Tuesday, April 30, 2002

Changing Lanes (Roger Michell 2002) - Well showbiz kids, when time comes for your contribution to The American Cinema remember: Don't hire an editor who thinks he's getting paid per edit. Any lines in the script that state the theme should be cut, no exceptions. People who already get it are irritated though people who didn't know are annoyed. You can imagine Changing Lanes being if not true termite art then worthy quasi-termite if it had ended with the night meeting at the office where two men see a better world but are too much cowards to create it. Instead it's the filmmakers who turn out to be cowards by adding two scenes that compromise if not negate the rest of the film.


Since I don't have cable I had never seen The Osbournes which apparently makes me an uncultured hermit. However I was visiting my parents last Saturday and MTV scheduled a full four hours worth; in the end they showed only one episode (friend of the son crashes for a while) and it was less than exciting. Needed more Ozzy and how often did you think that would be the case? Perhaps I should have expected the Real World style since that's what MTV knows and its audience is comfortable with. Still that doesn't make it any less irritating. I would prefer my reality TV closer to Jeanne Dielman if I preferred it at all.

Later that night MTV had a "special" on what they considered the 20 most controversial videos. Naturally MTV aims for that cutting edge aura while refusing to show most (any?) of the videos intact. The entire unspecial special was mostly designed to make everything seem quaint though the writers and script-reading hosts had nothing worth saying. One host said of Eminem's "Stan" that "he has his heart in the right place but goes too far," completely missing what makes the song something other than just a PSA. They "discuss" NIN's "Closer" video without once mentioning Joel-Peter Witkin and seem completely oblivious to the possibility (I'd say "fact" but let's leave it open) that "Baby Got Back" critiques the objectification of women.


The Voice has a nice--well not nice but nasty and honest--piece on Elvis Costello by Douglas Wolk at http://www.villagevoice.com/issues/0218/wolk.php