I take movies way too seriously. I don’t mean the business of filmmaking, that’s too much of a surreal farce, like a performance of Ubu Roi in a never-ending loop with Harvey Weinstein, Scott Rudin and Steven Spielberg alternating in the role of Père Ubu. I mean the movies themselves. I’m constantly relating real life to cinematic reality, a sure sign of not-so-latent mental illness. For instance, I might be in an animated conversation about my landlady, the Wicked Blais, gesticulating like a Roman trying to wiggle out of blame for a traffic accident, and I’ll say something like, “I’m just like Burt Reynolds in that scene in Deliverance when he’s down, his leg is broken, bone jutting out, and the rabid hillbillies are coming after him and he picks up his crossbow and …” All of this is to say that while I know Matt Damon is only engaged in an extended game of adult Let’s Pretend when he makes a movie, I’m a bit concerned about two of his recent choices, The Adjustment Bureau and Hereafter.
I really loved the first twenty minutes of TAB. And I mean that: I more than enjoyed it, I loved it. I was smiling. I thought, Hmmm, this might shape up to be the intellectual challenge that Inception wasn’t. Then they brought God into it, and I started fiddling with my Blackberry, itching for a game of poker. (I am way down right now, over a million dollars at the World Series tables, but that’s nothing compared to the fiasco a month ago when the damned thing reset and I lost thirty-one million in a nanosecond.)
Let me jump off the rails a second to talk about Inception. I was expecting too much from a major summer release, I think. My expectations were raised even more when I had a brief scene with a showcase Cali couple just outside the Arclight Cinerama Dome in Hollywood.
“Are you going to chain your bike right there?” the She of the couple asked.
“Uh, yes, that’s right,” I replied, resisting a retort like, No, I’m just practicing public displays of light bondage with my buddy Schwinn, here. You know these Germans, so kinky.