Wednesday, August 09, 2006

Copying as Self-Expression in Popular Film

I won't be seeing Oliver Stone's new film, given that the previews make me shake, but Stephanie Zacharek's review for Salon points out that the characters copy from popular culture to identify themselves and to survive:
[One character] summons a quote from "G.I. Jane" -- "Pain is good; pain is your friend. If you can feel pain, you know you're alive" -- that's applicable to their predicament, and reminisces idly about how "Starsky & Hutch" made him want to be a cop. He even gets [another character] humming the show's theme song, and the moment is both funny and delicate, a reminder of the way dumb little details can take up permanent residence in our brains, and also of the way we inadvertently take life lessons from supposedly useless scraps of pop culture. In what could have turned out to be the hour of their death, [the characters] find themselves humming the theme of a long-gone TV show.
This movie has also been involved in a copyright controversy based on a conceptual artist's short film using a leaked script for the Stone version. I wish I could get a look at the Moukarbel version for my IP database.

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