Wednesday, December 24, 2008

Rewind #35

Caroline Herring: Lantana (2008)

I have a love/hate relationship with country music. Whenever I hear your standard country fare resonating over the airwaves my immediate reaction is one of horror. Can music really be this bad? I mean, it's absolutely unbearable trying to force my way through a Tim McGraw song. But I also was raised on the music of Lynard Skynard, JJ Cale, Dylan and the man in black. So I natural tend to gravitate toward musicians like Wilco, Neko Case, Canyon and Jim White. There's a fine line between the two; one providing incredible music of quality and the other offering, well, total shite. When I first listened to Caroline Herring, I felt my art sentience clenching. I didn't know how to react, but then I closed my eyes and heard her amazing voice. Her songs are soft with country spirit and they began to touch my heart. No matter what genre of music you peruse, there will always be varying degrees of great beauty aligned with complete degradation. Fortunately, this wonderful chanteuse is one of the former.

Be Kind Rewind: Michel Gondry (2008)

I know, I know, I know the movie just isn't that good. It rambles and wanders and doesn't have much focus. It's a film that basically exists so that Gondry can show off his low-fi special effects skills (which are super cool by the way, check out the cardboard cutouts for the lion king and the old-fashioned cars). So why should we indulge a movie that's simply a big Gondry wank-fest? Because within the heart of his movies lies a sweetness that we don't see enough in our culture. The magical realism in the story of Fats Waller and the devotion to the great legend given by Mos Def via the cinema is so wonderfully optimistic that, by the end, you want to cheer right along with everyone in the neighborhood. To witness the transformation of a young man who doesn't know what he wants in life developing into an eager person creating immense value with his art. That's the very spirit of every aspiring film-maker out there! Michel Gondry has accomplished the goal of every artist; to have the freedom and opportunity to passionately make art that reflects who you are and what you wish to become. His vision is unique, beautiful and uncompromising. I love it and aspire to create in a similar way, and that's why I ultimately wish to honor his work.

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