Monday, February 13, 2012

Monday Musings: The Crummy Awards; Goodbye Whitney; The Tree of Life

I should have known after last year’s surprising (and exciting) Grammies when Arcade Fire won Album of the Year (especially Win’s flummoxed “What the hell?” response) that this year’s Awards could only disappoint. I didn’t expect that they would do such an exceptional thorough job of disappointing. When the highlight was a Glen Campbell tribute, you know there’s a problem. (No, I don’t include Bon Iver’s win for Best New Artist as a highlight: how does someone whose first album came out in 2007 win new artist?) Too many attempts to mash disparate artists together in a vain attempt to create an image of unity in an industry that’s fractured into a thousand different directions. (Not necessarily a bad thing IMHO.) And what the hell was the Nicki Minaj thing all about???

As has been said so many times before, there’s two hours of my life I’ll never get back.

It’s always heartbreaking to see an artist piss away their talent and start sliding down the slope to oblivion or death. It’s especially painful when the struggle is conducted right before our eyes. That’s certainly the case with Whitney Houston, apparently dying via the unbelievable cliché of drowning in a bathtub. I’m sure there are lots of hangers-on who helped drive her downward (with their noses in the trough all the way) but our public fascination with celebrity is also to blame. I won’t miss her music (her voice may have been technically amazing but I can’t stand the incessant, insipid warbling and overemoting, right up there with Celine Dion and Mariah Carey, two similar artist I can’t stand) but I will mourn the passing of a talented person with so much potential for life.

I finally watched The Tree of Life, Terence Malick’s impressionistic film about a man contemplating his uncomfortable relationship with his father. For all the talk about its non-linear approach, minimal narrative and lack of action, I actually found it fascinating. The imagery is exquisite and breathtaking, there’s more narrative than I expected, and even the much-discussed creation of life sequence in the first half of the film somehow worked for me.

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