Tuesday, February 15, 2011

experimental film

Sometimes I’m amazed by the way my mind works. 

During my recent “The Kids in the Hall” binge, I spent some time poking around for information about the show on Wikipedia. While reading about Mark McKinney’s Chicken Lady character I noticed that McKinney cited the Tod Browning movie “Freaks” as his character’s inspiration. I hadn’t thought about “Freaks” since this past summer when TCM aired it. I attempted to watch it but was so, well, freaked out by some of the stars -- namely the pinheads and Prince Randian -- that I changed the channel only a few minutes in. Although I couldn't bring myself to watch the film in its entirety, I still have a kind of fascination with it, so I redirected myself to the “Freaks” Wikipedia entry.

After perusing the page I noticed that the film identified itself as a “pre-code” horror film. I'd never heard the term “pre-code” before so I, once again, consulted Wikipedia. As it turns out, I was already familiar with films that fell into this category, but I wasn't aware of the circumstances under which they had been made. Stumbling upon this list of films that, in many ways, were so far ahead of their time inspired me to take a better look at the origin of film itself.

That night alone, I went from “Kids in the Hall” to Pre-Code Hollywood to watching the oldest surviving films ("Roundhay Garden Scene" and "Traffic Crossing Leeds Bridge"). It was at that point that I more or less started my silent film marathon. This doesn't mean that I've been exclusively watching silent films, but I have been concentrating a lot of my time into studying, reading about, and watching them. It's been a little over a week since I "officially" started my marathon and I've watched a little over 20 silent films varying in length, picture quality, and subject matter. Each of them has left me changed in some way. “A Trip to the Moon” and “Metropolis” have given me an astounding glimpse into science fiction's humble beginnings, Janet Gaynor and George O'Brien brought me to tears without saying a word in “Sunrise: A Song of Two Humans,” and Harold Lloyd and Buster Keaton stumbled and slipped and silently stole my heart.

It breaks my heart to know that a performance as haunting and poignant as Renee Jeanne Falconetti's in “The Passion of Joan of Arc” probably goes unstudied by actors today. But, at the same time, the availability of these films online gives me hope that more people will seek them out. With each movie I gain a greater understanding of the history and the art of film and it becomes a greater part of who I am.

The mediator between head and hands must be the heart!

Friday, February 4, 2011

you just haven't earned it yet, baby

Once again, some of the males in the office have provoked disgust in me. Although this time it doesn’t concern a remark made in my direction, it does still offend me just as much.

They’re browsing the latest Maxim featuring Olivia Munn on the cover.

Now, there may not be enough words to describe how much I dislike, perhaps hate, Munn, but I am willing to give it a shot.

I’m not exactly sure how it happened -- though G4 is partly to blame -– but somehow Munn has come to “represent” geeky girls and serve as a lust object for geeky guys. I cannot speak for the entire geek population, but I can speak for those geeks that I know well. The un-geeky population seems to have appropriated her as the geeky ambassador. But she is not our spokeswoman and she is not geeky ideal.

In short: We do not approve.

You see, there’s a bit of a badge of honor that comes with being a geek. In part, it’s the tough skin developed from being teased relentlessly in school and the knowledge gained from nights of being absorbed in books and online worlds. It’s also, in part, the quick wit honed from retorts to dumb jocks who teased us mercilessly. It’s taken us years to develop and, perhaps, accept, but our geekiness is an inherent part of our character and being. It’s not something you can simply claim by wearing a pair of glasses, watching a geeky show, or by wearing a Wonder Woman costume on the cover of a book. As far as I can tell, her geeky title is something that Munn has failed to earn (I'm not even going to discuss her "model" status).

Some will call me a “hater” -- many already have) -- but there is nothing about Munn that is endearing. She’s not charming, funny, or quirky. She brings nothing to any of the roles she has had, be it on G4, her new NBC show, or “The Daily Show.” If anything, she perpetuates the notion of a woman being hired not on her credentials or intelligence or wit but on her looks. In my eyes, she and Megan Fox are one and the same: skating by on their looks while the putting up the illusion that they have talent.

Making her even less attractive is her attitude that she is a goddess among geeks – someone to be worshiped and whose bidding should be carried out by those lowly geeks not good-looking enough to be on TV.

What infuriates me the most is that entertainment corporations continue giving her outlets to sell her faux brand of geekiness while endeavors by true geeks never see the light of day.

A while back I started a campaign of sorts on Twitter to overthrow Munn. I consider this blog a step in this overthrow. It’s at least a step in the right direction and a step towards reclaiming title of geek for those who truly are geeks at heart.

Commence deMunnifcation sequence.