Jeffrey’s Film Queue: Jan. 25 – Jan. 31

Well, this is embarrassing. For a cinephile with his own website, I sure didn’t see many movies this past week. In all honesty, I have a confession to make: I suffer from depression.

If that whiplash inducing admission didn’t dissuade you from continuing to read this article, I thank you. This revelation is not intended to incur sympathy or allot me excusal from any unbecoming behaviour. Rather, this is a chance to foster understanding as to how the illness manifests in me, and, this being ultimately a silly, little film site, how this dictates the kind of narratives that resonate deeply with me.

As you may or may not have read in my Top 10 Films of 2015, Inside Out was my favourite film of that year. This is due largely in part to how it so perfectly captures the abstract idea of emotions and how they’re constantly at odds as to who is running the ship in your skull. But, on top of this, in one brief moment, it perfectly captures a truth about depression. Depression is not sadness, for sadness is empathy. Rather, depression is the absence of emotion. It is a quasi-sociopathic state where you lack the vital emotions for empathy.

And so, during a long, difficult week, of which I will not bore you with the details, I found that I no longer found pleasure in the things I loved. Namely, movies. At home, I typically found myself even so unmotivated as to not even have the energy to go lay on the couch and watch a movie. For you see, a person’s enjoyment of a film lies in their ability to empathize with the characters on screen, to believe in their conflicts and to see hope for their successes, and feel the tragedy of their failures. When the depression takes hold (as it can be an all consuming beast), it is impossible for me to watch a film, because I can no longer empathize. How can I see hope for others when I see no hope for myself? How can I feel the tragedy of failure, when failure is so much the default setting, that it becomes rote?

Hell, maybe Dewey Cox summarized my last week best: “Goddammit, this is a dark fucking period!”

Walk Hard: The Dewey Cox Story (2007)
Directed by Jake Kasdan

A pitch perfect parody of biopics and the music business. The bounty of hilarious line deliveries (most of them delivered by the undervalued treasure that is Tim Meadows) are such that to quote even one is to do a disservice to all of them. Stands alongside This Is Spinal Tap as one of the best musical comedies of all-time. Perhaps this is hyperbole, but sometimes you just gotta go ahead and duet.

Versus (2000)
Directed by Ryuhei Kitamura

This is the kind of movie teenage me would have held up as the epitome of filmmaking. It has all the ingredients a pubescent adolescent needs: zombies, samurai, gore, anime inspiration, sword and gun fights, and a rock hard stupid plot twist. I can say I’ve grown out of this type of thing, and to a large extent, I have, but there is no denying how amped up I was during the final battle. What can I say? I have omnivorous tastes.

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