Monday, January 17, 2011

When The Going Gets Tough, The Tough Get Netflix

There's this bug going around the office - it hits you like a ton o' bricks, and the next thing you know you have a 102 degree temperature and the energy level of a Romero zombie. The shambling kind, not the sprinting kind. My ton o' bricks came at me about 3 o'clock on Friday afternoon and suddenly I had no interest in any of the fun gallivanting I was planning for the weekend. Basically if I didn't have the choice of crawling rather than walking, i didn't want to go.

So hoorah for streaming Netflix! When I had the energy to sit up, I was able to enjoy a few gems. If you absolutely need to be a couch potato, Netflix could very well be the thing that saves your life.

For example, I finally caught up with Exit Through the Gift Shop, the "documentary" by "Banksy". Skot once defined art to me as "anything you can get away with" and that is very much the theme of this movie. The narrative concerns a French eccentric who was documenting the street art scene, was desperate to get footage of Banksy, and eventually got into Banksy's secret inner circle. Banksy encourages the man to put his footage together into a real documentary. However, it proves unwatchable, and Banksy then encourages the man to put together his own gallery show while Banksy attempts to edit the footage into something usable. The resulting gallery show is awful but a huge success; the resulting documentary is Exit Through the Gift Shop.

A handful of people insist that this isn't just a hoax on the whole art world, but I don't know any of those people either. I will say that Exit plays just fine whether you believe it or not.

I'm exhausted! I think I'll lay down a while.

Okay, back to Netflix. What's this? Who is Harry Nilsson and Why Is Everybody Talkin' About Him? Another documentary. Okay.

Nilsson makes a troublesome subject for a documentary because he was a little camera-shy. I'm guessing there is no footage of an interview with him, or they would have used it. Blessed with a silky multi-octave voice and a musical genius that was eventually outmatched by an urge toward self-destruction, Nilsson was endorsed by no less an authority than the Beatles. They heard his demos and said good things about him at a press conference. John Lennon called Harry Nilsson his favorite group.

From there Nilsson had a pretty good 6 year run, with a few hits and tremendous acclaim, all without ever playing concerts. Then he started torpedoing his own career, making terrible artistic choices, while living just like a seventies rock star. He managed to even go bankrupt in the nineties, then it all caught up to him in the form of a massive heart attack.

You know, I have a podcast called Dark Meat: Music For Depressives. Nilsson is my kinda artist.

Okay, that's enough of my yappin' for now. I'm popping a couple of generic Tylenol.

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