Friday, September 07, 2007

Hawke Book Spreads Abject Mediocrity, Drags Feist Down with It

Oh crappy Ethan Hawke book, I thought I'd erased all memories of you when I threw you in the trash at age 16, perhaps, if memory serves, even spitting on your shitty hardbound cover. But now you've been made into a feature film, effectively making me wish for the days when Garden State, the worst Wes Anderson/Mike Nichols knock-off film ever, was just the worst pseudo-pretentious peice of trash I'd ever seen. But now I've become saddened by the knowledge that even Zach Braff just isn't at the bottom of the barrel any more.

I think it was the line, "And the day made love to the night" that threw me into a fit of nausea-tinged anger as a youth--I mean, at 16 I was no lit expert, but c'mon, I wrote more compelling stories at age 10 (a story I wrote about a tennis ball and his journey of self-discovery was published in a collection of short fiction by Nevada elementary school children one year). The plot goes something like this: boy meets girl, boy looses girl, boy goes off the deep end of an olympic-sized pool of his own self-loathing and pitifully lame self-indulgence expressed through banal cliches masquerading as expressions of profound heartbreak.

Hawke's new movie looks so bad, it's even got steely-hearted film critics embarrassed. This review was my favorite:

He’s a certifiable pseudo-pretentious windbag who wants so goddamn badly to be Gus Van Sant that it makes my spleen ache like a saxophone inside a sick tooth. And the biggest problem I have with it is not an outright dislike for his work, but a queasy brand of pity I feel for a writer/director who seems almost all too aware of just how third-rate he is comparatively. It’s like … like … Jewel showing up to a poetry reading at Maya Angelou’s house. She’s gotta know just how badly she’s going to embarrass herself, but you feel equal parts shame and reverence for the brazen audacity it takes to get up there and avail her grade-school level vulnerabilities in front of a poet laureate.

What's more, Hawke hired this schmuck Jessie Harris to score the soundtrack. This Harris character used his wannabe-indie sensibilities to write all the songs and hand-pick the musicians "fortunate" enough to cover them. Willie Nelson, Cat Power, Emmylou Harris and Feist are sadly among them. I was excited about the idea of discovering a new Feist song, so I downloaded and almost enjoyed it enough...but then..."like roses on the sea"? Wtf? Ethan? Did you write these lyrics?

Unchained unchained
We drift away
Like roses on the sea

Stars in the sky
They’re always alone
They’re on their own
But you know they’ll always shine
And I know they’ll always shine
All the time

Bwwahh, brrwahhargh, blarghwaagh

(I'm such a great writer, I can capture the essence of barfing so very well. Try that Hawke...more like...chicken.)


Rhinoneil said...

Hey Amity.
Enjoyed your posting. I always wondered how bad Ethan Hawke's novels were and you've confirmed my suspicions. I don't know which shows more unrestrained lack of awareness: His writing the novel or then making the film. Think you'll see it (equipped with barf bag)?

Did you know that, in an event of sublime irony or a cosmic attempt at censorship, while he shot 'The Hottest State', Ethan Hawke's business office and post-production studio was destroyed in a fire? Sadly, his master tapes from the film were kept off-site and production continued unhindered.

Dustin Rowles' full review was brilliant and no doubt justified. Sometimes I think scathing & witty film reviews are too easy, given the surplus of bad stuff out there. But his was spot on and needed.

Makes you wonder if Uma called it a day on their marriage because of his chronic pretention, or was it just the personal hygience problem?

Now I have to see what Feist is about.


amityb said...

Wow, thanks for the story about the business office--that's hilarious. Seems Mr.Hawke, like the title character he played in the less than uninspiring, modern-day version of Hamlet, has a fatal flaw--pretention.