Tuesday, January 6, 2009

Laboring Under Delusions

One recent night, I watched the films, The Wrestler (2008) and"Lars and the Real Girl (2007). I couldn't help but see some connections between the two widely different films...
The Wrestler featured Mickey Rourke in an amazing performance, but it was a basically a showcase of human wreckage. And it all stemmed from these delusions the main character, Randy "the Ram," was perpetuating in his life. You saw the very unromantic behind-the-scenes view of his wrestling work, from steroids to self-tanners, from a failed relationship with his daughter to a failing crush on a a stripper (Marisa Tomei). Yet there was still an art to his character and his wrestling as a craft. For all professional wrestling's carnage - whether it be a staple gun wound, heart attack or colostomy bag - Randy provides his fans a dream, an illusion of something greater: strength/courage, the "bad boy" image, a sense of immortality. In the end, his wrestling persona is a weapon, repelling anyone from being close to him, leaving behind human shrapnel, both literally and figuratively.

In Lars and the Real Girl, Lars (Ryan Gosling) also lives under a profound delusion. Yet unlike the Wrestler, his relationship with a doll he ordered on the Internet creates meaningful connections with people throughout the town. Out of concern for Lars, everyone in the town "goes along" with the idea of Bianca being real. Before long, she finds her way into the beauty shop, onto the local school board, and her schedule filled with volunteer shifts at the children's hospital. Because of the presence of Bianca, what was once a lonely existence filled with stilted conversation for Lars gives way to deep, meaningful conversations with family and friends, about love, adulthood, his parents' deaths, and his fears of physical touch. It's strange, but in the end, people are not only attracted to Lars, but he leaves behind a wake of stronger human connections wherever he goes. In the end, his delusions act as a kind of healing process for his family, his town and himself.

Ultimately, and ironically, the Wrestler goes through a kind of self-realization at the end of the film as well. His words at the end of the film: "In this life you can lose everything you love, everything that loves you. A lot of people told me that I'd never wrestle again, the only one that's gonna tell me when I'm through doing my thing, is you people here." Within moments of uttering those words, he leaps off the ropes, perhaps to his demise, succumbing to the toll that wrestling has bore on his life and the lives around him. At the end of Lars, a preacher says of Bianca, Lars' doll, "We are here to celebrate Bianca's extraordinary life. From her wheelchair, Bianca reached out and touched us all, in ways we could never have imagined." It's ironic that an inanimate doll can touch people in ways a real-life professional wrestler cannot.

LA Events Update: 1/6/09

Hey all. Haven't updated this much in awhile, but check out the "LA Happenings" column to the right for upcoming events in the LA Area.

Tuesday, July 1, 2008

Update: Santa Monic Pier, Free Concert Series!

Thanks Steve for the tip! Check out the Twilight Dance Series at the Santa Monica Pier, featuring free music through August:

Twilight Dance Series

Updated Event Calendar

Hey all, This hasn't been updated much, but check out the "LA Happenings" column to the right for some killer upcoming events in the LA Area.

LACMA offers FREE jazz performances every Friday Night:
LACMA Friday Night Jazz

Also, the Levitt Pavilion in Pasadena is offering FREE musical performances June through August:
Levitt Pavilion Pasadena

The Getty events are also FREE!
Getty Summer Sessions 2008

Pictured: El Guincho and Zizek Urban Beats Club, performing July 26

Juju Information

Monday, May 12, 2008

And You Could Die!

I was surfing the web doing some coffee research when I stumbled upon the Caffeine Awareness website, which wants to warn us all about how caffeine is ruining our health and our lives.

To which I must say: I have given up almost every other addiction I enjoy. Give me a damn break.

But I thought someone else might get a laugh from seeing this . . .


Sunday, April 27, 2008

Wurtz Pictures

Since Jason is too lazy to post pictures, I will do it for him...

Click picture for link to the albums.

Wednesday, April 23, 2008

A Political Comic That Actually Made Me Laugh

I feel like politics can be so depressing or tense these days. This comic actually made me laugh, which is a good change of pace. You should check it out too!