Thursday, January 31, 2008

Aimless Blogging Alert

Well, it's another insomnic night. Is that a word? I'm glad times like this that I'm still unemployed. Not really glad, I guess. I don't know. I called the union the other day to see what was taking so long, and after I gave the lady in the employment office my personal info she said, "Eeeewwwmmm- call us back in two weeks." She hung up before I could ask just what "Eeeewwwmmm" meant.

I watched David Lynch's Eraserhead tonight. This was the first time I'd seen it in twelve years - also the first time I'd seen it sober. I tried screening it for Jen, but she fell asleep about ten minutes into it - which is probably a good thing, as she has a low threshold for disturbing things, especially when they're about babies. The difference, being older and wiser, is that I'm a father now. I've done those 2am feedings when I'm on my last nerve and the baby won't drink and won't stop screaming and I have to go to work in a few hours so I better put the baby down NOW and walk around the room a few times and just let him/her scream. This puts a whole new level of understanding on the film. Also, I've had my share of nightmares where I'm filled with dread because I've done something horribly wrong that can never be fixed. This is probably a very common dream, which is why the film's ending strikes a chord with so many people.

I'll give you an example. When I was a kid, I had a chemistry set. It was hammered into my head that since my sister Mary was a toddler, my parents had to keep the set out of reach. I ran out of a certain chemical, and a friend who lived around the corner who had the same set (Doug) gave me an extra bottle. I went home, put it in my drawer and forgot about it. A few nights later I had a nightmare that baby Mary had gotten into my drawer, drank the bottle, and was sure to die. When I woke up, I threw the bottle out and told my parents I didn't want to play with the set anymore. I was big on guilt, being a Catholic boy. The childhood nightmare that I'm proudest of is the one when a bunch of giant bees were going to execute my father for stealing a can of BumbleBee Tuna for me. I begged them to let him go, but they refused.

It's a wonder I made it out of childhood without being put in a canvas sweater that strapped up the back.

Lately I've been having a slew of wonderfully bizarre dreams, only to be woken by the goddamn alarm clock (the kids do have to go to school, even if I am currently unemployed.) One of them - to my anger- was a lucid dream. I was walking down the street, shouting at the sky, hoping the message would get to my subconscious. Another dream had me turning into a vampire. A woman was trying to give me instructions on how to ease the transition, when I was jarred awake. This morning I was having a great one: I had a fiery scythe that I was using to bring death to giant cybernetic spiders that had taken over the charred remains of an office building - when the alarm woke me. Damn it all to hell.

There's a new Submachine game out, and it's quite a doozy. I love Adventure games, especially when they're free! I've been having fun with the new Sam & Max games, but despite their hysterical storylines and imagination, they're a little too easy for me. Besides, I have to wait a few more weeks for part three to come out. So I'm going to play a little more of Submachine 5, then off to bed.

Take care, my friends


carla said...

Hey Tony! Funny - I was just talking about Eraserhead to my film students the other day. I remember seeing it in the late 70s at the Waverly Theater. There was a short (and kinda gross) cartoon preceeding it called Asparagus. Both made a very strong impression on me, although I had absolutely no idea what Eraserhead was about. As the years passed, every time I thought of that movie I wondered if I would understand it as an older, wiser adult, but it was not out on DVD. When DL did finally re-release it, I bought some special (and expensive) box edition, invited my most intellectual friends over, and we watched it. And... I still didn't "get" it. Oh yeah, I got some of it, but all I could think of was artsy high school kids making a movie. Be that as it may... Eraserhead will always have a place in my heart, because of what he keeps in that top dresser drawer.

Tony LaRocca said...

My interpretation is that it's all about the fears of fatherhood. (Keep in mind David Lynch's wife was expecting at the time the project was written.) A lot of these fears are very selfish, but a lot of parents have them, even though they'd never admit it. Kudos to David Lynch for having the courage to honestly portray them:

1) The fear of being forced to marry someone you don't love because you got her pregnant.
2) The fear that the child will be deformed, handicapped, or retarded, and you will have to care for him/her all his/her life.
3) The fear of the mother deserting you to care for the baby all by yourself.
4) The fear that the child will cry and cry and you'll never get any sleep.
5) The fear of the baby getting sick, and that you wouldn't be able to helm him/her.
6) The fear of responsibility.
7) The fear that you're going to do something that will hurt or screw up the child forever.
8) The fear of causing the child's death.

I think the Man in the Planet is God, pulling the levers, and controlling Henry's life. The lady with the big cheeks singing and dancing in the radiator symbolizes Henry's desire to escape. I have no idea what the giant worms mean.

Yes, a lot of times it looks like a high school / college art film. :) But it is, IMHO, a beautiful and disturbing work of art, if only for its brutal honesty.

String said...

Thanks for reminding me about that film, I need to go get it! David Lynch is one of my favorite directors -