Wednesday, June 9, 2010

Divide and Conquer (Every Braff for Himself and the Industry Against All)

Have you noticed this?

Don't ask me how, assume I was planting a bomb in a cinema somewhere, I managed to see Iron Man 2. I don't see a lot of blockbusters, so it was definately a big change from watching paint dry in French, or Russian, or on Woody Allen's furniture for example. But there was... I don't know what you'd call it... dog whistle signals that someone knew I was watching.


Seriously. Did you notice when Robert Downey Jr. and Gweneth Paltrow's dialog suddenly got "Altman-esque"? All kinds of interesting fine art hanging on the walls. Is that a Giacometti? If only I had a date to impress with this information! That little perpetual motion CG thingy must have been a real continuity problem. Tony Stark just said he privatized world peace! Hah! What a load!

Wait a minute...

Have I been duped? It's interesting to imagine that a blockbuster film is a kind of happening, and that everybody and their weird know-it-all brother is going to end up locked in a seat whether they like it or not. Why not add little esoteric love-letters to the critic crowd? Now I can only imagine Jon Favreau was just trying to make sure I had a good time. Thank you. But what if this is the future?

You could, for example, show mock MSNBC and Fox News footage in seperate circumstances in an ambiguously cynical fashion as a dog whistle, "Ain't that how it is!" moment for both the conservatives and the liberals in the crowd. Everybody wins. It can mean whatever you like. But its FOR YOUR EYES ONLY. Cause you're so smart.


A quantum leap in phony demographic pidgeonholing. A major victory for by-committee film creation. Am I the only person that sees this?

(Con-men always want to make sure you feel like a genius as they're cleaning your pockets.)

Friday, March 20, 2009

Such Great Braff

For a decade, getting Braffed was the blue state alternative to GIT-R-DONE. Is the Braffing phenomenon possible without the grassroots support of the Bourgeois Bohemian base? Chances are, if you see this Stella Artois commercial before a film, you are about to get Braffed.

But, if we are going to get real cozy with the Establishment, we are going to need some music to get-our-Braff-on-to.

Remember that first time you heard ELO's Mr. Blue Sky against a backdrop of complete Braff? Then thinking, "Gosh, if only that were a real movie..." Only to repeat that sentence for years and years to come?

So which is the true secret anthem of B.R.A.F.F. Force? ELO's "Mr. Blue Sky" or "Such Great Heights"?

M & M's


This is by no means an exhaustive list, by the way. How many companies own the rights to that song? It's like a corporate gang-braffing. It hurts to watch. Remind me never to let Kaiser Permanente watch my drink.

But wait, of course, I'm forgetting the obvious: New Slang.

Who knew the new slang would be "GOT BRAFFED"?

Tuesday, March 17, 2009

Am I in Braffing Denial? Evaluating the Generational Capital of Wes Anderson

Let me get this out of the way. I LIKE WES ANDERSON. As I have mentioned before, I consider him exempt from Braffing. What does this mean?

Yesterday we discussed the relationship between Braffing and the detournement of counterculture images and metanarratives. Or rather, that Braffers were ripping off 1970’s American films and selling them back to our generation as serious works of art. Now admittedly, as I say this I am instantly reminded of the work of my beloved Wes Anderson.

Is there a difference between a rip-off and a reference? It seems that the entire task of Got Braffed is to evaluate whether or not we have been ripped-off, cheated, duped, hoodwinked, bamboozled, led astray by any given director and their films. Clearly, there is a difference.

But is this culture of reference defendable? Have we been Tennenbombed? Tennenbombed by obscure J. D. Salinger references? References to Jules et Jim, Jacques Cousteau, Bergman, Fassbinder, Bollywood? Has wikipedia made us smarter? Is Wes Anderson responsible for Napoleon Dynamite? Was anyone else creeped out by the advertising for I Love You Man calling it, “The Most Quotable Movie of 2009”? Surely Quentin Tarantino is culpable. The Arcade Fire is to music what Wes Anderson is to film. Have we been Arcade Burned?

A true Braff intends to speak for its generation, without the talent or authenticity to do so. I do not believe that Wes Anderson intends to speak for his generation. He can be accused of the detournement of counterculture images. But his crimes are different than that of B.R.A.F.F. Force. They are symptoms of an entirely separate dimension of post-modernism. Are they more heinous?

The crime of Braffing is mediocrity. I imagine that why discussing these things here at Got Braffed is so hilarious to us. The atrocities of Tennenbombing are deeper, dealing much more with the way we have come to think and relate to each other on a day to day basis. Why all the quotes? This is why I have never been able to get into the Simpsons. How many times has someone said some obscure line and looked through me waiting for a nod of recognition?

Is Got Braffed Tennenbombing you?

The ironic juxtaposition of images is one of the fundamental pillars of how art happens. But where do those images come from? And what about originality of vision? I defend Wes Anderson because I see him as unflinchingly original, even as he quotes other film makers. But art is communication, and if we are to advance culturally we have to address the overwhelming inundation of our psyches by all these hollow references. It is elitist and infuriatingly shallow.

But it is not Braffing.

Welcome to Got Braffed

Hello everyone! This is Got Braffed. Due to the overflow of updates on the Twitter miniblog it appears this blogspot address is going to be extremely useful in avoiding dropped tweets and jamming up people's home pages. Because isn't Braffing already painful enough?

