April 02, 2007

Few true favorites

I'm not the type of person to name a favorite movie or a favorite color. I see the world in shades of gray, so everything has its pros and cons, especially depending on circumstances. On the movie example, there are certain movies I like, but how can one stand above all the rest? Ask me what my favorite something is, and I'll give you a blank stare. My mind doesn't constantly sort and rank my experiences.

There are a few artists and creative people that really get my attention, though, and they essentially earn the equivalent of a "favorite" status in my world. For example, you might call Joe Satriani my favorite guitar player. I have collected many of his CDs and appreciated his music. This does not mean I listen to his music very often, though. It means his songs are unique, interesting, meaningful, and entertaining.

Among my favorite writers is Chuck Palahniuk. His work deserves all kinds of cliched adjectives. He deals with the philosophical and unconventional. I no longer read his new books, though, because his work is formulaic. There are other writers with books that speak to me, and they each deserve to be named a "favorite" in some kind of category if I could only articulate the taxonomy of the literary niches they occupy in my mind.

Lately I have been admiring the cinematic work of Michel Gondry. This guy is a genius on weird art and visually manipulating the human mind. I have watched a couple of the movies he has directed, The Science of Sleep and Eternal Sunshine of the Spotless Mind. These films have an odd way of making you feel like you're in a dreamlike state. In fact, they each do deal with sleep plus mental struggles and confusion. I think they hypnotize or lull first you so that the protagonists' mental perceptions will appear more dreamlike when they finally start. Gondry's bizarre visual art is prominent in The Science of Sleep and his music videos, but Eternal Sunshine is just visually masterful in presenting a character's memories and dreams.

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