Gnawing on Crazy Cakes, Dudeflakes turns the corner and meets with a hail of kidstorming. He stumbles, mystified in wonder and awe at the travesty before him. Summoning his minions of forgiveness he wields his sword of love and carves a path through the storm.
Archive for March, 2012
Universal Leader writes: If you think their movie, which is mostly about poop, is some grand sociopolitical statement, then you’ve been trolled.
I reply: If you think their movie is mostly about poop then you’re a propagandist.
Since I’m probably being trolled (by you, not by the movie) I won’t explain your propaganda in great depth, but here’s a major problem with the “mostly about poop” theory:
There’s no reason to make a movie about poop. Noone has made a (serious) movie about poop – for example, South Park includes poop when applicable in whatever they are discussing – when it’s important to the subject matter. Likewise with Tim and Eric. It is fair to say that an 8 year old boy who picks up a video camera for the first time might actually make a movie about poop. Adults do not and to propose that artists such as Tim and Eric would do so is absurd.
For Tim and Eric, the poop in question is a metaphor for the degradation and humiliation of modern humans.
Let’s look at the larger issue here however in terms of why you are treating the movie as “about poop”.
By “about poop” what you are really saying is that the film is meaningless – that it has no meaning, that it’s simply nonsense, it’s absurd, no meaning can be attributed to it. Hence it’s “about poop” – about something with no worthwhile meaning.
This belief is ridiculous at face value (for example, why would Tim and Eric select the specific sequence of events they did, why would they look pointedly at the camera at the end of the film, etc. etc.). According to you, the seeming meaning is merely an illusion and the film has no meaning, or at least no meaning worth discussing. So for you Diamond Jim is merely being Mr. Meanie Pants toward Johnny Depp, or maybe the sparkly diamonds look cool, or whatever other juvenile meaning might be attributed to the scene.
This brings to mind Fukuyama’s “End of History”, a theory that states (with logical additions) that global capitalism might as well become totalitarian because there is no alternative now, capitalism has won the grand war for dominance over human history and humans might as well just bow down and drink the slop they are fed.
Since we’ve reached the “end of history”, so the theory goes, there is no longer any meaning in reality since meaning is created by a desire for change and tension – obviously there is no longer any desire for change or any tension, according to the theory.
So especially movies which are meaningful, which are transgressive and challenge the status quo, ESPECIALLY those movies must be made to be meaningless, must be “about poop” so to speak.
It is precisely movies like the one we are discussing, the most dangerous modern movies, which must be shrugged off and laughed off as meaningless, in order to convince everyone that they are.
During the Cold War the battle was not between ideologies as is commonly believed, but between two large economic powers vying for global dominance. The bigger fish ate the smaller fish and now there’s only the one fish, with everyone living in the belly (in a horrific hierarchy).
All of us to varying degrees want to cut open the belly, get out, and breathe fresh air for the first time in our lives. Some of us, like Tim Heidecker and Eric Wareheim, make art that expresses our desires.
Tim and Eric offload their landmark television series into a movie which begins with a dig at the movie audience and then brilliantly deconstructs Johnny Depp’s onscreen persona. It takes on new age gurus and cuts to the core of depictions of organized crime (corporations). It has a far better take on the post-apocalyptic shopping mall than any zombie movie ever has. It takes on marketing, managerial zest, and anything else it can get its nervous masturbating hands on.
In the world of Tim and Eric everything is damaged. From the worn lined faces reminiscent of exhausted porn actors to the deeply panicked behavior to the insane ambition, Tim and Eric can now be a show because the nightmare people used to warn against went unheeded, and now its coming true. Tim and Eric may be deemed the final warning, the final laughter before the tears, or the final real laughter before the endlessly tragic radio dj laughter overtakes us all. The shine of Kawaii Sensation to cover up the cruel nasty mean grime, the false hope of a shower to wash away the pain, the feminine cuteness of Mickey Mouse to console us from the harsh apocalyptic reality, the remade faces and remade breasts and permanent children and permanent disaster.
Perhaps the most interesting topic handled by the movie is the deconstruction of the lackeys to the elite. They are monsters who make and re-make themselves solely for their own material ambition, who cleanse the unwanted within a vision of a bright new shopping mall – mirroring the remaking of New Orleans and the dreams of a “new Iraq”, among countless other examples. The movie tells us that the original managers of the “brave new world” are lost among dreams of adolescent escape and have fled the scene, leaving Hollywood types who don’t know anything other than to maximize profit and brutalize anything which gets in their way. The more progressive their vision, the greater the brutality. The final scene and message of the film is that the owners always get their money – or else, but the film paints the lackeys, the middle men, the global middle class, the cheerfully smiling perverse utterly miserable managers with their vision of remaking the world as the driving force behind the terrors of the world.
It’s difficult to imagine a better comedy or a better movie being released this year.
I very much enjoyed the movie. Here are some points –
The characters are japanese stereotypes – quiet, controlling father, hysterical mother, bold daughter, and others I won’t go into.
The father obviously previously knew Spiller, but the daughter says this is the first time she’s met a Borrower outside of the family. Given how lonely and miserable the daughter is it was utterly cruel of the father not to invite Spiller over previous to this, *or even mention his existence to his daughter*. And this meeting only occurred because of the accidental injury to the father. This cruelty can be put down to the controlling nature of the father, whose anxieties over the danger to his family blinds him.
Also, the daughter says she is unaware of the existence of any other borrowers (now amended to any other than Spiller). What happened to her grandparents? Why do they have no contact with other borrowers? If the reason is safety and humans are so terrifying, why not be like Spiller and live in a forest? Only humans have the possibility of controlling Borrowers in the way that the maid does. In a forest the Borrowers could form a village and not be so isolated.
The obvious answer is that these are bourgeois people who couldn’t possibly live without “civilization”. The mother longs for a “better kitchen” and the father and daughter would happily move into the new opulent dollhouse if not for the father’s fears of a more controlled (controlled by humans) environment. They leech off of not just human possessions but their bourgeois culture as well.
So the white bourgeois little people get help from the noble savage (wow, that never happens) to move from one terrifying problematic home through the safer forest to another terrifying problematic home which they hope will have better stuff.
The most interesting metaphor I find in the movie is between the Borrowers in this movie and Westerners in reality. Westerners have long justified their material dominance of the world not just in raw racist terms but in terms of being weak – physically weak. Both nerds and the state of Israel therefore personify Western reasoning in clear terms – nerds justify dominating jocks and others through their fears of being physically dominated and the state of Israel justifies its domination through being an “oasis in the desert”, the “only democracy in the Middle East”, the “chosen people”, the “weak, outnumbered, neurotic, etc.” And of course the fear of another Holocaust is the ultimate justification for whatever atrocities Israel happens to commit on a given day. FDR is clearly long dead when “it’s fear which makes us strong” is the order of the day in the West.
The white people think little of the help of someone they barely even know (Spiller) because of course he’s helping them because they’re special. They are an endangered species, you see, and so what that they are useless parasites because they’re special.