josh knowles presents
"Small Thoughts"

Group-of-Friends Films
January 28, 2002

I've offset my numbing ennui these past few days by watching a bunch of movies. Saw "Traffic" this afternoon and about an hour of "Bongwater" last night. "Bongwater" was playing on some IFC-style movie channel. So cool, what I saw. Starred Luke Wilson, Alicia Witt, Andy Dick, Jack Black, and a bunch of others in a sort of mid-twenties angst comedy. I like mid-twenties angst comedies, I've decided. I just wanted to live in Bongwatertown for a couple days and just got myself into a great mood watching it, tuned me into thinking about my own friends and the people in my life. I wanted to call someone on the phone and talk, but at 12:30 I thought that might be bad. So I wrote a little e-mail on the WebTV and went to sleep.

I want to see the rest of "Bongwater" sometime. Maybe I'll wait a few months so I kind of forget what I saw and can enjoy the complete movie. My parents'll be off to Pennsylvania for a weekend soon, maybe I'll have a mid-twenties angst movie-watching party. "Bongwater," maybe a Whit Stillman, maybe something new...

Actually, thinking about this further, "group-of-friends film" would be the genre I'd put "Bongwater" into. I'd drop "Kicking and Screaming" and "Human Traffic" in there, as well, as two other movies I really, really liked just for being fun. Being excited by a movie like "Black Hawk Down" is fine, but it's cool to watch a movie and think, "Wow, I want my friendships to be like that!" and then get to think about your friends and be kind of inspired to reach out to them some. Art can be anything, but I respect art that makes you want to go out and make your own life more interesting. Most movies, at least, are just diversions from real life, distractions.

So I saw "Bongwater." Part of it. And "Evolution" Saturday night. That didn't suck and I liked Orlando Jones. And then Sunday afternoon I watched an Iranian film called "the Circle." I had a difficult time following the actual plot, but enjoyed watching the documentation of daily life in Iran from the perspective of women. Neat seeing the actuality of the suppressed rights of women in a fundamentalist Islamic society. Much more revealing than hearing some American white male reporter talk about the matter on CNN. Essentially what happened, I believe, was a group of women escaped from jail where they'd been for several years for assisting in an abortion... ? I may be totally wrong. "The Circle" wasn't an action pic or anything, just kind of a look at how these women took care of themselves on the outside. Seemed difficult, even without the threat of the law coming down on them. They had to completely cover themselves in black, for starters, and remain quiet. You wouldn't think of what that really meant without seeing scene after scene where the men were dressed in normal clothing and the women were totally clothed in black. The women almost blend completely into the background, like a turned-off television set. Male society operated around them and seemed mostly oblivious to these cloaked creatures in their midst. If you were to see this movie, I think you'd just get a better idea of the subtlety of the suppression of women, at least in the society in which this way filmed (and I'm assuming the movie is more-or-less accurate). Kind of frustrating, and strange because it's not like all the men are evil, they just seem to mostly follow the zeitgeist (just like we Americans do) without exactly seeing the consequences or their power to change things (just like we Americans don't?).