Kubrick and Weir: The Laudatory Human Condition

Filmmaker Stanley Kubrick has been praised as a great filmmaker and artist, one who probes the shades of humanity in such great films as Lolita, 2001: A Space Odyssey and Barry Lyndon. Screenshot (994)Bob Weir, not as highly praised, is certainly recognized for “chasing the music” as he says, on his 50-year journey as rhythm guitarist with The Grateful Dead.  Screenshot (1020)And so I was intrigued to watch documentaries on each man this weekend to perhaps gain an insight or two through understanding their trials and tribulations.

It was not to be.Screenshot (1031)Stanley Kubrick: A Life in Pictures (2007) offers brief moments of filmic analysis amidst a tidal wave of laudatory praise, Steven Spielberg gushing, “He was a conceptual illustrator of the human condition”. Screenshot (1009)And so despite a 50-year career, we are left with the trite summation that Mr. Kubrick worked terribly hard and loved his family, little else.

The Other One: The Long Strange Trip of Bob Weir (2013) is worse. While some fellow musicians offer comments on Bob Weir’s work, the documentary is almost solely guided by bland recollections by Weir – “Here’s my Jerry Bobbblehead” – occasionally, boyishly and evasively hinting toward his notorious off-stage reputation. Screenshot (1027)His band mates are only briefly interviewed, likewise alluding, saying little else. Screenshot (1017)It’s a shame that both of these these documentaries offered so little, not that they should focus on personal scandal, but that they veered so very far from the very same human condition that these men had endeavored to understand and instead settled on empty praise.Screenshot (1004)

Chris Nolan’s “Interstellar” Rip-Off

Interstellar is but a messy compilation of almost every science fiction film done before.

It opens as Shyamalan’s Signs – a paranormal tone established on a farm – and develops into Spielberg’s Close Encounters of the Third Kind – the lead character following intuitive clues to a secret government installation.close_encountersOur cast goes off in search of other worlds – like all other star-bound yarns – and toils through predictable and half-developed space-age themes like isolation, claustrophobia and love in close quarters, with a couple of buddy-robots thrown in for laughs. Short circuitThe worst of the plagiarism is the sophomoric rip-off from 2001: A Space Odyssey. 936full-2001-a-space-odyssey-screenshotNolan makes repeated attempts at reaching a Kubrick-ian plateau by diving through worm holes, black holes and inner space, eventually arriving at a fifth dimension where time becomes a soft-focus library, from which the viewer can only beg to be released.

The only way this film could be made more tedious would be to view it on Dr. Miller’s Water Planet (pictured below) where an hour equals seven earth-bound years. Interstellar-Dr. Miller's PlanetThat’s right, 21 straight years of Matthew McConaughey tearing up because he can’t age fast enough.

Instead of Interstellar, I recommend a 1996 episode of The Outer LimitsWorlds Apart. Screenshot (522)As cheap as the special effects may be, the story is the same and it’s free on-line.