Thursday, January 15, 2009

A CLOSER Look

I was reading a post (see Hatin’) by fellow beard-grower and gentleman Max Nova when I discovered I had a relevant story of my own that I would like to share. His post is a commentary on “hate shakes” -  a condition of which most human beings able to feel emotion are privy too, even over the inconsequential.

As it pertains to music, I personally cannot stand Fall Out Boy. I don’t think they are clever, every time the lead singer holds a note in the upper-register his tone makes me want to pop my eardrums, I think their cover of Michael Jackson’s “Beat It” is actually the soundtrack playing in Hell, and I just never will be able to stand them. I used to think it was because I was classically trained in music, that the lead simply sang with bad technique and it annoyed me. Or, that the lyrics explored themes I disliked. Or even that the phrase, “He tastes like you but sweeter,” was ripped from another artist of whom I hoped was receiving royalties, but assumed was not. But at the end of the day, I realize that no matter what could possibly change, I just will never enjoy them. I used to think that about the film Closer, but recent developments have given me the clarity to see through that all-encompassing shake-hate and understand my dislike as opposed to accepting it as just a reflex.

I didn’t see Closer in theaters, mostly because I knew nothing about the movie other than that Natalie Portman played a stripper. Enticing enough for many males, I know, but I couldn’t muster the motivation to cough up the requisite cash solely on “Attractive Actress May Be Partially Nude”. Fortunately, some time later, one of my college roommates would be an avid fan and would own Closer on DVD. At whose request I cannot remember, but we sat down in mutual excitement for a theatrical adventure.

My reaction to the movie was one of complete disdain. I had a hard time articulating why and I think I even offended my former female roommate (who remains a good friend, which is nice). It bothered me for ages, not because I don’t have more important things to think about, but because I am very analytical and I cannot stand it when something does not make sense to me. I had justifications, of course – I couldn’t relate to the characters, I thought the writer was trying too hard to produce edgy dialogue (this is where “He taste like you, but sweeter” comes from and I hated the line), I didn’t see the point of the film, I didn’t hate the performances, but I didn’t love them.  However, none of these reasons really stuck as to why I couldn’t enjoy the movie. It would plague me until I saw a live production starring my former roommate and directed by fellow gent and facial hair enthusiast Jason Schlafstein.

The play was fantastic. Low budget? Yes. College Produced? Certainly. But, I was more than just genuinely impressed. I was in it. Engrossed. I cared for the characters and I understood them. During a spontaneous table slam, I felt the impact. When “He tastes like you but sweeter” came up, I even mouthed along. I was excited. I was confused. I was very confused. I didn’t understand. The only real difference was that one was live and the other was not. The reason was on the tip of my brain, teetering over the abyss where, if it fell, it would stay. Until it would eventually, unnoticed, climb its way back up to the summit and scream the obvious at the top of its lungs before dying in, what I think has become, a broken metaphor. So moving on. I never figured it out.

Until a few weeks ago. Fast forward over a year later to Blackbird, a stellar production. Awesome show. Engaging. Dark (see Jason’s post). I was invested. Oddly, I started thinking about Closer again. And then on the walk home, Jason (whom I accompanied) said something amongst his excitement that made it all click. Roughly “It’s certainly far more engaging for an audience member when something is acted out right in front of them”. Boom. Summit climbed. A yell reverberates within my broken metaphor. Hatred gone. Psyche at peace. It was so basic. So simple. It just never crossed my mind that the difference was the reason. With the puzzle complete, I think I’m ready to attempt enjoyment of something that I inexplicably had the hates for.

Well, Gentle Reader, I suppose the moral of this little post is… well I’m not sure. Is it a lesson in seeking understanding? A commentary on how life will feed you an answer when you least expect it? Or is it something else entirely? You tell me. Post below.

PS – No amount of clarity will ever convince me to like Larry. He’s an ass. I also have no clue why Blackbird was titled “Blackbird”. That is all.

3 comments:

Jason Heat said...

Whereas Larry is one of my favorite characters ever.

Man I love that show.

Mia said...

'These are real people, they have real lives. They won't do exactly *this* tomorrow night.'
'These are fakes, actors, I could see this performance, identical, any time.'

bratnatch said...

I'm famous!!! :D

PS if you were referring to me being offended, I have no memory of that. Also I'm so glad you enjoyed our live performance more than Julia Roberts, who made my character a BITCH. That was not grammatically sound, but you know what I meant.

PPS Congrats on the new gentleman status.