Life Just Bounces don't you get worried at all. (A weblog of music and otrogenerica)

Thursday, 5 February 2009

Christian Bale: right idea, wrong reasons

The funniest thing about Christian "slightly too convincing as Patrick Bateman" Bale's silly on-set luvvie tirade is that he felt it was necessary to spill out the agonies of his tortured artistic soul over, of all things, a Terminator movie.1

i mean, it's not exactly Citizen Fucking Kane, is it?

i'm all for artists who practically kill themselves and others around them out of passion to make the results greater than they would otherwise have been. Steve Albini can by all accounts be an abrasive dickhead, but he does it to push his performers to the limit of their abilities, and the results are demonstrable. The Velvet Underground were basically Lou Reed and John Cale's five-year confrontation with the whole of Western society, but they also happened to be geniuses. Bale's former director Werner Herzog, one of my favourite ever ever filmmakers, and Klaus Kinski, the man he described as his "best fiend", nearly killed each other multiple times over the filming of five separate pictures, but the pictures in question were incredible.


i blame the Batman franchise and its irritating aspiration to be Dark And Profound™ all the time for the fact that we now have to treat any given piece of Hollywood fluff devised for mere entertainment purposes as if it were a radical new Dostoyevsky interpretation or something.2

The only Batman film worth watching is the 1966 version featuring the spandex and the "KER-POW!"s and Batman delivering the line "some days you just can't get rid of a bomb" with an entirely straight face, not least because it just ADMITS that it's a jokey comic-book adaptation and then gets on with the task of being ace, rather than dicking about pretending to be Requiem for a Boring Dream.

In other words, everyone seems to be treating Bale's outburst as "bad but justifiable". Says Darren Aronofsky: "[a]lthough it's never good to lose your temper that bad for obvious reasons, we don't know what scene he was doing. He could have been doing a deeply, deeply intense emotional scene."

Surely that's completely backwards. The tirade? Big deal. It's the use of utterly specious and flimsy art to justify it that perturbs me.3
"He could have been doing a deeply, deeply intense emotional scene."
In Terminator Salvation? Could he? Really?

The problem here is not Bale's short temper. It's our expectation that "deeply intense emotional scene[s]" are the norm for big-budget major-studio summer action flick franchises these days. If you want harrowing emotionalism and intensity, go watch Through A Glass Darkly or something. If you want big dumb action thrills (who doesn't sometimes?), go get out Snakes on a Plane. But try and pretend that one's the other, and you just sell everyone short.

If anything good comes out of the current recession, it'll hopefully be an end to this kind of gratuitous posturing comic-book-goth pseudo-soul-searching, and a return to a mainstream that'd rather have a bit of fun than force itself to sit around chain-smoking Gauloises on pavement terraces all day with copies of something obvious by Nietzsche left lying conspicuously about. "'Ere's 'oping", as Camus would undoubtedly have said.

1 Yes! This post has footnotes.
2 And the Cult Of Heath™, too, for that matter — can you just give him the fucking posthumous Oscar so we can all stop talking about him, already?
3 Same with the whole Gordon Ramsey thing. Stop swearing at people, mate: at the end of the day, you're a cook. Know your place.

1 comment:

tomasz. said...

actually, scratch all that - the actual funniest thing about it is the tribute song "R U Professional" by LA spazz-pop genii The Mae Shi.

cheers to Darryl for the tip.