Thursday, March 09, 2006

This Crap is Meaningless!

I am gonna speculate upon some nonsense.

I am a few weeks away from getting started on writing the first draft for a feature-length screenplay idea I have. I've had the idea for awhile now and there are a couple of things in it that have always been definite in my mind. These things will HAVE to stay in, my mind says to me. Some are plot points, some are character traits, one is the ending itself! The thing that is funny to me is this: I'm not even sure why I'm so adamant about some of this stuff.

The content of my screenplay is going to be very violent and very upsetting to many, I'd imagine. If I were to ever make it into a movie and someone were to question my decisions on certain things, imagine if I just said "I dunno why I did that. I just thought it had to happen that way." Considering the content of some of it, I guarantee it would piss some people off and they'd probably deem me an incompetent hack. IS THIS WARRANTED?! HMM!!

In some respect, I suppose it is. I have been annoyed by things like this in the past. For example, I have a bit of a fascination with really sick movies. And by fascination I don't mean I like to watch them, because I'm not sure I could stomach them. However, I can waste hours at a time on IMDB reading comments about one screwed-up film after another simply because I'm trying to ascertain what the hell the point is.

It's such an irritating thing because doing something violent and/or disturbing is really not very difficult at all and it automatically turns your story into a heated topic of conversation. I can think of something atrocious now...OCULAR PENETRATION. I could put some of that in a movie (and it actually is in at least one, High Tension) and disturb and gross people the hell out but I feel like if you're going so incredibly far to offend people you'd really oughta have a good reason.

The guy who wrote Kids also wrote and directed a movie called Gummo. Again, maybe my opinions on these films would be different if I'd actually seen them but I kind of don't think so (I've rented Kids but haven't gotten around to watching it, but I'm not sure I'd ever touch Gummo). From what I gather, Gummo is more or less a series of horrible events, one after the other with little to no apparent plotline. A number of the scenes feature a kid in a bunny suit and I recall reading a quote from the director in which he said he just put the kid in the bunny suit because he thought it'd look cool or something equally dismissive. The bunny suit is hardly the disturbing part, but, again, when you've made such a nasty-ass bit of cinema, I sort of feel like you should be coming up with a reason for just about everything. You should be able to justify yourself to the very last cut, no?

Actually, and unfortunately, no. For one thing, I'm obviously being hypocritical. Like I said, I'm going to put disturbing subject matter into my screenplay, subject matter I am almost positive I would in no way consider changing. It's not entirely unfounded, however. I think there's some reasoning there, I just haven't fully grasped it or fleshed it out yet or I, in fact, may have even knew why I thought some of it was necessary at one point in my life and have since forgotten. Regardless, I think when I devote some serious thought to the content of my screenplay, I'll be able to justify everything in it, at least to myself and, if not, I may decide I actually can lose it.

Still! Although this may matter to me it doesn't have to matter to other people. Notice that it's important to me that I justify these things to MYSELF. What the hell does anyone else care then? I may put in my gross scene and nod to myself knowingly and someone else will say "What the HELL is wrong with this weirdo?" And, sure, if someone ASKED me about it I could explain my position on it (the likelihood that they would alter their opinion entirely as a result of my response is rather low, I imagine) but isn't a big part of art to just make the thing and let everyone else interpret it? Forcing your opinion on others destroys (or at least dulls) the possibilities of gaining different messages from it. So why is this different for violent and disturbing content? Well, it ain't!

It's a PERSONAL belief of mine that offensive content should be justified (and I'll admit to often letting this rule slide because certain degrees of offensiveness are just funny to me in their own right). There's no rule saying someone can't put OCULAR PENETRATION!! into their movie and have no message behind the act (and I really have trouble finding deep meaning behind such a thing, I must say).

The creator can just put crap in because they feel like it. They can even admit to that if they like. That notion of judging the art, not the artist comes into play here. Personally, I think a nasty horror sequence will usually ring hollow to me and come off as little more than a nasty horror sequence but someone else might get some kind of LIFE-CHANGING interpretation out of it! Even if the director intended nothing of the sort! And, you see, this is the point of all forms of media and, although I myself might not much care for the nasty stuff, I don't HAVE to watch it (but I have to admit to being really curious and yet scared of it) and I'd rather it were allowed to go down than for any sort of censorship to occur.

Besides, beautiful stuff can come out of random nonsense. I consider Frank Black/Black Francis of The Pixies to be one of my favorite lyricists. In "Monkey Gone to Heaven" he says "If man is five, then the Devil is six, and God is seven. This monkey's gone to heaven." In regards to this he once commented, "Why is God seven? Because it rhymes with 'heaven'."

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