I have an pal who is attempting to see all 80+ films that Christopher Walken has ever been in, which means that she's sat through "Joe Dirt" and "The Country Bears" (and she'll have to see "Gigli" as well), among other actually enjoyable films. Similarly, Ivan has recently been on a "see all of Philip Seymour Hoffman's films" kick. I'd seen about 8 of his films, and the only ones I really didn't like were "Punch Drunk Love" (not PSH's fault that I didn't like it) and "Happiness" (which I thought he was great in, but it was one of the most grueling moviewatching experiences ever on the "enjoyment" scale of judging a film), but then there's "almost famous" and "state and main" and "boogie nights" and....well, most of his films I've seen are pretty good.
So I was at Ivan's apt, and he had netflixed "Love, Liza", an awful little indie film (starring PSH) about a man whose wife has committed suicide for no apparent reason, and he spends the entire movie deciding whether or not to read the note she left behind, when he's not busy developing a gasoline-huffing habit. When he finally does read the note, it's so anticlimactic as to make you wonder why anyone thought there was anything compelling in this script at all. (a parenthetical note: "Love liza" was directed by the guy who played "dick" (aka the other record store guy that isn't Jack Black) in "High fidelity". Bad Dick!)
But after the film, after the "I can't believe I wasted 2 hours watching that" resentment, I started thinking about all the people who meant something in my life who have done themselves in, from the famous and recent (Dave Blood of the Dead Milkmen), to the sorta recent (and possibly homicide) suicide of Elliot Smith , to the people none of you knew, to people I didn't know who still managed to affect me with their actions (one woman I knew in Ohio had found her lover dead in a bloody mess in their bed, and she said in her note that she'd elected to cut her wrists perpendicular to the vein not so she'd die slowly, but so she could change her mind at the last minute and call the paramedics if she had a change of heart. She didn't. And 10 years later, my friend was still haunted by it, and hearing about it haunted me, too). After posting the thing last week about Dave Blood, I saw that the Dead milkmen msg board had grown to 30 pages of posts from fans and friends mourning his loss, and I couldn't help but wonder if he'd known beforehand what an impact he'd made on so many people, would he have still done it?
So I had terrible nightmares that night, and I woke up feeling all haunted and sad, rather than having a renewed "I'm gonna let everyone I love know it so they never go and do something like this", which might have been the more constructive outcome, but hey, tell that to the brain. The next night, my nightmare was a little weirder; I dreamed that work was trying to fire me in that Japanese passive-aggressive manner where they don't fire you, but give you no work to do (and they take away your computer or anything you might occupy your 8 hour workday with, all you have is an empty desk to sit at) and no feedback or acknowledgement until you finally go nuts and break down and quit. The dream and the anxiety seemed so real that the next day I scrutinized the desk schedule to make sure I wasn't mysteriously removed from it, and I hadn't been, which eased my paranoia a bit.
Anyway, in "honor" of Love, Liza, I propose a new term, similar to Stendhal's syndrome, called "Seven's Syndrome", which will from now on be defined as being driven to experience overwhelming emotion after the viewing of otherwise crappy, unremarkable art.