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Dead Poets Society - The Phantom Librarian
Spewing out too many words since November 2003
fernwithy
fernwithy
Dead Poets Society
I was enjoying Robert Sean Leonard in the repeat of the House season opener last night--best Wilson ever--so I decided to re-watch DPS, and only one thought is occurring to me: How bad is Chet Danbury? His parents are big time, rich alum who live in town and are apparently still on friendly terms with the school, and they still wouldn't take him at an undoubtedly legacy-based place like Welton?

I just went over to look at the Wiki entry on DPS, and they mentioned that one of the rare bad reviews was complaining about how the end was bad because everyone standing on their desks, "Well, that was like saying we aren't all conformists, and we know that's not true" (paraphrased). That, combined with the whole wonder thing (I have no idea why I f-locked that post, and have unlocked it now), where someone complained that there is no wonder in life and therefore it was a lie to have it in fiction, really gets my goat. It basically goes into the notion that the critic's worldview is true, and therefore anything that doesn't agree with it is a lie. What the hell? I can see hating a book or movie that doesn't happen to jive with one's perception of life--I mean, yes, that's fair. But why assume that the creator of that piece agrees with you, but is just telling lies for some base reason, rather than that he or she is telling a story that he or she happens to believe? You may think it a naive point of view or an overly cynical one, and you can rave to your heart's delight about people believing it, but that has no bearing on whether or not the creator was telling the truth as he or she saw it, let alone how well he or she did in telling it. Why assume a moral lie?
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Comments
victorialupin From: victorialupin Date: October 6th, 2007 10:41 pm (UTC) (Link)
I've never watched Dead Poets' Society (I know, I should! I just never got around to it), but I wanted to echo your sentiments about the season opener. RSL is just fantastic in it -- I'm happy that House doesn't have his regular team right now because Wilson is so often shoved into the background. ♥
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 6th, 2007 10:46 pm (UTC) (Link)
Yeah, I like them, but I found myself not missing them at all, because Wilson rocked so hard.
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 6th, 2007 11:27 pm (UTC) (Link)
Here's RSL in a kind of Wilson-esque moment in DPS.
bends From: bends Date: October 6th, 2007 11:02 pm (UTC) (Link)
I always cry the last 20 or so minutes at the least, I love DPS. (I also don't want to spoil it for people who haven't seen it, but you know what I'm talking about...)

Maybe Chet didn't want to go and his parents just gave up trying?
shezan From: shezan Date: October 7th, 2007 02:41 am (UTC) (Link)
Robert Sean Leonard is the kid in DPS? Good lord, I'd never realised!
fernwithy From: fernwithy Date: October 7th, 2007 03:23 am (UTC) (Link)
Snerk, yes. Half the attraction of watching House for me was, "Hey, look, it's Neil Perry!" :p
gypsy_thief From: gypsy_thief Date: October 7th, 2007 03:34 am (UTC) (Link)
He was also in Swing Kids. I keep waiting for him to start dancing down the corridors on House.
redlily From: redlily Date: October 7th, 2007 04:00 am (UTC) (Link)
Uh, excuse me, you're neglecting his seminal work, My Best Friend Is a Vampire. Truly a shining star in the glittering panoply of American cinema.
darkthirty From: darkthirty Date: October 7th, 2007 03:35 am (UTC) (Link)
What I hated about Dead Poets Society was that it kind of compiled a lot of irritating features of Peter Weir's films since Gallipoli - it was sentimental more than truly moving, and the political dimensions were moving more and more toward middle of the road liberalism, something that first showed in Year of Living Dangerously and continued in The Truman Show. As well, in Dead Poets Society, the inevitability of the end ends up being, well, canned. I hated The Truman Show for the same reason.

Later, Weir would get back on track by dropping all pretext of radicalism, which he had sort of gathered with, for example, The Last Wave and Picnic at Hanging Rock, and Gallipoli, when he directed that great yarn Master and Commander.

In other words, Dead Poets Society didn't so much take me on a journey, as his earlier films, and later ones, did, as present a picture already static, coalesced around it's sentiment.

Of course, part of the reason for the static character of Truman and Poets are the severe limitations of the main actors, I believe. Robin really is always the same guy, no matter how much you polish him up, and, come to think of it, Carrey too. The glib just glistens on him.

I note Peter has been on hiatus since Master and Commander. Could be significant. And his next movie seems to harken back to the enigmatic.

Weir is perhaps the only director who's work I personally find deeply uneven, as if there were projects that were his and ones that he went through the motions with.

amamama From: amamama Date: October 7th, 2007 09:22 pm (UTC) (Link)
DPS is where they tear the pages concerning literary analysis out of their textbooks, isn't it? Don't remember much more, but that's probably because this was such a strong action for me. Lit. anal. only served to destoy my enjoyment of literature in high school. I tend to experience what I read, and suddenly feeling what I read was wrong, I shoul analyze it to death instead. Gah. Needless to say, I guess, I always did incredibly bad on those tests. Thank god I'm now old enough to be content leaving that part of literature to others, I'm back to experiencing what I read. I really don't care what kinds of 'effects' an author uses, either it works, or it don't (or it works too well, so I have to stop reading because I get sick - thrillers tend to do that). yours work. ;)
slice254 From: slice254 Date: October 8th, 2007 02:15 am (UTC) (Link)
I fell in love with RSL in Dead Poets Society. And I fell even more in love with literature for literature's sake (not for the sake of studying it from a technical point of view).

On those rare occasions I watch House now, it is only to see RSL (though I love Hugh Laurie, too - just not in House).
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