Cleansing the doors of cinematic perception... for a better now

Sunday, January 06, 2013

Best Erich Writing of 2012

It was a strange year, not least because the apocalypse we were hoping for in our darkest heart of hearts never occurred. So now here we are in 2013 with no game plan. Our credit card debt is still intact. If we have it. There's nothing to do but pick up the pieces. Some are, I am sure, missing. But whenever I have stuff floating around on other sites I like, I figure I'd connect you to it. 

I collected ten pieces I wrote that are for some reason in my mind worth revisiting. I know I write an awful lot every year, so even regular readers are bound to miss something. I generally leave everything written in the last few months of the year, they're too close to think about, man! So this is mostly from last winter, spring and summer... I hope you won't think me vain, but I had a lot riding on the end of the world, and now I need every last scrap of past self to move forward... if you're at all damaged by end-of-the-world euphoria as me, may these posts' scattered wisdom help you remember how awesome it almost wasn't. (some of these blurbs are 'director's cuts' so may not be word-for-word in the post itself).

"In the end the mainstream wants all the things it takes from [we fancy artists] to be good, never considering whether or not we invited them to even taste a sample. Thus we make ourselves deliberately bad to scare away success, for success means having to be surrounded at all times by douche bag entourages and clingy fans. We prefer to hone our craft in  isolated anguish cocoons. So our sophomore album is bloated, and the AOR guys throw us to the cut-out bins and now not even Nightingales wants us back. Chris - you know I feel it too. (more)

"... this mechanical man is SKYNET's distant cousin, reaching from beyond the well-guarded door to hopefully scribble something accessible and profound on the pad set down before it. We hope it would be something like: "I'm sorry, Dave. I can't let you do that." or "we think of the key, each in his prison / thinking of the key, each confirms a prison." instead of just that same damn picture of a rocket in a moon's eye, instead of just one more piece of image-based branding. Nothing's more annoying than a Scorsese who thinks his thinking isn't inside the box just because some marketing agent showed him a shiny penny. (more)

"Having received his karmic lesson after the climax, Carrey goes racing back to share his 'changed man' status with his son, who is imminently departing for a new life with a bland and simple 'perfect' soon-to-be stepdad. This new guy in these situations usually has a good supportive job and is 'there' for the son in ways the actual guilt-ridden dad is not (a step-dad isn't expected to be perfect, thus he's free from guilt and can win simply by being 'present'). This is the fall-out of an ego ideal, the newly reformed Carry is now indentured to purveying the illusion of perfect harmony seen in TV father-son relationships." (more)

"And on that level Lawrence's characterization is a sublime modern metatextualization, illuminating the way actors pretending to love one another onscreen are no different than those 'in love' in the 'real' world. Each believes with a vengeance what they know deep down not to be true. What Fleetwood Mac forgot was that players believe they love you when they're playing --only deep, deep down is there a part of them who can admit it's all just Liaisons Dangereuses-style seductions undertaken to impress our Marquise de Mateuil-du jour. Only later does it dawn on us that the Marquise was playing us too, the whole time. The hunter just got hunted!"  (more)

"Robinson's devotion to his chosen craft was full and total so it's fitting and courageous that he uses his impending death from terminal cancer to transform what might have been just a so-so or even hammy moment into something very, very beautiful. The film never spells out directly what's to come as Robinson enters this gleaming white cube of a place called "Home" but we have a pretty good idea and it makes the kindness of the assistants and the air conditioning extra vividly etched. For all the sorrow and misery in the rest of the film here finally is some grace, an example of why humanity is worth saving, because it's willing, at last, to kill itself. Just knowing that Robinson will at least have a beautiful 20 minute drugged-out trip into the yawning blazing white yoni light of death is enough to make us happy for him. He's like a painter who at last steps back to see the big picture." (more)

"But what's truly diabolical about (these three films) is the way multiple viewings bring out a kind of subtextual unspoken paranoia, wherein 'accidental' sabotage takes on a whole new conspiratorial light. Maybe these aspects were in the original story, but in the re-edits became a comedy and the darkness--the 'point'--is weeded out. Years later, we watch them again and again, like incantations seen and heard instead of spoken and the deeper meanings are at last discerned, the insidious plotting of girls way more sophisticated than we doltish dupes can ever be is recognized too late to change it! We've been hoodooed by the hoodoo women, and God looks down at us and says "you are no longer my favorite son."" (more)

"...When we are in Myers' POV watching Laurie and friends from far away it's scary but we know they're safe due to the distance. Once we lose his POV we can't be sure when we'll be seeing through it again. We become in a sense co-dependent with Myers. long as we're seeing through his eyes he can't see us. Hitchcock's Rear Window is an example of this: after we've been seeing the killer in the window across the courtyard for most of the movie, his sudden entrance into the room with POV provider Jimmy Stewart is truly shocking, as is the suspense of seeing Grace Kelly, who we've seen all through the movie in the comparative safety of the apartment is suddenly vulnerable, having moved within the screen onscreen." (more)