I submit for your approval the following amalgams: "The Kasdans, A Braffing Legacy", "The Braffing of America", and "What is B.R.A.F.F. Force?".

Thank you for your interest in Braffing.

What is B.R.A.F.F. Force?

Was the "Emo" phenomenon influencial in Braffing the early 21st century, or was there a deeper underlying force Braffing us all? Is "expression" the same thing as "art"? Or are we just Braffing ourselves? The B.R.A.F.F. Force would have us believe that anything we express, without discussion of merit is "Art". However this ignores our innate reactions to great art, and the fact that some instances of expression are more effective than others. If we are blank slates, we may be Braffed by any hack with a dozen film school credits under their belt. Commercial art uses our innate reactions to sell Braff to us over & over again. We must inquire deeply and seriously into ourselves and our world to become ultimately unBraffable.

Old School is Animal House, Braffed

The Watchmen movie is the Watchmen graphic novel, Braffed.

Though I would argue that these are not true Braffs. The superhero and comedy genres lack the pretences of drama. Superhero movies and comedies have deepened to adapt to a Braffed audience. One could argue, to their benefit. But why have we come to expect only superficial pop-psychological inquiry into social and philosophical matters in modern films? Its the least common denominator expected of the widest possible audience. But has it changed us? Are we all effectively Braffed? I will leave it with this question: What is the relationship between Braffing and the collapse of modernism and the existential void?

The Braffing of America

In the 60's, there was a real cultural revolution happening with roots in the civil rights and anti-war movements. Its far-reaching effects left us with a modernized American culture with liberalized attitudes about race, sex, language... you name it. The cultural revolution’s effect on cinema in America would only begin to really develop in the decade to come.

American film in the 70’s combined the cinematic techniques of the French New Wave with the mythology of the Wild West. The counterculture and its archetypes, passed down from Walt Whitman to Jack Kerouac to Bob Dylan became larger than life images on the big screen. From that period, after the counter-revolution of the blockbuster, we are left with the detritus of its empty symbols. Blind wanderers reminding us of a bygone time.

When the superficial images of American Counterculture are confused with authentic personal and social upheaval, you’ve been Braffed.

Braffs usually have all the superficial cues that you are watching a countercultural film, without any of the substance. Braffs are missing any deep radical criticism of psychology, capitalism, or the individuals place in society. They are overlooked for the glamour of depression and bourgeois intellectual elitism.

Richard Linklater's films are not Braffs, though they certainly follow the exact template of what a lesser director would Braff. This point could be debated, it certainly could be relative. Sometimes it may come down to: How afraid is the director of being seen as pretentious? Maybe that is off the mark. Perhaps it is the reliance on sentiment and not ideas that makes any given movie a Braff.

Countercultural art is deeply rooted radical thoughts and practice. Braffing is deeply rooted in looking like countercultural art.

A Che Guevara T-shirt is in fact the ULTIMATE Braff.

It may also depend on who is wearing the Che Guevara t-shirt. Some uptight politico in a Che is mediocre satire. A young person making a cynical joke about voting, thats a Braff. The original sin of Braffing is that idealism is a sentimental youthful quality, and not a fighting, living principle.

Either that, or I just Braffed you like Sonny Bono braffed Dylan.

Monday, March 16, 2009

The Kasdans: A Braffing Legacy

In the Land of Women, due to it's failure to Braff America, has itself become something of a forgotten masterpiece of the Braffing genre. There is a “Coming-of-age” struggle with mortality. The soundtrack invades and overwhelms any attempt to take the film seriously. And there is, of course, the over-the-top pop-psychological melodrama. When exactly does Meg Ryan stop vomiting all over the living room floor? Who showed her the dailies?

However, to the best of my recollection, the critics didn’t bite. Adam Brody did not become the next Ryan Gosling. If a Braff occurs in a vacuum, and no one is there to commercialize it, is it a Braff at all? Reappropriated, the film could be camp genius. Remember Douglas Sirk? I can see it. Clearly his intentions were ironic? I am afraid not. Jon Kasdan, you Braffed. What? You think you are some kind of genius because you wrote an episode of Dawson's Creek? Sorry, TWO EPISODES!!!

Everyone is nice to Jon Kasdan because his dad wrote Empire Strikes Back. Someone has to pay the cinematographer, and who better than Dad and his Hollywood friends? Jon Kasdan's daddy is a clear proto-Braffer. "The Big Chill" anyone? The Big Chill even sets the stage for years of Braffing to come with its "generation defining" soundtrack. Lawrence Kasdan is the Iggy Pop of braffing the shit out of things you're not sure you like anymore. Lawrence Kasdan, like Cameron Crowe and Steve Martin, show that even the elderly can Braff you.

Elizabethtown is the first official time you got Braffed. Remember how you felt on that day? "The Freebird thing was funny, but... FUCK! I've been BRAFFED!" Cameron Crowe was a Braffer before it even had a name. A geriatric braffer. A geri-braffer. Steve Martin's "Shop Girl"? You've got Braff! Jason Schwartzman? Claire Danes? Are you Braffin' me?

In The Land of Women is a total Braff, even though it failed to Braff America. But who knows what the future has in store? Is that all your daddy's got, Jon Kasdan, or are you gonna Braff us like a Hurricane?