Wednesday, February 25, 2009

Dance With Me, Beneath the Circuitry

I haven't written for weeks. Not a thing, not here, nor anywhere else. I would be lying if I said that it wasn't beginning to slowly drain my spirit.

Does that sound over dramatic? It sounds that way because it is, in fact, very over dramatic. How can something that you do part time, supposedly for fun, cause so much stress in the times where no ideas are present to be typed?

I decided to take my career as a waitress seriously for the first time this year. After attempting an office job for which I was a terrible fit, I was officially re-hired at a restaurant that I've held ties to for what is coming up on three years now. The biggest part of this has been to stop dreading, and/or complaining about making espresso drinks. My first job was at a Coffee Bean, I later worked at Starbucks, then I worked at an Italian restaurant, and now at a small cafe/bakery whose main draw is breakfast. I've been making cappuccinos for the past eight years. Until the beginning of this year, I hated making cappuccinos, now making a perfect cappuccino, or soy latte is my biggest source of professional pride. This is all to say, that there are certain areas where I have creative satisfaction in my professional life. However, if I haven't written for a while I just feel stagnant.

This morning though, I woke up thinking about what is always my go-to when I haven't been able to write: Clare Wadd's rant in the fanzine titled Sarah Four. She details having partially completed pages of fanzines, and journals before expressing her dis-satisfaction in them by writing "FUCK" repeatedly across those unfinished attempts at creativity. Oddly this almost never fails to help me feel creative again. She also talks of how there is so much to do, but being in a warm kitchen with a cozy cat makes this extraordinarily difficult. I have a very cozy cat on my lap at this very moment, but there is a film that I've been researching all morning, and am now dying to go out to see.

The trailer for this film has been stuck in my mind since this past Saturday's Independent Spirit Awards. It's called, "Medicine for Melancholy," and it looks endlessly intriguing with it's "desaturated" style. Essentially this is a soft black and white with only subtle splashes of color here and there. This apparently also works as a metaphor for the film's storyline...

Hopefully I'll have more to say about the film itself once I've actually seen it, but naturally as I respond more deeply to music than to film itself, the thing that most piqued my interest about this trailer was it's use of one of the best Saturday Looks Good to Me songs: "Meet Me by the Water." I've become wary of pop songs in films lately. This has nothing to do with some sort of self righteous need to protect songs that I love from being wrongfully interpreted by mass audiences (o.k. maybe a little to do with that) but that is the price that people like me have to pay for devoting an unhealthy portion of our lives to obscure pop music. Anyway, my biggest problem with the use of "indie," or even outright popular music in films is that it almost never seems to be woven in correctly. It more often than not seems to be placed solely to add to a film's hipness. This usually makes the song (whether it's one you enjoy or not) more of a distraction from rather than an enhancement to the scene that it is accompanying.

However, when a pop song is woven into a film's action well, it almost becomes another character. I have to be optimistic, and imagine that this is what most filmmakers who employ pop songs are trying to do. Yet few are actually able to pull this off, which I suppose is a big part of what makes the experience all the more exciting when it is done correctly. If every person who supplied the music for films possessed this skill, and you didn't have all of the times in the past where you rolled your eyes at the glaring distraction that a song was providing at any given moment to compare with the sheer excitement of a song you love blending perfectly in with the action, well then that sheer excitement could be taken for granted. Hmmm, on second thought, maybe that would be better. Nevertheless, it is what it is. I love they way that "Meet Me by the Water" was integrated into the trailer for "Medicine for Melancholy." The way words are spelled out to the song's unique drum intro, and the way it's beautifully edited so that even though the song's beginning and end are the only parts featured if you didn't know the song you probably wouldn't immediately pick up on that. It fades nicely into the background here as well, which is also I think due to the spot on editing, as it's a song that could easily over shadow the action were it not used properly. Finally the song just matches the film's muted color, and images of San Francisco, and those intriguing characters so beautifully, and so subtly that I can't wait to see how it all plays out. Which is (sorry cat) exactly what I'm off to do right now.

Watch the trailer here: