Enigmatic genius and Zoolander enthusiast, Terrence Malick made his directorial debut in 1973 with the poetic, stunning, and dangeous love story of a young girl and her boyfriend who set out on a Midwestern killing-spree. And although he had penned a short film and a handfull of feature-length scripts by this point, Badlands marked Malick’s first directorial effort outside of AFI—where he attended after declining to not finish his post-Harvard philosophical PhD. With his first foray into writing and directing, Malick crafted a film haunted by westerns of the past but infused with a new American sensibility, where nightmare and dream collide in a world that would establish his rural and romantic visual aesthetic for years to come.
Made on a shoe-string budget with so little money that Malick and his crew couldn’t afford to watch dailies, Michael Almereyda describesBadlands as:
A terrifically restrained, persuasive performance, and worth savoring—a glimpse of the visionary filmmaker, twenty-eight years old, at the start of an unconventionally brilliant career, before he took the Kubrickian high road and disappeared into a strict vow of silence and invisibility, allowing no further cameos, interviews, photographs, or even the slightest public evidence that his films emanate from a knowable human source. Pay no attention to that man behind the curtain. This edict, we can hope, allows the wizard to get on with the more essential business of living his life and making his movies. Still, here he is in Badlands, plain as day. The worried, humble man carrying the rolled blueprint can seem, at this juncture, to be looking back at us and through us, like the figures locked in Holly’s stereopticon, like the mysteries and miracles unfolding throughout Malick’s best work—a presence on the way to becoming an absence, offering intimations of a future that will engulf us all.
And with the film’s Criterion release this month, the Collection has debuted their Three Reasons video for Malick’s now classic film that weaves between the inherent beauty in nature around us and the evils of man.
So I have always held a personal theory that Terrence Malick doesn’t watch movies, or more so, he’s just not really a movie person. I mean, just cannot imagine ol’ Terry cozying up with a serious work cinema—a enormous piece of philosophical text, sure, but On the Waterfront? No. I’ve always just assumed he was a dude who went to Harvard, became a Rhodes scholar, and figured that conveying these inexplicable ideas onto a page or publishing translations Heidegger’s Vom Wesen des Grundes as The Essence of Reasons wasn’t enough and if there was a medium to get his ideas across, it was the touch of film.
And since earning his MFA in 1969, he’s done just that. His films are whisper to the heart and the mind unlike anything else—so, who cares what movies he loves, right? Well maybe, because in recent years it’s been slowly revealed just how anathema his interests tend to be from the person we perceive him to be—and it’s pretty hilarious. We learned with the DVD extras from The Thin Red Line that he edited the film while listening only to Green Day and as of last year, we heard a splendid rumor that Malick was Zoolander‘s biggest fan. And now, it looks like that has been confirmed.
As part of the Philbrook Musuem of Art’s "Films on the Lawn" series, Malick will be the first guest curator in Tulsa—and who better to watch films on a lawn with, right?! So naturally, the first film in the line-up: Zoolander. He’s also included Preston Sturges The Lady Eve, John Huston’s Beat the Devil, and of course, his own classic Badlands.
Remember that movie Zoolander? The one that parodied the fashion world for being so self-obsessed and out-of-touch that it sometimes becomes a parody of a parody of itself? Well, if your pop culture memory doesn’t quite extend back a decade, there’s a scene where Will Ferrell, as haute-couture master Mugatu, introduces his fake line, "Derelicte," inspired by the homeless people of New York City. And you know how every once in a while, parody settles for a bit and becomes part of the pop culture lexicon and then becomes reality, where it is not nearly as funny?
Well, CB2, the "hip" younger sibling of Crate + Barrel, has the "Lucky Beggar" wallet, which is inspired by the coffee cup usually seen in the hands of homeless New Yorkers asking for change. See? It’s funny because you paid $16 to parody someone’s brutal living conditions. Get it?
"Inspired by the iconic blue and white coffee cup often seen in the hands of New York City panhandlers, this quirky wallet begs to be seen. Soft faux leather fits snugly in your back pocket or handbag. Won’t spill any of its valuable contents, thanks to a nifty zip top."
Excuse me, what? Like, I could maybe, sort of, kind of understand if this was some sort of (albeit still) cheap gimmicky product to raise awareness/proceeds to fight poverty and homelessness in New York. But to turn a real and gravely serious problem, especially considering how many people are stil homeless and displaced in the city that allegedly inspired this wallet that "begs to be seen" following the wrath of Hurricane Sandy, into an overpriced accessory, is pretty cringe-worthy. Stay classy, CB2.
Needless to say, last night’s Stefon sketch on SNL had everything: stickball, a Pakistani family that cuts in line at Universal Studios, upper lowerside hotspots, scrunchies and a shaved lion that looks like Mario Batali. The most unexpected: Ben Stiller reprising his Derek Zoolander character. Take a look.
Zoolander 2, or Twolander, is in the works. Ben Stiller has said it will take place 10 years later in Europe with both Derek and Hansel having fallen on hard times. Owen Wilson recently told MTV that Hansel suffers “a disfiguring injury.” “Think ‘Vanilla Sky.”
Fingers crossed they’ll make room for a special cameo by Stefon.