Wednesday, February 13, 2013

Plumbing the Depths 2013

So this year for Lent I thought I'd try something a little different than usual.  I'll be giving up something, as usual (caffeine), but this time I'll also be doing a little something extra.  I plan on writing something here every day.  Now, given my prodigious output so far, I'm not expecting to be writing all that much.  And as far as the quality is concerned?  Uh, yeah...not going to worry much about that either.This is just something to do that I hope will spark more regular posting.  There are a whole lot of movies that are remarkable for one reason or another that I'm most grateful to others for pointing them out to me.

What I'm looking to do this year, though, is to acknowledge some movies/films/garbage that have one thing in common:they are all considered to be, at least by a few people, disturbing. I know that the word "disturbing" doesn't really mean the same thing to everyone all the time.  I know people who can't watch Seinfeld because the depth of their feeling for people faced with embarrassing situations is actually too disturbing to them.  Toddler beauty pageants, open mike poetry readings, comedy improv troupes, American Idol auditions can all be classified as disturbing.  Shit, I saw a piece on the tv show Taboo last night about fruitarian freegans in SF eating rotting mangoes out of the trash while shrimping one another that was truly abhorrent.For the purpose of this experiment, though, I'll stick to a basic descriptor: these are movies that make you nauseous, angry, depressed, sad, and perhaps most of all uncomfortable.

When I was in high school I wrote a short story about two jerks who kidnapped a woman and mistreated her.  I wrote it because the thought of people being inhumanly cruel to someone else made me feel uncomfortable.  I found it scary to consider.  It was a pretty lame story, but I will always remember one of my teacher's comments about it.  To paraphrase, "You appear to have written this to answer the question 'What's the worst thing I can think of?'".  In a sense, he had a point.  On the other hand, as grim as that story may have been, it wasn't the worst thing I could have thought of.  The movies I have selected to write about this season, though?  They're all pretty bad.

I suppose I like to seek out the "worst of the worst" because I like to appreciate that my life is immeasurably blessed in comparison to those who inhabit these films.  There's a catharsis, however mild, involved in watching such things.  I had an old co-worker friend tell me a long time ago that I didn't care what kind of garbage I put in my head.  I guess this might be proof of that, but I prefer to see it as finding different ways to be frightened.  I love scary movies of all kinds because I like to be artificially frightened, after all.

But anyway, yeah, these movies are pretty bad for the most part.  An artist can shock and disturb without being overly obvious.  Most of the movies I'm going to write about, though, aren't particularly great and aren't considered by many to be art.  Which I guess begs the question:why bother? If I figure out the best answer to that, I'll be sure to let you know.

Also, there will be spoilers in most, if not all, of my posts.  Sorry if that annoys you.

Tomorrow: Aftermath

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