Mark made some very interesting comments about American Beauty in a thread about the top 100 movies as listed on IMDb. Here are a few extracts — jump into the thread and see what else he had to say!
“That’s what artists think though. People are in a crucible of success and appearances. It drives them to fraudulence. Ie the rousseuian idea that civilization corrupts. Who are the pure characters? the kids. The boys father is a repressed homosexual. Denial has turned his wife into a literal vegetable. Kevin lives within a dead marriage with a wife obsessed with materialism and status (her version of winning). And the main character is in a mid life crisis. To me the story is ironic… and uniquely takes the air out of the American dream. Which is really a place where everything is a lie. Even the sexy cheerleader is not what she appears to be. I love Allan Ball… he is a great writer. But I find this movie cynical. I can be convinced that I’m wrong. There is hope in the weird kids. Who see more than their parents and appreciate the simple, naked truth. But then again, I think that’s a delusion given to us by creepy ol Rousseau. That delusion dominates our culture which is why we listen to Thumberg (sp) and Hogg (sp) as if they know something we don’t. They don’t. They’re kids who have been put on a pedestal long before they are able to process the meanings of the movements they are the spokespeople for.”Mark Pellegrino
“Authenticity to the modern ‘artist’ and to the objectivist are totally different things. The modern artist sees society as artificial. Anything ‘artificial’ ie man made, is inauthentic. Raw nature and raw (animal level) humanity is the ideal. Objectivists see authenticity as being fully human… ie artificial (‘art’ificial) which is more than an animal. Not determined by opinions and forces outside yourself, but self entirely determined. A being who sees that artificial is not fake. But human will in the world.”Mark Pellegrino