Most students don’t realize that the Davidson library houses an extensive DVD and VHS collection. In fact, most students don’t realize that the Davidson library has books. Some students, if they could read and were reading this, would be wondering, “What is book?” and “Me no like to think.” Those are my people; when I write, I write for them.
But this column is different. It isn’t written for the barely literate, the pre-meds and the sociology majors. I wrote it as a gift to the pompous and the pretentious, to the people who scowl more than they smile, and only smile when they’re being smug. I wrote it for the hipsters who gauge and readjust their opinions to what the critics say, and who are always making fortifications for their I-have-better-taste-than-you campaigns. In the wake of the Academy Awards, the year’s most tasteless, gaudy pop culture orgasm next to the Grammys, these folks are suffering. They need foreign and indie film nourishment, and I hope these six deliciously obscure morsels, free to rent from the library, can provide it.
“Mysterious Skin:” This is unquestionably the best movie to confront the taboo issue of sports-team pedophilia since 1992’s “The Mighty Ducks.” Joseph Gordon Levitt (“The Third Rock from the Sun,” “Brick”) and Brady Corbet (“24,” “Thirteen”) star as two teenagers, Neil and Brian, recovering from their Pee Wee baseball coach’s sexual abuse. Each copes with his childhood demons in a radically different way; Neil delves in to the callous, dangerous life of a midnight cowboy, and Brian, who has just a hazy memory of being molested, attributes his traumatic experience to an alien abduction. Spoiler warning! Brian was actually molested, not abducted by aliens.
“The Passion of the Christ:” This is a fun movie for the family, especially if the family is from 1930s Germany. The story feels a bit like a synthesis of the New Testament and Leni Riefenstahl’s infamous “Triumph of the Will.” Not everybody likes the movie, and some critics go as far as to claim it has anti-Semitic undertones, but the drunk-driving, free-speaking director Mel Gibson proved them wrong once and for all. Spoiler warning! Christ gets crucified.
“Garage Olimpo (Desaparecidos):” I didn’t understand this movie. It didn’t have English subtitles.
“In the Realm of the Senses:” It’s hard to pin down why this film, made by the great Japanese director Nagisa Oshima, was so controversial, and why it was banned from the New York film festival in the 1970s. Sure, in one scene the protagonist sticks a hard-boiled egg in to his lover’s vagina and then devours it once she’s “laid” it like a chicken. Big deal – I did that at prom. Or maybe it’s controversial because at the end of the film his lover kills him, cuts off his penis and speaks lovingly to it. Whatever, that sounds like normal fourth-date foreplay. Spoiler warning! The penis isn’t circumcised.
“Utu:” This New Zealand film depicts the 19th-century uprising of the country’s Maori people against the colonial British. Lots of white people get killed. Spoiler warning! Not all the white people get killed.
“In the Company of Men:” In this dark comedy about the cruel and manipulative nature of the business world, Aaron Eckhart (“Thank You For Smoking”) plays the role of the type of man every UCSB business economics frat boy dreams he’ll be in ten years. He is pure Alpha male, a constant salesman and a complete narcissist. He schemes all of his friends and business associates to get to the top, wheedling when he needs to, backstabbing when he can and spouting jokes like, “What’s the difference between a golf ball and a G-spot? I’ll spend 20 minutes looking for a golf ball” in between. During one scene, Eckhart forever outshines Cuba Gooding Jr.’s famous line, “Show me the money,” when he tells an intern to “Show me your balls.” He coolly judges their business-world potential, gives a slight nod of approval and dismisses him from the office.