Love the Beast, Love the Doco

January 12, 2010 at 3:40 am (Uncategorized)

Doing this meme I’m lifting from David at Quotidian Vicissitudes feels like a little bit of a cheat now, because I had intended today’s post to be about film; we’ve seen some good examples recently, and I’d like to discuss some of the reasons why I’ve enjoyed these particular works, and the ways in which I’ve found them thought-provoking. It’ll have to wait until later in the week, though as time, that sly trickster, is determined to keep giving me the slip.

So, to the meme…. the first line from the first post for each month of 2009…

January 5 2009: Here we are – already 2009 is five days old.

[Yawn…]

February 3 2009: Sorry about the absence of a post yesterday.

[Oh for god’s sake! So lame. February 5 was so much better. It begins: So I guess we’ve established that Nana doesn’t like big butts (and cannot lie)… that’s more like it!]

March 3 2009: Oops, that should have been-

[We interrupt this tedious retrospection with the following announcement: I’m not enjoying this. Let’s stop.]

By partially completing this exercise, I’ve made the unpleasant discovery that my opening lines are beyond banal – it’s a miracle anyone’s ever bothered to read on. Shudder. I must do better. I’m almost curious – almost, but not quite – to see if this train wreck of crashing dullness continues right throughout the year. I told you 2009 was no good. Or maybe I didn’t tell you, but I’ve had my suspicions. After the fact, it’s been tempting to conclude the past year was just a flat 365 days of nothing. I didn’t realise I’d developed something of an aversion to 2009 until it ended, and then I registered how very glad I was to see the back of it. And these woeful opening lines do little to restore the past year to my good opinion… nope, there’s nothing there I need.

So let’s start talking about film after all (that’s what I get for trying to cheat…). I’ll start with the documentary we saw last night, Love the Beast. Ostensibly about Australian actor/comedian Eric Bana’s long love affair with his car (an unlikely premise to entice yours truly, you might think), it’s really much more insightful and touching than would be obvious to the uninitiated. Bana directed the film, and he appears alongside his ‘beast’ as well as a full complement of significant others: his laconic childhood friends; his gorgeous parents; his young family; other petrol heads and race-car drivers; Top Gear‘s Jeremy Clarkson; compulsive car collector Jay Leno; and a surprisingly subtle and astute Dr Phil.

The combination makes for riveting viewing. There are some genuinely hilarious and equally moving moments, and real tension when Bana and his navigator (not to mention loyal-mate-for-all-eternity), Tony, head back down to Tasmania for a second tilt at the Targa, an ill-fated 5-day racing bender named for the Sicilian original. The Targa is not for the faint-hearted, but at the same time, it sets the scene for a small ‘slice of life’ doco that’s very warm and frank, brimming with affection about the things people hold dear.

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8 Comments

  1. woo said,

    I don’t think you could be banal, even if you actively tried.

    I shall rent ‘The Beast’ this week, on the strength of your recommendation… and on the strength of Bana’s recent performance in ‘Funny People’. Another movie I wouldn’t normally have chosen to watch but greatly enjoyed.

  2. doctordi said,

    Good of you to say so, Woo, but I peeked at a few more opening lines, and I’m afraid it’s true.

    Oh, Bana is SO LIKABLE in Love the Beast. I even feel more forgiving about The Time Traveler’s Wife. Which is, you know, really saying something.

    And Funny People is one of the other films! How coincidental! I didn’t choose it – and rolled my eyes when Llew brought it home – but enjoyed it so much more than I thought I would, especially after the opening ‘home movie’ sequence, which I *hated* and which very nearly lost me. I’m glad I persevered, because it had nuances and depths I hadn’t expected, and it was also a really interesting exploration of humour and the sometimes bleak lives of the humorous.

  3. litlove said,

    My opening lines are too banal for that meme as well. It’s usually because I’m about to launch off into some stratosphere of thought and I want to lull people into a false sense of security – lol! Or maybe I just start slow. The film doesn’t sound like one I would necessarily go for, but on the other hand, it sounds mercifully free from violence, children or beloved animals dying, terminal illness, etc, etc….

  4. Grad said,

    I had thought about doing this meme as well, but the idea of going back and re-reading my own stuff makes be a bit queasy. I feel a bit like Bridget Jones, you know, “What was I thinking?” “What made be say that?” Just too awkward, really. Nevertheless, I enjoy reading everyone else’s.

  5. woo said,

    I’m not sure I dare go back and read mine, frankly. Much better to kid myself that my opening lines are always gripping 😉

  6. Lilian Nattel said,

    I haven’t read my opening lines either. But thanks for the review, Di. I wouldn’t have thought that would be a film I’d enjoy, so it can go on the list now.

  7. David said,

    Sounds like a good film … I’m always game for a good movie recommendation.

    And yeah, ya gotta work on that opening serve. 😉

  8. Pete said,

    Well I think opening lines to blog-posts can be a bit like clearing your throat and warming up to speak to the audience. Tap, tap. Is this thing on? Well, hello and so on. And then you come alive and it’s anything but banal.

    As for the film, sounds a goodie.

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