Wednesday, May 06, 2009

Out of Print

Danny Plotnick, USA, 4 minutes
A sweet little ode to the counterculture of the 80s and 90s, a pre-internet time when unearthing quality non-mainstream culture was a real treasure hunt.

I saw that Danny Plotnick's poetic tribute to the thrills of pop cultural "treasure hunting" is playing a the 2009 Maryland Film Festival. I've been harping on a similar tune for years, about how technology is great, the Internet is great, computers are great, Wikipedia and video streaming are great - BUT, they've made what used to take years of obsessive collecting, researching, and thrift store/yard sale shopping just a few computer clicks away from scoring. It's a good thing, for sure, but it kind of dampens the thrill of the quest. It's like doing the deed on the first date; sure, there's something to be said for immediate sexual gratification, but there's a whole lot more to be said for the slow build-up of initial sexual tension when you're smitten with someone and have all those butterflies in your stomach, eagerly waiting for the next time you see them.

Naturally the City Paper's Anna Ditkoff completely missed the point in her capsule review - and even threw in an unnecessary snide aside against "a certain crowd": "OUT OF PRINT waxes nostalgic for the days when underground books, music, and art were truly underground and 'unearthing quality culture was a treasure hunt' of sifting through crates of records or prowling the stacks of used bookstores. It's sure to elicit plenty of head nodding from a certain crowd, because, you know, culture isn't cool if everyone can have it."

What a C-U-Next-Tuesday! Missed the point entirely!!!

Of course, the fact that someone posted Plotnick's film on YouTube is rife with irony because it merely amplifies his point that everything is too readily available on the Internet; true counterculture questers should trek down to the Charles Theatre to see this film on the big screen!

Baltimore Sun movie critic Michael Sragow sounded a similar note in his recent "Film criticism: old media vs. new media" article. "The old media associated with moviegoing and movie coverage may increasingly seem clunky to a rising generation. But they fostered an active and intense attachment to the art form. It took movie lovers of earlier times more effort and commitment to see and re-see the objects of their affection. But in art, as well as life, time and distance fuel real passion." Well said, sir!

Comic Book Guy: patron saint of obsessive collectors

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Blogger Plotbox said...

Tom, Thanks so much for the write up and defending me against the unwashed hordes!

11:38 AM  

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