It's important to get our minds off the #scamdemic.
Recently, I watched Inside Llewyn Davis again.
This heartbreaking portrait of an artist is one of the best movies
I have seen. His plight is epitomized when he pours his heart into
beautiful song for folk music maven Lou Grossman, who responds,
"I don't see the money." But Grossman offers him a tryout for
what became Peter, Paul & Mary. Llewyn Davis will not wear a goatee and sing harmony. He does not know how to compromise and we wish he did!
The movie recounts one setback after another. Yes, it is downbeat but it is also masterful subtle moviemaking. It is art.
(Jan 23, 2014)
By Henry Makow Ph.D.
This movie depicts a week in the life of a struggling folk singer in 1960's Greenwich Village.
For 90 minutes, I was in a time capsule. I was "Inside Llewyn Davis" and I liked it there. Some reviewers describe him as cold but I disagree. He is an artist in a Philistine world.
Writer & Directors, the Joel and Ethan Coen (left) lend a Fellini-like quality to the people Davis encounters.
Like their protagonist, the Coen's didn't compromise.
A steaming turd like "The Wolf of Wall Street" has earned $92 million and got Oscar nominations for Actor, Director and Best Picture. In a society run by coprophiliacs, this stands to reason.
Llewyn Davis is played by a beautiful and talented actor Oscar Isaac. His character is ambiguous ethnically. Dave Van Ronk's autobiography "The Mayor of McDougal Street" provided inspiration for the screenplay.
The movie is a meditation. You are in the moment, as when Davis awakes to the sound of a rocking chair and someone eating cornflakes.
Inside Llewyn Davis depicts the fate of beauty in a coarse, brutalized society. The protagonist has nothing but his music and his integrity. He refuses to compromise.
He made me feel that we define ourselves by what we do when no one is looking, when no one can learn what we did. For example, he sang a heartrending song for his dying father who is suffering from dementia. It is unclear how his father was affected by it, except to release his bladder.
Virtue is its own reward. There is no happy ending. In the final scene, we see the young Bob Dylan performing. Somehow, Dylan knew how to compromise.
ON A DIFFERENT NOTE
(Left, Phil Ochs)
I am nostalgic about the six decades that have defined my life. I was extremely idealistic as a youth. In the early 1960's, "protest folk singer" Phil Ochs' music was my idol.
In 1964, a friend and I hitchhiked to New York and went to a coffee house where Ochs was playing. We shelled out a lot of money but Ochs only played four or five songs.
I was outraged that my beacon of truth would rip me off. I confronted Ochs afterward in the crowd. But instead of saying how I felt, I blurted out, " Why are you playing at a crummy joint like this?"
The coffee house was no worse than any other but Ochs obliged me by saying he was doing the owner a favor.
The sixties were a time when my generation thought we could live up to a higher standard and make the world a better place. We had no idea how naive and manipulated we were.
Returning late at night to my aunt's apartment in Brooklyn, someone threw an empty coke bottle at us from a very high balcony. It smashed to pieces on the sidewalk, narrowly missing our heads.
We laughed hysterically, uncontrollably.
Phil Ochs' "betrayal" was forgotten.