Tuesday, February 23, 2010

Reflection Pond #2

XX - XX (2009)

Okay, I thought for sure that this would be my favorite album of the year and for the longest time that was the case. It's right up my alley, a wonderful gentle version of indie rock with quirky sounds and interesting lyrics. They are currently the darlings of college radio and have swept through the year end best-of lists. For good reason, XX is an album that is infinitely listenable. They have a sound that doesn't seem very complicated in the least but spreads across the lines, attracting all types of audiences. They even have a woman named Romy in the band, which is incredibly cool. I don't know what else to say, perhaps I'm becoming bored of it all. Is it really important for us to dwell on the merits of today's music and give our opinions to others? Hmmm, maybe it's simply that I'm being affected by the XX's music. It doesn't come across as trying to be super hip in any way but it just carries that sort of weight. The sight of hipsters trying real hard to be hip has been a recurring dilemma of our generation. How do we look cool without actually trying to look cool? We try so hard to impress everyone around us (substitute lack of parental attention here) but end up losing our true self in the process. I hope that one day we may discover a way to believe in ourselves with complete conviction and without the the need to have or seek the approval of others. Sounds like a form of enlightenment, which I feel the XX embodies, as when I listen to their beautiful music, I think about shit like this.

The Visitor - Tom McCarthy (2007)

This is one of the most humanistic, heart-warming, aggravating and frustrating movies I have ever seen. I am of the type that a story that carries some personal transformation within the arc is important. When you watch a movie that has some jackass for a main character and that person continues to act like a jackass throughout the entire movie, well...why do I want to watch a jackass for two hours? Now, if that jackass actually comes to understand that they're a, well you know, at least I feel some appreciation for the time I spent with such a character. The Visitor doesn't have anyone like that in it but it does have an old over-privileged white guy who doesn't know what to do in his waning years following the death of his wife. He stumbles upon a couple who happen to be renting his New York apartment, unbeknowst to him. They are undocumented immigrants but have been living here for most of their lives. Amerika is their home. The old guy ends up feeling obligated to them for some reason and allows them to stay with him. Soon they are having an incredibly positive influence on his life and he begins to look at the world through new eyes. Everything about this film is done right; the acting, the locations, the mood, the extras. It is a work of realism that completely wrenches your heart. It addresses such prescient topics like immigration and privatization. The borders are beginning to blur in our global community and the lines of enforcement are blurring, as well. We are walking a perilous line where our inhumane nationalistic fervor is causing the soul of our nation to crumble. The Visitor is a wonderful film and I can't manage to shake it's warmth and humanistic message even though it's been six months since I saw it. A good movie stays with you like that.

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