Matador Movie Club: Old Joy

I've been lazy in documenting all our recent activities, but here's a quick recap of the Matador Movie Club's movements over the past month or so:

  • 20th December: Screening of R Kelly's 'Trapped In The Closet Pts 1-12'. This was a disaster. I expected loads of people to come and enjoy Mr Kelly's melodramatic opus, but sadly it was the worst-attended screening I've ever been to. And I once saw 'Robin Hood' (the Patrick Bergin version) halfway up a hill in Donegal. Disappointing. Still, Mike and Lucy were impressed. 
  • 21st December: Pre-Beggars Xmas Party, the Matador Movie Club got ourselves in the party mood by going to see 'Zidaine',  a 90-minute art film consisting of 17 cameras all focussed on Zinedine Zidaine during a football match. Do any of us like football? No. But we love Mogwai, who provided the soundtrack. Indeed, the sound is the most impressive thing about 'Zidaine', particularly on a big loud Cinema sound system. Otherwise, it's a thought-provoking, but difficult piece of work – I felt like I'd learnt something about Zidaine by the time the film was over, but to be fair I didn't know anything about him before I went in. Now I know he's a footballer who scowls a lot. The poor guy looks like he's got the weight of the world on his shoulders. For 90 minutes. If that sounds like your kinda movie, it's out on DVD here in the UK this week.

And last night, the first Matador Movie Club outing of 2007 was to see a screening of 'Old Joy', which was scored by Yo La Tengo (meaning they did the music, not sorted out the tickets for us. I'm using film terms, keep up with me now). 'Old Joy' is the first film I've seen by Kelly Reichert, but I had been informed her style was in line with those of Harmony Korine, Vincent Gallo or Gus Van Sant's slower flicks (some of you have already started falling asleep, I'm sure). But I like films by the aforementioned auteurs, so I was psyched for another film where nothing happens for a while. Artfully. 

'Old Joy' stars Will Oldham (yeah, him) as Kurt, the kind of guy you used to hang out with when you were a teenager and probably wouldn't be that surprised if you found out that he was now homeless. Kurt calls up his friend Mark and invites him on a trip to the woods, where he's heard theres a really good hot springs. So they go. Uh-huh, that's the plot. But the plot's not that important, it's a film about the nuances of friendship, how it deteriorates and the emotions surrounding, to paraphrase Will Oldham himself,  'the letting go' of a relationship. To tell you any more about the film would probably involve me spoiling all the beautiful little details therein, and over-analysing it WAY too much. Will Oldham and Daniel London are effortlessly believable in their roles, relatable but distant in a very real way. The photography's wonderful – I love films that capture the universiality of working-class towns. And, of course, Yo La Tengo's score compliments the mood of the film perfectly – mournful, but strident. The twanging guitars took me back to 'Return To Hot Chicken' from 'I Can Hear The Heart Beating…', so I was very happy indeed. 

In essence if you think you can handle a very slow film in which not a great deal happens, you'll be rewarded with a gentle, contemplative film about friendship and growing older. And you get to see Will Oldham in the nude, if you're interested in that kind of thing. Hot!


4 thoughts on “Matador Movie Club: Old Joy”

  1. Ordinarily wild horses would not be able to keep me away from seeing ‘Trapped In The Closet’ but I had more pressing matters to take care of like shouting at incompetent and incoherent people on the phone.

    Count me in on the next Film Club outing. Maybe you could press up some special merch for the occasion?

  2. I was extremely impressed by “Trapped…” Bring on Parts 12-24. On a totally different planet (one much closer to ours) Old Joy was a lovely movie. Daniel London didn’t have a huge amount of dialogue but he wonderfully conveyed a great deal. And I would happily have those Yo La songs as a soundtrack to any trips I make.

  3. They should have done that “Old Joy” film with Tesco Vee and Glenn Danzig. That I woulda paid to watch, YLT soundtrack or not.

  4. Well, to a point, Jim. Imagine the effect of a Glenn Danzig nude scene on the viewing populace. Can the audience take THAT much awesomeness?

    Sadly, I don’t think Glenn is interested in doing any acting work. Well, he never responded to my ‘My Two Danzigs’ sitcom pitch, anyway.

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