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Thursday, November 22, 2007
Scientists are saying the future is going to be far more futuristic then they originally predicted
Last weekend I tried to go see No Country for Old Men at the Fox Tower. This was a stupid idea for at least two reasons. First off,the movie had just opened in Portland. Second off, I showed up ten minutes before it was going to start, along with every Coen Brothers fan in the city between the ages of 15 and 105. The line outside was around the block and 200 hipsters deep. The place was a madhouse and I kinda, sorta took advantage of the situation. I saw my chance and darted up the Fox's stairs without buying a ticket. I saved myself around $10 but my plan was quickly thwarted by two ushers guarding the door to the theaters screening No Country.
Undaunted, I settled for something else and that something else was Southland Tales, Richard Kelly's follow-up to the cult-hit Donnie Darko. ST was nearly booed off the screen at the 2005 Cannes Film Festival and it's not hard to see why. For most viewers, the film is bound to come off as an incoherent mess, a ramshackle heap of elements lifted from a hundred sources ranging from David Lynch to Robert Frost to The Big Lebowski.
Imagine a movie that rampantly drifts from scenes featuring Jon Lovitz horribly miscast as a bloodthirsty cop to a bizarre musical sequences set in a Venice Beach video arcade starring a disfigured Justin Timberlake who's too busy chugging cans of Budweiser to lip sync as he's surrounded by dancing combat troops and army nurses. At any given moment, there's no less than two character actors from a random '80s movie like Revenge of the Nerds or The Princess Bride on the screen at the same time. One second Southland tales is a would-be satire of post-9/11 life in America, the next it's sci-fi comedy and the next it's a musical. Toss in an impossible-to-follow plotline about the world ending, a zeppelin powered by the ocean and a flying ice cream truck and you've got yourself a movie that bursts past awful into some new, uncharted territory of "so bad it's good" filmmaking.
Did I enjoy Southland Tales. I don't know. Would I see it again? Maybe. Would I want to see it again? I think so. I'm pretty sure I've never sat in a theater with such a sharply-divided audience. There were a lot of walkouts but there were also a lot of people laughing and enjoying every minute. Is it the sort of thing that may one day develop a rabid fanbase eager to make sense of it all? I'd bet on it.