Art School Confidential

I usually don’t mind characters that do unlikeable things. One of the reasons why I like Six Feet Under as much is because it doesn’t ingratiate itself to the audience. The protagonists’ flaws are part of what makes the series what it is.

Nevertheless, with all the things that happen in the last two seasons of the series, I must say that I came to find Claire’s character arc fairly grating at times. The art school self-centredness and pretentiousness is obviously shown in a critical light, but even with that distancing mechanism I feel so often that someone should shake Claire, or failing that, someone should slap her. Interestingly enough, though, she’s now become so irritating that I even feel a bit of sympathy for Russell, her git of an ex. And that’s saying something. And ironically, only as Claire becomes the art school bitch of the end of season 4 and beginning of season 5 do I find her art visually interesting. Hmm.

 It’s art, innit?

Yesterday, we watched Garden State, which I hadn’t seen before. Since the film was quite the indie darling at the time, and everyone and their grandmother raved about it, I won’t say too much. I liked it, and I think I’ll like it even more on a second viewing. What struck me was how similar the plot was to Elizabethtown (which came later), but whereas I only somewhat liked Elizabethtown when I saw it at the cinema but afterwards came to feel more and more that it was phoney as hell, Garden State manages to pull off the quirkiness much better – mainly because it’s not infatuated with it, as so many ‘quirky’ indie flicks are. At its heart it’s about real people with real feelings, whereas Cameron Crowe’s variation on the theme was about ‘characters’.

P.S.: I’d be scared by my father too if he looked just like Bilbo Baggins…

Scary Ian Holm

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