notes on cinema

On Tuesdays my wife-to-be and I have a friend (always the same friend) over for dinner and we watch a movie. We eat dinner most every night and often watch movies but the specific footwork of Tuesdays is becoming a ritual.

This Tuesday we watched Twister (1996), which I had avoided for 23 years. The movie seems to occur in a Clinton-era “present” where the worst problem imaginable is not knowing how tornadoes work. Everyone in the movie is white and healthy. The tornado scientists want to put radio transmitters inside a tornado, to learn what the tornado is doing, beyond its obvious agenda of moving objects around irresponsibly.

There is a rival gang of tornado scientists who drive sleek black Dodge minivans. They are said to be “only in it for the money,” as opposed to being in it for the love of tornado science. No one explains how tornado science will eventually lead to personal wealth or at least a wealth of self-determination.

Philip Seymour Hoffman is in this movie and he says all his lines like he is just barely containing deep laughter about the entire premise. Bill Paxton is the lead actor.  I would say character but none of the people in the movie have any character traits or background with very few exceptions. His teeth are a vernacular that is no longer spoken but understood. Bill Paxton needs his estranged wife, who is also a tornado scientist, to sign divorce papers. A series of tornadoes interrupt this process and teach them valuable lessons about how to do tornado science.

The central premise of their marriage is that they are both into tornadoes. Helen Hunt’s father was murdered by a tornado. It is suggested that the Bill Paxton character has savant-level or possibly even uncanny capacity for understanding tornadoes. Despite this, he would still like to know more about tornadoes.

The movie is a recursion of the following scenes: “A tornado is nearby” –> “Chasing tornado” –> “almost dying.”

There are only two “places” in the movie: an underlit control center where hassled white collar people eat donuts and reflect on the tornado situation, and outdoors.

The tension in the movie resides in watching computer-generated representations of tornadoes to see whether they will kill the humans.

I'm in the process of resetting my brain after one long project and trying to limber up before tumbling into the next one. I might put some of the lint that gets caught in my brain's lint trap here. Anyway, hope you're well xoxo

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