Friday, March 22, 2013

John Dies in the End (movie review)

This is a cheesy self-spoofy movie, just what I needed, and as it happens a spin-off of Naked Lunch in some ways (squishy ugly creatures).

I'd been saying earlier in this butler and maid scene, with a steam cleaner cameo by this other Asian, that I could use some fluff, after more queue and chauffeur duty (PDX for MVPs).

As it happened, I was off by an hour and did have time to join Thirsters after all.  What a fun meeting.  There's a new framed portrait of Bob, a surplus of cash (to be gotten rid of, McMenamins to blame, in a good way, for hosting a couple big occasions).

I hope to make it next week as well, maybe catch up on what Zari's been up to (another Wanderers guest speaker).  Peter Miller was there and we compared notes more.  Turns out we're both Princeton alums who had Walter Kaufmann as a teacher, about a decade apart.

We went around the table introducing ourselves, given 2-3 minutes, including questions we'd hope the group would take up.  People gave polished thumbnail biographies as all were personable and intelligent and used to doing so when called upon.

The story I made up (true, but not much rehearsed) was customized for a Portland audience and focused on my dad the planner, his many stints overseas, my expat upbringing.  I was thinking how, for a different group, my bio could be almost entirely about my mom the peacemaker.  Both parents were strong performers, with sis and I getting a whirlwind ride in some respects.

As I informed my passengers in the ride home from PDX (warmer than London anyway), I was greedy for entertainment that evening and might try both Thirsters and the movie, and thanks to the modern automobile that worked out.

When do I yak about the movie?  If you've ever seen Drunk and On Drugs Happy Funtime Hour, you'll have some sense of it.  I have some episodes of that in my Air, which backs up to the cloud at work.  I'm curating popular culture and keep the terabyte separate.

I should move those to the brick I suppose.  This movie is further into squishy creatures and aliens though, more like eXisTenZ.  The plot is so crazy and "stream of consciousness" in presentation that you know it's just another midsummer night's dream, so to speak.

The underlying moral, if there is one, is admirable enough.  Some physical disfigurement like a missing hand or limb should be no barrier to our deep appreciation of some adorable person, against the backdrop that is life.  It's all a big squishy meat show, no point in being too prissy about it.

Paul Giamatta is good in this, and also reminds me, in this role at least, of Wallace Shawn in My Dinner with Andre.  Another title for this movie might be:  My Dinner with Wong.  One could see the Chinese restaurant as open tribute to eXistenZ in an emerging semiotics of surrealist existentialism.