Thursday, October 08, 2009

New digs, plus Baghead

So... this is the first night in my new apartment where it's starting to feel like my apartment. I've got a new office chair and a computer desk and I'm set up and online. I've got my books, DVDs, CDs, and LPs unpacked and mostly put away. I've got a few of my Ultraman monsters out. I have my dragonfly and cicada fridge magnets on my fridge, and a living room chair and dresser coming tomorrow (being delivered by a thrift store), with designs on a futon and some blackout curtains, since there is much too much light flooding this place by day. Best of all: I've hauled out 95% of the garbage that was produced by moving (including a goodly number of cardboard boxes no longer fit for use, since bedbugs can hide in the corrugation). It's almost liveable. If I have to spend a few more nights conked out on my floor on an air mattress, I can live with that; the worst is now behind me (unless we remember why I've moved to the suburbs in the first place).

I think I've gotten away with a clean move, anyhow: my new apartment has been so effectively sprayed against bedbuggery that the odd insects that fly in end up dead in a couple of hours. I watched the death throes of one housefly (and one ladybug, in fact - there appears to be a ladybug issue in the building, which is so much better than a bedbug issue) on my windowsill this evening as I piled packing material into black plastic bags, thinking with some satisfaction that I was glad they were dying, since it meant the poison was working. Ahh, a toxic environment! (But not for me).

But Mom's still in the hospital, father was too sick to get off the couch tonight, and I only have one friend in Maple Ridge, so I had to do something after 12 hours of organizing my stuff, hauling needed items into my space, and making garbage. But what is there to do in this town? (I mean, dig, this place had me singing along to Big Black's "Kerosene" while I cut crucifixes into myself with razorblades, dropped acid, and masturbated while sticking carrots up my ass; it was a difficult youth, here). I know the drill: I walked to the Rogers Video - the same one I used to work at some fifteen years ago and something like a cultural hub, for me at least - and bought a few DVDs (the buy-two-get-one-for-a-dollar special). After an hours' deliberation, I selected Let The Right One In, which I seem to find things to like about every time I see it and can easily imagine myself watching again; Encounters At The End Of The World - to see what Herzog does with Antarctica, a subject I'm passably interested in, even tho' I am suspicious of Herzog lately - and finally, Baghead, by Jay and Mark Duplass, usually known as the Duplass brothers.

This is the film I want to write about, having just finished it. Baghead is totally delightful, a must-rent for fans of mumblecore, Cassavetes, Dogme cinema -- or indy horror buffs! There was every reason to conclude from the cover of the DVD (which bears a non-coincidental similarity to the art for Bob and Carol and Ted and Alice) that the film would be a work of sophisticated metacinema, and indeed it is -- something that goes far beyond its mumblecore homage to The Evil Dead and The Blair Witch Project, also mentioned on the box (tho' without the word mumblecore).

If I had to say it was about anything, I'd say it was about how horror movies assist human communication, mediate complex emotions, and give voice to repressed and often incommunicable hostilities, fears, doubts, and worries on behalf of their audience members, strengthening social bonds and ironing out tensions. Like the best mumblecore films (Aaron Katz's Quiet City, say) there is an exquisite tenderness to its treatment of human emotion; there is also quite a bit of humour and a couple of effectively creepy passages. It's another one of those movies that Roger Ebert gets completely wrong, thus revealing his limited perceptions (which could be the next Ebert anthology of reviews: Films Roger Ebert Didn't Get - like Taste of Cherry, Death Race 2000 or The Good Mother, which he presumes to lecture for not understanding its own subject matter!). No, Rog, it's okay, I like reading your reviews, you just goof up sometimes. Me, too, I'm sure...

In any event, anyone wishing a fresh cinematic experience would appreciate Baghead. It came out last year, and seems to have gotten a decent release - Sony Pictures Classics is distributing it. You can even find it in Maple Ridge, so it shouldn't be too hard to track down...

1 comment:

Mr. Beer N. Hockey said...

Ladybugs are a popular pet in these parts.