight, without holes and most definitely stirs a reaction. I don’t think there was a soul in that cinema who didn’t feel something. But, I know that there was not a soul in that cinema who left that room feeling enlightened or happy.

Now, art shouldn’t have to make you feel good. Art is meant to cause a reaction. And, on that level, THE DYING GAUL works and delivers. I always figure you know you’re dealing with something of value or interest when opinions are polarized. Critics and people seem to either hate this movie or think it brilliant.

But I feel as if I just spent close to 2 hours watching a film filled with so much anger and hate — and none of it clearly focused.

Is Lucas’ anger at disease, sex, women, men, gays, straights, bisexuals, the film industry, relationships — or humanity?!?!? All of the above?!?!? Just anger and hate for close to 2 hours — and 3 of the most horrible characters I’ve seen put to screen in quite a while.

I don’t know. If I am watching satire, horror or just very dark comedy — I don’t have to “like” a character. But, when it comes to drama — or “real life” films — I need to be able to at least empathize with the characters. If I dislike all of them and don’t care about them — then I really find it hard to care about the movie. THE DYING GAUL didn’t matter to me in the end. I was glad it was over and I felt like all of three of the characters deserved what they got. …and, I found it hard to see them as real people. They were too flat. Maybe that is a poor way of phrasing it, but it didn’t work for me and I couldn’t invest in it.

Also, as I was riding home tonight my iPod shuffle brought me to a Ben Folds song that I really like. A song that I actually only know about because I heard Bette Midler cover it (stop making fun of me) …her version sucks, his rules. But, “Boxing” is a great song about someone trying to evaluate his life — and it has a lovely melody. Anyway, I am sitting there listening to it and suddenly the meaning — or mode of meaning hit me. I am so dumbe sometimes. I value lyrics a great deal, but I don’t always think it thru — I do believe that song is supposed to be one side of a conversation between M. Ali and Howard Cossell. …I think.

Gee, but — that’s kind of mean! So, Ben Folds uses Mr. Ali to represent life’s disappointment. Sucks to be M. Ali — …and, Howard Cossell. I guess we knew it sucked to be Howard. Anyone of us over 34 can’t ever forget that powder blue suit and bad wig. And, of course, the other has a serious disease and suffers from years of abuse to his body taken in the ring. But, man, the song is pretty harsh!

So, I turned off the shuffle and played that new song by Madonna. I really like that song and I love the sampling from ABBA. However, I still contend that this song sounds more like something Kylie would normally do. And, then I listend to Barbra and Barry sing “Above the Law” — love that song. Makes me wanna dance, if I could actually dance. Anyway, both songs put a spring back in my step! …which was needed after watching 3 people put eachother and everyone around them thru Hell for 1 hour and 45 minutes and coming to the realization that Ben Folds used a living person (who has always seemed so decent to me) to illustrate a rather sad point.

Bleh. …the very gaul.

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November 21, 2005. Uncategorized.

4 Comments

  1. laurenbove replied:

    A Ben Folds Five…a wonderful reminder of some interesting times…like Black Tee Shirt song. Hmm….I think I’ll play it now.

    Thanks Matt. You’re the best. I have some great stuff to look up.

    xxxooo

    Word verification: spoopg

  2. joe replied:

    oh, I’m not sure I want to see this movie now. I like my movies about hate and anger to be uplifting. but regarding the problem of having unlikeable characters, it is so often that you cannot care about a movie/novel etc.. with characters you cannot empathize with. yet, sometimes these are the movies that can move you, make you react and learn something from. I admire people who can effectively work out that problem, and still leave us with characters we loathe, but empathize with.

    regarding gauls, I recommend Asterix and the Gauls! 🙂

  3. Aaron replied:

    Isn’t life just too easy now? We want to do more but nobody’s bringing it to us on a plate and *helping* us to do more. And so we can be apathetic because it’s somebody else’s fault. That’s not a jibe, I’m the same, sometimes ignorance is too much bliss.

    Re bad people, it’s only hard to see the working of the story if you’re trying to relate – when you stop looking for yourself in characters and really step into their shoes you can see a whole new element to the tale. Perhaps you could rewatch Gaul a little later with new eyes?

    Bleh, sums it up well 😉

    (Word verification: depusk – sounds like a parfum?)

  4. Miss Marisol replied:

    I don’t know if it’s art reflecting life or what, but it seems that a lot of films lately have unsympathetic protagonists — characters that are unredeemable and situations that are unforgivable.

    Don’t fight the urge to Pollyanna out once in a while. The universe could stand to err on the side of optimism.

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