Heyoka’s Workbench

Asteroid Pity

A collage made by the author using images from an old TV guide.

One of the upsides of growing older is that you don’t need to belong to the cool guys anymore. Or rather: you know that being cool is quite a relative thing.

In my twenties, I’d never have had the guts to admit that I found movie A or song B dull, things that among my selected sociotope were the accepted litmus test for insiderdom. Today, I don’t care. And I have friends whom I cannot throw into fits by stating that, say, David Lynch’s »Lost Highway« or Jim Jarmusch’s »Down by Law« bore me beyond description. (Which does not mean that I’d simply switched to friends who exactly share my tastes. We are able to just disagree on things. We’re grown-ups.)

Last Sunday, E. and I went to see Wes Anderson’s new film »Asteroid City«. It was me who’d suggested it because I really love his »The Grand Budapest Hotel«. The description of »Asteroid City« sounded good, too, and the critics seem to be rather delighted (whatever conclusions you can draw from that …). – But it was horrible. It was the most dreadfully tedious movie I’ve watched (or tried to watch) for a very long time. To me it was the empty irony and formalism of an artist who has nothing more to say. After twenty minutes, I was swaying between leaden weariness and annoyance at the people who laughed their heads off about the most tepid scenes and gags.

My theory is that film critics praise such works only out of spite: to avenge themselves for having been forced to watch boring stuff like »Asteroid City« they induce thousands of innocent cineasts to give the movie a try. Plain old schadenfreude as a comforter for the critic’s sore soul. – But be that as it may.

Happily, E. was equally underwhelmed (though she first kidded me by whispering that she really, really liked the film). – Who can describe the relief and the joy at the moment we stood up and left? Incidentally, our seats were in the farthest top left corner while the exit was in the front right one, which gave us ample time to indulge in our blissful exodus as long as possible (yes, we walked at a very leisurely pace).

We then strolled through the neighbourhood enjoying the fresh air and our regained freedom.

»E. – I’m not quite sure if I’d have walked out of the cinema, too, if I’d been alone.«

»But walking out alone would have been absolutely pointless anyway – everyone would just have thought you were going to the toilet. There had to be two of us!«

Seems E.’s more punkrock than me.