and sometimes poetry

Rango (2011) | Review by Hannah Brooks-Motl

1.     Why is Rango delightful

2.     What specifically delights us about the animal in human attire

3.     Not of dress only, but of attitude

4.     Lizards in Hawaiian shirts; some sort of bird thing in a poncho

5.     Is it an aspect of miniaturism

6.     And from the miniature do we extrapolate perspective

7.     Is it perspective that delights

8.    How is it possible that for the first five minutes of Rango I literally did not know what was going on

9.     Why was this so delightful

10.    Is there less at stake for an actor in an animated role

11.     Or do they consider it an exercise in formal invention

12.     Like a Mark Leidner movie poem, for example

13.     What is the equivalent in poetry to Jesse Eisenberg being the voice of a blue parrot in the forthcoming, highly sucky-looking Rio

14.     Is this like if Mark made a movie of a Tony Hoagland poem

15.     The Tony Hoagland poem

16.     Does a topic’s importance—its claim on the political, the social, the real—bar it from delight, not to say delightfulness

17.     Is Rango partly delightful to me because it is fundamentally concerned less with the social and more with the self

18.     Whilst acknowledging the awkward demands of the polis—its tug

19.     But what is perennial about the search for the self

20.     When we sense allusion without perhaps knowing the exact nature of the referent, what is the pleasure

21.     Is this an allusion of codes—the hilariously absurd shot of Rango’s posse riding against the pulsating semi-circle of sun, for example

 

22.     “Hilariously absurd” because Rango is a lizard, his steed some sort of pheasant

23.     Because Rango is the voice of Johnny Depp, his steed a roadrunner with a butt-full of feathers

24.     In intuiting allusion do we feel bound more closely to the culture in which we and it bask

25.     Is allusion thus a tool of tribalism

26.     Which, like racism, is not delightful

27.     When I laughed so heartily at its Star Wars allusion, was I simply pleased to have been allowed access to the cerulean depths of Rango’s cultural sea

28.     Access because it proved I too am deeply cultural

29.     Is delight predicated mostly on consciousness or un-

30.     Is delight more complicated than we generally consider it to be

31.     Are good children’s movies the cinematic equivalent of the medieval jester

32.     In that they allow adults levels of experience conventional grown-up fare assumes

33.     Bewilderment; delight

34.     And yet it is only through recontextualization of cultural knowledge—which depends on the experience of exposure—that such delight can function

35.     Is it better to be young than old

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