Design of the Week | Spotlight
Really, Mark de Silva's essay on putdownable prose and the difference between cookie-cutter and visionary work published at 3:AM Magazine had a profound effect on me. Previously, I held a speech by Jason Flores-Williams, delivered at the closing of CBGB's, and later published in The Brooklyn Rail as my raison d'être at Two Dollar Radio:
"I’m talking about getting brutally weird again. I’m talking about doing art that’s beyond co-option. I’m talking about forging new myths. I’m talking about creative resistance that scares the shit out of the rich robots, Sex in the City slaves, stockbrokers, cultural gatekeepers and pigs in power. I’m talking about dangerous expression that’ll make Todd and Ashley think long and hard about moving into the ’hood and exposing their little banker to the new hip warriors of the American night."
It is excellent, and will always ring true, but at times you need something to drift in and re-affirm your stance, which is what Mark's essay did.
We watched Spotlight this past weekend. It was straightforward, solid, seamless, well-crafted storytelling. It is a heart-wrenching true story that makes you wonder how so many people could look the other way and permit something like that to happen.
When it boils down, though, apart from its compelling human-interest/true-crime nature, there was nothing transformative, visionary, or creative enough about the movie to make me believe that it's ever something I'll draw on in the future. There are no fingerprints: anyone could have written, directed, and probably acted in it.
That seems like the mode that films are made in (or at least the big ones and many of the independent features these days), as turbo-charged entertainments that don't necessarily compel viewers to pause and think—about what they're watching, about what is happening, or why.