Chandler, Arizona, United States

There's an old saying. If you don't want someone to join a crowd, you ask them, "If everyone were jumping off of a cliff, would you?" Well, I have. So my answer would be "Yes". True story.
Profile continued . . .

The Wachowskis Fascinate Me

Monday, October 29, 2012

this entry brought to you by spongebob squarepants, "i can't take my eyes off you"

I think the Wachowskis are fascinating.

I should probably state that I'm also not crazy about their movies. When I first heard about them, it was in a blurb in Wizard Magazine-- Wizard used to be a magazine for comic books, and the blurb stated that these guys who had worked on a book for Marvel that I had never read nor heard of, were directing a movie called Bound. I'll admit that I liked Bound a lot, and not just because it was freaking hot-- I was really impressed with the inventive cinematography, and the claustrophobia of this really intense, tight set. I liked it a lot. I'd like to see it again.

But it was a small movie that not many people saw, and when they did see it, it was on late on HBO. Then of course, there was The Matrix. If you remember, The Matrix came out the first weekend of April, which is still unheard of for big movies. Your blockbusters start coming out in May (which was even less true back then), and April is sort of a dumping ground for movies the studio isn't sure about.

Basically, The Matrix came in under the radar initially, if you'll remember. It was the kind of movie that if you saw the trailer you were incredibly excited, but most people hadn't. But the following Monday you would hear murmurs. "Have you heard of this Matrix movie? My cousin saw it and said it melted his brain."

And I saw it and I... Wasn't as crazy in love with it as everyone else. In fact, though I own it on DVD, I still haven't seen it more than my initial viewing. I'm not sure why-- my mom used to watch it fairly regularly, and for some reason I would always be doing something else.

I thought the movie over-explained concepts that we should have understood, and I thought the philosophy of the movie was kind of bullshit. Yes, all the effects were stunning, and I of course enjoyed myself, but I never bought into it quite like everyone else did. I saw Reloaded the day it came out and thought it was bullshit, and I never got around to seeing Revolutions despite, again, there being a copy sitting on the shelf right in front of me.

Of course there was also Speed Racer, which I saw the trailer for and immediately thought it looked like nonsense. I rented it, and it was nonsense, and was insanely long-- but it's also kind of a gleeful, batshit nonsense that I almost recommend you watch, provided you're alright with sitting and watching a movie that is utterly insane and long all in one sitting.

Yet the Wachowskis fascinate me. I've always been very interested in their choices. I was intrigued by the fact that they never did any press after the initial Matrix movies. It got to the point where even confirming that they existed and weren't just a PR scheme in and of themselves got hard to do. They released a boxed set of The Matrix movies, but rather than do director's commentary, which I love, but respected the reason they didn't do one, they asked for two commentaries, one by modern philosophers (including Dr. Cornell West!) and one by critics, at least one of whom did not like the movies.

The Wachowskis have a new movie that came out this past Friday called Cloud Atlas and, given its subject matter and what I know about it, I am pretty sure I will dislike it. It has a high concept sci-fi plot involving multiple periods in time, and a handful of actors playing multiple roles. I have a feeling it will delve into a level of pretension that will leave a bad taste in my mouth.

Yet even here the Wachowskis fascinate me. It's unusual enough that they are a sibling team that directs-- not unique, there are also the Cohen Brothers and Hughes Brothers, but unusual. There just aren't that many directing teams in fictional movies. But for Cloud Atlas they've brought in a third director, Tom Tyker, who directed the cult favorite film Run, Lola, Run (a film I was also aware of when The Matrix originally came out that was getting buzz, yet somehow have never seen). This is practically unheard of, and, honestly, I don't even know what it means. How do three different people direct the same movie? What in the world does that entail?

And then, of course, there's Lana Wachowski.

I remember in the mid 2000's hearing a rumor that one of the Wachowskis was undergoing a sex change, which is why they were going by "The Wachowskis" rather than "The Wachowski Brothers", and this seemed simultaneously like a wild rumor that made no sense, and a utterly grounded fact that made all sense. Again, these were guys that made three of the biggest movies of the decade, were responsible for V For Vendetta (which they did not direct, and is by far my favorite movie they've been behind), but were basically ghosts who you couldn't really confirm or deny their existence. Sure, why wouldn't one of them undergo a sex change?

I was listening to The Nerdist podcast when I was thinking about all this, host Chris Hardwick (and all around great guy) having interviewed the three of them. Initially Tyker and Andy did most of the talking, which is exactly what I was expecting. First of all, the idea that they were doing an interview at all kind of blew my mind, but if they were going to do an interview, I expected Lana to do the least amount of talking. The Wachowskis have stated they wanted to keep their privacy paramount, and Lana seemed the one who would want the most privacy.

Yet it wasn't 10 minutes into the interview when Lana started speaking up more and more, until she was doing the bulk of the talking. I found her fascinating, and I don't just mean because she had previously been a man, although of course that was part of it. She has a peculiar voice, which is somewhat expected of a transgendered woman, but I found it peculiar in a very charming way. But beyond who she is as a person that is different than me, I found her fascinating because of her philosophies on art. She went on and on, talking in her peculiar voice, about what art is, what people bring to art, what art can and cannot do, and what frustrates her but also propels her to do it. I found it all so perfectly fitting in what I knew about this directing team, furthering my fascination.

As artists, I'm not sure if I enjoy the art that the Wachowskis have done. And yet I'm completely glad that they exist. They deserve to have a documentary about them. I would be the first in line to see that.

with love from CRS @ 1:32 PM 


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