Author Topic: Boyhood  (Read 5048 times)

alexarch

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Re: Boyhood
« Reply #20 on: September 11, 2014, 10:36:58 AM »
I have lived in Texas for a combined 15 years (not that it should really matter), and I had more trouble with a few of the things that were there than the gaps.  Specifically, I found the bible and a gun birthday scene utterly eye-rolling, and there were definitely a few groans from the opening night audience at that particular moment.  As one FS not from TX has put it, could that sequence happen at a birthday in some rural Texas town?  I suppose.  Could it happen with some in-laws you seem to barely know (keeping on mind that the new spouse had just come into the story)?  Not so much.  It was pretty cartoonish.  In contrast to much of Boyhood, I think Linklater did a spot on job of Texans representing Texans - and thus, representing themselves - in the map of Texas sequence in Bernie.
From my partner's perspective, who grew up in down-home Texas, that scene really rang true. He watched it and just went, "Yep."

I agree that the scene was a little cartoonish; it was heightened; it was slightly exaggerated for comedic / dramatic effect. However, I think the strength of that scene was in following it up with that really nice scene of them shooting skeet together. it showed the in-laws as genuinely lovely people. And guns and bibles are part of that.

I think those two scenes together did a great job of giving depth to those characters.

My father-in-law loved to shoot with his son, my partner. And vice-versa. Jerry has great memories of shooting with his dad. And yet, we're not gun people. I'm terrified of guns, and when I express this to my father-in-law, it makes him a little sad because he wants to connect with me in that way.

And my mother-in-law would absolutely give me a bible for my birthday. Absolutely. And again, it probably saddens her that she can't connect with me with her religion. I imagine she worries a great deal about the fact that she isn't going to see me in her heaven.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2014, 10:40:03 AM by alexarch »

Sam the Cinema Snob

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Re: Boyhood
« Reply #21 on: September 11, 2014, 11:15:47 AM »
Yes. Guns and the Bible are signs of deep love in Texas. We're strange like that. (Also not a gun person.)

Melvil

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Re: Boyhood
« Reply #22 on: September 11, 2014, 12:47:33 PM »
That's a really good point, Alex. The combination of those two scenes does make for a different impression than taking the first scene on it's own. It's interesting to consider how those types of scenes that take certain liberties or make use of exaggeration can still speak toward some truth of life without being purely truthful themselves. I think even the controversial dinner/worker scene (at least tries to) work that way.

oneaprilday

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Re: Boyhood
« Reply #23 on: September 11, 2014, 01:03:21 PM »
However, I think the strength of that scene was in following it up with that really nice scene of them shooting skeet together. it showed the in-laws as genuinely lovely people. And guns and bibles are part of that.
I did appreciate that Linklater has a clear affection for the in-laws; he's not making fun of them and their "backward ways." And I do think the scene might be saying something interesting about the way we project our own likes/dislikes, views, tastes, etc. onto others, without really stopping to consider whether those others share our likes/dislikes, views, tastes. The in-laws put Mason into their own narrative, assuming he considers himself a part of it. I suppose part of the interesting thing, in the context of the whole film, is that Mason is still figuring out what his own narrative is; others in his life as he grows are writing his story - he cannot really fight against being a part of what they write for him. If his mother takes a new husband, he must be written in as a step-son. If his mother decides to move, a new home is written for him. And I suppose it's in the final scenes that we see Mason is in a place where he has most narrative control. The scene that was most powerful for me - the only one that evoked any kind of emotional response - was when he was driving to university, the symbolic weight of the open road and one's own car - the idea of a life to be lived all out in front of him - all that was pretty powerful to me. It was in that moment that I was most interested in Mason; he took on a sudden individuality that I was curious about and wanted to see finally develop.  For in spite of the philosophically interesting idea of Mason being merely a pawn in others' stories, I did long for more specificity relative to Mason earlier in the film. I didn't want Mason to be a blank slate, a Tabula rasa for me to project upon (as roujin put it recently on Twitter); I wanted to see him more fully formed - as I have seen Kore-eda do, for example, with the children in his films, or Malick in Tree of Life, or the Dardennes in The Kid with the Bike. For me to be emotionally invested, I need something more specific than what I got with Mason.

But back to the gun scene. Again, I get that such a thing happens in real life - it's true even in my own community, as I've said - I don't really need more real life examples (though I'm interested in what you say about your experiences, because I'm interested in you, alex. :) It just doesn't help me, particularly, with the film itself, if that makes sense). What I want is someone to explain why it makes sense for the particular characters of the film. As sdb, asks,
could that sequence happen at a birthday in some rural Texas town?  I suppose.  Could it happen with some in-laws you seem to barely know (keeping on mind that the new spouse had just come into the story)?   
It makes sense, alex, that your mother-in-law would want to give you a bible; it makes sense that your father-in-law is sad that you don't want to shoot with him. They want to connect with you because you are a vital part of their son's life and have been so for many years. Why would step-grand-parents, who barely know Mason (Mason's father has been married, what? a year?), give such personal gifts? (Wasn't the gun one that belonged to the step-grandfather's dad? Or did I misunderstand that?)

Junior

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Re: Boyhood
« Reply #24 on: September 11, 2014, 01:14:29 PM »
I think those step-grandparents have probably heard from Mason's dad about what his past living conditions have been. And add to it that his mom is a college professor, people who aren't known to be especially God-fearing, and you've got yourself a recipe for some solid good-intentioned but perhaps a little misguided Christian gift-giving. The personal power of that particular Bible would only be an enhancement, I'd think, in that scenario.

And guns are the bee's knees, probably. I've held one.
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oneaprilday

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Re: Boyhood
« Reply #25 on: September 11, 2014, 01:20:19 PM »
I think those step-grandparents have probably heard from Mason's dad about what his past living conditions have been. And add to it that his mom is a college professor, people who aren't known to be especially God-fearing, and you've got yourself a recipe for some solid good-intentioned but perhaps a little misguided Christian gift-giving. The personal power of that particular Bible would only be an enhancement, I'd think, in that scenario.
That makes sense. I guess I wish I'd seen more evidence that they were thinking those things though.

Junior

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Re: Boyhood
« Reply #26 on: September 11, 2014, 01:26:33 PM »
I get that. It was fun for me, part of the experience, to think about why these things were happening. None of it (outside the drunken stepfathers, ugh) felt particularly out of place, and it was kind of like a puzzle movie in that I wanted to fill in the missing pieces of it myself rather than have it shown explicitly. Maybe another piece or two might have been helpful, I feel that, but I liked it the way it was.
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oneaprilday

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Re: Boyhood
« Reply #27 on: September 11, 2014, 01:30:59 PM »
Yes, it seems to have worked, just the way it is, for a lot of people. I only wish it did as well for me.  :-\

alexarch

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Re: Boyhood
« Reply #28 on: September 11, 2014, 01:50:15 PM »
Yes, it seems to have worked, just the way it is, for a lot of people. I only wish it did as well for me.  :-\
I get that. Totally get that. And it's likely that I loved the movie so much I'm readily and happily overlooking any flaws. So badly want to re-watch The Tree of Life to do a compare and contrast with Jerry. But it will take a long, do-nothing, rainy day to get him to commit to The Tree of Life. And we might have to be a little chemically altered.
« Last Edit: September 11, 2014, 02:00:04 PM by alexarch »

Adam

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Re: Boyhood
« Reply #29 on: September 11, 2014, 03:04:04 PM »
Um, when did Alex come back?
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