Film as Elixir


Ok so go read this review of Nick and Norah’s Infinite Playlist by critic Jordan Hiller and then come back here.

Since you totally didn’t read it, here’s a summarizing quote:

The film and those like it are merely the reflection of ageing creative people in hopeless search for an elixir.

I haven’t seen the movie, but I do find this review pretty ironic. Most of it attacks the movie because its portrayal of teenage life is not realistic, is just a cheap attempt by its creators to hold onto their own youth, and was created to tap into the conflict between youth and adulthood that everyone struggles with throughout their lives.

The irony comes from the fact that the reviewer compares the movie with what I assume are the teen movies of his own youth in the 80s. Again, maybe the movie really is crap, but is comparing it unfavourably to one’s own favourite nostalgia-enhanced movies while at the same time dumping on nostalgia really a good way to criticize it?

He does make a good point that movies are not realistic, and present an idealized reality that may only be an attempt to cash in on our obsession with youth. But is that a bad thing? Writers can deal with their own youth / responsibility struggles by creating fantasy, and people can relate with that fantasy when they see it put to film. The search for an elixir of life isn’t hopeless; we can take tiny sips of it for two hours at a time every time we watch a good movie.

Additional thoughts:

  • Michael Cera may play exactly the same character in every role he’s in, but he’s still awesome.
  • I do not disagree that The Breakfast Club and Adventures in Babysitting are cinematic masterpieces.
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