We watched the movie Dead Poets Society last night. It has been many years since I first saw it, and I see so much more than before. The movie, from 1989, was panned by serious critics as a schmaltzy and light treatment of poetry and poets. It grabbed a few well-known lines here and there but never gave a poet serious treatment.
I watched it again, of course, because of Robin Williams’ tender performance. As a non-poetic person, I would have joined the rest of the United States in turning away from the movie had it given poetry that serious treatment. It would have been art house fare.
Movie suicides are always contrived, and I do remember thinking in this movie that the character who takes his own life would not do so in real life. Neil Perry wants to be an actor, and his Daddy says no, and he looks at ten years of study ahead to be a doctor and so pulls out Daddy’s gun. It was a necessary plot device, but illogical.
I recently read a review of the movie Gravity that completely panned it and Sandra Bullock’s performance, and I thought “Why can’t you see the movie is not about space or fixing satellites, but rather about what a mother goes through when she loses her child?” I came close to tears at the end as Bullock lands on a beach, pulls herself up and begins to walk again, so moving was that scene. She had survived the worst of the ordeal. She begins anew.
Similarly with Dead Poets, even as I read Roger Ebert’s insightful review, I thought please, Roger, you really think a movie about poetry will sell tickets? Hollywood does not work like that, cannot. There are serious artists who put their life’s blood into these efforts. But to succeed, they have to be smugglers. Peter Weir, the director of of DPS, used some plot devices, some metaphors (the suicide, the cave, the one-dimensional parents, teachers and administrators and the school itself) to make a statement.
About education. How it regiments us. Turns off our imagination. In the end, kills our spirit. He could have done a better job, I suppose, but let’s at least talk about what the movie is really about.
Speaking of which, Pogie is in pain again, not getting it done and putting out a call for “writers,” echoing the the Godfather no less! (“Just when I thought I was out, they pull me back in.”).
I suggested to Pete Talbot at MTCowgirl that he volunteer, pull James Conner along to form a triumvirate of mediocrity atop the high horse of arrogance. The three together could indeed induce illogical suicides in sentient beings, and bring back memories of Invasion of the Body Snatchers as they take over bodies and minds imitating what Pogie calls “… somewhere between moderate and far Left”
It bugs me when Pogie claims to be anything resembling a true lefty. Man, that is body snatching.
Speaking of Cowgirl, the Montana Democrats, by power of suggestion, are going to put up an inexperienced Sarah Palin type to run against Steve Daines, conceding the seat. Amanda Curtis might be nice and smart and a fresh face, which they sorely need, but she’s being run out there as the party leadership’s way of saying “look here, not there.” The “there” might be one of the two men who ran in the primary and garnered actual support, John Bohlinger and Dirk Adams.
Democrat leadership must hate primaries. That’s all I can make of it. Even so, this is a surprise to me – I thought they might run out a true progressive and then let him swing in the wind, perhaps even sending some rope to the lynching.
Instead, they are doing the Sarah Palin maneuver.