Surfing and spying

I’ve recently seen two movies that included songs by The Go-Go’s on their soundtrack. I originally got into The Go-Go’s after I was wowed by the opening montage sequence of “Fast Times At Ridgemont High,” which introduces the fast-living high school students in their after-school mall jobs, while “We’ve Got The Beat” plays, so it’s cool that The Go-Go’s music is still appearing in movies.

Fahrenheit 9/11
Mr Moore uses The Go-Go’s “Vacation” to sarcastically underscore a montage of President Bush undertaking various recreational activities. It pissed me off because “Vacation” is a perfectly good pop song that had its perfectness, goodness and popness belittled as it was used a weapon of mass distraction against Bush.

The film was ok, but it was just ok. Regardless of what the Bush administration has or hasn’t done, the fact remains that Bush bashing is really fashionable at the moment. People revel in pulling out those quotes where Bush has clumsily said something. Like, can we just accept that President Bush will not go down in history as a great orator and not be distracted by his verbal gaffs and actually start looking at what he does rather than what he says (or tries to say)?

“Farenheit 9/11” did take a few shots at Bush’s oratory sloppiness, but I was pleased to see that more meaningful issues were looked at. I picked up a bit of the old cartoony simplification of issues that Moore seems fond of, and somehow I was very aware of the moments when orchestral scoring was used to add extra emotion to footage that may otherwise have been quite ordinary. The bits that got me were the Iraqi mother and the American mother weeping over their dead family members.

I don’t understand why this film won the Palm d’Or at Cannes. I don’t think it’s that good. It seems to be the sort of film that will appeal to people who are already into that sort of political stance. It may change a few lives, but I think it’ll end up doing a lot of preaching to the converted.

13 Going On 30
This film uses The Go-Go’s “Head Over Heels” as a joyful theme throughout the film. The cool thing about this film is the main character is around the same age as me. It starts off in 1987 when she’s turning 13 – I turned 13 in 1987 – and then a magical thing happens and the 13-year-old girl wakes up as the 30-year-old woman of her dreams (but I’m not quite 30 yet).

There were a few little things that his film got wrong. The 13-year-old boy was dressed like he was from the late ’70s/early ’80s. Much of the music the 13/30 girl/woman was into was from 1984, not 1987 (and music from three years ago is always hopelessly naff), but I did like how she was really into “Love is a battlefield,” because when that song first came out (and I would have been about nine years old then), it was just the height of pop sophistication. Like, love is a battlefield, man. So that’s what that grown-up love thing is all about. It’s combat! Excellent.

Seeing this film got me thinking about what my life now would seem like if 13-year-old Robyn could have got a glimpse of it. I think I’d think that I’d totally have it made. I mean, I’m living in Auckland (tick), in a cool character flat (tick), working in an interesting job (tick). This is everything I wanted when I was 13. Except, of course, it’s not everything that I want now that I’m more than twice that age.

The film has a big “be careful what you wish for” message, but I also got from it that ideal lives are only ideal when we’re wanting them and not living them. Reality, it seems, does indeed bite.

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