July 18, 2005

Depp. A Coat.


Every now and then, just to keep my game up, I like to take issue with the eminently reasonable and dulcet tones of the multi-talented Sasha Frere-Jones, who writes about a current film, "Does anyobody think it's notable that Tim Burton made a whole movie about how Michael Jackson hates his Dad?"

I don't read much, but I believe this is noted almost universally: The New York Times, Slate, Salon, and et cetera...though the general move seems to be to find this so obvious that one must find some more-subtle-yet-more-apt reference (Phil Spector! Truman Capote!).

The problem is: not at all interesting. The Michael Jackson thing is part of a larger Relevance vibe that is yawningly dull (the Oompa-Loompas are cheap third world labor!); the Elfmanica is embarassing ("Check this out! I can set these songs to Different. Styles. Of. Pop!"); and the psychological determinism proves once and for all that, well, psychological determism is what makes life boring. My dad was a mean dentist and so I must make candy, kaboom.

The only thing worth liking conceptually (there are a couple diggable visuals) is how the order and method of the ticket-finders (Augustus pigging out, Veruca's father's factory, Violet's eyes-on-the-prize mania, Mike's mediatized algorithm) goes all ontogeny-replicates-phylogeny, laying out the myth history of Western economic ascent: European individual greed, British industrialization, American can-do spirit, inhuman (yet still American) technologics. What country, by the way, is Charlie from?

Lastly (and here I think Sasha and I are in some agreeance), how many times will poor Johnny Depp, who surely must have better things to do, have to stand in for Tim Burton in the man-child who, abandoned by horror-movie dad, must thence reintegrete himself with a new family storyline? Aren't they freaking shooting Pirates II yet? 42 Jump Street?

Posted by jane at July 18, 2005 01:43 AM | TrackBack