Why I will not be walking out of Paul Thomas Anderson’s “Inherent Vice” – The Aesthetics of Boredom

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The reason is simple, I will not be walking in. I have been bored on many occasions and boredom has a particular aesthetic, a sort of endless falling but without the adrenalin rush of potential sudden death, and it’s an experience that I value as part of my extensive canon.

However, I’ve ticked that box more than once and life is only getting shorter.

I skimmed an article in The Guardian which suggests that people are walking out in droves, not necessarily out of boredom, possibly confusion and frustration. Again, these are experiences with which I am already truly blessed.

I had arranged to see it tonight with my wife and a friend, in order to pop our Sheffield Curzon cherries, but I have decided to meet them afterwards.

Many years ago, my girlfriend of the time was really into theatre and went to see most productions in nearby Sheffield and Rotherham. I like theatre but not to the same degree and was much more choosy about what I wanted to see. However, she used to work on me and try to persuade me to see things that I really didn’t want to. After a particularly tedious production of “A Winter’s Tale” at the Sheffield Lyceum in 2000-and-something, I said “No more fucking Shakespeare!”.

I am not a fan, although I have seen a few good productions, including an excellent “Richard III” with Kenneth Branagh at The Crucible in Sheffield. I also saw “The Tempest” with Derek Jacobi which has a fantastic opening, but the play (not the production) is a dud.

I have also seen contemporary theatre companies who use boredom as an effect, but it only works once, and after that first fall down the well of despair, boredom is just boring.

Back in the world of film, I have cut Paul Thomas Anderson a lot of slack because I liked “Magnolia” (1999) so much, but “The Master” (2012) was very long and boring, and it is not rescued by either the immense screen presence of Philip Seymour Hoffman or the startling transformation from over-fed pretty boy to lean Icarus that was Joaquin Phoenix.

I am afraid I have lost patience with sitting through boring films no matter how critically acclaimed, worthy or artistic they might be. I have stopped watching plenty of films at home, but the last film I actually walked out of was an art film by Yinka Shonibare. As I get older, I value my time more and more and I would rather be in The Rutland Arms drinking Duff.

However, I think it is time to put PTA on the naughty step with Woody Allen (for “Crimes and Misdemeanors”(1989)) and Jane Campion (for “Holy Smoke” (1999)) until he has learned his lesson.

Beyond the naughty step, there is also a ditch of pooh, but that is reserved for Lars Von Trier and Gaspar Noé.

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