Sunday, January 14, 2024

David Bowie - Subterraneans

I love the way Bowie plays sax on this track. It literally soothes my soul, while also conjuring a mood similar to the one Cowboy Bebop does. 

Thus completeth David Bowie week, an annual event I like to do here to commemorate the life, work and passing of the Alien. He changed our world, I wish I could say we'd learned how to do that from him, but no, I don't think we did.


I first saw Michael Mann's Heat opening weekend in 1995. I was nineteen and really just getting into film. I thought I knew a lot, and maybe I did for someone my age. I certainly watched and thought and wrote about them enough. This was, of course before the mass proliferation of the internet, so I'm not sure what I read about Heat before seeing it, but I was excited. I'd learned to identify and love Michael Mann's style via Miami Vice, Manhunter, Crime Story and Thief. All the hype that preceded Heat's release focused on Pacino and Deniro being together in a film for the first time since The Godfather flicks. I saw it, and was pretty damn disappointed. I'd never watched the film again until last night, when several of us headed out to Quentin Tarantino's New Beverly Cinema in Los Angeles. 

This outing possessed a two-fold purpose: 1) I'd lived in L.A. for 16 years before moving and never made it to the New Bev. 2) Because of Professor John Trafton and Miles Fortune's This Movie Saved My Life podcast, I found myself wanting to give Heat another chance. I'm happy to report that, while I still very much wish Pacino had dialed it back on a lot of his line delivery, I now agree that Heat is a Neo Noir Masterpiece. 

There were two big narrative gaps I credited as my major problem with the film: Waingro's "Serial killer" subplot, which I previously felt went nowhere, and the fate of Pacino's Stepdaughter, played by Natalie Portman. In the latter case, it always irritated me that, as I had previously perceived it, the film did not resolve her fate. Seeing this last night, I now think it is entirely possible that I ran to the bathroom during the scene where the surgeon tells Pacino and his estranged wife Justine (played by Diane Venora) that their daughter is alive and will pull through. I also think I may have just missed it because that scene is really the epitaph to the couple's relationship, and there's a lot of nuance to the scene and performances that I just don't think I would have been experienced enough in life and love to fully grasp at the time. I'd always viewed Portman's suicide attempt as a needless dramatic plot point stuffed in at the eleventh hour for no reason other than to tighten the screws on Al's character. It actually provides an exhale on the subplot of his marriage.

The Waingro issue is a different animal altogether, and last night's viewing led me to the conclusion that Heat is edited unlike any film I had ever seen previously. The film hits the ground RUNNING, and is such a rapid-fire accumulation of edits and characters, that Mann has to establish characters quickly. He does so deftonly, and while I do feel that the serial prostitute killer angle on his character should have had at least one nod past the original - because it's revealed early on that the police are aware they have an active serial killer - but ultimately is serves to establish A LOT about Waingro's character in very little time.


Marilyn Manson - We Are Chaos
Marilyn Manson - God's Gonna Cut You Down (single)
Massive Attack - Protection
PJ Harvey - Rid of Me
Marilyn Manson - AntiChrist Superstar
David Bowie - Hunky Dory
Run the Jewels - RTJ4
Robbie Dupree - Steal Away (single)
Doobie Brothers - What a Fool Believes (single)
The Bee Gees - Love You Inside Out (single)


From Jonathan Grimm's Hand of Doom Tarot, which you can buy HERE.

• Four of Pentacles
• XIV: Temperance
• King of Swords

Logging this here and will try to circle back around for an interpretation at some point later tonight or tomorrow. L.A. is keeping me on my toes.

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