Monday, January 22, 2007

Indie Film Burnout or Old Age?

Is it a mark of my evolving cynicism, or is it old age revealing itself in my fervent derision of the indie film stereotypes? Or could it be both? Am I just world-weary?

Yesterday I watched two “indie” films. I employ the quotation marks around indie for the sarcasm. That’s right, it’s not an accident. I mean, indie, like, yeah right. How can you call that indie? Remember when an indie film meant that there weren’t big names involved or big money? Ok, maybe there was never a time like that, my memory of indie films only goes back to my final years as an undergraduate. Before that I only knew big studio releases. My first exposure to indie films involved your typical Kevin Smith fare, Clerks and the crappy Mallrats. After that I sought other indie films and when possible, watched them at the only art-house cinema in Logan, Utah.

So, perhaps when I say indie, I mean small budget films that don’t feature award-winning actors and actresses who know their talent rules and all that.

I’m not sure where I’m going with this. My cynicism, you see. And maybe old age. It’s setting in, I can feel it. In a recent conversation with a friend, Math Matt, who’s over the thirty hump, I learned that the late twenties are the worst. He’s less bitter now and I’m more bitter, if you can believe it. Math Matt used to be universally described as bitter and surly. And I was the youthful, positive one chasing her dreams, hell-bent on accomplishing anything she damn well pleased. Where has that girl gone?

For some reason—some crazy reason—I’ve been under the impression that the older I get, the less valuable I become—as goods on the market (ha ha—I’m off the market. I just think it’s funny to describe myself as goods because I abhor that mentality). All the cultural notions about youth and value and beauty and value that I thought hadn’t touched me, are slowly rising to the surface and secretly turning me into this bitter, surly monster of a girl. Eureka, I’ve discovered it. I thought I was just sick of the stereotypical indie films, but really, I’m just scared of getting old—and getting older hasn’t been much of an issue. You can ignore it pretty damn easy until you’re about twenty-six. Once you hit twenty-seven, though, watch out.

I’m just thankful for other friends, like Jason, and Stoker’s sister, who turn twenty-nine before me. It’s nice to compare myself to one or two people and come up chronologically younger than they are. Lord knows it gets discouraging to always and forever be perfectly four and a half years older than Stoker. Though I keep him around for his youthful beauty and nothing else (ha! kidding), he gets a kick out of cruelly rubbing in the age difference, in the sweetest way possible.

As for the films Little Miss Sunshine (B) and Broken Flowers (C-), I think my criticism comes from experience, which comes from growing up, and also from being tired of the same thing—world-weariness. I look to entertainment as a reprieve from the drudgery of ordinary life. Not that I don’t enjoy an ordinary life. I do. But don’t audiences want to feel transformed when they watch a movie? How can I feel transformed when I’m thinking, oh yeah, that’s perfect, every character is having a life-altering experience on this road trip. That’s believable.

No comments: