Thursday, July 9, 2009

A Media Slathered State of the Union Plus Some Michael Mann Musing

It's time for an update on how my media intake changed since moving back to my hometown, Los Angeles.

For about three years, I watched movies. That was my intake. I watched them for class and for fun - and if both happened at the same time, I was happy. I graduated with a degree in communication from a wonderful little institution in San Antonio, Texas: Trinity University. Very late in my college career, I found that path of study and been giddy ever since. Wow, I can watch television and movies and get a rather large diploma! This is great!

Against all odds, I got into a grad school, getting a master's degree in Cinema Studies from NYU - the only school that would accept me. And I kept watching movies. I was introduced to avante-garde and films floating in obscure film history purgatory. Most people seem to enjoy these films and want to talk about them and in effect, shine a brighter light on obscure pieces. I run the other way. I want to bring the mainstream movies to the academic circle. Let's float a barstool argument here: in final papers, who wrote about films that grossed the most money? I might be in the running for highest grossing papers (Braveheart, Syriana/Babel, Toy Story, Sin City, Minority Report, 300, and The Fellowship of the Ring).

I don't think I am cut out for the PhD, but maybe. I don't think it would be in film exclusively. It would be in a fuller media discussion, including television, video games, and social networking. I like films and I like them a lot, but I am interested in so many other things. I LOVE teen television. I love watching the progression of video games moving closer to an interactive social networking experience. Oh and by the way, I like sports. And its easy to let it in my life - it happens all the time.

Basically, I need structure. Let me list what I like again. (Movies, Television, Sports, Video Games, and Fiction Lit.) By my count, that's five things, right? How do I take care of all my interests? I think I need a spreadsheet - which sounds a lot like my dad (genes right?).

I feel disconnected right now. I have not watched a TV show that wasn't on DVD for at least a month now. Been to a few movies. TRANSFORMERS 2 was actually pretty funny and then it turns into a large special effect (which last time I checked still wins an Academy Award). No one is better than Michael Bay when delivering a special effect. Incomprehensible, maybe. But I wonder if that's not the point. PUBLIC ENEMIES was great! I loved it. Michael Mann's violence is heavy, intense yet restrained. Women are a problem because as heterosexual men, we love them, but they get us into trouble.

But color is so very important to Mann and completely based on the film's setting. Think of HEAT, everything is blue and grey because that's LA - the streets, the sky, the uniform. COLLATERAL is mostly dark, but filled with many colors because that's what an LA freeway looks like - a cornucopia of visual onslaught. Everything is blue in MIAMI VICE because the water is blue. PUBLIC ENEMIES uses a warmer color pallette, mostly brown. The shootout happens in the woods, the cars are brown and the roads are still dirty, not completely paved.

I have too many interests. As Colin Cowherd, host of The HERD on ESPN radio: simplify your life. "If I haven't worn a shirt in the past three months, I get rid of it." I need to pare down my media life to the important things. But I can't live in a hole either. Geez, Charley, want some cheese with that w(h)ine? I think I might take up running.

No comments: