5/3/09

RVOD064 Toward Emotional Maturity

(1954, Educational/Short, b&w)

Riffers:

Mike Nelson, Bill Corbett and Kevin Murphy

...and yes, I’m talking about sex.

Rating: ***

In a Nutshell:


Perhaps the most oblique abstinence film I’ve ever seen.

Summary:

So, does he represent raw emotionality or coolly reasoned logic?Sally has had a wonderful time at the school dance. Her boyfriend wants to take her “parking” but a matronly narrator talks her out of answering right away. During the leisurely drive out of town, the narrator goes on about the importance of placing cool logic above hot-headed emotion when making decisions. These exhortations are illustrated with episodes from Sally’s recent past, like the time she freaked out because her teacher threw a snake at her (really!), the time she joined an angry mob and vandalized a teacher’s house, the time she brutalized her dog because she thought her boyfriend was taking out another girl, and the time she deliberately tried to injure her sparring partner in a school fencing match. Somehow, Sally construes all these rage-and-fear-fueled flashbacks to mean that she should just go home instead of “parking”.

Thoughts:

To prove a point, I will now release one thousand deadly Africanized bees...So, is this film about anger management or abstinence? I’m thinking abstinence, because that’s the conclusion Sally seems to come to at the end; presumably it’s the conclusion the filmmakers wanted their audience to arrive at as well. However, when you consider that most of the examples involve Sally flying into violent rages with very little provocation, there’s a decent argument to be made for anger management as well. (Don’t ask me how the needlessly cruel “box of snakes/box of puppies” demonstration fits in with either lesson; I can’t figure it out.) Of course, the third possible conclusion is that they really were taking a broad “logic, not emotion” stance, making it the world’s very first bit of overt Vulcan propaganda.

A few of my favorite lines from the commentary track: While the narrator exhorts us to consider how others feel, Kevin adds, “Feeling others can lead to trouble, so be careful who you feel”. As the mob flops heedlessly about on the maligned teacher’s front lawn, Mike notes that it “looks more like a badly organized game of Red Rover”. While Sally hacks mercilessly at her opponent during a fencing match, Bill begs, “Please stop, I thought this was beekeeping!” It’s a vague, jumbled and sometimes bizarre short coupled with decent riffing.