I Participated in This Thing
The Second CAST Awards were announced like four months ago and I’m only posting about it now because I had to catch up on my 2011 movies. Or more appropriately, I said ‘Eff it, I’m going to list my top ten even if everyone’s clamouring about The Raid and no one cares about 2011 anymore.’
I’m also using this news because I always take advantage of any opportunity to make fun of Nicolas Winding Refn‘s overrated movie Drive. Because the other CAST voters placed it as their top film. Or maybe, give it a second chance, since the hype of the movie is the reason I started listening to Kavinsky and College (both bands’ instrumental songs are better than the ones with lyrics), which got me thinking about how I don’t tolerate the soundtrack’s use in the movie while Sofia Coppola’s use of anachronistic music is more palatable in her movie Marie Antoinette from five years ago. In a way both movies have us as an audience are layered on top of themselves as audience members, skewing the narrative and interpreting it as their own.
Me and my friend Sasha James of That Sasha James internet fame reenact or interpretation of Drive‘s dialogue of us just saying ‘Hey’ to each other. Since I have to play The Driver – boo ho me – I say my ‘lines’ with the Peter Fonzarelli accent that Gosling mysteriously has now (Hossein Amini‘s script is very descriptive by the way, making me wonder why that eloquence wasn’t used for the dialogue). And because I’m crazy I do these acting exercises to College’s music when it finally clicked, the sensitivity that’s difficult to catch when your mind is in the wrong place. But how does an actor express and externalize longing and loneliness through ‘Hey?’ I still think that the movie doesn’t do this successfully and I’ll probably never watch the movie again. I will also promise never to make fun of Drive again, but the terrible movies this year makes it difficult for me to find a movie to mock. I don’t like easy targets.
I also wanted to make my top ten post into some manifesto on what I like about movies, since the list may be that diverse. But then I got lazy. So here goes.
Blue Valentine – Because Grizzly Bear is that perfect dash to make Michelle Williams more beautiful.
Pariah – Because I like co-opting other people’s cultures.
Shame – Because it combines how good sex is and how frustrating it is to look for it.
Rampart – Because crazy cameraman are the best.
Tree of Life – Because understanding a movie emotionally should be enough.
Win Win – Because casts should also clown cars.
Jane Eyre – Because sometimes, the first few images are enough.
Essential Killing – Because dream sequences should always be in pink.
The Mill and the Cross – Because I’m a closet Catholic.
The Girl with the Dragon Tattoo – Because violence should always be presented with that sheen.
Now I’m going to wait for some more money, buy Carnage and Chronicle on DVD, watch Cabin in the Woods and whatever else that has a green Metacritic rating, do some laundry, go to the doctor and sleep. This emotionally shitty year is over, thank God!
Finally, a Drive Review. Ish.
‘I drive? for the movies?’ ‘Can you dance?’ It’s like Drive‘s star Ryan Gosling has a bit of an upward inflection like a New Yorker who moved to LA, the latter being the film’s setting. I didn’t buy him as a ex-Floridian in Blue Valentine and even if he doesn’t sound like he’s from ‘here,’ the accent isn’t a flaw and it’s actually cute.
This is a call to suggest music for me, trying to reinvent myself and my iPod because of the Drive soundtrack, especially this song because it’s ridiculous, especially in a part the begins in the minute and a half mark that they skip in the movie.
This song was playing during Standard’s (Oscar Isaac) ‘homecoming from prison’ scene. Standard is the Driver’s (Gosling) platonic-y love interest Irene’s (Carey Mulligan) husband, the two men reluctantly joining a heist that goes awry. Despite of myself and my knowledge of stereotypes that I shouldn’t write, I find it incredulous that a former jail-bird listens to electronic synth-pop. Maybe in other ‘New LA’ films but not these characters. Or maybe it’s director Nicolas Winding Refn re-imagining the scene with his own soundtrack à la Sofia Coppola’s Marie Antoinette or oh who cares.
[ETA: Sasha James doesn’t talk about this scene nor the music. Her post is kinder to the film, but I’m still not sure which one of us hates the movie more.]
Imagine Neil Marshall as the director (maybe), Hugh Jackman as the Driver (no), Jacinda Barrett as Blanche (maybe) and a Hispanic actress, say, Rosario Dawson as Irene (maybe). I write this because Mulligan’s chemistry with Gosling and Isaac was absent. We’ve seen Gosling fall magically in love with his co-stars and it’s strangely sad not to see it happen here.
Looking up selected songs from the soundtrack as well as its iMDb page, where I got the cast and crew turnover from, made me feel like I was subconsciously destroying or deconstructing the movie before I even watched it. But I also get the feeling that Refn was doing the same while making it.
Maybe I should embrace the artificiality or seen the characters as anomic and dislocated, their bodies and voices clashing against the sounds of a desolate environment like characters in a Western. But it’s easier to rely on my reaction while experience the movie. Refn miscalculates the film’s mood and doesn’t let the characters on Hossein Amini‘s script grow. 2.5/5.
- Drive ~ (USA, 2011) ~ In Theaters (chazzw.wordpress.com)