Monday, December 10, 2007

I'm Not There...

...I wish. This was by far the most pretentious piece of cinema I've ever seen. Far be it from me to rain on everyone's turtleneck and beret parade, but I couldn't stand 5 minutes of this film let alone the 135 minutes of self absorbed run time.
Let me put it this way. This movie made me feel like having an argument with a 4 year old child.
"Tommy, did you eat your cereal?"
"No Tommy, the cereal did you eat it?"
"OK. Never mind, you win."

It was how I imagine a trendy loft party in Soho would feel like. I walk in and am immediately stared down by a circle of intellectual snobs complete in turtlenecks and black rimmed glasses. After giving me a good scoffing, they turn their noses back to their original discussion: Jane Austen vs. Emily Dickinson aka Pride and Prejudice? Then I feel weird and stupid and unwelcome and just want to leave. Oh wait, pretty much how I felt the entirety of the movie!

Sometimes I feel like I should be more worldly, more exposed to the art and thoughts around me. So I made the mistake of linking artistic to modern and ended up at the Modern Art Museum one day. There I stood in front of two by fours with a piece of hanging wire glued onto it and, if I was lucky, a stripe of color painted down the middle. Oh and what's that? A Pepsi can tacked to a cardboard box? Uchk. I hate pretentious modern art and I hate ostentatious modern art indie film. Enter, I'M NOT THERE.

I did little research going into the film. I stupidly thought that it was a Bob Dylan biopic in the vein of WALK THE LINE, but turned on it's head a little by the addition of a chick playing Dylan and maybe a few other misanthropes portraying him at various ages. Nope, that's the evil studio version that could have made a fortune and have been the catalyst for throngs of teenagers downloading old Dylan tracks. But alas, Todd Haynes threw caution (and logic) to the wind and said "Screw you guys, I'm making a thought provoking tour de force and I don't care if anyone gets it or not!" Well congratulations Todd, I didn't.

Where the film tries to be symbolic and poetic it's confusing and frustrating. What the heck is a blue whale doing in the film eating the little black kid? Why were none of the versions of Dylan even allowed to be called BOB DYLAN? Why were there documentary style talking head interviews that not only confused the through line, but pulled the film to a dead halt every single time? I can't go on. I seriously don't care and I was seriously annoyed at the end of the movie.

I sat through the entire thing, just waiting, just hoping that eventually they'd wrap it all up to a concise and realistic/actual ending - 'where's Bob today' sort of thing. Sorry, Todd couldn't be bothered.

At least when I watch the tripped out movies HEAD or THE WALL they have an understandable narrative, main characters, and an exciting and fun soundtrack. I'M NOT THERE had the soundtrack.

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