Johnny Suede

27 April 1992

Johnny Suede ticket We just saw this movie Johnny Suede. It was great. I didn’t know anything about the movie before we went, but the pictures looked neat and Jasmine said: Johnny Suede advertisement

"With a hairdo like that, it has to be funny."

 Brad Piitt IS Johnny Suede

And it was. It follows in the lines of David Lynch, Jim Jarmusch, Hal Hartley, Gus van Sant, and even John Waters a little with that genre I love so much, some sort of "American melange grunge culture." It takes all these elements that are uniquely American – they may be corny or jazzy or hip – and throws them all into a big pile together so that nothing is left sacred or untouched and nothing is what you expected it to be. It’s pretty intricate, I don’t think the French people got it. It’s a self-referential American culture, for when the culture itself isn’t good enough for us. It’s the same thing I was talking about after that Nirvana article. It’s the same thing Camper van Beethoven does - they touch on all styles (I once described them as "ex-skater, neo-psychedelic with bagpipes" but they also do country, euro-trendy, and ska, and probably others which I forgot), and they also love to dwell on the grungy side of Americana.

[I have to qualify this by saying that, on returning to America I saw this movie again and I did not enjoy it as much. I think this is for two reasons, mainly. One is that the American release had this ridiculous voice over at the beginning and the end, which, hard as this may be to imagine, seemed to change the entire tone of the movie, making it seem obvious and heavy-handed, rather than delightfully subtle as it had been. I don’t know why they did this, I guess they think we Americans are too dense to get it. The second reason may have been that I just appreciated it more when I was an ex-patriot. I mean that perhaps I could appreciate this bizarre look at American culture better when I was outside of it, away in France.]