Sartre day matinee
Prefacing this faulty attachment was the following missive from said nephew, who hopes to land a well-paying position. The ‘Chris’ he refers to is my wife:
Hey ant chris mom said i should email you my resume cuz your good with stuff like that. I really appricaite it, feel free to change it how ever you see fit. If i get a job thats pays me millions cuz of this i promis ill take care of ya...
Love Ya!!! -KYLE
Trust me, I didn’t doctor that pile of shit. That’s verbatim, buddy. At which point we should address my increasing use of profanity. I realize I should be more creative but, quite frankly, I don’t give a rat’s ass right now. As for Kyle’s message, there are those educated Liberal types who’d say he’s functionally illiterate. Me? I say he’s a Fucking Asshole. And this twenty-two-year-old Fucking Asshole who cannot spell nor construct a sentence stands to earn almost as much if not more in his coming year of employment as I did in my last year of proper employment (I’m now semi-retired) after I put some thirty years on the job. In a perfect world, this would mean I should be pulling down at least a million a year if things were based on decency and wits and other noble things like that, but since the world is run by Fucking Assholes, I don’t stand a chance.
And though I should be working on my upcoming critique of Henry Jaglom’s Someone to Love for the film club, that email and my inability to open his file has caused me undue distress to where I’m close to smashing dishes. This is the working definition of a man at the end of his tether, a man not unlike Jean-Claude Van Damme.
Nice segue, huh? (Note to Kyle: that ten-dollar word you just went by and don’t care about is pronounced ‘seg-way.’) I’m no authority on The Muscles from Brussels, having only seen a handful of his action pictures, all of which I found rather dull: Cyborg (1989), Double Impact (1991), Universal Soldier (1992) and Hard Target (1993). That last one was the first American movie by John Woo, a director whose craft and style elude me. I once asked a hardcore Woo fan if he could illustrate or explain Woo’s auteuristic values, and he gave me some cockamamie spiel about the recurring vision of doves flying about in Woo’s films. “What do they signify?” I asked. At which point I was met with one of those Thousand Yard Stares I talked about earlier.
Jean-Claude’s heyday was almost fifteen years ago, and I wouldn’t be surprised if a lot of his recent movies went straight to cable or video. The action genre, or rather the audience for it, has changed to where Jean-Claude may be considered something of an old fogey, tediously Old Skool. But now we have JCVD (2008), an odd endeavor in, well, I’m not sure just what this is. As I left in my note to one of my Netflix friends: “JCVD? WTF?!?”
(Has anyone yet written about the contemporary trend in acronyms? Favored chiefly among illiterates and unfortunates suffering from abbreviated attention spans, or ADD, or ADHD in severe cases, I’d like to pin the blame on the knuckle-dragging Bush years and Fox News, but I believe it dates back to Clinton. While I was no fan of Reagan, at least he was colorful enough to call the Strategic Defense Initiative 'Star Wars' and not SDI. In the last dozen years, drug ads for alleged dysfunctions and syndromes have fed us a litany of new acronyms; does the medical community recognize any of them? Now that the practice has crossed over to movie titles, when will we do away with acronyms and simply grunt?)
Jean-Claude plays himself in Brussels, caught in a hostage crisis situation at a post office. He’s mistaken for one of the bad guys, inviting a media blitz. This follows an intriguing opening scene of Jean-Claude playing himself playing a character in one of his action movies, blowing stuff up and beating the tar out of the fictional bad guys. This is followed by lighthearted digs at John Woo and Steven Seagal. At which point we’re back at the post office. I’ll give him this much: he’s forty-eight and looks terrific. And he has a sense of humor that could flourish under the tutelage of a Wilder or even Blake Edwards.
The star-as-self gimmick makes very little sense, until we come to an abrupt stop in the action and Jean-Claude’s head floats upward. He delivers a soliloquy straight at the camera, exposing himself in Raw Emotion, the tribulations of being Jean-Claude, of raising a family, of Being There for his loved ones. This is Existential Van Damme, letting us know he’s human (had anyone asked?), revealing his vulnerability, informing the world he’s ready for… Ibsen?
At which point I ask myself: in a world where karate meets Camus, where Kyle can make a hefty wage having tomato soup for brains, where oh where does this leave me? I’ll tell you where: I’m still staring at this blank screen where my Henry Jaglom critique should’ve already been taking form. Perhaps it’s time to get cracking.
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