I can’t stop working, People-
But I would. I really think I would, if I really didn’t have to.
Not knowing what you want to do with your life at 50 is a weird feeling. Obviously I know exactly what I want to do professionally and I’m doing it. What about the other stuff? What about the fun stuff? What about traveling, thinking, playing music, dancing? Well, not so much dancing but maybe a little dancing. What about broadening my mind? Getting back into really trying to understand art and politics and cultural criticism? What about writing an essay for the Paris Review or some shit? Its not that I’ve hit a wall with me, it’s just that I used to really have interests that were active and growing. I seem to be doing that with guitar but what about everything else?
Ok, I’ll admit it. I saw a French movie and it sent me spinning. I saw Michel Gondry’s ‘Mood Indigo.’ It wasn’t that the film blew me away necessarily because it didn’t. It was because it was so incredibly French in it’s approach to story. By French I mean existential and absurd simultaneously. The element that amazed me was the commitment to what seemed like some form of stop action photography. I’m sure there are tricks that are more advanced than that but that is what it looked like. It looked like every five minutes of film must’ve taken weeks to shoot. The story was tragic, really, but the approach was completely comedic, hyper-imaginative and lyrical, and almost completely unnecessary in terms of serving the story. Gondry clearly had a vision. Too much vision. It was daunting to watch at times. I didn’t think it was bad but it amazed me to see someone so committed to his imagination and execution of that imagination even if it seemed totally gratuitous.
So, days later I’m still trying to figure out why. WHY? There are no answers. The story was an emotionally tragic tale of love and death with a running theme of philosophical posturing and sychophancy. Gondry turned these fairly stale-seeming, almost hack, avant garde French film tropes inside out, almost literally, with crazy but organic-seeming film effects and sets. It was monstrously elaborate in its execution of animation elements and strange absurd tangents, but they all explored the themes set up in the human story and took them to a new French place.
I like having to assess and continue thinking about movies. I haven’t been doing it as much as I used to. I just saw American Hustle for the fifth time and I think I’m starting to understand why the people who liked it, liked it, and what David O. Russell was trying to do. I have faith in certain directors and if I don’t get their work the first time I will go back until I do. I am sorry I dismissed the film early on. It’s just that’s the culture we live in. We feed, we don’t think.
I was thrilled to hear all the amazing feedback from everyone about the season finale of ‘Maron.' I’m waiting to hear if we get to make more.
Three episodes this week! Monday I talk to the lovely and earnest Claire Danes. On Wednesday Eddie Pepitone stops by to talk about his new special AND I talk to Peter McGraw and Joel Warner who are the authors of ‘The Humor Code.’ On Friday actor Pat Healy talks about his film, ‘Cheap Thrills,’ and also about the time he lived at my house.
I can’t stop working, People-