Friday, August 20, 2004

Confessions of a Cinemaniac

I saw *Collateral* a fourth time last night. Go ahead. Gasp. Shake your head. I know, I'm a weirdo. I cannot explain why the movie appeals to me as much as it does, but I know very few movies ever do appeal to me, and stir the coals of my intellect, as much as this film, so I feel fine riding this wave the few days *Collateral* is in Taichung. It's one of those rare movies that my eyes cannot keep up with, which my senses cannot get enough of. Every time I see it, I do all I can to soak up new details and images and impressions, knowing I'm missing many others (until the next viewing). Only last night, for example, I caught passing dialogue I'd missed the frist three times around which added a great authenticity to the scenes. More than that, I glimpsed a new angle, an important new layer, in something Vincent (Tom Cruise's) said. For whatever reason (and the allure does baffle me), I simply love spending two hours in the theater while *Collateral* is playing. It's a strange, numinous experience and I'm happy to bask in it for a time.

I often have the same kind of immersive attitude about CDs, as some of my old roomates could tell you. It's not unusual for me to listen to a single album up to a dozen times straight in a single day, mostly while working or studying. Sometimes I want the mood that Pearl Jam's *Vs.*, and no other album, produces. Sometimes I want the aura that The Roots's *The Tipping Point*, and no other album, generates. Well produced and well performed albums have their own feel, which listening to selct favortie songs cannot convey.

This is the notorious flaw of greatest hits CDs. Most people buy such Best of CDs for the high points of a band, like amateur sports fans (yours truly included) that only watch the highlights on ESPN. But any real fan notices the artificial gaps, like hiccups that won't come up but won't go away, when track 1 on the Best of CD is not followed by track 2 of the original CD. Part of the excellence of track 1 consists in how it dovetails with, or anticipates, its proper track 2. Favorite albums are families; greates hit CDs are foster homes: all the kids are there, but they don't really belong together. This feeling of discontinuity is especially pronounced, as one example, with U2. *War* has a fundamentally different flvor than The Joshua Tree or *Achtung, Baby*, and it's very unpleasant to hear those subtle textures callously rubbed away by the commercial heterogenity of a Best of CD.

At any rate, believe it or not, I was invited (with only the lsightest prompting on my part) just tonight at the gym to see *Collateral* this weekend. I admitted I'd see it before, but avoided exactly how many times. I'm more than happy to go, especially to catch up with the guy inviting me.

I need to sleep, friends.

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