by "Rooster" Clayborne
[Leave it to our very own mohawked contributor, "Rooster" Clayborne, to darken the celebration with our very first negative piece on the Canadian auteur.]
A few years ago while at my former place of employment—well before the mohawk sprouted forth from my head—I wandered into a water cooler conversation between two know-it-all cinéaste coworkers in a love-fest for Canadian filmmaker Atom Egoyan. Before I could get a plausible answer as to why Mia Kirshner exposed nary a breast while playing a stripper in Egoyan's Exotica, somehow the topic turned to David Cronenberg, another Canuck.
Now, two things immediately come to mind whenever I think of Cronenberg: (1) he directed The Dead Zone and The Fly—two bitchin' films I admire greatly, and (2) Crash, one of the more self-indulgent, tediously boring, mind-F's imaginable. For those of you who have luckily avoided rubbernecking to this cataclysmic pile-up, here's a brief synopsis: A TV director (James Spader) gets into a major vehicular accident, and as a result is drawn to a group of car wreck survivors who get sexually revved-up by the accordion crunch of cars.
What confounded me more than James Spader pruriently exploring scars with his male-probe, were these two Cronenberg devotees trying to articulate their lofty understanding and appreciation for the film's literary themes. Unfortunately, I was just an uncultured, software programmer at the time who—they assumed—never read the J.G. Ballard novel the film was adapted from. They were right. I hadn't. But I did read Fear and Loathing in Las Vegas (which I found deliriously entertaining) and guess what, that film adaptation sucked too. Not all movies should be based on books, or songs for that matter. If you've heard "Warm Leatherette," by The Normal (also inspired by the Ballard novel), and likened it to a thrilling orchestration of industrial sounding beeps and oscillating urks, then please refrain from inviting me to one of your wine and cheese soirées, because I will undoubtedly talk like a robot while humping your refrigerator just to lampoon you.
Once the Dead Ringers twins were done mocking me for reading The Notebook by Nicholas Sparks (which I did only at the urging of my wife, Maggie, who was reduced to tears after reading its conclusion), I sat in my cubicle, alone and annoyed by how irritating and condescending some people can be with their self-proclaimed astuteness for art house films. I was revisited by one of the two who then asked me for my opinion of Naked Lunch, Cronenberg's take on the William S. Burroughs' novel. Instead of answering my coworker, I closed my eyes into tightly pressed slits, shook violently as if going into a seizure, and imagined telepathically exploding his head in an homage to Cronenberg's cult classic, Scanners.
I haven't perfected that skill as of yet, but I'm still working on it. And in case you were wondering, evidently Sparks exploded my head with tears. Yeah, the movie adaptation did too. That bastard.
"Rooster" Clayborne documents his moviegoing experiences here pretty often in The Mohawk Memoirs.