The general understanding of Murphy’s Law is, “Anything that can go wrong will.” We say this anytime anything sucks, like some mantra of pessimism. When Interstellar‘s Murph Cooper asks her dad why she was named after something bad, he explains with the original wording of Murphy’s Law, a version of “Whatever can happen, will happen.” This is the key to the entire film, plot holes and all.
Alejandro Gonzalez Inarritu’s film Birdman, or The Unexpected Virtue of Ignorance, is an electric fever-dream of a movie. It’s a swan dive into ego and madness shot with the kinetic motion of a seemingly unedited single shot.
WARNING: SPOILERS AHEAD!
The Room’s auteur Tommy Wiseau is an American. That’s the first thing he’d probably want you to know about him. And he’s right, he is American, and like most Americans and their ancestors, Tommy is an immigrant, but he doesn’t like to talk about that. He’d prefer that fans of his magical film experience believe he’s from Louisiana, where he spent some time with his aunt and uncle before settling down in San Francisco in the 1970s, but his broken English and tangled accent are embarrassingly obvious tells. It’s been tracked down that Tommy was probably born in Poland and he has often said he spent a good part of his younger days in France, which accounts for his mixed accent. Most people would think nothing of mentioning their native country even if they want to keep some details private. For Tommy Wiseau, all details are private and the truth is something that you construct for yourself. Tommy isn’t interested in the wonderful mixing of cultures in the United States, instead he’s locked on with a vice-grip to an important American trope: The Self-Made Man. This dude is vampiric absurdist Don Draper who everyone knows is really Dick Whitman.
For Ushio Shinohara, one of the subjects of the 2013 documentary Cutie and The Boxer, art is more than a passion: it is a dire fight. Figuratively, yes. But also literally. He makes his signature pieces by strapping sponges to boxing gloves and aggressively attacking the canvas. The finished product is captivating and reflects the violence of its making, but watching Ushio making it is a visceral performance art in itself. The tiny self up against the vast and awful and sparkling world, fighting for a piece of it. Wanting to snatch the marrow out of it, wanting to eviscerate the disappointments of it. Wanting to be rewarded for the fight. Punching at the demon at his heels, making it stronger all the while. Ushio kind of likes his demons. We all do to an extent.
The latest Beat Generation movie focuses on the murder that looms in the background of all Beat literature and lore. Kill Your Darlings is about when Lucien Carr, (Dane DeHaan) a Columbia student who was friends with Beat Generation superstars William S. Burroughs, Jack Kerouac, and Allan Ginsburg, murdered David Kammerer (Michael C. Hall,) an older man who was obsessed with him. Jack Kerouac and William S. Burroughs both played a role in the murder that landed them briefly behind bars.