Wednesday, January 8, 2014
To Numb The Sense Of Impending Doom
CISCO PIKE or STRANGERS WHEN WE MEET then you have my gratitude. As I’ve written about before, few films have resonated with me the way Edgar Wright’s SHAUN OF THE DEAD was able to when it was released in 2004 and now going on a decade later I’m finding a certain similar kinship with Wright’s recent THE WORLD’S END (written by himself & star Simon Pegg), billed as the final part of his Cornetto trilogy with 2007’s HOT FUZZ coming in the middle. It’s a film which is as tightly plotted as possible while at the same time a complete and total character study within that incessant narrative drive—it’s swirling with what feels like a lot of ghosts from the past of the people who made the film. It’s often hilarious as well, although the laughs have a different goal than they did in Wright’s earlier films, a reminder of how they’re not designed to go down as easy as they have in the past. They’re not supposed to. ’78 version—that film showed at Wright’s pre-release ‘World’s End is Nigh’ series at the New Beverly in August along with other pertinent titles like WESTWORLD, AFTER HOURS and IT’S ALWAYS FAIR WEATHER). As things proceed from one pub to the next on this 12-step journey it becomes fascinating to see how the two genres are melded together and the pacing is so non-stop which adds to the growing paranoia immeasurably. After the first third the John Carpenter-like frisson of the townspeople continually lurking there in shots has that much more of an effect (Bill Pope’s evocative cinematography feels deliberately anamorphic in all the best ways) and somehow the overall narrative manages to reference both PRINCE OF DARKNESS and THEY LIVE at once. SECONDS was filmed there before I was born right around the corner from the house I grew up in, speaking of films that might have inspired THE WORLD'S END. For all I know I looked like some weird kid wearing a long coat and carrying a newspaper like he thought there was actually a reason to do that. Maybe somebody noticed that I was a regular presence. And I wonder if anyone ever noticed when I was gone. I suppose the answer doesn’t matter. Not to mention that the movie theater has long since been torn down and I just don’t want to see what the place looks like without it. Gary King’s business in Newton Haven is finished, sort of like everything Edgar Wright and Simon Pegg were trying to say about their own pasts with these three films is finished. My business in Scarsdale has long since been finished there too (most of the drinking I’ve done was actually after I moved away from Scarsdale so it’s one association I don’t have with the film, but that’s another can of tuna). No one’s waiting for me back there. But we each need to face up to our past in our own way. The future, meantime, is a sort of oblivion where if we’re lucky we can figure out what our own happy ending is. And maybe somehow I still have a shot. Anyway, time to move onward to 2014. There’s more to do. More films to see and write about. Drink up. Let’s Boo-Boo.