All I know is that I don't know.
All I know is that I don't know nuthin'.
Links and whatnotBlogs and Friends
Just Cheap Dirt
Jack Jackson's Dirty Pictures 2000
Funny, yet true
Triumph, the Insult Comic Dog
Get Your War On
A Softer World
News and stuff
Music and Art
Pitchfork They Might Be Giants
Rate Your Music
Rocket From The Crypt
The All Music Guide
Tha Friendly Gangstaz Committee
The Wooster Collective
Star City Scene
oh my god
The Zyklon Bees
Lone Prairie Records
Genuinely Useful Stuff
The Straight Dope
The Free World
Mail me AIM: RawkStah
My MySpace Space
Wednesday, September 11, 2002
It's September 11. Holy Fucking Shit Day, or, as named by Congress, Patriot Day. I could write about WHAT AMERICA MEANS TO ME, or HOW THINGS CHANGED, or something like that, but I'm not gonna. See, I gotta keep you on your toes. I'm crafty like that. Gotta float like a butterfly and sting like a butterfly. Gotta keep you guessing. Is the shiny nickel in my left hand or my right? IT'S IN BOTH! Ha!
Instead of writing about something that we're all sick of hearing about, I'm gonna write about something entirely different.
Directed by: Stanley Kubrick
Written by: Vladimir Nabokov, based on his novel
Starring: James Mason, Peter Sellers, Shelley Winters and Sue Lyon
Rated NR (It was released in 1962, before the MPAA under Jack Valenti instituted the rating system that we know and 'love')
I had no idea that Kubrick could do slapstick. I'd heard about the pie-fight that took place in the war room in Dr. Strangelove, but, still, it never quite sunk in. I mean, Dr. Strangelove is a very funny movie. A Clockwork Orange has very funny moments. But, to really appreciate what Kubrick was capable of, you must see the 'Cot Delivery' scene in Lolita.
For those of you who may have never heard of it, lemme break down the plot. Dr. Humbert Humbert (Mason) is a British professor, specializing in translating French poets. He's been hired as a guest lecturer at a small college in Ohio. He decides that, before he starts his job, he will take a little vacation in Ramsdale, New Hampshire. He, of course, needs a place to stay. One of the houses he looks at is that of Charlotte Haze (Winters), an energetic woman who acts younger than she really should. Humbert sees this, of course, and sees that she is clearly trying to get into his pants, of course, and he pretty much decides against staying there. Until he sees Charlotte's daugher, Dolores (Lyon). (As a side-note, I think that the name Dolores Haze is one of the most clever puns ever devised.) Dolores, is, of course, the Lolita of the title. Humbert falls (grows?) hard for Lolita, and makes a bunch of bad decisions that only a) damned Romantics and b) obsessive old perverts make. During the course of the adventures, Humbert encounters Claire Quilty (Sellers). Things wind up badly, as they always do in Romances.
Confession time: I've never read Nabokov's book in its entirety. Lord knows I've tried, but I've never made it through the whole thing. It's almost like Nabokov is too in love with language for me. The characters are wonderfully fleshed out, but then he goes off on illiterative tangents and uses flowery phrases almost to the point of distraction. I've also never been able to get through anything written by Conrad. I tried reading Joyce once, and gave, in the library, after one page. Of course, the Joyce was Ulysses. Perhaps I'm not smart enough to get through it, or perhaps he was playing us all for fools. I'm not sure. I also don't have any American Flags on anything I own. I also think that boobies are really nice. Confession time is over.
Now, this is not the first Lolita I've ever seen. I saw Adrian Lyne's remake (readaptation?) when it premiered on TV, because no domestic distributor would touch it. Mostly because Lyne kept Lolita at the age she was in the book -- 12. Dominique Swain did an amazing job in her role. Apart from that, however, Kubrick's version is far superior. First of all, Nabokov adapted the book himself. Secondly, IT WAS MADE BY STANLEY KUBRICK. A bit of advice for any aspiring filmmakers out there -- you can't touch Kubrick. You can't come close. You are excluded from the set of filmmakers that includes Stanley Kubrick. I've advised in the past about shooting lots of desert scenery (Unless you are David Lean, don't do it) and about staging gun fights in churches (Unless you are John Woo, don't do it), and now I'm advising you -- if you think you can make a movie better than Kubrick made it, you're wrong. You can do loose remakes (The Jerk is a remake of Barry Lyndon. Watch them both, with Barry Lyndon first.) and they'll be alright. You can make homages (Trainspotting relied heavily on A Clockwork Orange) and things will be fine. But don't think you can do something better. Contact was a very good movie. But, travelling through the wormhole was done better in 2001: A Space Odyssey. Also, if you are Stephen King, for the love of God, STOP MAKING MOVIES! You should really concentrate on finishing up The Dark Tower instead of remaking The Shining or writing tv-miniseries.
Peter Sellers is a demigod, at least. He's so talented that I would have been afraid to work with him. I think he may have done a better job here than he did in Dr. Strangelove. He makes Dustin Hoffman in Rain Man look like a hack.
I don't know that I've seen James Mason act before. Fantastic. Same with Shelley Winters, especially when Charlotte breaks down. And while I think that Dominique Swain's performance was better overall, Sue Lyon was better able to project being a goddamned teenager. Not so good at playing an adult, however.
The thing that has always struck me about the story is Lolita herself. She knows exactly what she is doing. She knows that Humbert wants to hump her. But, she isn't able to see the consequences of her actions. That's only one of the tragedies in the story. Humbert is just a love-struck old fool who thinks that he can make love work, dammit, no matter what the cost. Charlotte is tragic for a bunch of reasons. And Quilty is just a damned weirdo. Strangely enough, up until Humbert's last meeting with Lolita, it's all very funny. Tragic, yes. But, still funny, and not in a sick way. Legitimately funny.
As far as my feelings about today... I'm not really sure what to feel. Perhaps I should have watched TV today to find out how I feel. I mean, yeah, it sucked. It sucked bad. But, hey, know what? We deal with shit. We get over shit.
The thing that bugs me most is the Patriot Act. That scares the hell out of me. Mr. Nosuch had a link to a list of the Rights that have been compromised by the Patriot Act. That scares me more than Arabs and silverfish.
However, I hope that you did what you felt was needed to be done. Tomorrow will be better.
Comments by: YACCS