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It's a trap! Don't get hooked on old indies like ERASERHEAD

ERASERHEAD Heaven

A lot of people have way more free time on their hands than they used to (for very poignant reasons), plus there are more ways to watch movies than ever before, so the nostalgia pit has been beckoning with a treacherous appeal of scary new magnitude. And there are plenty of classic indies that lend themselves to watching them over and over for nuances — or just for their culty essence.

But I’m here to urge you to stay away! Don’t get addicted to viewing old indies! It’s a bottomless well that can easily suck you into a world of fiendish horror that rivals anything in THE TEXAS CHAINSAW MASSACRE.

I’m not saying that an appreciation for the classics isn’t important — please do get to know weird wonders like BAD LIEUTENANT, BEING JOHN MALKOVICH and THE BLAIR WITCH PROJECT, because there’s nothing like them — but once you start on that treadmill, it can become as habit-forming as painkillers, and you won’t have much to show for it except conversational fodder to use with others who harbor the same problem.

I myself fell into the trap years ago, spending a huge chunk of my waking hours watching old movies as an escape from the everyday realities of my existence. It was better than being addicted to food, gambling or sex — maybe — but deep down I knew this was a retreat that was a little too faux-soothing and compulsive to be all that healthy. And once you get hypnotized by something like David Lynch’s surreal 1978 gem ERASERHEAD, you can easily spend a month (or more) on it, continually going back to wonder for the umpteenth time, “What’s with that woman’s face?!”

Scarily enough, I could easily fall into this addiction all over again because: A) I can barely remember many of the movies I saw, so I might as well watch them again; B) There are even more old movies today, since the past is forever growing. After all, even THE ARTIST is already a classic, and the films of Mandy Moore’s heyday are really old chestnuts.

But I’d prefer to concentrate on my work and interpersonal relationships rather than go all veggie and resubmit to the fictional magic. Retro-mania is best enjoyed in reasonable doses, mixed in with the thrill of actual human interplay and lots of attention to the new culture that’s brewing.

With so many streaming and on-demand venues to catch everything from SHE’S GOTTA HAVE IT to SWINGERS to RUN LOLA RUN and beyond, the oldies hold a lot of allure, especially since rocky times make us long extra hard for the past. But be strong. Limit yourself to just, I don’t know, three films a day?

Photo credit: Death and Taxes