October 3, 2005 [A History of Violence, Bowling for Columbine]

Why is it that the brother-gangster's house in A History of Violence reminds me of Eyes Wide Shut?

Is it the look, the quality of light, shared by William Hurt's study and the orgy-castle of Kubrick's picture?

Maybe it's their other-worldliness--Kubrick in England shooting a feverdream-NYC filled with Nighttown memory-spooks and dim-to-sparkly possibilities hiding in every dressing room and piano bar, and Cronenberg putting Aragorn in Anytown, USA, his cook's apron as incongruous next to his solid gritty good looks as an I'm-with-stupid tee shirt on a peacock.

Or it's the two husbands and their mile-high piles of lies, and the way they run from their wives and do awful things then come home and ask, Please pass the potatoes. At least in Eyes Wide Shut they know what "potatoes" is code for, and are ready right there in the toy store to dig some up and enjoy--while A History of Violence is a squirmy "no longer at ease" sheepish nudge back to the kitchen table--although both movies made me queasy.

--Oh ferchrissakes: Was it, come to think of it, Michael Moore who brought them together in my mind? Was Bowling for Columbine correct in its assertion that we've been scared of each other for so long that even love and sex and marriage and home are out to get us, waiting in the bushes to cut us deep and show us our own insides just long enough for us to wonder how that gory mess could've kept anything alive for as long as it did?
Cronenberg has made one more horror film--and I hope it's his last. Who was it, the critic in Canada when Cronenberg made Shivers--or maybe They Came from Within--who was so outraged by it?  Didn't he want people to see it because they'd paid for it--some Canadian public funding thing--and they should know how awful it was? I wish we'd all taken his advice; because like the narrator says in Futurama, "You've watched it! You can't unwatch it!"  Moore's movie seems less frightening, if only because Marilyn Manson asks such sensible questions.


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