things of little relevance


dangerous movies
July 27, 2009, 1:01 pm
Filed under: Uncategorized

From 3QD, Colin Marshall on Rushmore.

Because thousands of a certain generation’s cinematic lives have been changed by this film, its territory is best approached with caution. Mine, however, happens to be among those thousands, 1998 marking as it did the opening of my prime window of cultural absporpton. Cinephilic teenagers of the 1960s had The 400 Blows, Breathless, Dr. Strangelove; cinephilic teenagers of the 1970s has Harold and Maude, Chinatown, Taxi Driver; cinephilic teenagers of the 1980s had Repo Man, Blue Velvet, Stranger than Paradise; cinephilic teenagers of the 1990s had Rushmore.

The impact of Wes Anderson’s second film didn’t propel me immediately from the screening room to a new, theretofore unseen world illuminated by pure light cast forth by the angels of cinema. Its effects were those of a gradually-dissolving ingested substance, working only in the fullness of time. I knew I’d seen something epiphanic, but damned if I could put my finger on what or why. While it has sparked and continues to spark in young viewers as much of a fanatic enthusiasm for film, both its appreciation and its craft, as the most radical, stylistically transgressive piece of deliberate provocation, it does so within a shell of relative normality. But though translucently thin, this shell appears to have confused almost as many filmgoers as it’s blindsided with slow-acting inspiration.

In my head, I’ve always grouped Rushmore with Kicking and Screaming, maybe because I watched the two for the first time within two days of each other. If I ever have children, I am not going to allow them to watch either movies during the easily impressionable early teenage years.  Somehow I thought Kicking and Screaming‘s post-graduation floundering was really glamorous.

In addition, I probably shouldn’t have watched Reality Bites when I was twelve. This movie is single-handedly responsible for my delusion that I came of age during the 90’s, when in fact I just watched this movie over and over again. Now when my own post-college floundering is to come, marrying a lawyer really doesn’t seem that bad.

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3 Comments so far
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No, no, that’s absurd! No need to marry a member of that despised quasi-intellectual species! You can move into my cardboard box instead and we’ll flounder together. Misery loves company and so do poor college grads. Besides, the CU graduation Bible advises that, in dire need, one can always eat all the free samples at Whole Foods. Apparently this is best done when someone else watches your back.

Comment by Carla

I just told someone recently that I wished Reality Bites were reality (as in, I wish this were still the 90’s) because maybe I’d be less boring, but when I meet people who fit into the 90’s “slacker” mold they seem both generic and out-of-touch. Trust me, you don’t want to date Ethan Hawke.

Comment by Hae-Joon

Reality Bites single-handedly destroyed my sense of reality inre: dudes, the 90’s, youth, and I still love it.

Comment by Jamie




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