Wednesday, February 17, 2010

It's a Very Important Piece of Art!!!

We have all visited a museum, viddied a film, or slooshied some music that left us simply befuddled. Maybe I am just not that enlightened because I grew up in the suburbs, had parents who hugged me, played with toy guns when I was a kid, and was engrained with some sense of competition, but what in the hell is some of this crap? Is it really art? What is art? Above is a piece of "art" done by Jackson Pollock. That piece of what have you went for $50 million. $50,000,000.00. I am at a loss for words. How does this imitate life? Is there a statement being made? What attention to detail is there here? Does it take practice to learn how to paint like that? Give me a break.

I attach criteria to everything in life. It is my belief that that it is okay to formulate a set of criteria upon which to judge anything from art to people. So what the hell is art? Three things have to be in place for something to constitute art. They are quite simple really. 1) Demonstrate mastery of a skill 2) Impress me 3) Say something. It's really that simple. Demonstrating mastery of a skill is most important to me. Don't give me that abstract nonsense. This checklist applies to music, movies, theater, photography, and what have you.

There was once a time when singers had to have actual vocal talent. They didn't have the crutch of synthesizers and electronic sound effects. This music might have a beat, so what. How much skill is really involved? News flash, creating a beat isn't that hard. But I suppose it does appeal to those who enjoy shiny objects and loud noises. Why do I watch sports? Because I like to observe and admire professionals demonstrating mastery of a skill. The same thing applies to art.

I admire Martin Scorcese's work because there is incredible attention to detail. The time and effort that go into a project are evident. It is something to be appreciated. There is skill in putting together the right cast, giving direction, evoking believable performances, creating chemistry, camerawork, lighting, and editing. Don't give me this Avatar shit. I haven't seen the movie, so I am judging based on the previews and some feedback from people who have seen it. However, the CGI crap has gone too far. I am not impressed with guys sitting around a computer creating videogames and passing them off as movies. In the good old days, professional model makers had to create a scene by hand. The Death Star in the original Star Wars was not some computer generated illusion. It was created by an artist. Someone skilled at what they do. Even that mechanical shark in Jaws took time and skill to make. Maybe computer graphic imaging takes skill, fine. It doesn't feel real to me. Stick to creating websites, know your limited role in filmmaking. No sweat goes into it. Building an elaborate set for a scene impresses me. It's something created by hand, not by a motherboard.

CGI is to movies as makeup is to women. It can be a great thing if used in moderation with care and taste. Terminator 2 is perhaps the best example of how CGI should be used in a film. There wasn't nonstop excessive CGI, but computer graphics sure did cover up the seams. It was placed effectively throughout the movie with the T-1000. In fact, coupled with Robert Patrick's performance, it was too good. The poor guy has been forever typecasted as the T-1000. In any event, an excellent use of computer graphics. I think in Terminator 1, some minor computer graphics to cover up a few seams would be just fine. The scene where the terminator is in the motel room removing his eyeball is in need of a CGI touch up, the mechanized Arnold is laughable. However, don't do to the Terminator what Steven Spielberg did to E.T. That was a pity. An entire post on that is in production.

Nobody wants to look at a girl caked in makeup. Likewise, I don't care to watch a movie that is so smeared with CGI that it is the cinematic equivalent of one of those makeup ladies at the mall. Like an average girl, an average (or awful) movie will try to compensate by covering up with computer graphics. It's insulting to my intelligence when I am supposed to enjoy a movie simply because it is visibly pleasing. Where is the substance? I can see what is under all that CGI. Once again, I am not impressed.

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