Tuesday, February 15, 2011

Post from Feb 11th

I have taken writing blog posts at work and emailing them to myself. The problem with this is I have to remember to post them. Here is one written back on Friday:

Internet is slow as molasses in winter today. Naturally this is true because I ended up at work 15 minutes early and just wanted to look at a few things. I have not managed to make it to a single website yet.

My MP3 player died again. I am getting frustrated. This is the second new one I got. Amazon already replaced it once for me. Guess I should stop promoting Sansa Clip. I think its too late to have it replaced by Amazon again and Sansa is not responsive. Time to go to Best Buy and get something cheap (even cheaper than Sansa). *sigh*. It does put a kink in my music listening. I was cruising along. I had just loaded my player with all sorts of new things like U2, Greenday, Janet Jackson, Wilco, Josh Ritter, and many more. I brought a stack of CDs in to listen to today (in the computer), but I know I don't like that nearly as much as having them on MP3 because I hate being attached to my computer by a cord. You all should be taking bets on how many times today I get up to run to the printer or bathroom and do some sort of comical jerk backwards when I reach the end of my headphones cord.

DH and I went to see Black Swan last night. If you do not want to know any more about it, then you should stop reading. It was a very interesting movie. I am glad I watched it, but I doubt I will ever watch it again. And Natalie Portman deserves the award for best actress, even without seeing any of the other nominees... although I have heard great things about Blue Valentine and I think its the next thing on my list to see. Anyways, Black Swan is about mental illness. I think a few things makes it really successful. First, the camera work really takes you into the movie. You are not an objective observer, you are caught up in the world of the character is caught up in. In many ways it captures the "unreliable narrator" concept often used in writing but hard to put into film, where normally the audience gets to see what actually happens instead of what the character perceives (a notable other movie that would capture the unreliable narrator is Fight Club, also ultimately about mental illness, though in a much more cartoon-esque way). The second thing that really makes Black Swan work is the sheer complexity. While the movie centers on the main character's descent into madness, there are so many other conflicts going on. Essentially, Black Swan could be a decent movie even without the mental illness, though much less interesting, less likely to be up for awards, and less likely to make anyone think about anything. But it would have a rising young ballerina, anxious about succeeding, dealing with the sexual advances of an experienced and powerful director, an overbearing mother, and a social structure of ballerinas where when one gets her dream the others lose theirs (and therefore they are incredibly competitive). Having all of these competing forms of drama all be trumped by the menal illness is quite interesting, and also with the unreliable narrator you are left asking what parts of these other dramas actually existed and what is only in the main characters head. It is clear that the relationship between Nina and her mother is not normal, but is it not normal because her mother is unnaturally overbearing, or because her mother has to take care of her because of her mental instability? It is clear that the other ballerinas are bitter about Nina's success and want some for themselves, but are they actually doing anything to suggest they wish her ill will? The movie was quite good, and the more I think about it, the more I think it was actually great. I expected it to give me weird/bad dreams (the mark of a good dark movie), but it did not. Maybe that would have been different if I had seen it right before bed instead of 5pm.

OK. Off to work. Bis spaeter!

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