The TV works you like any good cult brainwasher: terrorizing you and then comforting you, back and forth, over and over. In its overall guise as a continuing soap opera it hides the fact that it's your soul that's being soaped cleaned of its wallets and keys and sanity and precious dirtiness. Like raging waters in a flash flood that never ends the TV draws you under, promising any moment now the bubble bath soap salts will be added to the water and will cut you loose from the lead albatross of your body, blocking the sight of all the flooded black oil death below, and leaving free you to wander in Elysian Fields and to Wendy's and through the mall, and the monsters taking shape in the distant tornadoes shall be made once more too small to worry about... yet. (more)

RISES is already weirdly aligned with random acts of political violence and random mass murder--of America's love for guns and action movies, celluloid, tear gas, blood and torn flesh--it's worth noting in combination with Aurora it's got prime "Psycho Crashes the Midnight Movie." metatextuality. The real-life violence in Aurora was senseless and horrific, but there it is, and has to mean something considering the themes of the film. It can't be an accident, even if it's totally random; one can't let the Rorschach blot of terror stay unlabeled, because no man is an island, no act is ever isolated from the full breadth of its context. So perhaps this post is sort of like the analysis of Earl Williams, the murderer of the 'colored policeman' in Howard Hawks' HIS GIRL FRIDAY, which reporter Hildy Johnson (Rosalind Russell) writes up in order to paint him as insane and get him a reprieve from the gallows. The tack Johnson settles on is Williams' having been enthralled by a soap box preacher's sermon on 'production for use' while Williams was homeless in the park. It's an apt description of any schizophrenic gun nut's ultimate act of self expression, like buying all these colors and brushes and being told never to paint. (more)

Freddie is reminiscent of that old Buddha saying: Do not seek enlightenment unless you do so as if its and your hair is on fire. When we first see him he's on a beach, frolicking with his navy pals near the end of the war. While the other sailors gambol and chill out Freddie scrambles from one thing to the next, a man possessed, making hooch from rubbing alcohol and screwing women made from sand, finishing off into the ocean, in short, he's cooling his flaming hair with anything that's around. If you've ever convulsed with the DTs or been stifled by writer's block then you know what scorched hair feels like and you'll do anything to avoid it, including applying some dangerous 162 proof Vodka-enriched wild man scalp ointment, hoping somehow you can just catch fire on fire and be free. You'll even believe the ravings of soap box hacks."  (more)


"If you have a cat, it's recommended you fire up the laser pointer, if you have one, and get her chasing the red dot around the room while watching these ghost shows, to situate yourself in a metatextual fractal chain. The cat finds the very elusive, impossible strangeness of the glowing red dot both baffling and exciting, sometimes frustrating, but always beguiling. Are ghosts perhaps the red dot God flashes around to keep us amused, to keep us running around, interested and engaged in an otherwise rather uninteresting environment?..." (more)

So 12.21.12 came and went. There were no aliens, no volcano erupted, no meteor crashed, no new anything happened and yes haltingly I stumbled like an off-guard republican at a press conference. I should have cried, or conveyed my sadness, which was even then too deep perhaps to voice. Ah, I said, but the change is within. The change is within us all. The 2012 event horizon is where the personal and the universal meet.

The Floyd came to prominence during a phase some Brit musicians, like David Bowie, would like to forget, the "Lord of the Rings" era, the immediately following the landmark success of Sgt. Pepper's but before the glitzy decadence of glam; a time when everyone sang a dopey bubble gum fantasyland of merry elves, unicorns, and children playing around the maypole while the snow queen admires her magic rings, etc. Tyrannosaurus Rex probably pulled through it best, inventing glam rock and changing their name to T. Rex. Bowie took the twee element and brought in some Weimar cabaret androgynous decadence and made Hunky Dory. The Pink with Syd made albums like Piper at the Gates of Dawn filled with weird sound effects and bizarre tales of Emily playing, controls set for sun hearts, bikes with baskets, bells and things that make them look good, Corporal Clegg, and interstellar overdrive...


  1. This comment has been removed by a blog administrator.

  2. You wrote some great stuff last year.

    How are you going to top it so we're not all saying, "Man, he used to be better"?

    Make it scratch and sniff... or set it up so the words inject actual psilocybin into the reader...

  3. Thank you ever so, Katy. It's always been my dream to dislodge DMT from the reader's pineal gland with my words, maybe in 2013 that wish will come true. I have no definite plan except my May Day Battle to Determine the One True Religion competition at my school / workplace, this spring, and other things to be captured on my latest blog, SWAR OF THE SAINTS. On Acidemic I'll continue my CinemArchetype project, maybe finally write about Easy Rider, and prepare the summer issue of, #9 - Terrorist Chic!


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