Monday, October 06, 2003

MOVIE NIGHTS. I've been called a crank, and can't deny it, but I'm a crank like Dennis Hopper was an asshole in Out of the Blue. "You think I'm an asshole!" he roared as he poured his own beer over his head. "Alright! I'm an asshole!" Then he showed that he hadn't poured the entire beer over his head. "But," said Hopper, "I'm not a fucking asshole!"

I am not a fucking crank, and so enjoyed School of Rock this weekend. It has no characters to speak of, and nothing is at stake; all the plot complications are laughable, as are the Lessons in Life. (Fancy Jack Black telling anyone that rock isn't at least partly about sex and drugs.)

But the movie is a crisp bit of product with a great idea in the middle. Actually I think you have to have a bit of crank in you to fully appreciate it. (I'm not talking about meth, but I suppose that would help too if you could sit still long enough to watch the thing.) Because the idea that kids today need to be schooled in the art of rock is very cranky. It's epiphanic for greybeards such as myself when Black asks what the kids like and they uniformly cite unspeakably lame contemporary radio staples -- and Black cries, "What are they teaching you in this school?" and draws up a flow-chart of rock history. Robert Christgau couldn't have cranked it up better.

The movie panders L.A.M.F., but surprise, it's me and mine that are being pandered to. About time! So I raise my goblet of rock to it.

Also saw Lost in Translation, aka Antonioni for Dummies. Murray and Johansson are cute, but I wonder how the movie would have worked if everyone they loved or came in contact with hadn't been such morons.

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