“People are always talking about freedom. Freedom to live a certain way, without being kicked around. Of course, the more you live a certain way, the less it feels like freedom. Me, Uhm, I can change during the course of a day. I wake and I'm one person, when I go to sleep I know for certain I'm somebody else. I don't know who I am most of the time”
Bob Dylan has been the through line of my passion for art.
8th Grade - the biography assignment 9th - 10th grade - realizing what music could be 12th grade - going through the 5 stages of heartbreak grief with his tunes. College - Taking multiple critical lenses to his work, a guaranteed A for any English class (maybe cause passion usually = success) Student Teaching - Multiple viewings of documentaries/using his work to teach poetry to my students. Adulthood - a deep dive of his catalog - finding the intricacies and miracles of words and sound.
All years keeps friends and Hannah up for hours spinning his records, breaking down lyrics, messages, symbolism, and tone. (Booze involved, but not required)
Realizing how you change with music which in turn reestablishes the meaning. A beautiful cycle swimming and swirling in the dreams of words meshed with my own ideas about love, protest, hate, grief, friendship, jealousy, questioning, and realizing.
He Ahem, contains multitudes.
Todd Haynes fractures the man we perceive we know, with all the men he was. Brilliantly casting 6 different actors to portray the divergent personalities of Dylan.
Bale: the protest/born-again Christian
Wishaw: The surrealistic poet The late Ledger: the flaws and romance Blanchett - Don't look back era / electric Dylan (Best performance) Talking in circles - Reflecting projection / talking in circles / dark Dylan Gere - Western - Billy the kid Franklin - the con artist living in an era that he does not belong to
Haynes bobs *winks* and weaves these characters connecting them with pathos/struggles and then quickly delineates to show the perfect contrast of each role. Humming behind are original, rehearsal, and cover versions of his songs filling in the blanks of a narrative that is meant to sink in your conscious more than explain it to you. Just let it happen.
While covering all his phases in major/minuscule ways, instead of deifying the man. He lifts the veil on the pain of being a neurotic genius whilst screaming into the void. Asking the question does it even matter? As a fan, we tend to jigsaw his genre and music trying to fit it all together into a neat narrative, it makes it easier for our brains. The entanglement of what he means and doesn't matters more to the viewer than to himself. It begs the question of why we put so much stock into ordinary people, who gave enough shit to say something about the world. Is it because we can’t? Maybe we are terrified we have nothing to say. Maybe that's why I have a habit of asking questions in my writing instead of answering them.
*Damn Creg, love yourself buddy*
Sometimes I hate that I love being a hobby critic. Assigning meaning to art instead of letting it just sit - grow - expand.
*Damn Creg, that is how art grows and expands, relax.* The script carefully plays Jenga with that mysticism. Mythologizing a broken-off piece of that myth creating a (black) rabbit hole of self-diagnosis. All the while creating an interwoven system on commentary on social issues of the time paralleling personal turmoil. Welp, that’s what his discography does.
Dylan is walking contradiction Protest- part of civil rights movement/nothing can change anything Love is eternal/ I can throw snide fastballs Here is all we have/love Jesus I am broken / we are all scattered together
Bob Dylan is the uncertainty in all of us. Also the rogue who is not afraid of change. He just has the confidence to pick and choose when he feels. Some might find this fraudulent, but I find it kind of beautiful. How a movie represents all of that is a wonder. The attempt is miraculous, striking, heartbreaking, and inspiring.
Aren’t we all continuously rewriting our thoughts, feelings, and ideas?
This take on a biopic blows me away. I find the rest now incredibly boring. We represent the most influential artist of multiple generations by using formulaic bullshit.
*Okay this is the part where the singer has some type of traumatic childhood memory This is the part where they meet someone who knew them before they got big this is the part where the band puts their hands in together This is the part where they fight This is the part where one of their hits is made because of their fight Here are the credits of the actual live performances that the imitation could never bottle the magic of. * Bohemian Rhapsody catching strays.
This is the most personal favorite. If you haven’t jumped fully in, the imitation of art house, and sometimes on-the-nose gimmicks might be seen as eye-rolling instead of charming. I am a sucker though. Totally respect anyone with critiques and annihilation of some of the plot, and scene work. Toss-up of someone either cringing at the cheesy pretentious dialogue or falling in line to the post beatnik wave.
Currently listening to Blood on the Tracks on vinyl though. It is hitting. S-Tier
No better heartbreak song than Idiot Wind. Nothing compares to the salvation of love in Shelter from the Storm.
Check it out you fools.