A movie log formerly known as Bookishness / By Charles Matthews

"Dazzled by so many and such marvelous inventions, the people of Macondo ... became indignant over the living images that the prosperous merchant Bruno Crespi projected in the theater with the lion-head ticket windows, for a character who had died and was buried in one film and for whose misfortune tears had been shed would reappear alive and transformed into an Arab in the next one. The audience, who had paid two cents apiece to share the difficulties of the actors, would not tolerate that outlandish fraud and they broke up the seats. The mayor, at the urging of Bruno Crespi, explained in a proclamation that the cinema was a machine of illusions that did not merit the emotional outbursts of the audience. With that discouraging explanation many ... decided not to return to the movies, considering that they already had too many troubles of their own to weep over the acted-out misfortunes of imaginary beings."
--Gabriel García Márquez, One Hundred Years of Solitude

Friday, July 27, 2018

Chasing Amy (Kevin Smith, 1997)

Ben Affleck and Joey Lauren Adams in Chasing Amy
Holden McNeil: Ben Affleck
Alyssa Jones: Joey Lauren Adams
Banky Edwards: Jason Lee
Jay: Jason Mewes
Silent Bob: Kevin Smith
Hooper X: Dwight Ewell

Director: Kevin Smith
Screenplay: Kevin Smith
Cinematography: David Klein
Production design: Robert Holtzman
Film editing: Scott Mosier, Kevin Smith
Music: David Pirner

The treatment of sexual identity in movies and on TV becomes a more sensitive topic every year, so it's nice to see that Kevin Smith's Chasing Amy hasn't dated as much in the past 20 years as it could have. Just hearing that the plot involves a love affair between a straight guy and a lesbian sets off all sorts of alarms about misconceptions of sexual orientation, including the old canard that the "right guy" (or woman) could "convert" someone to heterosexuality. Actually, even in 1997 that idea would have been derided and protested off the screen, but there is sometimes a sense in Chasing Amy that Smith is walking on eggshells. What we have instead is a thoughtful portrait of the complexities of youthful sexual experimentation along with a scathingly satiric one of the ways in which men misunderstand women, gay or straight. The penultimate scene in which Holden (a deliciously Salingerian choice of name) attempts to prove his bona fides to Alyssa is brilliantly, cringingly, painfully funny. 

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