Sunday, February 13, 2011

80 Years [and 5 days] of Awesomely Misunderstood Rebellion Without Causation

I told you this post was coming eventually. I promised and I came through on that promise. As always.*

*Note: this is basically the first time I've actually written a post after promising it. Usually I just pretend I never promised the said post and simply go on about my daily life. ;-D


James Dean.

He's awesome. He's brilliant. HE IS NOT OVERRATED. Certain people (Matthew, I am looking straight at you and into the deepest part of your soul where you realize you are actually a huge James Dean fan [this is not creepy at all ;-D]) don't understand his genius, but it is certain that he is genius.

Now, you can know for sure that he's not overrated-- because I like him.

I am always absolutely quick to like the opposite of what everyone else likes. My mother thinks I do it on purpose, but it's really just that I genuinely usually like the opposite of what's normal/sane/quality (JUST KIDDING. Santa Claus Conquers the Martians IS quality). The few times I do like what ever one else likes, you can be CERTAIN that means it's something of exceeding brilliance (or a film made for less than $50 that everyone just randomly likes).

What this wonderful digressing explanation means...SIMPLY... is that James Dean is Wowzie Kazam.

^There are no excuses for not believing in his Wowzie Kazamness after viewing this photo.

I don't really have anything new to say about James Dean. I'm pretty sure the 13,000* books and 58 million** blog posts written about him have taken care of that.

*Note: Not actual numbers
**Note: Possibly actual numbers

I do think he was a very striking actor. His performances are "felt" by the audience simply because of the sheer force at which they are delivered. His tragic death is not only horrible because he died at such a young age, but also because we never got to see what else he could have done. I would have loved to see James Dean meet the '60s. THAT would have been an immensely interesting sight.

I also think his overwhelming popularity - his "cult" as it were - is FASCINATING. The impact of James Dean is difficult to fully comprehend. A few months ago, I wrote an 80th birthday post for Steve McQueen and coolness. This post is for 80 years of James Dean and awesomely misunderstood rebellion without causation. Awesomely misunderstood rebellion without causation is a category OWNED by Mr. Dean. There's always the random actor who's the "next James Dean" (most disturbingly, Robert Pattison has been recently described as the next James Dean, apparently, because of similarities in their hairstyles.... I fear for humanity. ;-D), but there can't be another James Dean. Because then his awesomely misunderstood rebellion without causation would become some mainstream cool thing or something. And that's clearly not allowed. ;-D

Obligatory James Dean is eating birthday cake photo.

Happy 80th Birthday Mr. James Dean. The world would be a lot less misunderstood (and also less awesome) without you!


P.S. if you are in the mood (and you should be. ALWAYS.) check out this tribute video I made to James Dean's 80th birthday. It's made up of clips from his 3 films and some screentests/home videos/random early '50s TV shows and set to the song "Clothes of Sand" by Nick Drake (a similarly unappreciated, short-lived genius. My mother refers to him as "that depressed Englishman". Thank goodness we won't listen to my mum because we know she's crazy-- Jimmy Stewart is her 2nd favorite actor). <---HOORAY FOR RUN-ON SENTENCES!


kate gabrielle said...

Wonderful post & video as always, Millie!! :D I felt like such an idiot though, when I first read your thing about the video I was like "why did she only use 3 of his movies?" then as I was watching it I had the major duh! moment. ugh :p

But seriously, wonderful tribute!! :D

Millie said...

Thank you so much, Kate! Your comments are always so wonderfully encouraging! :')

Hahhaha! Well, technically speaking he did have non-speaking bit parts in three other films, sooooo....;-P

But, seriously that made me laugh.

Thanks ever so for the lovely comment! :-D

Anonymous said...

I never realized that Rebel Without a Cause is color, not B&W. I SHOULD have known, because I knew the red jacket was pretty iconic, but still... Your tribute video has served a great purpose. I became a slightly more educated film lover and/or ditz.

Misunderstood Rebellion Without Causation. Yikes, I love it so much. Superbly wunderbar post!

Matthew Coniam said...

I felt there was somebody nosing around in the depths of my soul, and instinct led me here...
Don't get me wrong: I thought he was terrific as 'youth at soda fountain (uncredited)' in Has Anybody Seen My Gal?
I just didn't think his later work lived up to his early promise.

Meredith said...

I would have loved to see what James Dean would have done later in his career. In my opinion, he could've been bigger than Marlon Brando.

I really like the "Rebellion Without Causation", by the way.

Great post!

Rosa Fay said...

Urg, I have an on-going obsession with this man. I mean, its actually quite serious. Books, t-shirts, film clips, movies, screen test clips, photos, I even did a photo shoot loosely based on him (This is on my blog)... You name it. It just cannot be helped - but with good cause! He is fascinating.

Since his film history was so short, theres not much left that I haven't seen so i'm always searching for new stuff. Can you recommend anything good? :)

I'm sorry, Robert-bloody-pattinson?! Hell. No. Never. Ever. Stupid. Ugly. Indeed, what is the world coming to?!


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