The Wednesday Pop Culture Rant knows its Thursday, but we finally got around to seeing Interstellar, and once Matthew McConaughey demonstrated how to bend time to his will, we followed suit and now The Rant abides in a perpetual Wednesday where we never grow older. Thanks Matt. Although we are a bit concerned about the top that keeps spinning on the corner of our desk.1
Interstellar was fine. We found light being bent by a black hole sublime; Anne Hathaway’s speech about love being a scientific variable we just haven’t quantified yet proved ridiculous. The entire experience made us realize we miss the movies in the way they used to define so much of our identity and inform our construction of reality. What movie is that from? a high school friend once asked after The Rant delivered an amusing quip. He was mightily impressed to learn we had made it up all on our own.
Steven Soderbergh claimed in 2013 movies didn’t matter anymore and he would quit directing them. That proved to be nonsense, but Soderbergh understands interesting narrative and cultural relevance has moved to television. The Rant believes there has to be a more compelling reason than the reliance on special effects and franchises to drive profits, and we can’t keep blaming everything on Michael Bay, although it’s fun to try.
The advent of binge watching has created the opportunity to feel like you are watching people’s lives unfold before you at an actual human pace. Jumping back and forth in time fills in the cracks of a character’s motivations and psychology. There’s enough space for intense action and mundane chores. The Rant has come to enjoy Philip and Elizabeth’s time in the kitchen, trying to get dinner on the table and project a sense of normalcy, even more than the high stakes espionage of The Americans. Who hasn’t felt a crushing sense of desperation while knowing you still have to keep the kids fed? The Rant hasn’t felt that connection to a movie in a very a long time.2
Great entertainment and art always has to be about more than mere escape; we have to see something that sparks in us a recognition of the life we live now or the life we aspire to living someday.
- The top keeps us awake at night. There you have it! All the Christopher Nolan films that start with “I”. We’ll take directors obsessed with the concept of time, Alex.
- The exception to that statement would be animated film, which has enjoyed a long run of excellence, although the reliance on sequels by Pixar, Dreamworks, and Illumination threaten to lead to the same problems.