I watched Munich yesterday and I watched Capote today.
Steven Spielberg is too commercial and Hollywood for my liking. Even a film with a subject matter like Munich's couldn't escape the clutches of Hollywood-ism. Besides, it was too damn long and Eric Bana's character's moral dilemma only showed up halfway into the film and so suddenly too, so I didn't really feel anything for him during that supposedly heartbreaking lovemaking scene.
Also, I couldn't get over the fact that an Australian actor was playing an Israeli.
Oh wait, Geoffrey Rush, another Australian, was also playing an Israeli army officer. I kept thinking, Why couldn't they have got an Israeli actor to play this role?
Now, I know that a certain amount of realistic violence and gore is needed to portray the horrors of needless and senseless bloodshed, and that without it, the movie's message would fall flat. The thing is, there was too much violence and gore, such that it became overkill and I even got slightly numbed towards it towards the end. It was too gratuitous and after a while, some scenes became little more than a messy spray of bullets and gunshots, easily sampled at your average brainless action movie. Was that the intention of the movie? Surely that can't possibly be the case.
Munich was way better than that pile of crap War of the Worlds, but that isn't saying much. All I'm saying is, I've seen better movies that dealt with a similar theme. Spielberg should stick to entertaining crowd-pleasers and stay away from serious subject matters; doing the latter only exposes all his shortcomings as a movie-maker.
On the other hand, I enjoyed Capote a lot more than I thought I would. It's the perfect film for me: A writer (always a plus point) doing research for his "nonfiction novel" about a murder committed in a small Kansas town.
The criminal mind is endlessly fascinating. Equally so is the writer's intention, his creative process, the lengths to which he'd go to get his story written. I question how factual the film was in depicting the real Truman Capote's relationship with the two killers (in particular Perry Smith), because this interview I read contradicted some of the morally-ambiguous points in the film. For instance, in the film Capote lied to Perry about his intentions behind the book; he told Perry that he wanted to change the public's perception of him, that he didn't want him to be stuck with the image of a monster. In the interview, though, the real Capote said, "...[the book] didn't have anything to do with changing the readers' opinion about anything, nor did I have any moral reasons worthy of calling them such--it was just that I had a strictly aesthetic theory about creating a book which could result in a work of art."
Despite that, it was interesting to see how Capote in the film danced around the moral thin line in his interactions with Perry and in the way he dealt with the whole affair. And, to be quite frank, I found the way he used/exploited Perry's trust and dependence on what he perceived as friendship to be quite abhorrent, in particular the way he finally forced the details of the murder out of Perry. You want desperately for this man to be the moral hero he appears to be, but he lets you down by showing that he isn't. He didn't find them a lawyer for their Supreme Court appeal. It was just...so sad.
On a different note, I didn't know that Breakfast at Tiffany's was written by him.
Now I need to read In Cold Blood.
I wonder what I'm doing with this writing thing and with this life thing. Do I really have it in me or am I just a fraud that speaks too loudly to cover up her own inadequacy? How do you know that your life isn't just wasted?
I turned to writing so many years ago because nobody understood me and I needed an outlet to express myself without making myself vulnerable to the scrutinising eye of other people and now it's become as familiar as my own damn name. And yet, it carries with it the strangeness of a brand-new bed, the emptiness of a new apartment, the stiltedness and confusion of trying to find your footing in a completely new environment. I have stories in my head waiting to be told, but I can't find the words with which to properly express them.
But really, the truth? I need to write my masterpiece. That has never been as clear to me as it is today, right now. What is even clearer is how I can never lose sight of it, because it calls to me during confusing times like these, when I'm in the middle of going towards the rest of my life and still can't see even the slightest hint of an outline of the horizon in the distance; because it brings me one little but significant step closer to that horizon; and because it matters more to me than life itself.
How do you know your life isn't going to waste? I suppose you don't.
But what fun would living be if you had everything sorted and figured out?
I have this small theory that a part of me goes for cheap thrills. Mag wrote about love in her latest blog entry and I found myself concurring with my Learned Sister on more accounts than I can remember; most significantly, she described herself as a sceptical (haha I prefer British spelling) idealist and I read that and thought, Wow, that about sums me up too!
But if you really want to know, most of the time I'm certain that I'm not programmed for a long-term relationship, and that I seek out the opposite sex solely for that momentary rush, that excitement which comes with the initial phase of attraction, which eventually climaxes at the point where both parties tumble into a "relationship" and ends about a month later. Cheap thrills. Two months of lust and long phone calls and a flurry of text messages and it's all over, and the sure thing which you take away with you is disgust and sometimes even hatred. The standard "Let's Be Friends" tagline is laughable at best, fucking stupid at worst, and you are more cynical because of it.
I know all of this and yet I still want to go through the same damn torture again and again and again. For someone deathly afraid of rollercoasters, their emotional counterpart would have to do to placate the part of her that desires for such retarded cheap thrills. And I call it 'cheap' because that's exactly what it is. Don't pretend for a moment that it's something more; your own history has proven otherwise. Why else are we attracted to people whom we know aren't our types? And really, I don't think I'm a glutton for punishment.
But here's the paradox: I am cynical about my ability to be with another person for the rest of my natural life because I doubt that this person exists. But if I doubt that this person even exists, why do I still use this hypothetical, too-perfect person as the yardstick against which to gauge suitors and potential boyfriends and refuse to take the next step if they fall just a little bit short? Does it show hope on my part, just a tiny smidge, because I'd rather be lonely/alone (sometimes I can't tell the difference because they are starting to feel the same) than to be with someone who isn't Perfection? But, even more fundamentally, how can I yearn for Perfection when there is no such bloody thing? Does my yearning for it actually show that I'm much more idealistic than I give myself credit? Why do I still have a stupid mental checklist of qualities I want in that other person when I'm supposed to have disposed of this ludicrous list after I stopped being 12?
In Legal Theory, TSH asserted that statements (philosophical assertions, legal theories, whatever) shouldn't be self-refuting.
But, like I said many times already, If Life Is One Huge Paradox Anyway, Why Should Its Myriad Subsets Be Any Different?