sneak peeks

“When I was young, they made movies for old people. Now that I’m old, they make movies for young people. I’m a double loser.” – Thom Andersen

To this I can only add “Hah!”, but at least one great thing comes from watching “movies for old people” when you’re still a kid: you become privy to secrets which you otherwise wouldn’t learn for years. I’m not talking plushies or cucumbers here. I’m talking about such arcane and sensitive matters as how to bum a cigarette off a stranger, how to maximize one’s pleasure in a barroom, how to swear, and how a woman expresses interest in a man using nothing but her eyes. Adult movies provided entrée to a world which kids usually get to experience only as murmurs through a bedroom wall. It was a world which I was expected to join someday, and the mysterious conduct I observed in Vertigo, The Lost Weekend, The Man with the Golden Arm, and even Can-Can all provided hints of what was out there, even if they also were the only thing that made that perennial paternal put-off—“You’ll understand when you get older”—at all credible. While it was easy to understand that those goons broke Fast Eddie’s thumbs because he was a playground cheater, the precise ins and outs of Paul Newman and Piper Laurie’s relationship in The Hustler eluded me but good.

This is all by way of saying that I hope somewhere this weekend some kid, while Mom and Dad are looking the other way, will pop their Netflix copy of Blue Valentine into the DVD player and get a glimpse of things which will make both more and less sense to him with every passing year. With its grungy, unsparing look at two anti-heroic nobodies and the breakup of their marriage, it’s a type of fare our malls don’t see too often. Parts of it feel forced and derivative—the largest IOU has the words “John Cassavetes” written on it in big block letters—but it really is an old-fashioned, honest-to-god Adult Movie. Just the kind of thing that would make your mother say, “Come on, kids, it’s time to get ready for bed…”

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