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?
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.)
Masha Gessen is the author of *The Future Is History: How Totalitarianism Reclaimed Russia*, which will be published in October. In the July issue of Har...
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