Sunday, May 07, 2006

Movie weekend at Randy's

I've been watching movies this weekend, while a couple of prescription pain meds work their magic on the muscle pull in my thoracic region. Yesterday, I watched Martin Scorsese's "Raging Bull." There's not much I can say about that masterpiece that hasn't already been said, so I'll just throw out a couple of observations.

Most of us know people who are extremely successful in their professional lives, but who are complete failures in their personal lives. In some cases, the same personality traits are factors in both those successes and those failures. Jake La Motta (Robert de Niro) was intense, angry, relentless, and violent. Those traits served him well in the ring, but they served him terribly outside of the ring--particularly when combined with paranoia, self-absorbtion, and a socially unappealing personality. There are some excellent fight scenes in the movie, most of which take place inside the boxing ring. I suppose that the ring can be viewed as a metaphor for La Motta's life; indeed, it might even be a metaphor for the struggles that we all face. Also, Jake La Motta was his own worst enemy, so perhaps in some sense he was beating the hell out of himself in the ring. I had a dream last night, in which I was Jake La Motta, beating the shit out of certain members of my mother's family. Not all of my dreams require in-depth interpretation . . .

This morning, I had a repeat viewing of David O. Russell's "I [heart] Huckabee's." This is a philosophical comedy, based on the activities of two existential detectives (Lily Tomlin and Dustin Hoffman). Two of the main characters (Jason Schwartzman and Mark Wahlberg) are caught between the breezy, optismistic Buddhist/American existentialists (Tomlin and Hoffman) and a dark, nihilistic French existentialist (Isabelle Huppert). A social climbing couple (Jude Law and Naomi Watts) also get drawn into the existentialist web of absurdity. Very funny stuff.

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