Tuesday, September 09, 2008

Divine Normal

I once saw a person experience this, and not just on youtube. I've never taken a drug that could do that to you and let you go in five minutes flat. Point of fact, I've never taken that many drugs at all. Could point on one hand the number of times.

Here's where I straddle the fence: Drugs. I don't believe anyone has the right to tell me what to put in my body, be it hallucinogenic or otherwise, and on and on. I also don't push at all for it to be decriminalized. We're not ready for that, and most of 'em are too dangerous anyway. If I had my way, yeah sure, but I don't really care. Seems like the more therapeutic ones are destined to be the stuff of adolescent thrill-seeking or instant levity.

Why am I bringing this up?

Because, I am now one of two people I know personally (that I'm aware of, OK?) who's seen McCabe & Mrs. Miller, and I'm pretty sure it's a schedule 1 narcotic. It ends on a note of perfect exaltation belying great pain, an exaltation no doubt brought about by Miller's (Julie Christie's) opium use. I won't explain or spoil what drives her to it at the very end.

Suffice it to say, stare into an Altman film long enough, and it can pull you out of your own pain or problems, possibly help you contemplate the value of people and some value in yourself you may be missing. In short, his films have a restorative property, albeit experienced finitely.

Wander through the amniotic settings of his films, just for a bit. Everything's seen in a kind of liquid. Safe. It's like floating without floating, all without dulling yourself through overuse of your particular fix.

Altman himself was certainly no stranger to frequent drug use, I know, but we reap unusual benefits from the explorations he took into the palaces of his mind.

Pauline Kael wrote of McCabe & Mrs. Miller:

Can an American director get by with a movie as personal as this--personal not as in "personal statement" but in the sense of giving form to his own feelings, some not quite defined, just barely suggested? A movie like this isn't made by winging it...

Altman at his best was never just winging it. He's our shamen, he's there for our spiritual assistance to this day, even when his films show clear contempt for human pettiness. That's all surface dressing for him, part of the display, the movement. We really shouldn't waste the truly beneficial highs. There are so few of them. Here's one.

14 comments:

Holly said...

(still not dead. i checked.)

Plaid Avenger said...

I'm glad you're ok.

Holly said...

Thank you for finally seeing this, btw. I have no one to talk to about it but kleph, and....well, you know how that can go.

Holly said...

(Your movie tastes, like everything else you do, are About Me. In case you missed the memo. love, Rutger Hauer's fauxhawk)

Plaid Avenger said...

Holy Jumpin' Lord, he's more pretentious than I am.

Plaid Avenger said...

But of course.

Holly said...

I can hold my ground for a while, but he's got SO MANY WORDS. (We're getting into it about Notorious right now, and I'm exhausted.)

Holly said...

(yes, I should know better than to go toe to toe with a philosophy degree-holding film critic over Hitchcock. Should.)

Plaid Avenger said...

Well, allow me to say all the words that need be said about either: "PRETTY MOVIE"

Holly said...

I'll drink to that, lawya.

Plaid Avenger said...

Have you thought about using some drugs to get you through this?

Holly said...

I'd be scared to in the hands of either of these flicks.

Plaid Avenger said...

I meant during your conversation on "Notorious"

Holly said...

Excellent point.