Les Miserables

I was kindly given a vegan chocolate cup filled with raspberry sorbet. The chocolate had cayenne and cinnamon, and the whole thing tasted of freezer burn--two interchangeable statements, both to be expected from self-conscious vegan food. But I did eat it. I even ate it when its provider wasn't in the room.

Still, it rankled. Couldn't I just enjoy something? I had just fled faces that fill the screen, contort with feeling like a lemon being squeezed of every drop, and never look into the camera, and the only semblance of release I can get is an equally misdirected dessert? That's the trouble with leaving--it just haunts you. I wouldn't say that I kept thinking about it. More that the anxiety of Hugh Jackman or Russel Crowe's imminent and unrelenting voices would not let up. It was as if I might turn around, and there in the corridor one of them would be, warbling and belting the least lyrical lyrics. "My name is Javert and you will not forget me," barks Crowe, looking somewhere in the sky, is his chest bulgy as ever but seemingly not in the service of his vocal chords. If they're not not-singing flat exposition, they're unloading hyperbolic sentiments to a contextless plane of full-frame faces. Faces faces faces faces. Cinema could be regarded as an elaborate apparatus to facilitate our fascination with faces, so there may be something primal in all this--perhaps that is why it is so hard to actually look at the screen, at the actors exerting themselves so very hard. But the medium cannot support this anti-slyness.

Where is the voyeurism? I sometimes make fun of serial TV dramas for making a convention of implication, but whatever--at least it's fun to feel as if you're putting things together. All of this transparency makes it impossible to see anything. If parties consisted of people being politely given their turn to tell us their deepest (read: simplest) convictions, and cry their eyes out if they like, there would be no intrigue to mitigate the abjection and discomfort of parties.

This is the second movie I've walked out of in the past month, and I've only seen three movies in the theater in that time. I'm beginning in to get paranoid. Can I handle movies anymore? They didn't used to be things I had to recover from. Bad movies are generally still enjoyable to watch at some level. They at least go down the gullet. Some apparently managed to get Killing Them Softly and Les Miserables down without choking. I wonder if I should bother going to the movies anymore.

4 January 2013