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Another Side of Llewyn Davis

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“there’s a bluebird in my heart that

wants to get out

but I’m too tough for him,

I say, stay in there, I’m not going

to let anybody see

you.”

– Charles Bukowski

The Coen Bros. latest flick “Inside Llewyn Davis” literally hit close to home for me. For starters, a few scenes were shot in my neighborhood – and with that I’ve followed the shooting progress chronicled on the numerous local daily blogs adding to my already growing anticipation since 2011. But I’d rather not get into or bore you with my own private Idaho, because its real allure is that I too have a fondness and romanticism for the bygone era of those bohemian Greenwich Village days of the late Fifties and early Sixties when it rivaled the art scene of 1920s Paris. To think that on any given night back then you could catch the likes of Miles, Woody, Mingus, Lenny, Coltrane, Ginsberg, Dolphy, Cosby, or that hack hipster Kerouac just to name a few. It seriously must of been like living in Jazz Heaven whereas now it’s just turned into an extension of the NYU campus.

inside llywen davis

Anyway, as you know for every one of these prominent cats there are countless others who have fallen by the wayside and it’s this framework the Coen Bros. have concocted the character Llewyn, the struggling folk musician who has recently lost his singing partner after he committed suicide by jumping off the George Washington Bridge. Now left out in the cold we follow and piece together a few day odyssey in the winter of 1961 stumbling along couches, ex-girlfriends, coffee houses, recording sessions, road trips, shabby record label offices, estranged family members, auditions, dark alleys, a couple of cats, folkies, merchant marines, professors, junkies, music managers, beatniks, and of course the arrival of Bob fucking Dylan.

inside llywen davis

As usual with the Coens, the production design, clothing, characters, and music are all spot on. And even without sky fallen Roger Deakins – replacement Bruno Delbonnel’s talents are finally recognized because, let’s face it, Harry Potter and Dark Shadows are the usual Hollywood crap.

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It’s good to see John Goodman back after over a decade long absence from the Coens. I only hope that Carey Mulligan never returns, because she’s already in one scene too many playing her usual cocksucking self. As for Oscar Davis, even though Llewyn Davis’ character is seemingly narcissistic and frustrated, he emboldens his character with an underlying integrity to his music of interpretation of folk tunes, which in a way is an art form in itself and apparent when he performs. The irony is that the times are a-changin’ and the advent of the singer songwriter artist is just around the corner leading to fame, success, and vision.

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I initially thought about using the oft Dylan quote to begin this with “there is no success like failure and that failure is no success at all,” but considering the Coen’s have alluded to Llewyn Davis to be loosely based on Dave Van Ronk I’d like to think that unlike many of the critics that have the impression that Llewyn is a selfish arrogant folk purist (one who’s not even political?!) that he eventually, like Van Ronk finds his niche. Mainstream success never comes but he will at least find his direction home just like that cat Ulysses does in the end.

inside llewyn davis

“Holding up my purring cat to the moon I sighed.” – Jack Kerouac

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Honestabel Likes The Social Network.

Director David Fincher jokingly dubbed The Social Network, “the Citizen Kane of John Hughes movies.” Both about the the rise of a young controversial media tycoons that refused to participate in the movie about them, both incapable of friendship, and both have enemies that want to see him fall. But as for the John Hughes analogy, I hope Fincher don’drop dead on the mean streets of New York.

The movie begins with a scene in a bar near Harvard campus in 2003 with Mark Zuckerberg (Jesse Eisenberg) on verge of being inspired in launching Facebook and getting dumped by his girlfriend, Erica (Rooney Mara). We immediately get a sense of what makes Zuckerberg tick, his insecurities, ambitions, and ego provided by the script from Aaron Sorkin that is a shoe in for an Oscar. The scene exemplifies the tempo and style of the movie with a barrage of dialogue of subtle insinuations, misinterpretations, miscommunications and accusations of speaking in code and ends with it’s thematic line “because you’re an asshole.” In Citizen Kane, his bestfriend says, “He never gave himself away. He never gave anything away, he just left you a tip.” And like Kane, Zuckerberg did just that – though he may have tipped his hand with obvious damage control with his timely $100 mill donation to the Lebowski Urban Achievers in Newark, NJ. I wonder what Zuckerberg will say on his deathbed….Row crew?
Zuckerburg may have stole Facebook but I don’t see him throwing a tantrum over Twitter, which I believe he invented with the Status Update/News Feed. What I’m still trying to figure out is how a guy with no friends or ads found 500 million of them when we can’t even get one lousy subscriber. Even with a Facebook page (LIKE IT), stickers, or buttons, and divided shares. But Zuckerberg is not even half the backstabbing asshole compared to what Jay Leno did to Conan who now resides in the bargain basement of networks TBS with a beard considering he only got 32.5 mill whereas Eduardo Saverin (Andrew Garfield), co-creator of Facebook, is worth at the age of 26, 1.3 billion. And isn’t that what we ultimately find fascinating about these tech geeks? Money! Not friendship or loyalty, I mean who’s got time for that besides 500 million users?
(Another Harvard Alumni who got shafted.)

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