17 July 2006

Puffy chairs and dark scanners

I miss living in Austin for many reasons.  One is that it has a fantastic independent movie scene.  Right now I'm in Austin for a few days visiting my mom, and today I saw The Puffy Chair, which won't be released in St. Louis (at the Tivoli) until September.

The movie is about a relationship of two twenty-somethings in the context of a road trip to buy a nostalgic recliner.  I think the male lead looks like a cross between me and Jim on The Office, though his future seems even less certain than mine or Jim's.  The relationship in the movie feels like a slice of a real relationship, and their conversations sometimes remind me of conversations O and I have had.  In fact, what I loved most about the movie is that it never felt much like a movie.  It's the realest movie I've seen in a while, even realer than The Squid and the Whale and Me and You and Everyone We Know.  And, like those movies, it's richly funny.

I also saw A Scanner Darkly a few days ago, which I recommend to anyone who enjoyed Waking Life.  It's a grim view of the consequences of a government that tries to regulate its citizens' lives to such an extent that the lines between "good" and "evil" are blurred away to nothing.  Don't mind surveillance because you think you have nothing to hide?  Glad to give up some freedom and privacy for hope of greater security?  See A Scanner Darkly—it's a powerful argument against the drug war, the USA PATRIOT Act and all similar attempts at top-down control.


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