Jun 4, 2016

NYC (1) --- The Martian



Chang took this picture from the v. Wyck express way

So we fly to NY, NY for the Lammies, nominated as we are in the category Gay Erotic Fiction, and watch The Martian with Matt Damon directed by Ridley Scott (international flights are practically the only effective opportunity for us to watch movies). We’ve read a few rave reviews when the film came out last year, among others by Manohla Dargis, the NYT chief celluloid critic.


Well…(you don’t have to read further).

Damon is stuck on Mars but will be rescued, but not before an avalanche of complications has caused much nail biting hither and thither.

What we liked best were the potatoes---Damon cultivates potatoes in martian soil (he needs food)---although---although at one point his tarp-sheated indoor potato farm blows up (of course) (one of the complications).



We liked less that he runs out of ketchup at one point, and we didn’t quite get it why he cooks his spuds in the microwave, always, as if there were no better ways to prepare them. Doesn’t he know? Don’t they have an AGA cooking range up there, with six burners, where you could slowly fry your delicious Peruvian root-knolls to perfection (butter, herbs, patience)? It’s quite disheartening to see him bite wistfully into his micro-wave results with this rubbery expression on his face that tests the limits of his Method Acting.

Damon had his own "chef" on the set, couldn't that chef have told him?
We were also baffled why he’s unable to establish communication with Houston, despite all the LED studded hardware left behind by his crew mates who flee the fourth planet because of a vicious sand storm---even though everybody knows, including his crew mates (who discuss this)---the martian atmosphere is so thin that the wind pressure there couldn't have caused any damage, let alone tip the return shuttle to such an degree (13°) that it resembles the Tower of Pisa?

Well, the crew mates didn’t know that Damon was still alive---even though any member of the terrestrial civilization could have told them that the lead character will always survive the opening sequence of a Hollywood movie. Okay, so they thought he was dead, that’s why they left him behind. And now what? Damon has finally established communication with Houston (Bill Pullman et al.---Pullman has aged well but looked better in Independence Day, still), and now Houston doesn’t dare to tell these crew members--still on their way back to Earth---that Damon is still alive and that they left him behind with a microwave and enough wherewithal for a potato farm but sans cook book---it could hurt their feelings, somehow.

And this is a big thing, with Sean Bean---apparently Houston’s resident psychoanalyst---frantically arguing in favor of transparency ("tell them"), and Pullman frantically overruling him, until the beans are spilled anyhow (pun not intended) so that somebody HAS to TELL THEM, NOW, and Chiwetel Ejiofor, [sic?] the project director, has to tell them, which he does via a pre-recorded video, his voice mired in regret and guilt, and the crew members learning the news and falling apart, crying, drowning in tears, mired in regret and guilt---how could they have done this, leaving Damon behind, abandoned, alive, with a microwave but sans cook book? And there are no love interests in the movie, and there is no sex, although Damon’s “sex with himself” is once mysteriously mentioned during a Houston script conference.

Well, there’s more of this, but this little post is already long enough. These fabricated quasi-emotions----as if they had a big fight at the script conference where they (the fabricated quasi-emotions) had already caused so many casualties that all voices were mired in regret and guilt and mediocre method acting---terrible.

There is something of principle at stake here: surface beats substance. Substance, that would be that Damon is still alive, that she should be happy and rejoice. But the surface---they may have done something wrong, leaving him behind---although they haven't, their conviction of Damon's death appeared well-founded---but the surface wins. In the warped emotional logic of the movie then, its worse that Damon turns out to be alive, everything would still be okay if he's still death.

This warped logic is ubiquitous now to the American mind. And the consequence: marketing dominates product, appearance dominates reality, the next three seconds dominate the next three days, Donald Trumps dominates the Republican field, and so on. Something is wrong here, seriously.

(Stay tuned)

1 comment:

Alex Hogan said...

I'd like to think that in a 'real' space mission if one of the crew members died that they'd still bring him home anyway.