Spleen! Eheheh, I’m funny. Speaking of guns, I love the concept of Chekhov’s Gun. It goes something like this: if you’re going to have a gun in a story, someone had better fire it by the end. This may sound useless, but it comes up more often than you might think. Every time there’s a seemingly useless detail in a movie or somesuch that you just know will come up at the end, that’s Chekhov’s Gun. For example, in a whodunnit, when they introduce someone’s uncle or family friend for no good reason you can be sure that they’ll turn out to be the murderer, or at least cannon fodder, because if it’s a character it must have a reason to be such. Or, for another example, it’s how you just know that at the end of Sex and the City Carrie will get married in her vintage dress mentioned about ten minutes into the movie. Speaking of which, here are some things I learned from that movie:
1. Things with brand names on them genuinely make you happy.
2. Friends are nice too, but secondary.
Now, I don’t really object to being made happy by things – I LOVE my iPod, laptop, orange shoes etc etc but! I love them for their functional reasons. I feel as though liking a Gucci bag not because it’s sleek but because of its name is somehow a symptom of a rotten obsession with oneupmanship and commodities, and while it’s perhaps unavoidable because we all need to be better than those around us, it shouldn’t be flouted as a positive convention by a movie that will be viewed by millions and millions of people, particularly young women who should be judged on how much they weigh, not what they’re carrying. Furthermoresomely, I’d always thought, through the series, that part of the point of the clothes was that the characters were expressing themselves through what they wore. Ditching that aesthetic in favour of idle brand name clothing (aside from the cheesy last scene) is Liz Phair-level abandonment of ideals. Also, Charlotte’s the only hot one – it must suck to be an aging woman!
But seriously, the movie had too few charming moments, and far too many disappointing missteps: namely, the puns were excruciating, the token subaltern minority character a joke of a storyline idea (and wasn’t her subplot sure resolved quickly), the deus ex machina style of resolution – whence the camaraderie among the main characters seeing them through difficult times? what happened to the actually funny dialogue? Why did they include “There Is Nothing I Can Do” again? The first lines of it are “My neck hurts / ’cause I’ve been cutting moons / My hands hurt / ’cause I cut them from you” for fucking out loud! Oh, but now they give it “moody” production in the intro, so we can feel their pain! woooo!
But really, that’s the only bad song here, which is good because there are only ten others, only three of which crack three minutes, and one of which is a thirty second organ solo. It’s generally very good shoegaze-y, Smithsy pop, with only the odd terrible moment, and a nice air of love-obsessed sadness. It’s repetitive in tone and gist, but the organ and delivery give it a vaguely church-y hopeless feel that stops it from getting too tiresome. The best songs are the war-inspired “Brother,” home to the album’s first and best hook, “Love Love Love,” home to the album’s best love-obsessed hopelessness, and “Memorize The City,” home to the album’s paean to my dear home city, although I suppose it could apply to your stupid city too. “Sinking Hearts” is still good, but you knew that because you read my classy “Sinking Hearts EP” review that featured my memorable “Jann Arden is fat” line that got so much good press on my recent trip to New York City.
Best of all, they broke up in 2006, so this review is completely behind the times and pointless! Somewhat highly recommended!