Time and air and sunlight bore wave and wave of shock, until all the shock was spent, and time and space and light grew still again and nothing seemed to tremble, and nothing seemed to lean.
I just had to go on a hunt for one of my favorite articles on writing. It is by Mary Gaitskill in which she discusses one of her favorite writers Nabokov. It was printed in the first issue of Salon online, in 1995. Unfortunately, because of a number of redesigns, Salon does currently have the article up but it is missing all the important asides, which were written as hyperlinks. Don’t forget, hyperlinks were pretty fucking cool in 1995 and heralded a new way to tell stories. I managed to track down the article, hyperlinks and all, on the ever useful internet wayback machine. Here it is, for posterity.
—Sylvia Plath (via incorrectsylviaplathquotes)
—J-Ro from Tha Alkaholiks
Technological excess has overwhelmed narrative meaning. This digital grandstanding suffocates what I — and D.W. Griffith and Andre Bazin and past generations of theorists, critics and cinematic practitioners — once considered the essence of cinema: nature and the human face.
The further Hollywood gets from that essence, the more computer-generated imagery we will get. “Animation Domination,” as it’s advertised on the Fox network. It almost seems as if Hollywood’s emphasis on digital effects aims to turn moviegoers into children rather than aesthetically responsive viewers.
So it wasn’t the best PR move or in best interest for my career in general but I decided to stop talking about Giant Drag’s album Waking Up Is Hard To Do until something was happening. People who talk about shit but never have anything to show for it are the worst, so I put my head down and…
New Giant Drag Album!!!!!! The past decade would have been much better if Giant Drag had released more albums and David Lynch had released more movies. I can’t wait to listen.
Title: Trapped in a Cage
When a film critic finds himself bound and gagged in Nicolas Cage’s dungeon, there’s only one way out: watching all seventy-two films starring Cage, from the sublime (Moonstruck, Adaptation) to the ridiculous (e.g Bad Lieutenant: Port of Call New Orleans, Drive Angry 3-D, The Wicker Man). Trapped in a Cage is a celebration of America’s greatest living actor, a collection of shocking stories and terrific tall tales. A terrifying journey into the mind of a man who was once stalked by a mime, the book takes the reader through the most fascinating film catalog in cinema history. With the unnamed film critic driven to madness and love by his captor, Trapped in a Cage will leave readers laughing at the hilarious screencaps, line readings, and weird moments that make up Cage’s greatest hits.
I don’t know how long I’ve been down here. It is dark. Too dark to see. But the room is spinning and my vision is blurry. Rancid smells fill the air. Dirt. Piss. Am I in hell?
Maybe things will straighten out if I get up, if I balance. I try to rise but vertigo overtakes me and I slump back down, against a wall. The wall feels like stone. My hands are tied to each other, stuck behind my back. There’s nothing left to do but sleep.
Later in the day, I wake up. The room has stopped spinning and I have a terrible headache. I stand up, uneasily, but more stable now. I walk around the room, leaning against the walls with my shoulder. I am in a small room made made of three stone walls and one wall which is a series of bars. It is damp. I’m in some kind of basement or dungeon. My shoes are gone and my toes are cold in the dirt.
Suddenly, a light comes on and floods my cell. It’s from a door on the opposite side of the bars. A man in a butler uniform walks out and places a tray at the edge of my cell. It has food on it. I realize I am starving and lunge for it. The man starts to leave as I stuff the brown mess in my mouth. I yell out to him, food spilling out. “Where am I? Who are you?”
The last memory I had before I got here was walking out of a film screening. I’m a movie reviewer by trade, but I can’t reveal my name. He’s everywhere. you know.
It was midnight, and the film was terrible. As I walked back to my apartment a large white boat of a car pulled up next to me. A Buick.
“Mr. Critic,” said the man inside, using my real name.
“Yes?” I responded, unnerved.
“I thought so.”
Just then two men jumped out of the back of the car and after that everything is a blur of images. Ropes, snakeskin, a rag, the faint sounds of an Elvis song, and then the darkness
The butler turns back on his heels and talks to me in a soothing voice. My hearing isn’t so good. He said, “You’re in a cage.”
“I know I’m in a cage,” I respond, my mouth full of mush. Potatoes. “But where is that cage?”
“I didn’t say you’re in a cage,” he jeers. Enunciating each word like a curse, he spat out, “You’re at the estate of Nicolas Cage. This is the dungeon.”
With that, he turns back and slams the door behind him. Shutting out the light again and leaving me in darkness.
After an eternity of darkness and silence a man enters the room. It’s not the butler this time. This man is taller, his walk is stooped, his body swings as if his legs were inserted improperly into his hips. He has a large face, tilted to the side, which studies me as it approaches. A small, sinister smile trickles across his lips. It is the man himself. My very own torturer. World famous Oscar winner. Nicolas Cage.
He pulls out a folded newspaper. It is my paper. And he starts reading my review back to me. “Overacting … Ridiculous … Mugging … Over the Top … blah … blah …” He pauses, taking out a pair of glasses from his suit pocket. He places them on his face and continues, “You think actors are just props. Part of a master vision. Not capable of creating life. Breathing soul into being.”
“I just said you chewed scenery,” I respond, lamely.
He stares at me wide eyed. He tries to find words but can’t. He is sputtering, trying to get the shapes of sounds but his rage overtakes him. Finally, he begins moving his arms up and down and says, over and over again, “I chew scenery! I CHEW SCENERY!” with increasing anger and agitation.
He storms off and returns with a baby carriage. He then proceeds to cut it up into tiny pieces in front of me with a reciprocating saw. The machine is loud, and pieces of fabric and plastic fly into the air in a fine mist. “That was from my film Raising Arizona. It was a piece of scenery. You chew it!”
“What did I say?”
“This? It’s inedible.”
“Eat my scenery. Eat my scenery.” He is jumping up and down now.
“No” I say, resolutely. “Untie my hands and let me go!”
“I don’t chew scenery, YOU CHEW SCENERY!”
He screams for his butler to bring the rod. He comes out with a cattle prod and hits me with it. My body shuts down and the world screams. But it doesn’t stop. His butler keeps prodding me while Cage jumps up and down shouting eat my scenery until I found myself on the floor chewing pieces of wood and leather, until he collapses like a child after a hysterical fit and the butler helps him out of the room. I run to my bucket and puke. I notice that my hands are free. Free to move around at will. Free to start digging, to plan my escape from this dungeon, Shawshank Redemption-style.
A few days later, the butler wheels in a TV on a cart, like the ones they showed movies on in High School when the teachers were too lazy to teach. Nicolas Cage walks in with him.
“Today is your first lesson,” says Cage.
“What are you talking about?” I say. “You’re absolutely mad.”
“You are going to watch every single on of my movies. Every jewel in my crown. Every aria in my symphony. And then, you are to determine if I am, as you say, ‘An acting abomination.’”
For the first time in all my days in the cell, I begin to worry. It’s one thing to be tortured and killed. It’s another to watch every one of Nicolas Cage’s films.
I was reading about grammar in the Smithsonian Magazine and came across this amazing article about the scientifically saddest movie scene ever.
Also, these other useful scenes for psychological experiments:
The 16 Short Film Clips and the Emotions They Evoked:
Amusement: When Harry Met Sally and Robin Williams Live
Anger: My Bodyguard and Cry Freedom
Contentment: Footage of waves and a beach scene
Disgust: Pink Flamingos and an amputation scene
Fear: The Shining and Silence of the Lambs
Neutral: Abstract shapes and color bars
Sadness: The Champ and Bambi
Surprise: Capricorn One and Sea of Love