Wednesday, November 22, 2017

Wheat Grass Juice and Hollywood Shallowness

I'm rewatching Interstellar on blu-ray. The imaginative sweep is impressive, and the technical filmmaking is, of course, breathtaking. But the subtleties of acting and writing are so embarrassingly tinny that it's hard to imagine how something so expensive could have wound up so "off". Hollywood films often leave me feeling this way. But I just realized the answer.

The actors portraying these brave, brainy scientist/pioneers - as well as the people who wrote, edited, and directed them - are all shallow Los Angelenos just back from yoga class, doing their thing while periodically sipping wheat grass juice.

And while actors may don eyeglasses, make their "serious" faces, and spout mumbo jumbo - and writers can try to simulate work of actual depth - it's just not possible to act or write smarter than you actually are. That's a hard limit. When wheat grass juice people are writing lines for other wheat grass juice people to speak, what on earth would we expect?

You can smell the wheat grass juice from the audience. You can feel the yoga class afterglow, and the drive thereto in the Porsche. And none of this is the proper vibe for a tale of a desperate multi-dimensional mission of mercy (at least not in an era when moviegoers expect some degree of authenticity and realism).

This is exactly why Kubrick was so good. He was every bit as smart and as deep as any of his characters. I suppose his tendency to shoot dozens upon dozens of takes was his trick for expunging every iota of downward dog.

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