Photons: All Energy and No Mass. QT and The Movies; RdP, BHO, and Reality

Photons: All Energy and No
Mass. QT and The Movies; RdP, BHO, and Reality

By

Leonard Zwelling

         It is most unfortunate if you were not among those who saw The Hateful Eight in Ultra 70 mm
Panavision and Cinerama during its one week Roadshow in 96 theaters around the
US and Canada that began on Christmas Day. It is unfortunate because the only
reason to see this film, the 8th of Quentin Tarentino’s (QT) career,
as the title shot tells you, is the images on the large screen in the 2.76:1
aspect ratio that only this format allows. It is a gorgeous film set in a
desolate place, Wyoming in winter, and it largely takes the screen and fills it
with internal shots of a stagecoach and the inner room of Minnie’s
Haberdashery, where the blood spurting action takes place. This is essentially
a Westernized parlor tale like an Agatha Christie story that is less a whodunit
than a who is going to do it to whom. And, the “it” in the last sentence means
shoot to kill.

         For the film aficionados this is a well-appreciated piece of
art. It is almost a still life in motion leaving one to wonder why spare no
expense to make the cinematic equivalent of a bowl of hemorrhaging pears? I
have no idea. What plot there is is slight indeed. This is a celluloid racist
invective, a spewing of filth and gore that is in service of no idea. This is
quite different than either Inglourious
Basterds
or Django Unchained, the
6th and 7th films by QT that were both gory and
entertaining because they were about something. This film is about this film.
It really is a photon. All energy and no mass. Meta murder.

         I view the DePinho Presidency the same way. In fact, I view
the Obama Presidency similarly. They are about the Presidencies and the men in
the seat rather than about the meaningful accomplishments of those men or their
administrations. (After all Hillary Clinton’s great accomplishments as Secretary
of State were the record for most frequent flyer miles on a government aircraft
and the legacy of being known for being the great email self-server.)

Rather
than use the power in the Presidency to advance the cause of MD Anderson in one
case and the United States of America in the other, these narcissistic leaders
have made it all about them and did not use their energies in service of a greater
goal. This is not leadership. This is photonship. All energy and no mass.

         There is nothing wrong with an artist doing a piece of work
that is really about the medium itself. This can work in music, visual art and
even drama. Day for Night was a film about
film and a great one. Both productions of Sweeny
Todd
I saw on Broadway, the original with Angela Lansbury, and the newer
one with Patti LuPone and Michael Cerveris, were very much about how they were
presented and very different from each other despite having the same scores.
The same show was dramatically (pun intended) altered when the medium of presentation
was altered. But there was still a story.

         This can certainly be true in film and many experimental
movies were about making the movie. Robert Altman’s 1993 film Short Cuts was as much about movies as
it was about the stories of Raymond Carver on which it was based. Some of
Stephen King’s best writing is to be found in his short stories where he really
explores the atmospherics of storytelling.

         QT does that in The
Hateful Eight
. It’s a Western about Westerns. It’s a mystery about
mysteries. It’s even a ninja film about ninja films.

         Both the DePinho Presidency and the Obama Presidency are
about little more than the Presidencies themselves. Whether it is videos with
Dr. DePinho beside President Kennedy or photo-ops of Mr. Obama playing golf in
Hawaii, I cannot get past the images to distill any substance to the terms of
these two men.

         It should come as no surprise then that Donald Trump is
doing so well. If anyone is all energy and no mass, the quintessence of
imagery, it is The Donald. He has no policy. He has no platform. He has no
demonstrated political leadership skills beyond revving up a crowd with the
raw meat of the worst of American bigotry. He’s a terrible person and on the
cusp of possibly having his hand on the nuclear arsenal.

         What’s wrong with these pictures?

         If you missed The
Hateful Eight
in 70 mm, no worries. I suspect you will get the gist in 35
mm if you insist on seeing it. For the non-film buffs (and most of the filmies
went this week), it is a so-so QT film. Not bad. Not great. Not even close to
the two I listed above or to Pulp Fiction.

         As for DePinho and Obama, well at least this time next year
one of them will be gone.

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