Sunday, January 03, 2010

Outside the rotation: LOTR and The Wire

Why storytelling is still at the heart of human culture:

I don't agree with a lot of what Kevin C. Murphy writes, over at Ghost in the Machine, but when I agree with him I really agree with him. And I'm right there with him when he names the two greatest pieces of cinematic storytelling of the previous decade (I have to admit, I really like "The Oughts" as a way to describe it; as in "zero +", but also as in, "here are all the ways we ought to have coped with war criminals, war profiteers, lying Republican sociopaths, global warming, etc.): Lord of the Rings and The Wire, against which everything else just simply pales in comparison.

Of LOTR, he captures my own emotional reaction:

"At its heart, the trilogy isn't so much about wizards and warriors as it is about friendship, the nature of evil, and persevering in dark times."
Which, of course, have been the core themes of all great stories going all the way back to Gilgamesh. Tolkien knew that, and so did Peter Jackson.

As Kevin says, "Step aside, George Lucas." This is real storytelling.

Of The Wire, he captures part of what I've also expressed before:
"Just as Dickens brought industrial corruption and the plight of Victorian London's social underclass to life at the close of the 19th century, The Wire is the piece of journalistic fiction generations one or two hundred years hence will look to to understand the urban landscape of the Oughts. And more likely than not, then as it is now, the game will still be the game."
I'd put it against Dickens, any day. Hell, I'd put it against Steinbeck's Grapes of Wrath, Woody's "Tom Joad", Andy Irvine's "Forgotten Hero," and the Mahabhrata. And in my personal pantheon, that's as high up the tree as you can get.

Really, go read it all.

"A man got to have a code." Omar Little

And remember that the great stories are those that speak the truth.


KcM said...

Thanks for the shout-out. It is much appreciated.

As for the stuff we don't agree on, in the immortal words of Jimmy McNulty, "What the fuck did I do?" :p

Chris said...

Ya happy now, bitch?


Thanks for the great writing.