Thursday, April 12, 2012

K is for Kalifornia (#381)

Kalifornia (1993) is a fascinating sociological study, first and foremost, a look at the impact of our continuing obsession with "true crime" and the clash of cultures it represents.  David Duchovny, an actor who had to wait until The X-Files to truly be noticed (and who quickly sank back into semi-obscurity once it concluded) stars, teaming up with Michelle Forbes (another actor who never really got their due, mostly because she ran from her biggest role, as Ensign Ro in Star Trek) as photojournalists touring grizzly crime scenes.  Things become interesting when they agree to let a couple of rednecks tag along, including the predictably unpredictable Juliette Lewis and Brad Pitt in one of his I'm-not-just-a-pretty-face roles (probably one of the more colorful performances in that regard).  Morbid curiosity in violence tends to overlook the underlying causes, which probably ought to be the real goal, so that in studying it you actually enable it (goes for all those crime TV shows, too!), and that's exactly what ends up happening to the lead characters.  Yes, Lewis and Pitt are horrid caricatures of white trash in this movie, but that's exactly what they need to be, because Duchovny and Forbes are unsuspecting yuppie trash, and they have no idea.  White trash and yuppie trash never have any idea what they actually are.  Stick them in the same room and you've got nothing but trouble.  Maybe a movie like Kalifornia is intended to make that clear.

Star Trek bonus!

K is for Kirk, James Tiberius
(From Star Trek)
The new J.J. Abrams movies are ensuring that Kirk becomes the cultural icon that Star Trek fans always believed him to be, taking him out from the shadow of William Shatner and allowing Chris Pine to define him in a more universal light as the adventuring, analytical, ladies man he was always meant to be.  Fearless in the face of danger and fully confident of his abilities, Kirk also became known, thanks to Shatner for believing in his own judgment sometimes to excess, ignoring the opinions of others sometimes to his own detriment, whether he realized it or not.  That was made clear as a trait in Pine's first go-around, and adds new dimensions to his relationship with Spock, who is arguably the more instantly iconic character from the original set of Star Trek characters.

A-to-Z Challenge!

4 comments:

Catherine Stine said...

Oooh, white trash vs Yuppie trash, sounds awesome! I love sucky and weird films. I'll have to check this one out. Coincidentally, I'm talking about really bad films, books, art & music today (K for Kooky). Stop by! (Today my blog is #614, Catherine Stine's Idea City). Cheers!

Sean McLachlan said...

Yeah, white trash vs. Yuppie trash sums it up. I didn't like that film much. Strange to say, my wife rented it for me thinking I'd like it. She's usually a good judge!

Spacerguy said...

Awesome A-Z challenge posts. I've written about the 'Kirks' a few times myself, fascinating how the movie expanded on the rebellious nature of the characters earlier days.

Tony Laplume, Scouring Monk said...

I feel like I should emphasize that I like Kalifornia, and that its appeal is exactly the way it looks at this clash of cultures, not that it's like watching Jerry Springer and Jerry's useless insights into why we should care about the guests he chooses for sensation alone.

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