Blaugust Day 3 (Hurry! Join us and participate in this month-long blogging challenge!)
On yesterday’s post, I wrote the following:
Go [play Tomb Raider], before we’re no longer friends!
Today, I’d like to add to that list.
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I’m a big fan of “well-crafted” pieces of art.
Back in college, we read Nietzsche’s The Birth of Tragedy for a music class. The point of this was to explore the two sides of how we experience beauty in works of art. One side is the pure “emotional” experience of beauty. The unexplainable, drunken passion we may feel when we are madly in love; or the raw, powerful state we may experience when we lose ourselves underneath a pair of headphones listening to heavy rock music.
The other side may be thought of as “intellectual” beauty – the wonder and gratification we experience when we realize the perfect intricacies of Bach’s Prelude in C Major, for example; or the excitement we feel in a story when we realize that all the elements which were presented early on converges by the finale to create a sublime and climactic moment of awe and inspiration.
The question is this: Instead of just catering to one side of this spectrum, can we marry both states into a “perfect” piece of art, which can stimulate both extremes simultaneously?
Perfection is a high hurdle to reach, but I have a few personal favorites which I feel are worthy and need to be mentioned:
The Usual Suspects is probably one of my favorite movies of all time. It’s one of those where it’s a treat to watch the first time, and then you want to watch it again immediately after you’ve finished it. It will make you feel smart and dumb at the same time – the ending literally made my jaw drop. Watch it, or you are off of my friend’s list.
Midnight in Paris. Charming. Intellectual. Wise. It is subtle in it’s delivery of humor, but had me laughing out loud many times. It is my go-to movie when I need inspiration.
If you are a fan of serious anime and not just the high-school-boy-turns-super-hero-type, go check out some of Satoshi Kon’s works. They are wonderfully crafted stories, some heartwarming (Tokyo Godfathers), some subtle, yet deeply layered (Millenium Actress), and some are outright disturbing (Perfect Blue). Most of his works straddle the boundary of reality and dreams (Paprika deals with this topic most directly). They are all great films which makes use of the animated medium wonderfully.
I’m going to throw in a musical here: The Phantom of the Opera – The Original London Cast Recording, with Michael Crawford and Sarah Brightman. For me, this is perfection. The marriage of story, the music, the lyrics, the performances… I haven’t heard a musical yet that tops what this one has done for me. Both the intellectual beauty in the lyrical and musical craft, and the emotional beauty in the story and performances has had me listening to this album over and over again throughout the years.
Portal – an important video game mention here. A cute little 3D puzzle game. That’s what I thought. Oh, just a couple more levels and it’s over, I thought. If you have not played this masterpiece yet, you are not my friend – more importantly, you are missing out on one of the most innovative video games of all time. I have a friend who only played up to level 10 or so. Well, he used to be my friend.
I’m sure there are many more I’m missing, but it’s okay. I think it’s enough for you to do.
Put this check-list on your fridge.
Be my friend.
Onward, to Day 4!